Greyhawk: Return to the Classic
Silent Ones of Keoland
This ancient society is almost entirely closed to outsiders, but its mystique and influence extends throughout the valley of the Sheldomar. The Silent Ones are said to form the backbone of an eldritch order that seeks to protect the last vestiges of Ancient Suel magic that has remained in Suloise hands since the Rain of Colorless Fire. Whether the order is actually this old is uncertain, since they communicate little outside their own circles. What little is known of the Silent Ones comes from one of the few individuals who departed it alive. Uhas of Neheli chronicled some of their exploits in his apocryphal work, The Chronicle of Secret Times.
The group’s name comes from an ancient Suel phrase literally translated as “those who must not speak.” It is something of a misnomer as the silent Ones are by no means mute, but they are extremely secretive and do little to dispel the aura of mystery that surrounds them. These ascetics live completely outside the authority of the ruling Keoish king, according to the first lines of the founding charter of the nation, penned nearly one thousand years ago. They do not form a magical guild in the traditional sense, as supplicants are not usually accepted to the order. Rather they are chosen during pilgrimages conducted by the Silent Ones annually during Needfest, when they scour the countryside for youth especially attuned to their ways. Those chosen are said to be gifted in some way, and most of them are of pure Suel bloodlines. Curiously, many of the chosen are also albinos and frequently are blind. Uhas of Neheli was both.
While the Silent Ones typically wear drab gray garb, they have no traditional dress nor any visible devices or emblems. The primary cloister of the order is an infamous spire known as the Tower of Silence, located less than a day’s ride south from Niole Dra. It is an architectural wonder, erupting from the ground without support to rise many hundreds of feet and completely dominate the featureless plain that surrounds it. No mage who casts eyes upon it will deny that it would be nearly impossible to build today, since great sorcery was no doubt required for its construction. The bluish-gray stone that composes it has no counterpart for 1,000 miles.
The inhabitants of the Lonely Tower are headed by a single undisputed leader called the Wyrd. Currently, this magus is Mohrgyr the Old (N male human Wiz20), a former Nehelan nobleman believed to be over two hundred years old. The tower is staffed by a few dozen adherents, whose numbers are thought to shrink with every passing year. Their most powerful supporters in the kingdom are the nobles of House Neheli, and a plurality of their membership is from this ancient and decaying house. The Silent Ones have smaller enclaves in a handful of Keoish cities to which they frequently travel.
In centuries past, sorcery was in the hands of a small few in Keoland, and the Silent Ones monitored this tradition with dispassion. That is no longer their role, though they are still viewed with fear and superstition. Silent Ones seem to be drawn to ancient places and items of strong magical power and import. On rare occasions they openly contend with individuals, both good and evil, who seek magical power beyond the ken of mortals. Recently they have expressed disquiet over the rise of the Scarlet Brotherhood and the uncovering of Slerotin’s Passage from the Yeomanry to the Sea of Dust