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The Somnovem[1] (also referred to as the Eyes of Nine) are the leaders of the Cognouza Ward of the pre-Calamity city of Aeor.[2]

Description[]

According to Vess DeRogna, the Somnovem are the minds of Cognouza, the ones who orchestrated its escape from the destruction of Aeor, and wish now to return. They had betrayed their own city to ensure their survival. She wished to become one of "the minds" in order to receive the lost knowledge of the greatest mageocracy in history. The Somnovem require the means to come back: enough threshold crests to replace those lost "when it found the storm." The gate lies in the center of Aeor's ruin.[3] Vess DeRogna's body also told the Nein that a Nonagon is a vessel, the key to Cognouza, and the one to free the Somnovem.[4]

The tome found and read by Lucien, then taken by Vess DeRogna before Lucien recovered it, stated that the Somnovem were the organizers of the Cognouza ward: nine philosophers who were dedicated to the idea of manifestation through dream and imagination with the conduit of arcana, and many of its denizens were able to forge matter from sheer will and idea alone. They became increasingly obsessed with the Astral Plane and were rumored to be plotting a secession from the Aeorian Convocation, to abscond from the city to their beloved plane of dreams and ash.[5]

Beau confirmed that the Cobalt Soul was aware that the term "Somnovem" had something to do with the leadership of the Cognouza Ward of Aeor, but that was the extent of their knowledge.[6]

Halas Lutagran described the Somnovem as the strangest of the many philosophers of Aeor, feeling as if they didn't belong within their own people. They had an almost fanatical belief in the mortal imagination, and when they were challenged in their fanaticism, closed themselves and the Cognouza Ward off from the rest of Aeorian society.[7]

Devexian called the Somnovem "a cabal of theorists and odd, exploratory, metaphysically-obsessed buffoons.[8] [...] "If Cognouza is what remains of Aeor, that in itself is a very cruel joke of history."[9]

History[]

The Cognouza Ward was once a part of the city of Aeor during the Age of Arcanum, where it was led by the Somnovem.[10] The Somnovem orchestrated Cognouza's escape from the destruction of Aeor during the Calamity. They betrayed Aeor to ensure their survival.[11] In doing so, the ward of the city was transported to the Astral Sea, where they encountered a "psychic storm that wracked every mind and spirit and shattered them until they became one with their own city."[12] "Thousands of people and the Somnovem that guided them were broken, and over time slowly reformed, powerful, the instinct of their dreams driving them, in a place where they could will their dreams to be, were their will not so fragmented."[13]

The Somnovem spent a long time isolated in the Astral Plane, but their power was strong enough to reach other planes. At some point in history one of them, Fastidan, was able to contact the Grand Archivist of the Dev-Yat Mahiyi Colleges, a mage that had recovered relics from Foren, including tablets that talked about the philosopher himself.[14] As the mage continued his research near Aeor, discovering new relics and documents, he took notes of everything in his journal, talking to Fastidan during the process, and the rest of the Somnovem started to contact him as well, giving him the marks of the red eyes with their associated powers,[15] but this influence also increased his egoism and minimized his empathy, obsessing over reaching Cognouza despite the high cost that his missions required of his subordinates. In one of the explorations the Somnovem were excited when the mage found a stasis bubble with an Aeorian citizen preserved inside, and it was then that Menzias, one of the crazed mage's subordinates, locked him in a small room taking advantage of him being distracted. After that the Somnovem continued to call their chosen one, who had begun referring to himself as Nonagon, and inspired him to create a spell and write it down in his journal. However, the Nonagon mage died in that room.[16]

The philosophers were isolated again in Cognouza, but this time they had a more powerful anchor for their influence in Exandria: the mage's journal. In 831 PD an expedition led by Archmage Vess DeRogna found the room where the Nonagon mage had died. Through the old journal, the Somnovem started to speak to Lucien Tavelle (one of DeRogna's hired mercenaries, the leader of the Tombtakers) in his mind; when the hall began to collapse the group began to withdraw but Lucien, prompted by the voices of the journal, wanted to retrieve the object, which led to his friend and lover, Brevyn Oakbender, to die in the collapse giving Lucien the journal.[17] Vess DeRogna tried to claim the item as part of the artifacts recovered from the expedition, but to the outrage of the Tombtakers and the high price Lucien had paid for the journal, the archmage gave up.[18]

The tiefling started reading the mage's notes obsessively, and by doing so the Somnovem started reaching out to him, sending strange dreams and visions as red eyes started appearing in his body,[19] just like the previous owner of the journal described in his notes.[20]

Lucien's journal - Clara

Fan art of Lucien's journal, by Clara.[art 2]

