All of you look so shocked. Why? You see something out of place in this bookstore? Ah, yes. You see, Boskov have new task! Offering you many pieces of lore, some from bardic employer! No feelings of animosity towards him, he only does what he always does. But fear not, Boskov has been given permission to share secrets to keep one safe. Excerpts from books, yes, you shall have them. Boskov offers tales of the Astral and of the Fair Folk, remember the Fair Folk?
Author’s Note: Once again, things were cut… so long ago! Here are some things involving the fey that weren’t included before. Needless to say, I think I’ve done enough fey stuff for a while. Time for other things! And once again, huge salute and thanks to Mr. Welch for helping to push the fey into something even cooler. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to his channel on YouTube. Likewise, the Astral Plane really needs more love. So with that, another instance of plane-stranded Athasians and some other curiosities of the astral. So, this one is about 1/2 Fey, 1/2 Astral. Also, stick around for a reference to a fun episode of the D&D cartoon. Enjoy.
On Oberon, the Faerie King
What of Oberon? Everyone assumes that Titania is supreme while the King of the Seelie is relegated to second chair. This isn’t entirely true. In fact, he’s just not known for public appearances and direct engagement. He’d rather tend to matters that interest him which, ironically for a chaotic being, involve training military, punishment and other aspects that are less open to the great public… or at least the planar-oriented ones at that. And in times of conflict, he is one to bulk up his form into a far beefier and frightening form. One of the members of the Seelie Court, Eachthighern, is likewise disinterested in greater politics. It is not uncommon for both of them to unite on epic adventures of friendship and righteousness. While preferring to be one with the natural world and remain in the background on politics, he is far from the second rank sidekick that the planes often brand him as. Often, he’ll give assistance to major decisions made by Titania, should she request it. This wasn’t always so. The two were quite distant for a time. But, in time, the two then-archfey saw something strangely intriguing within each other. As fey often do, curiosity lead them to investigate and learn all they could about their respective other. As if by magic, attraction lead to infatuation and everything became history. They even have their own offspring, a loophole achieved by becoming deities rather than staying as archfey.
Unlike the rest of the Seelie Court legends though, he does sympathize with the true archfey, but wishes that they’d join him. Unlike Titania, his method of attempted recruitment is through showcasing his wondrous abilities and feats, even in his rare excursions into The Good Kingdom. Despite Rhiannon being the only true divine essence welcomed to the Neutral Fey realm, Oberon has achieved some level of acceptance. His love of strength and skill makes him especially appreciated by the more energized of the Seasonal Courts. Save for the Autumn Court, and a healing grudge from the Summer Court, the Wild Courts of the Neutral Grounds respect King Oberon. In the case of the Autumn Court, the Bountiful Mind finds Oberon to be more meat-headed than The Horned Lord of Spring. None the less, she begrudgingly respects him to a degree. While none of them pledge fealty, he is completely fine with this. In fact, he’d rather work alongside them then act as some superior to them. He has even hunted alongside the current Archfey of Spring. In fact, Eladrin have been welcomed into the Wild Fey grounds, when by his side as well. This exception is seen as a privilege that few natives of Arcadia take lightly.
Plus, his rivalry with the Elven God Corellon Larethian also makes him more appealing to the Fair Kingdom and its Good Neighbors. Despite the House of Flowers being within the Seelie dominion, neither deity get along. Corellon is angered by the Sidhe warding of most deities from their realm, while Oberon greatly supports it. The latter even blames the shattering of Rhiannon on the former to a degree, as Corellon wasn’t remotely helpful in aiding Queen Mab as she was being corrupted. The two also fight over the descent of the Elves into Prime creatures. To Corellon, this is greater divine purpose and Oberon is an ignoramus for blocking more from being made. To Oberon, his subjects have been robbed of their fey essence and forced to slave away for Powers, making Corellon a tyrant. No longer immortal, they require the powers of the gods for aid. However, as Corellon’s children, they still receive many blessings and boons. Due to various agreements on the Outer Planes, plus the magnitude of both powers, neither Oberon nor Corellon can hurt each other. Thus, they use proxies to mess with each others’ business. Corellon wants the rest of the Seelie Court moved to at least Ysgard, preferably back to the Ethereal. Oberon wants Corellon pushed into a Lawful plane, preferably Acheron or Baator so he can own up for his sins. Besides Gods of the Seelie Court, Oberon has no respect for any Power that hasn’t ascended on their own merits. For this reason, he gets along with many Immortals of Mystara.
