Dragonell, The Tower of Infinity
For as long as human minds can remember, the Tower has always existed. There are legends of its founding, of elementals forming the floors, but those are just that. Legends. The Tower of Dragonell has always been. And always will be. It’s floors stretch to the heavens, earning it the nickname “The Tower of Infinity”. None have fully breached all of the Tower’s floors and secrets. It is doubtful that the humanoid races ever will.
Each floor of Dragonell has its own topography and biomes, with the floor sizes being roughly the same, but floor size can fluctuate. Each floor has its own day/night cycle, although many are synchronized, it is not uncommon for it to be day for floor 5 and night for floor 15, for example. The people of the floors have adjusted accordingly, posting notices on floor change outposts as to the status of the floor above.
The Floors of Dragonell
There are speculated to be approximately 100 floors that span the Tower. However, that only accounts for the floors that reach towards the endless sky. Below, past a tightly guarded gate on floor 1, the descent begins, into what is rumoured to be another 100 floors, stretching far below in the depths. It is said that when one reaches basement 100, one can leave Dragonell and explore unseen lands beyond. But this legend has yet to be proven true. None sent to reach that legendary floor have ever returned to tell the tale of their exploits.
Floors 1-40 at present are the ‘civilized’ floors so to speak. They are inhabited by the common races of the tower and divided between four countries. After years of nomadic tribes and wandering, the more powerful tribes formed into nations and secured these floors, which are most amenable to supporting life.
Floors 1-20 are the lands claimed by the Veraphesh. The sun and moon cycles are not fully aligned, but are within a reasonable time span of one another. The longest discrepancy is recorded to be the capital, where it is a day ahead of most of the floors around it. Floors 1-20 are marked by flat plains, ample farmland, and the occasional floor filled with forests. It is a lush landscape, ideal for life to flourish. Among the civilized floors, it is one of the most “normalized” areas.
Once teeming with life, Floor 23 is now an arid desert, with the only safe passage being the Great Road constructed by the Veraphesh. There is little out in the desert, or so most think. Oasis outposts can be found if one were to look, and there are small villages of old tribes buried underneath the desert sands. But it is dangerous to stray off the beaten path here. The Shahadin roam this harsh land, waylaying any travelers that dare leave the hostels and relative safety of the road.
Floor 50 is composed entirely of crystals and is the floor where the nations harvest their supplies of the magical material in order to utilize magic. Studies by scholars have shown that the crystals regrow in a process similar to those of plants, allowing the nations to harvest them indefinitely with impunity, though the growth time is rather long, making crystals a valuable commodity. However, the floor is not without dangers. Crystal golems wander the fields and caverns, and a variety of magical creatures that feed on the rocks there are often hostile. There are even rumours among the workers that every now and again, a giant crystal dragon they call ‘The Sky Lancer’ can be seen soaring the skies, though its purpose and where it takes nest is unknown.
Dangerous crystal ‘miasma’ of sorts also radiates from floor 50, stretching 10 floors above and below. Studies by scholars have shown that short-term exposure is relatively harmless, but long term exposure that would be inevitable via colonization would be highly dangerous, almost guaranteed to be fatal. Thus workers must be rotated frequently, and all miners must wear refined crystal accessories, as they are shown to mitigate and effectively eliminate the crystal sickness effect. Thus journey in floors near floor 50 is usually in the form of brief study expeditions and quick supply runs to the mining operations on the floor itself, with a plethora of precautions to take.
Unknown to most scholars, Dragonell is the fulcrum upon which other worlds depend upon. Dragonell is the equilibrium that maintains balance and serves as the center world or “Material Plane” that the other Planes revolve around. There are many Planes beyond Dragonell, and it is rumoured that there are hidden gateways in the Tower that lead to them. Some are obvious, some are incredibly difficult to find. Experiments have shown that it is possible with the onset of crystal teleportation magic to open up portals to other dimensions. Exploration and thus knowledge of them however, is slight. But there are some dimensions that are known to the races of the world.
The Four Demon Kings of the Abyss clockwise: Ulthorsak, Kilvontess, Ysgrandun, and Sankekur.
