Planar Observatory

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The Planar Observatory and Telescope were built nearly a thousand years ago by Nera and her tribe, then sealed up with the Grazhir shard Teloish inside. She foresaw how the "Children of Grazhir" (modern Moon Mages) would require and use such a tool. Her foresight was such that she recorded an illusion of herself having a conversation with the entities Pelag ai Aldam and the Arbiter in Darkness that took place centuries after her actual death within the Planar Observatory.

In modern times, Moon Mages must journey to the Planar Telescope to study a symbolic representation of the Astral Plane in order to learn how to Astral Travel. The Observatory is located on the Plane of Abiding but overlaps with the Astral Plane, and the surroundings bend and warp depending on who is looking at them. Practically speaking, what a Moon Mage sees will depend on his or her sect. Without knowledge of Astral Travel, the area will appear as an archetypal paradise according to the ideals of their sect; after they earn knowledge of Astral Travel, the surroundings will warp into the antithesis of those ideals, akin to a living nightmare, and denizens of the Astral Plane will attempt to reach out and attack the mage.

Layout of the Observatory

The area outside of the Planar Observatory where the Telescope itself is located changes, but the Observatory itself is static. Most of the environmental messaging is sect-based, but one is universal and occurs after Astral Travel is learned:

A crowd of amorphous figures, each one composed entirely of shadow or light, fades into sight. They float a few inches above the ground, strangely incongruent with the rest of the scene. A head-splitting pain erupts in the back of your eyes as they yell out, "Death to the Defiler!"

Prior to learning the secrets to Astral Travel, the Observatory and the areas around it are safe. Afterward, each environmental message will stun and give the mage a hit to their vitality. The Telescope itself within the white door always remains safe, and it's a good idea not to linger outside.

Unsected / Non-Moon Mage

Before

[Unknown, Sunlit Plains]
Gently rolling verdant hills stretch out underneath a warm summer sun as far as the eye can see. The sun shares its bright azure sky with all three moons and a few white, wispy clouds. Prismatic flowers provide the only contrast against the green hills and form a narrow beeline to the north. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: north.

[Unknown, Sunlit Plains]
A large stone cube sits in a shallow spot between two hills. The cube is twice the height of an average Gor'Tog and appears to be composed of a single, solid block of chalk-white granite. Except for the doorway, there are no windows or any other openings. The hills' lush grass grows undisturbed around the cube and patches of moss ascend the granite around its base. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: south.

Grass around you is teased by the wind into forming perfect concentric circles.
The sky above you erupts with activity! In the span of moments stars streak across the void and the sun makes its appointed rounds. The heavens gently slow from the acceleration and once again grow static.
The sweet scent of honey floats on the breeze.

After

[Unknown, Broken Land]
A large, stone cube sits in the middle of a blasted field. Though the stone is chalk-white, its cracked surface has the consistency and texture of granite. The cube is twice the height of an average Gor'Tog and appears to be composed of a single block. Hot gases escape from jagged crevices in the dead, stale-brown earth. A torturous groan escapes from the ground with every blast of heat from the holes. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: south.

[Unknown, Broken Land]
Abrupt rises and depressions in the dirt pock-mark a blasted field. All three moons loom high in the sky and cast an unnaturally bright and burning light down upon the landscape. The land quakes and tremors constantly, causing upheaval of the dirt and wide crevices to open. Baleful flames and hot gases escape from the crevices in waves of searing heat. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: north.

A blast of hot gas erupts from a hidden crevice in front of you!
The ground groan with hidden stresses. With no other warning, a jet of baleful fire erupts from underneath your legs and eats at your flesh!
Oddly, the experience leaves you unwounded, but feeling drained.

Celestial Compact

Before

[Unknown, New Throne City]
A wide cobblestone street bustles with traffic. Carts loaded down with goods are drawn by horses with uplifted heads. Towering architecture surrounds both sides of the street, but nothing stands higher against the sky than the observatory to the northeast. The head of its majestic telescope casts a shadow across the entire street. The occasional man or woman in silk robes of red, blue and black walk through the street. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: northeast.

