30 October

Queen's Gaze is upon us!

By Snipehunter

Every 52 years, a comet appears in the sky, dominating the view for the course of a year. Seen as a bright white streak across the sky with a dark black pit at its head, the comet is an omen to many faiths, symbolizing a period when life and death are in equilibrium and the veil between the spirit realm and Elyria is drawn away. It’s a time when the living and the unincarnated souls of the dead can interact more freely, and darker, hungrier creatures of the spirit realm are free to dwell in the land of the living.

The Holiday of Queen's Gaze

The holiday begins with the appearance of the comet known as “The Eye” in the night sky, early at the start of the year. The Eye will remain visible in the sky, seeming to slowly move from the western horizon to the eastern horizon if viewed at the same time every night. As it approaches its closest point to Elyria, it grows brighter and larger, reaching a peak just as it reaches its zenith in the sky at approximately the middle of the year.

Throughout this period, the astral and material realms overlap, allowing spirits and the living to interact more freely. Glimpses of entities from the spirit realm are supposedly common during this period and many old tales warn of the dangers of possession, corruption and abduction at the hands of those spirits who are unable or unwilling to return to Elyria via reincarnation. Though the event happens only once every few generations, there are many stories of souls who become “lost in the twilight” as they try to make their way back to their bodies, their silver cords thinned and weakened and their sense of self confused to the point where they cannot find their way back before their bodies die.

Those who believe in strange tales say that Queen's Gaze is the time when the Soulless, those that hunger for the Spirit of the living, are most powerful. It is a time when one’s life and one’s soul are equally at risk. They say that liches are born when the Eye rides the sky and that lost souls will lure the living away to grim fates. This is the time where ghost stories and grim accounts are told of horrors with fanciful names like the Marsh Mother and the Lantern Man.

While the more lurid stories of the Eye’s appearance are dark stories and warnings to fear the dead, there are just as many references to the comet’s arrival that are joyous or reverential. In past arrivals, stories of visitations with the souls of long-lost loved ones were abundant. Monarchs would confer with their forbearers, seeking guidance for the future. These stories have evolved into the more playful celebrations of some cultures, today.

Observances

To the Waerd, the Eye’s travel through the sky signals an auspicious time when the Twofold Queen’s will is most obvious and their work on her behalf most momentous. They see the Eye as a direct representation of the Twofold Queen, and Waerd machinations reach their peak as they consider Elyria – and the Waerd – to be “under her gaze.”

Many Dras are similarly reverent of the period, though they see the time as an opportunity to aid the fallen back to life, to restore balance by ensuring the flow of souls is unfettered. As such, their efforts in this time tend to focus more on settling the matters of the fallen. It is not unusual to find Dras in this time, assisting in the burial of the dead and the rituals of their passing.

For most, however, the appearance of the Eye has no connection to the Twofold Queen and is instead seen more as a time to remember the fallen and to pay homage to those that have come before. Common practices throughout the year include grave tending festivals, where a settlement, village or city actively improves, maintains and then pays respects to the graves of those that have passed on in the region. This lends the passage of the Eye throughout the year a more festive and celebratory cast and daily gatherings in towns to boast of the deeds of the fallen are not unusual. In some places families will attend to their lineage’s graves, festooning them with bright colors and symbolic effigies of their favorite foods or personal items.

When the Eye hangs in the night sky, it’s not unusual for taverns to maintain a “vigil” throughout the year, where those who have lost comrades will enter the tavern, announce that they keep the vigil for their friends or family and then proceed, over a round of strong spirits, to tell a tale of the fallen, passing on the story to others in the tavern so that the deeds of the fallen soul’s last life can be spread and remembered. While some vigils are somber affairs, it is far more typical for a vigil to be a raucous affair of tall tales, full of cheers and songs in celebration of fallen comrades and proud ancestors.

Others take the Eye as a metaphor for the Qindred, seeing its dual nature as a vision of Angelica and Luna parading through creation hand in hand and a sign of good fortune for all. This leads to an odd synthesis of practices in many metropolitan areas, where the celebration of those who have passed on is mixed with a general jubilation of life, leading to raucous festivals and parades in neighborhoods and fanciful tournaments or market festivals that can last the entire year. Often these festivals will include imagery of death and life, side by side. Gaily decorated symbols of death, motifs of white and black and jewelry of silver are common elements of decorations during this time.

