The Unfinished Land of Cair Aisling



We saw spires and towers and a dreamlike castle through rolling hills, twisting rivers and dense forests. We approached but were pushed back by strong winds, forced to land in shallow water along the shore. From the sky, we saw an island only a few thousand feet across. But from the ground, there's an entire world inside.

The Scottish island of Pabbay has long been of interest to the Authority; AEDF satellites have registered strange energy readings there, signifying a level of weakened reality. The island is home only to fantasy author Randolph Gowering, who is composing the final work in his beloved "Cair Aisling" series—a monumental fantasy novel and his greatest to date.

After leaving the island to meet with his publisher, Gowering suffers a fatal stroke. In an instant, Pabbay is transformed into a place straight out of Cair Aisling. Technology has no place on the island, only the magic items and fantastical gadgets carried by its many inhabitants. The magical beings who inhabit the island cannot leave, but their supernatural treasures are ripe for the taking. With tactical gear and high-tech support rendered useless, Authority security is forced to adapt.

The twisting Castle of Dreams looms in the distance. Wizards, witches, elves and alike populate the lands. As the island creates the missing conclusion to the Cair Aisling series, the Authority hurries to investigate and take what it can before the last page is written and the book is closed at the end of the decade.

The Current State of Cair Aisling

OAS Fantasy Literature Working Group
For General Issue

NOTE: Physical copies of this document hand-inscribed on vellum or papyrus are available for personnel who are required to operate within the bounds of the Cair Aisling anomaly.

Volume 1: Triumph of the Empirical


The Empirical Clans of Humanity have long served the ancient and decadent Spire Elves, whose reign over the land of Cair Aisling from their capital in the Castle of Dreams has grown corrupt and cruel. In a Spire Elf university, overworked Mage-Professor Jedda Mauaka stumbles across a discovery that will revolutionize magic on the Island, unaware that he is about to set in motion events that will destroy civilization as he knows it.


Volume 2: The Source of Magic


Jedda Mauaka's brilliant but naive attempt to control the Source of Magic has failed, and a foul Corruption spreads across Cair Aisling. As the Spire Elves turn against their former Human allies, Mauaka works desperately to undo what he has created. In the distant Ashwoods, however, those Spirers worst afflicted by his experiment are plotting a new order- one that will end the Spire Elves for good.


Volume 3: Sword of Prophecy


Cair Aisling is at war. The Ashenfolk advance against the ruins of the Spire Elf empire, while the Orcish Dominarchy and the Underguild of the Dwarves make their own plays for control of the increasingly-corrupt Castle of Dreams. And far off in the Hinterlands, unassuming fisherman's apprentice Hasan Maza makes a discovery that might just end the war.


Volume 4: The Underguild Rebellion


Hasan Maza and his band of unlikely heroes have done the impossible: brokered an uneasy peace between the rampaging Dominarchy and the remains of the Spire Elves. As he sets his eye on the Castle of Dreams, however, dark tidings arrive from Underheim: the trade-families of the Underguild are in open civil war.


Volume 5: The Caves of Crystal


Hasan Maza and his new bride Kaelyth of Mistwood find themselves on an unlikely honeymoon: the Ashenfolk seek peace, as the Corruption twists their underground kingdom to the breaking point. In the Crystal Caves of the Deep Refuge, Kaelyth navigates the nightmare that is Ashenfolk politics, while Hasan makes a discovery about his hated enemies that will shake his beliefs to the core.


Volume 6: Castle of Dreams


Randolph Gowering has as of yet refused to divulge major plot points for the long-awaited final volume in the series, save that it will involve Hasan and Kaelyth's perilous journey to the Castle of Dreams to "heal" the Source of Magic, and that it will conclusively resolve plot threads related to the characters of Gareth Heliodor, Solkoth of Bitterfield, and Meg'hek Bloodrisen, introduced in previous volumes.


If you're cleared for this document it means you're somehow involved in the utter chaos surrounding the Pabbay Island Incident and the subsequent formation of a semi-extradimensional "fantasy kingdom" in its place. Given the apparently literary origins of the pocket dimension, the OAS has made a detailed survey of Gowering's previous works in the Cair Aisling series in the hope of providing some general context for what, exactly, Cair Aisling represents as a geographical area. More detailed plot analysis of the series is widely publicly accessible. We are including book-cover glosses and previews from the released and promised volumes of the series to provide a general analysis of the scope of the plot.

