Fear and Loathing in Athas
Shardmind (The Obsidianfolk)
Deep in the Forest Ridge, beyond the Ringing Mountains, lies the Crystal Forest. Creatures that spend too much time here begin to slowly transmute into solid crystal, a process that invariably kills the creature in question. The landscape is littered with crystalline shapes of the hapless victims of this place. How, then, have creatures made of black geodescent stones emerged, very much alive? They are the Obsidianfolk, the Shardminds.
Long ago, an Elven settlement stood on the plateau that would become the center of the Crystal Forest. A battle between a defiler mage and an Elf druid led to the current condition of the land. The defiler summoned a large mass from the sky, smashing it into this settlement, killing both the defiler and the druid, and turning the surrounding area for miles around into the Crystal Forest. In the center of this expanse is the Elven settlement, or at least the settlement as it exists now. Spires of black crystal stretch high above. Every inch that was once the vivid colors of an Elven haven are now solid black obsidian. Even the people, once wise and thriving Elves, are now cold, hard creatures made of the blackest crystal.
There is another issue with these ‘people’. The object that struck their home carried with it a previously unknown intelligence. Upon impact, that mind shattered, fracturing into innumerable splinters. Each piece gained its own sentience, and fused with the crystalline Elves, leaving two minds in one body. Sometimes there is synergy, but usually, the two minds try their best to make arrangements over how to manage their shelled existence. They can come off as aloof, wise, distracted, or confused, depending on the interaction between the consciousnesses contained within.
There is one that is purely of this otherworldly mind. Known only as ‘The Obsidian Man’, he is sought after as the only one who truly knows the origin of what struck the Crystal Forest so long ago. Unfortunately, with only a fractional piece of the true mind, he is barely more than an automaton, easily controlled by a golden circlet of unknown origin.