The Marsh Mother

On the shore of the Evenmere, there was once a prosperous village of fisherfolk. Jevirelle, though an outsider from afar, had joined the village as the new wife of a fisherman and was welcomed into the community. Sadly, Jevirelle had lost her husband to the surrounding marsh and its hazards within a few short years of joining the village, and before she and her husband had started a family of their own. She suddenly found herself alone in the grand house at the village’s edge that she and her husband had built. In the autumn of that same year, the banks of the Evenmere flooded, destroying the village’s pier, the waterfront, and shattering the families of the fishers who lived there. It broke Jevirelle’s heart to see so many suffer as she had, so she opened her home to the immigrant children, outsiders like herself, who had lost their families to the flood. Soon, she found herself the Matron of Evenmere’s sole orphanage, an institution she would operate until the night of her death, many years later.

It began in the afternoon, as the Eye appeared in the sky for the first time in generations. Three boys from Jevirelle's orphanage were walking home through the moors after spending their day foraging for truffles. Just a few yards from the outskirts of the village they came across a hole dug into the moist loam and, partially buried within, the body of a woman, still warm, its blood oozing into the peat at the bottom of the hole. The boys understood that something foul was afoot and immediately ran to the village to alert the magistrate.

Jevirelle expected her boys home for supper that evening, but as the afternoon wore on and the shadows grew long, she began to suspect trouble. Wrapping herself in a shawl against the evening chill, she set out to find them, fearing – rightly – that they had fallen into trouble somewhere in the village. At first, she saw no sign of the boys. Indeed, it seemed as if most of the town was absent from their usual haunts. As she made her way to the town center, and she realized where the villagers had gone, Jevirelle’s concern grew.

She found her fellow villagers assembled in the village’s market square. The throng surrounded the mayor and Jevirelle's three lost wards. The crowd was a din of shouted accusations and anger that Jevirelle could not make out, but as she pushed her way through the crowd, their words became clear.

They killed her!

I always knew they were trouble!

We should have sent them back to where they came from!

Jevirelle pushed through the last of the crowd, seeing her boys in detail at last. They had been beaten. Scratches and sick purple bruises covered their faces. Their hair was matted with their own blood and the dirt of the road. Though they offered no resistance, they were being held tightly by three of the village’s strongest fishers, like common criminals. The mayor stood before the crowd, his arms outstretched. Perhaps, her fears better under her control, she would have seen his efforts to calm the crowd, but to Jevirelle he seemed to be indulging the mob, stoking its anger and exalting as that rage roared to life.

Against such fury, she felt calm reason impossible and so she simply pushed past them, mayor and all, stalking towards her children. So palpable was her determination to free her children that the men holding her boys blanched, releasing their holds. She pulled her boys from their now loosened grips and pushed through the crowd once more, having never spoken a word. Behind her, the crowd erupted into screams and howls as she pushed her wards back through the village to their home. Though no one stepped forward to stop them, it was clear the crowd had not had its due. The confrontation was far from over.

They followed Jevirelle and her orphans all the way back to her home, screaming accusations and insults the whole way. As Jevirelle tightly shut her door, they were gathering on her property, ignoring propriety completely. Jevirelle summoned all her wards from about the house and gathered them in her hall. Hugging each one in turn, she assured them that she would see them through this. Jevirelle vowed that she would protect the children, no matter what it took, but Jevirelle would be unable to fulfill that vow.

At first, they assumed the smell of smoke had come from the sputtering torches and lanterns of the villagers outside but, as the smoke started to collect along the ceiling, Jevirelle knew that the villagers of Evenmere, her friends and fellows had done the unspeakable. The angry cries outside became cheers and chants. Surrounded by the mob, with nowhere to turn, Jevirelle and her children burned in the remains of the house she had built with her husband. When the smoke cleared and the embers cooled, the villagers found the remains of Jevirelle and her wards in the hall, huddled together in a grim embrace. The bodies were a black mass, but they were surrounded by a halo of light gray ash that streaked all the way to the door. In that ash, the villagers saw clearly dozens of footprints, as if someone had walked through the ash and out the front door

That village no longer stands on the Evenmere. They say that its population died out, each generation born there smaller than the last, until finally, its final denizens left to find their destiny elsewhere. But, those with lineages that reach back to that ancient place tell a story of its demise. The children of the village, they said, were called to the Marsh Mother. The ghost of Jevirelle that even now wanders the marshes and moors whenever the Eye looks down from its perch in the night sky, in search of children to join her orphans, forever under her care.

