The Angel's Rest

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    Just SurvivingThe Angel's Rest[Case - Mercuria]Copyright © 2000 by Heiner de Wendt

CharacterEven the pure-hearted of Mt. Celestia sometimes need to remember there's a world beyond their beloved plane. With all their immortals striving for perfection, with all their virtues and working for the greater good, they sometimes need to be reminded of the "normal" world out there.

Description"The Angel's Rest" seems to be a normal inn at first glance. It's got the size of a usual inn found on any typical Prime world out there - at least, that is, from the outside. Those who come inside the inn soon find out it seems to be near infinite, with ever more rooms, hallways and people around.

Fact is the inn doesn't even really exist in Mercuria. If one enters the building through any window, there’s just an ancient, dusty, empty tavern room to be found. The main door, though, leads through a portal (the key is air from Mt. Celestia, so it's always open) right into a similar inn in Sigil's market ward. Interestingly, there is no entrance into the building in Sigil; the inn completely relies on portals.

Many hallways and doors have further portals, leading to other places in Sigil (also shut off from the rest of the city) or to places in the Prime Material Plane. All those portals have weird keys that keep them always open, and all except the one to Mt. Celestia are regularly shifting. So, guests never know where they might end up when going through the inn. But as the portals always lead into other buildings that have been incorporated into the Angel's Rest inn, it doesn't really matter, except maybe for spellslingers.

Guests are mainly mortals from those many Prime worlds the portals lead to. It seems a "secret circle" of people knowing about this place has been established, and they're constantly keeping contact with other people visiting the inn. With very few exceptions, these are people sharing at least some of the ideals of Mt. Celestia. For that portal is the only one people always find if they really search for it (except for their own home portals, although they usually have to wait some time until the particular portal shifts to their destination again).

The innkeeper is a strange dwarf known only as Angelbeard. His utterly white hair (including, of course, the long beard) has made people suggest he's an aasimar, but Angelbeard only laughs about such ideas. "Just a li'l old dwarf with a white beard", he explains when asked.

Yet, Angelbeard knows many secrets about The Angel's Rest, for sure. He always appears when someone's lost in his inn, and he seems to have an instinct for how the portals change in his inn. Even weirder, whenever a celestial enters his inn, Angelbeard greets the planeborn with their name, even if he's never seen them before.

If he finds the time and the celestials don't seem too uninterested, the old dwarf loves to chat with the pure-hearted beings, learning of the things that move the multiverse, but also telling the celestials of important things he's heard. It's like he's made it his personal task to point the celestials to wherever they're needed, and he's responsible for many an aasimon's or archon's quest on the Prime (and for many failed evil plans).

Something few people seem aware of is Angelbeard’s extremely long lifespan. The inn has existed for over a millennia, yet the dwarf doesn't seem older than about four hundred years. A few visitors have already suggested Angelbeard might be some kind of demigod, but as he's also encountered in those parts of The Angel's Rest which lie within Sigil, that's definitely not possible. It's highly improbable, though, that he’s really "just a li'l old dwarf".

A few curious adventurers have already checked to see if the inn really lies within Sigil at all, trying out spells to move through the walls. Indeed, they ended up in Sigil's Market Ward, and it's also possible to get into the inn with such spells. The inn is protected from any teleportation powers, though, as all of it is covered in permanent protection from evil spells, few non-good creatures have at all tried to enter. Those that did soon encountered Angelbeard, who hurriedly cast a spell or two and sent the invaders out of his inn.

His spellpowers, of course, are the center of many more rumors. As a dwarf, he can't be a mage, so he must be some kind of priest. Yet he doesn't admit he's worshipping any particular deity, nor any kind of "great unknown" such as the Athar. As he says, he just does what needs to be done.

The ChantA few archons have recently speculated that Angelbeard might be a fallen archon, who's taken the shape of a dwarf for whatever reason. If so, this would explain many things: why he loves so much to talk to Celestials, why he wants to point them to certain quests, where he got his spellpowers from, and so on. Still, even deep investigations haven't resulted in any greater knowledge.

Maybe even more interesting is the dusty inn at the side of Mt. Celestia. The ancient empty building has indeed a great history. It once belonged to a group of mortal adventurers, who had a powerful balor striving for Abyssal Lordhood as their archenemy. They battled with him many times, killed countless servants of Evil, and rescued even more innocent souls.

In the end, their inn (which, back then, existed where Excelsior now stands) was stormed by a whole army of fiends, and all in the vicinity where slaughtered. Yet, with the help of the forces of Mt. Celestia, the side of Good won and without his army, it was just a matter of time until the balor was also slain.

The adventuring group died through this event, but as their souls made the short trip to nearby Mt. Celestia, they were "accompanied" by their inn, and chant has it they still visit this place now and then in their current archon-shapes.

Another theory actually states that Angelbeard was part of this adventuring group, and became a fallen archon when his archon-comrades were killed in a later battle, but this might be nothing but bardic poetry.

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