Gol Settlement in Arclands | World Anvil


  Gol is a city state on the northern coast of the Greater Arc Sea that now lies mostly in ruins. It is one of the oldest settlements in Aestis predating even the Van by several thousand years. Little is known about the earliest settlements, or the civilisation that grew out of them. It is said that in the beginning, before there were people, there were the arches which drew the city together out of a secret diaspora known only to them. Until the rise of the Van, approximately three thousand years after the city was first settled, the great arches of Gol were unparalleled, both in their architectural sophistication and the degree of reverence they inspired. As such Gol quickly became a sacred site for almost all the major pre-Aruhvian religions on the continent as well as the locus of a great many cults and sects.    

A City of Pilgrims and Mystics

    Given the preponderance and diversity of the religions for which Gol became a central site, it never became associated with any single one of them. Leyla Somas, an infamous mendicant and a key figure in the Athanoric movement relates in her Sciviatic Wanderings:  The tides spent their infancy well into the antiquity of Gol’s nameless Arches. Though the crash of waves has endured the longest, and will be the last sound to fall on Gol, it too will be shed, a scale in a snakeskin of dead languages. I saw a group of pilgrims prostrating themselves before each in turn, offering the lowest forms of prayer. I thought of all the pantheons felt within those arches knowing full well that not a single prayer has endured. I asked a brother whether he thought there was a form of prayer capable of moving their unchanging, iceberg antiquity, immutable in the face of anything, as old now as when nature was in its infancy. Pausing in thought for a moment, and looking intently towards the most distant arch, he eventually said ‘Given time, even the names of all the gods will fall from believer’s mouths like rotten teeth. Unceasing prayer is an affliction. Only afflicted can we meet antiquity with antiquity and become dead to our living tongues as a leper is dead to her own limbs.’”   The convergence of pilgrims was unceasing for several millennia, over the centuries every day had been marked as sacred by one cult or another, in just as many calendars. Gol was a sacred puzzle to which each cult offered a solution, but no solution was ever capable of surmounting the problem; rather each attempt at a solution added another layer of complexity to the puzzle. Approximately a millennium following the establishment of the earliest permanent cultic sites in Gol, in what is disparagingly referred to by Harenian scholars as the silver age of Golan theology, the primordial appeal of the arches, the raw essential power they radiated had all but been forgotten, buried as it was beneath palimpsest after palimpsest of cultic rites, traditions and mythologies. The power the arches exerted over devotees transcended any religious appropriation or rite. As such the city of Gol grew out of a patchwork of abandoned shrines, temples, groves and grottos. The first cultic sites were maintained by self-sustaining priesthoods. Melador Kriastis, a heretical Aruhvian archimandrite of Hothis in his early study of paleogolan worship, Recidivistic Bindings, recounts that:   “ The cult at the grove of Hierakimis would kneel, faces pressed almost to the floor and veiled with white cloth fluttering behind them. In the course of a day the veils darkened with a crimson hew taking on the pigmentation of blood while the cold whiteness of the cloths spread through the devotees like a rash of purity. They silently endured, trembling but captivated, swaying as if to keep themselves from plummeting into an unending abyss. Processions of thousands of people, playing flutes, bullroarers and beating drums passed through Gol as silently as a whisper, the cacophony pressed into their thoughts as if it was forced into retreat by a superior force, a more potent reality. The red veils of the devotees, who in time were known as the Nami, endured well past sunset, as with blank and sightless eyes, gouged out and preserved in amulets of amber, they moulded idols in the dark night of the caves they barely had the strength to crawl back to, wherein, revivified by the strange-smelling waters that dripped from concealed stalactites, they moulded clay into strange-shaped idols well into the twilight. These lifeless beings, resembling less living men and women, more some organic reverberation of the arches, less a devotee and more a symptom, showed no interest in the idols. Upon completion they lay discarded, whereas a moment before the final detail was added they would have thrown themselves between sword and the clay as if it was their own flesh they were protecting. The Nami’s idols were inspired and prized by all but their makers. Many found their way to Taeor, seized from the groves and grottos of Gol by opportunists and profiteers, no force met them and their thievery never invoked the wrath of the Nami. Nor did they in their turn ever harm them. For the death of the cult would mean the death of those carvings whose abundance never hurt their value for each was as distinct from one another as if they were from a different world. The Nami were among the longest lasting of the Golan cults and yet the murderous rage their very presence inspired in others, though it is present in every surviving account which mentions them, never spilled over into a single documented act of violence let alone a pogrom. Even in my own time when the Nami were few in number, and the tracts of diatribes against them languished unread and all in a forgotten corner of the Library of Harenis, the boiling hatred I felt when I peered through those veils neither white nor red but vacillating somewhere between the two, into eyeless sockets, was torturous to endure. My blood, my organs, my bones, my cartilage, every muscle and tendon and sinew shook with an energy that threatened at every point to annihilate the thought that was restraining it. I could not but boil over, and yet I felt that all these differentiations of the flesh knew that if they died, they would be drawn inexorably into the void that lay just beyond the darkness of those empty sockets. And so, unbearable as it was I held back. I couldn’t hold on any longer and yet, in spite of myself I held back.   When I was in Mordikhaan I saw a lake with hundreds of decomposing boats of equal size. One was placed onto the other and beneath each was a victim fed with a mixture of honey and milk. Drowning in their own waste and vomit they were being eaten alive by flies, wasps, maggots and rats. Some of them took as many as seventeen days to die, and as each day passed the silence grew thicker with the flies. There was not a moment of their agony where they could have gone on any further, and yet they endured for days. The most helpless of all lasted seventeen days, the last four of which he was the last. A single groan in a sea of silence, a ripple which barely broke the surface of the waters, and yet all of Damnation raged within him and him alone, the limit he had reached surpassing mine a thousandfold. It was then I realised I, nor any of those who hated the Nami before, could no more act on my hatred than he could lift the boat that encased his body. However unbearable it was, their agony was contained by a greater force. As an instrument of torture an overturned boat can take on the mystery of the Golan arches and supress all human endeavour that lies beneath it. The agony in that lake could fill a dimension as the murderous lust that consumed me was a world in itself, and yet like most inner worlds utterly incapable of action. The carving of those idols is mysterious to us scholars, it is more mysterious to the Nami. For as they experience mystery, they are enveloped by it and thus become strangers to themselves, as in stepping over a precipice the familiar body is confronted with the vertigo of its otherness, the terror of it being in freefall. I hypothesise the figures emerge from non-action, or a failed action, as my holding back and the victims’ agonising worlds emerged from a failure to step over the precipice and surmount that which keeps us beyond our limits, for to surmount this would be to go further still from a world of unending storms to a rippleless lake in an instant from perfect chaos to perfect order. Even the Keeper remains incapable of such an action for he is not only the storm of Hermia but each and every dimension of agony that ever met its end on that lake in Mordikhaan. Is our world, our temples, our worship, our faith part of the overturned boat that keeps even him. When I looked into the sockets of the Nami, and beheld the last groaning victim on that Mordikhanni lake, I felt I was being repulsed by The Keeper of The Keeper. Those arches are for me an overturned boat; what world of agony they hold in place I don’t dare to guess.”