After Lucien finally understood the nature of the Somnovem and and their power, he shared his knowledge with his friends and they decided to use that power to shape the world according to their wishes and make it a better place for them; it was by then when Lucien started seeing and calling himself "the Nonagon", and "Lucien" was only a costume he continued to wear. Since Vess DeRogna had conned them at the time when she "payed" them after their expedition to Aeor, they decided to contact her and to compensate them with her magic. The tome contained a ritual spell required to reach the Somnovem,[21] but Lucien understood it only partially. He reached out to Vess,[22] and she came to oversee and perform the ritual for him.[23] Gathering in the Savalirwood in 833 PD, the Tombtakers had a feast at which Lucien gave a speech. DeRogna told the Tombtakers that it would be hard to tell immediately whether or not the ritual had succeeded.[24] The ritual was performed, but DeRogna intentionally failed. When the Tombtakers checked, Lucien was not breathing, and his spirit had been broken and scattered.[25][26] The group waited until dawn, and believed the ritual had failed and Lucien was dead. Lucien had told them that if anything were to go wrong, they had to get rid of any sign, any trace. So, not far from their hideout, they buried him and went their separate ways. Vess took the tome as part of the arrangement Lucien had with her.[27][28]

The Somnovems, resigned to the situation, tried to make Vess DeRogna their new Nonagon when she did her own inspection of the journal, establishing a connection with the Aeorian philosophers just like Lucien had done. However, the archmage ended up fighting against the Somnovem's influence, and even though she had gained their nine eye marks, she hid them. Unlike Lucien, as the Nonagon she had seen the danger of the philosophers and she wanted to control them and keep them and Cognouza at bay, and at some point before 836 PD she got an amulet that would protect her from the alien and overwhelming influence of the Somnovem.[29] The Somnovem weren't happy about the attitude of Lucien's successor, and that was why, when they noticed that Cree Deeproots was trying to resurrect him, they helped putting back together the shattered pieces of his spirit[30] (since after he died his spirit had been destroyed, and for a while only a fragment of his soul had inhabited the body before he was killed again). Lucien returned as the Nonagon in 836 PD, focused on returning to Eiselcross and pick up the Tombtakers' mission of reaching Cognouza where they left off, whatever the cost.[31] In Balenpost, guided by the Somnovem's demands, Lucien found Vess DeRogna to retrieve his journal, and while initially the blood hunter was willing to kill her without too much complication, one of the Somnovem, Ira, suggested that the False Nonagon deserved to have her sanity taken from her before her life ended.[32]

During Lucien and the Tombtakers' mission in Eiselcross the Somnovem continued to speak in the Nonagon's mind, and he, less and less of a person, became colder and less empathetic towards his compatriots, even if they shared the same cause. At some point during the journey he allowed Beauregard Lionett and Caleb Widogast, two members of the Mighty Nein (another group of mercenaries who wanted to stop the Tombtakers), to examine his journal, causing the Somnovem's influence to reach them as well, even getting marked with some red eyes. Slowly, Lucien also began to view the philosophers differently, as they began to behave increasingly impatient and excitable, at one point even using Otis Brunkel behind the Nonagon's back to steal threshold crests,[33] and becoming annoying to the point where the blood hunter referred to them as children. The Somnovem, in anger, decided to take revenge on Lucien by refusing to alert him about a trap that the Mighty Nein had set up in the ruins of Aeor; that trap caused the death of Otis Brunkel, Zoran Kluthidol and Tyffial Wase, leaving Lucien and Cree as the last Tombtakers[34] (Brevyn had died five years before in those same ruins, and a seventh member, Briyakar Jurrell, had been executed while Lucien was dead).[35][36]

This event, far from restoring Lucien's respect and fear of the Somnovem, reaffirmed his belief that the philosophers needed someone to control their chaotic power and give it purpose. Curiously, the Eyes of Nine did not seem to foresee their Nonagon's intentions, as they continued to await their arrival in Cognouza with excitement, only for Lucien to attack them upon arrival there, bending them to his will. In his fight alone against the Mighty Nein (since they had killed Cree already) he used the power of the Somnovem to transform himself, [37] and throughout the battle he used the individual abilities of each of the Eyes of Nine, but despite everything, the Nonagon was defeated and the Somnovem were destroyed, freeing the souls that had been trapped in Cognouza in the process.

Members[]

Affiliations[]

  • The Grand Archivist of the Dev-Yat Mahiyi Colleges was the first Exandrian that recovered the name of one of the philosophers from oblivion. Under Fastidan's influence he started exploring Aeor and working to reach Cognouza and the Eyes of Nine. In the process he received the nine red eyes with the corresponding powers, and became the first Nonagon.
    • Menzias, one of the Nonagon mage's students, either by exposure to him or by direct contact to the Somnovem's power ended up being marked with red eyes. However, he still maintained his free will, betraying his Nonagon and locking him away before leaving the ruins of Aeor.[43]
  • Lucien was the leader of a mercenary group offshoot of the Claret Orders when he found a book which, when he looked inside, "it looked back." At that point, he became the Nonagon, working to restore the Somnovem. With each dream, a different mind came to him, one by one showing him what the city was: a collection of minds, finding emergence, and becoming one under the Eyes of Nine. On each visit, they gave him one of his eye markings. When his spirit was splintered by DeRogna's purposeful botching of the ritual designed to unite him with the Somnovem, they were able to find him and put him back together, and in the process he learned much more about them.[44]
    • The Tombtakers, under Lucien, are also in the service of the Somnovem. Cree, one of the Tombtakers, stated that they trusted in Lucien and the Somnovem while looking up with reverence, closing her eyes, and clutching the stone around her neck.[45] All of them had some red eyes in their bodies.