As for clergy serving under the Faerie King, they prove far rarer outside of sylvan circles. None the less, they are stalwart guardians of faerie homes, strange woodlands and other things well associated with the Faerie King’s realms. They hunt for thrill and for life, not cruelty and death. They do what they can to support others, especially through their great hunts. While strength and skill are admired, they are often ones to imbue and train others in such abilities as well. Without a need for temples, shrines and places of worship are sporadic and makeshift at best. Sometimes, devotees will make themselves to the Seelie realms to show their appreciation. Those who aren’t clerics tend to be druids and rangers, especially the latter due to their hunting prowess and skills with nature. While few holidays exist for the church, the Golden Jubilee occurs once every half-century and is celebrated throughout the wandering court. Some interpret the event as an anniversary of the unity between Titania and Oberon. As for 50 years? What is a year to an immortal being? Also, 100 years? That’s just right out, far too formal. Thus, 50 is the chosen number. In some instances, during the festivities, Oberon and his various allies might go into the Prime Material out of sheer boredom. While normally a major taboo, Oberon’s fey connections can help him get around this. And even then, he’ll often take an Avatar instead. In fact, all of his high-powered sylvan friends do this. And more often than not, Oberon prefers deals and friends to outright worshipers anyway. To an extent, he finds many of his devout to be a bit strange, but he’s accepting of them as company.
In Which the Fair Kingdom Almost Fell Apart
The Archfey of the Seasonal Courts have operated for eons. Often, the position is passed down when an ascendant sidhe has proven themselves worthy of taking over. In the previous instance, this wasn’t the case. In fact, all of the Seasonal Archfey were replaced at roughly the same time. This was not out of mere duty or obligation, but out of complete shame. While the Fey are not ones to live by an overly lawful standard, even the more neutral Wild Folk tend to align by certain basic principles. All of this started when the prior Archfey of Winter thought it wise to spice up the gloomy aspects of the Autumn’s court dominions. This was no more evident than with the City of Stars, which had faced conflict and ruination from the Fomorions. And worse, he egged on already agitated Red Eyed Giants into violence against the Firbolgs who had settled int he area. Through his proxies, he delivered the gift of necromantic knowledge. On top of this, he lured an Unseelie hag into his realm, thanks to her appreciation of a rather dashing winter fey. This drew not only ire from the previous Archfey of Autumn, but gradually got the Unseelie Court to pay attention as well.
All the while, the Archfey of Summer was making connections with the Seelie Court, proclaiming that she was the most goodly of the Neutral Fey. Her hatred of Winter was known throughout the Good Kingdom. While the House of Flowers did not exist at that time, a similar bunch of zealots still fought for the Seelie. Through clever weaving and propaganda, she made Winter out to be some fallen cohort of the Unseelie. Meanwhile, she secretly gained more favor through Queen Tiandra, the High Speaker for the Summer Court. Castle Senaliesse, the realm where Tiandra dwells, traveled between the Summer grounds and Arborea with few the wiser. However, a few of her subjects brought up some suspicious qualities of the grounds around them. Meanwhile, the Archfey of Winter confronted the Summer Archfey about his own sneaking suspicions. The two sides attacked, as Tiandra leapt into the Seelie Court without any glamor or subtlety. Upon declaring allegiance to Titania and her ilk, the doors were thrown wide open and everyone knew.
All the while, Autumn was infuriated by the damage done and Winter fled to the Unseelie for aid. As for Spring? She was off around the planes, using fakes and proxies to make it look like she was doing duties. Instead, her personal indulgences lead her to adventures and pleasures with all sorts of creatures. The resulting fey-hybrids were used to mock the Seelie, while kept away from the Unseelie in mutual taunting. These sylvan-blooded misfits were often without a proper place or meaning within the multiverse, making many bitter and disgusted with their mutual mother. This quickly turned for the worse when several of these Spring-blooded creatures got involved in the drama between Winter and Summer, compromising yet another Archfey. Meanwhile, Autumn went on a vengeance filled rampage, ruining countless Winter settlements and lands in response to the corruption and collapse of several Autumn lead ones. To this day, many grim ruins still remain. Winter responded by crumbling an entire Autumn settlement and goading The Queen of Air and Darkness into ending her truce against Titania. This culminated with Winter making a grandiose threat, for all to stay back otherwise he’d unleash a ritual to taste god blood. The prior Winter Archfey claims that it was by his hand that the Raven Queen fell, only to blame Wee Jas in the end. And for that reason, the current Archfey of Winter adopted her name in tribute. But, there is little proof for his claims.