The Nami

The Nami stood at the crossroads at a religious antagonism more fundamental than that between ascetic and orgiastic devotion, that between apophatic and cataphatic worship, the negative and positive theology of the arches. Though this antagonism also exists in Aruhvianism it is more pronounced in devotees of the arches since the object of devotion has a definite corporeal existence and can thus be more readily conceived of as an object of knowledge, and whose nature can be comprehended to a certain degree through scholastic enquiry. To this end, around fifteen hundred years before the Sundering, the first Kesenet was established in Gol, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the groves of Hierakimis, sanctified by the unceasing devotions of the Nami. Known as the Shrikatt Kesenet, it was converted from an ancient ossuary, lined with the bones of priests and devotees. No segregation existed between cults, sects and devotees; what was divided in life was united in death. No matter how hostile the feuds between the various sects that uneasily coexisted in the cultic centre for several millennia, all devotees recognised and respected that they shared in a common end and resting place, even though funerary rites and rituals differed radically from cult to cult. After the massacre of the Seretics by the Undolites, once the Undolites had recovered from their frenzy, though they were drained and exhausted, they did not sleep until they had wrapped each body in Spikenard woven jute ropes; in several cases, having to tie bodies back together that hours before they had torn asunder. As Seretic tradition demanded, they then kept vigil over the corpses for three days. Not all the Undolites survived this and many more fell gravely ill, for it their vigil over the seretics was as much a funerary rite for the tradition that they would observe a final time before dissolving it in the murky oceans of bone that were Gol’s ossuaries.

