The River of Purity

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The River Oceanus
Narrated by Ky Farrier, asuras guardian of the River
by Jon Winter

'Sweet water and light laughter', as one of my prime friends once said to me. Perhaps we should use that greeting here on Oceanus, the sweet water river of the Upper Planes.

Many things on the planes have opposites, and Oceanus is no exception. Intrinsically linked -- yet completely different from -- the River Styx, the Oceanus is the only planar waterway that comes close to rivalling the corrupted Styx's size. For sure, the Oceanus spans fewer planes than the Styx, but unlike That Other River it's navigable along almost its whole length.

The Oceanus touches Elysium, the Beastlands, Arborea, and has little-known tributaries on Ysgard and the Outlands too. Some cutters reckon you can reach Oceanus from the Silver Sea surrounding Mount Celestia, but I've never found that current myself. And for some unknown reason, Oceanus seems to bypass Bytopia completely. I've shrugged my shoulders many a time at that one; legend has it the Bytopian powers want to make a cutter work to get to their plane, and having a river leading to their doorstep somehow takes all the hard work out of it...whatever, I say.

So I've been patrolling my little section of the river (I say "little", but it's larger than most Prime Worlds) in the Beastlands, aided by Ahn, my trusted giant Beastlander swan. It ain't official in any way, but I'm a guardian of this stretch of the water, as it meanders through Krigalia's sunshine.

No, I don't ferry bashers around on my swan, before you ask...that's so crude. But if you pay me the price of a song or poem, I'll glady point you on your way, or to some cutter who will act as a ferryman. That cutter prime Terris Mathesson is usually happy to help for the right jink, and there's plenty of little settlements beside the mighty river where you can land a buy wholesome food. Or you could fish for chance of being poisoned by fetid water on this pathway, berk!

Travel on the Oceanus, assuming you're being ferried by a cutter who knows her way around, or have a decent map or directions, usually takes less than a couple of weeks. But you'll probably find yourself lingering here, for it's a truly beautiful place to spend time. There's many an adventuring sort who took to the Oceanus to get somewhere in a hurry, and forgot the urgency of his task in the serenity of it all.

But don't think it's all plain sailing, mind. While it's usually peaceful, the Oceanus is a river given to sudden mood changes. Watch out for the rapids between Arborea and the Beastlands...seems the river's bed is far from smooth on the transition between those two planes; perhaps that's because the flow in Arborea is that much more rapid and emotion-laden.

You should also try and avoid annoying the many residents of the river here. That's not hard, and they're usually a friendly bunch, but the delphons and balaena can be angered by thoughtless behaviour or deliberate pollution. Here in the Beastlands, the Dolphin Lord, Stork Lord and Kingfisher Lord all dwell in or on my patch of the river. They're a charming lot, but can be hard to appease once their ire is raised. You've been warned...

The Steam Vents
by Joshua Jarvis
Every so often, once per century at most, a solar aasimon falls. It's a sad sight and many fall to evil, but the story of one who fell to neutrality and the story of a place beneath the River Oceanus are tied together inseparable so here I must explain one to explain the other. Lazerial was a chaotic good solar for several centuries when he was captured in the Beastlands (where he was exploring alternative views of chaos and good) by an yugoloth using ancient and arcane magic. He was carted back to Gehenna and his wings were nailed (with thick iron spikes) to a slab of rock.

For 500 years yugoloths came every week and ripped the feathers from his wings and carved writing into his flesh, yet Lazerial (like any good celestial) endured this hardship knowing that good was on his side. Yet one thing he failed to grasp was that the yugoloths had a far greater plan. Sure, he suspected something more (in fact he thought they were using his feathers to study the nature of aasimon and how to stop them) but what he didn't realise was that they were actually sowing the seeds of vengeance in his heart.

On the 500th year, when he was released, he travelled to Arborea and gathered a squadron of aasimon. He was hell bent on showing the yugoloths the power of good, even if it meant carting all of Gehenna off to the Upper Planes. Lazerial and his troops couldn't find where he was tortured, the portal had long since faded. Instead he started spreading their chaotic good message of freedom across Gehenna. But yugoloth tortured made Lazerial think the only "freedom" they could have from their evil was join good or die. In other words his allowance of freedom for others died when he sought to free people from evil.