Discuss

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KRONOS PHOENIX - 5 months ago

lichdom here I come!

eastmeetsfist - 6 months ago

Guess I’ll be spending this holiday hunting for ghosts in the marshes. Wonder what’ll happen if I find the Marsh Mother? Bonus effects on my heir maybe? Or maybe I’ll only be able to see her if my character was born during the holiday or has an appropriate talent.

Kranot - 6 months ago

nice! i wanted to get started on reading lore anyways

Ottley - 7 months ago

Oh my goodness wow! Whoever wrote this....wow! I hate to read, yet I couldn't get enough of this, especially Marsh Mother. I wish I could have investigated that murder, so I could prove those boys' innocence. Then hang the ones who started that fire. I am honestly looking forward to more of this. I'm so hyped for COE. For the first time I'm going to read all the content and lore behind a game instead of just mastering game mechanics and combat. #adiosjustpushspacebar, #saygoodbyeDPS/TANK/HEALER

Aionion - 7 months ago

Based on the moon, the comet's tail seems to be pointing in the wrong direction.

Xarkfleur - 7 months ago

Enjoyed this. Utterly.

Barleyman - 7 months ago

"In the autumn of that same year, the banks of the Evenmere flooded, destroying the village’s pier, the waterfront, and shattering the families of the fishers who lived there. It broke Jevirelle’s heart to see so many suffer as she had, so she opened her home to the immigrant children, outsiders like herself,"

What is going on here? They are not immigrants. They didn't come from somewhere else. They are from that exact village. It literally says that and then one sentence later it calls them immigrants. That makes no sense. This entire story completely falls apart with this contradiction.

Snipehunter - 7 months ago
@Barleyman:

Posted By Barleyman at 10:32 AM - Tue Oct 31 2017

"In the autumn of that same year, the banks of the Evenmere flooded, destroying the village’s pier, the waterfront, and shattering the families of the fishers who lived there. It broke Jevirelle’s heart to see so many suffer as she had, so she opened her home to the immigrant children, outsiders like herself,"

What is going on here? They are not immigrants. They didn't come from somewhere else. They are from that exact village. It literally says that and then one sentence later it calls them immigrants. That makes no sense. This entire story completely falls apart with this contradiction.

D'oh! I suppose I should have made that more clear: Among the fallen living along the shore were fishers who, like her, had come from elsewhere. Since the surviving children of these transplants had no kin among the village, she took them in.

Barleyman - 7 months ago
@Snipehunter:

Posted By Snipehunter at 12:40 PM - Tue Oct 31 2017

Posted By Barleyman at 10:32 AM - Tue Oct 31 2017

"In the autumn of that same year, the banks of the Evenmere flooded, destroying the village’s pier, the waterfront, and shattering the families of the fishers who lived there. It broke Jevirelle’s heart to see so many suffer as she had, so she opened her home to the immigrant children, outsiders like herself,"

What is going on here? They are not immigrants. They didn't come from somewhere else. They are from that exact village. It literally says that and then one sentence later it calls them immigrants. That makes no sense. This entire story completely falls apart with this contradiction.

D'oh! I suppose I should have made that more clear: Among the fallen living along the shore were fishers who, like her, had come from elsewhere. Since the surviving children of these transplants had no kin among the village, she took them in.

That makes more sense, thank you.

Odsbodikins - 7 months ago
@Snipehunter:

They clearly live is a Marsh biome, hence the name "Marsh Mother", which puts the village in the To'resk tribe. Kypiq come from the proto-Neran group.

Sorry, but the Kypiq theory falls flat. ;)

Mhaura - 7 months ago
@Odsbodikins:

Posted By Odsbodikins at 03:08 AM - Wed Nov 01 2017

They clearly live is a Marsh biome, hence the name "Marsh Mother", which puts the village in the To'resk tribe. Kypiq come from the proto-Neran group.

