Lorgan's Notes: Black Temple

Well, more research related to the Snake's Den. The Black Temple is a small city, a population of somewhere around 17,000. Landed Nevemere and some out-desert natives reside there, along with a population of spirits. It's a center for pilgrims and travelers heading to the large Sunbright Temple of Ga Son.
 
Research:
Snake's Den
by our intrepid Finder hero, Lorgan the Humble   In this Research Document:
 
Black Temple, dedicated to Darkness
The elfine scholar I copied the pic from said the temple, to get the snaky look for the revamped main temple, used a lot of wood, not just black stone.
 
all images by Shanda Nelson unless otherwise stated
 
 
 
4381 REP, 23 of Death

History

 
The Nevemere ancestors built the underground complex now referred to as the Black Temple sometime between twenty-two thousand years previous and twenty-one-and-a-half thousand years previous. Before that period, the Nevemere lived in small clans that inhabited the rainforest around a large freshwater lake. The clans warred with each other as often as they warred with non-Nevemere neighbors, and one chieftain, Carous, hated the infighting.   Carous decided to bring his people together and prayed to Darkness for guidance (why? dunno.). Darkness at that time was Noom Bau, and he decided to answer. He struck a place in the darkest recesses of the jungle nearest Carous's clan home, opening a hole into the ground. The hole led to an underground river and its wide shores, interspersed with black rock columns. Carous set to work creating a grand place for the Nevemere to meet in peace.   Other clans lent their aid because Darkness said so, and within three generations, they built a sprawling temple complex so unlike their thatched huts, it confused everyone not directly involved.
 
The nomads do not have formal records from that time, but rival cultures do. They claim that the day the complex was sanctified, a rich Darkness filled the space. From that point on, the Nevemere claimed Darkness as their patron syimlin and bowed to his will. Up until that point, they followed a minor syimlin named Aven, a deity of deep forests. Records of Aven disappear at this time, so she must have withdrawn from her duties. That might be the actual cause of the Nevemere looking to Darkness for inspiration because their syimlin abandoned them (and unhappily, left an opening for the dryans to exploit).   The Nevemere called the place the Black Temple, mostly because it was made out of a black stone mined from a quarry that Darkness wanted them to use. They held it sacred until the dryans decided to decimate the environment twenty-thousand years previous (see my Snake's Den notes for a reminder). After the rainforest disappeared, the Nevemere became nomads, abandoning arid clan holdings for a seasonal rotation of sites.   This meant they abandoned the Black Temple as well.
 
Donald Giannatti from Unsplash
Entrance to the Black Temple. Yes, during the rainy season, it floods.
 
Waterfall Black Temple
waterfall bottom Dev Asangbam from Unsplash
temple Patrick Baum from Unsplash
Funny, how the leadership decries spirits but still uses our way of illuminating things.
 
 
Black Temple interior
arch Guzman Arce Sperinde from Unsplash
woman Naeim Jafari from Unsplash
A vi-van in an archway. The interior, through thousands of years of remodeling, is a patchwork of styles and long-forgotten alcoves. Criminals use that to advantage.
 
cave Jared Rice from Unsplash
wheat Cornelia Schutz from Unsplash
Black Temple wrent field

Rebirth

 
The Nevemere wandered the wastes for centuries, building a new culture from the remnants of their old. They forgot about the Black Temple until the Beast's reign. Around the time he got frisky and decided that invading Evening was a good idea, he also had his sights set on bringing Uka's Lament to heel.   Too many hard-headed independents lived there, not enough worshipping him. He should have left them alone, but no. Around 7220 years previous, he sent his minions to exact appropriate respect (he even called them that. It's like he was the villain in a bawdy play. Minions, indeed). And the elfine dedicated to Ga Son made every single invader regret their choice because they hated the Beast as much as their syimlin ('Hi, I'm with Death, so kneel before me.' 'Well, hi, I'm with the Sun. *ZAP* Buh-bye new spirit! Tell Death hi.').
 
To escape the rampages, a Nevemere vi-van named Cleso said she had a dream from Darkness. He called her into the ground (OK, I admit it. I laughed. That phrase was used some eighteen thousand years previous by western island cultures as a reference to death, and it made its way into the Keel lexicon. My language degree finally paid off!)   She led those who did not scoff at her into a nondescript gorge and to a torch-lit tunnel. Beyond was the Black Temple, as pristine as the day Carous sanctified it. She appointed one of her dearest followers, Fethsom, as leader, and the group set about making the once-temple inhabitable.   The Black Temple grew into a town. While they worshipped Darkness at the main temple, the other buildings became homes and businesses. Sources I've read say this has something to do with their worship of the Snake and moving all other religious-based stuff to the Underruin, but list no definitive reason why. It just popped into books one day, and those writing about it sounded as if it were such a well-known fact, it didn't even need to be written about. The Nevemere liked their snake deity, and that was that.
 
But if the Snake caused the rainforest to turn into desert and that's why the nomads worship him, why would that not be mentioned until thousands of years after the fact? I'm wondering if, like a lot of old info concerning ancient things, references simply disintegrated, got lost, burned in a fire, or whatnot.   And people wonder why Finders have such a hard time researching their Redemptions.
 
 

Modern Black Temple

 

    General Info


  • pop 17199
  •  
  • Current age: 7190 years previous
  •  
  • The native population is 4128 kids and 12,039 adults. The spirit population is 1032. While a Nevemere settlement, some Voristi and Astri live there, with a scattering of other races (no surprise about the Astri. They want their touch everywhere, whether the locals want them around or not). The spirits are mostly elfine dedicated to restoring the rainforest.
 