Other squadrons were called in and they scoured Gehenna until they found the one that had tortured Lazeriel. They brought the yugoloth to him. Lazeriel raised his bow in anger, carefully took aim with his arrow of slaying, then dropped to the ground weeping. Memories of each life who died by his hands in Gehenna surged through his mind, and as he spared the life of his torturer and steered his soul away from the way of evil, that region of Gehenna shifted to the upper planes. Lazeriel looked at his triumph with pride; good had finally won out. But then the River Oceanus shifted course, flooding his prize, and Lazeriel left for the Outlands. His soul was torn halfway between law and chaos, good and evil, not true neutral so much as a mixture of all conflicting to create a forced neutrality. His prize covered under feet of holy water, his good lost when 1,000 died due to his self righteous judgment of those already condemned. As for the yugoloth? No one is sure, though a myth says that the sight of the solar sparing him after so much rage allowed his heart to see the value of good. Then again, this like most planar myths is probably just screed.

THE STEAM VENTS: That part of Gehenna still life under the Oceanus, bits and pieces of it are scattered along the river's course from Elysium to Arborea. The steam vents are a unique underwater ecosystem in the deepest part of Oceanus, a place without light and all life depends on nutrients welled up by the steam. It's said that there pale crabs and shrimp dwell, forests of worms wave in the currents, and fish lure in their prey with light. This is home of the angler fish lord in the Beastlands and mysterious aquatic celestials who travel like glowing lights beneath the waves.


The Bore
by ByTheSpire

On the subject of the River Oceanus, Voilá will often tell the tale of Terris Mathesson (Prime / male human / R8 / Sensate / CG). Terris specialises in ferrying bloods from plane to plane, realm to realm along the River. Next to the Marraenoloths of the lower planes, he is known to be the best mortal boatman known in the multiverse. He charges a reasonable fee for his services, and is always willing to tell a tale or two...

"River Oceanus is the best, cutter! Anyone who's done the run from Elysium to Arborea knows the chant for sure. If you've done the run through those planes, you're not just a cutter, you're a Cutter. I mean after a run you can cut any water from Faerun to the Styx.

As far as I know, I'm the only one to have seen the Bore. No, I'm not talking about a bubber in Sigil who'll talk your pointy ears off, the Bore is a phenomenon that happens on the River when an a layer, gate-town or realm slips into another outer plane adjacent to a plane where River Oceanus flows.

Me and a crew of Clueless from some world called Aerth were sailing from the Beastlands to Arborea. They were in a hurry to get outta the 'Lands so they could shed the scales, feathers and fur they picked up in the wilds of the plane. Me? I like lookin' like an otter for a while! Anyway, about an hour after we entered Arborea, I heard a soft roaring noise that just got louder and louder. I looked behind us and there was a wall of foaming, raging water as tall as a vrock (that's about eight feet, berk)!

Well, I turned the raft around to catch the wave straight on, and we only swamped two bloods, who we rescued later. They were lucky though, 'cause that water was churning harder than Limbo soup. The wave just kept goin' though, sweeping up everything in its path. We must've watched it for at least half an hour churning away from us, and it disappeared on the horizon.

Later, on a trip to Sigil, I learned that a town in Arborea's first layer had slipped into the Outlands at about the same time the Bore caught us. My guess is that the upset in Arborea's balance caused a surge between it an all it's adjoining planes, which caused the surge on Oceanus. Just a guess though, as I'm no Guvner or anything."

THE DARK: The Bore is a phenomenon occurring on any body of water which flows between two outer planes. It has been reported on both the River Styx and Oceanus. Any time the character of an outer plane is upset by losing a gate- town, realm, or layer, a wave from four to fifteen (d12+3) feet in height is generated on the river at the border of the plane which lost its real estate. This wave moves away from the border of both planes, surging for 1d4 miles before losing its energy. This can cause water craft to capsize, towns to be flooded, and in the case of the Styx, possible memory loss of those touched by the waters.