Struggles of Faith

However intolerable the Undolites found the Seretics they respected that all roads lead to the ossuaries and all must be traversed and exhausted for any to rest there. A path must be observed when the time comes to put it to rest. To bury the path, they must tread it as all those who walked it did. No belief animated the Undolites' observance of the rituals in question, only respect. If a single Undolite had succumbed to faith in the rites they were performing the path they were seeking to bury would grow again within them. As apophatic devotees of the Golan mysteries, the Undolites did not believe that the annihilation of a rite through unbelief was akin to its absolute destruction. Rather they saw its death as its achievement of unity with the mysteries. For as much as the Undolites performance of Seretic rites, following their extermination of the Seretic cult, were performed for the dead, they were the performance of the death of the rites. Whereby they themselves could enter into the mystery and form a fragment of the arches’ memory. The negation of the Secretic rights annihilates the path, not by destroying it but by plunging the illuminating structure of a ritual sequence into the dark of night. It is no longer an intermediary between the practitioner and the vertigo of mystical experience but the feeling of vertigo itself. That is why it is said to be annihilated. It can no longer be separated, or even said to be a fragment of the arches’ memory, for experience, although felt in degrees cannot be divided into parts. The whole is felt as much as it is able to be felt by the limited vessel that for a moment is possessed by it. Although the Shrikatt Kesenet undoubtedly emerged from a specific scholastic tradition, more intellectual than experiential, its choice of the ossuary afforded it less condemnation than protection. No alterations were made, rather the complex was expanded, in keeping with the architecture and function. No room ceased to function as an ossuary. What its founders sought to develop above all else was a form of scholasticism which was itself a form of worship, for it was cataphatic in origin, and although taking the Golan mysteries as an object of academic study, it also sought to negate the profane character of scholarship and refine it into a form of proto-monastic devotion. It was to underline this continuity with religious tradition that it appropriated the term Kesenet and sought to establish itself as the foremost manifestation of the ideas the word expressed.


The word Kesenet is derived from the Golan word Keshesh, which was used by butchers to refer to a choice cut of meat. Since the choice cut, as the best part of the animal in question, was almost always the part offered up as a sacrifice, Keshesh also came to mean the priest who offered the sacrifice as he too was the choice cut of the community; separated from the profane world and offered as a living sacrifice to serve divinity. Similarly, the word Kesen referred to both the butcher’s knife usually employed to prepare choice cuts, and the robe of a priest, which similarly cut them from the community, marking them as sacred. The term Kesenet can be used to describe any sacred community but is usually associated with the Keshetic Order. Following the rise of the Van Empire, and the proliferation of the Vannic tongue, which quickly became the lingua franca of Aestis. There was great concern, which turned out to be quite justified, among the various cataphatic priesthoods of Gol that the Van would seek to vernacularise the Golan mysteries. This was particularly offensive to cataphatic priesthoods because the inscriptions of the Golan language, under certain conditions, appeared on the arches, similarly it was the language used by oracles to produce prophecies as they were in a trance. As such the scholastic endeavour of unravelling the Golan mysteries was, for them, inextricable from the Golan language. They believed that the results of any experiments or studies into the nature of the arches would be corrupted if they were translated into the vernacular, as the Golan language was a fundamental expression of that nature, the thread by which the arches lead their devotees to share in their mystery. For the apophatic devotees the vernacularisation of the Golan mysteries was not a fundamental attack on their devotional practices. Many of them wrote in the vernacular long before the rise of the Van, and in any case they believed that the fundamentals of the mystery were inexpressible in any language. Golan was a thread that led towards the arches, not to knowledge of them but unknowing, and it was but one among many, it did not have the same privileged position. Thus, although there was opposition from apophatic scholars, particularly those steeped in Golan literature and poetry, it was deemed that vernacularisation was a small price to pay if it meant the ruin and marginalisation of their cataphatic rivals. There were two main aspects of the Keshetic Order, the first, and the most enduring was the scholastic network of universities, colleges and seminaries they established across Aestis. The central node of which was the Shrikatt Kesenet.  


