Let loose in the library with unrestrained access to the full underground reserves of the Cobalt Soul, the Mighty Nein flooded themselves (and us) with information. Much of the information was already established in previous episodes, while some of it shed a little more light on the world of Exandria. Here, we’ll unpack and repackage the episode’s deluge in nice, easy-to-read sections (though we’ll add relevant context where required). We’ve updated our quote compendiums as well:
This episode marked the chattiest Beau has been about her life in Kamordah since she told Fjord she had a little brother. That said, we actually learned more about her father than about her, which really seems par for the course considering we didn’t even learn her last name until three episodes ago.
Thoreau(-regard) Lionett wasn’t a rich man, but he met with a fortune teller, who told him to purchase a piece of land around Kamordah that hadn’t been fruitful, and suddenly it became productive when he planted a vineyard there. Since then, he’s been a bit superstitious and paranoid. Beau has previously mentioned that she doesn’t trust fortune tellers at all, which is why she took an immediate dislike to Molly. She kept his tarot cards after he died, so she might put more stock in it than she lets on.
The Luxon and the Kryn Dynasty
The Nein were able to glean little information about the Kryn Dynasty’s favorite deity while at the Valley Archive. It’s not the information they did learn (the Empire has doubts that the Luxon is even a god, and thinks it could be a ruse the Kryn Den is pulling to keep themselves in power), but the information they didn’t learn that’s of note. As avid of researchers as the Archivists at the Cobalt Soul may be, they still know very little about the Luxon, the beacon, and dunamancy. The Mighty Nein know far more than the most knowledgeable researchers in Zadash, which says a lot about what the folks in the Empire think about the Dynasty. The Nein learned more about their culture, religion, and magic in the last month and a half than the Empire did in their meetings with the Dynasty over the last 800 years.
The Nein may have gotten themselves banned from two branches of the Cobalt Soul and became personae non gratae at another, but we’d bet they could dangle some of their knowledge in front of the Archives to get back in good graces. (As we saw in Uthodurn, a big pile of money goes a long way, too, at least for libraries outside the Cobalt Soul network.)
Obann, Angel of Irons, and The Laughing Hand
Obann was originally a servant of Graz’zt, one of the demon lords of the Abyss. Apparently, Obann wasn’t the best at his job as Master of Wills, and suffered a failure so catastrophic that he was not only shamed, but destroyed. Considering demons can only be fully destroyed on their home plane, we have to surmise that he was either:
Resurrected by someone
Not actually killed in the Abyss
An unrelated demon also named Obann from the one roaming with Yasha, or
The current Obann took the original Obann’s name for some reason.
Current Obann is a follower of the Angel of Irons, for whom we finally have some details! As suggested by the name, the Angel of Irons is some type of celestial creature, depicted as being mangled and chained. The chain motif may or may not have some relation to the Chained Oblivion, the Betrayer God responsible for grievously wounding the Knowing Mistress in the Calamity. The Chained Oblivion is enough bad news that even the other Betrayer Gods are wary of it.
The cult of the Angel of Irons is new within the last 40 years. It appears the Angel of Irons wants to be freed from what binds it, and its followers seek out powerful ancient creatures that could potentially do so (...somehow). First, Obann unlocked the Laughing Hand, who now has a name: Gannox. Gannox was originally a powerful being fighting against the Crawling King, Torog. They were captured, tortured, and changed into their new form of the Laughing Hand. Their heart is locked away in an extraplanar space so that they cannot really be killed without finding the heart.
Currently, Obann is on the hunt for Jourrael, aka the Caedogeist, one of the chosen of the Spider Queen, Lolth. It became extra powerful thanks to a tenuous agreement between the Lord of the Hells, Asmodeus, and Lolth. Described as a “nightmarish specter that walked through walls,” its remains were divided between Veluthil (the Savalirwood) in the Greying Wildlands and the Lotusden Greenwood in Xhorhas. Like the Laughing Hand, it is considered nigh immune to death, though its immortality rests on the continuation of the agreement between Lolth and Asmodeus.
We have no details on exactly how the Angel of Irons plans use these creatures, or where the Angel of Irons is locked away, or what is origins are, and it sounds like its followers aren’t necessarily sure, either. Followers of the Angel of Irons are left in the dark on the great details of its plan, not unlike the followers of Vecna (who hoards secrets) or the Chained Oblivion (who is so incomprehensible that to gaze at it is to risk madness).
Speaking of non-pantheon beings with religious followings, Caleb learned some new information about Jester’s deity before leaving the Valley Archive. His following, like that of the Angel of Irons, started within the last 40 years and is small but devoted. Considered at first by scholars to be a mass hallucination, there is now enough evidence that there is an actual being whose followers seek to carry out his yet-partially known will. The Traveler has never had a large showing of power (but TravelerCon is coming…).
Uk’otoa: A Side Note
All of this talk about powerful beings and former servants of the gods reminds us of Fjord’s former patron, Uk’otoa. Uk’otoa was a servant of the Cloaked Serpent, Zehir. After Zehir was locked behind the Divine Gate, the worship of Uk’otoa, the great leviathan, rose among the Ki’Nau people of the Swavain Islands. In time, jealous worshippers of Zehir locked Uk’otoa away. Since then, those who made a pact with Uk’otoa were given power and tasked with seeking out the means to free him from his shackles. Sound familiar?
We don’t know the timing of Uk’otoa making a pact with Vandran, Fjord’s mentor and captain. We do know, however, that Avantika had been among the pirates of Darktow for ten years, that she traveled for a number of years with Vandran as they searched for orbs, and spent a number of years since his looking for him once he absconded with one. Avantika mentioned that Vandran was the only other follower of Uk’otoa she had met prior to Fjord. We can’t know if Vadran knew any other followers of Uk’otoa, but the dearth of known followers since the massacre of the Ki’Nau is certainly noticeable.
In the time since the pantheon’s retreat behind the Divine Gate, their servants and other beings of power have sought to fill that void with religious followings. Beings of power derive their power from their followers (and their followers get their power from the entities that share it with them in a very cyclical fashion). We’ve now seen Uk’otoa, the Traveler, and the Angel of Irons make plays for power by growing their cults specifically within in the last 40 or so years. It begs the question: why now?