Seekers of Lore
The upheaval in Kreshtar society caused by the Revelation can scarce be underestimated. The changes in Kreshtar Religion as the nomads gave greater place to the elemental lords and gentry of the Shaitami were considerable, yes, but they did not threaten to overthrow the social order of the tribes themselves.
According to the Kreshtar, the Niltami are spirits of the void, dwelling in the cracks of the world. They live in places where the world is imperfect, broken, or violated. The nomads regard them as vile and dreadful beings, not to be spoken of, much less spoken to. Nevertheless, at Diamond Mist Falls one lone horseman named Lecver broke this ancient rule one fateful winter’s day.
The winter was bitterly cold, of a like rarely glimpsed before or since. It was so deep that the waters of the Falls themselves froze solid into florid patterns which were, by all accounts, beautiful to look upon. A Kreshtar scout, Lecver, was drawn by the beauty of it and rode up to look more closely.
At the base of the waterfall, some confluence of elemental forces had left a crack in the ice, just big enough that Lecver could squeeze into it sideways. Neither history nor the writings of the Concordists tell what drove him to try and do so; perhaps it was simple youthful curiosity. At any rate, he managed to get himself trapped in the crevice, and that is when the Niltami revealed itself.
According to the cultists, the Niltami have no individual names; diligence requires me to state here that this particular Niltami is referred to as the Diamond Mist Niltami in scholarly circles, but the Concordists regard even this vague term as abomination. The Niltami in question whispered to Lecver, who as a well-brought-up young Kreshtar must surely have tried to stop his ears. But with a captive audience, it was only a matter of time before he began to listen, and the spirit delivered the Revelation to him.
To the Niltami — according to the cult orthodoxy — all secrets are laid bare. Knowledge considered common or obvious by mortals is a mystery to them, but all those things which we hold private or obscure are as plain as day to the spirits of the cracks. Lecver was told many secrets, some couched in such strange riddles — or seeming riddles, as Kor Oleth famously discovered — as to leave even our future generations perplexed. Things that no man should know, things that would drive one to madness. Secrets, as Duke Oroshial may say, are power; but some secrets are best left undisturbed. Secrets such as the central mystery of Concordance, which it is said no mortal can learn of and remain unchanged.
Having no writing materials, Lecver carved the messages into his own flesh with his fingernails and, when he had become so emaciated that he could escape his icy gaol, he took them back to his people. It seems unnecessary to relate the predictably angry and horrified response of the Kreshtar, and Lecver was sure to be cursed and ritually burned. But it seemed that his dealings with the Niltami had granted him some strange powers. Fire could not touch him, while shadows and ice bloomed and moved at his command. Lecver escaped into exile, but not into obscurity….
Moving silently amongst his kinsmen, Lecver was able to stir up others to form a cult, meeting with Niltami spirits in dark and damaged places. The Revelation given to Lecver was copied and passed around, and added to as the Niltami continued to divulge their terrible soul-damning knowledge. Worst of all, the spirits conveyed secrets about the rightful leaders of the Kreshtar tribes, things that the most powerful would rather not be made public. Armed with this, the Concordist cultists were able to resort to the base art of blackmail, and for a time it seemed that they might overrun the whole Kreshtar civilisation, ruling it from the shadows. We may be thankful to the Purges of Noviolir for rooting out and destroying that insidious threat to the forces of law and order, however indelicate the Kreshtar may seem to our modern sensibilities.
The cult — however diminished — survived the purges, even spreading to other lands. Even today, secretive groups of associates of the Niltami can be found in many societies — perhaps even our own. All right-thinking citizens fear the threat to order that such people represent. The Hollow Ones they are known as to their detractors, but the Concordists would say that their hollowness is just a vessel for Concordance. As to what the nature of that sanity-rending alien spark is? Perhaps this is one secret best consigned to the void.
From the pen of Baron Jyostan Hyordruton