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The Cerberus Assembly is a group of extremely powerful mages in the Dwendalian Empire centered in Rexxentrum[4] with others scattered through the continent.

Cerberus Assembly - JustHustina

Fan art of the Cerberus Assembly symbol, by @JustHustina.[art 2]

History[]

The Eve of Crimson Midnight[]

Following the end of the Marrow War Emperor Manfried Dwendal confirmed that the citizens of the now defeated Julous Dominion would retain their privileges and would not be punished for their previous loyalties; because of this, the magic-practicing Julous nobility maintained their influence, and soon began to compete with their counterparts in the Dwendalian Empire. Both factions conspired and spied on each other until, between 568 and 570 PD, the conflict broke out in Rexxentrum, the imperial capital.[5]

An intense magical battle broke out, razing two neighborhoods of the city, causing hundreds of deaths among civilians,[1] as well as numerous injuries.[5] However, the leaders of the noble houses involved realized that their confrontation could cause their mutual destruction, and in a parlay they decided to ally themselves,[1] later appearing before the king of that time and offering to serve the crown in exchange for acquittal, which the monarch, after some deliberation, accepted,[5] using them as a way to secure his control over the former Julous territories.[6] The whole process happened under the mediation of Ludinus Da'leth, an elven wizard from the north who helped stop the fighting and was considered a hero because of it, and then used that influence to persuade the king.[7]

The new conclave of mages decided to call themselves "Cerberus Assembly", like a different group from the Age of Arcanum, and while they didn't have a direct connection with the historical institution, they did see it as the apex of society and want to rise in power above all other mortals.[1]

The arrival of Ludinus Da'leth[]

Despite having been involved in the foundation of the organization, Ludinus didn't join immediately, staying instead in Molaesmyr, where he was a lower council member, although not very liked. However, after the catastrophic destruction of this elven kingdom and the corruption of the surrounding Veluthil Forest he survived and moved to Bysaes Tyl, staying there for a while before finally joining the Empire to continue his arcane pursuits, being part of the original generation of members of the conclave of mages, and the one who would outlive all the others, eventually becoming the leader.[8] He was heavily involved in the dissolution of the remains of the Julous Dominion and its complete absorption into the Empire.[9]

At some point he also gained leadership of a different group, using both their resources and those of the Assembly for his own plans.[10][11]

The expulsion of Delilah Briarwood[]

At some point around the beginning of the 9th century the Archmage of Antiquity was Delilah Briarwood, a woman who had trained in both Wildemount and Tal'Dorei,[12] working in the Soltryce Academy[13] before obtaining her position[14] on the Assembly.[15]

However, the archmage's husband, Sylas, fell seriously ill and passed away before Delilah got to him with the cure.[16] Despite necromancy being outlawed in the Empire, she decided to try and resurrect Sylas, coming into contact with an entity[17] that revealed to her a way to bring Sylas back as a vampire, in exchange for their loyalty.[18] The Cobalt Soul discovered Sylas' nature and Delilah's involvement, so she was ousted from the Assembly[19] and the couple was pursued and arrested, although they managed to escape, fleeing to Port Damali,[20] and eventually sailing to Tal'Dorei with new plans and allies.

Delilah's position would eventually be filled by Vess DeRogna.

The War of Ash and Light[]

At some point before 835 PD the Assembly managed to steal two of the precious Luxon beacons of the Kryn Dynasty thanks to the help of a Kryn traitor who shared their interests[21] and was further pressured by Ludinus Da'leth. The Assembly hired Yeza Brenatto in Felderwin to attempt to extract the power of the dunamantic field from one of the beacons and distill it into a potion for military purposes;[22] despite some secondary effects in the surrounding areas,[23] the halfling eventually was able to distill a single vial of dunamis power. Even if the process was costly and time-consuming,[24] the Assembly would go ahead with the production of said substance in the following years.[25]

However, the actions of the Cerberus Assembly increased the tensions between their nation and Xhorhas, and after an attempt of recovering the beacons (in which Kryn agents were killed in Zadash and the object ended in the hands of the Mighty Nein)[26] the War of Ash and Light would be declared. The conflict officially ended on 10 Unndilar 836 PD,[27] after several negotiations and a lengthy effort by the Mighty Nein, who ensured that the stolen Luxon beacons were returned to their rightful place. The Cerberus Assembly agreed to let them go because they themselves had discovered one in an excavation of Shattengrod,[28] and they could use it along with Yeza's research data to continue producing potions of possibility.