Whether or not the act concluded, this went too far. Multiple courts, even outside forces, united to absolutely destroy and banish any trace of the Winter Archfey. Following that, the Summer Archfey tried to destroy herself in shame, only to fail and abandon her post. Spring and Autumn faced whatever consequences for their actions before resigning more gracefully. And thus, a brief vacuum in power saw the Seelie, Unseelie, Primordi and Good Kingdom Sidhe unite to find replacements. It was from this that the Duke of Flame, the Horned Lord, the Bountiful Mind and the Queen of Ravens were chosen as the next Seasonal Court Archfey. And for countless ages, they have overseen matters with few massive incidents. The Thrones of these Courts likewise changed to reflect their new masters. And thus the Wild Horizons, Acres of Flame, Learning Harvest and Somber Frost became the new seats of power.
This also enacted more changes. Firstly, the names of the previous archfey were to be removed from all multiversal knowledge. Secondly, all archfey moving forward would adopt a title and lose their true names. However, this did not affect regimes prior to the incident. Thus, the likes of Archfey like Brynvalk, Sarial, Korvac and Nuada still retain their names and information on them. As to their whereabouts? As per agreements with resignation, they are just as anonymous as the three prior Court leaders who passed the torch… and the one obliterated outright. But, unlike the three banished, it’s more than possible to interact with the four predecessors. Many still remain rather engaged with courtly politics, just with a safe distance attached. While they can’t flaunt their names, it is possible for them to still reveal themselves to outsider and fey alike, assuming they wish to. Also, those who do somehow know of the four banished ones? Run, the Wild Fey and their courts will hunt you down and erase you. This is because you were either present to have the banished willfully taken from your minds or you were a traitor in league with them. There are no exceptions in the faerie courts. However, through impossible means and dark magics, one can learn of the Forbidden Ones. Doing so has a deep price. For mortals, it’s death. For the fey? Sylvan Insanity. While the Prime Mortal can suffer from diseases of the mind, it is nothing compared to what happens to the Fair Folk. The end results are horrifying beyond comparison.
More Ways of the Fey
Much has been covered on the realms of the fey, even some customs and cultures. But, let’s go deeper. One place to start is with the strange ancestors of the modern fey. They have many names; Primordi, Precursors, Antediluvians, Dream Fey. The Ancient ones do not stick to any of them permanently, preferring to stay loose with categorization. But, what are they? For Primers, horror. If the fey have trouble understanding the Prime, these beings make no attempt to. These beings emerged from a mystical soup of raw energy, a realm of mind powers not unlike the Astral Plane. These early fey were the things of dreams, perhaps literally. As long as sentient creatures arose and vanished in the multiverse, these things would dwell in and have altered thoughts. In fact, such interactions with such thoughts and dreams is exactly how they became to morph corporeal shapes into something more “cohesive” for mortal minds to fathom. But, this is not the only mystery to even most fair folk.
For one, how do the fey truly interact with the Primers? The fair folk are alien and detached from the methods of the prime, with only some taking enough effort to fully understand their strange visitors. For the most part, morality and viewpoints of the sylvan way are disconnected from anything a mundane mortal would ponder. Fey are potentially immortal in many cases, often seeking new concepts and experiences to explore to further enhance their reality. This can range from giving mortals menial tasks disguised as something greater to playing factions in the name of a bet. To the fair folk, the mortal is another curiosity to explore. This can reach truly awful things that’ll make the subject yearn for the release of death. But to the fey, it’s all part of learning and observing, even if that means tearing a mortal inside out just to know. This isn’t to say that fey are sociopaths, just clueless to the realities and consequences of primer life. We are the aliens to them, so complex and bizarre with our cycles throughout life. But, while we may approach with fear, they approach with an insatiable desire to know more. Tragically, their own nature keeps them from fully comprehending. It’s for that reason why the Shadow Fey Changeling is doomed to watch their host die or why even the Seelie aren’t above kidnapping things they find beautiful. To them, it’s all part of discovering more about the planes, with a total aloofness to the consequences for worlds at large. Life and death are a mystery, after all. And this isn’t to say that the fey are totally immune to death.