  The second was a more militant and conspiratorial order known as The Face of the Dark Night. Officially established to regulate disciplinary boundaries across the parts of Aestis which still resisted the Van into also served as an inquisition, fighting a guerrilla war against Vannic influence throughout the Vannic Empire and perpetrating secret terrors on its peripheries and outside its borders. The seminaries of Skaris are said by both detractors and admirers to have been inspired by the Kesenet’s and the The Face of the Dark Night. Some Harenian scholars even hypothesise that the remnants of the order hold key positions of power and influence in Skaris, which for a time were encouraged by Arcites in the wake of the schism between Skarisi and Arcite Aruhvianism. Since the Van, and the Aruhvian religion they spread in the wake of their conquest, more than any civilisation before or since them, shaped the makeup and outlook of Aestis, the golan mysteries are primarily remembered through the prism of the conflict between the Keshetic Order and the Van. Orthodox Aruhvian theologians have done much to spread the falsehood that they were Aruhvian heresiarchs. The work of the Ghothar scholar, Miklos Nestrinicus, has done much to conclusively debunk this, precipitating a renewal of interest into the history of the Golan religion, bringing to bear far greater scrutiny of Vannic sources. Nestrinicus’ studies have done much to bring to bear the same level of scrutiny upon the Van as has traditionally been applied to the accounts of their historical rivals.

Gol and the Vannic Empire

  The history of all the cults of Gol is an unwritten one; it is said that only the arches could tell the full story. History, in its proper scholastic sense, began for Gol with the coming of the Van. Many a puffed up Arcite has fallen victim to the wry Harenian quip that the Van left their brains in Harenis to save them from their heads in Arc. The history of Gol, like that of Arc, is Harenian. And many say that the true custodians of the Vannic Empire are the scholars of Harenis. As the rites of Gol became vernacularized, they fell under the aegis of the Van and eventually that of Aruhvianism. The oral culture of Gol fell out of practise and the scholasticism of the Kesenets, under centuries of pressure, became less a devotional practice and more a means of harnessing the power of Gol in service of the Van. Under the Van the city became less a cultic centre and more a locus of a great archaeological project. Sites which were once revered as sacred were catalogued and classified, their artefacts sent throughout the empire either for further study or increasingly to furnish the homes of the rich and powerful. Many of the Golan antiquities excavated by the Van are long lost, but the catalogues and studies endured long after the rich patrons who commissioned them, and the Empire into whose service they were pressed, long crumbled into dust. When the Van saw their empire was rising they dismantled Gol, only to remake it in their image. When they knew their empire was dying, they fashioned The Library into the mind of Aestis. Though the power of Gol is ineffable it is still a tangible power and for a time it was harnessed though never understood. When the Van were just a mind, albeit the mind of the world the Golan mysteries were shut off to them, save in the faith that somewhere in the library lay the knowledge to unravel all that was mysterious and unknown, as if it were the collective memory of the universe and not a repository of books. Some heretical sects, referred to as Keshenetics, believe The Library is the Keeper incarnate, that the reason it is a mystery unto itself is because it is the mystery of all mysteries.  

Religious Heretics

  The Keshetic Order is primarily remembered as a heretical Aruhvian sect that idolatrised reason as a force capable of comprehending and thus containing The Keeper. For if The Keeper can be comprehended and made an object of knowledge then He would cease to be a god and be unveiled as a dead object of theology superseded by the Library that exhausts His existence. This position is more than a simple substitution of the Golan mysteries, the original locus of scholastic theology, for The Keeper, the succeeding mystery that animated The Library into an idol. It is an outright distortion. None of the Keshetic Order believed the Golan mysteries could be exhausted by scholastic study, rather they sought to reconcile that study into a devotional practice. The intellectual counterpart of ecstatic and orgiastic rites, intending not to supplant experientially orientated devotion but to ensure that the serious study of the Golan mysteries did not profane its object. By associating the Keshetic Order with the idolaters of The Library the original primacy of the Golan mysteries as the originary impetus behind the scholastic system was supplanted and obscured, for the Kesenet’s predated the seminaries of the Van by millennia. Harenis became the alpha and omega of scholarship, the culmination of the Vannic tradition and the expungement of the Golan one. With its religious hegemony supplanted by the rise and expansion of Aruhvianism, Gol lost its raison d’ȇtre. Although its cultic traditions continued to survive, many of which were assimilated and synthesised with Aruhvianism. Under the Van, the importance of Gol as a site of untapped power had shielded the city for the most part from the waves of Aruhvian missionaries sent out by the Van to foster religious cohesion and unity among the various parts of their empire. This special status was primarily due to the fact that the Orthodox Aruhvian position on heresy left little room for the serious study of such traditions. The Vannic administration feared that the power struggle between church and state that would likely ensue if the former ever fathomed even a fragment of what the Van were seeking in their studies of the Golan mysteries could potentially destabilise the empire and lead to civil strife. The Van Empire was as much a religious entity as a political one. A religious schism could provide a cause for disgruntled subjects to rally around in rebellion. To this end Gol became the first free city of the Vannic Empire becoming the first city state on the Greater Arc Sea. Though Arc would come to share the same status there was a crucial difference between the two cases. Arc became a free city because it grew so powerful it was able to assert its independence over the traditional seat of the Van Empire and eventually supersede it.  

