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The Cobalt Soul is an order publicly dedicated to the search for and preservation of knowledge, making it as accessible to the public as possible, guided by the light of Ioun, The Knowing Mistress.[5][6] Their less-public mission is to use this accumulated knowledge against corruption and tyranny to ensure the freedom of all people. While their archives are available to everyone, the curators of the Cobalt Reserve privately determine what knowledge is too dangerous to be included — typically, information magical in nature or secrets that may be used against unjust leaders, cults, and any other antisocial factions.[7]

Most members of the Cobalt Soul do not consider themselves Ioun's zealous worshipers, but still pay homage to her in some form.[2]

Description

Symbol of Cobalt Soul on a Cobalt Journal.[art 2]

Some members of the Cobalt Soul are monks, while others are knowledge clerics of Ioun, bards, or fighters. Many folks are just standard researchers, caretakers, and historians.[8]

Ranks

  • High Curator: Those to whom all other members of their archive must ultimately answer.[7] The High Curator of Vasselheim and the High Curator of Rexxentrum (Yudala Fon) share dual and equal leadership over the entire structure of the Cobalt Soul.[9]
  • Curator: A small group of three to five curators manage the top-level operations of each archive.[7]
  • Expositor: Trained in the art of espionage, the expositors take on the duty of uncovering secrets and obscure knowledge. Their true mission is unknown to low-ranking monks, who see them simply as well-trained field agents.[7] Expositors report only to their High Curator.[1]
  • Archivist: Charged with organizing the overwhelming flow of information from returning researching expeditions, training new monks, and performing administrative tasks within their local archive.[7]
  • Monk: A member of the library with the most visible public duties: searching out knowledge both modern and archaic, and aiding archivists with its preservation within an archive.[5] In the Ank'Harel library, any volunteer can perform a monk's duties, and are officially accepted into the order after about six months of probation.[4]

History

The Cobalt Soul was born in Wildemount, just after the Calamity.[2] Since the rise of the Dwendalian Empire there, the Cobalt Soul and the Cerberus Assembly have worked in an antagonistic lockstep for the better part of a century. 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.[10]

The Cobalt Soul has developed a relationship with the Revelry, and the Plank King is well aware of it.[11]

The Library has commissioned a large number of cobalt golems to guard their most restricted archives.[12]

Locations

The Cobalt Soul operates several libraries, including the Cobalt Reserve in Westruun, the Cobalt Vault in Vasselheim[13], and several archives on the continent of Wildemount: the main archive in Rexxentrum, the Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul in Zadash, and an archive in Port Damali.[14] These libraries are offered a degree of governmental protection.[15]

The Cobalt Soul also has a satellite archive in Ank'Harel in Marquet.[7][16]

The Cobalt Reserve in Westruun

A grand dome of blue, polished stone, the Cobalt Reserve is a well-fortified library in Westruun that is organized, overseen, and guarded by an order of monks in worship to The Knowing Mistress, goddess of knowledge, prophecy, and skill. The Reserve's collection of knowledge is so vast that individuals travel from all over the world to study here. A monk is assigned to every person that seeks entry, both as a guide and as a security escort, as Quian was assigned to Vox Machina during their quest to remove the proto-phylactery from Grog's torso.[17]

Known members

  • Greisalda Cassios, the High Curator of the Cobalt Reserve as of 836 PD. Half-dragonblood, half-human female with silver scales.[7]
  • Cressida Holt, an expositor of the Cobalt Reserve as of 836 PD. Orc nonbinary, slimmer than other orcs.[18]
  • Quian[17]
  • "CS", an author of articles based on Beauregard Lionett's intelligence, with whom Zeenoth corresponds.[19]

The Cobalt Vault in Vasselheim

Some affluent individuals outside of the order were allowed to read books within the libraries but were carefully monitored to ensure that they did not remove any books.[20] The Curator of this Vasselheim branch, at the time of the events of Campaign Two, had dual leadership of the Cobalt Soul with the High Curator of Rexxentrum.[21]

Known members

The Valley Archive of the Cobalt Soul in Zadash

Built off of the western edge of the Pentamarket in the Interstead Sprawl of Zadash,[25] this library is known to contain rare tomes and elaborate writings. It is maintained by the Cobalt Soul. Although open to the public under supervision, it has off-limits areas requiring special approval for access. After signing in, a monk is assigned as a watchful escort. Within the public areas, attendees can read and take notes on the materials within, though removing items from the library is strictly forbidden.[26]

