Nisaba Pilgrimage Shrine Building / Landmark in Saleh'Alire | World Anvil

Nisaba Pilgrimage Shrine

The Yolai'ho Overpass Way-Mark

Saleh'Alire » Religious Temples Tolara Talaina'Vao Nisaba Pass Hiatal Mountains / Kogria Mountains

By your grace, Wakena, Our Lady of Liberty and Gold... Protect they and theirs as they travel together through the unknown- and bathe them in your prosperity upon their safe delivery.
— High Priestess Sanne Ekenar
  Located at the Yolai'ho Overpass portion of the Nisaba pass through the Kogria Mountains and Hiatal Mountains in Tolaina'Vao, Tolara, the Nisaba Pilgrimage Shrine is as the name suggests: A traveler's shrine at which Merchants, Expeditioners, and other travelers may pray for safe and swift journeys- or pay thanks for a crossing so far well made.   While most Traveler's Shrines are small outdoor structures that remain undedicated to any particular deity, the Nisaba Pilgrimage Shrine follows none of the typical examples that exist. Instead it is a more traditional Temple-like structure formally devoted to the Ferenian gods Saunden and Wakena, along with a third unaligned Deity (Behzd) whose origin remains unknown; people pray to a multitude of Deities, Demi-Deities, and Divine Adjacent figures here daily, however, despite the formal dedications- an action encouraged by the Shrine's staff.

Construction & Legacy

They may not be our Gods, but I prayed there anyway- a safe crossin' and all tha... Was carved in good, like cousin Gertie's place in the Caerced... And you'd really think somethin so simple wouldn' be so awe inspirin' but there i'is, ma.   I hope you enjoy the sketch I sent. But I really wish you could'a seen it anyways.
— EM Goron Trezona in a letter home after their first crossing
Despite the constant foot traffic through the region, it's unknown when the Shrine was actually constructed at the Yolai'ho Overpass. Timing has been narrowed, however, to some time between 5730 and 5750, as no records of the Shrine exist prior to that point.   The lack of information surrounding its construction, however, has led to the development of several rumors about the Shrine. One of the most common of these stories weaves a tale of a hermit who, in an effort to isolate himself from society, traveled until he came to the pass- at which point he received a revelation that instructed him to carved a temple into the mountian. Another tale is similar, but claims it was constructed in order to hide away some sacred object.
  Regardless of the tales told, Archivists are in agreement that its construction largely predates what most in Tolara have come to call Traveler's Shrines- which is likely one reason why its design doesn't resemble the more common structure. Outside of the mystery surrounding it, though, it has no real cultural or other significance.
Traveler's Shrine   Function
Religious Temple / Worship

Yolai'ho Overpass, Nisaba Pass
Talaina'Vao, Tolara
Current Owners
Unknown   Founders
Unknown   Construction Date
Secret mechanical info about the benefits / in game effects of praying at the shrine, depending on which of the formal deities two you pray to while you're there
An exception to that statement may be made purely for Merchants and Expeditioners who travel through the Nisaba Pass regularly; it's become customary to pay one's respects at the shrine- located at the halfway mark where, using the Yolai'ho Overpass, travelers must cross from the Kogria Mountains to the Hiatal Mountains on the other side of the Canyon.  

