Out With the Old
Hestavar, the Bright Kingdom — home to Erathis, Ioun, and Pelor
The capitol of the realm of Hestavar is a city of the same name. This massive planar metropolis is exemplified by golden towers and ivory arches, built atop drifting clouds the colors of sunset. The Heavenly City is a terraced city over fifty miles wide, and just as high, held aloft on drifting motes of earth and water, some of which drift in fixed patterns, others of which are immobile in relation to one another, linked and locked in place by silver bridges.
The rest of Hestavar is a similar network of rolling cloudscapes, islands of floating earth surrounded by water that diffuses into foggy cloudstuff at the edges. Travelers can fly or swim through the clouds, or boat across them. Smaller cities and fortresses are built on other such cloudscapes, all surrounded by verdant farmland. The mist emanating from the waters around each island cast magnificent rainbows across the realm.
The clouds above Hestavar take on bright metallic hues, reflecting and scattering the light of the sun in a dozen intense colors. Hestavar is temperate; days are warm and nights are cool. All of Hestavar is settled, orderly, tame, almost placid. The rains are gentle and often predictable. As the wind plays across the towers and hills, it almost sings.
Above the rest of Hestavar, Pelor resides in the spherical, slowly-rotating Palace of Day and Night, floating above the center of the city of Hestavar. One side of the palace shines with Pelor’s full radiance, flooding the plane with sunlight. The other is far more muted, bathing the world in twilight and shining like a full moon. When the night-side is facing a part of the plane, distant twinkles can be seen in the night sky; though they resemble stars at first blush, they are the light of other islands drifting in Hestavar. The most distant are actually reflections of the Daybreak Isles along the planar boundary.
Optional Rule: Overwhelming Joy
Visitors spending any time on this plane risk becoming entrapped by an overwhelming sensation of contentment and happiness. At the end pf each long rest taken on this plane, the visitor must make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the visitor is unwilling to leave the plane before taking another long rest. After three failed saving throws the creature never willingly leaves the plane and, if forcibly removed, does everything in its power to return to the plane. A dispel evil and good spell removes this effect from the creature.
Within the city, Erathis rules from the Temple of Industry, where her followers engage in the Game of Making, a massive endeavor of industry and invention. This includes not just craftswork, but art, poetry, and song. Ioun dwells somewhat less obtrusively in her ivory tower, Kerith Ald.
Even the Shining Kingdom is not without conflict and secrecy. Erathis’ Game of Making has many of the great and the good concerned about what other things she might be experimenting with, for example. Ioun’s activities are only more mysterious. And then there are the remnants of The Living Gate held in Pelor’s palace.
Another possible cause for concern is a distant cloud, darker and more ominous than the others, atop which is built a fortress not of silver and gold, but of iron and burnished bronze. This vast stormcloud thunders and roils ceaselessly. Scholars of the Dawn War believe that this is the prison-tomb of Heur-Ket, the Storm Unabated. Heur-Ket invaded Hestavar shortly after the three gods formed it, and was defeated on its shores. Some believe that the black cloud itself is Heur-Ket and the fortress atop it simply contains the magical rituals and relics that keep the fallen titan bound.
The Daybreak Archipelago and the Outsiders of Hestavar.
The sea of color that mark’s Hestavar’s “location” in the Astral Plane is, like most, dotted with islands. Some of these islands fragments of planar detritus — the severed members of a fallen god or titan, the scuttled hull of a githyanki war machine — but others seem to be extrusions of the plane, identified by the chromatic fog that surrounds them. Here the Outsiders of Hestavar dwell. Around these islands, the light of the Palace of Day and Night shines forth, giving the daybreak isles their name. The Outsiders of Hestavar form communities such as Morrow Town, Sun Town, and Barter Point.
The exalted who live on Hestavar’s outskirts are uncomfortable doing so. They tend to long for the pure joys of the holy city. However, most see it as their duty to spend a year and a day on the archipelago every so often. When an exalted fades or dies on one of those islands, its essence merges with the island instead of the plane itself. When enough exalted merge with an island, the island itself is drawn into Hestavar, becoming another of the floating motes that make up the Heavenly City. When this happens, any outsiders on the island are drawn through as well. Some of these outsiders find that they are, mysteriously enough, able to remain, while others are immediately ejected once again.
One island, Luethvar, enjoys brisk business as an officially-recognized trade port and immigration station. Luethvar is a sort of embassy town; most things are permitted here, and almost anything, save for slaves, can be bought or sold. The tolerance extended by Hestavar is so great that there is even a public temple of Vecna, including small niches set aside for the worship of other evil gods. Another island, Scar, is populated by the most corrupt and damaged of the outsiders, the Broken Folk and various degenerate monsters. It is “ruled” by the artificer Cassalanter Vegna, who is widely thought to be mad, but also has earned some special forbearance from Erathis to continue his experiments. Luethvar is not the first such embassy, but exalted are relatively scarce here; the island contains many elements the gods of Hestavar find distasteful, and so try to reduce the likelihood that it would be drawn into the plane.
Angels and exalted of Pelor, Erathis, and even Ioun dwell on these islands side-by-side with the outsiders. Trade with the daybreaks is frequent and fair, as the people of Hestavar seek to extend the plane’s prosperity to those cheated of it by chance. Agents of the gods are constantly stationed above the Sapphire Sea, some as exalted aboard dominion ships, others as angels flying in formation, and still others as devout mortal champions aboard astral warships. They hold constant vigil against devils and agents of Bane or other “poachers” who would threaten the peace of the isles.
One of the best-known fortresses is Shine Point, a lighthouse on the edge of the dawn sea. Each year, a different angel takes over stewardship of this lighthouse, shining its inner radiance through a prism composed of magical force. Some scholars believe that this posting is a punishment, but if so, are forced to wonder how it is that a new angel is always prepared to take over its maintenance at the end of each year. Others suspect it is some sort of reward, an honor or a sabbatical.