Crenshinibon, also called "The Crystal Shard", was a unique, magical artifact.[1]

Powers and personalityEdit

Crenshinibon was a vile relic of immense power, a crystal shard that drew its magical energy from the light of the sun. Crenshinibon was a sentient artifact, and it possessed a never-ending hunger for power and glory at whatever cost; therefore, Crenshinibon was not a reasonable being. It always desired a powerful wielder, usually a corruptible magic-user of some sort, and greatly enhanced that wielder's powers. The Crystal Shard also insidiously manipulated its wielder and would readily abandon him or her for someone more capable of furthering its goals of ultimate conquest. The relic could lure in thousands of evil-intentioned beings with its magical call, creating a grand army for its wielder and so-called master.[2]

Perhaps Crenshinibon's most magnificent ability was its power to create an enormous crystalline tower, known as Cryshal-Tirith (meaning "crystal tower" in Elven). In order to create the tower, Crenshinibon first created an exact duplicate of itself, a square-sided crystal that sometimes glowed with a green light. The wielder then placed the copy of the shard on the ground and recited the words ibssum dal abdur.


Crenshinibon as Cryshal-Tirith beside Bryn Shander

The duplicate crystal expanded, growing into the crystalline tower, still an exact image of Crenshinibon, only now of mammoth proportions. The tower itself absorbed the sun's light, giving it more strength during the daytime. The tower was impervious; it absorbed all attacks against its mirrored walls and reflected them back on their source. The only vulnerable part of the tower was its heart, the pulsating crystal of strength that was used to construct the tower, and that became hidden away within Cryshal-Tirith. The tower's very door was invisible and undetectable to any beings inherent to the present plane the tower rested upon.[citation needed]

The goal of the artifact was to acquire power to its greatest level. This desire transcended the normally established boundaries of what was right and what was wrong.[citation needed]

The Shard's primary attack was on the ego, collecting slaves with promises of greatness and riches. It had little hold on paladins and goodly priests, on righteous kings and noble peasants, but one who desired more and was not above deception and destruction to further his or her ends would inevitably sink into Crenshinibon's grasp.[3]



Crenshinibon was originally created by seven liches who set out to fashion an item of the very greatest power. As an insult to the races these undead wizard-kings planned to conquer, they designed the artifact to draw its strength from the sun itself, the giver of life. Upon the artifact’s completion, the liches were consumed by the overwhelming power of their joining magic. The conscious aspects of these evil creatures were obliterated by the relic's sunlike properties and the shattered pieces of their spirits were absorbed by the artifact.[4]

Crenshinibon first came to the material world millennia ago in the distant land of Zakhara. At the time, the artifact was merely a wizard’s tool, though a great and powerful one. It could throw fireballs and create great blazing walls of light so intense they could burn flesh from bone. Little was known about the Crystal Shard’s dark and sinister past until it fell into the hands of a sultan. This great leader learned the truth about Crenshinibon, and with the help of his many court wizards, decided that the work of the liches was incomplete. This sultan, however, had no dreams of domination; he only wanted peaceful existence with his many warlike neighbors. Using the newest power of the artifact, the sultan created a line of crystalline towers that stretched from his capital across the empty desert to his kingdom’s second city, an oft-raided frontier city about a day’s travel away in intervals. He raised as many as a hundred of these towers, nearly completing the defensive line. However, the sultan had overestimated the powers of Crenshinibon. He believed that the creation of the towers would strengthen the artifact, and normally they would if not so many had been created, but he was pulling the manifestations of Crenshinibon too thin. Soon after the sultan’s raising of the towers, a great sandstorm manifested and swept across the desert, shattering the weakened crystalline towers. This sandstorm served as a precursor to an invasion by a neighboring sheikdom. The hordes overran the sultan’s kingdom, and the merciless sheik forced the sultan to watch as his family was murdered. Crenshinibon absorbed a piece of the sultan's spirit. Finally, with this "second creation" Crenshinibon was complete. The artifact, imbued with the twisted aspects of seven dead liches and with the wounded and tormented spirit of the sultan, would now begin its desperate quest to attain and maintain its greatest level of power, whatever the cost.[5]

The sentient shard is thus a tragic 'character'; it is driven to pursue evil or amoral ends because it was scarred by traumatic, tragic events during its formative years; this part of the shard's history was revealed in Servant of the Shard, whose primary characters, Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri, are also amoral individuals willing to commit unethical acts because they were scarred by tragedy and betrayal during their formative years.