The Abyss is where the Four Demon Kings reside: Sankekur, Kilvontess, Ulthorsak, and Ysgrandun. It is a featureless and endless darkness, where a chill wind blows constantly and the screams of the tortured can be heard all around, but faintly, as if always at a distance. Movement towards the voices does not bring them closer, they only seem to move farther away. Knowledge of the Abyss first came about when the Udun tribe summoned Sankekur and bargained their souls to him to become Tieflings. It is said that when a Tiefling dies, if they were descended from the tribe of Udun, their soul is sent into the Abyss where Sankekur tortures them for eternity. It is rumoured that in the center of the Abyss – if ever there is a center – then there can be found the Palace of the Demon Kings. Traversal of the Abyss is only possible if one possesses demon blood or relics of extraplanar beings that ventured there to do battle with the Demon Kings and their minions. But even when traversal is possible, navigation is nearly impossible due to the featureless blackness. It is also rumoured that in the original spot where the Udun tribe lived lies an inert portal into the Abyss, waiting to be activated again.
The Fissure of Woe
The Fissure of Woe is the world of demons that is connected to the Abyss. It is said that in the Abyss, there are otherworldly bonfires that will open gates into the Fissure, where the lesser demons reside. It is a flat world, comprised of black sand and tall grey mountains that stretch into the black-clouded sky. Here demon warriors endlessly wage war, for no reason other than inflicting pain upon one another. Every so often a demon will open a portal into Dragonell and drag whatever unfortunate souls they can find back into the Fissure with them. There they will do a variety of things, from torture to impregnating their victims and causing them to give birth to Tieflings. Where once Dragonell’s role as a fulcrum prevented such incursions, the Udun tribe’s summoning of Sankekur tore the fabric that kept the demons of the Fissure at bay. Now they can pass with ease into the Tower, although it seems that the high density of crystals in floor 50 prevents them from traversing into the civilized floors very often or in large numbers.
While not exactly planes per se, the Manses also exist outside of Dragonell’s plane. Personal pockets of reality, the Manses are the realms of the Immortals. Those of immense power create them to dwell in, detached from the cares of the world. These range from endless oceans to enormous mountains to opulent mansions. But they all are tied to the will of its creator. In the center of each Manse lies the source of its power: a condensed orb of the Immortal’s power that was poured into the Manse’s creation. Should one find it and destroy it, the Manse would collapse in upon itself, blinking out of existence and destroying anything inside it. However, this is under the assumption one can destroy it: even without defenses, the orbs require powerful magic to even chip.
The Manse of Black Diamond
This is rumoured amongst the mages of the Dragon’s College to be the Manse of High Dragon Imlarangodruin. A spire made entirely out of black crystal, it is said he designed the tower of the Dragon’s College in the likeness of his manse. Those who enter are highly privileged, and usually do so to show the High Dragon their graduating spell or research. The mages whisper that Imlarangodruin spends most of his time in the Manse of Black Diamond, researching spells to benefit the races of the Tower. It is here that he determined the safe way to harness crystals to be used in teleportation portals. It is also suspected that the way into his Manse is contained somewhere in his study atop the College’s tower, but no one knows for sure.
The Manse of the Endless Sea
The Manse of the Endless Sea is the realm of Carandrodhim, one of the oldest and wisest Immortals. It is a realm of water, with an endless, calm ocean both in the sky and upon “land.” Upon transportation to the Manse, one stands upon a large beach that seems to stretch on forever, with the ocean before it. The sand there upon inspection is tiny grains of quartz, and it is in this sand that Carandrodhim makes his home. In one of these solitary grains is its study, where it performs experiments on souls and other magical forces in an attempt to better understand them. Entry into the Manse of the Endless Sea is via Carandrodhim’s power alone.
The Elemental Planes
The Elemental planes are closest to Dragonell, as they affect the Tower directly. The Elemental Planes are the Planes that scholars know most about, since they have their own small pockets in the form of floors in the Tower. It is speculated that high above the civilized floors lie floors of pure earth, fire, water, and air. In these floors and in the Planes themselves dwell the Elementals, creatures of pure magic respective to their elements. They are said to be wise and capricious, contemplating the world and maintaining its elemental balance.
The Feywyld is one of the closest planes in relation to Dragonell, a beautiful mirror plane awash in magic in the way the Tower is not. Much as the races of the tower possess a small reservoir of magical energy, the inhabitants of the Feywyld exhibit overwhelming pools of power. When stepping into the Feywyld, one immediately feels and sees the changes this mirror plane exhibits. Senses are heightened, colors brighten, the air thickens, and the life is alien and different.
