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The Sebattiby Jennifer Guerra
Translated from the personal letters of Aytan Nisanci, Hulean explorer [the only fragment of his notes remaining, following his arrest by agents of the Diviners]:
Today, while digging in the newly-uncovered section of the ruins, in the shadow of the second statue, I made a most remarkable find! A clay tablet, inscribed with an ancient text comprising various glyphs and lines. The reverse was veritably covered in detailed images of souls in great torment - quite unsettling. As the mysterious tablet was in excellent condition, I immediately turned it over to Ishak for magical translation.
The mage, indeed, was able to decipher the glyphs at length. The passage (along with those disturbing images!) conveys a sense of lamentation, and tells of powerful evil beings:
Seven are they! Seven are they! In the ocean deep, seven are they! Battening in the heavens, seven are they! Bred in the depths of the Void; not male or female are they, but as a chaotic wind-blast. Knowing neither mercy nor pity, they hearken not to prayer. They are monsters reared amidst the stars, the evil ones of Te'a; throne bearers to the Dark One are they.
I do not know anything else of these creatures as yet, nor of he they serve, "Te'a." But I am nevertheless greatly excited over this discovery! For I believe that it proves the very hypothesis which I came here to prove: that these ruins are not the work of the legendary king Hosadus, but of another, much more ancient civilisation - one which worshipped (and feared) Immortals different not only from our modern Temple, but from its ancestor as well.
I shall continue to investigate my find; the lay of the land, from the vantage of the new dig, seems to suggest that there might be a building beneath our very feet! Perhaps a temple, dedicated to these "Seven"?...
The Sebatti, or the "Seven," are among Mystara's most malevolent creatures (servitors of the Outer Beings notwithstanding). Originally elves of an ancient civilisation, the Sebatti are now twisted Immortal servants who bring nothing but ill to the people of the world they "serve."
North-central Brun was once home to a flourishing civilisation. Built in the sub-arctic foothills of the Black Mountains in the millennium before Blackmoor, this civilisation - called Neraghel - was home to a number of elven mages and priests who had been turned out of their lush southern home of Evergrun for delving into forbidden magics. The elves of Neraghel contemptuously founded their great city on these "forbidden" magics, harnessing the power of summoned beings for labour, and commanding the elements to obey their every whim. They bent Nature to their will, harshly transforming the cold land with their magics. Neighbouring tribes were ruthlessly subjugated and used as fodder for experiments and spell components. Neraghel was not only a disgrace to elvenkind, but to the Immortals themselves.
Make that to some of the Immortals...
Thanatos saw the success of the Neragheli as leading to the eventual corruption (and destruction) of the entire elven race on Mystara, and was greatly pleased. As "Te'a," he began to personally hear the prayers of Neragheli clerics, granting them twisted, profane spells. He sent omens to warn of good and bad times to attack their enemies. An avatar rose to prominence in their Necromantic society.
At last, a small core of elite faithful - dedicated wholly to the destructive goals of their patron, even moreso than their peers - emerged. They numbered seven, and represented the most corrupt leaders of Neragheli society. Thanatos was overjoyed at what his foresight had cultivated, and began to form another, even more devious, plan. He agreed to sponsor each of the seven (separately) to Immortality in the Sphere of Entropy.
As each of the seven elves neared the end of his quest, Thanatos slew him, in whatever mortal form he needed to take in order to accomplish this. Each death was long and horrible beyond words, and designed to further the Immortal's plan. For once each elf had experienced betrayal, pain, and death, Thanatos and ally Hel (known as Mereshkigat to the Neragheli) reincarnated all seven. The new "souls" (if they can be called as such) of the Seven were an amalgam of their own, dark spirits, and those of other Entropic beings who had failed on their quests for Immortality. Each was made to embody a dark "ideal" which would further the cause of Entropy.
Thanatos awakened his seven exalted Children, and sent them out into the world to spread their horror. They have succeeded remarkably over the centuries; the Sebatti have had an assisting hand in much of the world's sorrows, from the Rain of Fire to the corruption of Nithia, to the Wrath of the Immortals war. They are not Immortals, but Exalted beings in the service of their Master; the Sebatti are Thanatos' servants, heralds, and messengers of all things chaotic and destructive.
The Sebatti are magically bound to a seven-part magical item, the Mirrors of Sorrow. The Mirrors were created by Thanatos as a means for his Children to spread their corruption of the mortal world. Whenever a Mirror is used (ie, looked into) by a mortal, his spirit is taken into the Mirror's adjoining pocket plane, corrupted according to the attached creature's goals, and released to wreak havoc upon the world. Each member of the Sebatti may alter how their Mirror appears, as well as the form of the pocket plane. For example, one Mirror (Tyranny) draws victims into a mirror-covered area the size of a small kingdom (see X12: Skarda's Mirror). Each pocket plane contains a reverse view of the Mirror in use, plus mock-ups of the other six mirrors (to torment those trying to escape).
