Elegy of Nyx Physical / Metaphysical Law in Istralar | World Anvil

Elegy of Nyx

All of these hopes, these wishes, these desires... if it's too much for us to bear, how can we expect the world not to react?
— druid
  In the depths of war and tragedy, when fear and despair clamour for attention and bay at the heels of quivering mortals, the world trembles. The gods are quick to answer, sending their servants to save who they can, or to take advantage of the situation for their own benevolent or malevolent goals. Mortals themselves are, too, ready and willing to fix their own faults, dancing into situations in which they are not obligated to be in to grant their help - for better or worse. Sometimes, too, the will of the world responds, its avatars making manifest the smallest of chances for change.   Yet sometimes, nothing works. Nothing helps, nothing changes. Mires of despair and cries for help rise up, reaching pitch enough to be heard in the void of space. Magic reacts as if willed to, the calls clashing against each other and fuelling a storm of desire.   This is an elegy of Nyx, a storm brewed in night's deepest darkness by the fervent thoughts and wishes of mortals.  
They are not created through just any confluence of cries, but require perfect, coincidental conditions to form - generally also needing the magical conditions of the area to be as chaotic as the cries. In the few circles aware of psychic magic or leylines, there is some suspicion that elegies are particularly prone in areas that are both distant from leylines and heavy in potential for psychic magic, given their emotion-based nature.   Areas dominated by corruption and magical incidents, such as Iskaldhal or the Sunari Wilderness, are particularly prone to elegies of Nyx, especially in times of hardship, and wear the scars of them in their rugged histories.   Rumour holds that a semi-permanent elegy is what fuels the barrier around Kudara, for those who attempt to travel closer to the hidden continent find their way barred to them by terrifying storms that do not linger well in their memory save for the shape of their fear.


The day had been a hard one, the battlefield spilling into a town and turning its civilians into... numbers on a list of fallen, nothing more. The gods had ceased answering, too caught up in the politics of their own internal wars no doubt, and we-- we were close to finished. The sunset was no reprieve, we thought. Another sleepless night.   And then the cloudless, glimmering sky began to weep, each raindrop glittering with starlight and blood.
Hope of an Elegy of Nyx by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Metaphysical, Astral
Magical Weather Event

Why is it called an elegy of Nyx?

In ancient times, Nyx was an embodiment of the night sky for those who had lost faith in the gods. She was seen as a mother-like figure who served as a guardian of space, protecting Istralar against the threats lingering in the great beyond - including deities themselves.   The elegies of Nyx today are said to be the lamentations of the skies for what has happened below, for there is no other way they can intervene. Similar labels referencing this protector-spirit have been applied to catastrophic astral events, such as meteorite collisions, in the planet's past.
Elegies of Nyx always begin at night, with little to no pattern in the timeliness of their beginning. Sometimes, they await the moment the sun drops over the horizon, its golden rays still painting the sky shades of crimson and light. Other times, they wait until the moon is high in the sky, and the shadow of night's embrace has long since been draped across the land.   Their beginning is marked by a thrum of power that courses through the land in a violent shockwave, and moments later, by the first explosion of colour and light as the stars seem to fall from the skies, trailing downwards in glittering rainfall. In the best circumstance, the elegy is borne of wishes and hopes, and its tears are the Ichor of Elpis.   These land in small explosions that scatter glowing ichor across the landscape, steadily painting it in colours and liquid chrome as the elegy rages on, accompanied by all the hallmark traits of a most violent mortal storm - the winds, the lightning - but without a single cloud in sight. Indeed, if there are clouds present, they will dissipate at the elegy's start.   In the worst circumstances, the ichor that falls is not borne of hope, but of rage and despair. It pierces the earth in jagged, angry shards that tear themselves apart in violent explosions that shred all nearby structures and life. Where tears fall, there is only ruin.   Elegies are rare, but on many occasions, their manifestations are a mixture of these. Hope-laden ichor spills across the land next to the wreckage of the night's fury, and the mortals that summoned the elegy must find solace in the ichor left to them for the aftermath.  
Morning painted a different scene. Frantic scrambling for the ichor that had fallen, loud weeping over those who fell. The gods ignored us, and none won out for their silence. Pitiful.
— scarred soldier
Dreams of an Elegy of Nyx by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


Fragments of an Elegy of Nyx by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Emotions, we think, cause them. Tumultuous, thick emotion, strong enough to go noticed by the powerful and yet ignored all the same... a newly bleak kind of hopelessness, really.
— scholar
  Elegies are incredibly localised phenomena (usually). They are summoned by mass outpourings of emotion with no relief, resolution, or awareness, and thus particularly tend to spawn in isolated frontiers. Due to the power locked in ichor of Elpis, some twisted individuals have intentionally sought to summon elegies - most notably across the Tulaant Steppe, where the stains of bloodshed run deep.   Though some attempts to harvest ichor of Elpis have succeeded, these intentional elegies have leaned far closer to sheer devastation - referred to as a Crimson Elegy, or as a Dirge, by those in this abhorrent practice.   If the boundary of Kudara is indeed a Nyxian elegy, then it would be the largest and longest-lasting in Istralar's recorded history. Ships that return from those borders do return with damage consistent with that caused by an elegy, but given the powerful effects caused by magic, there is no proof that it is not a manufactured effect that simply manifests similarly. It is, however, evidence of the chaos that governs Kudara's borders, and of the likely existence of elegies on that most distant land.   Gaia's Lament was initially suspected to be some form of elegy, but due to its extreme differences, was ultimately ruled to be something of its own. The name lingers in similarity due to the sheer destructive force of both events, though the Lament is a continent-wide event with longer implications rather than an elegy's brief but devastating force - not unlike the difference between a hurricane and a tornado.
We must ask ourselves this: if the gods are silent, and the land sends no aid, then who does? Whose price do we pay, when our screams reach unknown ears? What consequence shall we reap if we do not pay it?   Even with the Divine Wars, even with every evil deity that befouls our lands, would we not prefer to know the beings that judge us?
— priest
Flames of an Elegy of Nyx by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Cover image: by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


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Jul 8, 2023 08:52 by Keon Croucher

These sound genuinely terrifying, yet interestingly unique. Fascinating in their scope, causes and the behavior. Very fun and interesting read :)

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
Jul 8, 2023 09:19 by Alex (TheDumbOwl)

How delightfully terrifying!   Ladies and gents I believe in the business we call this.. Foreshadowing

Ahoy hoy! Have a happy day! Check out my world Vertinall!
Aug 14, 2023 16:05 by Han

Don't go wandering too far beyond the boundaries, now.

welcome to my signature! check out istralar!
Jul 9, 2023 17:21 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

You have some beautiful imagery and language in this one. But OMG TERRIFYING.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 18, 2023 21:04 by Reanna R

Woah...this is so cool, but at the same time horrifying. And the scholar quote makes me wonder if there's anyone brave, curious, and optimistic enough to go around studying the elegies. It would be interesting to see a story or travel log featuring an elegy storm chaser.

May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
Aug 14, 2023 16:06 by Han

It's a bit of a fool's errand trying to do so, though some have certainly tried between this and the ichor they produce. Those who wander down that dark past are invariably changed by the experience..

welcome to my signature! check out istralar!