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Very little was known about this artifact. Its creators (perhaps Netherese arcanists) were afraid of its power and sealed it underground, under the guard of an avatar of Amaunator. A small group of followers were guarding it for eternity in a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
As millennia passed though, they began to hate the device and their god, creating a powerful monster, formed of their hatred, in the temple where it was kept (it was possible that the device was partly responsible for this, since it enhanced all negative emotions) that reduced the avatar to a mere shade of its former self.
During the Bhaalspawn Crisis, a blind beholder known as the Unseeing Eye found half of the device and plotted to join both halves to achieve its goals. Abdel Adrian foiled his plan, joining the device pieces together to use against him, ensuring the defeat of the otherwise overpowering creature. Later, the device was likely destroyed, and the guardians, freed of their duty, were allowed to die.
As mentioned, little was known of the planar rift device. It was clearly an item of great power, but it seemed linked to evil, since it enhanced negative emotions. It was also hinted that, should it be exposed to the open sky, the result would be catastrophic.