Mount Celestia

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Greyhawk Plane
Seven Mounting
Heavens of Celestia
Mt Celestia01.jpg
A rough map of Mount Celestia.
Type Outer plane
Layers Seven
Alignment Lawful good
Native Inhabitants Angel, archon, noctral, zoveri
Greyhawk Powers Al'Akbar, Allitur, Arvoreen, Bahamut, Berronar Truesilver, Cyrrollalee, Delleb, Fortubo, the Hebdomad, Heironeous, Jazirian, Mayaheine, Moradin, Rao, Trishina, Ulaa, Yondalla

Mount Celestia or more fully, the Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia, is a lawful good-aligned plane of existence. It is also known simply as Celestia, the Seven-Tiered Mountain, or even the Seven Heavens. This plane is where Law and Good, justice and mercy, join together in more or less perfect balance. As perfect as anything can be in the fractious Outer Planes, at any rate.

Description

Celestia is the ultimate in law and good. All aspects of Celestia are beautiful and perfect; it is where the souls of many creatures of lawful good alignment go to after death. It is home to numerous celestial creatures including various types of archons, the petitioners of this plane.

Among the Upper Planes, Mount Celestia is rather isolationist; only Arcadia is more suspicious of strangers. Still, all are welcome in the Seven Heavens if they devote themselves to a path of virtue. Only by learning something of the nature of virtue along these paths can one ascend to higher layers of the plane (although, as with everything, there are loopholes).

Although the plane is referred to as a single mountain, most of its layers consist of many (perhaps infinite) peaks. The exceptions are Mertion, which contains enormous black domes instead of peaks, and Jovar, which contains a single infinite ziggurat.

Structure

As an outer plane, Celestia is spatially infinite, further consisting of seven infinite layers (or sub-planes). The seven individual layers form a conceptual mountain that rises from an infinite sea of holy water on the bottommost layer, to the summit on the topmost layer. Ascending the mountain is analogous to traveling through successively higher or 'deeper' layers to the top. Each of the different layers consists of various beautiful mountainous environments becoming more breathtaking the higher the mountain is ascended. The entrance to the next layers can usually be found on the highest points in the preceding layers. Celestia’s first (bottommost) layer shares borders with the neighbouring planes of the Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia, the Outlands, and the Twin Paradises of Bytopia; travel is possible between Celestia and these planes at certain locations.

Celestia's portals resemble large blocks of finished stones. Black granite shot with gold leads to Arcadia, white granite shot with silver leads to Bytopia, and red blocks spattered with blue flecks lead to the Outlands. The portal to Excelsior looks like a bobbing light hovering over the ocean, according to Planes of Law; you have to chase it down.

Inhabitants

While Mount Celestia is home to all manner of goodly and lawful beings including solars, dragons, phoenix, asuras and hollyphaunts, as well as the souls of the good petitioners of the planes, its native inhabitants are the varied race of archons. The archons and all of Celestia are ruled over by the members of the Celestial Hebdomad; the ruling council of heaven. The Hebdomad deal with all matters relating to their plane, including dealing with the archons below, the souls of petitioners, goodly and lawful inhabitants of other planes and the defense of the weak and good and all of Celestia itself. The Hebdomad is ruled over by Zaphkiel from the illuminated plane of Chronias, the only remaining member of the seven original martyrs whose souls created the Hebdomad eons ago.

Layers

Lunia, the first layer of Celestia, as depicted in the Manual of the Planes (2001). Art by M. Cavotta.

Celestia consists of seven layers:

Lunia

The lowest and first layer of Celestia is Lunia, also referred to as The Silver Heaven , due to its vast dark Silver Sea of holy water and beautiful shining cities of white stone. The Silver Sea itself is pure freshwater, not salt, filled with many aquatic life forms. Numerous portals to other planes connect near to the shores, the masses of holy water acting as an effective deterrent to evil outsiders. The sky above Lunia is perpetually dark, filled with beautiful constellations of silver stars bright enough to illuminate the base of the mountain. Innocence is the theme here.