Creatures in the Feywyld range from “normal” to the strange and fickle Greater Fey. Some ancient elf legends say that they first came from the Feywyld, crossing over to the Material Plane and thus the Tower to escape some dark and ancient terror. Regardless of their origins, some elves still remain in the Feywyld, more magically attuned than their cousins in the Material Plane. These are the Eladrin, aloof High Elves that dwell in glittering cities in the Seasonal Realms. They travel the Feywyld as they please, some serving as courtiers in the Faerie Court and others still simply appreciating the beauty of the mirror plane they reside in. Some even travelled to the Material Plane in days of old, though now visits to the Tower are far rarer due to the Aeterna Concordat.
The Eladrin can be considered the most “normal” race present in the Feywyld. Changelings are also common, though they tend to serve as courtiers in the Faerie Court. Other creatures are strange and mysterious, usually taking forms that please them, from small reptiles to large and wondrous birds in impossible colors or even dragons that defy the chromatic and metallic hierarchy. Even ‘mundane’ creatures are spectacular in the Feywyld, usually possessing the power of speech and independent thought. Of particular note in these ranks of Fey are the puissant and enigmatic Greater Fey.
The Greater Fey are the true lords of the Feywyld, and every midsummer’s eve they gather at the Faerie Court of the Seasonal Sovereigns. Usually taking on humanoid forms, the Greater Fey typically possess a secondary form, their true nature that they only reveal in anger or to their servants. Only those in tune with the spiritual ‘wavelength’ of the Feywyld can truly comprehend these forms of the Greater Fey – to others they typically appear as a simplified totem animal.
In the golden age of the Material Plane, before the Eternal Crusades, travel between the Material Plane and the Feywyld was relatively easy for both Fey and mundane creature alike. Utilizing portals in ancient groves or stonehenges, creatures could learn to attune themselves to either the Material Plane or the Feywyld. Since the Feywyld is a mirror plane to the Material Plane, one need only learn the focus and think the thoughts and they would be able to enter what was known as the Cerulean Traverse, a magical plane-tunnel linked to important places in both the Feywyld and the Material Plane. Nowadays, entrances to the Cerulean Traverse are still plentiful in the Feywyld, but in the Tower they are hidden away in accordance with the Aeterna Concordat.
The Seasonal Sovereigns of the Feywyld
The ultimate rulers of the Feywyld, the Seasonal Sovereigns are older almost than time immemorial, existing long before any Immortal walked the Material Plane. Linked to the very seasons in both the Feywyld and the Material Plane, they too took part in the Aeterna Concordat, helping to recreate the seasonal balance in Dragonell. The Seasonal Sovereigns reside in the Faerie Court, said to be located directly in the center of the Feywyld, where their realms overlap at one focal point. The Sovereigns are very capricious and dangerous individuals, acting on every whim and fancy. One is advised to tread lightly around the Sovereigns and even the Greater Fey are cautious when they gather every midsummer’s eve. At their core however, the Sovereigns are wise and ancient creatures, attentive to the very balance of the Feywyld itself. Each Sovereign is associated with an Elemental alignment in line with their Season.
The Spring Empress, Fragarach the Answerer
The Answerer, the Truthseeker, the Sovereign of Spring, the Empress, Fragarach the Answerer. Fragarach is the fickle Lady of the Feywyld, the most capricious of her Sovereign brethren. It is said that none can lie before the Lady of the Cloudwood. Though she is, upon the face of it, the most frail in body of the Seasonal Sovereigns, her very movements combined with her will can rend the air, and it is said that against her cutting wind, only cold iron can withstand its assault.
Fragarach rarely intervenes in events in the Feywyld or the Material Plane, usually content to dream and ponder in her part of the Faerie Court. It is rare and difficult to gain audience with the Sovereign of Spring, as there is very little that can bring her to anything remotely resembling concern. When matters of her Realm are involved however, Fragarach will more often than not take notice. Whether or not she will take action however, is up to her fickle nature. It is often said that Fragarach is always watching, but just that – watching. However, the daring interloper would be wise to take notice: the Seasonal Sovereigns are older than time itself, and have very long memories. It is well known that Fragarach has utterly avenged any trespass against her, even if it takes a thousand years for her to do so.
In her humanoid form, Fragarach takes the form of a tall elf maiden, with cherry blossoms tangled in her hair and the smell of dewed grass trailing in her wake. Iridescent butterfly wings adorn her back, shifting into impossible colors and gleaming with magical power. Her true form is that of a giant gray fox.
