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Temple of the Serpent

Information taken from the poetic works of Norman Galder and studied by Theologians of the Holy See in reference to 'Assorted Myths of the Self-Destructive God'

Written by David_Ulph

A village lies on the Bay of Holmar, famous for its involvement in the Heist of the Fairweather IV to which mine own ancestor Shony MacPhee took part in. Though the jolly festivities of this memory are just that these days, memories. For the village has been taken a hold of a singular Nightmare. Out across the moors, beyond a bog and loch is a rockface which juts out at the land, which has been there for as long as anyone remembers.   Though now every single one of us sees those rocks in our dreams, in our Nightmares. Over the past months since Gearran the rocks have slowly changed in our dreams.. Now resembling a screaming visage whose eyes scour the moors. The dreams then changed, every one of us seeing various.. snake things slipping in and out of the water pools below the face.   Two days ago was the 16th Sinastal in the Year of Our Lord and Lady 297. The rocks were different in our Mortal Realm now, not just in the confines of our dreams. The face is now real, and we worry for the safety of our village. We worry for what comes next in our.. our Nightmares.
'The Face on the Moor', the published copy of a letter Bard Norman Galder sent to the Helden Citadel of the Holy See

Introduction

The ancient civilisations of the Isle of Nivuk, before the colonisation of the Empire of Midland, would commonly build subterranean tunnels. These would act as sacred places protected from the elements that battered an island like Nivuk on the Copper Sea. The walls of these tunnels would be carved so that the departed could be entombed, turning these tunnels dedicated to a deity or spirit into catacombs. These catacombs would be built below natural landmarks so that the islanders could not lose their precious burial sites.
 
When the Midlandian Empire under Emperor Bridgett I von Apollyon (r. 3E 551 - 652) invaded and established a military colonisation effort over the Ten Kingdoms of Redfall, these various catacombs were abandoned and mostly forgotten. An example of one of these abandoned subterranean buildings is across the moors from the coastal village of Holmar.

Description

The Face on the Moors

On the day before writing this, I braved the village's collective fear and made my way out to the Face. Personally, I had never been out that far in the direction, so I stuck to long-used sheep tracks over the higher mounds and jumped over a bog or two formed out of a left behind peat trench. The entire time I could feel the Face looking down at me on that long walk.   As I followed the path I had walked in my sleep, my mind told me something was wrong. The closer I came to the Face, the more I felt like something was watching me. I kept imagining a tall, slender figure of black shadow following tailing me in the corner of my eye. The more my nostrils burned with fear, the more I worried about what I was doing, the more I felt alone and isolated and so tiny compared to the looming face.   I could not move any closer to the sneering rock. It stared down at me, and I could swear something was following close behind. It was uncomfortable, being frozen from tensed muscles but under great urge to turn and leave. I turned and ran. That night I could not sleep for shaking, shortness of breath and nausea. Barring my doors and closing my window shutters did nothing to help that feeling of being followed.   Help us. I see the shadow man everywhere now.
'The Face on the Moor'

The Temple of the Serpent

Following a letter of notification to the Holy Citadel of the Holy See at the heart of the Heldenic States by the Bard known as Norman Galder, a Theologian-Wizard of the Order of Scribes was sent to the Isle of Nivuk to investigate the source of the specific Nightmares. After trekking out to the Face, it was discovered that an old Redfallian Catacomb had an entrance which tunnelled into the mound the Face jutted out of. The Theologian-Wizard then summoned his familiar to descend into the catacombs while he wrote what he could see through the familiar's eyes.
 
The first distinction of what being was worshipped in this specific "Holmar Catacomb" was fairly deep in the structure compared to other Redfallian tunnel systems I had reviewed before. It appears less like a being was worshipped, rather something was feared, or this was built to entrap a spirit depicted as a Serpent.   A faded fresco of sorts depicted a Grey figure being constricted by and struggling against a winding black serpent, with its mouth ajar and ready to pounce against the figure. Past this large stone door were statues depicting various similar scenes. Inscriptions in Druidic were found underneath these primitive statues. It should be noted this door was not naturally ajar, more if something had forced its way out of the deeper chamber.   You will hear the Serpent in your ear.
The Serpent will whisper to you, speaking its name.
It is Doubt. It is Anxiety. Whatever its name, do not listen to the Serpent.
The Serpent lives in the corner of your eye. Do not turn around. There is no use.
Do not think. The Serpent feeds on overthinking. You will think too much.
Do not forget to breathe.
The Serpent may leave you and disappear. You must breathe.
The Serpent always remains. Its whispers always remain.
The Serpent lingers in the shadow, waiting to strike again.
Do not succumb to the Serpent. Your Soul will be eaten.
Notes of Scribe Johansson of the Holy See
Prompts Advent Calendar #23