Lunia is the location of a number of godly realms, including Tyr's realm the Court, Brihaspati's realm Nectar of Life, and the Shichifukujin's realm the Eight Happinesses. Trishina can be found wandering on Lunia when not with her consort, Deep Sashelas.

Lunia is ruled over by the archon Barachiel, the patron of trumpet archons, whose Citadel of Stars sits on the shores of the Silver Sea. Barachiel is charged with defending Celestia from incursion, a task which, even on this lowest and most accessible layer, he rarely has to act upon.

Heart's Faith, a town ruled by celestial lammasu, is on the shore adjacent to the portal to Excelsior in the Outlands. Nemmiron is the gate-town leading to Arcadia, and Soul's Desire contains a portal to Bytopia.

Mercuria

The second layer, called Mercuria is also known as The Golden Heaven, so called because a mysterious golden light permeates everything within it. Gentle hills and lush green valleys comprise this layer, dotted with small settlements of archons and other good-aligned beings. Mercuria is known for its great tombs and monuments to noble fighters and paladins who now rest on this layer. These warriors are honoured during an annual Day of Memory.

The palace of the good dragon deity Bahamut moves about the first four layers of Celestia. It is made entirely from Bahamut's enormous treasure hoard, with walls made of mithral and windows composed of huge gemstones. Inside, seven great wyrms closely guard the huge hoard of amassed treasure.

Mercuria is the location of a number of godly realms, including the god Rao's realm Sweet Reason, Torm's realm Trueheart, Surya and Mitra's realm Goldfire, Vishnu's realm the Divine Lotus, and Amaterasu's realm Radiant Light.

Goldfire is a realm of constant radiance neighboring Vishnu's realm, the Divine Lotus. Rich and fertile jungles fill much of it, and its light destroys all undead and illuminates all invisible creatures. Pashitra is Mitra's city of warmth, a city of bright white buildings, each of which has a central stove that radiates warmth. Pashitra contains a well-traveled gate to Bytopia, the home of the solar god Savitri. The gate is a set of two golden pillars engraved with signs, seals, and prophecies. Mitra's Temple of the Golden Bull towers above all buildings in the center of town, made of warm marble and festooned with silk banners. Its ruler is the paladin Benazir Singh.

Mercuria is ruled over by the sword-wielding Domiel from the Golden Spire of Aurilon, a 400 foot tall golden tower in the midst of a valley fed by four rivers.

Venya

Venya, the third layer, is also known as The Pearly Heaven. This layer is somewhat colder than the previous two and its slopes are often seen covered with a gentle layer of snow. Peaceful brooks and carefully terraced fields are common on Venya.

The halfling realm the Green Fields is located on Venya. It is a place of safety for the many halflings that live here; their crops always give plentiful harvests and there are no large predators to speak of. It is also home to Yondalla, and other members of the halfling pantheon, Arvoreen and Cyrrollalee.

The Fields of Glory are the realm of Heironeous, the deity of justice and valor.

Erathaol the Seer, an incredibly handsome archon with subtle masculine features, governs Venya from his underwater library-fortress of Xiranthador. Within its pearl-lined halls are said to lie more tomes of knowledge than can be read in a thousand lifetimes.

Solania

Solania, the fourth layer, is also called The Crystal Heaven. Many valleys comprise Solania, covered with luminescent fogs and strange scents. The peaks are homes to numerous holy shrines, including monasteries and magnificent cathedrals. Many of the slopes are rich in precious ores and minerals and are mined by populations of dwarves that reside there.

A vast dwarven mansion called Erackinor is located on the slopes of Solania, where the dwarven deity Moradin makes his domain, with his wife Berronar Truesilver. Here exists the giant Soul Forges that Moradin is said to use to temper the spirits of his people.

Solania is the location of a number of other godly realms, including the couatl deity Jazirian's realm Uroboros, Fortubo's Empyrean Delve, the Great Library of Delleb, Paladine's Dome of Creation, Chung Kuel's Ministry of Virtue, and Kuan Yin's realm the Lotus Garden.

