The Castle at the Edge of the World
A safe place
Aether thanked the High Wizard for his time and lessons. The gold was well spent as Aether has a new understanding of the planes…
A single theme runs through all of the deities that speak through Aether – water. Gozreh’s shrines are simple piles of driftwood and other flotsam, and Desna only has small simple shrines near roadsides and honors travel. Finally, Pharasma, goddess of birth and death also has water as a domain. The design will be simple and the scrolls Aether has purchased will make quick work of the construction.
Just outside of the city of Absalom, along a well used roadside cliff face, overlooking the crashing sea Aether begins. The laborers she hired as well as her faithful and ever-present unseen servant gather the necessary materials while Aether conducts the rituals to sanctify the site. Gozreh and Desna should be pleased and the location is easily accessible for their followers. The central observatory will take more time to complete, but the glassmakers and engineers of Absalom are well known for their skills. Aether wonders how her companions are spending their fortunes…
The two basic temples completed, Aether slowly reads from the scroll in her hand and steps into the small pool between the two shrines…disappearing.
It will take days to complete this aspect of her plan. Luckily the positive energy and timlessness of this place will allow her to do just that. Aether carefully unfurls the scroll the wizard sold her and reads the words and symbols it bears. As she reads she shapes the images in her mind. Pharasma demands more than a pile of sticks and stones – she demands a cathedral. Aether has been preparing a suitable building in her mind for days and as she reads, the building starts to coalesce in the center of a verdant plane.
The ritual complete, Aether sets out to ply the land with her will and magic, she summons creatures to fill the land and devoted servants to protect it. She makes small changes to the landscape to encourage the magical energy that flows through the plane. Rivers and streams are left to find their own paths and hills and valleys take shape.
The boundaries of the world can always be extended and the morphic nature of this place makes it easy to create a land that pleases the gods.
She reappears almost immediately, but looking exhausted, as if having worked non-stop for days on end. She’s smiling as she walks from the pool – saying three short prayers while facing the shrine of Desna, the shrine of Gozreh and the pool itself.
Plenty of time to get back to the ship before anyone notices she’s gone. She wearily walks away as the smirk fades from her face, under her breath she says “Finally, a safe place”. She pats something under her clothing and her pace picks up.
Once Sarenrae touched Aether’s mind, a new form appeared in the center of the pool. A simple fountain with a warming flame at the center. It is said that those with good, pure hearts are healed by simply passing their hand through the flame – Sarenrae’s blessings grant 1d4+2 HP healing to Good aligned people once a day per person. Neutral characters receive no healing and folks of the Evil alignment suffer 1d4+2 damage each time they touch the flame. This ability can be used up to 10 times and draws it’s power from Aether’s Heavenly Fire ability, subtracting from her daily total when used this way.
The debate over the Dragon Orb was what finally convinced Aether to bring someone else to her safe place. While time was short on the material plane, Gaius and Brennan would have plenty of time to visit here. Aether hoped that between the two friends they could help summon more natural and deific beings to protect this place.
The trio set off for the temple of Pharasma to drop off the Orb. Greeted by humanoids whose faces are covered by burial masks from numerous cultures – Aether quietly instructs them to put the orb in the vault until she returns. With the orb safely secured, she offers the others a tour of the world.
“Simply imagine yourself flying and you can, your spells will last until you leave. But we must be careful, while our hunger and fatigue will never grow here, once we leave it will all catch up to us. We will return, though, the second we left…so no time will pass back on the ship.”
The land is peaceful and beautiful, creatures abound… lantern archons flit by, eagles soar overhead, small elementals play in the water and breeze, herd animals are tended to by noble humanoid dog-like creatures. An elven archer with silver-white hair the color of a lightning strike and eyes swirling with vibrant colors lands nearby to greet Aether and her friends. He briefly discusses progress with the catacombs under the cathedral and then flies off. The earth rumbles as a large creature of white stone and green streaks of crystal emerges from the ground to check on the newcomers. He mumbles something in Terran (“Are they friends?”) and then glides off back into the earth.
The party is gone for a few hours and Aether asks if they’d help her enrich the land and help protect this place with creatures. Gaius and Brennan have time to decide, but for the first time, they see Aether as not some god-shunning Tiefling hell bent on power, but as a caretaker and secret faithful servant to her deities.
Update: Different times, call for different measures
The plane has been busy as of late, shutting refugees back and forth from the outcast village to the temples inside. But other concerns bother Aether. She is housing dangerous artifacts in Pharasma’s temple and her conduit to Absalom is a weakness in her demense. As Aether begins to gather followers (Leadership) she assigns tasks to her new cohort a Realis Azata Bard, Rho, as overseer and liaison to Elysium.
As Aether adds to her plane, she decides to close the gate to Absalom, at least for now and open one to Elysium, so she can work with the free-willed and good denizens of that plane. Many of her new followers are Azata or Aasimar who can see past her Tielfing exterior to the goodness she possesses. She is also preparing a place for Teegan and Vareena, a place to raise Gaius’ child in safety should they choose. Aether adds 2 new additions to her plane to expand it to the size of a small neighborhood, bustling with activity. Her shrine still burns bright in Absalom and Aether feels each time her blessing is used by the locals to heal themselves…if they are good.
The refugees will stay here temporarily until they are healthy enough and informed of the world outside. Rho can plane shift them anywhere they want to go after things settle down. In fact, he’s become quite helpful and Aether can’t help but feel a deeper connection to him. Deeper than anyone else. Could this be the beginning of a true companion?
He’s gone, it’s all…gone.
Raelis is hundreds of years dead, the lands are scarred with years of battle, the taste of ozone and steel mix with the sickeningly sweet smell of death. Those that remained gathered their fallen and returned back through the portal to Elysium. I will have some explaining to do. The gates of Law have been closed and sealed off – now it is time to cut this world off from the rest of the multiverse.
Standing in Elysium, surrounded by the guards and high court of the Azata, I shut off all magic in the world, collapse it into darkness and void and take what few possessions needed to be removed and turn my back – closing the gate behind me forever. My experiment to emulate freedom and chaos and good has failed. I have learned much though, and my next attempt will be more thoroughly considered. You have to fight for freedom. Next time it will not be me mourning the dead.
Desna, Gozreh, Sarenrae, and especially Pharasma – I have failed you. I will answer your summons and listen more carefully to your words. I will fight evil, I will fight those who choose to oppress and enslave in the name of cooperation. I will keep my true friends close and my enemies six feet below the ground. This I swear.
Buried in the rotting ruins below the temple of Pharasma lay the artifacts of power and corruption – untouched by any but me. Sealed in their lead lined cases and stuck in a no-magic world with no gates out, they should be protected from mortals, though, the gods may have other ideas. With Law Shredder gone, it will be up to the gods to decide if Ender of All Things can be stopped. I still regret giving it up, it tears at my being, the power could be used to set the world free from oppression..but no…no…it had to be done…or did it?