The Greatest Tale Ever Told
A socially inept (yet very flirtatious) Shardmind from the southern gate to the Far Realm.
Hibernas is a Shardmind water elementalist from the south pole of Endysia. His body is built of glistening, light-blue crystal shards that seem to shift and move in a fashion most find unsettling. While he boasts extreme social confidence, Hibernas’ advances are often misguided; his handshakes, for instance, are typically quite drawn out and leave the other participant feeling a bit uncomfortable. He also has a habit of collecting trinkets as he travels the land, his bag being stuffed with anything from socks to chickens. As a Gate Guardian, Hibernas often feels as though he is above the everyman of Endysia, but is respectful nonetheless. He is accompanied by a small rat familiar named Rat-Bro, who was born of a magical ritual performed at the Trader’s Crossing.
Life at the Gate
Somewhere on the vast glaciers of Syl’s southern pole, a Living Gate to the Far Realm lay encrusted in the ice, protected by a small group of Shardmind, the children of the Gate. Hibernas was one of these children, his very being intertwined with and defined by that of the gate in a way none have yet come to understand. For many turns of Syl around its star, Hibernas and his fellow shardmind watched over the gate, ensuring that no creatures of the Far Realm broke through its confines. Evil is crafty, however, and even with their diligence, the shardmind could not have foreseen what was to come.
For an age, a slick black tendril slid its way into the minds of the guardians, trying to find a foothold in the mortal plane, a strong link it could use to manifest itself. Ever subtle, it wound itself around the thoughts of one of Hibernas’ comrades, waiting until the time was ripe to strike. Years it crept, hidden in the shadows of the shardmind’s subconscious – until that fateful day. One of the shardmind stood before the gate, arms out to either side. From each of his open hands, shadows began to pour, creating sickly black veins in the snow. A moment later, the guardian shattered into dust, and all turned to chaos. The Gate began screaming, a harrowing wail only the Shardmind could hear, and a swirling tunnel of flame exploded from between its arches. From within emerged creatures of nightmare: mind flayers, gibberlings, grells, and other horrors, hungry for a taste of mortal essence. The Gate’s protectors were stalwart, however, and began beating back the horde without a moment’s hesitation. At first it appeared as though victory was short at hand, but even the legendary skill of the guardians could not stem the black tide. The gaping hole in space and time ripped open by the the creatures’ grand entrance acted as fuel for their ranks; as time went on, they became ever more deadly, able to withstand even the most powerful of blows. When it was clear that the horrors’ numbers were too great, Hibernas was forced to sacrifice a part of himself to stall the guardians’ inevitable defeat. Summoning a massive wall of water, Hibernas encased the area around the gate in a dome of solid ice, sealed by a crystal of his own body. For now, the world was saved, but Hibernas’ actions cost him dearly – he found that much of his magical affinity had left him, and that his connection with the gate had dulled somewhat. He resolved to sail north in search of knowledge and might, and when he returned, the filth beneath the ice would be sent back to whatever black pit it crawled out of.
Life away from the Gate
After a long, arduous journey, Hibernas ended up on the continent of Endysia. Upon seeing that the main inhabitants of this region were humanoid in shape, he took a similar form and began travelling the realm in search of power. In his travels, he eventually came across an occupation known as “mercenary work” that he found suited him well – he could fight and grow stronger, and this queer place seemed to have no shortage of conflict. During his time as a mercenary, he befriended a dragonborn cleric, and the two became brothers of war. The dragonborn kept many secrets, from his name to his goals. Hibernas paid this no mind, as he thought it natural, having never met a dragonborn before. Eventually, as happens oft in life, the two drifted apart, the river they sailed splitting into two.
After parting from the dragonborn, Hibernas continued his mercenary work, growing stronger (and richer – though the concept of currency still confused him) every day. One cloudy morning, he was approached with a tantalizing contract – a group of rebels, lead by a powerful corrupt psion, was plotting to assassinate the Ministrati king. After hunting the rebels through the sewers of Aureus, eliminating them one by one, Hibernas finally cornered their leader – or so he thought. The Shardmind had found nothing but a decoy. Taking him by surprise, the rebel leader broke down the energetic bonds holding Hibernas’ form together, rendering him helpless as he broke into a crystalline mist. Hibernas was then confined to a magically sealed wooden crate. Being a member of the Ministrati Court, and believing Hibernas to be of more value to him alive, the psion managed to convince the guards that Hibernas was a murderer who he had imprisoned in the box. The city guards took the defeated Hibernas to the dungeons of Aureus, where he rested; for how long, he could not say. One day, however, a certain dragonborn wound up in the city dungeons as well. He, along with a group of adventurers who (according to them) were also framed for murder, broke out of the prison. He has traveled with them ever since.