Even if the Empire and the Dynasty reached an agreement, there were still tensions between them, since both the Kryn and the Assembly were doing research in Eiselcross. Vess DeRogna got involved in the excavations there, bringing the Mighty Nein with her, which led to her demise at the hands of the Nonagon;[29] the same adventuring party had also contact with Trent Ikithon, who eventually tried to attack them and his former student, Caleb Widogast, which led to the archmage's arrest. After two of the most influential figures in the Assembly were eliminated, Caleb, along with Expositor Beauregard Lionett, began a process of investigation and surveillance to ensure that the institution would not become corrupted again and that its more sinister plans (such as the volstrucker program) were stopped.

At some point between 836 and 841 PD the Cerberus Assembly managed to completely take control over the Aeorian ruins in Eiselcross.[30]

Dealings in Marquet[]

In addition to his own projects of arcane research and political manipulation within the Empire, Martinet Ludinus Da'leth was working on a project involving Ruidus and the apogee solstice. As part of said project he made an alliance with Otohan Thull, leader of the Paragon's Call of Bassuras, who had her own connection to the red moon. They both visited the Unseelie Court in the Feywild to start the construction of a machine with the initial help of the Nightmare King, who would end up leaving the project.[31] The machine itself, called a "Malleus Key", would be sabotaged by Ollie and Birdie Calloway around 836 PD.[32][33]

Ludinus kept collaborating with Paragon's Call, and as part of that, he sent them crates with potions of possibility, transporting the arcane goods with the help of Jiana Hexum and Armand Treshi as of 843 PD.[34] He also used his influence over both the Assembly and his other group, the Ruby Vanguard, to take over the excavations of Tishtan ruins in the Hellcatch Valley (causing tensions with the Court of the Lambent Path, since the Aydinlan Seminary was involved in the excavations) and start building a Malleus Key there,[35] while a third device was being built in the Shadowfell.[36]

While the resources of the Assembly were being used by Da'leth and his other allies, an investigation led by Beauregard Lionett and Caleb Widogast revealed he was doing so without the knowledge and/or active participation of the other members of the Dwendalian conclave of mages.[37] By 843 PD, Bertrand had been bedridden for many years and grown even more reclusive than formerly, allowing the Assembly to grow in power and prominence. Keyleth of the Air Ashari believed that not all the members of the Assembly agreed with Ludinus and his methods in the wake of the Ruby Vanguard's plot, leading to internal conflicts within their organization, exacerbated by general social unrest in the Empire and recent insurgent attacks on prisons.[38]

During and immediately after the Apogee Solstice of 843 PD, the Cerberus Assembly members abandoned the Empire and disappeared.[39] Many of its members were now known to be aligned with Ludinus and with the Ruby Vanguard.[40] Even those who were not went into hiding, since the Assembly as a whole was blamed by many for the disturbances taking place during the Solstice.[41]

Weeks later, Bells Hells traveled to Ruidus and visited the city of Kreviris where they killed a group of reiloran warriors that had attacked them, stealing a box they had with them. Later, when they examined it, they noticed it was very similar to the ones sent by the Assembly to Marquet, determining it was magically locked and likely trapped.[42] They eventually opened it, revealing a piece of Aeorian technology,[43] and the following day they learned that Ludinus, assisted by an unknown number of other member defectors from the Cerberus Assembly, had been gathering those relics for about five years from the Occultus Thalamus in Aeor's Genesis Ward and bringing them to the red moon to use in freeing Predathos.[44]

The Assembly[]

According to Astrid, although people assume the Assembly is a very tight-knit group, in truth they publicly smile while secretly working against each other.[45] The mages of the Cerberus Assembly are involved in virtually all aspects of governance of the Dwendalian Empire, including spying and the Volstrucker, protecting it against foreign invasions, the supervision of the Soltryce Academy and the Hall of Erudition, foreign relations, and discovery of powerful artifacts of the Age of Arcanum.

