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Author Topic: Kaliklies Library - The Lost Sanctuary  (Read 1506 times)
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Kane
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« on: July 20, 2010, 04:46:31 AM »

The Lost Sanctuary

My mind was spinning as I thought through what the Queen might have seen. As I looked at the packages I had read, I saw the Witch Queen’s hands on many of them.  I doubted that any of the information Kaliklies had discovered was new to her. Kaliklies must have believed that the Queen had not made a connection, if one existed, between these various sites. That was the role Kaliklies has given me, to find the connection for the Queen. She has kept information from the Order but we are here to serve. This is my chance.

Turning to the pile of unread packets, one caught my eye.  It was the beautiful calligraphy and the soft vellum that attracted me.  The artistry and the care taken by the author was something I, as a scholar, respected. Obscuring the image was a note written on a torn scrap of paper.  In Kaliklies’ hand was written the title, the Lost Sanctuary.

Blessed Sites of Eredane, Treatise of the Order of Truth, 609 First Age
   "The signs of the true gods are all around us, in nature’s bounty and the magic that flows through our veins. However, relics from the time when the gods touched the Ayrth and their servants walked among us, are exceedingly few. Rare sites across the continent still have faint echoes of the Gods’ majesty. Finding such a site is a divine gift that needs to be nurtured and protected.

One of the most important holy sites is the shrine of the goddess of healing; she who gives us the first breath of life and protects us from the darkness. In the time of eldethar, Her temples were in every city and most homes maintained small shrines in Her honor. She was universally revered, and of all the gods, Her rites are the best preserved. Many healers, even today, whisper a short prayer to Her before treating their patients. Much of our healing lore came from Her priesthood. Without the gifts She gave us centuries ago, we would have fallen to the Shadow years ago.

In the time of the elthedar, the goddess of healing and her priests played a key role in containing the evil in the Aruun. According to our legends and mosaics found in the ruins of Garlass, the goddess would meet her priesthood at a small shrine in the Aruun, dispensing blessings and teaching new ways to heal the sick. Our stories claim that the goddess loved the various blooming flowers and vibrant life found in the Aruun. If those stories are true, then the shrine should still radiate with Her presence.

Many have sought to find the shrine, but all have failed. The demons delight in denying us heavenly grace. Our searchers are hunted and killed. One day, hopefully before my spirit is given to Erethor, the shrine will be found."

Kaliklies notes: I joined the Order due to my devotion and steadfast belief in the true gods. I have been blessed to visit many sites they touched and have felt at peace knowing I was standing where they did. This shrine of the goddess of healing is likely the strongest and most important site of the true gods in Erethor. With Her role in containing and combating the demons of Ibon-Sul, finding the site could help us in our fight to cleanse the Aruun.

Letter from the Headman, Village of Easha to the Queen’s Council, 237 Second Age
   "In response to your request, hunters were sent down the Carari River, seeking its source. The patrol was harried by demons and many hunters were killed. We had not expected to see the demons in strength that far from Ibon-Sul. There were reports of Howlers, Thorn Beasts, and the Darkness that Walks. The demons were well organized and only attacked if the patrol tried to move south following the river. Once the patrol withdrew there was no pursuit.

That the demons were there in force presents two equally bad conclusions.  The first is that our wards around the cursed city have weakened and a large force of demons has broken through.  The second is that a yet undiscovered infestation exists in the southern portion of the Aruun. We are stretched thin trying to contain the fiends inside Ibon-Sul.  If there is another cursed site or they have broken our wards, nowhere in the Aruun is safe."

Kaliklies notes: Why had the council ordered a search of the Carari River, well distant from any of our settlements? What were they looking for?  Did the Council or the Queen suspect that the lost shrine was along the banks of the Carari? The force of demons mentioned in Headman’s notes was not seen again.  If they had broken free of Ibon-Sul there would be a trail of carnage. I believe they’re guarding the lost shrine, keeping it from us. The Carari River is key.  I must convince the Order of the need to try again, in strength.

Testimony of Masha, 478 Third Age
   "I am Masha, son of Garun, a demon hunter once of the village of Yara. In the year 402 Third Age, I set out with a hunting party seeking a Cackler that had killed three children in our village. We all swore a blood oath that we would not stop until we killed the demon and brought its head back to our village.

The hunt was long, stretching over arcs, as the demon lead us further and further south. The demon and its allies, along with the natural dangers of the Aruun, thinned our numbers with claws and poison. After half a year there were only four of us. I did not think we would live much longer. We had hurt the Cackler and killed a score of lesser demons, but we were tired, had lost our healer, and had nothing but our steel and fetishes to protect us.

By the night of the last new moon of the year, we had driven the Cackler hundreds of miles south and west of the cursed city. We were whispering amongst ourselves that we’d soon be able to bathe in the Pale Sea, when the Cackler sprang at us.  Its actions were strange as if it was fleeing from something rather then attacking us. After almost year, its death seemed too easy. It was then that we realized that the jungle had gone quiet and cold. A darkness began to creep toward us, stealing what little light came from the stars. We tried to run but it was quickly upon us.

I couldn’t see my fellow hunters and to my shame, I fled, striking out madly with my knives. I lost all sense of direction and didn’t care that I left a trail a child could find behind me. I had to escape. I was exhausted and bleeding when I found the ruin. I hoped to put good stone to my back and meet my death head on, but it never came. At the end of my strength, I slumped to the ground and slept, not waking until the sun was high in the sky. I should have been dead; the demons were mere steps behind me. Instead I felt refreshed and my wounds had cleanly healed.

I searched the ruin and realized that I had never been more at peace. I cleared away the vines and found a small altar that was amazingly well preserved, with intricate carvings and a language I couldn’t read. Everywhere I looked there were flowers and trees bearing fruit. I had planned to stay there only until I could regain my strength, but the years slipped by. I faithfully tended the shrine and each day, there was food and clean water on the altar. I would have spent the rest of my days there, but I woke one morning knowing I had to leave; to let others know that the shrine exists."

Kaliklies notes: I have read the opinions of all of the members of the Order who talked with Masha and they all believed his story. Masha could not provide landmarks but did mention he followed a river north until he reached a Miransil village. I believe the Cackler was fleeing the demons who guarded the shrine and Masha in his panic did not flee away but toward the shrine and found sanctuary from his pursuers.  That the shrine still maintained the power to hold the demons at bay is extraordinary. We have to find that shrine.

My faith may not be as strong as Kaliklies, but I have never doubted that the gods exist and seek to break the Veil. I suspect that the shrine house more then a faint echo of the goddess. I believe from the accounts that there may be a hidden servant of the goddess still at the shrine that has kept the spirit of the goddess alive in the Aruun. Finding such a site is why the order exists, and if everything else Kaliklies has shown me is ignored or discarded, this, a shrine to the lost gods, should be found and restored to our people.
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