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Abelaat Informationby LoZompatore
In the following a collection of the available "fluffy" information about the abelaats from the Penhaligon Trilogy (mostly from volumes 2 and 3).
In brief, the abelaats are a race of shadow-like creatures from another world (likely from another plane of existence) who settled on Mystara before the appearance of the human race (likely the abelaat colony was established a few millennia before 10000 BC). Abelaats are high-magic creatures with many powers (a chilling power-draining aura; a poisonous bite; immunity to normal weapons; the ability to protrude melee weapons and throw darts from their body; a kind of illusion/charme power enabling them to hide among human and demi human people) and a keen sense of smell which seems to be their primary method of detection. They feed on each other blood or, if needed, on the blood of humans and demi-humans.
Currently the abelaats want to take Mystara back for their race, - restoring the magic of their original home world which was drained by Mystara in ages past, when both words were connected - destroying most of the other intelligent inhabitants of Mystara in the process.
In the Penhaligon Trilogy novels the abelaats on Mystara were slaughtered by humans almost to the last member during prehistory, while the abelaats left on their home planet were turned into stone and placed in a slumber-like status. A few years after AC 1000 (this timeline suggests an AC 1002 - AC 1004 timeframe while, in my opinion, the same events could be moved ahead by a couple of years to locate them inside WotI) the abelaats managed to come back to Mystara thanks to a human/abelaat mage called Theryl Auroch. The mage built the abaton, a portable gate between both worlds, aimed to drain magic from Mystara and awake the slumbering abelaats in their home world, which are then transported to Mystara to help in the conquest.
Following an inital infiltration of a few abelaats on Mystara, a whole abelaat army sprouts in the Darokinian town of Armstead (where the abaton was activated) and utterly destroys it. The army then march south to Penhaligon, destroying everything on its path, before disbanding due to the inactivation of the abaton and the closure of the magical gate perfomed by a group of heroes from the Known World.
Following the failed invasion of Mystara abelaats are currently assumed to be dispersed in the Known World; they are without guidance and not likely to unite anymore.
Gaming-wise there is an abelaat fan-made description at this link but I think that it should include at least some of the magical powers described in the trilogy novels.
Physical description and other features:
From Volume 1:
The abelaat turned and faced Flinn. Slowly it rose to its full height, baring its teeth and as if testing the air. The eight prominent canines dripped rust-colored saliva as the creature hissed... apparently smelling the blood, the beast leaped onto the warrior and seized Fllinn by the shoulders.
...his sword tip found the beast's belly and cut through the papery skin.
...As he had suspected, each fang had a hollow tip. The creature's poison came through tiny tubes in the teeth and mixed with saliva inside the creature's mouth. It was likely the monster only produced the poison when it was preparing to bite.
From Volume 3:
Black figures marched over the ridge line. Shaped like humans, the creatures were limned by a dark, shimmering halo and seemed to steal the light around them. Their rigid ranks and the discipline of their advance made the forces of Penhaligon seem like boys playing as soldiers... They carried armaments like those of the knights - lances, swords, hammers, flails - except that the weapons all seemed to be extensions of the bodies of the warriors themselves. Shimmering halos surrounded the depthless blackness of the blades.
These monsters seemed to consist more of dark magic than of flesh and bone, and their back halos seemed to draw life out of the air around them. Jo wondeed if the abelaats were draining the world's magic even as they stood there, the power making the air flicker and dance like a mirage in the desert.
Now Jo could clearly see that the weapons of the abelaats were extensions of their bodies, made of their dark flesh
Jo watched with horror as the cavalry was cut down before it contacted the enemy, abelaat throwing darts penetrating armor with ease. Before the remaining knights could react, the abelaats' second line struck out with black halberds and short spears.
Jo ran to the front rank, forcing herself to ignore the overpowering scent of spice and the cold of the dark halos. She struck downward with Peace in a two-handed attack, cutting the first abelaat in half. The creature disintegrated into a pool of darkness on the ground...
The only casualies they had taken had been from Peace; not a single sword or spear from Penhaligonm not a single lance from the Black Eagles, had felled an abelaat.
An abelaat was snuffling very near, and its scent was heavy on the shifting wind.
The two abelaats approached the doorway where they crouched... her skin felt incredibly cold, though the temperature did not change... She lifted herself up from the ash as an abelaat charged her. Its halberd tore a gash in her indigo tabard, glanced off the shoulder guard, and caught on the elven chain beneath. The halo surrounding the abelaat writhed snakelike along the shaft of the polearm and struck Jo's body, leaving her cold where the darkness had touched. Jo buried Peace in the creature's chest; the abelaat fell to black dust before the cross-guard touched its halo.[(i]
Tactics of the abelaats and possible defences:
From Volume 3:
[i]The abelaats appeared to move in units of at least four.
