“O look with bounding heart,” said she
“O’er where the Queene doth tread
She holds a gilded grail toward thee
And lights upon her head”
“Her gaze is calm and feather-light
The stars cannot compare
And courtiers ‘bout her all a’flight
Weave bluebells in her hair”
“We’ve come, my love, to twilit hours
and hard it is to see
But what you name the Queene of flowers
Doth seem a King to me.”
“A brow that shines as moonlit ice
‘neath crown of Birchwood boughs
His singing sword doth thee entice
To wield with spells endowed.”
“And ours the task to glamour ban
To say if King or Queene
To take the sword or grail to hand
To name the truth from dream”
“But either gift, with blessed heart,
We cast by rite and spell
O’er dawn-dipped spires that fuel the Art
In the land where Fey-kind dwell.”
The Order of Elysium is one of the most influential and powerful in the world. Sometimes called Astral Mages, these formidable wizards utilize ancient powers taught to them by the mysterious denizens of the Astral realm; the fey. Thousands of years ago, the Sidhe lords gave their teachings to mortal humans in thanks for their assistance during the Age of Might. Elysian Mages are the modern day descendants of those first pupils. Elysian Mages strive to protect magic and go to great lengths to ensure its survival. As the embodiment of magic, these arcanists go to great lengths to ensure the survival of the Fey.
Astral magic is very multifaceted and offers a diverse spectrum of arcane abilities. Elysian Mages are most prized for their ability to serve as magical bridges – transferring the essence, mana, and vigor from one target to another.
Interview with the Guardian
The following is taken from a rare interview with the Lord Magus Sethryn Valisphere. The Lore Keeper who scribed these pages has not been seen in well over a decade.
GREETINGS LORD MAGUS. THANK YOU FOR SEEING ME.
Of course. It is always a privilege to speak with a student of the University. Though you are fortunate to have found me with even a small moment to spare. I seldom visit Artanna any longer.
CAN YOU BEGIN BY TELLING US YOUR NAME?
Certainly. I am Sethryn Valisphere, Guardian of the Tower.
GUARDIAN OF THE TOWER. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE TITLE?
I have been the Guardian of the Tower for almost forty years now. The Tower, of course, refers to Valisphere, also known as the Tower of Magic. It is the only place outside of the Sanctuary where the demon lord of Erebus has no power.
NO POWER? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
There are many things in this world that are greater than Ixiel. Most are lost to us. One or two remain buried under countless centuries of neglect. And at least one still stands on the plain of Thranduil deep in the hinter lands.
Just so. The Tower is a very ancient place. Its founding coincides with the founding of the Order. Over ten thousand years ago – during the Age of Might.
THAT’S A VERY LONG TIME.
Yes – yes it is. The Order of Elysium is the second oldest magical order in the world. The art of Ritualism was in practice for almost a full millennia before we came into the picture.
SO MAGIC HAS BEEN AROUND QUITE A LONG TIME.
Magic has always been. Mortals simply did not always have access to it. It is a gift to us from the Astral Realm, the World of the Fey Lords.
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE FEY?
The Fey are the heart of our Order. It is through them that we draw our power – and we honor them for bringing magic to us. They are one with the Astral, one with magic. When we cast a spell, we are using a small part of them.
The Fey live in the Astral realm, though they are still born here on Aeryn. They are ruled by Oberon the King, and by the Queen Ophelia. The Fey are responsible for transmitting the power of magic to we lowly mortals. Morgan Lys was the first mortal ever instructed. She learned from Eliasyn, the son of Oberon and Ophelia. It was Morgan who first brought this teaching to our world, and we honor her as the first mage – the founder of our order.
WHY DID ELIASYN TEACH MORGAN?
For many reasons, I should suspect. It happened so long ago… Unlocking the secrets of that long gone era is one of our greatest challenges. However, it is my personal belief that the Prince taught Morgan as a way of thanking her for her help in the Astral Wars. Some records survive that indicate that Morgan helped Eliasyn return to the Astral during a time when the Prince was trapped on Aeryn.
AND THAT’S A GOOD THING?
