This week, Jacinth looks back into the early (read: pre-release) days of our adventures in Dereth and explores the backstory of one of the most tragic figures in AC’s history:
Those who have only recently arrived on Dereth are almost certainly aware of our recent history–our triumph over the Hopeslayer, turning back invasions of elementals and Olthoi, and war with New Viamont. However, our people have lived on these shores long before any of those events, and much of that history remains obscure to our younger fellows. Few nowadays remember the oppression of living under Olthoi slavery, the bold exploits of legendary figures like Lilitha or Mi Krau-Li, or countless other tales that have been told for the last two decades of life on Auberean. Of those tales, perhaps the most tragic is that of the great mage, Celcynd the Dour.
Few would guess from his current inebriated state the former stature that Celcynd once possessed. In fact, for a time, he was considered one of the greatest practitioners of the School of the Right Hand ever seen on either world. So accomplished was Celcynd, that even Harlune, the legendary life mage who would later be revealed as an Empyrean, took him under his wing and made him his sole apprentice. Under Harlune’s tutelage, Celcynd learned the ancient secrets of Empyrean planar magic, and he became the first portal mage of the Isparian people.
He had achieved levels of both fame and skill that few would ever hope to reach, but that all changed the night of the siege of Holtburg. One dark night in the sixth year of our freedom from the Olthoi, a party of Hea Tumeroks, the rogue tribe of altered Tonk in league with the Virindi, attacked the forest town. While the adults battled the invaders, Celcynd cast one of the portal-summoning spells he had learned from Harlune, providing a means for the children of Holtburg to escape the danger. However, performing the summoning took a tremendous physical toll on the mage, leaving him unable to summon a second portal for their parents, and so every grown man and woman of Holtburg met their deaths upon Hea steel. Because none of the adults had ever used a Lifestone (a risky prospect in those days where one was just as likely to be reanimated as an undead husk as properly resurrected), an entire generation of orphans was left in the wake of the attack, a tragedy for which Celcynd held himself primarily responsible.
Those who wish to find Celcynd nowadays may do so in the tavern of the town of Rithwic. There the beleaguered shadow of the once-great mage spends his days attempting to drown his tragic past in whatever spirits happen to be on tap, and occasionally in the warm company of the lovely barmaid Brentsella. Rumors say that Celcynd yet seeks an even more permanent balm to his broken soul within Mount Lethe. In the depths of that fiery mountain is said to rest a pool in which bubbles a most peculiar type of water, water that literally washes away the troubles of any who drink it. With that water, Celcynd hopes to cleanse himself of the past that haunts him, even if it means obliterating the few happy memories left to him in the process.
Perhaps such a course of action would be best for the once-great planar mage Celcynd the Dour. For it is often said that sorrow and joy walk hand-in-hand, and one cannot hope to remove one from their life without also sacrificing the other.
For more on Celcynd the Dour, check out the Water of Mount Lethe quest writeup.