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Pale Night was an obyrith demon lord of unimaginable age, often referred to as the Mother of Demons, to whom the tanar'ri appeared as mere children. An unknowable enigma shrouded in mystery, to peer beyond her veil was to witness an indescribable horror so great that it was rejected by reality itself.[3][1]

DescriptionEdit

Pale Night appeared in a shimmer of strange light, as a diaphanous, white sheet that billowed in a non-existent wind, yet never enough to reveal what lurked beneath it. On closer inspection, the contours of the robe suggested an comely, feminine form, like that of a lithe elf or human.[3][6] The phantasmal figure glided through the air, hazy and terrifying yet seductive in shape.[2][3] When she spoke, her voice was low and almost inaudible, but her singing was apparently enrapturing and her robe moved fluidly, easily indicating her gestures.[1][3] Besides the cloak, only white, gossamer hairs concealed her incorporeal visage, preventing onlookers from glimpsing the true, maddening wrongness of her existence.[2][1]

PersonalityEdit

Pale Night was no less malevolent and sadistic than the other demons of the Abyss, although luckily for many she was also utterly capricious.[1][3] Sometimes she decided to murder any trespassers in her domain and put them on display, but at others she gave them tasks or simply allowed them to leave.[3][5] Her actions and decisions were difficult to decipher since she rarely ever spoke, even to her own servants,[5] and she could barely be deigned to associate with other demon lords. For a mortal to even attempt to speak to her could be considered a grievous offense worthy of death.[1]

PowersEdit

Pale Night was a being beyond that of typical demon lords, able to overcome even divine power in some cases.[1] She was an entity of insanity, spreading madness and confusion in a variety of ways. Viewing her true form was assuredly deadly; the only hope someone that wasn't a demon (or a similar chaotic evil being from another plane, like a demodand) had of survival was if their minds hadn't processed the image by the time it had already gone by, and those that were ressurected had no recollection of what they saw. Pale Night's very touch drained her victim's personality to rejuvenate herself, sapping their self-love and happiness until nothing was left but misery and feelings of worthlessness.[3]

Not even a victim's soul was fully safe from Pale Night since she could contain them in her sheet like a magic jar and possess their bodies, indicated by an invisible shawl that wrapped around their corporeal selves. She could also embrace an individual, wrapping them into part of their veil to put them in a kind of temporal stasis, rendering them phantom projections of their former selves. The victims became faint, intangible, and had their details hidden behind a shroud similar to Pale Night's, with only spells like freedom, miracle or wish able to restore them.[3]

While Pale Night preferred to have others fight on her behalf she would do battle when pressed, and if given notice would possibly find or summon a host to possess, recklessly overusing it to the point of destruction. Otherwise, she revealed her true form before drifting through the battlefield at uncanny speeds, stealing the sense of self from all nearby with her fearsome touch.[3]

PossessionsEdit

Pale Night's shroud wasn't exactly her possession, as she seemed to lack true control over it. A new shroud wrapped around her mere moments after it was lifted, and she herself could only suppress it for a few seconds once per day.[3]

RealmEdit

Not all were aware that Pale Night's dwelling was a frightening structure known as the Bone Castle or Bone Citadel, a pale, white keep constructed from thousands of skeletal fingers and hands and protected by hordes of creeping claws and moving bones.[2][7][5] Despite its delicate appearance, the brittle bones that composed it seeming ready to disintegrate at any time, it was an incredibly durable structure that has not been lost by its resident even once.[4] The tangled tower resembled a massive, grasping hand, said to be capable of animating in order to slay intruders,[5][7] and was crawling with various demons.[6] The true purpose of the structure was unknown, possibly to celebrate the wickedness of its resident given the vast galleries of her victims' fractured, flickering shadows, or perhaps to contain it.[4][2][7]

The Bone Castle rested under a rust-colored sky in the middle of a vast, roughly circular plateau of bleached bone, and from its ramparts one could just barely see the walls of the Endless Maze.[2][7] It was possible to stumble across the castle just by wandering through the Endless Maze; the entrance was a wall of smooth stone with thirteen breaches one could pass through.[5][2] Though neither Baphomet or Pale Night tried to influence things beyond the borders of their realms, and Baphomet was reluctant to even draw close, Pale Night occasionally made her way through the Endless Maze in order to make use of a single gate. The gate led to a different maddening labyrinth carved deep within a mountain inside Pale Night's other domain, the delirious realm of Androlynne.[4][2]