Those not allied with the Assembly are wary of their growing power.[46] Those allied with the Assembly, such as Pumat Sol, claim that they keep the Crown in check and prevent abuses of power. The Assembly has promoted learning in the middle to lower classes in Zadash.[47]

The Assembly and the Cobalt Soul are often at odds with each other.[48] They have worked in an antagonistic lockstep for the better part of a century, since the inception of the Assembly. They do not outwardly show aggression towards each other, but have maintained a series of checks and balances. Both sides have done what they can to curb the influence of the other and prevent the other from achieving internal goals that went against the needs and wants of their own faction. They also work together at times out of necessity, both publicly and behind the scenes. Sometimes they maintain a relationship of frustrated convenience, and at other times, a subversive antagonism.[49]

Outside the Empire, the Assembly is regarded as a necessary evil and treated with distant respect.[50]

Symbols[]

The symbol of the Cerberus Assembly consists of three diamond-like shapes pointed inward toward themselves representing the three heads of the Assembly, and underneath, eight spires that curl up around it representing The Candles, the eight towers that encircle the stronghold where the King sits.[51]

Members and operations[]

Archmages[]

Annexes[]

Directly beneath the eight chief mages of the Assembly are their deputies and assistants, known as annexes.[58]

Former members[]

  • Trent Ikithon: Archmage of Civil Influence - The propagandist and constructor of the face of the Empire in upper echelon circles.[52] He was also entrusted with selecting and training students for the Volstrucker.[14] Eventually, his abuses of his students were exposed to King Bertrand Dwendal by the Mighty Nein and the Cobalt Soul, and Ikithon was stripped of his position on the Assembly and imprisoned.
  • Lady Vess DeRogna: Archmage of Antiquity[52] - Served as the expert historian for the Assembly. She replaced her criminal predecessor Delilah Briarwood in the position[14], before being assassinated by Lucien in her suite in Balenpost.[64]
  • Delilah Briarwood: Archmage of Antiquity - Ousted from the Assembly for illegal necromantic experimentation through an investigation led by the Cobalt Soul.[65]
  • Lord Symon Vergesson: Founder and namesake of the Vergesson Sanatorium, now deceased.

The Wind of Aeons[]

The Assembly maintains a small sailing ship, the Wind of Aeons. It is built of redwood in a style very visibly different to most other ships, and carries the Cerberus Assembly flag.[66] Rarely used, it is nonetheless beautifully made with golden inlays along the edge of the deck and handles, designed to create an impression when the Assembly does go to sea.[67]

Trivia[]

Prism with her trading cards - Jessica Scates

Fan art of Prism with her trading cards, by Jessica Scates.[art 3]

