Since arriving in Zadash 12 days ago, The Mighty Nein have heard about the power of the Cerberus Assembly. They first witnessed that power when the Xhorhasian infiltrators attempted to bring down the Zauber Spire, only to be prevented by two flying mages. With Caleb’s recent trip to the Library of the Cobalt Soul, and Beau & Yasha’s conversation with Trent and Oremid, we thought it was time to devote a post to explaining what we know so far about the Empire’s resident circle of mages. (Transcripts of relevant moments are documented here.)
The name Cerberus Assembly is a reference to a group that existed during the Age of Arcanum. The book Caleb read discussed the war of mage houses 150 years ago in the empire that nearly destroyed part of Rexxentrum. As part of the ceasefire, the mage houses agreed to bind themselves to the empire and work for them in lieu of being arrested. As Matt said, the Cerberus Assembly, “helped the [Dwendalian] kingdom rise to power to conquer the Julous Dominion.”
The Soltryce Academy was established to train upcoming mages in pursuit and study of arcane power to serve the great Dwendalian Empire. Caleb shared that usually only one new student is accepted each year, sought out by the empire instead of following an application process (though in rare cases, several diamonds may be found in the rough). The Academy’s influence stretches far, far enough to gain Fjord’s attention from Port Damali as a place to learn about strange magic.
Thanks to @my2k for this art piece!
Martinet Lunidus Da’leth, Archmage of Domestic Protections
Original Member and oldest living CA member; considered the leader
Marquis Jenna Iresor, Archmage of Industry
Master Doolan Tversky, Archmage of Dysology
Lord Athesias Uludan, Archmage of Diplomatic Union
Lady Vess DeRogna, Archmage of Antiquity
Headmaster Zivan Margolin, Archmage of Conscription
Headmaster Oremid Hass, Archmage of Cultivation
Headmaster of the Hall of Erudition
Described by Pumat as, “A real nice beacon of tutelage. He’s a bit rough on the edges, and seems tough, but he’s a softie. Especially when it comes to small critters.”
Master Trent Ikithon, Archmage of Civil Influence
“Propagandist and constructor of the face of the Empire in upper echelon circles”
Older man in 70s
Previously trained young mages (including Caleb) to be unquestioning soldiers to the empire, including implanting false memories into their minds and forcing them to murder those considered traitors to the Empire.
Presence in Zadash
While attending their first Knights of Requital meeting, Beau and Fjord heard the members discuss their “frustration dealing with the ever creeping power scale of the Cerberus Assembly and influence that stretches from Rexxentrum into the city itself.” Their symbol looks like three diamond shards that all point to the center in a flux capacitor-like design.
Pumat Sol told the party that he’s an annex of the CA (whose members are largely based in Rexxentrum) because he provides them with his capabilities and enchanted objects, and in return he gets favors like his three Simulacra. He mentioned that they’re the most powerful magicians in the Empire and that they help keep everyone safe and keep the crown in check. He let on that, “with enough positive reinforcement, with enough friendship attained with certain members like I have developed over many years of hard work and providing services, perhaps one day you too could be the fine owner of three other versions of yourself.” Later, Pumat detailed how some of the CA members picked up a younger Pumat who was wandering after leaving his home where he didn’t get along with his peers. They helped him hone his craft and get set up in Zadash 12 years ago.
Oremid Hass, as detailed above, oversees the Hall of Erudition in the Tri-Spires district of Zadash. It is a place for learning, especially regarding the arcane. Pumat expressed his admiration of their work in education, especially for the less financially well-off. At the Cobalt Soul library, some of Caleb’s arcane-related inquiries were denied because the kinds of books he was looking for were likely to be found at the Hall of Erudition instead.
Apple Tree Tutor Village and the Library of the Cobalt Soul
While we’re talking about the Cerberus Assembly and the Hall of Erudition, we’ll mention the other institutions of learning within Zadash. The first is the Apple Tree Tutor Village, which is in the Insterstead Sprawl and run by the Soltryce Academy, like the Hall of Erudition. It provides basic learning for children and adults who are not affluent. Its head tutor is Mikael Drom.
The Order of the Cobalt Soul is an international collection of monasteries where scholars and monks worship the Knowing Mistress by practicing her teachings of collecting and sharing knowledge. Unlike the Hall of Erudition and Apple Tree Tutor Village, the Library of the Cobalt Soul, sometimes called The Archive, provides its stores of knowledge to whoever would wish to study it. Although the High Archivists are appointed by the Crown and serve the Empire directly (as do all religious officials in the Dwendalian Empire), the Order of the Cobalt Soul and The Archive are fully separate entities from the Cerberus Assembly, the Soltryce Academy, and all of its sub-organizations.
Not all books are available for free public consumption, as some information is more valuable or dangerous than others. In the first campaign, Vox Machina learned this when they sought out information regarding Orcus and rakshasas from the restricted section in the Cobalt Vault in Vasselheim. From what Archivist Jennah told Caleb, a similar section exists in the Archive in Zadash. However, the Cobalt Soul are certainly more willing to share their collected knowledge than the Cerberus Assembly appears to be.
Thanks to @ForgingMeanings for this art piece!
While the mages’ defense of the Zauber Spire provided but a taste of the knowledge and power the Assembly commands to protect against external threats to the Empire, Caleb’s account about the Academy demonstrated the lengths the Empire and the Assembly are willing to go to protect itself against its own citizens. Although technically a separate entity from the Soltryce Academy, Trent’s project indoctrinated young teenagers and ordered them to perform executions. This is clearly a shadowy part of the Cerberus Assembly, though it’s unclear at this time if this is the primary intent of the Academy. It is also unclear the full extent of the Assembly’s dark reach, what other secret projects are underway, and to what extent the Empire is aware of or endorses these activities.