The Novels

Randolph Gowering has produced 36 novels since the release of his first, Spelltaker, in 1978. While different series he has produced (notably his popular Sands of Glass, Voice of Iron books, which have received several film adaptations) do not share a common storyline or canon, they maintain an internally-consistent magical system and are implied to exist on different continents in the same world. The Cair Aisling series, his latest, was intended to cover 6 books. The first 5 have been released publicly worldwide to substantial critical and fan acclaim in the English-speaking world, and at the time of writing a television adaptation of the first volume is in production.

The Island

Assuming that the current geopolitical state of the island is roughly approximate to the books, the OAS FLWG assumes the following:

The FLWG would like to clarify, however, that there is increasing evidence that the situation on the island is no longer properly following the plot of the original novels, and that conditions on the ground may not match the above. Notably, reports are spreading that the "Hero" Hasan Maza may have suffered a fatal injury during a critical plot point of Volume 6: Castle of Dreams.

The Hero lunges, the Sword of Prophecy in his hand alive with runic fire. His opponent assumes an ancient Elven duelling stance, features twisted into a mask of fear and hatred. In the brief moment before their blades touch, there is a ripping, as of torn threads and pages.


So dies the Hero.


A rendition of Cair Aisling based on information gathered during ASF/MST expeditions; areas of the island appear spatially incoherent or poorly-defined.

Known Locations

Note that the following list is very much incomplete, and even cursory reconnaissance of the Cair Aisling anomaly has revealed substantial differences between information derived from the books and officially published maps.

The following locations have been charted by Authority exploratory personnel and do not match with pre-established locations from the literary canon.

OL-Site-CA/Camp Crannóc: The current Authority base of operations near the Beach of Beginnings, built entirely from local materials. Palisades and earthworks provide some protection from roving magical beasts.

Page's End: Unstable areas of "literary" reality, characterized by marked inconsistencies with book locations, spatial distortions, inexplicable writing, and strong smells of ink and paper.

Incoherent Spaces: Areas of incoherence and inconsistent reality. Objects, landmarks, and creatures from across Gowering's novels appear at random, typically never seen again. Lingering in these spaces is extremely unsafe.

Extracts from Anomaly Encounter Briefing

The following is a selection from an initial OAS analysis briefing on the nature of the Cair Aisling anomaly and its effects on further research and exploration.

All right, the pamphlets you received in the briefing package yesterday explain all this in more detail, but we'll go over it again. The projected energy field surrounding the island forces away certain artificial materials, regardless of scale and exact composition.

By certain artificial materials, we mean almost all petroleum derivatives—plastics and everything but natural rubber are right out, plus certain ceramic materials, carbon fibre composites, and some more exotic metal alloys. You could be wearing polyester undies under a cotton uniform and the field would blast them off along with your pants. Unfortunately, the same applies to contact lenses, certain kinds of tooth filling, and pacemakers. If you've got medical implants of any kind, you're not visiting the island.

The same energy field also has a disruptive effect on a large swathe of the electromagnetic spectrum. You can bring hand-crafted radios in, but they'll have an effective range of a few meters. The guys at Prolab put in a lot of work forging these items with only basic metals. None of them worked. Those maniacs managed to create muskets, gunpowder and a combustion engine that could be brought past the field, but none of it was worth a damn once we brought it on the island. Most chemical explosives simply won't light. Most guns fail to pass through the field, but ammo doesn't work anyway. You wanna shoot something? I hope you're good with a crossbow or a sling.

The island is only a couple kilometers across in the real world, but once you're on it, it's about two hundred times that size. Don't enter unless you're equipped for a long walk. There's also a massive desert somewhere, but we're not really sure where. It's either on the east or west. You only ever stumble across it.


Our organization was founded by magicians and alchemists, mystics and zealots. We feel, not without justification, that we have moved beyond them, transcended their limits. And yet here we are, digging deep into our doctrines for the fantastical things we once sought to root out.

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