Gate of Xabra
Near the top of Nocturnas is an astronomical observatory and one of the great artifacts of the Arcane Congress: the Gate of Xabra. This circle of menhirs, transplanted from a Q’barran ruin shortly before the start of the Last War, has graven glyphs that correspond to no known language or code. The glyphs hold overwhelmingly powerful conjuration magic sufficient to send everything within the circle to another plane of existence.
When a would-be traveler uses a ﬁnger to trace certain glyphs on the stones, they glow slightly. When all the correct glyphs are lit, everything within the Gate of Xabra disappears and a whoosh of air ﬁlls the void that remains. Occasionally there is an exchange of matter from the destination, although these instances are quite rare. Rarer still is a sentient being being in the exchange, or coming back with the travelers.
Finding the correct sequence of glyphs is no easy task. Fortunately, failed attempts don’t have negative consequences—or at least they haven’t so far. The glyph sequence can’t be learned by rote, because the correct glyph sequence depends on both the destination plane and the alignment of the stars around Eberron.
In general, it takes considerable knowledge of the planes to open the Gate of Xabra to a specific plane. The gnome wizard Uli Blackthatch studies the Gate of Xabra for the Arcane Congress, and has extensive knowledge of the planes that he uses to direct travelers in what he believes is the correct sequence.
The Gate of Xabra only opens for an instant, although in most cases it leaves a circular impression on the other plane that allows a return trip. Travelers appear within the circle at the moment they arrive; once they step back inside it, they reappear in the gate chamber in Nocturnas. On the plane of Irian, the return circle might be marked with crystals, while it might be a circular glade on the forest plane of Lamannia.
An unprecedented event that is still talked about is the accidental transport of an entire ship from another plane. A rare coterminous event over twenty years ago resulted in the Gate opening onto a previously unknown plane, and in the exchange the bow of a small ship was transported to the gateroom. There was barely enough time for the unintentional travellers to clear the wreckage and enter the tower before the return sequence initiated. This brought the aft part of the ship, the rest of the crew, and several very sodden faculty members. The material of the ship was unusually buoyant, and has been used to craft several of the air skiffs that serve as taxis between the towers.
The passengers and crew of the ship have been unable to return to their world of Abeir, and have since found places within the University and the town below. Jett Rotach, a genasi swordmage of the guard forces aboard the ship, has apprenticed to Magister Blackthatch in an attempt to learn how to return home. Others serve as lecturers and researchers for the Congress, or have taken up occupations in the town below. The captain and members of the crew have a vessel that plies trade on Lake Galifar.