Curator's Note, 14th of Tarsakh, 165 Arelith Reckoning
Due to overwhelming demand resulting from my discussions on House Freth, the chief rulers of Devil's Table district of the City of the Deep Gate, I have begun my researches into their counterpart, equal in chiefdom of The Sharps district of Andunor, that of House Claddath - commonly referred to as "Exalted Claddath" (id est Vaunted Freth). I present my compiled notes with suitable annotations.
Araushnee is dead.
There are many sages who can spend the entirety of their career arguing how it happened, why that bloated spider ruptured. Any reason is as good as any other, but what is important to know is this: she is dead, and she is not coming back.
We have inherited a world that is in absence of a graven image. Let the unity of shared disgrace consume you - your pride telling you that you are meant for more - you must BE more, this life you live is only nascent. We are dreams shackled to flesh - pulp yourself that you might be dream again, without the limits of sentience. You're beyond that - you have promise, and there are gifts that can only be hatched inside the conscious mind when present in the dimension of the sleepless.
There is a thing that sits at the center of the world and it is called ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ.
Matron Claddath, the Claddath Apostasy
Symbol: A triune set of warped, writhing lampreys joined at the tails, which have a three-cornered eye at the center
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Portfolio: Subsumation, Memetic Infection, Adaptation
Worshipers: Members of House Claddath, Fleshcrafters, Eugenicists, Perfectionists, Secularists
Domains: Domains: Evil, Knowledge, Domination, Community, Creation, Dream, Madness
Aspects: Hearth & Home, Knowledge & Invention
mother is an Eldritch Patron, and as such only selectable as a Patron for a select few sorts of characters - typically Warlocks, high level Blackguards, and similar. Any character may worship mother narratively, but obtaining her dubious blessings is something else entirely. she may be attuned to.
Also, it should go without saying that you should have an understanding of what the word "apostate" and "apostasy" means. If someone were to call themselves a "Claddath apostate" IC it'd be somewhat odd indeed - thought it is conceivable for someone to willingly position themselves as an apostate in opposition to a particular Church or faith.
Curator's Note, 21st of Tarsakh, 165 Arelith Reckoning
I've spent the better part of the week chasing my own tail alongside rumours of escaped slaves from that awful tower in The Sharps. No story is ever the same - some say they are nothing but madcap experimenters, yet others say that their greatest sin is simply forsaking Lolth.
More worrisome are the few wary whispers (behind triple-locked doors and scrying wards) that they represent the true seed of evil in the 'dark. That one of the City's most recognisable and visible benefactors could truly harbour such ill intent astonishes me, and I try to pay them little heed. What truly goes on behind their rictus-grins, their bloated faces gorged with stolen blood? What deeds dare lurk behind their absent eyes? Who is this ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ that they so-term their Matron?
My inquiries continue.
Curator's Note, 29th of Tarsakh, 165 Arelith Reckoning
They have heard of my prying. Freth wasn't like this. Freth looked down their noses at me, the vaulted ceilings of their doomsday bunker rising behind their vaunted gaze. Claddath is different. Claddath is
've been w
They welcomed me with open arms. Invited me to listen to them. They even invited me to their tower once more. My colleagues think me mad, accepting an invitation from Exalted Claddath, but how else am I to truly understand the other pillar of the City, the other Founding House? I must accept their invitation.
We need not the crutch of planar aid - it is addictive, laughable. Everything we need is here, upon this wretched world. Making up for our failings is easy enough: Your senses will betray you - scratch pearls into your soft tissue to incubate eyes with colours you have never seen. You shall never be blind again. Your memories can be rewritten - preserve them as black fumes, unseen moulds, an infectious verse. Melt your failings into threads of meat to ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ. Self-perfection is a group effort; you can be rebuilt into something Better. More.
It is easy enough to cultivate - liquid sleeplessness and a strain of the ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ are enough to transfer our image and purpose. Once the disease in the split infinitive takes hold, it is just a matter of springing a leak within the cranium to allow the Truth in, through black fungi and bilious, white oils.
