The Dreaming Dark
The Dreaming Dark is an order of psychic spies and assassins — the hidden eyes and hands of Dal Quor, the Region of Dreams. While it generally seems to be allied with the Inspired lords of Riedra, the goals of the Dreaming Dark are subtle and mysterious — but always deadly.
For a thousand years Riedra has been an insular land of mystery. The Inspired wear secrecy like a shroud, and foreigners are not allowed into the lands of the empire. For much of the history of Riedra, there was no contact between the Inspired and the other inhabitants of Eberron, but in recent decades this wall has been lowered; outsiders are not allowed on Riedran soil, but Inspired ambassadors can be found in most of the courts of Khorvaire.
But while the Inspired have only recently established open political contact with Khorvaire, they have long maintained a network of spies stretching across Eberron. This force is known as the Dreaming Dark, and for centuries it has simply watched the world from the shadows while the Inspired built their power within Riedra. But now the Quori are ready to act, and the Dreaming Dark are their hands.
Headquarters: Dar Jin, Riedra
Leader: The Devourer of Dreams
Religion: The Dreaming Dark
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Symbol: An eye partially concealed under a wing. When this is used as a badge of office, the style of the eye indicates the rank and position of the bearer.
Should he ever be confronted with the actions of the Dreaming Dark, a Riedran ambassador would deny that his nation had anything to do with the organization. This is actually true. The lords of Riedra are charged to maintain and administer the Quori territory on Eberron. The Dreaming Dark is an entirely separate organization whose rulers dwell in Dal Quor itself. The Dreaming Dark provides information to the Riedran court, but the rulers of Riedra have no actual authority over the agents of the Dark; in fact, a thoughtstealer usually holds a higher place in the hierarchy of Dal Quor than a Riedran governor or general.
The vast majority of agents of the Dreaming Dark are Inspired — vessels for the Quori spirits of the Region of Dreams. Some of these agents use Disguise or skins of the shadowed self to blend in with the local population; others pose as kalashtar. But the Dreaming Dark has another weapon in its arsenal — the insidious psionic discipline known as mind seed. Using this technique, a powerful psion can actually replace the personality of another humanoid creature with its own thoughts and beliefs, even imparting a share of its his psionic powers. Over the centuries, the Dreaming Dark has used this power to gain agents across Eberron, even in security-conscious nations like Zilargo, Aerenal, and Argonnessen. These agents are referred to as "shadows', being both weaker reflections of the original and aspects of the Dark. The Dreaming Dark makes limited use of shadows; these agents do not actually possess true quori spirits, and there have been a few cases where a shadow turned against the Dark. Shadows typically observe and gather information, but over the centuries they have also built fifth columns within their nations. As a result, the Dreaming Dark has influence over criminal organizations, trade guilds, and academic institutions; it even has agents in dragonmarked houses and courts across the world. Some of these groups have no idea that they are serving the Quori; they are simply following a leader without realizing that his soul has been compromised. But there are people who have been raised in shadow families. They do not inherit any sort of psionic abilities, but they are taught to revere the Quori; they believe that if they serve faithfully they will one day be granted the status and power of a shadow. These agents know virtually nothing about the Dreaming Dark; they simply follow the commands of their elders or their shadow contact.
There are a number of basic levels within the Dreaming Dark. The shadows are at the bottom of the hierarchy; they generally serve as passive spies or coordinate the actions of the fifth columns. Above the shadows are the field agents of the Dark. These typically fall into one of three categories:
Thoughtstealers are the eyes of the Dark. Psions specializing in telepathy and clairsentience, they can read secrets in the minds and auras of others. Thoughtstealer hosts are usually trained as rogues or monks. A few thoughtstealers become Quori nightmares, using the powers of the nightmare to read the dreams of their opponents.
Dominators are trained to manipulate minds and events, use psionic power and natural guile. Their psionic powers are focused on controlling thoughts, and while their hosts are usually trained as rogues the emphasis is on Charisma based skills.
Dreamblades are the assassins of the Dreaming Dark. The Quori prefer to use manipulation as opposed to force, but when bloodshed is the only answer the dreamblades are ruthless and deadly. Dreamblades are typically psychic warriors as opposed to psions; the most skilled are Quori nightmares or soulknives. Hosts are trained as fighters, monks, or rogues. The Dark possesses an elite corps of dreamblades who are trained to fight psionic foes; this unit includes psions with disciplines like negate psionics and null psionics field. These specialists are deployed against rogue shadows and the kalashtar.
The actions of the field agents are coordinated by the Circle of Night. The Circle is comprised of the most powerful psions among the Inspired, and only the members of the circle have the power to implant a mind seed. The leader of the Circle is formally known as the Devourer of Dreams, but this title is usually shortened to "the Dreamer'. While the Dreamer is the de facto leader of the organization, he serves a still greater power — the Dreaming Dark itself. Located in the heart of Dal Quor, this is a force composed of the spirits of thousands of Quori and mortal dreamers that have been absorbed over the millennia. The Dreaming Dark has long been the driving force behind the quori, but its motives and goals are impossible for the mortal mind to comprehend. The Devourer of Dreams is the only being who can commune with the Dark without being absorbed and destroyed, and he can channel a fraction of its immense power.
Physically, the agents of the Dreaming Dark are scattered across Eberron. However, when one of the Inspired sleeps, her spirit returns to her fiendish body in Dal Quor. The Dreaming Dark maintains a vast city-fortress in Dal Quor, and the Circle of Night controls the actions of the dark from the heart of this citadel. While all members of the Dreaming Dark have host bodies on Eberron, many members of the Circle of Night make little use of these bodies; as a result they are always to be found in Dal Quor, where they can take the reports of agents of the Dark and provide new orders. For every minute of time that passes on Eberron, ten minutes passes in Dal Quor; as a result, when an Inspired agent spends 4 hours asleep, she has 40 hours in Dal Quor to report to the Circle of Night, coordinate with allies, and prepare for future missions. Shadow agents have less power and control in the Region of Dreams, but the Circle of Night can draw the spirit of a dreaming shadow to the citadel to receive new orders. The net result is that the Dreaming Dark invariably acts with careful planning and perfect coordination; over the course of a night, an agent in Khorvaire could spread a piece of valuable information across the length of the world.