Interior

The archive has a tall, tapering tower that curves at the top into a dome-like pinnacle. Flanking the sides of this tower are three smaller spires. The stonework of the main tower has a smooth, concrete-looking texture. In the morning sunlight, the tower shines brightly and reveals intricate carvings on the various tiers that spiral down the tower. The interior of this library consists of:[27]

  • Several curved staircases carved through the bookshelves, rising to different heights and connecting the higher levels of the library at various points.
  • Rooms usable for meetings or quiet research and study of the materials found within.
  • Subterranean training boxes with sand pits for sparring, as well as urban and wilderness obstacle courses.
  • Private and guarded teleportation circles to Rexxentrum, Port Damali, Tal'Dorei, and Vasselheim.[28]

Known members

Symbol of Ioun, the Knowing Mistress, with a cobalt blue backdrop

Rexxentrum Archive of the Cobalt Soul

One of the two headquarters of the Cobalt Soul, the other being in Vasselheim, this library is easily larger than the Zadash archive by fifty-percent or more. There are multiple floors, with at least four full fifteen-foot high tiers visible from the interior, with many little pocket chambers. Walkways connect the tiers. In the basement are teleportation circles to Vasselheim, Westruun, Port Damali, and Zadash. The exterior is a beautiful cerulean building marked by four short multi-level domed towers of polished blue stone in the Tangles, a neighborhood in Rexxentrum.

Known members

Port Damali

An archive in Port Damali has a teleportation room that does not link to Vasselheim, unlike both Rexxentrum and Zadash.[45]

Temple of the Mentor in Ank'Harel

The Ank'Harel branch of the Cobalt Soul was founded around 686 PD,[46] combining a vast library and a temple to Ioun. The local archivists are preoccupied with eradicating factions that they consider evil, particularly the Consortium of the Vermilion Dream, which uses weapons made out of a suspicious material called ruidium. Members of the archive are concerned about the Allegiance of Allsight's fascination with Cael Morrow but cooperate with them out of shared ideals and goals.[4]

Known members

  • High Curator Jamil A'alithiya[4]

Personnel at unspecified locations

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 52.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 58.
  3. See Matt Mercer's clarification on Twitter.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 See Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep, p. 88.
  5. 5.0 5.1 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, pp. 58–59.
  6. See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 1:38:23.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 59.
  8. See Matt Mercer's clarification on Twitter.
  9. See "The Threads Converge" (2x85) at 3:57:50.
  10. See "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 4:06:16.
  11. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 216.
  12. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 239.
  13. See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:38:20 through 1:38:57.
  14. See "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) from 1:22:33 through 1:22:52.
  15. See "Talks Machina: Campaign Wrap-up" (Sx31) at 0:33:14.
  16. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 3:34:02.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Information about Quian was imported from Matthew Mercer's Vox Machina Wiki article, "Quian".
  18. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 60.
  19. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, pp. 148 and 247. May also be an abbreviation of "Cobalt Soul".
  20. See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) from 1:47:11 through 1:47:45.
  21. See "The Threads Converge" (2x85) at 3:57:50.  However, in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 53, it states that the second High Curator is located in Zadash rather than Vasselheim.
  22. See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 1:43:55.
  23. See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 1:50:45.
  24. See "Voice of the Tempest" (1x90) at 1:50:45.
  25. See "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) from 1:22:33 through 1:22:52.
  26. See "Harvest Close" (2x17) at 1:49:48.
  27. See "A Favor in Kind" (2x16) at 3:33:54.
  28. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 3:27:00.
  29. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 2:35:47.
  30. See "Manifold Morals" (2x74) at 1:36:24.
  31. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) from 3:50:22 through 3:52:12.
  32. According to Zeenoth. See The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 152.
  33. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 2:26:17.
  34. See "Harvest Close" (2x17) at 1:50:34.
  35. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 3:28:38.
  36. See "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) at 1:03:48.
  37. See "Harvest Close" (2x17) at 1:50:34.
  38. See "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) at 2:18:19.
  39. See "A Walk to Warmer Welcomes" (2x124) at 1:23:04.
  40. See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) at 1:22:38.
  41. See "The Threads Converge" (2x85) at 3:57:50.  However, in Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 53, it states that the second High Curator is located in Zadash rather than Vasselheim.
  42. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 53.
  43. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 3:42:04.
  44. See "Bathhouses and Bastions" (2x90) at 1:09:01.
  45. See "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 3:43:17.
  46. See Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep, p. 88. "nearly 150 years ago"
  47. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 182.
  48. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 193.

Art:

  1. Symbol of the Cobalt Soul, by Claudio Pozas (source). Used with permission.
  2. Symbol of Cobalt Soul on a Cobalt Journal (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
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