Sorry, but the Kypiq theory falls flat. ;)

But the children were orphans from other villages, not native to the marshland. The marsh mother herself was an "outsider from afar" and she opened her home to the "immigrant children". So even though it puts the village in marshland, the immigrants of the village were not of To'resk blood. The villagers even shouted, "We should have sent them back to where they came from!" It still makes sense because the immigrant children could have been of proto-neran blood.

I mean, there was an orphanage in this village, I'm sure some kids were adopted and not all of them died in the orphanage when it was burned. There was an agreement to build it in the first place. I think the village was at least, of mixed blood. To'resk are also shorter than Neran and so thinking of Kypiqs being of mixed blood from the other races is plausible.

"That village no longer stands on the Evenmere. They say that its population died out, each generation born there smaller than the last, until finally, its final denizens left to find their destiny elsewhere."

And that's when the people traveled to the forest and their short stature was of benefit in the region, and thus they flourished and came to be known as a separate tribe, the Kypiq.

I think it makes sense

Edit: This could also line up with the Dras timeline when the To'resk took back their lands from the un-striped and that's when the un-striped moved to the swamps and became the Dras. The To'resk could have kicked out other people trying to find refuge in their Marshland, not just the un-striped ones, and this was one of those villages. Just a thought

Mhaura - 7 months ago

Posted By Snipehunter at

That village no longer stands on the Evenmere. They say that its population died out, each generation born there smaller than the last, until finally, its final denizens left to find their destiny elsewhere. But, those with lineages that reach back to that ancient place tell a story of its demise. The children of the village, they said, were called to the Marsh Mother.

Just like the Dras left their homeland and now reside within the swamp... think the Kypiq are the descendants of the people who lived on Evenmere? They're the smallest tribe.

HeadUpHigh - 7 months ago
@Mhaura:

Posted By Mhaura at 4:52 PM - Tue Oct 31 2017

Posted By Snipehunter at

That village no longer stands on the Evenmere. They say that its population died out, each generation born there smaller than the last, until finally, its final denizens left to find their destiny elsewhere. But, those with lineages that reach back to that ancient place tell a story of its demise. The children of the village, they said, were called to the Marsh Mother.

Just like the Dras left their homeland and now reside within the swamp... think the Kypiq are the descendants of the people who lived on Evenmere? They're the smallest tribe.

That makes perfect sense :O And not only does that make perfect sense but it also explains the natural instinct to dislike them. They bear the stain of their forefathers. The blood of those innocent children begs us, nay, it demands of us to see that kypiq receive their deserved punishment >:(

Voiceless_Siren - 7 months ago

I am a lore fanatic. And the deeper we delve into the world of Elyria the more I love every bit of it.

May you all hold favor in the Queen's Gaze.

YHess - 7 months ago

"Monarchs would confer with their forbearers, seeking guidance for the future."

Awesome.

ZeroCool - 7 months ago

Pretty sure it's still 1 IRL week = 1 Elyrian year.

The living between 80-120 years is to account for the varying starting age you may be taking over your heir or NTC.

Also, loved that piece Snipehunter, keep it up dude.

Dunndada21 - 7 months ago

Awesome lore update. Keep up the great work.

Azeron - 7 months ago

Love it! The lore is very interesting and also deep drive! Looking forward to see what else Elyria hides! Everyday I'm amazed and fascinated how well SBS handles development! 11/10!

Lofi - 7 months ago

Daemon send a Burning Rock as a reminder of His great power. If He would deem Mann has failed him, the Burning Rock will descend upon us and destroy our world.

Baronos - 7 months ago

Oh my.

Every bit of this piece, hauntingly beautiful. I'm sure this holiday will always be exciting and full of secrets! Super looking forward to seeing more like this.

@Curzman ...If I'm not wrong, 52 years in the game will be 1 year in real life, an annual event for us then. =)

Bina Fydan - 7 months ago

This is awesome! Now need the story of the Lantern man!

curzman - 7 months ago

every 52 years ey? can someone do the maths on how long irl that is?

Ilyria - 7 months ago
@curzman:

Posted By curzman at 06:10 AM - Tue Oct 31 2017

every 52 years ey? can someone do the maths on how long irl that is?