[Unknown, New Throne City]
The base of an observatory of epic proportions marks the end of the street. Though the street is dark under the shadow of the observatory, it is kept clear of any sewage or debris. Most of the traffic in this part of the street wear the rich robes of lunar colors. The few pedestrians on the road steer clear of the robed ones, bowing down respectfully whenever the robed ones' gazes pass over them. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: southwest.

A blinding white Moongate erupts into existence in the center of the street! A caravan emerges from the Moongate's gaping maw, its wagons filled to capacity with silks and fabrics.
A man in mud-stained clothes points at you and yells out, "Look! Look!" The pedestrians around him look at you and fall to their knees.
"Make way," someone in the distance shouts, "Make way for the honorable Astronomer!"

After

[Unknown, Burning City]
The base of an observatory of epic proportions marks the end of the street. A white circle with a black "X" in the center has been sloppily painted onto the side of the observatory wall. Debris and chunks of masonry from nearby buildings litters the street. While there is no traffic nearby, you can hear cheering coming further down the street. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: southwest.

[Unknown, Burning City]
Ruined buildings surround a wide, cobblestone plaza, culminating with the shattered len of a giant observatory to the northeast. Hundreds of people have gathered in the plaza, cheering on a spectacle: a corpse, burnt beyond all recognition, is chained to a blackened stake in the center of the plaza. A group of beaten and bloodstained men, wearing tattered silk robes and iron manacles, stare sullenly at the ground near the stake. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: northeast.

Rotten vegetables and loose pieces of masonry hail down on you from jeering men on the balconies above you!
A group of men in tattered clothes rush you! The mob kicks, punches and bites at your flesh like animals. Long moments of battery pass before you're able to excise yourself from the mob.
Oddly, the experience leaves you unwounded, but feeling drained.


Progeny of Tezirah

Before

[Unknown, The Great Library]
Rows of bookshelves dominate the poorly lit room. Thousands upon thousands of tomes and grimoires lie here, neatly filed on the shelves and stacked haphazardly on large wooden tables between them. The wealth of knowledge and power ascends so far above the tiled floor that the tops of the bookshelves are hidden from view. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: west.

[Unknown, The Great Library]
A narrow corridor between two bookshelves ends at a smooth stone wall. Books and scrolls overflow the shelves, spilling onto the floor like the juices of a ripe fruit. A small oak reading desk sits near the wall. Dim, flickering fingers of fire dance in an oil lamp that lies on the desk. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: east.

You hear a loud thud! Someone behind a nearby bookshelf audibly whispers, "Quiet! You'll disturb the Master."
A man in a crimson robe passes by you. His attention is completely absorbed in an ancient tome he is reading.
Soft footsteps on the stone floor echo across the library.

After

[Unknown, Burning Library]
A narrow corridor between two bookshelves ends at a smooth stone wall. The ruin of a small oak desk lies scattered across the tiled floor, crowned with the shattered glass and twisted brass of a smashed oil lamp. A hot miasma hangs in the air, accompanied by the smell charred wood. An ominous red glow burns at the distant heart of the library. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: east.

[Unknown, Burning Library]
Flames roar across massive bookshelves, bathing the room in red and yellow light. Thousands upon thousands of priceless texts feed the out of control fire; arcane secrets are lost every second to fuel the library's funeral pyre. Hot embers and burning bits of paper swirl within a choking layer of smoke, obscuring your sight. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: west.

A thick cloud of painfully hot, noxious smoke blows past you and leaves you gasping for air.
With a foretelling creak, part of a bookshelf collapses on top of you! You are violently pummeled by wood and burning texts.
Oddly, the experience leaves you unwounded, but feeling drained.


