The First Ill Star
Seventh Aeon of Temuair Gnosis: Danaan 1398

By Kaiel Morduun, Warrior of Rucesion, in Dark Ages

History documents the presence of the first ill star to fall after the sundering of Hy-brasil; that it heralded the coming of chaos, the worship of Kadath and the madness of the wisest of men is without question. Yet of perhaps even more historical interest is the nature of that first-recorded ill star, since all but the most arcane of records do not detail the cause of this star, its nature, its span unto the sky or even the means of its detection. More disturbing still is the fact that, while history records this first ill star, it records none of significance thereafter, causing the historian to wonder if, indeed, there have been other ill stars since then -- or if the lore of their detection has been entirely lost to today's Aisling.

Research on the topic is difficult, since the Fey histories are strangely silent about this phenomenon, the keepers of dark lore are notoriously unhelpful when it comes to sharing such lore, and the public records of the day are more concerned with the politics and, thereafter, the wars that followed the falling of this infamous 'ill star' than they are with the star itself.

My research, in fact, was entirely halted until I made what I thought was a lucky acquaintance in a pub in Piet: an old dark magician who called himself Crab, who had a taste for good wine, and whose desire for secrecy waned with every bottle. Though it beggared me, I wormed part of the story from out his withered lips, and as it was late I was able to convince him to take me to his home to view the proofs of which he spoke.

Given the nature of my interview and the fact that I have never again been able to find this dark magician or his home, some may call into question the source of my information. Others may even question the motives of the magician who shared his ancient lore with me, especially due to the nature of some of the revelations that follow. Be that as it may, I have viewed these dark histories -- at no small cost to my soul -- and I believe them to be true.

Here, then, are the facts as presented to me by that stooped, drunken magician and his unholy tomes. Intrepid Aisling, read on, but know that knowledge ever colors perception, and that which is learned cannot be unlearned.

the nature of the star
Safar Timura notes in his treatise,
The Wise Men, that the star was thought to be a shooting star. While this was, in fact, not the case, it is the stated fact in most publicly available records of the time, and is perhaps the only piece of information about the Star that the Fey will verify, false though it is. Given that, it is entirely understandable that this historical error might occur, though a comparison to a 'shooting star,' normally a sign of good luck, is a strange one on the surface.

The star, in fact, was an astronomical body the magicians call a comet; a great, fiery star of horrific aspect, that travels across the sky and rips the heavens as it goes. The appearance of this comet was first met with joy, as it first appeared much like a great shooting star, which most Aislings believe are signs of good luck or wishes fulfilled. In fact, the Nether Codex, one of the tomes it was my great misfortune to read at length while my inebriated companion ranted wildly into the night, described great celebrations in honor of the night visitor, or nochd reanná.

It was not until the nochd reanná was a well-established part of the nighttime sky that the ceillidh warned against its presence, for they, too, had been beguiled by the star's fair appearance. However, as most continued the great celebration, they failed to note the crops withering in the fields, the changing of the tides, or the ease with which men's minds were distracted from such portents. The ceillidh were not so easily distracted.

So while the ceillidh had noticed, at long last, many grew angry when they spoke ill of the nochd reanná, questioning the sanity of the wise who warned against such an obviously fair visitor. Chief of those most critical of the ceillidh were the fey, who, in typical fashion, had taken to the merriment with great aplomb, and who had created great songs praising its unmatched celestial beauty, and poems lamenting the day when it would inevitably disappear or descend to earth. As a result of the debate between the ceillidh and the fey, both turned their eyes heavenward and watched the star, gauging its every movement, measuring its growing tail, and rationalizing loudly its presence in the sky of Temuair.

the scrutiny of the nochd reanná
Shortly, the proclamations of the ceillidh grew great and worrisome. To the people of Temuair, the ceillidh foretold doom and darkness if they did not ware the signs. Their warnings were reckless, however, for both the Liturgy of the Blind Hermit and the Nether Codex reveal two unpleasant facts about the ceillidh (and in a surprisingly personal entry in the Liturgy, a volume supposedly by the hand of one of the last surviving ceillidh of that aeon). Apparently, their observations in no way connected the nochd reanná to the ills befalling Temuair, but their Fiosaiche had utterly lost his power of future sight the very day the comet appeared in the sky. While this had happened before and could have been sheer coincidence, their panic at his continuing blindness only fuelled the strength of their proclamations, though in their growing fear they revealed the growing madness of the Fiosaiche to no one.