Despite being a surreal realm of endless war, Androlynne was one of the most pleasant places within the Abyss since it was defined not by the conflict of evil versus itself but by the struggle of evil to fend off the forces of good. Mother's Mountain, Pale Night's occasional, looming residence, was a reminder of Androlynne's original identity that she helped keep intact, a bleak, colorless realm of misery and nightmares. However, the rest of the layer was a beacon of hope for what it represented, the power of good to change a place even as hopelessly corrupt as the depths of the Abyss. As a result of the vast number of benevolent beings residing there, ranging from chaotic eladrins and foo creatures, to the more neutral moon dogs and hollyphants, to lawful ki-rins and couatls, most of Androlynne became a beautiful land of bright pastel colors and rolling hills. The vivid fields were rich with flowers and other alien vegetation and the sky housed light-purple clouds of unimaginable size that sometimes took the shapes of screaming faces and at others resembled animals or random household items.[4]

ActivitiesEdit

Pale Night was almost never seen beyond her Bone Castle,[5] preferring silent isolation much of the time. Sometimes she decided to spawn new demonic abominations,[6] while at others she was in Androlynne tormenting eladrin children, commanding her forces from the peak of Mother's Mountain or scheming against her enemies within its cold chambers.[4]

RelationshipsEdit

The Mother of Demons was regarded with respect and terror by the other demon lords, none of whom she counted as allies nor particular enemies.[1] Occasionally, she sent mortals to investigate if one of her children was scheming against her, but otherwise she left the other rulers of the Abyss alone.[5][1] Graz'zt, one of her potential offspring, was one of the few beings she had a cordial relationship with, and he had some understanding of her views despite rarely visiting her.[1][8]

She was also known to share a bizarre symbiosis that could almost be considered an alliance with Baphomet. The eldritch obyrith had inhabited the 600th layer of the Abyss long before he arrived, although Baphomet himself was relatively ancient in comparison to most tanar'ri. By some mysterious means, she somehow repressed his feral urges long enough to offer a mutually beneficial arrangement where the two would coinhabit the layer.[4]

The pact was still in effect and any attack against one of their holdings in the Endless Maze could prompt the other to come to their aid, although that seemed to be the extent of their cooperation.[3] It was his relationship with Pale Night that brought Baphomet into contact with a being possibly even more primeval than her, Dwiergus, the Chrysalis Prince, which seemed to inspire him to create his Tower of Science and create new demonic abominations in his image.[7]

WorshipersEdit

Pale Night's worshiper base was almost nonexistent and cults were practically unheard of. Most of them consisted of three or four malevolent spellcasters obsessed with creating new breeds of horrible half-fiends to unleash on the world by impregnating various female creatures with raw Abyssal chaos. The cultists shared a certain view of Pale Night with many denizens of the Abyss, seeing her as a kind of matron.[3]

Pale Night rarely created aspects and such beings rarely left the Bone Castle, only doing so on business which almost never involved the Material Plane. They freely interacted with the other demons in the citadel but when outside its morbid halls were not bothered by other demons, a situation that suited them well. They preferred their companions to be incorporeal, although strangely they never associated with the undead.[6]

Though on the surface, Pale Night's aspects looked identical, only by lifting her veil could one see the crucial difference, albeit one that would leave the viewer comatose and with total amnesia as opposed to killing them and a difference they wouldn't remember even with the prior conditions lifted. Not even Pale Night's aspects, let alone Pale Night herself were welcome in Faerun; even if one desired to be called, the chance it would succeed was low since both the land and its gods spurned her very presence.[6]

HistoryEdit

Back before the obyriths weren't wholly obscure and before the tanar'ri had rebelled against their predecessors, an eladrin host assaulted the Plain of Infinite Portals, weakening the already crippled demonic forces after the Queen of Chaos had fled. Several spiteful obyriths partially blamed the eladrin for the successful revolt of the tanar'ri and Pale Night was among a group of the elder horrors that wanted revenge. The Mother of Demons, through deception and magical manipulation, tricked the Royal Consort Ascodel of the eladrin Court of Stars into a pact in which she would gain the thing he was most concerned for, the safety of the eladrin children. She chased the thousands of them into Androlynne, still a monochromatic underworld deep and inaccessible to most, which she had stocked with terrible monsters. At this point, the obyriths were rapidly declining in numbers and influence, but Pale Night planned to savor their vindictive genocide with her allies before she realized what could potentially be her biggest error.[4]