Fragarach’s elemental alignment is wind and her Seasonal Realm is the Spring Cloudwood.
The Emperor of Summer, Luin of the Solstice
The Thornlord, The King in Red, the Sovereign of Summer, the Emperor, Luin of the Solstice. Luin is perhaps the most extreme Lord of the Feywyld, wise and temperate, but easy to anger. Of all the Seasonal Sovereigns, it is said that Luin is, in his calmer moments, the wisest of his brethren and harbors the most interest in the balance between the Feywyld and the fulcrum of the planes, the Tower of Dragonell. Even after the Aeterna Concordat, Luin sends agents to the Tower from time to time, although he is always careful to abide by the stringent rules set down by the Concordat.
Luin entertains the largest group of scholars in the Faerie Court, all of whom petition him for use of his vast library of fey knowledge. However, Luin is also well versed in martial prowess, sharing a friendly rivalry with Sir Gaebolg. While arguably the Winter King maintains what little of a ‘military force’ the Seasonal Sovereigns possess, Luin is the one who heads the Midsummer Hunt, a large Fey hunt to fill the tables of the midsummer’s eve feast. Luin’s humanoid form is tall and muscular, with rich dark hair and protruding stag antlers, indicating his true form – a dire stag of epic proportions and smoldering eyes.
Luin’s elemental alignment is fire and his Seasonal Realm is the Red Wood of Summers.
The Queen of Autumn, Solais of the Falling Leaves
The Lady of the Leaves, the Golden Maiden, the Sovereign of Autumn, the Queen, Solais of the Falling Leaves. Appearing as a melancholic young lady swathed in a cloak of rustling autumn leaves, the Queen of Autumn is a taciturn Sovereign, holding the smallest number of retainers in the Faerie Court. However, those that would underestimate her power by counting her followers would be foolish indeed. It is said that in magical ability she is the strongest of all the Seasonal Sovereigns, and she is reputed to be a master of not only Fey magic, but of other Planar magic as well.
Solais is also a skilled artisan, utilising her magical ability to create wondrous objects that smiths cannot hope to match. It is she that created the Cerulean Traverse that allows Fey and man to travel between Dragonell and the Feywild. She is also mostly responsible for constructing the actual Faerie Court, bending bark and bone and breath to her will to create the Court that the Sovereigns reside in for the better part of the year. Predictably though, she cannot work with cold iron.
Solais’s elemental alignment is earth and her Seasonal Realm is the Hollows of Autumn. Her true form is that of a large raven.
The Winter King, Sir Gaebolg the Gwynbleidd
Sir Gaebolg, or ‘Gaebolg de na Deigh’ as he is commonly known among his most loyal retainers, is the Frost Knight, the Chilling Death, the Gwynbleidd, or more famously, the Sovereign of Winter, the Winter King. Legends say that in ages long past he was a simple Eladrin knight, skilled and dour. They say that he became the Winter King as the ultimate sacrifice for his beloved Feywyld, journeying day and night on an epic quest to save his land. As the legends go, the Feywyld was threatened by strange magical creatures called the Firbolg, creatures that inhabited the Feywyld long before Eladrin or Fey. Creatures of destructive energy, the Firbolg threatened the entire existence of inhabitants in the Feywyld. And so Gaebolg left in search of Sleihfir, the Spear of Frost, reputed to be able to slay the Firbolg by counteracting their violent heat with its chilling cold. It is said that the Firbolg found the spear first and captured Gaebolg, piercing him through the heart with Sleihfir. But instead of felling him, Gaebolg was reborn anew.
Sleihfir’s magical power inundated Gaebolg and he was transformed, ice encasing him and his armor with a gleaming helm of ice upon his brow. Reborn as the Winter King, Gaebolg drove the Firbolg into retreat, pushing them to the brink of extinction and dormancy by creating the Season of Winter. He has since sealed them away into his Seasonal Realm, the Winter Fellfields. The grimmest of the Seasonal Sovereigns, Gaebolg is also the most martial of the four and the founder of the Wyld Hunts, the intervening corps of the Faerie Court. Upon the rare occurrence that Gaebolg must fight, he takes to the field with his Dullahan Guard and wields Sleihfir to terrible effect, piercing and freezing enemies solid with its keen blade.
Gaebolg’s elemental alignment is water and his true form is a giant wraith wolf.