Nomads of the Arid Steppe

Before

[Unknown, Ancestral Plains]
A pale winter sun illuminates the vast steppe around you. Crisp, cold air flows through the region, causing the few clumps of tall grass that stick out of the frost to bend. Other than the low howl of the wind, the environment is completely silent. Though unseen and unheard, you can feel the spirits of the steppe gather here. Your magical senses pick out animistic power flowing through every blade of grass and the footsteps of the Ancestors in every direction you could walk. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: southwest.

[Unknown, Ancestral Plains]
A lone yurt of pale brown unadorned leather sits in the middle of nowhere. Even though a stiff wind blows across the steppe, the blades of grass under your feet are frozen into place by a hard frost. Under the dim light of the sun, the yurt seems to blend in with the steppe around it. You also see a white door.

A freezing blast of wind races across the steppe, causing even the frost-packed grass to shudder.
Far against the horizon you can barely make out the form of a horseman. The horseman continues on his path and disappears from view.
You can make out the faint, transparent outlines of men in traditional garb fade in and out of existence. They seem to be smiling at you.

After

[Unknown, Battlefield]
A lone yurt made from thick sheets of pale blood-splattered leather sits in the middle of nowhere. Under the dim light of the sun, the yurt seems to blend in with the carnage around it. The bodies of fallen men and women, each clutching a sword or bow, clutter the frozen ground and stain the frost red with their blood. You also see a white door. Obvious paths: northeast.

[Unknown, Battlefield]
The sounds of war echo around you men scream in anger and pain, steel clashes, and incantations are shouted across the steppe. Pillars of celestial fire descend from the pale sun to obliterate fighters, while pseudopods of living shadow shatter the bones and spill the blood of the fallen. As far as the eye can see, the steppe is littered with the corpses and gore of the victims of tribal war. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: southwest.

A small group of horse-back skirmishers ride past, trading arrows and violent spells between them. One of the horses collide with you, spinning you around.
An errant Burn spell misses widely and sends its pillar of celestial fire at you! You avoid the worst of the attack, but can still feel your flesh singe.
Oddly, the experience leaves you unwounded, but feeling drained.

Fortune's Path

Before

[Unknown, The Crossroads]
Constant laughter and music ring through the air. Dozens of tents have been erected surrounding the intersection of two wide dirt roads. Each tent is decked out in brilliant colors and festive decoration. Shifting knots of people talk, drink and revel loudly, each dressed much like the tents around them. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: southeast.

[Unknown, The Crossroads]
A stone and timber wall of a roadside inn stands here, obscured by the brightly colored tents that dominate the landscape. While the sounds of a wild party drift in from the center of the tents, the people here are not partaking in it. The lavishly clothed men and women huddle in the darkened mystique of their tents. Some of them consult Tokka cards on makeshift tables, while others speak amongst themselves in grave voices. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: northwest.

A woman gazes at you as she walks past. A sudden feeling of warmth pervades your soul.
A loud cheer rings out from somewhere among the tents.
Revelers in the distance break out in song. Their voices are ale-addled and off-key, yet filled with joyous energy.

After

[Unknown, Fate's Recess]
A stone and timber wall of an inn stands a few dozen paces away from the road. Perfectly tended fields of grass surround the inn, punctuated occasionally by a broad-leaf tree in full bloom. Industrious hammering and clanging comes from a simple smithy in the distance. The faint smell of horses and dung is carried on a light breeze. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: northwest.

[Unknown, Fate's Recess]
A narrow road cuts through the landscape. The road is constructed out of perfectly maintained, square stone blocks. Each stone has been set deep into the ground, creating a narrow and level recess. The road runs straight as a needle from one horizon to the next, without a single twist, intersection or choice to challenge its travelers. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: southeast.

A speeding caravan barrels straight at you! You duck and weave among the oxen in an attempt to disentangle yourself from the caravan without getting trampled.
A chill settles in your heart. Your connection to the Probability Plane seems to extinguish as the Web of Fate resolves itself into a single, unyielding path.
The experience leaves you feeling drained.