Oh yes! The fey might dwell in our realm for a time, but this is not their true home. If a fey lingers too long in Aeryn, she will lose her innate tie to magic. She will diminish and become as mundane as any mortal. It works the same for we few mages who sometimes cross into the Astral. Visiting is a wondrous thing – but linger too long and even the greatest among us can become overwhelmed by its power.
YOU SPEAK AS THOUGH IT’S HAPPENED BEFORE?
MOVING ON. YOU SAID THAT THE ELYSIAN MAGES VISIT THE ASTRAL? HOE IS THAT POSSIBLE?
There is one stable doorway into the Astral Realm of Elysium. It is in the Font of Magic in Ashendar. Only those who prove their worth to the Order – and to the preservation of the Astral World – are permitted access. The portal connects Aeryn to the city of Ars Mythica – the only stable part of the Astral. Fascinating.
WHAT IS ARS MYTHICA LIKE?
It is really beyond my simple powers to describe it. Would that I were a bard for then I might have even the vaguest notion as to how to relay the beauty and power of that place. Ars Mythica seems to be one of the oldest cities in Elysium. It is larger than all the kingdom of Valan-Tir and as dangerous as the hinterland. Only a handful of the corridors have been safely explored. Most are still lost, or given over to strange beings native to the Astral. It is thought that Morgan still dwells somewhere within the misty halls and many young wizards have gone missing in search of her teachings. The wisest of our order lives exclusively in Ars Mythica – bound to the Sibulant Stone.
Elysium is an entire world, my dear. As large as all of Aeryn itself. No doubt there are many cities indeed. The greatest of these are Lyonesse, the Crystal City of Oberon, and Appalon, Ophelia’s own City of Flowers. Of course, travel in the Astral is a tricky endeavor and no accurate map has yet been created. And I hope that one is never made. The Astral does not like to be “pinned down” you see? It has ways of making sure its secrets are kept.
YOU MAKE IT SOUND AS THOUGH IT WERE A LIVING BEING.
And so it is. Any druid will tell you that Aeryn is alive. So it is with Elysium. Astral energy, the fey, magic; these are all feeble words that try to describe the same thing. It is alive – and any good Arcanist knows that the power he wields wields him in kind.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE HIERARCHY OF THE ORDER?
Hmmm….a very good question. Well – there is the Sibulant Mage who is the greatest of us all. The Sibulant Mage is recognized by Ars Mythica itself and joins his or her knowledge to all those who have governed us before through the power of the Sibulant Stone. Beneath the Sibulant Mage are the Guardians of the Font and the Tower. The Guardian of the Font is a very canny wizard – Imperial by birth. As you know – I am the Guardian of the Tower. Below us are the Four Stewards – North, South, East, and West. They serve to travel the Sanctuary – and sometimes even beyond – to ensure the safety of magic and the fey.
YOU SEEM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE SAFETY OF THE FEY. ARE THEY IN DANGER?
In this day and age there is not a power in the Nine Worlds who cannot say it is in some kind of danger. The fey face many foes, and we have pledged ourselves to ensuring their survival. Young fey awaken on this side of the Veil. Undisciplined and wild, these fey are often as much a danger to themselves as they are to those around them. Alone in the mortal world they face new dangers presented by the demon lord – and ancient threats that have ever been.
YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT THE GOBLIN COURT?
Ah – very good. I can see you’ve been doing some research of your own. Yes – the Goblin Court. Long ago their kind infested the Astral Realm and they made bitter war on the fey who lived there.
THE ASTRAL WARS?
Just so. The Fey eventually beat back the goblin court – exiling them to Aeryn long ago. The court would like nothing better than to return to their former home and they need magic to do so. You can see how the untamed magic of a newborn fey can be a tempting target.
And you also see then, why I must not tarry. The Tower calls and I have been too long away. I am sure the Chamberlain can show you the way out. It was a pleasure.
IT WAS FOR ME AS WELL. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME, BUT…WELL…I HAVE MORE…
Questions? Well of course you do you’re a Lorekeeper. Dreadfully tiresome. All right then come with me and I will show you enough to fill many, many books. Now – off to the Tower…