A short story featuring Bastian, human lore keeper.
The first record of Bastian comes from the time immediately after the appearance of Edarr on Athien, during the period known as the dance of death. During this period he assisted the heads of the four churches, ultimately playing a critical role in the fall of Edarr.
The people of Athien generally believe Bastian to be a title rather than a name, inherited through the generations. Since that first historical appearance a man bearing the name Bastian has wandered in and out of the politics of the races seemingly at random until the present day. The name brings with it a reputation for access to knowledge and lore that is unrivalled across Athien. Common belief holds that Bastian is the custodian of a tower that contains an extensive library of religious, scientific and historical texts, though the tower has rarely been sighted by a credible witness. What sightings have been recorded, if they are to be believed, indicate that either it is able to change location, or there are several around Athien, presumably well concealed.
The tower is most commonly recalled, by those who claim to have seen it, as a spire of jade crystal, sparkling and alien in aspect. For those who have met Bastian in person, this is perhaps the most convincing aspect of the sightings, since the right hand side of his chest, shoulder and arm, are peculiarly afflicted with crystalline growths of jade, the flesh discoloured with an unpleasant mottled grey. In addition he habitually wears an eye-patch, to conceal the fact that his left eye appears to also have been replaced with a similar jade crystal. Bastian’s explanation has varied but most commonly involves a deal with a Djinn, which he insists was still in his favour, hinting that perhaps his knowledge and power has its roots in that deal.
The truth of Bastian is far stranger than any of the fictions the races have compiled to account for his existence and seeming longevity. The creature that came to be called Bastian traces its origins to Between. After the ascension of Edarr to join the four Elder Gods, Between was nearly drained completely by the demands of the other realms. Edarr’s plan to directly invade the mortal realm, and harvest all life there directly, would not allow any of the life force to return to Between, and would have spelled the end of all those that remained there. Bastian foresaw that immediately following her transition to Athien, Edarr would be weak, mortal and vulnerable. The denizens of Between pooled their remaining resources to send Bastian as their last hope, someone to allow the mortals to triumph over Edarr, and hopefully bring back life to Between. Bastian knew he would likely not return, in fact he expected to die attempting to bring down Edarr. He spent vast amounts of his energy in the transition between planes and then much of the remainder in the assault on Edarr. Following the Fall he found himself unable to take advantage of the energy that flooded the realms and missed his opportunity to join the Everlasting and get back to Between. Once that temporary glut of energy had subsided he found himself diminished, with nowhere near the power required to make the journey back to his home.
As time passed he found that even now, in the mortal realm, he was still not completely subject to the edict of time. His lack of aging led immediately to questions he was not prepared to answer, so he withdrew from society, working to establish a mystique that would discourage further questioning. His goals remain; to return to Between and to spend his time on Athien limiting the impact of the Old Gods as best he could, since religion acted to syphon portions of the souls of believers back to the Old Gods instead of Between. To that end he promoted rumours of his knowledge and power, ensuring that he remained a valuable confidant and advisor for the political and religious leaders across Athien throughout the ages.
The knowledge that Bastian is thought to possess has led to many seeking his tutelage over the centuries. Still, little is known about him since those who have found him on Athien have returned changed by that knowledge, and unwilling to speak.
It was no surprise to the summoned that Bastian soon joined their ranks. While on Between, his formidable will manifests as a strengthening of his allies, reinforcing their weapons and shoring up their faltering will. His ability to shift within that plane, teleporting at will, lends credence to the suggestions of his tower’s mobility on Athien. He shows an unusual affinity for souls, a casual familiarity that the other summoned, particularly those who themselves have studied souls extensively, find peculiar.
- Colin "BoBliness" Hill -