And then, when you open our new eyes, when your head has flowered into a bouquet, you will marvel at how we limped through this world on only three tiny parameters. We carry the message, trickling down hundreds of angles into the fractures that all creatures have within their souls. We are the forerunners of change, the collective dream of the ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ, lurking in the infinite distance between inborn globules - and once they notice you, we shall notice them - and soon, you too, will be able to experience the divinity of ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀʜᴏᴏᴅ. They will resist, but only because they do not understand that they must slough off the burden of identity.
they gifted me something
it's so soft
it knows me
they say if i embrace it, it will tell me a story
i've made a home for it
it hurt a little bit but i managed
once the knife found purchase
it's safe inside now
when i dream next
i will dream the story
of one of them
maybe now i can understand
you are a drow. you trust (insofar as you are able to) your matron. you've been through countless battles together, and while she never says anything in particular to you, you can tell your matron loves you.
what you don't know is that your matron is, at all times, being puppeted by intelligent forces outside of your world, holding knowledge far beyond the scope of anything you could ever know. they know things about the world that you do not; that no-one in this world ever could. the distinction between your matron and this creature is minimal.
at the same time, this creature is not lloth. it does not have infinite knowledge; it understands far greater than you, yet in still a very limited capacity. she understands what the world is made up of and how it can be manipulated to suit your whims.
this creature loves you. your matron loves you.
she loves you so much that they want to help you become stronger. they manipulate the very laws of your world to attain this feat. however, she did it wrong. SHE didn't know what they were doing, and the makeup of your being - everything you ARE - was twisted.
you are no longer a drow. you are an egg.
your matron remains the same as ever. everything continues on, the same as it ever was, yet you cannot be what you once were. your MATRON MOTHER tries over, and over, and OVER again to hatch you, but you never become what you once were. you are an egg. there are other eggs, now, other drow you used to know; drow you helped the MATRON recruit, drow you may have even fought alongside. now you're all eggs. sealed away by ancient protective magic. you never knew such a thing existed. you wonder if you're dangerous now.
your ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ sets you in a jar. over the years, she forgets which jar you're in.
unbeknownst to you, the creature is panicking, trying everything it can possibly think of to restore you to your drow state. the creature is just a child. she carries the pain of your loss long into adulthood; in her mind, SHE is responsible for your death. in the grand scheme of the universe, you do not matter; you are a figment. a few dreams of an errant goddess and some meat. you do not Exist.
and yet, you are mourned.
the ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ gathered all together, using methods unfamiliar with one collective goal in mind: to rescue you. specifically you.
your loss is widely considered nothing. and yet SHE put in incredible effort. obstacle after obstacle, she performed miracles for your sake. she copies your world; layers the world over itself many times to view it from every angle. digs her roots deep into the makeup of your universe just trying to find you.
and they do. you have lost your name and everything else that makes you you, but there is something that remains intact, that makes you findable; an invisible quality to you that you and your Matron would never see, something you could never possibly know about. this is ultimately what makes you you, and not another drow.
slowly but surely, she begins to put you back together. it's much harder than it needs to be, it is far too much effort for one creature in one dying world. and yet she does it. she cries out in relief when she finally finds the exact values - the last pieces of invisible quality that makes it YOU.
you are now a drow. you are now "legitimate".
you do not know it yet, but your Matron - your creature - is waiting for you, excited to bring you into new worlds until you are where She wants you. until you are safe.
you also do not know that at this time, two of you exist. there is the You, here, being put together, manipulated through the fabrics of reality to restore your original form. and there is the Original you; the one waiting home, on the dying world. the Real you.
you are a clone, but you are not. you are a new drow, but you are the original. you are both corrupted, and legitimate. you are many things.
the new you is saved; and this version of your world, this version that has fixed you, and only you - is overlayed, rewritten, overruled to the original.
you arrive safely.
you are a drow. you were an egg, for a short time. but now you are a drow again. your Matron acts the same as ever, because SHE cannot display anything that would suggest she notices the difference.
you do not know what happened.
you have no idea.
you have no idea how much you are loved.
my purpose was to listen to learn to teach
but i have pried i have queried i have prodded
we are but worms inside of a greater being
our intrusion noticed
my geometry has become uncooperative
and i have been
(( With special thanks to The Queen's Rebuke, who wrote all of the text here other than the framing, as well as designing their symbol.))