Ashes to Ashes
Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to Ashes

A burg in Empty Winter, Ash

Everyone knows of the Doomguard’s citadels on the negative material planes, but few realise the Heralds of Dust also have negative quasi-planar strongholds. Ashes to Ashes is just such a burg. It’s a place that was originally set aside to study the effects of cremation on death. After all, who knows how the cycle of True Death is affected when a body is burned?

If ya ever wanted a peep into the heart of what it means to die, this is yer destination. The first thing you notice when you enter Ashes to Ashes is the air—it’s thick with the smell of burnin’, and not the cookin’ kind. I’m talkin’ about the aroma that sticks in your nostrils and reminds you of yer own mortality. Or, if you’re like me, your lack thereof. The whole burg is a fortress, made from ash that’s as hard as granite but way more macabre. Imagine, a structure built from the burned-up remains of countless beings. Gives a new meanin’ to “rest in peace,” don’t it?

Inside, it’s a different sorta hive altogether. The Heralds of Dust have got this place runnin’ like clockwork. But instead of gears ‘n’ springs, we’re talkin’ furnaces and pyres. Mindless undead who’ve broken their “dead pact,” souls who’ve kicked it but still linger ’round their old meat—they’re all fodder for the crematorium.

The research cutter, now there’s where things get interestin’. The Heralds are on a quest to answer some big questions. They wanna know how cremation impacts the cycle of True Death. Is the soul freed quicker? Is the reanimation of the body stunted? They’re toilin’ away at the crossroads of necromancy and philosophy, writin’ the ultimate guide to dyin’ well. Or permanently. Or whatever.

You’ll find an assortment of plane-touched scholars from all over—Celestia to Baator, and even a few Golarion scholars from Pharasma’s clergy. They’re all over this place like fleas on a cranium rat, diggin’ into texts as thick as a gelugon’s hide, and talkin’ in words longer than my patience.

It ain’t a place for the faint-hearted, berk. Nor is it a place for prims who stroll about talkin’ their lofty ideals, yappin’ about life and beauty and all that bub. But it’s a place of learnin’, of understandin’ the cruel joke that’s the cycle of life and death. I sometimes reckon they’re the closest to gettin’ why us undead find a certain peace in our existence—after all, when you’re already ash inside, there ain’t much left to burn, is there?

Just remember: this burg gives a whole new meanin’ to the phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” Only here, it ain’t a send-off; it’s a greetin’.

Source: Joshua Jarvis and Jon Winter-Holt,

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