  • The Nevemere are tall, thin humanoid beings with deeply tanned skin, orange to dark brunette hair, small noses and large eyes typically coated in black paint to cut down on sun glare. They have three webbed fingers on each hand (belying a watery beginning), five webbed toes on each foot, and a row of long, thin spikes that run the length of their spines.
  •  
  • Though landed, the older residents hold the nomadic inherent mistrust of outsiders, which waxes and wanes depending on leadership. Their vi-vans are critical of cultures outside their own, but again, this waxes and wanes depending on leadership. Of this writing, the leadership leans towards more mistrust.   The younger residents, though, are departing from ancient traditions when it comes to immigrants and travelers. They see how well Grindal Oasis doing, and look at the lack of jobs and opportunities in their community. Most don't want to join their nomadic brethren who still traverse the desert, but also don't want to wallow away in Old Town for the rest of their lives.
    River of Darkness
  • The river runs the length of the city and continues on. Elfine sources say it starts at the Grindal Oasis, flows through the center of the Black Temple, and stays underground until it reaches Crooked Bay.
  •  
  • The mists rising from the river are potent. It's as if it collects all the energy from above ground and forces it into the waves. Ghosts in need of a recharge can do it here. If you want to refill your essence storage containers, there's a charge of roughly one D. Token for each. Not all businesses take D. Tokens, but all accept barter of some kind.
 
    Why is the river important?
  • Irrigates wrent fields. That's right, this type of wheat grows in the light beams that enter the fields through large holes in the rock ceiling (do not stand under the holes unless you want to be squashed by a reckless animal)
  •  
  • Also, bass and stripies. I never would have thought fish could live in the water, but they do. They eat glowing plants called fezig and these tiny insects called wrentflies. From what I've read, the flies are a nuisance for ghosts; in Physical form, they zip around and bother you, in Ether form, they zip through you and bother you. And they're everywhere.
  •  
  • Why? They go hand in hand with Breek cattle. These cows are white-furred, milky-eyed and prosper underground by eating wrent, hay made from cowl grass, and a fungus called gremlin. NO, I don't know why it's called gremlin, and I looked. Hard.
  •  
  • Because so much relies on the river, DO NOT MESS WITH THE RIVER. That's the single thing that will get you set on fire and thrown into the desert to burn. Or so Finder Parli says. Tourist guides don't mention it, but that's probably because the companies would lose customers if they told them that.
 
 

For Finders

 
  • Guides
    The Black Temple is the first place, and the easiest place, to hire Snake's Den guides. But don't expect to go to the Snake's Den ruin; the Nevemere consider it too holy to guide pilgrims and tourists to. You need to visit the Grindal Oasis and get a non-Nevemere guild there, or travel to the Sunbright Temple of Ga Son. The elfine are generous with their guides, but that generosity comes with a steep price. Apparently trying to resurrect the rainforest costs a lot of money.
  •  
  • Supplies
    The Black Temple has a ton of supplies they sell to pilgrims and tourists, and special ones set aside for other nomads. I'm under the impression they are restocked by caravans coming from Uka's Lament or from Sud (yes, the harbor town is called Sud. No, I haven't bothered to look up why).
 
  • Pack animals
    Spits and ronyx are rented here. Yes, rented--you have to return them, either to a rep in Grindal, Sunbright, or Kepher, or to the Black Temple itself. The fine for not doing so is STEEP. Wagons are extra; if you have natives accompanying you, go for a wagon. They have special cooling spells, which will keep your people alive.
  •  
  • Leaders
    City leaders are called dor-carous, or 'descendent of Carous'. Religious leaders are called vi-van, or 'river walker'. Don't assume them friendly to the Finder's cause. After all, the ghosts of dryans destroyed their ancestral home and they carry the resentment of all things spiritual because of it.
 
  • If you are a prudish Finder, you might want to skip Black Temple and visit Grindal or Sunbright or Kepher instead. The residents are not shy about walking around with transparent clothes or nothing on--it's hot there, you know. The river provides some cooling, but it can still get hot if you're near the entrance. And, well, they enjoy themselves quite a lot and aren't shy about asking for company as payment for goods. And no, they don't care if you're a ghost. What else is Physical Touch for? (don't answer that)
 
river Dzenis Hasanica from Pexels
castle Pixabay from Pexels
River of Darkness, looking at the River District
 
    Districts:
  • Residential
    This is the nice part of town. It's the furthest from the primary entrance, so happens to be the coolest. The leaders, their families, and others of import live here. Is also houses the Darkness Temple.
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  • River:
    The river is the next-coolest part of town. It contains most of the accommodations for pilgrims and tourists. The wealthy business people tend to live here.
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  • Business District:
    This is found on the southern side of the river, behind the River district buildings. The markets and entertainments that cater to travelers are here. Has an exquisite instrument shop, a must-see.
 
  • Gate:
    So the Gate is warmer than the previous districts. It also gets flooded during the rainy season, when the gorge used to get into Black Temple floods and a lot of that water flows down the entrance and into the river. By the time the waters reach the other places, it's in the river and contained by retaining walls erected during this time. Guide companies and those renting pack animals are found here.
  •  
  • Old Town:
    Surprise, surprise. Nomads are as strict about keeping the poor sequestered as other cultures. The shanty houses the physical laborers, the farmers, the fishers, and those that care for the breek herd. It's set a ways from the river, in the most dilapidated (oldest) buildings. The place gets hot because holes in the ceiling allow light and heat to infiltrate the area. Ropes around the tops keep thinking beings from crashing through, but animals bypass them, to their doom. Doom doom de-doom...   If you do get into trouble in Black Temple, there is a criminal enterprise that runs out of the building called the Fort. Pay them enough, they'll whisk you away with none the wiser.
 
Darren Lawrence from Pexels
Light in the Darkness, because Light and Darkness walk hand in hand. I suppose that's fitting for a desert cave system.

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