Scattered throughout Castlemourn,
though most commonly found near the ruins
of ancient keeps, the estemel are thought to have
existed since Before the Castles Fell. Normally
quiescent, by the light of the moons Thelseene
and Amaunt or by the light of one of the fourteen
nightlanterns, these stone structure “open” onto
other, far realms (thus the creatures passing through
them are called felar or farfarers). During these
times when the archways glow, pulsing with strange
translucent swirls of scintillating color, the living
can pass through them; however, no Mournan who
has entered one of the estemel has ever returned,
and no farfarer has ever been able to leave Mournra.
The estemel are one of Castlemourn’s great
mysteries. Many questors and scholars spend their
lives studying them, and still no one is certain as
to their origin or initial purpose. The most widely
accepted theory is that these gates were created
by long-forgotten wizards sometime Before the
Castles Fell. Another popular theory holds that the
estemel are the primary reason the Castles Fell, and
they still pose a great danger to Umbrara because
monsters can and do come through when the
gates are active. Fortunately, most of these gates are
located in extremely inhospitable or remote regions.
There appears to be little rhyme or reason as to
when the estemel open, other than they only open
at night and under the light of specific celestial
bodies. Some open only when the light of
both moons fall on a particular stone, while
others require specific local conditions
such as season or stellar conjunctions.
Other estemel appear to need all of
the above or more to activate.
Questors who seek these
answers often spend many years
mapping out the estemel within
their homeland. They map the
locations of individual gates and
link their histories to astronomical
records regarding the positions
of the moons, nightlanterns, and
other celestial objects in the sky
during each season and year.
Other questors focus on the
farfarers who have come
through, seeking knowledge
of the celestial bodies and
their positions when the gate
opened for them or other
specific conditions surrounding
their arrival in Castlemourn.
Master questors attempt
to link the research and
records of the estemel from
all over Castlemourn in an effort
to find a logical pattern, hoping to one day to return
the estemel to their original function. Some even go
so far as to venture through, seeking what answers
may lie beyond these strange portals.
Despite the danger associated with these
mysterious stone structures, it is a marvel to see
one of these estemel “awakened” and functioning.
I was fortunate enough to witness this incredible
phenomena, and even more fortunate that nothing
came through the estemel that night.