Prophets of G'nar Peth

Before

[Unknown, The Garden]
A bloated sun shines ruddy-red light upon a scene of prolific and unusual life. Spindly, mottled brown and orange plants grow from dusty grey soil, each plant bristling with jagged spines positioned to impale a man. Little animals, like plucked birds with the exoskeleton of an insect, flutter from one spine to the next and twist into new shapes in mid-flight. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: south.

[Unknown, The Garden]
A small, windowless hut sits in the center of a clearing. The hut is made from the spindly plants that surround the clearing and looks so small that it could barely contain a single man. Stunted purple flowers cover the floor of the clearing and undulate in geometric formations, releasing sweet smelling pollens into the air. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: north.

The spindly plants sway back and forth, as though compelled by a wind you cannot feel.
A giant insect, like a beisswurm with wings, darts around your head while hissing angrily. Its body convulses in mid-flight and shifts into what looks like a robin with its skeleton on the outside. It lets out a confused tweet and flutters away.
A small, wispy cloud passes across the bloated sun. Odd symbols of shadow and light flicker across the vegetation.

After

[Unknown, The False Garden]
A small cabin, expertly crafted out of ironwood and fitted with crystal-clear glass windows, sits in the center of a clearing. The floor of the clearing is filled with hundreds of flowers: tulips, carnations, hollyhocks, dahlias and more undulate in random clumps, releasing pollens that smell like rotting meat. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: north.

[Unknown, The False Garden]
A cheery yellow sun shines down upon a idyllic scene. Vast acres of rose bushes and fruit trees grow from soft, verdant fields and the sky is full of snow-white doves that flutter among the plants. Every few moments two doves tear into each other with shrill chirps. The ground is littered with the remains of such fights, the winner pecking flesh off the corpse of its victim. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: south.

A nearby bed of roses blossom, releasing an spraying an indescribably vile stench.
A covey of doves descends upon you, shrieking and tearing at your face with unnatural ferocity! It feels like they ripped your flesh to tatters before finally flying away.
Oddly, the experience leaves you unwounded, but feeling drained.

Monks of the Crystal Hand

Before

[Unknown, Crystal Monastery]
Water gently sloshes its way down a concentric water fountain in the center of the open chamber. Large, open arches along the western wall bring in daylight and reveal snow-covered mountain peaks nearby. Men and women in brown, woolen robes sit on mats, their faces masks of utter tranquility as they meditate to the smell of burning incense and the sound of falling crystal-clear water. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: east.

[Unknown, Crystal Monastery]
Thin shafts of daylight penetrate into this practice room from partially shuttered windows. A heavy cloth mat covers most of stone floor beneath you. Weapon racks surround the mat on all sides, leaving an opening only for the hallway to the west and access to a doorway on the eastern wall. The weapons are all blunted, but kept clean and in immaculate repair. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: west.

For a few, long moments all activity in the monastery ceases. There is no sound, only absolute tranquility.
A brisk, mountain wind blows through the room, bringing the scent of snow with it.
The sounds of combat echo in the distance, slow and steady with the rhythm of ritual.

After

[Unknown, Halls of Debauchery]
A few misshapen candles provide the only illumination in this disused practice room. A ripped and threadbare cloth mat covers most of the stone floor beneath you. Overturned weapon racks surround the mat on all sides, rusted weapons and splintered wood have spilt out onto the floor around them. Loud howling and screaming echo down a hallway along the western wall. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: west.

[Unknown, Halls of Debauchery]
Wine bubbles forth from an ornate fountain in the center of the open chamber, filling the area with its smell. Large, open arches along the western wall reveal the dead black sky of a cloudy night. Men and women in lavish clothing drink, shout and chase each other around the fountain with violent energy. Goblets of wine spill onto the stone floor and every few seconds go flying through the air. An inlaid mural of a crystal fist along the northern wall is cracked and marred beyond repair. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: east.

A group of revelers sweep through the room, drunk beyond all reason. They spill goblets of wine everywhere and slam into you with their wild gyrations.
An ominous grinding sound issues from above. A section of the defiled monastery's roof collapses and strikes you in the head!
Oddly, the experience leaves you unwounded, but feeling drained.

