Without a doubt, the most important structure this planet has ever seen. And there's nothing you can say that'll ever convince me to go inside it.Reaching high into the sky, and towering over even the God-husks of Cathedris, stands the Comprilith -- a collosal, ancient tower, with construction starting thousands of years ago in a time before the gods became Husks. It was a joint venture between T'kalia, god of Time and Observation, and Rak'tos, god of Space and Knowledge; intended to house knowledge and information within the greatest library the world had ever seen. However, the tower itself remains in an unfinished state; interrupted by the fighting between gods, it now stands as a reflection of its broken creators. Stored within the Comprilith are books and scrolls, notes, letters, and even artifacts -- anything one might find in a library or museum can be found within the tower. These items come from all eras of Cathedris's history, and even some from its future.
The Tower GroundsThe Comprilith sits near the center of the continent Enqua, a few hundred kilometers from the sea, at the intersection of two wide rivers. The land on which it sits is mostly flat, with small hills building up to mountains in the distance -- however it is heavily marred by fighting between four different God-husks in the area. Ancient building materials lay unused next to craters and debris, all slowly being swallowed by time as the weather breaks them down and covers them with moss. New structures fill in the gaps between the land scars and abandoned bits of tower, built by humans who came after the war with the intention to explore the Comprilith, and store what they've found.
It's not so bad, living in the complex housing. Food's not bad, and easy access to the archives is a bonus. Plus with a Legion outpost, you'll never have to deal with Rendlings.
Twisted InteriorWhen the fighting broke out and the gods turned to husks, the power that T'kalia and Rak'tos had invested into the Tower twisted and warped. The interior of the structure became something broken and maze-like -- rooms can appear different every time they're entered, connecting in different locations and orientations. Upon an explorer's first foray into the tower, they might experience any number of different kinds of sprawling or complex interiors. They might walk through a grand hall lined with decaying bookshelves and mossy leather bound books, only to exit from a side door into a pristine, luxurious reading room with brass and gold accents covering everything. The longer someone remains within the tower, the more variations of rooms and interior they will find -- and the more likely they'll become lost, as Rak'tos's corrupted control over space twists reality and obfuscates all paths within the Comprilith.
Some consistencies seem to occur within the tower, however. Certain rooms always appear in the exact same state of decay, while others will always have a door that leads to the same place every time. These consist rooms more often than not feature some form of Scrawl within them -- a form of ancient graffiti in an unknown language that appears to anchor a room and render it unchanging.
What do the scrawls mean? He'an help me, we have no idea at all. And to be honest, most of us don't care to find out. All that matters is knowing which scrawl to follow to ensure you make it out alive.
Rak'tosIn her days before becoming a God-husk, Rak'tos was known for being incredibly calculating and thoughtful. Using her powers over space and knowledge, she manipulated the tower to fit more inside than was physically possible -- when she died, that power warped inwards upon herself, resulting in endless new heads forming from the core of her being.
T'kaliaWhile Rak'tos was known for being calculating, T'kalia was known for his immense patience. Power over time let him take a step back and observe reality at multiple points, with multiple possibilities. His intention was to use this power along with Rak'tos's help to observe and retrieve knowledge from multiple points throughout history.
Space and time, working together in harmony to construct this tower. It would've been beautiful, completed -- instead, it's cursed.
ConsistenciesWhile the interior of the Comprilith is ever changing, some things remain similar or constant enough for explorers to take notice and record them. Some rooms, objects, or paths have been found enough times that they've become familiar landmarks within the twisted tower. Scrawl somewhere within it. These Scrawls are an ancient, yet undecyphered language, that seem to anchor certain areas, preventing them from appearing in different orientations or states of decay. There are 378 known Scrawls, each with their own room or set of rooms tied to them, creating a few hundred safe places among an infinite amount of different configurations.
Ongoing SeriesExplorers often find works of fiction among the endless historical documents and informative books -- many of varying quality. However, there's one series of fiction books that's become incredibly popular, not for how well written they are, but for how prolifically the volumes appear. Known as the "Godship" series, it seems to be a near infinite series of fictional romance novels written by an unknown author. Each book is roughly 100 pages long, and details increasingly complex courtships of the various gods before they became husks. Every book is numbered by the author, and given a title that often indicates the main focus of the book, such as "#57 - Tickling T'kalia's Heart". Strangely, some of the later issues are about the gods as husks, suggesting that the series is ongoing. It's become a bit of a collectors series, and a friendly competition exists between explorers to find the most books from the series.
You haven't fully lived if you've never read "#377 - He'an's Holy Hind".
I swear! I was only in there a few days, there's no way I missed your birthday.If Rak'tos's broken nature twists the very space within the Comprilith, T'kalias warps the passage of time. Thus, exploring the tower can take a varying amount of time -- someone may think that they've spent minutes within the tower, only to emerge days later. More than one explorer has entered the tower, only to never return. Alternatively, some have entered only to emerge mere seconds later, yet appearing decades older.
