Events Post #531: The Custodian and the Dreaming

The night was young, mid-winter of the year 678 after the Coming of Estarra, and the Fellowship of the Roots was discussing the astounding power of the Dreaming - the wonder of dreams that are memories, both good and bad, and the warnings and pain they can bring. They went on like that through the night and by morning Naesan Sweetfur decided to rally the Fellowship to return to the Emerald Enclave to empower the Aegis against the corrupting influence of Great Muud. Though He was not the source of the disturbances of late, Great Muud was hunting the Sleeping Child all the more relentlessly, emboldened by the weakening of the dreams and, as a result, the weakening of protections around the Vernal.

Naesan's party was joined by Warlord Uzriel d'Vanecu, Lady Grey Sapphira d'Vanecu, Regent Xiran Stormcrow, Chair Tikki, Luce Shevat, Huskii Myeras, Yuzuki n'Lochli, and Mani, who set off for the Emerald Enclave that very same day. Once there, they pressed on further into the Aegis of Vestera and began the work of setting it to rights in earnest. Very soon, however, they stumbled upon something startling - the dead body of a being they had never met before. Elegantly dressed, their face was nought but a blank slate under a broken mask as if they never had a real face in the first place. Tikki patted the figure down and retrieved a scrap of paper from a pocket. Though it was ruined by acid and encoded, they were able to glean the following: 19--594 - -t-yf--rj-- -wjf-- Ij--h-j-. A filing number or a date? And what language could this be? The custodian, as they came to be known, was certainly no being they had met before though it reminded them of the mannequins of the Meliashmora of Imperial Secrets and the beings of Iklara.

There was work to be done either way so they pressed on while they pondered the message. The nightmares sent by Great Muud were numerous and doubled in strength, so they had their work cut out for them. While one party was clearing the Aegis, another was debating the likelihood of the custodians being among them as it would have been all too easy to pass unnoticed with such elegant clothing and a mask. Were they observers or messengers of some kind? One thing that became clear soon was that if the numbers were a date, Luce posited, they likely referred to the year 594 and the Awakening of Sister Sea. Meanwhile, upon another inspection of the note, Uzriel wondered if perhaps it was burned by the now infamous ooze that had been sighted twice within the Basin of Life. As if that was not troubling enough, Xiran pointed out that if faceless beings were involved, one should not dismiss the Soulless Nohaji, known as the Face-Thief, still free and active somewhere in the vastness of the Void.

That launched them into a more thorough investigation of the custodian's body, with Everiine Silvermoon going first and determining that while it was not natural, it was not infested by excorable powers. A link to the immanidivinus still lurked within, fading. Next went Mani, attempting to trace its auras but whatever animated the body had faded. And finally, Sapphira, who wasted no time plunging her surgical blade into the ribcage to reveal that the custodian was a construct, lacking in the way of organs a natural body would have. Just then, the body dissolved into sheer essence, brilliant and licked by flame, and then it was gone.
As luck would have it, Luce completed restoring the Aegis of Vestara to its full power at that exact moment and all rushed to meet with the Keepers. There, they beheld upon the Aegis itself dream motes forming into an image - a message from the Keepers. A masked custodian, the one whose body they found, was seen entering the Emerald Enclave and rushing further in as if fleeing something in a panic. Their hands were being eaten at by a corrosive substance and the custodian eventually succumbed to that damage, deep within the Aegis, but it was clear that they were looking for something too.

Concerned for the Dreaming, the group decided to visit the Dreamlands of Nirvana urgently. With Naesan's assistance, Eluisa Starfall, Huskii, Luce, and Tikki went forth to investigate and found the Citadel sealed and the False Gods on high alert. Rather than fight each other, as they were known to do, they were instead protecting their lands and speaking of a Pact. Whether with or against that which intrudes upon the Dreaming was unclear for they chased out all interlopers with haste.

With the Aegis of Vestera strengthened and Great Muud kept at bay, the group dispersed to consider these troubling findings.
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