Heritage House

Before

[Unknown, The Academy]
Built of marble and carved pale white stone, the large workshop bustles with dozens of men and women dressed in elegant robes as they practice their arts. Countless large, arched windows along the walls let in bright sunlight and fresh air. Small clusters of students practice different Lunar arts together; some carefully scribe oak limbs with burins, others are consulting divination bowls and yet others are crafting complex illusory patterns out conjured threads of light. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: northwest.

[Unknown, The Academy]
Two connected lines of small Tzgaa orbs light up the marble hallway. Perpendicular hallways intersect this one every few dozen paces. A mosaic depicting a single tower against a starry field has been inlaid into every intersection. Robed students of every race talk amongst themselves in groups or practice simple cantrips of light and shadow as they walk. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: southeast.

A bright flash of light and a surprised yelp comes from one of the students.
A student proudly holds aloft a crudely shaped burin. It seems to impress the other students around her.
A middle-aged Elf in a brown robe whistles while he scrubs a spot on the marble walls.

After

[Unknown, Abandoned Academy]
Two lines of unlit Tzgaa orbs decorate the walls of a dusty marble hallway, leaving the only light in the hall to be whatever spills in from a room at its far end. Perpendicular hallways intersect this one every few dozen paces, each one leading deeper into the darkness. A grimy mosaic depicting six towers against a starry field has been inlaid into every intersection. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: southeast.

[Unknown, Abandoned Academy]
Dim shafts of light enter through shattered windows, revealing an abandoned workshop constructed from filthy slabs of marble and cracked grey stone. Six stone tables are set as far away from each other as the room will allow, each table piled high with the tools and spell scrolls of a single sect. A thick layer of dust covers everything in the workshop. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: northwest.

Leaden silence hangs in the air. Something about the sudden lack of noise claws at your mind, dragging you into dire introspection.
Psychic energy, heavy with dark thoughts, ripples through the academy and invades your mind. Soul-crushing hopelessness wells up in your psyche and wracks at your body.
The experience leaves you feeling drained.

The Planar Telescope

The Planar Telescope is not a literal telescope; it allows the user to view a symbolic representation of each plane that accurately reflects the nature of that plane. A diligent mage can view planes both known and unknown within the Telescope, including each Elemental Plane, the Spiritual Plane, the Plane of Probability and the ultimate goal of their quest, the Astral Plane.

NOTE: We are missing at least one of these.

You see a multi-armed golden spiral made out of ten twisting lines of mirrored glass. Light from the telescope bounces off the spiral and reflects back into the pool of water, wreathing the spiral in white light and making it impossible to detect fine details.
Note: Visible in all focus modes.
A sea of grey light floats in front of your eyes. The grey light is uniform and utterly still, without a sense of texture or even a faint shift in illumination along the horizon. It is impossible to tell if this is a sphere or simply a grey circle. A sense of quiet peace fills you as you look into grey light.
You see a brown cube riddled with dark fissures and craters. While the cube revolves slowly on its vertical axis, its surfaces are barren and deathly still. You feel an odd sense of weight as you look upon the cube, but whatever energy it is emitting is being poorly translated by the telescope.
You can easily make out a dodecahedron of green light, shifting and blazing almost as though it is alive. While every face of the dodecahedron throws up that irregular green light, beneath the nimbus you can barely make out perfectly rigid lines and corners. You feel an odd tingling sensation spread through your chest as you look upon the object, but whatever energy it is emitting is being poorly translated by the telescope.
You can easily make out a pyramid of flames, bright and vivid with its immolation. Though there is no obvious fuel or air to sustain the pyramid, its fire seems to burn perpetually. You feel an odd vigor in your limbs as you look upon the object, but whatever energy it is emitting is being poorly translated by the telescope.
You can barely see an octahedron outlined by rushing currents of air. The octahedron appears to be solid rather than wire-frame, but the transparent quality of its construction makes it impossible to view fine details. You feel an odd rushing sensation through your body as you look upon the object, but whatever energy it is emitting is being poorly translated by the telescope.
You see a deep blue icosahedron in the distance, each of its twenty triangular faces rippling with waves. Though the surface of the icosahedron seems to be constantly moving, the sharp edges and precise lines remain intact. You feel something odd shifting through you as you look upon the object, but whatever energy it is emitting is being poorly translated by the telescope.
An even spiral of silver light pierces the planar void. The distance of the spiral seems to shift before your eyes. Staring at its center, the spiral seems to only go on for two or three loops, but as you draw you eyes towards the edge there is always one more loop to pass. You feel an odd sense of emptiness looking upon the spiral, as though whatever energy it is emitting isn't being translated by the telescope.
Strands of manifest darkness and blazing white light rope around each other, creating the frame for a pyramid. Each of the lattice-work sides curves inward towards the center. The light pulses and the darkness twists with every second, but a uniform pattern emerges from the movement, like the beating of an inhuman heart.
You see a sphere of darkness so absolute that you can easily define its shape against the planar void. While the sphere's color remains constant, there is a hint of movement within it, as though something was slowly impacting the surface of the sphere. You feel a leaden chill in your stomach and an inexplicable sense of peril, but whatever energy it is emitting is being poorly translated by the telescope.