Known PathsWhile varying wildly, the flow of time within the Comprilith is not totally unpredictable -- there are certain features inside that help anchor an explorer to a static timeline. Following certain scrawls through a familiar path is the main method, as it helps to ensure minimal time slippage. Alternatively, keeping a physical connection to the outside world via a long string or rope will allow the explorer to stay tied to time outside the tower, at the cost of limiting their movement.
T'kalia's SandsT'kalia still resides near the Comprilith; run through with his own spear during the civil war, he's in a eternal state of decay. From his wound seeps a fading, temporal sand, like a broken hourglass that never ends. This sand is collected and stored in glass jars, though it doesn't last long -- fading from existence within a few days, depending on the amount. If someone takes a container of T'kalia's sand into the Comprilith with them, they can remain tethered to the outside flow of time.
Is it dangerous? Yeah, of course it is. But it's also incredibly fascinating, and infinitely rewarding -- the things I've seen, you wouldn't believe.Not just anyone can enter the Comprilith to explore and find knowledge; because of the high likelihood of become lost forever, the governments of Theah Prieah and Raktana limit who has access to the tower. One must be certified to explore, and provide proof of planning in order to depart on an expedition. There are multiple companies ranging in size that help with this -- providing certification for tourists, or hiring full time explorers for ongoing operations. Some brave the tower for the thrill of adventure and discovery, going in as guided tourists and coming out with a wish to make it their full time occupation. Others do it for the prestige, aiming to become famous for climbing the highest, finding the most, or remaining inside the longest.
Public PerceptionFor some of the general public of Cathedris, the Comprilith explorers are to be revered and celebrated -- others view them derisively, seeing their actions as sacrilegious and dangerous, retrieving knowledge that should not be known. This split of opinion can be found on other topics related to the Comprilith and its explorers as well; the very truth of the knowledge found is often called into question by skeptics and detractors of the industry.
Fame and sometimes fortune
I only had a few hours left of my sand. In there alone, my team vanished days ago. All hope was lost -- but then I saw it, the Red Declaration Scrawl. I was safe.
Scraps from the Comprilith
It's often hard to tell what time period a Scrap is from. They can appear in various states of decay, and don't always include a date on them. It's up to the Archivists to figure out the age and worth of each Scrap, something they spend an incredible amount of time doing within the Archives.
Some scraps have been directly responsible for huge leaps in technology for Cathedris -- the usage of Electricity is widely attributed to a single pamphlet found within the Comprilith, briefly detailing the ways energy can transfer between sources. On the other hand, many setbacks have occurred due to mistakenly believing a Scrap to be fact, rather than fiction. Some people with ulterior motives have used this fact to sew misinformation campaigns, weakening public trust in not only things found within the Comprilith, but science as a whole.
We've put together a small introductory collection to the Comprilith, of various things one might find within. Please feel free to peruse these objects, and allow me to answer any questions and provide any additional detail you might like.
Absolutely lovely build quality with incredible detailing, but dull as can be. A butter knife'd be sharper.
A set of three children's books, detailing how Avartarian received his title of "The First Knight".
My favourite of the three is easily "Choppity Boppity", but its rating as a children's book is questionable. Might help explain why Artazians are the way they are, though.
A lump of metal thought to be a piece of Serikene, Avartarian's sword.
What's intriguing is that this lump of metal appears to display regenerative properties. Any scratching or marring of the surface vanishes a short time later. Pieces ripped off appear to decay and reform on the main lump, however.
Vague information about some monsterous properties of Ichor.
There appears to be no mention of Catalurgy anywhere within this article. Not only that, but we've never found a single reference to it in the entire Comprilith. The only Ichor related documents are ones like this, referring to the way it creates Rendlings.
Various written agreements, each overseen and signed by Dimiti.
An example agreement is listed above. Most of these agreements were all found in the same place, stashed behind a series of entirely unrelated books.
A stone tablet featuring a mostly obscured declaration from Dimiti.
Regrettably, this is all we're able to interpret from this old tablet. We're not sure if it's some important decree, or directions, as some roads back then were named after Dimiti as well.
The 4th personal log from Dimiti.
This is the only personal log of Dimiti, or really any of the gods, that we've ever found. The very brief look into the mind of one of the gods before they turned husk has sparked intense interest in finding more.
An unsigned love letter to the god He'an.
We're not actually sure if this letter was ever delivered to He'an or not. It's also not the only one of its kind -- believe it or not, but we've got thousands of love letters to He'an back here.
Three large coils of silver twine, though to be He'an's hair.
This twine exhibits some extraordinary strength -- far stronger than anything we've been able to make. When pulled taught and plucked, a most wonderous sound is emitted. Still, some are unconvinced that it's actually some of He'an's hair, and argue it must be some kind of recreation.