The Free City of Gol

  Gol was given the status of a free city when it was in a state of near total subjugation to the Van to in effect quarantine it from the rest of the Van Empire. One of the prerequisites for incorporation into the Empire was conversion to the Aruhvian religion. Cities which refused to comply were put under the direct rule of a prefect and treated like subjugated colonies. Gol could not be incorporated into the empire due to its refusal to adhere to Aruhvianism and driving cultic practices underground, as they would be if it was placed under the jurisdiction of a prefect, would only make them harder to study. Gol would become a free city but only on the condition that the Van have access to its practices and traditions, and that the Kesenets were unofficially dissolved and placed under the jurisdiction of the Iron Eye, a militant, secular, scholastic order, formed in order to better monitor and study the devotional rites as well as to direct the research efforts of Gol’s religious scholars towards securing the interests of the Van. Since the methodologies of Golan scholars were devotional in nature, exegesis was not merely an intellectual process, but also an experiential one. One of the seminal sacred codices of the Golan Mysteries, The Ketemic Scrolls was said to be indecipherable to the Van, those who would try to read it, without initiating themselves were said to see the text’s strange symbols everywhere they went, until the geometry of the world around them seemed to conform to that of the symbols. Such texts are only readable through violent trances, one’s which take a considerable physical toll on the body burning through it like a famine. The Iron Eye was faced with a seemingly insoluble problem; Vannic scholars would need to be initiated into the Golan cults in order to understand or interpret their research into the Golan mysteries, undergoing years of extensive and particularly dangerous trials at the total mercy of the Golan cults. It was feared that if allowed to fall under the influence of the Golan cults, the Iron Eye would fall under suspicion as a potential fifth column. And so Hujar Chok, head of the Golan chapter of The Iron Eye, as a demonstration of loyalty to the Van after arousing the anger of the prefect of Arc liquidated the remaining cults of Gol in a massacre which became known as The Night of Swollen Earth. An investigation was launched into why Chok had not sought the approval of his superiors before carrying out such an action. In addition to the charge of insubordination he was found to have been embezzling The Iron Eye’s funds. He was handed over to the order’s inquisitors and was never seen again. Following their disastrous attempts to learn the Golan mysteries, the Van attempted to eliminate all traces of the cults and religions which proliferated the area. It goes without saying that they were unsuccessful. Some of the devotional practices of Gol were incorporated in Aruhvianism and the city became one of the first Aruhvian theocracies of Aestis, becoming a centre of veneration for the Old Man, the Grace of the sea and later of Hermia’s moons, once it was discovered that the motion of the tides was connected to the respective orbits of the moons. Though great efforts were made to convert the Golans to Aruhvianism, the religion that emerged was unorthodox to the point of heretical, resembling not so much the religion of the Vannic Empire but its synthesis with the traditions, rituals and rites of Gol.  