  • As of 843 PD, there were trading cards with the faces of the members of the Cerberus Assembly.[68]
  • Some recent members of the Cerberus Assembly hold political and/or noble titles (such as Baroness Jenna Iresor and Lady Vess DeRogna). It is unknown if they have those titles in their own right, like nobles of the first generation of the Assembly did, or if they obtained these titles for their services to the Crown.
    • As of 835 PD many Dwendalian nobles are descendants of sorcerers or come from families with a long tradition of arcane study, and the most talented of them do study in the Soltryce Academy and/or join the Assembly,[69] so it is very likely that there are members who already had their own titles before getting involved with this arcane council.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 41.
  2. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 16–The Eve of Crimson midnight occurred around a quarter of a century after the Marrow War ended in 545 PD..
  3. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 42-43–Alignments of the Archmages. Only one out of eight is considered "Good".
  4. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 1:30:51.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 16.
  6. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 3:39:53.
  7. See "Hope Within History" (3x55) at 1:34:39.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 42.
  9. See "Hope Within History" (3x55) at 1:36:25.
  10. See "What Dreams May Come" (3x34) at 2:28:11.
  11. See "Bawdy Basement Belligerence" (3x44) at 3:38:43.
  12. See "The Feast" (1x24) at 2:57:00.
  13. See "Talks Machina: Campaign Wrap-up" (Sx31) at 0:47:35.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 43.
  15. See "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 4:07:55.
  16. See "Talks Machina: Campaign Wrap-up" (Sx31) from 0:47:55 through 0:48:15.
  17. See "Talks Machina: Campaign Wrap-up" (Sx31) from 0:48:15 through 0:48:30.
  18. See "Talks Machina: Campaign Wrap-up" (Sx31) from 0:48:30 through 0:49:15.
  19. See "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 4:07:55.
  20. See "Talks Machina: Campaign Wrap-up" (Sx31) from 0:49:15 through 0:49:40.
  21. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 3:54:00.
  22. link=https://twitter (@VoiceOfOBrien) on Twitter: "Liam O'Brien "[.. refining the method with each step until we can certify its use in combat"]" (2019-01-18).
  23. See "Homeward Bound" (2x48) at 3:32:43.
  24. link=https://twitter (@VoiceOfOBrien) on Twitter: "Liam O'Brien "Attempts to isolate a substance capable containing and sustaining the dunamantic energies within a casing has proven both time consuming and costly, but I believe it is only the beginning stages."" (2019-01-18).
  25. See "Promise and Potential" (3x22) at 1:54:06.
  26. See "Midnight Espionage" (2x12).
  27. See "High Seas, High Stakes" (2x99) at 3:30:25.
  28. See "Lingering Wounds" (2x89) at 0:41:14.
  29. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 175, 176 and 177.
  30. See "Where The Red Fearne Glows" (3x94) at 2:45:46.
  31. See "Breaking Point" (3x31) at 20:50.
  32. Time in the Feywild moves independently of time in the Material Plane and can be stretched by those powerful enough to do so. See, for instance, "Dark Dealings" (1x112) at 3:31:11 and "Dark Portents" (3x29) at 3:13:02.
  33. See "Dark Portents" (3x29) at 0:22:29.  Although Fearne last saw her parents about ninety years ago (See "A Taste of Tal'Dorei" (3x25) at 43:29), only six or seven years had passed for those in Exandria's Material Plane.
  34. See "What Dreams May Come" (3x34).
  35. See "Axiom Shaken" (3x43) at 3:29:41.
  36. See "Axiom Shaken" (3x43) at 2:55:38.
  37. See "Red Moon Rising" (3x50) at 3:29:28.
  38. See "For The Tempest" (3x68) at 1:57:30.
  39. See "Where The Red Fearne Glows" (3x94) at 2:47:52.
  40. See "Where The Red Fearne Glows" (3x94) at 2:48:44.
  41. See "Gathering of Needs" (3x95) at 0:16:00.  See also at 0:21:41.
  42. See "Arrival at Kreviris" (3x87) at 4:02:28.
  43. See "Seeking Sedition" (3x88).
  44. See "Broken Roads" (3x92) at 0:31:21.  See also "Gathering of Needs" (3x95) at 0:18:08.
  45. See "Gathering of Needs" (3x95) at 0:26:11.
  46. See "Steam and Conversation" (2x09) at 1:04:19.  Members of the Knights of Requital complain about the Cerberus Assembly.
  47. See "Zemnian Nights" (2x11) at 00:52:10.
  48. See "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 4:06:16.
  49. See "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 4:06:16.
  50. See "Pyrrhic Return" (3x35) at 3:28:00Orlana Seshadri described the Chandei Quorum of Jrusar's relationship with the Assembly.
  51. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 3:11:49.
  52. 52.0 52.1 52.2 52.3 52.4 52.5 52.6 52.7 52.8 See "Whispers of War" (2x18) from 3:40:00 through 3:41:43.  Caleb reads about the Cerberus Assembly at the Cobalt Soul
  53. See "Fond Farewells" (2x141) at 5:44:14.
  54. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 2:32:00.  "Marquis" was a temporary title.
  55. See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 0:39:33.
  56. See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 0:39:38.
  57. Ludinus only mentions "a vacancy" rather than multiple vacancies. Weeks later, Astrid is noted to be joining "the eight".  See "Fond Farewells" (2x141) at 5:44:14.
  58. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 2:16:28.
  59. See "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 3:04:26.
  60. See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 3:17:23.
  61. See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 3:14:46.
  62. See "Zemnian Nights" (2x11) at 0:41:51.
  63. See "The Chase Begins" (2x112) from 1:57:48 through 2:04:30.
  64. See "An Open Window" (2x114) at 2:24:27.
  65. See "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 4:07:55.
  66. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 0:26:31.
  67. See "The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) at 0:41:47.
  68. See "Faith or Famine" (3x60) at 1:45:08.
  69. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 35.

Art:

  1. Official art of the Cerberus Assembly symbol, by Claudio Pozas (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the Cerberus Assembly symbol, by @JustHustina (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Prism with her trading cards, by Jessica Scates (source). Used with permission.
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