Bardic Recalls

With the use of an Astral Guide acquired during the Astral Travel quest, a Bard can make their way to the Planar Telescope. When they perceive the history of the area, they are shown a series of three visions explaining the how and why of its construction.


[Unknown, Sunlit Plains]
Gently rolling verdant hills stretch out underneath a warm summer sun as far as the eye can see. The sun shares its bright azure sky with all three moons and a few white, wispy clouds. Prismatic flowers provide the only contrast against the green hills and form a narrow beeline to the north. You also see the silvery-white shard Teloish.
Obvious paths: north.

Your vision plunges into darkness. You see a large cavern, lit only by a white glow suffusing the silvery-white shard Teloish. The cavern is far from its natural state: the floor has been worked smooth and intricate carvings are visible at the edge of the dim light. The meaning of the half-seen dots and serpentine lines is obscure, but they bear a resemblance to constellations.

A high-pitched hum fills the dead air and with it the Grazhir shard brightens. Both the sound and light grow in intensity until the Grazhir shard discharges two arcing, incandescent bolts toward the ground. The streams of energy explode as they touch the floor!

Your supernatural sight takes only a moment to compensate for the flare, revealing two entities standing where the streams grounded. The first looks very much like a male Human, skinny and pale with short red hair. Despite the mundane appearance, you get the bizarre sense that the entity is disassociated from its environment: as though it is not standing there so much as a realistic image painted over the background. The second entity is shaped like a Human in the abstract, composed entirely of light. It is naked and androgynous, without even a face to blemish the smooth planes of its form. Its light is harsh and feels somehow cold, like staring into the stars of a clear winter's night.

The two entities regard each other and then walk wordlessly toward the opposite end of the cavern. The second entity's illumination reveals even more serpentine symbols, carved into the floor with greater frequency toward their destination. The first entity either cannot see or does not care about the carvings, but the second one pauses. It kneels down to examine one of the carvings for a long moment before catching up with its companion.

With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.
Roundtime: 9 sec.

[Unknown, Sunlit Plains]
A large stone cube sits in a shallow spot between two hills. The cube is twice the height of an average Gor'Tog and appears to be composed of a single, solid block of chalk-white granite. Except for the doorway, there are no windows or any other openings. The hills' lush grass grows undisturbed around the cube and patches of moss ascend the granite around its base. You also see a white door.
Obvious paths: south.

Your vision is plunged into darkness, though you can see a cold light steadily approach from the opposite end of a smooth stone cavern. When the light comes close enough to identify, it is not a torch or even some magic trick, but a glowing abstract Human shape, naked and androgynous. A skinny, red-haired male Human walks along side of it and slightly ahead, as though leading the way. The entity of light stops just short of your point of view and silently watches its companion advance.