Terris Mathesson: well known as a master captain of anything that can float, he has been plying the waters of River Oceanus for almost a decade since he found himself enchanted by the beauty of the Upper Planes. He is a lanky man six feet in height, with blonde hair tied back by a leather thong. He wears comfortable cotton and wool clothes that are warm and dry quickly. Known for his quick reactions but dull wit, he is nonetheless trusted by those who know him well. It is rumoured that Terris was once a lover of Erin Darkflame Montgomery, when he was her guide during a Sensate excursion on Oceanus. Neither Erin nor Terris speak of it, but Terris remains true to the Sensates.


The Dead Realm
by Draegarius

Have you ever wondered, why the Aasimon, a powerful planar race, serve the gods as proxies? Why aren‚t they a free race, like the Tanar'ri or Baatezu? Especially when they have among their numbers beings powerful enough to be deities themselves.

Perhaps the reason lies here, in the Dead Realm.

CHARACTER: Infinite sadness. Unknown memory tearing at your soul. Cries of the innocent, over the crimes committed in the name of good. Here lie the remains of a realm. A realm still here even after the destruction of its petitioners, god and his worshippers. How cam realm survive even after its creator god has been gone for millenniums? Memory. The memory of the innocent. The dead realm. A realm devoid of life. A land of memory carved in stone. The site of the greatest crime committed in the name of good.

POWER: None. No god resides here anymore, and very little is known about the god who used to be here. All is known is that he uncovered some kind of truth, and that he was destroyed for that together for that together with his petitioners and worshippers. Such destruction was wrought, that he never even reached the Astral plane for the usual state of long decline most dead gods go through.

DESCRIPTION: A plain of green grass, a couple of rolling hills, and blue, cloudless blue skies for as far as the eye can see. This is a very special place, as it exists on all the upper planes of good that are touched by Oceanus, at the same time. Touching the river Oceanus on one side, and on the other -- far reaching grassy planes for as far as anyone can see. You may reach this place on any upper plane. One may enter it in Arborea and leave in Arborea. Or enter in the Mount Celestia, and leave in Arcadia. It does not matter, for it will always be the same place. The same memory. The same crime.

On the waters of the Oceanus, at the edge of the realm, lies the town of Porto Memoriale. Three miles further into the realm, lies the wall of trees. This wall is a line of high trees, which seem to always wave in the wind, trying to hide what lies beyond it. Once you pass these trees you are confronted with a vast plain: Miles on miles of standing stones. Small standing boulders, most no taller than two and a half feet. It is said that these stones stand in memory of the lost petitioners of the Realm, although nothing lies beneath them - not a single shred of physical evidence remains to these lost souls. Further inwards, are a number of hills, on the top of which are groves. The hearts of those who approach these groves are filled with terrible dread and burning anguish. Most cannot bear this and are turn back in tears. No magical auras are emitted, but none can deny the powerful effect this place has.

Near the centre of the realm stands a great monolith. A huge square-shaped stone, which has words written on it in an unknown tongue, which none can decipher. Not even by magic. In this pillar, about a meter from the ground, is a deep crack out of which trickles the purest water. Very little pours out, but that which does, is perhaps the most potent holy water in existence. This water can lay undead to rest immediately upon touching them, and can send fiends back to their places of spawning. Also, it is said this holy water can cure any ailment. But few ever reach this far into the realm, and even less stay around long enough to collect the water (it takes 3 days to collect an amount equal to a litre).

Last, in the centre of the realm stands a great tree. Similar to Oak, but not so. It is huge, and obviously ancient. Its trunk splits into two great roots at the ground, and between these is a small pool of water, which I fed by an underground spring right under the tree. This tree was planted here long ago by Father Teharesh, soon after the event which took place here and which "killed" the realm.

Outside the wall of trees, one sees and endless sea of grass under bright-blue skies. A vision of beauty which stands in contrast to the terrible truth that is the realm.

PRINCIPLE TOWNS AND SETTLEMENTS: Only two settlements lay in this realm, Porto Memoriale and the place known only as "The Monastery". Porto Memorial is a small town, on the shores of the river Oceanus, which acts as a home and haven to all those of good not accepted by the "Greater Goods" of the Celestial realms. These include mainly fallen archons who never really left the paths of good. Planars of neutral or evil alignment who changed their ways and turned to good. All those who are looked down at, doubted and not accepted into the folds of the Upper-Planar societies.

