The Verden Realms
—Given by Phenious Tanglestaff to his first year students
—at the Lah’kolan Mage’s College on the 15th of the Lion, y.822
"First and foremost, students, we must accept that no one person knows the true stretch of our Realms. Actually, most scholars will “debate” for days on the simple question of how many realms are out there. Is the number five? Three? Two? Which Two? Basically, the argument boils down to the definition these men and women give to the word, “Realm.” A shortcoming in the language of humanity, perhaps. And unfortunate that we do not strive to use the terminology of the Halfling peoples in such discussions… but I am wandering off the topic at hand…
Everyone agrees that the Loving Lord Bear and the Honorable Mother Raven crafted what we refer to as The Firm and the Dream, respectively. Sprawling disks upon which the GodSpark Races dwell. Father Bear placed his Dwarven children into the mountains of the Firm while Mother Raven crafted the great forests for her Eladrin on the Dream.
Now, as you can see in my quick representation of the Firm, we live upon the top here, where I have drawn great mountains. The lower lands that drip away from the surface house numerous caves and grottos within; this place is referred to as “The Shadow.” Deep in their caverns, Mother Snake placed the Ah’ved people. And, if we leave religious dogma for but a moment, we also know these dark halls are home to creatures most foul; Illithid, Skron and other ShadowTainted creatures. Not a safe place to build your summer home, students!
Now, the Dream is not so different in its base structure. As you can see, the sketch I provide is symbolic, with the Great Tree center. The Dream also has its underground network of tunnels; the UnderFoot which is home to the curious children of Crane, the crafty Gnomes. Again, like the Firm, ShadowTaint has touched creatures such as the Formori, the Powrie and the Helvani. Now, the largest difference between these two… dare I say, Realms? … is that the Dream does not stay still. The Firm may be mapped, its roads travel always the same. The Dream? Not so much, students. Better scholars than I have attempted to make a map of the Dream. The last one to try went rather batty in the belfry. Last I saw of him, he was talking about how vibrant the color green tasted. But, again I digress…
Yes, you with your hand up? You were going to ask me about a possible fifth (or is it third) realm, were you not? Yes, The Tween. The binding ethereal that holds all together, the source of magic, some say. That glowing ribbon that appears on the edges of the night sky. Again, it is debatable if this is actually a Realm. But, without it, we would be nothing. The Priests of the Eagle would have us believe that to the Tween we all go for our final rest in Elysium. The Snake’s Cults would tell us there dwells Tardus, a land of punishment for your misdeeds. However, none doubt it is where the Quiet Lord Dragon calls home, and who would be foolish enough to barge into his realm, yes? Surely not me, children.
What is that old adage? “Tarry not in the home of a dragon, least you become decoration?”
How does one travel between the Firm and the Dream? Ah, now while most children would not know the answer to this – we here in the grand city of Lah’kola know, yes? By
Yahduahs are portals between the Firm and the Dream. Weak places where one may travel. Now, they are usually quite chaotic in nature. The ‘normal’ Yahduah opens for only a few minutes and who knows where in the other Realm it might carry you. We here in the Viori Kingdoms are quite lucky. Lah’kola houses the Isle of Summer, that would be the fae island that suddenly appeared, Miss Tarveeston – the Isle stays till the summer season ends whereupon it returns to its home in the Dream. As well, Roland’s Gate sits in the southern city of Thorn. Always open, it serves as a wonderful point of trade, even if it does open into a rather isolated Eladrin city. But, these two Yahduahs are oddities. Most Yahduahs are quiet wild, wooly and unpredictable at best. If you see a “Wild Yahduah,” you take your very life in your hands if you walk through it.
I highly recommend you give it a try.
Now, the next question you want answered is, “Sir, how does our Sun and Moons appear in the same place if the Dream and the Firm are not the same Realm?” Fine question! Glad I thought of it! For those of you that don’t get the logic I have displayed – the Great Lion Sun, the Long-Traveling Stag Moon and the Quick Moon of the Little Lord Rabbit – all three of these celestial objects travel their set path through the sky. And, as one stands on the Firm, same do these great orbs appear on the Dream. How?
I will give you my scholarly opinion, of which you must value or you would not have bothered to attend my class nor this school, yes? The Firm and the Dream occupy the same position in the Celestial Sea. Even Lord Coyote’s stars spin the same for both. Is the Dream a mirrored reflection of the Firm? Yes. It is a side-step land – a place that exists just out of the corner of our eye.
What, Mr. Martel? Yes, correct. That would be where the
Now, let us break for lunch, students. When we pick up this afternoon, we will discuss further how the