Abbey of the Sacred Fulguration
"The Northern House of the Lord Yareuss..."
Located about one hundred miles north of the town of Gendalford in Hariel Majour's "Democracy of Wheat," the abbey is the ancestral home of the monastic order devoted to Yareuss, known unsurprisingly as "The Order of the Sacred Fulguration." The abbey is run by an abbot appointed by the church, from its ranks of bishops, and is considered a great honor. At least on the surface. Those "in the know" realize that the position is a bit of a banishment, given it's proximity to The Blight and the fact that there hasn't been a proper pilgrimage to the holy mountain in over a thousand years. The abbots chosen for this "honored" assignment are typically ones with views not quite aligned with the church as a whole. Men or women of "dispirited tongues," who might better serve The Lord of Life from the quiet hills of the north. The current abbot (or "archmandrite") is a slight man of advancing years known as Abbot Finneus Merkill. Merkill presides over a contingent of monks roughly 200 strong, and the monks are known as "Edmieres" (friars). The abbey itself consists of four central buildings, built in a large square, with a central courtyard between the structures. Two of the buildings serve as the monastic living quarters for the edmieres, with one of the two held exclusively for the monks, and the other also offering board for visitors of any faith or denomination. He is the Lord of Life, is he not? Of the two remaining buildings, the first serves as a research library and sanctum for the monks. The final building is both a barracks for the holy knights assigned to protect the "Vault of the Six" (see below), as well as the only point of entry into the vault itself. The vault is carved into the stone of the mountains that border the rear of the building. The abbey is still considered quite lovely, and part of it is built into the side of the small mountain range that opens up into the blight. The structures are not quite as pristine as they were upon their construction many thousand years past, but the monks do their best to keep up the "look" of their home. In the most technical sense, the abbey and the monks within are still vassals of Wyeth, though their connection is far more tenuous since the "Restoration." The archbishop of the Zenithal still resides in Angleport, and still obeys the laws of the king. Beyond that, however, he lords over his various dioceses as if he were the preeminent authority in the realm.
Purpose / Function
The abbey was established as a holy site for the faithful of Yaruess and The Zenithal in general. A place where they could find shelter from the harsh environs of the north, particularly during the many pilgrimages to Mount Celene in the Era of Destiny. It has since grown, post-Sundering, into a house of religious academia, where many great works of literature are held, and even some items and relics recovered from the "blast" that punctuated The Sundering itself. As such, it houses a subterranean chamber known as "The Vault of The Six" (referring to The Zenithal), a supposedly impenetrable hold where the relics of the gods are kept and protected. This vault is the only portion of the abbey that is defended by holy knights of the church.
AsylumThe abbey also has a long-standing policy of accepting refugees and those evading "enemy forces" (as long as they did not violate the laws of the church), granting them temporary asylum from their pursuers. Recently, a strange visitor (who spoke in a dialect of the common tongue not heard in well over a thousand years) arrived at the abbey, wounded and seeking both medical attention and asylum. He seemed to not know who was hunting him, only that they sought to destroy him. He couldn't give a name, as he was suffering from some form on amnesia. He only knew that he'd traveled south from the Blight, possibly from Mt. Celene. After his arrival, several of the monks began having bizarre dreams, conjuring up a bygone era before the Sundering. It was as if they'd personally been on one of the many pilgrimages to Celene in the Era of Destiny. In any case, there has been an overall sense of unease ever since the mysterious guest's arrival.
Several massive stone buildings were originally constructed to display the might of those faithful to the Zenithal. These days, however, the edifices have fallen into a state of mild disrepair. Funds aren't quite what they used to be, especially since the Reformation of Wyeth, where the Zenithal was removed as an equal power to the crown. This being said, the monks of the abbey still do their very best to upkeep the sacred buildings that comprise their home.
The abbey was built nearly 3,000 years ago, just as the third major pilgrimage to Celene began in earnest. It was constructed by those faithful to the Zenithal from within the burgeoning nation of Wyeth. The king wanted to make certain that the state's faith was spread evenly across Hariel Majour, especially with so many "foreigners" making the trek to pray at the foot of the holy mountain. The abbey stood as the last bastion of faith in "The Six" (but primarily Yareuss) before one were to traverse the Blight. It saw countless petitioners and pilgrims over the 1,400 years before the Sundering changed the political, theological (and literal) landscape of the region. After the cataclysm, the monks who cared for the abbey were given a choice whether or not they wished to abandon their posts. To a man, none did. They stayed on, now without help from the Crown (for the "Restoration" cut the church off from the state), and kept their home livable. It was also around this time that the monks began to scour the lands, hearing of relics "ejected" from Celene in the tumult of the Sundering. Once it was clear that this was actually the case, and after a good many artifacts were recovered, the monks used all the money in their coffers to commission a great vault, the last and final addition to the monastery, within which they might protect the devices of the gods. Even the division of Wyeth knights were allowed to remain. A last "gift" from the crown to the Faith Zenithal. Something to keep the peace, as it were. This detachment of knights have since gone on to recruit and train their own replacements, keeping their ranks filled for future generations. Today, the abbey stands as it always has. It is a center of peace and tranquility, and also a repository of a multitude of unique literary works, many donated from the surrounding lands along with a good many donated from pilgrims who made the voyage to Celene over the years. It is known that the monks will accept rare books and lore from travelers in lieu of payment for room and board. Surprisingly, not many know of the vault within the abbey's walls, and for security reasons, it's not something that's widely advertised. From the outside, it simply seems like a quaint center of learning and solitude. A tiny slice of harmony, away from the madness of the world surrounding it.
House of Yareuss
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