A Gift or a Curse? The Cult of the Hidden Queen
In the final days of the Heretic’s war against the divine in Nareah, the elven pantheon suffered especially during the battles that lead up to the razing of Goldentree and the death of their chief deity, Corellon Larethian. Although the tragedy would be the defining act that lead to a coalition of nations forming to stop the warlord, Corellon’s death would have far reaching consequences on the world. Torn by grief at the death of her soulmate, the elven goddess of destiny, Araushnee, retreated from the world into a period of mourning and, as she remained cut off from the world, the light began to fade from the once-shining temples dedicated to her honour.
As Her Light vanished, the devoted of The One Who Mourns began to display new abilities as they began to be able to control and shape the very darkness of the world around them. Soon they gazed into the realm of their queen and saw what had once been a realm of pure light had broken away from the Feywild and become a realm of shade and darkness. Some, repulsed by the darkness and concerned for what had happened to their queen, cut themselves off from that new realm and mourned their lost deity.
Others, though, continued to revere their vanished goddess, dubbing this new form Araushnee-in-Shadow. Those most devoted to what they believed to be their ancient queen sunk away from Nareah, vanishing into the newly born Shadowfel. In time, the entire cult of the elven queen disappeared from the world and the worship of the mourning queen with it.
Hundreds of years would pass by before the Cult of the Hidden Queen emerged from the Shadowfel. Where once had been tall proud elves born of the light returned fey-elves sculpted by the darkness of their new realm and worshipping a being they called the Hidden Queen. Whether their forms are a gift or a curse from the Hidden Queen is debated by those who know of these elves that call themselves shadar-kai but few have been given much chance to speak with this new form of elf.
The end goals of the shadar-kai of the Cult of the Hidden Queen are, so far, mostly unknown; the few encounters with the shadar-kai, thus far, have involved them bringing strange crystalline devices from the Shadowfel, relics they call the Queen’s Eyes, that have flooded the areas around them with shadow and slowly weakened the barrier between the Material Plane and the Shadowfel.
Also unknown is the true identity of the Hidden Queen. The appearance of these shadar-kai and their strange worship of this being has thrown the elves of Nareah into chaos – is this their ancient queen, returned in a new form shaped by the grief of the Heresy, or something new born out of their queen’s grief? It seems that only time will uncover the truth.
Gifts of the Hidden Queen
Eye of the Hidden Queen (Wonderous Item, Legendary)
A palm-sized gem of a dark-purple hue, the Eye of the Hidden Queen comes from the heart of the Shadowfel itself. While holding the Eye, any individual attuned to the Shadowfel may, as an action, activate the gem by calling upon the gaze of the Hidden Queen.
Once activated, the gem begins to exude a thick purple mist that expands its radius at a rate of five feet per hour the gem is active. Any beings nearby the gem can hear the whispers of the Hidden Queen emanating from the gem but only those blessed by the Queen herself can understand her voice. Any beings attuned to the Shadowfel make all rolls within the gem’s mist with Advantage.
After a day enveloped by the mist, a space begins to seem to be drained of all colour, eventually looking like a reflection of the Shadowfel after another week. From this point, if the gem isn’t somehow deactivated, the effect on the environment will be permanent after a month; after it is permanently affected, treat the area as a manifestation of the Shadowfel on the material plane.
Nareah is a homebrewed setting used with both Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition and Pathfinder. Developed over the last two decades through three campaigns, it has a history shaped by numerous players who have played important roles in the world’s events.