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The oracles are a group of spellcasters (like clerics and mages) who contact divine magic to make prophecies of events that had not yet taken place. Just prior to the Calamity, the city of Avalir had its own oracles in the Hall of Prophecy.[2]

History

The first oracles probably appeared at some point after the Founding, when the gods first gave magic and knowledge to the mortal races. Traditionally these prophets made their predictions channeling the power of some deity; however, at some point in its history, during the Age of Arcanum, the mages of the city of Avalir discovered a way to contact the divine energy that made prophecies possible without the need to worship gods, although requiring a lot of the oracles, who lived a secluded life.[3] These mages studied to develope healing magic (uncommon in that magocracy) and they accepted those who wanted to learn, even if they wouldn't become oracles.[4]

Approximately two weeks before the Calamity,[5] the archmage Vespin Chloras succeeded in a ritual weakening the barriers that prevented the return of the Betrayer Gods.[6] In the Hall of Prophecy in Avalir, Karwen, one of the oracles, sensed the coming danger and delivered a prophecy of warning, so intense, dark and confusing that her fellow oracles thought she was going mad; the attempts of healing her, however, caused a different effect, allowing many other prophets to have similar visions. Worried about the sanity of the oracles, the Hall of Prophecy discreetly reached out, contacting with the Chair of Divination (the closest school due to the common nature of both institutions) and the Ring of Gold. Volucia of the Heart's Emblem, the Chief Diviner,[7] was sent to the Hall to help during a week, keeping the affected oracles safe, time during which she also tried to understand the nature of the strange madness that afflicted the prophets. It was during her watch when Karwen, apparently recovered from her vision, was allowed to walk freely; this, however, caused that when she had another episode she extended the effect to many of her fellows, to the point where only Sofyra was unaffected. Volucia, deeply worried about this, and after locking Karwen again for her own safety, contacted Loras of the Wearer's Mask, and they had an argument, during which she stated that the prophetic gifts of the oracles weren't worth the harm they were suffering for them. The two members of the Ring of Gold were unable to reach an agreement, and Volucia decided to renounce magic, breaking the staff she used as an arcane focus and leaving Avalir.[8] Loras took care of the problem closing the Hall of Prophecy and locking the mad oracles, letting just a few people (including Patia Por'co) know that the prophets needed rest before the Replenishment, and leaving guards watching the building.[9]

The night the Calamity started the Ring of Brass, investigating the strange events that took place in the city, sent Nydas Okiro and Zerxus Ilerez to the Hall of Prophecy. Using a bit of deception and the trust Zerxus had, being a former student of the Hall, they convinced Sofyra of letting them in and revealing them what happened. During the time he spent there, the First Knight of Avalir visited the place where Karwen was being kept, and going through a reflection had a conversation with Asmodeus.[10] Nydas, meanwhile, was informed about the first "false" prophecy recorded, but he didn't want to believe in it, so he treated it as nonsense.[11] Later that same night, when the Lord of the Nine Hells entered Exandria and Karwen's prophecy started to make more sense, the Ring of Brass returned to the Hall (following the advise of a briefly redeemed Vespin Chloras) and released the oracle. She healed her saviours and delivered a new prophecy about the doom that was coming.[12]

Before the destruction of Avalir Loquatius Seelie sent a message to both the floating city and Cathmoíra in the ground, asking people to leave Domunas using all the means they had.[13] Presumably, if Sofyra and/or Karwen freed the other oracles, at least some of them were able to save themselves before Laerryn's Astral Leywright sent Rau'shan and Ka'Mort (the primordials sealed under Cathmoíra) outside the Material Plane, destroying the continent in the process.[14]

After the Divergence it is unknown how common oracles are, but they still exist. In Syngorn there are legends between 810 and 836 PD about an oracle's spirit bound to the Gladepools that will reveal fates or grant a cryptic prophecy to those who give sufficient offering and respect.[15][16] In the same period of time, Seer Gloria Ios of the Arcana Pansophical started acting as a reaching arm of the organization in Vasselheim due to her visions, and now her duties are focused there.[1][17] By 835 PD there are seers and oracles in Xhorhas that, when a double eclipse happens (this meaning Ruidus and Catha overlapping before the sun) warn about the uncontrollable (if brief) colliding of multiple planes.[18]