Floor Plan & Facilities

The Nisaba Pilgrimage Shrine is a relatively simple structure set into the cliff side on the Kogrian side of the Canyon.   The entrance is accessable from an outcropping of rock just below the main bridge; it consists of just eight broad but low steps, leading to a set of double wooden doors; unlike most Temples or Shrines, there is no external adornment save for the simple yellow canopy that acts as an awning for weather protection.
Main Chamber
Entering the Shrine, the first chamber is round in shape and clearly built to accommodate religious rituals; the low and gentle lighting creates a comfortable environment- not too dark, but not bright, either. It smells fresh from the incomming air- but earthy, with a hint of incense and scented oil; the walls are roughly hewn and uneven, and you can clearly tell where the room has been hollowed out from the original crag.   A low stone dias containing an altar sits at the center of the room, taking up the majority of the space here; an incense burner, several sunstone votive lights, and a metal offertory container adorn the altar, arranged neatly on top of a green and gold striped altar cloth.   Around the edge of the room, on the side towards the door, several simple wooden chairs are stationed- a place for travelers to sit while they wait; on the other side of the room, a series of circular pillars separate the room from the Cells, which themselves are covered with curtains to provide privacy.
Private Cells
Separated from the main room by a series of light yellow curtains are three small cells where the faithful can sit in quiet contemplation, provide offerings, pray, or perform other acts of worship;   Each Cell contains a sitting cushion in green, and a small table with the respective deity's statue (Saunden's in the left Cell, and Wakena's in the right). The center cell, however, has a slightly taller table with no statue, and contains a Kneeling bench in place of the pillow.   All of the Cells are clean and neat, and well kept, and each in turn smells like a different combination of scented oil, incense, and rich earth.
Priest Quarters
To the right of the entrance into the main chamber, a small wooden door is set into the wall. Inside contains a small hearth for a kitchen, a workbench, a metal bath, and two beds; several trunks and shelves are strewn abotu the walls and floor providing convenient storage- and a rack near the work bench contains various vestaments and elements of priestly garb.   It's clean and well kept, but drafty from the hole needed to release the smoke. And it smells of dusty earth and soap.
  In addition to the yellow awning, a small starburst shaped fountain trimmed in faded decorative tiles has been carved from the rocks just before the steps. The fountain much deeper than it appears at first glance, however, and the very bottom glitters with thousands of coins that have been tossed in by passers-through for a little extra luck over the years.   The interior of the Shrine, however, has been carved into the side of the mountain face; it appears as if whoever originally built the structure used a natural crag as the main space- expanding the area and hollowing out the two rooms and three cells based on this main fissure.  

Public Services

High Priest
Sanne Ekenar
Second Priest
Khairi Temegen
The Nisaba Pilgrimage Shrine is staffed only by two Priests, and provides no public services to travelers- excluding the small scale healing and blessings typically performed at Temples and staffed Shrines throughout the world.
  Though no one quite knows why, the Shrine does close every third day for "rituals and routine maintinence", however. At these points the doors to the shrine are barred shut from the inside, and no individuals are allowed into the Shrine except in the event of a genuine emergency.

Cover image: Trinity College by Henry Be


Author's Notes

▼ Please Read Before You Comment ▼
I absolutely love getting feedback on my setting and its worldbuilding. I love it even more when people poke and prod at it, and ask questions about the things I've built within it. I want both. I actively encourage both. And it makes me incredibly giddy whenever I get either. However, there's a time and a place for critique in particular- mostly when I've actually asked for it (which usually happens in World Anvil's discord server). And when I do ask for critique, there are two major things I politely request that you do not include in your commentary:   ➤ The first is any sort of critique on the way I've chosen to organize or format something; Saleh'Alire is not a narrative world written for reader enjoyment... It's is a living campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. To that end, it's written and organized for my players and I, specifically for ease of use during gameplay- and our organization needs are sometimes very different than others'. They are especially diferent, often-times, from how things "should be organized" for reader enjoyment.   ➤ Secondly, is any critique about sentence phrasing and structure, word choice, and so on; unless you've specifically found a typo, or you know for a provable fact I've blatantly misued a word, or something is legitimately unclear explicitly because I've worded it too strangely? Then respectfully: Don't comment on it; as a native English speaker of the SAE dialect, language critique in particular will almost always be unwelcome unless it's absolutely necessary. This is especially true if English is not you first language to begin with. My native dialect is criticized enough as it is for being "wrong", even by fellow native English speakers ... I really don't want to deal with the additional linguistic elitism of "formal english" from Second-Language speakers (no offense intended).   That being said: If you want to ask questions, speculate, or just ramble? Go for it! I love talking about my setting and I'm always happy to answer any questions you have, or entertain any thoughts about it. Praise, of course, is always welcome too (even if it's just a casual "this is great", it still means a lot to authors)- and if you love it, please don't forget to actually show that love by liking it and sharing it around. Because I genuinely do enjoy watching people explore and interact with my setting, and ask questions about it, and I'd definitely love to hear from you... Just be respectful about it, yeah?

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Jan 2, 2021 01:28 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I love all the mystery surrounding the shrine and its creation - and also the mystery as to why it closes every three days. I'm very intrigued. I love how you have described how the place smells, too.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jan 2, 2021 01:33 by Anna Katherina

I'm glad you enjoyed it!   Re the smell: I'm doing my best this round to write these in a way that I already have narrative descriptions for places at hand at any moment, without having to spend 20 minutes prepping before a session, or adlibing something super poor quality for something I love because I didn't expect them to encounter it then. It makes me really happy you picked up on it :D

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