Od Nua

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Od Nua
PE1 Od Nua.png
Biography and appearance
Game Pillars of Eternity
Race Human
Gender Male
Location Endless Paths of Od Nua Level 14
Quests The Master Below
I would have slaughtered the world, to have him returned to me. They ought to have been honored, to sacrifice their lives for his resurrection. To save their prince.

Od Nua is a character in Pillars of Eternity, a powerful Engwithan tyrant. He went mad after the death of his son, Maros, because he knew there were no gods to ensure he would be properly reincarnated. He dedicated his life to carving a massive statue of his son out of living adra with the intention of drawing Maros' soul out of the Beyond by force. He engineered a massive statue of living adra to house Maros' soul, but his plans were stopped by the concerted efforts of other Engwithan tyrants, who saw him as a threat and buried him with his work. In later centuries, colonists built a castle over the ruins and named it Caed Nua. Like the ruins themselves, Caed Nua was considered cursed.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

A beloved king of Engwith, Od Nua was once a wise and just ruler... Which changed with the death of his son, Maros Nua. He was a perfectly average boy, with no notable achievements to his name, but deeply loved by his father all the same. He loved him back and tried to make him proud as a warrior. Unfortunately, all he found on the battlefield was death.

Overcame by grief, Od Nua desperately sought a way to bring him back. He summoned the greatest workers, mages, and servants, setting off on a daring quest to defy the Wheel, endlessly grinding souls into dust. Nothing came of it at first, just a series of false starts and wasted efforts. Neither Gabrannos nor Cabiros came up with a solution to his problem. The king grew anxious with the lack of results, worried that his son's soul might forever disappear beyond the Shroud, and permitted new methods to be tested, to better understand the soul. It took acts of terrifying barbarism to begin understanding the soul. Countless Engwithans were tortured to death in Od Nua's fortress, from stripping their souls in blight forges to shattering their souls under violent torture. Worse yet, they finally started making progress. The more the bone pits filled with remains of his subjects, the more did Od Nua and his folk understand about the soul and the closer did they come to finding the dividing line between life and death. Finally, Cabiros and his cabal of twelve wizards and animancers succeeded in their efforts. They found a way to find his son in the adra hub below his keep, in the well of souls buried beneath the earth.

The discovery convinced Od Nua that he was right and that all the atrocities committed thus far were a necessary sacrifice. The research continued under Cabiros' auspices, even as Gabrannos continued his twisted experiments with captive Engwithans and the elemental forges, while a master artisan by the name of Idros tackled the seemingly impossible task of creating a vessel capable of housing Maros Nua's soul. Combining soul magic with Engwithan skills in shaping and growing adra, he carved a mighty titan in Maros' likeness, using a statue as reference. Construction and research continued side by side for years, with Od Nua's wizards eventually mastering animancy: They could determine the precise manner in which a soul would crack and shatter, carefully place a fragment from one into another, and ultimately achieve immortality (or a close approximation thereof) by binding the soul to the body after it dies. Cabiros tested the procedure on himself after perfecting it on captive subjects of Od Nua, but soon discovered that the body still decomposed. In order to stay alive, he needed to feed on the essence of living people or adra. He perfected the spellwork, allowing the rest of his cabal to transition to fampyrhood, preying on Od Nua's subjects.[2]

The king was not pleased with the distraction. He knew he was nearing the end of his work and any distractions that delayed his reunification were unacceptable, not to him, not to the Children of the Wheel. Headed by the three sisters, Andara, Isarna, and Riomara, the Children of the Wheel were a cult that developed around Od Nua's teachings. Fanatically loyal, the Children not only devoutly served the king or great Father, but also used animancy to shape their own souls, tempering virtues and carving weakness from it. Many sacrificed their souls to power Od Nua's vast animat army, confident that once the Father's work is complete, he will bring them all back from the well of souls in the adra beneath the titan.