It seems that the abelaats' tactics are simple. They attack from the front.
My findings at Councilman Melios' estate indicated that the abelaats only attack from one front... much like a wave. We know they will be using siege engines of some type, so the sappers are standing ready to shore any breaches.
If we want to protect certain persons, such as the baroness, from the draining powers of the abelaats, we should house them in thick-walled structures or beneath the ground.
Origin and history of the abelaats:
From Volume 3:
"There's rooms to let over at the Maiden", Hruddel answered. "Or old Keeper Grainger lets people stay in her barn, if you are short on gold. She's a might on the straer side, though."
Jo set her hand on Hruddel's and asked, "Why is she called 'Keeper'?"
Hruddel shrugged and said, "No one knows why, leastways no one I know. Her mother was called Keeper, and her mother before her. The Grainger women have always been called Keeper".
"Why I am called Keeper, I will tell you now, as I was told, as my mother before me was told" Keeper Grainger began... "I am the last Keeper, for I did not believe the tale - unitl tonight, when I saw your stones of abelaat blood, Squire-Without-a-Name.. I wished the line of Keeper to end with me, that the secret burden of eons could end with me as well."
"Thousands upon thousands of years ago, so long ago that even the elves and the dwarves... have but the slightest memory, our world, Mystara, was closely tied to another, whose name I dare not mention. It was a place of darkness and shadow and powerful sorcery, though not an evil place. Indeed, it had a beauty and nobility that Mystara has never attained. For in that world, there lived a race of surpassing grace. In the old tongue they were called the a'bay'otte, a name which has been corrupted by the tongues of men to abelaat."
"Abelaats... beautiful?" Jo asked, incredulously. "I have never seen a fouler creature in the world."
"Yes", the Keeper said simply. She added, "Those abelaats that live now are horrible perversions of the creatures of old. The original abelaats roamed their own world in grace and constructed magical gates to Mystara - for they were a sorcerous race, and their world a sorcerous world. But Mystara, in those days, was not magic at all. Was it, dwarf?" Keeper Grainger turned to Braddoc, who stood in the shadows.
Braddoc cleared his throat clumsily and said, "No... not as it is today - or so legends say."
"Why did't you tell us about the abelaats before, Braddoc?" Jo asked.
The dwarf shrugged. "It was an ancient, ancient tale, so old no one believed it anymore. I've plenty of ancient dwarwen tales that I haven't bored you with."
"Believe the tale, dwarf," Keeper Grainger said huskily. "Believe the tale, for it is true... the abelaats multiplied across their twilight world, where they were the master race - beautiful and shining. They crossed their magical bridges to reach Mystara, and spread out here as well ... But in the dawn-time of Mystara, new races crawled from their birthing beds. The elven race slowly gained a foothold on Mystara, as did the dwarves. The abelaats lived contentedly with these new folk, trading with the artisan dwarves, and teaching small magicks to the elves. They even traded their blood crystals to the young races of Mystara.
But the abelaats had not realized the power of their crystals. They did not know the magic inherent in their blood and spittle. It was their essence, their magical essence, that they were gradually trading away to the dwarves and elves. And the land changed because of the abelaat crystals. Mystara began to crave magic, as a starving man craves food. It began to draw magic away from the abelaats' home world, through the sorcerous portals and gates the abelaats themselves had built.
Then Mystara gave birth to a new race, the humans... The birth of humans marked the doom of the abelaats, for humans hated abelaats and called them creatures of the night. Humans multiplied quickly and took over the land. The abelaats were forced from their homes and hunted ... The butcheries they brought on the abelaats were great. They hunted them for fear and sport and cruelty, and they left their bodies to lie in waste.
That's when the abelaats began their ceaseless war with the humans. They started to hunt them for food. But even that was not great crime - for millennia, the abelaats had fed off one another as well."
"The abelaats ... ate each other?" Jo asked, horror lacing her words.
Keeper Grainger shook her head. "No. They drew sustenance from each other's blood. But as their numbers dwindled on Mystara, and as their gates to their home world collapsed, one by one, the abelaats began to seek sustenance from human blood."
The Keeper's voice hardened. "Humans destroyed all but a few of the abelaats. The survivors hid in the mountains and the valleys and the deepest gorges, seeking escape from the encroahing hordes. In the end, only one true abelaat remained: Aeltic was his name."
"Abelaats had names?" Jo asked hesitantly ...
"Have, squire, not had." Keeper Grainger gently chided. "Even the pathetic creatures who attacked you and the boy had names."
"The bile of the abelaats lingers in your bodies. It gives off a distinct odor. Some of us are insensitive to it."
