Mortai


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Just short of gods, the cloud-like mortai rule the skies of the Beastlands, answering to none. Protecting the plane from those that might otherwise wish it harm, they influence every aspect of its being.

Though there are many theories as to the nature of the mortai, none have found any proof for one above the others, and they have been reticent to reveal their own origins to others. Some say the mortai are emanations of the Beastlands itself, manifestations of the plane's will; most find this unlikely, though, given that they are on rare occasion found outside that plane. Others believe that they're merely demipowers of air and weather, servants of various sky and storm gods across the Outer Planes. The most popular theory by far, however, is that the mortai are simply collections of slightly chaotic good spirits, massive collections of petitioners watching over the ground below. Some claim that those that draw near enough to a mortai can hear voices and laughter coming from within their form, though others say these folks are just plain barmy.

Appearance

In their normal state, mortai are nearly indistinguishable from massive cloud banks in the sky, miles across and thousands of feet tall much like any cloud. However, when a mortai wishes to make himself known, he pulsates with a golden glow, crackling with power. Mortai can manifest faces of great wisdom and beauty all along their surface when appearing in such a manner, giving them the common nickname of "faces in the clouds".

They tend to remain enigmatic, rarely if ever initiating contact with other mortals, merely guiding things on the Beastlands quietly; most travelers there have never even realized the mortai were around. However, though prefering a life of noninterference, the mortai can be spoken with by a person tenacious enough to speak with them. When speaking with a mortal, they prefer speaking on matters of philosophy, but a clever enough mortal can usually steer the conversation to the questions he seeks answers to. Getting answers in this way is rarely easy, however, as the mortai prefer to let their questioners find their own answers, speaking in riddles or only giving part of the truth. This attitude extends to their personalities slightly as well, making them something of a playful people. Mortai are occasionally prone to practical jokes, such as creating small rainclouds to follow a person around or trailing a breeze around a person to constantly blow their hat off.

Reference

  • Planescape MCII, pp. 66-67
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