Death to the fey is a curiosity. In many ways, they are powerful immortal beings. However, their physical forms can be damaged and they can learn the sensations of dying. But, upon death, their essence simply returns back to their respective realm. Fey usually don’t die, they regenerate. And thus, a certain amount of time passes as a new body forms. In some cases, a fey might remember the nature of their previous “death”, which can result in grudges at the minimum. This form of reincarnation is somewhat rare, as the new fey rarely has anything resembling their old personality and full memories in tact. Some are grateful to have a new body and outlook even! Stripping them of this power is a death sentence. It is said that the Elves were victims of this, despite living otherwise long lives. Some say the creation of these elves was an intentional step by Corellon to assemble Material Plane armies for conflicts to come. Does this mean that they are invincible? No. There are rituals and weapons capable of destroying a fey permanently. Unless a fey truly deserves such a gruesome punishment, there is no greater sin to them than the destruction of one of their own. But, even the most sinful of the fey have other problems to contend with.
Unseelie often have a flaw that relates to their nature, doubly so for Archfey under Queen Mab’s side. As much as the nefarious Queen of Air and Darkness is reluctant to admit it, she’s not the only powerful being. Much like the Seelie Court, other mighty Archfey work under her. Bogeyman is a quintessential villain who seeks to bring fear, especially in children. But, nothing scares him more than children trying to frighten him back. Rattle me Bones looks to be a massive skeleton, but is not undead. While impervious to nearly anything, he will not approach anyone with a dog by their side. Frilogarma, the Queen in Ether, can use her wisps, fey shades and other creatures to drain the life force of victims. But, much like undead shadows, her kind hate holy light. Jack-in-Irons is a fierce giant brute wrapped in spikes and chains. But, these get caught on wooden surfaces and plants with great ease. Jenny Greenteeth is the hag mother of kelpies and sea hags, but her power is only maintained in water. The Grim Caller runs a traveling carnival of doom, meant to lure and seduce curious minds to their doom. However, there is one that that he fears more than anything, rejection and criticism. Enough of this will cause him to give up any potential victims and vanish from the land, never to try again there. So, while “killing” them is hard, tricking them proves easier if you know how.
A Quarantine of Harmful Thoughts
Mind Viruses, killer quips and more are stored safely within a mental vault; all deep within the Astral Plane. Should anything from here escape, it would be a detriment to all. But, for particularly evil psions, it would be the ultimate weapon to turn on enemies. What is such a place and why does it exist? In a blunt manner, it is a place of literal harmful thoughts. While thoughts of malice and destruction have always existed, their beliefs almost never manifested in literal ways. These ones did. And for that reason, powerful psychics sacrificed themselves by setting up this quarantine zone. Those foolish enough to break in are often destroyed by the thoughts before they risk spreading them. But what kind of dangerous thoughts are locked up here?
A mind virus is a particularly terrifying example. It is a meme thought that can travel rapidly through simple suggestion. Anything that can cause a subject to think about it can cause it to manifest. Thus, the virus spreads through the easiest means. Symptoms of this infection greatly vary, but some form of madness is common. One infamous example is from Terra, what is known as “The Dancing Plague”. The simple thought of this dance, whether by witnessing or informing about it, can cause one to do it endlessly. Countless victims died from their bodies giving out under the maniacal flailing. A worse mind virus is one capable of hive mind control. By simply hopping from one victim to another, targets are rapidly assimilated and brought under a central control. Another mind virus is “Many as One Syndrome”, which was sparked by experiments on cranium rats. After the infamous hive-mind leader was nearly brought to death, many of its own specimens were captured and used for heinous works of super-science and sorcery within the Harflar School in the Guildhall and Market Ward. The mad experiment caused a physician to turn into a hivemind, grabbing random victims on the streets. His will was rapidly imposed through an infectious thought, simply thinking about him. Psions from New Tyr were recruited alongside Red Death and Hardheads to gut the source of this threat… literally. Whole planets have been consumed by such outbreaks, not even the City of Doors is immune to such mental horror. While he wasn’t slain, he was relocated into this quarantine, where the physician is cut off in anguish and isolation… if not dead.