"Elyrian lives somewhere between 80 and 120 years (averaging ~100 years), based on the genetics of their bloodline.

Over the course of 10-14 real-world months your character will grow old and eventually die,"

So in 14 months your character will be about 120 years old. Divide that in half, your Elyrian will be 60 in 7 months. A week is about 2.15 years. So every 6 months and 3 weeks is about 52 years.

So if your character lives the good life, there might be a chance that your character sees it twice his life.

I may be wrong on the numbers, but I'm close.

Age & dying

Man, I'm getting a headache.

Arisilde - 7 months ago
@Ilyria:

Posted By Ilyria at 03:40 AM - Tue Oct 31 2017

Posted By curzman at 06:10 AM - Tue Oct 31 2017

every 52 years ey? can someone do the maths on how long irl that is?

"Elyrian lives somewhere between 80 and 120 years (averaging ~100 years), based on the genetics of their bloodline.

Over the course of 10-14 real-world months your character will grow old and eventually die,"

So in 14 months your character will be about 120 years old. Divide that in half, your Elyrian will be 60 in 7 months. A week is about 2.15 years. So every 6 months and 3 weeks is about 52 years.

So if your character lives the good life, there might be a chance that your character sees it twice his life.

I may be wrong on the numbers, but I'm close.

Age & dying

Man, I'm getting a headache.

Sorry, this is not accurate.

1 irl week is one Elyria year. 52 weeks in an irl year. This event is every irl year on the week surrounding Halloween.

Love the tie in for all the creepy stuff going on around Halloween. Was especially interested in seeing that vampires are stronger, ghosts are a potential thing, and that liches are made on Halloween day.

ShadowTani - 7 months ago
@curzman:

I appreciate that you guys attempt to create your own in-game-lore based on real-life holidays. It's usually expected that mmo's do events during these times, but when it's just thrown into there randomly it doesn't really feel immersive. This shows that you guys are serious and committed to establishing an immersive game. Much appreciated, and keep up the stellar work. :3

VanHarsen - 7 months ago

Nicely done !

Scheneighnay - 7 months ago

Note to self: most active guard patrols possible on Halloween.

HammerStrike - 7 months ago

Excellence!

Riptose - 7 months ago

Woundering if The Eye will have anything to do with the lossy magic arts! 🤔

Artax_Daane - 7 months ago

THIS is what I'm talking about. Amaze.

RowenaDarkholm - 7 months ago

The twin orbs of gold in The Queen's eyes captured the ghastly image of the traveler in the firmament. She recalled the stories, the legends of menn she had heard many a night before closing her eyes. This high above, only the wind sang to her ear, accompanied by the familiar clinking of the spoon stirring her porcelain cup. Carefully, she brought the cup closer, to enjoy the fragrance of warm Blood Tea. The crimson lips touched the cup, to imbibe the fluid within, drawing a faint smile.

Prof_Griz - 7 months ago

This was awesome lore. I can't wait to learn more! The story of the Marsh Mother was perfect for Halloween time ( or should I say the Time of the Eye's zenith). I can't wait to get in game and experience it for myself. Keep up the good work SBS!

TyrusStormwolf - 7 months ago

I want to know what happened to the real murderer!!

Great Lore! Thanks Snipehunter.

EsbonOwleye - 7 months ago

Possible lich clue: They say that liches are born when the Eye rides the sky and that lost souls will lure the living away to grim fates.

Gustyrill - 7 months ago

I love these concepts but I might be biased as I already follow the Queen's Gaze in many ways.

I especially love the tale of the Marsh Mother. It is very eerie and I love that the village dwindled and died out. Plus the foot prints in the ashes were just the perfect touch. Great story!

Sage_Alluvial - 7 months ago

Great lore! The Mother of the Marsh gave me chills, in a good way. :)

Daemon_Redwyne - 7 months ago

Amazing! Sounds really cool, and I hope to see some of the events that spawn around this in the game.

SirApetus - 7 months ago

Wow. Wonderful update about lore. I feel so bad for the Marsh Mother and her wards

thedogs - 7 months ago

Interesting and first :D

VioletWinterlynn - 7 months ago

Its beautiful I love it xD