As you rest you ask Kaurophon to relate the story of Occipitus once more.
“All but the smallest, squalling babes have heard the tale of the Fall of Adimarchus, the renegade angel who made war on Heaven. So strong was his deception, and so puissant his rebellious host, that the Gods of Light were able to repulse him only at great cost: they carved the ground out from beneath his feet, and sent a tract of their own luminous Celestia crashing down to the Abyss. Adimarchus’s minions were destroyed, but he himself survived, forever banished from the cloud-bright planes.
Ruler, now, of the descended wreckage of Celestia, Adimarchus still was power-thirsty, and made war against demonic foes, expanding his control of that poisonous realm. For a thousand years, he clashed armies with his nemesis, the demon prince Graz’zt. Then a new challenge beset him from an unexpected quarter: Athux, a beatific paladin with angelic blood. Athux arrived in the fallen angel’s domain, questing to redeem Adimarchus’s black soul and return with him to Heaven. The aasimar cut a swath across the tumorous plains of the Abyss and confronted the demonic lord in his own throne room. Long they fought, until, exhausted, Adimarchus sundered Athux’s bright blade with his own dark-hearted sword.
Yet something in the paladin’s eyes sparked his compassion, long-buried and forgotten, and he found he could not kill Athux, nor could he subject him to the torments of the Abyss. Instead, he wooed her into friendship, and from thence to love; and the two joined forces in a mighty push against Graz’zt’s howling armies.
But while this epic battle raged, a sudden thing occurred: Graz’zt’s minions captured Athux with surprising ease, casting her half-mortal body into the tormenting prisons of Carceri. Adimarchus could not bear to lose his love; he forfeited the battle, abandoned his army and his realm, and fled to Carceri to free exquisite Athux. He knew now, within his soul, that he should have welcomed Athux’s offer of redemption; and as he quested, he indulged himself with notions of the two of them rising together to Heaven, purged of all wrong.
Alas, this dream was not to be. The only way for Adimarchus to free Athux from the monstrous, deathless guardians of Carceri was to submit him self to servitude instead. As Adimarchus stepped into the twisted cage that would confine him for eternity, he turned back once, to bid his ally and his love farewell. And then, with horror, he beheld the newly freed Athux metamorphose into a grinning, black-skinned fiend—not angelic, nor a paladin, but instead the sly, devoted son of his great nemesis, Prince Graz’zt!
As he descended into servitude and madness, Adimarchus learned the lesson which he himself had taught the host of angels long before: that greatest evils hide in plainest sight.”
“What else can you tell me of the plane?” Bondar asks.
“It is the 507th layer of the Abyss. Few creatures live there. Even demons regard it as haunted, because the light of good still shines there. Yet the evil is so strong that the angels of Celestia count it as lost forever. Unfortunately some demons and other creatures have moved there, trying to pass the test of the smoking eye and expunge what good remains there.
“Though it’s part of the abyss right now, if the right person passes the test of the smoking eye, he could potentially separate it from the lower planes. Perhaps it would become a demi-plane or even part of Celestia once again.
“Occipitus appears as a great basin. In the center of Occipitus is a half buried skull the size of a mountain and from its eye spills a perpetual flame that fills the sky. Around it are parts of what was once Celestia, mixed with strange, almost living landscape: Occipitus’s original evil.
“The sky is filled with Plasms, amoeba like blobs of evil energy that will consume you if you fly too close so walking or magical transport is the best method of getting around. Magic works as it should, as far as I know. While the atmosphere and terrain support life as we know it, it is a harsh place where danger can lurk in unlikely places. There are “Ulcers”, pink acidic pools of slime. Fiberous and Ossaic forests, the trees there made of some strange spongy material, looking like ribs reaching up to the sky. Some have tangles of fleshy plants growing off of them. Tremors rock the plane from time to time, most often occurring near Celestial rubble as the plane tries to consume the remains of Celestia.
“To this place I will take you in the morning, so rest well tonight.”