The artifact crossed the trails of the psionic race known as illithids on many occasions, who studied this unique item that could sometimes defeat their mental attacks. Illithids or psionics of any race alone are beyond the reach of the Crystal Shard.[6]


A powerful demon, Errtu, had been serving the seven liches who created Crenshinibon. When Crenshinibon stole the magical strength that preserved the liches’ undead state, the ensuing bursts of energy had hurled Errtu back to the Abyss, and the demon had thought the relic destroyed. Centuries later, Errtu discovered Cryshal-Tirith, a crystal tower with a pulsating heart the exact image of the Crystal Shard. Before Errtu could obtain Crenshinibon, an angelic solar named Al Dimeneira arrived, and with a single word, he banished Errtu back to the Abyss. Al Dimeneira then tried to destroy Crenshinibon, but the powerful relic burned his hands, so instead he hurled it across the very planes of existence, and it came to rest in the snow of a bowl-shaped dell in the Spine of the World mountains on the material plane.[7]

Crenshinibon has had six owners since that time. The first was a devil named Belhifet who, in a feud with his rival Yxunomei, was banished to the Material Plane. He stumbled upon the shard and formed an army using its powers of suggestion. He erected Cryshal-Tirith in the town of Easthaven, until a wandering group of adventurers (who had also killed Yxunomei) sent him back to Baator.

In the novel The Crystal Shard, the next wielder of Crenshinibon was a fumbling wizard-in-training named Akar Kessel. He stumbled upon the artifact at the Spine of the World Mountains. Though he could barely cast cantrips himself, with the power of Crenshinibon, he was almost unstoppable. Kessel tried to use Crenshinibon's power to enslave the whole region and even acquired the assistance of the demon Errtu to help him with that task as the General of his Army (Errtu has been summoned to the material plane by an apprentice wizard who made an error in creating the summoning circle, thus Errtu was never under Akar Kessel's control). But this supposed ally finally brought about the demise of Akar Kessel, having his own designs for the Crystal Shard. In the end, Kessel was killed by an avalanche caused by Crenshinibon's own heat in a battle with the famed drow ranger Drizzt Do'Urden atop Kelvin's Cairn.[8]

In Passage to Dawn Stumpet Rakingclaw, a female dwarven cleric in the employ of Clan Battlehammer, came across Crenshinibon while hiking on Kelvin's Cairn. As her moral code made it too difficult for the artifact to insinuate itself into her mind, the shard quickly escaped her by calling to Errtu. Errtu had finally gotten what he wanted and was the next wielder of the shard. Drizzt, with the help of Wulfgar (whom the goddess Lolth had given to Errtu as a prisoner and was subsequently used as a bargaining chip with Drizzt and his friends), once again managed to banish him to the Abyss.[9]

In The Silent Blade, the drow Jarlaxle tricked Drizzt into giving the shard to him by hiring a doppelganger and disguising him as Cadderly Bonaduce and used it to carve himself a place in the city of Calimport. His lieutenant Rai-guy believed he could control the shard better than his leader and tried to take it. It was stolen by Jarlaxle's companion Artemis Entreri, who had managed to ignore the Crystal Shard's manipulative magic through sheer willpower. Entreri rescued Jarlaxle from his two lieutenants, Kimmuriel Oblodra and Rai-guy, and convinced him to come along with him to take the shard to Cadderly and find from him a way to destroy the dangerous artifact. Rai-guy eventually succeeded in capturing the shard, though his possession of it was short-lived.[10]

Crenshinibon was eventually destroyed by the red dragon Hephaestus when Jarlaxle tricked him into breathing fire on it (and its wielder, Rai-guy) whilst it was inside of a globe of magical darkness, the only known way to end the Crystal Shard's evil existence, as discovered by Cadderly.[11]

However, powerful necromantic energy still lingered around the shard. When the Spellplague began to affect Erlkazar and thus Hephaestus' lair, it turned the dragon into a dracolich and the nearby corpse of an illithid, Yharaskrik, into a ghost who compelled Hephaestus to smash the shard into his forehead before fusing itself and the shard with the remains of Hephaestus' body. The three combined became a sentient conduit between the realm of the living and that of the dead. Yharaskrik's conciousness dubbed the trio the Ghost King.


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