The Fall[edit | edit source]

However, the deeds of Od Nua and his followers came at a price, not just to their souls. The people of Engwith suffered tremendously, used by the king and his cohorts like cattle or firewood in their experiments. Finally, as work on the titan neared completion, they had enough. Hundreds, perhaps thousands were sacrificed in Od Nua's quest, not just for research, but to imbue the very rock and metal of his stronghold with magic. The revolt swept the land just as Od Nua prepared for the final ritual, culminating in a daring assault on the very fortress. As the Engwithan rebels battered down the gates and slowly made their way through the levels of the stronghold, slowly unearthing the horrors left in the wake of their king's obsession, his own cohorts fractured. Cabiros and Gabrannos betrayed their king to save their own skin, letting them pass through to the lower levels. The remainder of Od Nua's forces formed a desperate defensive line on the lowest level of the stronghold, barring the way to the throne room and the titan staging area below.

Yet their cause was lost at that point, as they were divided. Some soldiers despised the Children of the Wheel, blaming them for driving Od Nua to madness with their incessant quest for immortality. Those who served the king out of fear hid in the corridors, trying in vain to come up with an excuse that would let them walk away with their lives. The Children stammered out prayers to Od Nua, hoping for his success. Only the animats stood their ground, devoid of fear or any other feeling. Rebel spies exploited these divides and just as their advance units neared the defensive lines of the mad king, they struck. The defenders folded and soon the Engwithan rebels faced Od Nua and the remnants of his once proud guard. The ensuing confrontation was brutal and decisive, with the king's animats and the cult's leaders struck down with ease, and Od Nua himself laid low with a blade in his belly.

Their celebration was short-lived, however, as Od Nua cast one final spell. A crystal of living adra burst up from the floor, enveloping and sealing his body within. Unable to overcome the magical defenses, the rebels assumed the mad king was dead and pulled out of the Endless Paths. With Od Nua's loyalists routed, either fleeing the Paths or disappearing in the tunnels, they carried the day. To prevent anyone from excavating Od Nua's stronghold or trying to devise a way to bring him back to life, they sealed the Paths, burying them with stone, soil, and magic.

Suffering[edit | edit source]

Od Nua did not die in that hall. Instead, the adra preserved him at the cost of terrible pain. His sight, hearing, and memory were perfectly preserved within the living crystal, leaving him at the precipice of reunification with his son... For the next two thousand years. Driven by rage and grief, the king remained in the chamber, hovering between consciousness and dreams, waiting until the end of time to finally pass through the Shroud and join his son. The nature of the spell prevented him from leaving his prison, forcing him to watch as his domain crumbled... And the real Master Below fed on his titan.

He still waits, patiently, until the end of the world claims him and allows him to reunite with his son's soul.

Interactions[edit | edit source]

Icon dialogue.png
This character is involved in quests.

The Master Below

Quests[edit | edit source]

References[edit source]

  1. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire cyclopedia.
  2. Cabiros: "The big question. Binding a soul to its body was not, it turned out, very difficult. We were certain we'd found a kind of immortality. The body could be destroyed beyond repair, but anything less is quite survivable. I was eager to attempt it. My leg, at the time, pained me terribly. Old war wound. And I had heard one subject describe a sense of... distance from the pain inflicted upon them. They felt it, but it didn't matter to them. Which would be a vast improvement! I remember the first moment. The relief." He sighs. "...But we found that after some time the body would remember that it was, after all, dead. There's really no describing what it feels like, to see your own fingers rotting away." He makes a face. "The smell. We tried to revive the affected subjects with energy culled from their fellows, and it worked well enough. I was able to refine the spellwork. Keep myself and the others who had joined me as hale as ever. Od Nua wasn't terribly pleased with the distraction, but that turned out not to matter. The mob came and murdered him, and we were sealed in here with the rest of his tools. But we still had the adra, you see. And enough souls housed in there to feed us for... well, as long as we wished. And so." He grins. "We had a time of it, we did. We were able to preserve the furniture, over the years. We had little meetings, in the grand chamber. What a nice little family we were." His grin fades. "Until it had to end."