Temple of Suffering – Upper Floor
“The bridge emerges near the top of the dome and the rising smoke from below obscures the floor. The black onyx bridge is hardly illuminated by a row of dim candles along the edge. The tortured music from below swirls around your feet and conjures a twisted shadow at the far end of the bridge, on the other side of the central pillar. It slides towards you in time to the dark melodies and when you can barely see it at all, it spreads bloody wings.”
The upper floors contain the libraries, meditation rooms, and fleshcrafting cells. Only crossing a treacherous bridge over the central chamber and through the pillar can one reach the private sanctums of the High Priestess.
Temple of Cloistered Suffering – Ground Level
“When you enter the black temple, fallen angels gilded in silver and gold, you hear unearthly and intensely anguished music filling the smokey central dome. You walk around the obsidian pillar in the center and you notice four rooms with barred windows. In each room are two cultists wearing nothing more than heavy chains and surrounded by sharp implements on wires. Each has bloody bandages around their throats, wires keeping their lips wide and taut, and their eyes have been replaced with silvered orbs. Each note of this symphony is pulled from the cultists’ throats by a different torture, administered by the machines around them. A burst of flame, a needle to a nerve, or a turn of a screw beneath a nail form the keys of this ghastly piano.”
The Temple of Cloistered Suffering revere the darkest aspect of the goddess Ariellinar, who they call The Bleeding Angel. They believe that suffering and mutilation in their purest, sanitized forms are the surest way to know the divine. They only ask for volunteers and, though their clerics are often skilled artists, their medium is flesh.
Few are the places where believers in The Bleeding Angel can operate in the open. Many believe the Temple of Cloistered Suffering to be practitioners of necromancy and evil gods; an image that is difficult to put aside. However, cities that do allow them to build their cathedrals have found that the clerics are generous to the poor, healers to the sick, and they throw fantastical parties for the aristocracy. Of course, there will always be some commoners who tell anyone who listen how their son or daughter was put under some spell and forced to join the temple, where they’ve been turned into some grotesque instrument in constant pain. Sadly, in these places, few care to listen.
Languid Temple Part 2
“The bathing pool at the center of the chamber is not filled with water, but softly lapping blood, dark and filling the air with a metallic scent. The marble walls are covered with hints of the unholy terrors that sleep within the alabaster coffins of this inner sanctum.”
Once the party has passed through the sealed portcullis of the Outer Reclusium, they’ll find themselves in the viper’s nest. Home to several powerful and ancient vampires, along with their undying servants, who sleep away the years until roused by the unholy hunger and purpose of Caela Lormeth, the Dire Temptress that they worship.
Step lightly, for they can smell the blood the mortals and can stoke the fires of hedonistic temptations in the hearts of men.
Languid Temple Part 1
“The tiles of the white marble floors are spotless, but the deep grooves between them are filled with blood that sticks to your boots and leaves rusty prints behind you. The fluid flows steadily from an ornate marble basin, ornamented with writing female forms. A slight hiss at the edge of perception is your only warning that your presence has desecrated holy ground.”
Hidden below a destroyed temple dedicated to the vampire-goddess Caela Lormeth, the Dire Temptress, her devotees have returned to protect the relics within and, hopefully, rebuild the Temple.
The first section contains shine-rooms, reliquaries, meditation chambers, vivisection tables, and basins filled with vital fluids kept liquid by dark and subtle magic. Secret corridors link the disparate sections and allow the priestesses of Caela Lormeth to move freely.
Finally, an ornate adamantium portcullis protects the Inner Reclusiam from invaders, but it can be bypassed by the vampiric inner circle.
The Lost Retreat of the Druids of Bear-Kyne – Level 3
The bottom level is the Retreat-proper and features several rooms where druidic relics could be stores, a central cave with a hot-spring, and the disused quarters for the druids when they are in human form. At the rear is another large chamber where the druids hibernate in their bear-from next to warm volcanic rocks and gently glowing crystal formations.
“The central cave has a large domed ceiling that glows with an almost dawn-like yellow light from a local phosphorescent fungus. The air is warm and damp as the deep pool in the center of the cave bubbles and steams. Flowing into the center is an almost musical waterfall that splashes off the rocks and flows underneath a simple wooden bridge.”
The Lost Retreat of the Druids of Bear-Kyne – Level 2
Hidden here is the upper level of the Retreat. Atop a high ledge is a pool of water and a Druidic dais. The minor artifact protects the Retreat from intruders and warns the hibernating Druids that a potential threat approaches.
The Retreat was constructed by an old conclave of druids who worked the stone and the roots into the shapes and spaces they desired. The Retreat is a testament to the fusion of nature and magic; a place where druids can meditate on long, deep dreams of universal mysteries.
“Behind the hidden wall is a large cave, supported by several pillars like interconnected tree-trunks and canopy, and flanked on either side by burbling hot-springs that fill the cave with a gentle mist. At the rear is a tall archway like two immense bears, made from a mesh of tree-roots, standing on their hind legs and pressing their mighty paws together.”
Dodwaen Temple has a fairly straightforward design and typically represents the Gods of Law.
The entry-hall has a tall steeple with bells at the top that are rung to call to faithful to worship and on celebration days.
The central dome has beautiful frescoes of the Saints and of the Gods on their chariots of fire. In the center is tall statue of the stern All-Father, the Law-Giver, and his huge marble altar. Around the perimeter are small statues of the Saints and the other Demi-Gods of Law.
On either side of the entry-hall are the libraries and archives where the clerics work. Both have ladders that grant access to the steeple.
In the rear are the mediation chambers and offices of the senior clerics of the Temple. The stairs, though, descend into the catacombs and the Common Quarters. That map will be featured next week.
In the meantime, I’ll get around to detailing this map a bit further, but if one of you wants to dress it up for me, I’d be happy to feature it on the blog!