Cold Reality
Cold Reality

Cold Reality

Cold Reality

Location: Quasi-Elemental Ash / Empty Winter

Cold Reality, a place o’ dualities; barren yet lively, indifferent but communal. Talk about a paradox, eh? But no, this burg isn’t the answer to a sphinx’s riddle, its a sanctuary tucked away in deepest darkest Empty Winter on Ash.

Est’ A Est, pit fiend de facto ruler of Cold Reality

Right off, let me give ya the chant on Est’ A Est (planar pit fiend baatezu [he/him] / Fated / LE), the baatezu bigwig who’s more tormented by his own self-doubts than by any army of archons. You know how they say, “Hell is other people”? No berk, for this pit fiend, Hell is in his own mind. He’s the epitome of a tragedy in motion but doesn’t know it. Poor sod’s got all the power in the ‘Verse but can’t even lead a gaggle of ash elementals.

The dark is that Est’ A Est was betrayed by a fellow pit fiend ‘friend’ who somehow bobbed him out of three prime world, ten armies, and a guaranteed promotion to baatezu nobility. Since then he’s been in exile on Ash, licking his wounds. If you’re lookin’ to negotiate or, heaven forbid, “help” the cutter, just remember that even words can stab deeper than any blade when flung at a devil with insecurities. Ye got a better chance gettin’ a CollosisHeralds of Dust to crack a smile than helpin’ this pit fiend regain his former glory. But more importantly, remember he’s still a pit fiend and they’re the worst.

The burg itself is, well, bleak. But not in a bad way. It’s bleak like a clean slate, a blank canvas waitin’ for someone to etch their own story onto it. It’s a place o’ second chances, aye, but mostly it’s a refuge for those so deeply afraid of messin’ up again, they’d rather muck about in a warren of tunnels and ash. The irony? These bashers claim to face reality but live in a delusion of their own makin’. Face it, the only thing colder than the environment here are the people’s attitudes towards lendin’ a hand. See, everyone is too proud to ask anyone else for help, and they assume the others feel the same.

Now, the layout. Listen, ye might as well try to map the ever-changing Mazes of Sigil than find yer way ’round this burg. The network of tunnels ‘n’ dens is as confusin’ as a Xaositect monologue. Just when you think you got the dark of it, you end up outside somebody’s home who’s less than pleased to see you. Even giving directions here can get a body into a right mess.

But don’t let me naysay the whole lot. The ai’ogoth plant is a genuine marvel, and if you’re parched, you’d best be tappin’ its sap. The blessed thing provides fresh air for the burg and tunnels around and also looks pretty while doing it. Reminds me of a fire-resistant variant o’ the World Tree Yggdrasil from the Norse myths, offerin’ life amidst desolation. And the ash art? Well, that stuff’s definitely precious. Makes ye ponder the creative lengths we’ll go to, don’t it? Even the bare, ashy walls can be a canvas if ye’ve got the will and the imagination.

So, there’s your guide to Cold Reality, the most honestly dishonest place ye’ll ever encounter. It’s a paradox wrapped in an enigma, sheathed in ice-cold ash. The air might be chilly, but trust me, the people can be colder. Still, if ye’ve got a yen for stark landscapes and a whole lot of gray, it’s got a certain rugged beauty you might just fall in love with.

Source: Etienne Duval and Jon Winter-Holt

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