A Killer Quip is an evolution of a powerful spell, Power Word Kill. However, the phrase itself is capable of killing another. One of the most will known killer quips is the deadly joke. This is a comical joke so incredibly powerful, that its victims laugh themselves to death. Other killer quips are capable of lethal fear or equally dangerous sorrow. Not much is known about the power of these statements, likewise their origins. Some blame particularly crafty mages wanting a new edge on their foes. But, one that can induce such a powerful emotional state? Surely the work of a madman. It’s likely that no traces to their origins exist because their creators were killed by accident. One Killer Quip of note is the Stinging Report. This was a comment fired back against another that proved deadly. The victim of this comment would be so overwhelmed by humiliation and shock that their body would completely shut down, leading them to die mere moments later. Its use has been recorded at a gala event in the Lady’s Ward of Sigil. A nefarious mage by the name of Hulgaveer Vesk was insulted by a pompous aristocrat attending the big gathering. He responded with a retort infused with raw magic, one that was especially heinous and audacious. The dandy and his nearby friends fell over dead in mere seconds, with Vesk making his quick escape. For years, he has been placed at large as a highly dangerous criminal.
Corrupted Thoughts are similar to mind viruses, except they aren’t their own thoughts. Instead, it is something that latches onto an idea and distorts it. Ultimately, the thought becomes so butchered and illogical that it moves onto another. This continues until the victim’s mind is absolutely destroyed. The Corrupted Thought was originally an experiment by several Xaositects of Sigil. The end result was a whole tenant block in The Hive being reduced to brain-dead vegetative bodies and babbling madmen. Needless to say, the Chaosmen and their victims were ultimately mazed to prevent a worth outbreak of broken minds. The Brain Drain Plague, as it was called, became an infamous bit of Hive Ward history. In fact, the building where the incident started is gone. In its stead is a memorial plaque for the victims of Xaositect carelessness. In fact, “Psyker Patrols” regularly move through The Hive to ensure that no Chaosmen are brazen enough to try something like that again. The Faction itself is deeply offended by this, feeling restricted and infringed. Some ponder recreating it out of spite and sudden random compulsion.
The Astral Plane is not often associated with tangible and solid things, save for the installations of the Githyanki and other oddities. The Vortex Citadel is one such phenomenon. What’s even more unusual about this swirling beige building is its home world of origin, Athas. The world of the fading red sun has supposedly been cut off from the planes, at least by normal means. This was worked around by a psionic accident, plunging this castle-like structure into the planes beyond. The denizens have long since realized that it is unlikely that they return home, at least any time soon. And due to most of the hostile inhabitants being defeated, the current occupants are more willing to deal with outsiders, assuming that they can safely make it inside.
The story of the citadel begins upon the sunburned sands of Athas, a doomed world brought to its knees by sorcerer madmen and the dreaded defiling magic. However, this isn’t to say that other villains can’t emerge. While groups like the Veiled Alliance and others actively work against the Sorcerer-Kings among others, there are some with dark agendas and darker reasons to topple the current establishment. The Citadel of the Harvester Mind is one such place. But, it is no ordinary place, as it is run by powerful psions seeking domination of the world. Beyond the Tyr region, it is said that no life exists. They say either that or perhaps there are waves of Thri-Kreen also vying for supremacy too. But, somewhere well beyond some semblance of civilization lies a shrine to a self-deluded savior complex. The Psychic Masters of the stronghold have sent agents to infiltrate and gather data. Their end goals will only come to pass when they have trained an army of psions in peace, one which can overrun Tyr and claim it. And from there, continue the mad rampage to see what remains of the world at large… and worse, the planes. But, for the wayward traveler, it looked like an independent colony surviving against all odds. It was a strangely bustling city center with a fortified interior.
However, several heroes from Tyr eventually caught on. Infiltrators in the Veiled Society were accidentally found out during a meeting to track down a Templar plant. By stroke of luck, the fortress was discovered. While not true allies, Sorcerer-King forces and rebellious forces alike took to the grim citadel to do battle. While the unholy alliance was whittling down, the Citadel of the Harvesting Mind was sustaining too many losses. The remaining masters did all they could to harness not just Elemental energies, but the fabled planes beyond. As this occurred, a troop of heroes readied a psychic vortex to do battle with the stronghold and its mighty masters. The forces clashed and something between the powers went wrong, dreadfully wrong. The heroic party, a few remaining Templar forces and a number of psionic monks found themselves torn from the world. In panic, they pushed back and eliminated the remaining masters of the citadel. But, they soon discovered that they were indeed far from Athas. The impossible mistake could be replicated. For all intents and purposes, they were lost from the Prime Material. And even worse, the citadel continues to twirl around from a vortex from psychic energy beneath it. While no longer violent or remotely fast, the movement can prove irritating the uninitiated.
