Study of Omens and Celestial Portents (book)
The Study of Omens and Celestial Portents
By Pentaith Illistim
We Moon Mages study the stars and the heavens in order to know what will come. There are, of course, other methods. The Skindancers and their corpse-bones, the Tezirites and their gruesome mirrors, the Prophets of the deranged madman G'Nar Peth. (Strange people, to gouge out their eyes and see the future in enruned bowls. Not a pleasant life.) Each is the inferior device of a lesser sect, when all is said and done. The blood of the Celestial Compact runs in my veins, and the stars call to me. I would rather hold a sturdy telescope in my hands than a nightmarish mirror or a bag of entrails. And so, it is about the heavens that I write.
The stars have always been linked closely to the gods. It is said in some myths that "Phelim strew the stars in the sky by gathering some of Tamsine's tears and setting them against the velvet black of the heavens, then bid Kertigen hammer for him four moons, which he then nestled along with the stars in the heavens, and set to turning." (From the Immortals, by Rowan Windlyric and Amritam Gweththew) Many other myths about the Immortals and their stars abide, (such as the common folktale about Meraud wandering Elanthia when the wolf howls at Katamba), but we cannot confirm these to be either true or false. What we do know is that the stars can often reveal information about things closely tied to their god through observation. This is accomplished either through the simple process of predictions, or the more complex celestial events, detailed below.
Throughout the ages various forms of celestial phenomena have taken place, omens that reveal things of the future not readily apparent to a novice seer. Through the understanding and interpretation of these omens, we can greatly increase our foresight abilities on a scale far arger than seeing one person's future. I share my knowledge of these occurrences in the hopes of advancing the study of astronomy for everyone in the Guild of Moon Mages.
Note that though these omens have all occurred before (some on multiple occasions), what they portended then may not be the same in the future. Foresight is an ever-changing process, and (no pun intended) is highly unpredictable. One of the most common celestial omens involves the constellation of the Raven. This constellation consists of seventeen stars, and it rests in the North. The Raven is the emblem of Kertigen, god of craftsmen, precious gems, and wealth. Kertigen is worshipped by traders, metalworkers, and jewelers alike. So festivals and merchant gatherings are events that hold a special place in the heart of this god.
When the Raven is seen flashing, or winking, it is an omen of a coming festival, or merchant. The Raven blinked and flashed in the year 346 (followed by the arrivals of several merchants), and in Ka'len 353, the Raven flashed again. Also seen then was a vision of a Raven over a tower with a crystal dome. This omen foretold of Ten'ra Agalith an Ilithian celebration to the gods of darkness, intending to appease them so that they do not spread chaos and destruction amongst us.
The Viper is a constellation made up of eighteen stars, two of which are bright red. These two stars are the animal's eyes. The Viper is the emblem of Ushnish, god of famine, ice age, flood, earthquakes, disease, and other such things. When the two stars that make up the Viper's eyes glow their brightest, pestilence will spread through the lands, caused by Ushnish. Our powers of foresight are small defense against such horrifying disasters, but we must use the knowledge to prevent as much suffering and death as is possible. Such is the burden we bear.
The Phoenix constellation is just a single star in the sky. It is the emblem of Murrula, goddess of beauty and music. When the Phoenix star pulses, it is a portent of great music and festivity coming soon. The last time the Phoenix pulsed in this manner was to announce the restoration of the Bardic Guild, which had been ashes for more than three hundred years due to the slaughter carried out by the Dragon Priests.
After the pulsing of the Phoenix, the then-High Priest of the Dragon Priests, Tenebraus, came to the Crossing in an attempt to capture and kill Siryn, a woman attempting to restore the Bard Guild. Siryn and Tenebraus were both killed, and the Bard Guild in the Crossing was reopened, led by Silvryfrost, a student of Siryn. This occured in the month of Lirisa, the year being 349.
A few months before Ilithi became accessible again, a blazing white star was born in the skies. At specific intervals of time, the star would flash in the sky. Stars like it had been seen before, but they were rare. Its birth foretold many possible things. The forging of a powerful artifact, the signing (or breaking) of a great treaty, the birth of a new nation. In the case of this specific star, it foretold the restoration of the trade roads from Zoluren to Ilithi by way of Leth Deriel's Deobar Bower Gate and the Obsidian Pass gondola. The Deobar Bower Gate's opening took place in the year 350, during the month of Uthmor the Giant.
And finally, one of the greatest, and most frightening, omens. The Bloodworm Comet. The Comet is seen against the constellation of the Mongoose, emblem of Rutilor. I was first alerted to this phenomenon by another astronomer, Penelope, who had been studying Bloodworm for centuries. She was an old woman, who remembered well the days of the great Empire of the Seven Pointed Star.
Penelope truly was one of the finest scholars our Guild has ever known. She taught Amiss DeRhi, famous as a seer and magician, and Taramaine Ennis-Braun, the Guildmaster Prime (or Grandmaster, as some prefer to call the position) of the Moon Mage Guild. Her loss is still a grave wound to us all. I have since kept a close watch on the comet since Penelope's death, continuing the magnificent research that she began.
The Bloodworm is an ancient omen. What it foretells is a frightening thing. When the Bloodworm appears, the power and existence of the gods themselves will be challenged. This is why it appears in the constellation of the Mongoose, as Rutilor is the defender of the gods. Penelope said she had never discerned if the Bloodworm came about as a result of this "challenge", or if the comet somehow caused it.
The last appearance of the Bloodworm was during the time of the Empire of the Seven Pointed Star. The Emperor then was a man by the name of Chezarek. Imperial rule was not enough for this ambitious man, as he knew that in seven years he would be forced off his throne, his power lost. So Emperor Chezarek made a pact with a demonic force. He would release the force, in exchange for great power. However, once free, the demon killed Chezarek, and very nearly destroyed the Empire. The Bloodworm Comet watched it all from its throne in the heavens. As of the time of my writings, we still do not know for what reason the Bloodworm is currently here, but we do know the comet will not go until its purpose is fulfilled.
On a side note, there are several celestial omens which have never been fully interpreted. Years ago, the Vulture constellation, emblem of Alduath, flared bright red for several nights. The cause of this is still a mystery. In addition, Hodyrn, the primary star of the Unicorn constellation (Emblem of Hodierna), is currently surrounded by a corona. What this means, we do not yet know. I hesitate to write these things, as they will surely make this book dated. However, after thought, I have decided to include them to encourage future generations of Moon Mages to continue this research. With some more study and observation, the answers will hopefully be revealed.
May your research be blessed by the guiding of Firulf, and may Phelim direct your eyes through the heavens.
By my hand, Pentaith Illistim