The effects of the Mirror plane upon its victims depends on the goals of the Sebatti:
- Mirror of Pain. Overseen by Enedu, the Tormentor. Thanatos murdered Enedu by sacrificing him to those masters of torture, the Vitiates. Consequently, victims of his Mirror enter a world of blood and pain very similar to the Vitiates' dimension. When they re-enter the world, they are psychotic, and act only to cause others the torment they experienced. A serial killer currently at large in Glantri, "the Fenswick Flayer," is one of Enedu's more recent, "light-hearted" creations.
- Mirror of Evil. Overseen by Enkishar, the Dark Lady. As Enkishar prefers female victims, this Mirror is an exquisite creation of silver filigree and gem dust. Victims of this mirror are drawn into a twisted version of their everyday life, where they are hurt, rejected, and betrayed by all their loved ones and close companions. The result is a person who trusts no one, and who works to ensure that the best-laid plans of their "betrayers" are thwarted. So that her victims may cause the most damage, Enkishar typically chooses ladies of their society's upper class. A notable recent example: Kirilee, wife of King Doriath (formerly of Alfheim).
- Mirror of Despair. Overseen by Endashurimma, the Hope-Slayer. This Mirror opens onto a tiny room with no light, no windows, and no doors (other than the Mirror itself). It is just large enough for a single person to sit. Endashurimma's victims are led through scenes of their lives - but only the worst parts, their failures and heartaches. With her "help," they gradually come to believe that their life is hopeless, and that they are destined for nothing better than emotional agony. They are returned to the world suicidal; 85% complete the act within the first day of their release. The rest soon follow. Endashurimma as made an art out of choosing her victims; they are usually people in positions of power, whose deaths will cause great chaos. One noteworthy victim of this Mirror was the last non-evil emperor of Nithia; his suicide paved the way for Thanatos' corruption of that realm.
- Mirror of Oblivion. Overseen by Enuralla, the Dark Lord. Enuralla is a favourite of Thanatos, sharing the Immortal's philosophy and goals completely. Unlike his "siblings," Enuralla's approach to his Mirror dominion is a little more straightforward. Victims drawn into the Mirror are snuffed out, their souls exterminated. Occasionally, Enuralla will grow bored of this and add a new twist: not only is victim dead, he was never born (with all the consequences to those around him).
- Mirror of Tyranny. Overseen by Endukuga, the Mailed Fist of Te'a. Victims of this Mirror are drawn into a small world made of mirror glass, which continually reflects the will of Endukuga. These thoughts strike its victims, rendering them obsessed with controlling the world. Their morals are wiped away; conquest is all that matters. They may come and go from the Mirror at will (until they are slain), using it as a base of operations. A recent victim was Skarda the Reaver (see X12: Skarda's Mirror), who nearly murdered King Stefan of Karameikos and took his crown, before being beaten by an adventuring party.
- Mirror of Pestilence. Overseen by Endushuba, the Plague Maiden. Victims of this Mirror are in Endushuba's realm - a green, sickly swamp - for mere seconds before being returned to reality. In fact, the journey for many is so brief, they think it was a waking dream, or hallucination (and thus fail to seek healing). These victims become the carriers of the deadliest - and most communicable - diseases the world has ever seen. Case in point: Thyatian scholars disagree whether the recent mummy rot plague originated in the Thothian war, or in Anya's curse of Emperor Thincol. In fact, the carrier was a victim of the Mirror of Pestilence.
- Mirror of Avarice. Overseen by Ennugigi, the Smiling One. While Ennugigi's Mirror may at first seem less dangerous than those of his "siblings," its effects are, in fact, even more insidious. For the Mirror takes its victims to a place of riches, power, and excess, which perfectly suits the victim's innermost desires. He returns to the world feeling as though he (or she) finally knows what he wants in life, and throws himself into accomplishing these goals. He never sees the swath of ill will, bitterness, hurt, vengefulness, jealousy, etc., trailing in his wake as he proceeds in amassing his fortune or power base. With this "subtle" approach to corruption, Ennugigi has had great returns, managing to drive victims up the ladder of success to the detriment of those around them - even to the ranks of Immortality. A current Immortal of the Sphere of Energy was one of the first mortal victims of Ennugigi; he still drives his followers to despicable moral acts in his name, for the sake of his "projects."
The nature of the Mirrors' existence is not known to mortals; various legends exist about each Mirror individually, though (for example, "Skarda's Mirror" was thought to be one surviving, altered Mirror of Life Trapping, belonging to a dead Immortal). Should PCs draw a connection between two or more Mirrors they hear about in their travels, you (the DM) should make it all but impossible for them to verify.
Likewise, no information exists on how to destroy any of the Mirrors; if the outer-world Mirror is destroyed, another manifestation of it will appear elsewhere in 1d10 days. It may be possible to destroy the Mirrors if all of them are smashed at once, in the Sebatti's home plane of Erkalla.