The Legend of Aoskar
The mere mention of the name makes me glad I am not standing in Sigil, though it still makes me uncomfortable. The name itself carries much weight, and conjures up images many wish to forget. Truly, the name itself contains that which it begot, Aoskar, the one thing that has scarred the Center of the Multiverse for the Eternity of Time.
What scar do I speak of, I hear you thinking? One needs only to step into the Lower Ward to feel it’s effect – to travel to the Shattered Temple is to bear witness to the travesty that was. Aoskar is he who stands as an infamous example of those forces that attempt to challenge the Lady of Pain. Very few remember anything about him other than he was once very powerful and then was utterly crushed by the Mistress of Sigil, but the story is one we should all remember, and take it’s lessons to heart.
The faith used to preach that belief shapes the whole of the Multiverse and everything can be found in groups of three for this is the nature of all things. Aoskar teaches that his faithful should become aware of the nature of the universe by exploring the cosmos and mastering their own power to believe a thing into existence. Portals are to be treated as holy things and objects that allow planar travel are to be considered relics of the faith. The legends tell that Aoskar himself, back when the seasons were young, and before the Great Foundry was built, that he used to preach to his faithful, manifesting for all to see in the Great Temple.
It used to be when Aoskar appeared, he would exemplify a titanic bearded patriarch figure with a body bathed in a cloak of starlight. Indeed, these cloaks of starlight were imitated by the Priests and Priestesses of Aoskar as part of their clerical vestments. Aoskar wielded a tremendous mystical staff that is topped by a Circle that many believed represented Sigil. High Priests of Aoskar were the only parties allowed to hold staffs of this type. The holy number of His sect is three and they attempt to see it in all things. As an interesting side note, many, many years after Aoskar’s passing, the Rule of Three still holds true – some of the Fraternity of Order have been auditing it for some time now, and they feel that they’re confident enough to define it as a law.
Once, eons ago, Aoskar was a deity on a Prime Material Plane that has long since been destroyed. However, His faith continued not on the world of his birth but in the Planes where many of the faithful migrated. As bizarre as it may sound, the god took up residence in Sigil and ministered to his faithful directly despite the presence of the Lady of Pain. Before you decry me as insane, hear me out, good friends. While the Lady despises those who would Rule in Sigil, she let Aoskar reside with his subjects. If you do not believe me, there is ample evidence in the Guvners records that suggests it to be the case. Those with too little sense are prone to making up stories to explain it like the two deities were lovers or the Lady of Pain was somehow weaker then than she is now.
Unsurprisingly, this Lord of Portals became exceedingly popular amongst those who walk the Planes. Over time, love for him spread, as Sigil increased it’s dependance on the portals, more denizens turned to the worship of Aoskar. In the days before the Factions came to prominence, the His faithful handled much of the day to day business of maintaining the city’s bureaucracy as well as its many portals. The faith had adherents on many Prime worlds and cities across the Planes but its heart was decidedly Sigil. During this time, those faithful grew beyond their reach, and arrogance spread, as they began to disdain the Lady, heralding Aoskar as the true god of Sigil. Never ceasing in their fanaticism, those priests found flayed by the Lady simply caused further outcry and more ardent recruiting efforts.
As those who are arrogant are prone to doing, they stepped too far in their words and deeds.
Ultimately, the faithful caused the conversion of the Dabus known as Fel, and that compelled the Lady of Pain to act. Instantly, every priest of the faith was flayed but for Fel and Aoskar’s proxy of Aola (whom was Mazed). Finally, the Grand Temple of Aoskar in the heart of Sigil was destroyed with every single member of the faith inside, the Lady’s Will crushing it with the might of ten thousand suns, destroying not just the temple, but for hundreds of yards in every direction, destroying homes and lives of those who had borne witness to the desecration of Sigil and allowed it to continue. The widespread deaths of thousands across the planes plus the carnage in Sigil was enough to convince the majority of his followers to immediately abandon their faith.
It was only later that the few remaining followers discovered that not only had the Lady of Pain struck out against the religion but that Aoskar himself had been placed in the Dead Book. A terrifying whirling series of blades covered his body, as he was exiled to the Astral Plane and they have continued for thousands of years thereafter. Those who have attempted to rescue him have seen their entire families flayed before their eyes before being trapped on one of the Lady’s Mazes – one with no portal, and no hope of escape.
The faith limped on for many years thereafter but all who worshiped the God of Portals in Sigil found themselves cast into the Mazes. Soon, the nameAoskar was spoken only in hushed shadows, in secret, and rarely ever in Sigil. Incidentally, there was a rash of cross-traders who attempted to convert every Prime that came in from the planes to worship Aoskar, simply to get them all flayed, but after the fourth Prime died, the cross-traders disappeared. One can only wonder where they went to. Only the fact that Aoskar’s secondary temple in the Alley of Dangerous Angles lead to Aola’s Maze (and curiously, for some reason I cannot fathom, out of it) kept a steady stream of faithful coming back into Sigil. Almost immediately, most of these figures ended up getting Mazed themselves.
There have been rumors of the return of the cult of Aoskar, ever since Aola’s fabled escape from the Mazes. The cult is small and made up of mostly Clueless or those whom are not Cagers by birth. The cult tends to invoke an extreme reaction from residents of Sigil that ranges from derision to psychotic fear. Nevertheless, it has been steadily growing despite the fact that their god has been dead for several millennium. If you see one of the cultists, please, do not approach them. I have heard tales of those who do, and the moment they return to Sigil, they are never seen again.