"What none of the legends say is that the abelaats' world was drained of so much magic that the abelaats who were still there grew weak and, eventually, turned slowly to stone. Magic was their life essence, and without it, they became crude, slumbering statues. As the magic energy ebbed, the last gates between their world and thi one fell. The abelaats on Mystara could not return home, could not bring back magic to awaken their sleeping brothers from the stony ground."
"And Aeltic descended from those few survivors." Karleah supplied.
"Yes. Aeltic was the last true abelaat."
Karleah stood and gestured for the others to remain seated... "Your story has told us much that we needed to know. Now let me tell my companions the rest. The abelaats were a beautiful race indeed, as are vampires and other creatures of darkness. This beauty is cold and lethal. Abelaats have bo love for the children of the day, treating them like cattle, subsisting on their blood. Humans, elves and dwarves alike."
"Abelaats are vampires?" Jo asked, confused.
Karleah shook her head. "No. They are like vampires, but are living creatures, not undead. Abelaats are born of sorcerous darkness and bood-lust...
The dwarves feel a kinship with the abelaats because they were, like the dwarves, creatures of stone and darkness. According to dwarven legends, abelaats and dwarves were brothers. That is rubbish. It was only by trickery and illusion that the abelaats could even move among Braddoc's folk...
The abelaats have many magical power, and this 'attraction' s one that has allowed them to live among humans all these years," the old woman said. "All the abelaats that came to Mystara before the gates collapsed share in that beauty. Those who are gated in now are twisted by their journey, transformed into horrible monsters." Karlah pointed a crooked finger at the Keeper, who still sat on the floor beside the brazier. "The Keeper is from the old line."
Keeper Grainger nodded. A tear rolled down her cheek. "Aeltic - the last true abelaat on Mystara - was my father... Yes, my father, though so many times removed as to no longer hold the meaning you have for 'father'. He was the father of the Keepers - we who keep the memory of the abelaats alive. Aeltic was the last abelaat, and he took as his consort a human. Their offspring, a daughter who bore traits both abelaat and human, mated also with a human. And so it wnt for a thousand years, until at last I was born. I, the last Keeper, have only a bare trace of my father's blood left in me."
Abelaat home world:
From Volume 3:
The rough corridor in which Jo stood was low, dark,and damp. Light emanated from things that looked like fireflies, buzzing about the hallway in one direction, without seeming purpose. The walls were not made of stone or earth or sand, but some spongy substance. Spongy and hot. Only the chill, magical winds that poured in through the abaton made standing there bearable.
When eventually she could see how the corridors wound and stretched, Jo felt as if the ceilings and walls might collapse on her, like the dripping walls of a mud cave.
"Living" was the first word that came into Jo's thoughts. Everything around her lived. The walls were alive, the ceiling, the floor, the buzzing will-o'-the-wisps of light. The air lived - the breath of this world, even the cold rush of Mystara's magic was part of the life.
With a settling sense of dread, Jo realized that the abelaats' once-slumbering world was, in fact, a once-slumbering being. A living world, for whom magic was life, and abelaats were organs of a sort. And, in the quiverings and pulses of the fleshy cave around her, she somehow knew that the being was aware of her presence.
If this is a being, she conjectured, its lifeblood must be magic, because without magic, it slept. And blood flows always back to the heart. Her eyes studied the fireflies, being borne down the passage on the gusts of magical wind. And she knew where to find the heart.
As she had hoped, the pulsing stream of magic guided her slowly, inevitably to the heart of the beast. Though she seemed to wander for many lifetimes in that hot and dark place, Jo found herself unprepared when at last she stood at the entrance to a vast chamber. The chamber was shaped like a rough teardrop, and Jo stood at its small end. The glowing wisps flew directly into the great space, joining a sea of other such creatures that made the cavern glow. The ceiling was covered with strange, winding formations that could have been the veins in any beast's heart. Of course, this was the heart of the world.
Theryl Auroch appeared, standing, in the center of the room. His body grew more corporeal with the increasing light. He materialized beside a huge red stone that Jo imagined was a ruby, a gem imbedded in the fleshy floor of the cavern and rising to the height of a giant. The stone was larger than Auroch, with a rough shape oddly familiar to Jo.
Jo realized that the amorphous shape of the ruby was almost like that of a heart.
From Volume 2:
"You have come to find the abaton - what you call simply the puzzle box - which Auroch has unleashed on Mystara... The abaton wass created to save the abelaat race, to give them one final portal for entering and leaving Mystara... The portal is not so much for the abelaats to cross... at least not initially. The portal's first function is as a drain, to draw magic out of Mystara and deposit it into the abelaats' world. Obnly when it has drawn enough magic to awaken the first abelaats, only then will the abaton begin to serve as a portal for the creatures themselves... The abelaats desire more than all else to draw their magic back to their world. They want to revive their slumbering kin. After they are awakened, they will march upon Mystara, to reclaim it as their own."