Beyond the eternal turning, the citadel remains mostly intact. It still contains several protections, most of which weaken the remaining Defilers greatly. In fact, in order to sustain themselves, the defilers have turned to using farm labor to produce plants within the citadel to use for magic. Considering that Astral dwellers do not need to eat, it has mostly been Defilers petitioning for farming to continue. Greatly outnumbered and deeply humiliated, they dare not try their luck much beyond that. Many, freed from the duties of their sorcerer-kings have tried to give up on dark magical agendas altogether. And yet, the dark allure that Defiling brings remains tempting for many. For the rest, they have no qualms with giving it up and joining the Preservers. Normally, this should prove near impossible, but being cut off from Athas made matters less punishing. The rest of the warriors, psychics and even a few preservers have taken to use the place as a sort of monastery. To them, they have little else to do besides keep their bodies and minds sharp, while contemplate the mysteries of reality. The more Elementally inclined, such as priests, have even made contact with another realm on the Inner Planes. It would seem that they aren’t the only plane-stranded Athasians. These so-called “Carved Steppes” have a secret portal linking to and from the citadel. Many of these monks do not wish to share this secret, in fear of what unleashing Athasian power upon the multiverse would entail. One exception was a warrior who learned of the monks’ suppressed information. He fled to inform his allies of the deception, only to accidentally stumble upon a one-way doorway into Sigil. Curiously enough, this doorway lead to the sector of The Hive known as “New Tyr”. Such district is primarily Athasian refugees.
Travelers are not common, due to being in a remote pocket of the ever vast Astral. And even then, while life inside of the citadel isn’t all bad, getting to there is extremely dangerous. These psychic winds and tornado like gusts have only multiplied in the area around the trapped fortress. Save for the one vortex that is glued to the bottom of the land, the area is otherwise encased in an orb of several other whipping psychic winds. The encasing acts as protection, but proves to be deadly to anyone looking to get in or out. Powerful magic or psionics could allow one entry though. The mutual connection to Athas and the Astral has attracted something else foul to torment the vicinity. Psurlons, awful monsters with worm-like features, are known for their deceit and cleverness. And should one emerge, they will find a planar burg that looks truly ancient and alien. And its citizens? Mutually archaic and advanced, bone and rocks contrasting against powers unheard of in the greater multiverse. And to much shock, they are more than capable of holding their own against the Gith and other terrors that lie within the Astral Plane.
Other Astral Terrors and Peculiarities
The Throne of Blood, where Bhaal plans his inevitable return. It would seem his initial plans failed. But, now it is a place of slumber. Deathly dreaming, but not dead. Bhaal, and the others of the Dark Three, are locked in an eldritch sleep. They still find themselves able to manifest to some degree and sway things in their favor, but it is distant and with a subtle touch. Either way, they plot and ponder, for one day they will awaken as strong as ever. And when this happens, there will be hell to pay for what Ao and others have wrought. But, it seems the Overgod is aware of the distant dreamers, having taken no action against them. Perhaps this is all part of some test, aware of even the plots of the Bhaalspawn. The numbers for the children of bhaal thin, all suffering some elaborate fall and demise beyond even simple murder. While primers proclaim that only murder pleases Bhaal, this was never true. Likewise, his children never needed to be killed. If anything, Bhaal is a patient dreamer. Even those with this divine heritage and extended longevity will one day perish horribly. Bhaal can wait, as he will be just as ready if they die now.
God-isles are places in the Astral Plane where a power is found after it is “dead”. While it’s hard to say as to whether a power is fully dead, a total loss of followers and connection will make it crumble upon the astral. Some distant devotees will do all in their power to restore the being, while others (such as the Githyanki) will exploit the bodies. Scholars have recently unveiled some interested cases tied to larger planar conspiracies. A being called “The Faceless Queen” lies within the endless spacial void. Her tattered dark garb brings to mind the mysteriously vanished “Raven Queen”. Near her is an entity called “The Discordiant”, the assassin supposedly responsible for killing the other. But, the full truth on the death of each is murky and long lost.