WorldEmber Article #25
Alternative Names
The Face
Type
Catacomb
Parent Location
Isle of Nivuk, Grand Duchy of Rivercrown, Holy See Territories

The Myth of the Serpent

Vertia descended into the lost tomb of Logaan, the First Man and the King in Yellow. He discovered and took his final artefact.   Vertia took the Knife to His own Dreamrealm, and found His place at the foot of some Acid-Falling Peaks. With the Knife, Vertia cut a slice from a mountain.   Looking inside, Vertia witnessed the very Harmony of Light and Dark, to which he placed a part of himself in the tear.   A piece of the Harmony was warped. It contorted into the fanged maw of a Serpent, one which would be present within everything living from the Garden of Mortality.   The Serpent is the manifestation of anxiety. The Serpent slowly constricts itself on the Soul, and suddenly striking with its fangs onto the Mind.
'Assorted Myths of the Self-Destructive God'

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Cover image: by Vertixico

Comments

Author's Notes

Just like my Fairweather article, the biggest original source for this worldbuilding was a unique locale on my family croft! This time a spot of land far out from the easily accessible area for humans, which both my mum and I were afraid of growing up. From the Sandivik Road, if one looks out over the Rowan Loch to a land ruled by sheep, you can see a rockface jutting out a rise in the land which looks like... almost like an easter island face?... looking out to the right. Not really spooky but the imagination of children seeing a face in the middle of a wilderness makes things seem scarier than they really are.


Destiny is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.


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24 Dec, 2020 06:44

Oh this is good! :D I love the take on the Serpent and how it is connected to fear, be it physical, immaterial, the unknown... Very enjoyable!

People venture to Ædeos-the world of ideas and concepts to gain knowledge, craft... magic. Not every mind can bear it. Not every mind cares...
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
24 Dec, 2020 08:50

Thank you! :D Wrote most of the quotes about the Serpent while sleep deprived which I think added to the... feel XD didn't know if it would be good or not so glad you enjoyed!

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check out my peculiar plant - Lungroot
24 Dec, 2020 10:31

Those prose sections though. Chilling, truly!

Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
1 Feb, 2021 09:33

Thank you :D

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check out my peculiar plant - Lungroot
24 Dec, 2020 15:16

Creepy! O_O I want to kill it.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young   Costume Challenge Entry: As Superpowered troops on an alien planet, the Battle Spears wear a uniform capable of handling all they face
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
1 Feb, 2021 09:34

Thank you! :D And if only you could, my friend... if only you could...

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check out my peculiar plant - Lungroot
24 Dec, 2020 15:17

I'm a huge fan of the prose sections! Also who can say no to a serpent who gives anxiety, that sounds like fun (kinda?). Its nice to see how more and more of your article intertwine together!!

Author of Interarcanum and the Shakiraverse
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
25 Dec, 2020 22:42

Thank you! :-) and I'm sure it.. definitely.. would be.. fun? I guess? XD

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check out my peculiar plant - Lungroot
24 Dec, 2020 20:35

Yeah, I think I would have been scared as a child too (in reference to your author notes).   As for the actual article - chilling. Those prose sections are amazing, slowly building up the creepiness factor. <3

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
Journeyman David_Ulph
David Alexander
25 Dec, 2020 22:45

I should grab a photo of it and plop it into the discord at some point!   And man, I'm glad the prose sections worked with all the comments mentioning creepiness of some level *phew* "horror" is not my forte XD thank you so much for the support!

Latha math leat! Sending praise from the Hebrides! Check out my peculiar plant - Lungroot