Moreover, there are still individuals that manifest prophetic abilites without actively acting as oracles. A good example of it is Leylas Kryn, Bright Queen of the Kryn Dynasty, who receives dreams with visions related with her deity and their sacred relics.[19]

There's an oracular ability colloquially known as "the Squint" that is considered to be "a faint oracle touch". In normal circumstances it allows its users to get glimpses of dangers yet to come, possibilities of futures they can choose or avoid. However, the Squint can be cultivated to develop the same capacities as a normal oracle.[20]

Known prophecies

Oracle Prophecy Meaning Fulfillment
Karwen[21] "The stars are leaving us. Our hands cannot reach the limbs of the tree, can no longer scribe the name of our deliverance. We will soon be as broken as our promises. Avalir shall fall. All shall fall. And from our folly will the hands that forge the world banish themselves from the broken things they have made." The prophecy warns about the destruction of the Tree of Names by a series of decisions that broke the agreement between the mages of Avalir and the Gau Drashari, causing the Calamity and eventually the Divergence. Every event warned by the prophecy took place.
Karwen[22] "When crowned fire and a throned earth stride forth to join ancient war anew, then Mother and Father shall fall to the hands of their imprisoned kin. And all the stars will weep until the death of light for lost Exandria, whose every ashen breath will wish for death, and never knowing peace, shall stumble ever more to seek in vain the end of horror without name." The prophecy warns about the great destruction that will happen if the Emperor of Fire and the Empress of Earth are freed when Avalir and Cathmoíra become one again in Mount Ygora. It also insinuate that, with the support of those primordials, the Betrayer Gods will defeat Pelor and Melora (the ones that sealed away those elementals). The destruction of Exandria as we know it is unavoidable at that point. The events of this prophecy were a possible future, and were mostly avoided by the efforts of the Ring of Brass (although Domunas was destroyed by the primordials regardless).
Local soothsayers[23] Content of the prophecy currently unknown It is said that one day Tharizdun, who according to legend created the Cauldron Sea to loosen the veil between worlds, will rend the fabric of reality from the depths of those waters. According to some the prophecy is already fulfilled, since the Oblivion Vortex in this sea causes an eternal storm due to the aspects of the Elemental Plane of Water and the Abyss colliding in it. Many others believe there are worse things to come, and want to avoid the Chained Oblivion's return.
Oleander Calloway[24] A vision of the red light of Ruidus consuming the green beauty of the Feywild, destroying homes and leaving behind dusty remains and dull red light. Fearne Calloway is in that light, extending her hand towards it before it consumes everything. The interpretation the Calloways gave to the vision is that their daughter is marked by the red moon, and somehow its vermillion light is entering the Fey Realm, putting Fearne and the rest of the fey in danger. This prophecy hasn't been fulfilled or avoided yet. Ruidus' light is currently visible in the sky of the fey, although hidden by Unseelie illusions.

Trivia

  • Due to the nature of their magic, oracles have a spark of celestial energy that marks their presence, being recognized by magics such as Divine Sense.[25]
  • Ioun, the Knowing Mistress, is the goddess of prophecy, which makes very probable that she has/had oracles under her service.
  • It is unknown if the ability to become an oracle is something one is born with, or if anyone with the proper training and disposition (or divine influence) can gain these prophetic abilities. In any case, Zerxus Ilerez is proof that if the potential already exists, it is possible for someone who is not working as an oracle to obtain dreams, visions, and premonitions.
    • The fact Ollie Calloway inherited his Squint from his mother indicates that that oracular potential might be hereditary.[26]
  • Theoretically, K'nauthi can gain oracle abilities if their deity so desires (although the process would be terribly detrimental to them). Likewise, a divine oracle whose god has no concern for their well-being may end up transforming into a K'nauth.
  • In Tal'Dorei (and possibly elsewhere) oracles use oloore root (an illegal drug) to enhance their divinations.[27]
  • In Reaching Bluff, in the Cliffkeep Mountains, the locals treat a Luxon beacon they found as a mystical oracle.[28]
  • While it has never been shown in Critical Role, there is a Supernatural gift in 5th Edition rules, Oracle, available as a character creation option in Mythic Odysseys of Theros, which gives, among other abilities, knowledge of the Celestial language and more spells the greater the devotion and piety to a deity.

References

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