"Why do you think that, Caem?"
"Well, it looks like the Common Tongue, but half the words is all flowery and the other half is ass-backwards and unreadable. Plus it's got those funny snake eatin' its own tail sigils all over it."
"Don't touch it. Let me look. And watch that blasphemous tongue of yours, Caem."
"Pshaw. Don't be all high-horse, Fennel. You're down here crawling in the dark with the rest of us. Not my problem you got booted from some momentary for making waves."
"Monastery, Caem. And it was a simple disagreement on the interpretation of an ancient creed. Unfortunately Abbot Uesti has more political pull then scholarly acumen, so here I am with you, making my way in the world until I find a sect that appreciates my scholarship."
"So what is it?"
"Well, it is a big egg."
"I know that much, Brother."
"Hmm. This is High Old Common. One doesn't usually see it outside of apostolic texts. Mmm. That's an odd phrase... Hmm, that death prayer does seem scrambled...
That's no death prayer, Caem! Someone has ciphered a prayer to raise the dead upon this egg!"
"Wonderful, Brother! Too bad we didn't have it last week for old Dealph, may he run across the Daroughian Fields forever..."
"True, that stalwart will be missed. Bless his soul."
"So why an egg?"
"Birth. Resurrection. In fact, our faith sets eggs as grave goods, that the soul may find its way back to life one day."
"So what do we do with a spell scribed on a huge egg?"
"Well, first of all, Caem, we don't drop it..."
Crafted by select high priests of the Suver resurrection cult, a raise dead spell-prayer is carefully inscribed on the shell of an ostrich egg or similar large egg. To reduce the odds of an inadvertent reading of the prayers, many of the words are written backwards, or in mirror-image, requiring close study and careful enunciation of the prayer to make it effective. Because of the intricacies of the writing, there is a 5% chance of failure, cumulative, per point of Intelligence below 18 (e.g. INT 13 = 25%). Likewise, if the egg is broken and reconstructed, there is a base 20% chance of failure. Failure may result in the subject remaining dead (and no longer abler to be raised by any method), a more horrific, catastrophic partial resurrection, or creation of a tragic ab-dead being.
Upon completion of reading the prayer, successful or not, the egg will disintegrate into flour-like dust and immediately be blown away by a sudden breeze, no matter the environment.
The eggs may be created only during the spring equinox, and using inks made of rare pigments blended with realgar. Ironically, the toxic pigments lead to the illness or death of many of the scribing priests.
(Funny story - an old girlfriend was an English teacher. She was grading papers on the Canterbury Tales, and discovered that two students had copied from one another - right down to the typos. Hence, the monks lived in the momentary..."