A few feet away from the entity of light, the Human figure stops in mid-step and quickly backpedals. Ribbons of silvery-blue and fiery red light erupt into life around its feet, tracing out serpentine patterns across the floor that bear a resemblance to constellations. As the magical light show reaches its climax, a faintly transparent image of a Human woman appears. The illusory woman is old, perhaps seventy or eight years. Despite physical fraility, thinning hair and ruined skin, the woman maintains an imperial bearing. She wears a robe adorned with patterns of gold, white, blue and red.

She points an accusatory finger at the Human figure and barks out, "I name you Servant of Fate." In response, the strange symbols on the floor contort and dim, as though straining under some sort of weight. The Servant stumbles backward as though struck.

Turning toward the entity of light, the illusion takes on a softer countenance. She says, "I do not enjoy this morbid gift. How many people are forced to see how little their lives truly mean? I am not destined to live forever, nor does any god care about Grazhir-touched souls. I will experience a death so complete that no one will judge me. All my line will remember is the name of the one who damned them. I am left with one final avenue for vanity. Stand and bear witness, Arbiter in Darkness."

A painful swirl of wordless, violent thoughts emanate from the Servant like waves of heat as he steps toward the illusion. The Arbiter tilts its featureless head, taking in the entire cavern. The Arbiter projects a vivid imperative through the air: you will wait. The Servant hesitates, though the volume of its thoughts intensify.

The illusory woman says, "The spirits wish to wage war on the children of Grazhir. So be it, your course will not be changed today. But if you insist on blaming them, then remember the fallacy of the seer! Fate is meaningless without the living moment; the future is judged by the past." The woman's voice becomes more emphatic, "You of all spirits cannot afford to forget the past! Do not dare to forget the lesson that G'nar Peth carved into our bones! You see the emanations of the children of Grazhir, but think about the places you cannot see!"

The Servant's violent thoughts crescendo as it steps toward the illusion. The woman turns back toward the Arbiter and says, "It would never listen, but you still may give this moment meaning. By the stars above, I speak prophecy: just as you judge the children of Grazhir, so in turn shall your people be judged from afar. For each pint of blood that coats the mad one's hands, one of your own will know de-" The Servant strikes at the woman with its fist, disrupting the magic held the illusion together. The symbols go dim and the scene fades away.

With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.
Roundtime: 11 sec.


[Unknown, Planar Observatory]
Smooth stone walls encircle the room, rising straight up for two dozen feet before becoming lost in some sort of ink-black cloud. Four fluted pillars, set equidistantly around a pool in the center, also rise toward the black unknown. You also see a pentagon-shaped pool of black liquid, a white door, a long steel lever and a dial set into a stone pillar.
Obvious exits: none.

The ink-black cloud above you disappears, revealing warm shafts of sunlight. Voices rise up around you, speaking a guttural language which you intuitively understand. Turning around, you see five male Humans speaking to an old woman. All six Humans share dark hair and complexion, though the woman's dress marks her out of the crowd. While the men wear undyed wool, she is wearing a robe adorned with gold, white, blue and red patterns.

One of the men speaks out, "This cannot stand! if we seal the cavern, then what was the point of our labor?"

The woman says, "Your labor was spent for those who can open the doors you cannot."

Another man speaks up, saying, "What is this nonsense, Nera? The only other children of Grazhir are those ridiculous shamans on the steppe. What do you think those barbarians can do that we cannot?"

Nera says, "I suspect you will live to find humor in this memory, but the tribes are not who I am thinking of. Trust in what I am about to say: we exist on an island in the ocean of time, isolated from great continents behind us and in front of us. We are epilogue and prologue, but we are not the story."

Nera says, "Just as we are define ourselves by the past, we will be defined by what impact we have on the nexus that grows even now on the very horizon of possibility. It will be the salvation or destruction of the children of Grazhir. They must be shown the way of death and glory."

With a start, you find yourself drawn back to the reality of the here and now.
Roundtime: 9 sec.


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