The Old Man

  While Gol was never again a great power, it was always a great source of controversy. The veneration of the Old Man bordered on idolatry. He was treated not so much as a Grace, subordinate to The Keeper, who was only paid lip service by Golan Aruhvianism, but an aspect of the mysterious power that emanated from Gol. It proved incredibly difficult to convert the Golans into believing a being as abstracted from their everyday experience as The Keeper, for religion was too tightly bound to the affective experience of that power. Aruhvianism could not, for many Golans account for the particularity of Gol. Thus rather than becoming a stronghold of Aruhvian Orthodoxy, Gol became synonymous with religious dissent. After all the 24th Ecumenical Council, whereby the theologically disturbing assertion that The Keeper was now absent, and the empyrean of all creation was now an empty void, became part of the Orthodox Aruhvian Creed, but not part of its catechism, was held at Gol. This was primarily a political decision, to mitigate the impact of the Council’s ruling. The same Council held at @[Arc or Skaris would have had an earth-shattering impact potentially leading to the dissolution of the Aruhvian faith into innumerable bickering sects, since ecclesiastical authority was concentrated in both Arc and Skaris. No major centre of Aruhvianism wanted to be associated with the issue, fearing that it would cause political instability and reduce their standing among the major powers of Aestis. Having long abdicated any, political, cultural, economic or religious influence, Gol was a backwater oddity, a scholarly curiosity of interest only to antiquarians and crackpots. To be made archimandrite of Gol was akin to banishment or exile, a punishment which completely discredited the postholder no matter how assiduously they carried out their duties. It was thus the perfect place to quarantine the dogma of The Keeper’s absence.   Though of great concern to senior theologians and scholars, the Aruhvian rank and file, as well as the laity, saw it less as a concrete ontotheological problem and more an indication of how pervasive the Golan rot had become. By the time this belief started to proliferate to any significant degree among the laity, most of the major attendees were either dead or retired to monasteries. The archimandrite of Gol, following the Council’s conclusion, was immured in the ossuary which formerly housed the Shrikatt Kesenet, subsisting on only a small amount of food and water. His health quickly deteriorated, and he died after six years of confinement of unknown causes. A few decades following the council, Gol was destroyed by a tsunami. Since the event occurred during a festival almost all the city’s inhabitants were killed. No attempt was made to rebuild the city following its destruction or to rescue the few refugees who managed to escape in time or who were out of the city at the time of the event and left displaced by its destruction.  

The Fall of Gol

  One of the enduring ironies of Gol is that its destruction precipitated its renaissance. Golan Aruhvianism died with the city and in the absence of any governing authority threw the antiquarian and scholastic market wide open attracting a great many scavengers and prospectors scrambling desperately to salvage the best pieces to sell on the black market at Taeor. Few of these early expeditions returned, and none of the ones in the years after that. The destruction of the city had changed Gol rendering it inhospitable to virtually all animal life. Those who did return suffered from strange mutations and could never give a coherent account of what they experienced, the majority dying of severe complications a few years afterwards. The strange circumstances surrounding the deaths, illnesses and disappearances of this first wave of scavengers attracted a great deal of popular and scholarly fascination and interest. The price for artefacts from Gol rose exponentially and scholars worked round the clock for Taeorian merchants trying to discover a way to traverse the city safely. Eventually a breakthrough was made. It was discovered that chorale have a natural resistance to Gol, it was theorised that their psychic abilities allowed them to, with training and experience, attune themselves to the energies of Gol. Attracted by the prospect of respect, a steady income and good money many chorale were drawn into the profession, but it was found that only a few of the very strongest were able to survive for a long time. These elite scavengers became known as harbingers and are the sole link between Gol and the rest of Aestis.   The black market of Golan artefacts is an open secret as every major power and a great number of scholars is invested in discovering and trying to harness Gol’s power. Thus, in contrast to other illegal forms of trade, it has become one among many theatres of a proxy war between Aestis’ major powers, with each vying for control of the supply of artefacts. In addition, the chorale’s exceptional resistance to the energies which appear to permeate Gol has given rise to a form of messianism. The chorale who subscribe to this view see Gol as a promised land, and the harbinger’s prophets destined to lead them from persecution to sanctuary, often the reluctance of the harbingers to conform to this purported destiny is presented as proof that they are meant to do so, for resistance to one’s calling at every turn is seen as symptomatic of their prophetic status. This belief is gaining traction among the chorale but widespread suspicion of the harbingers remains ingrained among their communities. The harbingers are typically outsiders, largely shunned by their own kind for their collaboration with the powers responsible for their people’s persecution for personal gain, more commonly seen as turncoats than saviours.   The Golan Mysteries once again preoccupy Aestis. Whether Gol’s history has been determined by the same mystery is unclear. Once again it means many things to many different people. Its present, like its history, has been that of the attempts to know it or to participate its unknowing, an obsession so intense the mystery to which it was directed has become its palimpsest. The most primitive cults found Gol obscured in mystery, the most modern scholars find the obscurity of its mystery, obscured in turn by the crushing weight of unknowing knowledge. If the Van discovered the light of knowledge extending it behind them and illuminated their age to the ages that followed, the Golans discovered in their city the darkness of that light.     Do you want more lore? Get weekly updates on World Anvil and the Arclands Blog straight to your email inbox, PLUS our list of fifty mysterious trinkets to delight and enchant your adventuring party. Get your copy here.

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