Quotes[]

  • "Another finds us, finds their way home. Welcome. We dream with you. Dreams are the first step. We can make dreams into anything. Into everything. Together."[46]

Trivia[]

  • Lucien stated that he no longer needed sleep as a gift of the Somnovem, giving him more time to think, contemplate, and watch, although he could still dream.[47]
  • The word "Somnovem" is probably based on two Latin roots: "somn" meaning "sleeping" or "dreaming", and "novem" meaning "nine". Thus, the Dreaming (or Sleeping) Nine.[48]
  • Each of the names of the Somnovem also appear to have Latin roots.
    • Luctus: luctus (grief, sorrow)
    • Gaudius - gaudeo (rejoice)
    • Ira - ira (anger, wrath)
    • Vigilan - vigil (awake, alert, watchful)
    • Elatis - elatus (uplifted, exalted) or elate (haughtily, loftily, proudly)
    • Timorei - timor (fear, dread)
    • Mirumus - mirum (surprise)
    • Fastidan - fastidium (loathing)
    • Culpasi - culpa (blame, fault)
  • The eye markings that appeared on Lucien and on the various Mighty Nein members granted powers to their bearers, with each additional eye giving a cumulative new ability:
    1. Mild Telepathy (limited to 120 feet to someone else with an eye)
    2. Darkvision
    3. Can see through illusions
    4. Can choose to see into the Ethereal Plane
    5. Scry through the red eye mark of another person
    6. Sense all sentient beings within 300 feet
    7. Rend Mind, which does 10d10 psychic damage and Lucien used to kill Vess DeRogna
    8. Control the minds of other people with red eyes
    9. Anti-magic cone, but become an NPC under Matt’s control[49]
  • In different visions and dreams they appeared as either children[50] or birds with red eyes.[51]

References[]

  1. Matt spells the name in "An Open Window" (2x114), but the transcripts frequently use "Somnovum" as well.
  2. See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:48:31.
  3. See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) from 2:06:50 through 2:09:35.
  4. See "An Open Window" (2x114) at 3:07:48.
  5. See "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" (2x122) at 1:12:42.
  6. See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:48:31.
  7. See "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 0:43:55.
  8. See "The Genesis Ward" (2x135) at 2:18:38.
  9. See "The Genesis Ward" (2x135) at 2:20:10.
  10. See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:47:53.
  11. See "Solace Between the Secrets" (2x118) at 2:06:53.
  12. See "Hell or High Water" (2x136) at 2:36:01.
  13. See "Hell or High Water" (2x136) at 2:35:57.
  14. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 119.
  15. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 130.
  16. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 138 and 139.
  17. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 107, 108 and 109.
  18. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 114, 115 and 116.
  19. See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) from 0:42:07 through 0:48:10.
  20. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 117-134.
  21. See "Fleeting Memories" (2x14) at 1:04:59.
  22. See "An Open Window" (2x114) at 3:08:51.
  23. See "Fleeting Memories" (2x14) at 1:05:09.
  24. See "Fleeting Memories" (2x14) at 1:05:42.
  25. See "The Tortoise and The Dare" (2x117) at 0:36:55.
  26. See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 0:48:21.
  27. See "Fleeting Memories" (2x14) from 1:04:31 through 1:06:50.
  28. See "Fleeting Memories" (2x14) at 0:19:02.
  29. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 175, 176 and 177.
  30. See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 0:49:57.
  31. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 169.
  32. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 175, 176 and 177.
  33. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 206.
  34. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 220.
  35. See "Fleeting Memories" (2x14) at 0:19:50.
  36. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 165.
  37. See "Rebirth" (2x139) at 3:46:33.
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 0:47:27.
  39. See "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:06:25.
  40. See "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:06:10.
  41. See "Welcome to Cognouza" (2x137) at 1:17:35.
  42. 42.0 42.1 See "Where There Is a Will..." (2x138) at 2:38:30.
  43. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 104, 130, 132, 138 and 139.
  44. See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) from 0:46:57 through 0:50:12.
  45. See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 0:54:14.
  46. See "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 3:42:09.
  47. See "Ice and Fire" (2x121) at 2:52:29.
  48. See "An Open Window" (2x114) at 3:10:10.
  49. See "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap Up" (Sx56) from 3:25:52 through 3:26:59.
  50. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 121 and 122.
  51. Critical Role: The Mighty Nein - The Nine Eyes of Lucien, p. 216.

Art:

  1. Fan art of the Somnovem in the Aether Crux, by Clara (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Lucien's journal, by Clara (source). Used with permission.
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