Those outcasts, now practice the art of seafaring and reach all the upper planes in their travels and trade. It's said that Porto Memoriale is nothing but a kip to spend the night at, because the fact is that the river Oceanus has become their home and realm. These seafarers have a special relationship with the river, and have a unique kinship with the herds of balaena which sometimes accompany their vessels during their travels.

The only other place where mortals reside is the Monastery. A building of gray, uninviting stone, where a few monks live and practice a strange... religion?

The Monastery is very old. Said to have been established soon after the cataclysmic crime which befell this place. Here serve an order of Monks, composed of members of any race of good alignment. These monks, of the Order of the Sacred Memory, serve here to preserve some kind of knowledge or memory. Although whatever it is, they don‚t reveal even the slightest dark of it to any living beings. The sole exception to this is the entire race of Aasimon. One a year, a representative party of the entire Aasimon race are sent to the Monastery. It is unknown why they go there, what they learn or what they do. All is known is that this is connected to the foundations of their entire race. Somehow, the crime which took place here, which wiped out an entire realm-god and petitioners, is connected deeply to the Aasimon.

The head of the Order of the Sacred Memory, is the mysterious Father Gaxirius, a being of unknown race. He took his position a millennium ago after the latter head of the order and its founder, Father Teharesh-an Aasimon Solar, killed himself in anguish and guilt. Why did he do so? Also unknown. But if you were ever to see anguish on the face of an Aasimon, it was when you mentioned this Realm or Father Teharesh‚s fate to him.

The only clue to this lies in the words of Father Gaxirius to a group of pilgrims: "Father Teharesh was the greatest of his race, for he alone atoned for his race entire. Such weight of the... No! I shall not speak of it. The time has not come yet..." The Monastery is a place where pilgrims of all alignments of good sometimes go to for atonement. The monks here heal and care for anyone who comes.

PRINCIPAL NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS: Salhon Yrkov (Planar / male githyanki / T15 / Revolutionary League / NG), captain of the "Retribution" is leader of the people of Porto Memoriale. Lord of the town? No. How can one be lord when one spends his most of his time on the waters of Oceanus? Salhon was born in the Astral, just another Githyanki. But he was lost in a raid into Limbo to attack the Githzerai. Salhon wandered for 7 years through Limbo and the Outlands, and his life and views of life changed around. He abandoned the ways of his race, and took to living and doing good.

But alas. When he tried to go to the upper planes, to live there among the good, he was turned away for his race and what he had been. Angry and bitter, he wandered aimlessly until he came upon the Dead Realm. Here he met Father Gaxirius, and others like him in Porto Memoriale. Salhon took to the Oceanus, and sails throughout the upper planes. Due to what he had suffered, and his joining the Revolutionary League, his views tend to make him tread dangerously upon the line between Merchant, and Buccaneer. He sometimes raids the shores of the Upper planes, when he hears of unjust acts committed by those who live there.

Father Gaxirius, is the mysterious head of the Order of the Sacred Memory. Always hooded, almost none have clearly seen his face. He is also the spiritual guide of Porto Memoriale, although they mostly come to him, as he spends most of his time wandering the Dead Realm, or praying in the Monastery. Interestingly, he has great knowledge of all things across the multiverse, and some speculate he perhaps had been a sage or a planar adventurer before he took his place in the Monastery. Besides having been leader of the Order for almost a thousand years, several pilgrims have commented that he has a hint of an accent common to Plague-Mort and the dwellers of the Abyss.

SERVICES: At Porto Memoriale one may find transportation and supplies for nautical voyages, in addition to all the riches of merchantware from across the upper planes. It is possible to use the Realm as a place to shift planes at, as it exists in all upper planes simultaneously, but this is rarely done so.

Tales from the River

A story of a traveller's journey along the Oceanus from peaceful Elysium to boisterous Arborea, as navigated by an ardeidal native.

The Ardeidal

Meet the heron-guardinal in its full feathery glory in the Mimir.Net Monsterous Compendium

Copyright 1998 by Jon Winter and respective authors,
artwork by Jeremiah Golden and Jon Winter

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