Pistis Sophia, called the Ascetic due to her monk-like tendencies, holds no abode but travels the misty hills of her layer, helping out all who greet her along the way.

Mertion

Mertion, The Platinum Heaven, is a layer of gentle slopes and wide plains. The many great citadels that dot the layer are the mustering grounds for forces of paladins and celestial creatures. Mysterious black domes of enormous size replace the mountain peaks found in most of the other Heavens.

The City of Tempered Souls, Empyrea, is located on the edge of a cold mountain lake. It is known to host many magical fountains with powerful healing properties, as well as many hospitals and expert healers. Allitur makes his dwelling in this city.

Rempha, the City of the Sands of Time, is one of Cyndor's three domains.

Soqed Hezi, the City of Swords, is ruled by the sword archon Bahram. The demigod Al'Akbar also dwells there.

Arvenna, the Chanting Grounds, are a dusty plain. They are the crucible of warrior souls, but also the scene of choirs, chantries, and even yodeling among the archons who spend their days in pursuit of perfection in battle. Here are heard the Celestial Bells, which summon warriors to battle and to prayer. Every body annointed by the Heralds of Arvenna regenerates as long as it remains within the boundaries of the training grounds. The goddesses Mayaheine of Oerth and Tarastia of Mystara can often be found training here with the others.

Raziel, known to his peers as the Firestar for his judicious wrath, rules Mertion from Empyrea. As the patron of paladins and warriors, he holds no permanent fortress but can be found in any of the city's many hospitals and infirmaries, providing spiritual guidance and protection to the clerics and patients within.

Jovar

The sixth layer, Jovar, is The Glittering Heaven. Its hills are studded with precious gemstones that glitter in the light.

Yetsirah, The Heavenly City is a huge seven-layered ziggurat with a large staircase on each face connecting the terraces of each layer. The stones that make up the city are made of precious gemstones, similar to those seen around the surrounding hills. On the topmost terrace is the bridge of al-Sihal, formed of pure light. Here lies the portal to the topmost layer of Celestia, Chronias; it is guarded by a powerful solar named Xerona who judges who may and may not enter.

Yetsirah and all of Jovar is ruled over by Sealtiel the Defender. Sealtiel commands one of the most impressive standing armies in the Heavens from his fortress of Pax Exaltea, and is charged with preventing impure beings from reaching the uppermost layer of Celestia.

Chronias

Chronias is the topmost and final layer of Celestia, also called The Illuminated Heaven. There is no real account or description of Chronias, as no entity that has entered has ever returned.

It is thought to be the ultimate goal of the inhabitants of Celestia to ascend the layers one by one in order to reach Chronias, where their souls will join with the essence of the plane itself.

If anyone can even be said to rule in Chronias, that being would be Zaphkiel. Zaphkiel is the mysterious ruler of the Hebdomad, and is the only one who has held his position since it was created; all other previous members having perished in combating fiends or gone on to join the essence of their planes. Zaphkiel embodies the "perfect good," and only the most righteous and exalted individuals can stand in his presence without being consumed. Zaphkiel is the patron of dead children and stillborn babies and watches over their spirits. Beyond this Zaphkiel's motivations and plans are unknowable, though it is known that he intends to make the planes as good as they can be, and only he can promote an archon into the Hebdomad.

Fauna

Creative origins

The Seven Heavens are loosely based on the Nine Spheres of Heaven (skipping the Seventh Sphere and combining the Eighth and Ninth) in Dante's The Divine Comedy in the same way that the Nine Hells of Baator are based on his Nine Circles of Hell. Dante's Purgatory, which is portrayed as a seven-tiered mountain, is also a significant influence.

See also

Bibliography

  • Cook, Monte. The Planewalker's Handbook. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • McComb, Colin, and Monte Cook. The Great Modron March. Renton, WA: TSR, 1997.
  • McComb, Colin, and Wolfgang Baur. Planes of Law. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.
  • Noonan, David. Complete Divine. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2004.
  • Perkins, Christopher. Warriors of Heaven. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1999.
  • Wyatt, James, Darrin Drader, and Christopher Perkins. Book of Exalted Deeds. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003.