As for the fey, they watched the same star and could find no omens, no taints, no ill portents that might come from their beloved night visitor, and as a result they dismissed the warnings of the ceillidh as loudly as the wise men themselves sounded them. While the fey also came aware of the many small ills that had begun to grip Temuair, their arguments against the ceillidh's claim that the star was the source of this evil took precedence, as they believed avoiding a general panic was of more concern than avoiding some nebuluous, unprophecied doom. In time, both sides only argued louder as each dismissed the others' findings with increasing vehemence.

When the wise could not agree with each other, and when doom was a word spoken not by the mad but by respected men and women, many began to fear the nochd reanná, refusing to go out of doors while the thing showed in the sky. Many hoped the fey were right, while others feared the ceillidh spoke the truth. And, failing the guidance of the wise, others forged their own, darker paths.

the fate of the nochd reanná
Given the perspective of the histories provided in the Nether Codex and the Liturgy of the Blind Hermit, there is little shock in the discovery that men and women began to draw away from both the fey and the ceillidh, and to search for sources of power that would help preserve them in the coming darkness. The Liturgy fades into a long, wailing diatribe about how the Hermit would have done things differently past this point, and is long and arduous reading for very little reward. The Nether Codex, on the other hand, goes into great detail, describing and cataloguing several hundred lesser evils "inflicted by the comet;" certainly too many to list in this treatise.

In fact, my host laughed raucuously when I came to this list, though I had long suspected him asleep (and thought certain I had heard him snoring not moments ago). When I asked him why he laughed, he chortled to himself and handed me an untitled third volume, of leathery pages and faded, spidery writing. I fear the pages of that volume were made of a most evil substance, and my very skin crawled as I paged through the book, but I held the book closely when he pointed at a page, and I read unbelieving as I learned the fate of that star.

For, untold in any but this single tome, the star remained in the sky but grew steadily larger and more fierce, tearing with its horrid maw the last shred of sanity from the Fiosaiche and plunging the fey and the ceillidh into anger and open aggression. In too much detail I learned the dark workings of an unholy agency, that, summoned from Kadath in the north, gave a mortal the knowledge to tap unlimited power to bend to his will. I read aghast as this unnamed man, this priest of a dark power, brought the very star down upon what was left of sundered Hy-brasil, drowning the once-great city and starting the war that would end forever the dynasty of enlightenment and purity that had begun with the love of Danaan.

Perhaps it can be forgiven that I can no longer find Crab or his demesene, for I flung the book from my lap and ran blindly from his hovel as his raucuous laughter chased me through the night. I awoke in Mileth the next day, fevered but unable to forget the events of the past night, which I have now set down as best I care to remember them.

I begin to understand why the fey refuse to speak of the star. Perhaps they feel responsible in a way for their failure to forsee the inevitable. Perhaps they regret their dissension with the ceillidh, and perhaps they wish that, with eyes more open, the darkness could have been stopped, even then.

Regardless, I do know that any thirst for arcane knowledge I have ever had has forever been quenched by my investigation into the fabled 'first ill star to fall' in the sky of Temuair. Surely we will know when one comes again; it remains a mystery as to whether the comet was the cause or the symptom of the original evils that befell Temuair in the Seventh Aeon, and it remains a mystery as to whether another nochd reanná would bode well or ill today. Hopefully we will never again possess the lore to rain such destruction down upon our bretheren. Perhaps this is why the fey speak not of the comet, and why to this day they perpetuate misinformation about the events of that time.

But the details of the deed still cloud my mind, and I shall speak no more of it, lest I speak too much -- for knowledge ever colors perception, and that which is learned can never be unlearned.