The kidnapping of the innocent children prompted celestials and other goodly creatures from across the Upper Planes to protect them, as over time an all-out war broke-out in Androlynne. Ascodel eventually died protecting the eladrin children, whose numbers were somewhere in the double digits, but their rarity only made their defenders fight more rigorously to protect those that remained and the successor Royal Consort, Faerinaal, spent much of his time personally overseeing the conflict. The pact had both bound the eladrin to Androlynne and kept them eternally young, and the celestial defenders worked tirelessly to break Pale Night's hold over them, their centuries of struggle, majority influence, and the childrens' own purity evidenced by Androlynne's new appearance.[4]

Queen of DemonsEdit

The title of "Prince of Demons" was one constantly being fought for in the Abyss, its current holder being the tanar'ri demon lord Demogorgon. Its original holder, the first obyrith, was Obox-ob, who had almost been destroyed by the Queen of Chaos and had his title given to her consort, Miska the Wolf-Spider. After Miska's defeat, there was a constant struggle amongst many demons to claim the title for themselves, but Pale Night's alien mind had no desire for it, although not out of a lack of ambition. From her home in the Endless Maze, which was relatively unscathed by the demonic civil war, she plotted for power beyond that which the title of Princess of Demons would grant her, concocting a sinister scheme to obtain such influence without even needing to fight for it. Instead, the Mother of Demons called upon an unknown entity of great power to give her a brood that would vie for the throne, for if one of her children could become the Prince, then she in turn would be the Queen.[8]

Rumors and LegendsEdit

Pale Night's very nature was a subject of debate amongst her closest servitors, with speculation ranging from the idea that she was making a deliberate statement with her appearance to the theory that she was cursed in some way.[5] As for her machinations to become the Queen of Demons, theories about the entity with which she mated were more a matter of random postulation, personal loyalty and other biases rather than evidence-based deductions. Some supposed it was a baernaloth, one of the ancient yugoloth progenitors that supposedly created various fiendish races, while others thought she was impregnated by a being from another reality, an immortal warrior race's patriarch. Others put forth divine beings like Set or Loki as her mate, or even Asmodeus, the King of Hell and leader of the devils. More esoteric theories posited that Pale Night called the Abyss itself to impregnate her and certain ageless scholars put forth the belief that it was an Old God from the center of the universe that actively pursued the White Lady in order to spawn its own demonic breeds for some unspeakable purpose.[8] More recently, there were rumors that Pale Night and Baphomet were lovers given the strange respect the latter showed for the former, although the Prince of Beasts often found out about claimants and ate them alive.[7]

It was possible that none of these ideas were true, or that all of them were in some way accurate; given how wildly Pale Night's spawn varied in appearance, behavior and power, they could all be from different fathers. It was no question that Pale Night's brood of demons and monsters was innumerable and that a majority had died, either to other monsters or Abyssal hazards, and that only a few rose to become abyssal lords, something the Mother of Demons admitted herself. It wasn't always possible to simply view Pale Night's children, such as Luperico, the Baron of Sloth, or Vucarik of Chains, the former being a amorphous, dark-skinned abomination covered in clouds of darkness and the latter being a humanoid whose features were concealed with chains. Graz'zt, the Dark Prince, was the only one of her potential children to be a contender for the coveted title, possessing power that rivaled and possibly surpassed his mother's. All three were mentioned in the Mors Mysterium Nominum as her children and her other supposed offspring were no less strange in shape, such as Zivorgian, the Lady of Ripe Carrion, a swollen, three-headed monstrosity that looked like a cross between an vulture and an angel, or Lady Rhyxali, the sometimes incorporeal ruler of shadow demons.[3][8]

The Black Scrolls of Ahm claimed that the title "Mother of Demons" was a fairly literal one, and that she had birthed the entire tanar'ri race, while the Demonomicon of Iggwilv rejected the notion, instead painting her as the mother of notorious, Material Plane monsters like harpies and lamias.[3]

AppendixEdit

See AlsoEdit

Further ReadingEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Wolfgang Baur, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (April 2007). Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 123–128. ISBN 978-0-7869-4038-7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Robert J. Schwalb (November 2008). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Baphomet, the Prince of Beasts”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #369 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 25.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 59, 74–76. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 148–155. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Colin McComb (September 1997). Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Edited by Ray Vallese. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 61–62. ISBN 0-7869-3430-1.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Robert Wiese (2006-06-23). Fiendish Codex III Fiendish Aspects. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2020-05-29}.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 James Jacobs (March 2006). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Baphomet: Prince of Beasts”. In Erik Mona ed. Dragon #341 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), pp. 23–24.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 James Jacobs (October 2007). “The Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Graz'zt, the Dark Prince”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #360 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 10–11.13. Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved on 2019-08-27.
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