Celestian of Oerth is the name of a being that actually dwells within the Astral. However, he is a far traveler who wanders reality. The Astral is only the place he is most commonly found. In fact, while it is said that Terra cannot be breached, he had easily made the jump and back. In AD 1966, visions of him inspired countless spiritualists. Within 3 years, secret cults of Celestian formed across “enlightened” lands. Over 50 years later, these cults maintain a secret existence, only willing to share the truth of the planes with those properly initiated. Many of these descendants of the original cultists have even experienced the planes of reality for themselves.
Astral Dreadnought, a name of pure terror. These are among the only creatures truly native to the Astral. They take a great joy in severing the astral cords of anyone who travels within the plane. For those who do? Their very essence is hopelessly lost, cut off from their true bodies. However, one morbid discovery has been found when exploring this. The infamous Wandering Bard himself was found, only a vacant body, within a temple of Celestian upon the Rock of Bral. As fate would have it, this was a version of him that sought something from said plane. It obviously failed. But, notes of the Heather House upon Gryphon Hill imply that some Apparatus succeeded in genuinely splintering many copies around the multiverse… all cursed to suffer somehow. While all copies have displayed a proper knowledge and cunning, this one must have either run afoul of bad luck or was betrayed.
The Tale of Dekkion
One curiosity stands out in the Astral, physical spaces accidentally grabbed into the plane. A known tale is that of a city chunk being ripped into the plane. Likewise, the worm-like horrors of the Psurlons are another tragedy. But one known to few is the desolate island known as the “Tower of the Celestial Knights”. It is here that one lone undead knight hovers on the outskirts of his former headquarters. For centuries, he has toiled in reflection, despair and loneliness. His quest is to find kind adventurers who can the Circle of Radiating Power, a holy artifact that can break his curse and end him. He means no ill-will to those who visit the island, but he carries a dark secret.
The reason why there are none other on the island it because his treason killed them all. That very same artifact was to be protected and not abused, despite its incredible nature. It held secrets of divine knowledge and the planes beyond. Thus, the sacred order had protected it for countless ages. However, a knight known as Dekkion desired something more. His reasons for joining the order were always selfish ones, dreaming of one day taking the circle and becoming mighty in his own right. And so he tried to do just that. But, as his fellow knights moved to stop him, he threatened them with the dimensional powers of the circle. Seeing them continue, he nervously activated the circle. Without proper control, the circle grabbed up the entire land around the tower and ripped it into the Astral Plane. The sudden jump was harsh and deadly, killing most of the order immediately. But, those surviving continued to fight Dekkion to restore honor to their order. Ultimately, the lone warrior prevailed as he fought the rest of them off in panic. But, he was dying from extreme wounds. He asked the Circle of Radiant Power for any aid or guidance, but the artifact shuddered as if in disdain for him. The rogue knight then passed out, only for him to awaken outside of the tower to witness his curse. For his greed and backstabbing, he was cursed into a skeletal monstrosity. Worse, the circle fled deep into the tower, which was warded against the undead.
In his words, “Only one who is pure of heart, only one who could be a Celestial Knight, may enter that tower and survive its tests of courage.” Only when someone learns the truth about him can they choose to seek the artifact and grant him his desired final rest, the circle will allow for nothing less. However, the tower will expose visitors to not only their own fears, but the dark treacheries that lead to its downfall, including his old betrayal and current lies. He wrestles between a final rest and regaining the power he felt was owed to him. Should all of these be overcome, the adventurers may then decide the ultimate fate of Dekkion, as they consult the artifact. While powerful, the quest for power brought other pain. Only in a broken circle, can peace be achieved for the doomed tower and its lone warrior. For those familiar with the ways of The Mists, some liken this grim place to a domain of dread.
IMAGE CREDITS: Ink-Yami – Domovoy; Linda Ravenscoft – Oberon; Johan Grenier – Shory Empire; Gustave Dore – Faeries; Anthony Francisco – Descent into Madness; Mehmet Tayfur Türkmenoğlu – The desert castle; Jeff Easley – Astral Dreadnought; GeeMassamArt – Dekkion, Celestial Knight