A list of presumed kills by Miyu during the god's civil war.
The handwriting on this note is exceptionally shaky, suggesting the author wrote it in a hurry. We think the author might've been there to witness the fight between Qur, Avartarian, and Miyu, near the end of the war.
Speculation on Miyu's rivalry with Avartarian.
This speculation appears to come from regular human onlookers, spectating the endless rivalry between Miyu and Avartarian, before the war.
One spear out of a set of human sized replicas of Miyu's spears.
When we found these spears, they were still somehow covered in fresh blood, despite being located deep within the Comprilith. Incredibly unsettling find. Great spears, though.
A jar said to contain some of Miyu's tears.
He'an's tears formed lakes that people tell myths about. Miyu's were captured in a bottle and stored in the Comprilith. Not sure what that says about either of the gods.
A large white stone, thought to be one of Qur's lost teeth.
It looks like he took really great care of his teeth. Not sure why this one was replaced with a gold tooth.
A cracked tablet with vague information on Qur's abdominal tubing.
We think this is referring to the liquid within Qur's tubes, but we can't be certain. The liquid in those tubes doesn't appear to glow or exhibit any lustrous qualities, but we believe it might have before Qur's death.
A nearly entirely decomposed book about Sharenskus with only one readable portion.
This single partial quote, the only readable portion of this entire book, is the only source that gives us the name of Sharenskus's sword. Some don't trust this fact because it's got no corroborating evidence.
The main book on Sharenskus.
The amount of detail this book goes into is something to admire. It really showcases what a strong working relationship the three gods shared. It's therefor absolutely heartbreaking to know that Sharenskus was the one to kill both Codod and Farad.
This book is a heafty volume, detailing all the pain that humanity had to go through during the worst period of Rendling activity the planet has ever seen. The book also serves as an example of records from after the godly civil war being found within the Comprilith. At least, we think -- there's no other records of this decade of pain, and we really hope it's not something from the future.
The Tower GroundsDull gray panelling breaks up the royal blue cladding on the building in front of you. It stretches upwards, through the clouds, high enough that you can barely see the top of it far above. There's parts of the facade missing here and there -- the tower is obviously in an unfinished state. You've come to the Comprilith, the greatest building that Cathedris has ever seen. Its architects and would be caretakers, Rak'tos and T'kalia, are within eyesight -- an easy thing, as the God-husks are nearly as tall as the Comprilith itself. Your purse feels lighter than usual after buying all the supplies for this solo journey. Most exploration is done in sanctioned groups, and is not for profit -- but you need the money, and know some people that'll pay dearly for trinkets and info from within this tower.
You really, really shouldn't be going in alone. But if you're sure... and as long as no one sees you... I'll make an exception, just this once. Just for friends.The words echo within your mind, as you pick a path between the various buildings within the archival complex on the tower grounds. He'an glows brightly in the night sky above, illuminating your path, and making it feel as if you have their blessing protecting you on this solo journey into the Comprilith. Using the soft light and dark shadows, you make it to the entrance undetected. The double doors loom in front of you, gold finery decorating them -- you reach your hand out and grab one of the handles.
Food suppliesEnough good stuff for a couple days, along with some flavourless dried "nutritional" reserves to last you weeks... just in case.
LightsOne electronic lantern -- the good kind, from Sellig n' Sons. Good for 12 hours, so they say. Still, you've brought a smaller oil lantern with a couple refills, should you find yourself unexpectedly in the dark.
SandTwo whole jars of temporal sand, straight from T'kalia -- nearly cost you your life's savings. Should tie you to the outside flow of time for a week, if all goes well.
BlanketsOne thick one for sleeping, one thin one you can wear around your shoulders should you get cold. Both made by your sister. She could probably charge serious money for these.
Twisted Space within the Tower
There's three things you absolutely need to watch out for while you're in there. Try and stay near one hub room and return to it often, don't let the layout change on you. Keep the most common Scrawls in mind and look out for more. And finally, keep an eye on your sand.
You close the door, and walk down the hallway a bit farther, looking for any other path to take. You idly grab one of your two jars of sand out of your pack, glancing at it - - half of it is already gone.
Lost in Time
One hand always on your sand.
Who are you?You're greeted with the sounds of a conversation abruptly halting. There's a brief pause before a voice rings out.
Who's there?You're not supposed to be here. If that's an official team, and they find out you snuck in by yourself, both you and your friend are in serious trouble.
Scraps from the Comprilith
If you're in a room full of stacks of books, keep an eye out for the Bookender Scrawls. If you don't follow them correctly, you're going to be lost in there for years.
Your friends advice plays through your mind just before you stroll down one of the aisle -- what was the advice again? Red scrawl on right, return -- arrows left for onward. You look down the row of stacks, and see a purple scrawl with three squiggly arrows through it. Keeping it to your left, you begin down the aisle, and start checking out the books.