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The Great Oracle

The Great Oracle combines the most impressive architecture with the most beautiful art and riches beyond imagination. A least that's what they say, I've never been there.
— A common proverb

Purpose / Function

The Great Oracle is where the gods talk to mere men—or at least to those who they chose to be their voice on Terenus. There is one so-called Herald per god—so thirteen in total. After being ordained, it is their duty to stay in the Great Oracle and listen to the prophecies of the Thirteen, as they are the only ones who can understand them. Besides them, only their scribes and the Holy Archivist are allowed inside the inner sanctum.

Architecture

No aspect of the Oracle's design has been left to chance. That already starts with its location: It is situated on the Island of Gods, exactly so that its center axis aligns with the center of the world.   From the outside, the Great Oracle is an enormous thirteen-sided building with bright white walls and a cupola of pure gold—the largest and heaviest cupola of the world. It has no windows as to not distract the Heralds from performing their holy duty. The entrance is an underground tunnel which leads to an emporium right under the center of the cupola.   Said emporium is built of pure marble and from there a golden spiral staircase leads down to each of the thirteen walls. Each of the walls carries a painting showing likeness of one of the Thirteen. Thirteen feet in front of each of them is a marble throne embellished with ornate gold. This is where the Herald sits waiting for prophecies.   In the cellar beneath is the library which collects all prophecies ever spoken. Its shelves are three stories tall and to the uninitiated seem to form a maze. But in fact, they are meticulously placed and ordered to allow the Holy Archivist to retrieve any prophecy within only minutes.   In some distance to the outer walls of the building is a second set of high red walls that shield the Great Oracle from the eyes of all normal men as even that would already desecrate the holy ground.

History

To begin building the Great Oracle was the last order the Thirteen gave before they left Terenus to guard it from afar. Despite the tireless efforts of thousands of workers, it's construction only finished around 300 NV. Since then, it has been the center of the church of the Thirteen.   These workers were also the last commoners to see the Oracle in all its glory. Only days later—as a consequence of the First Prophecy—the ban was instantiated. As such, all accounts of the Oracle's beauty were quotes of their tales. Within a few generations, this oral tradition led to the habit of finishing such stories by saying "A least that's what they say, I've never been there."
Type
Temple / Religious complex
Parent Location
The Island of Gods
Ruler
The Heralds of the Thirteen
Owning Organization
The Church of the Thirteen

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Comments

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2 Jul, 2018 19:16

I really like the visuals in the architecture section, they're vivid and give a very good idea of the purpose and nature of the great oracle

2 Jul, 2018 19:18

Solid architecture! I think it would be humorous to restate the last line of your opening quote at the bottom of the article, just to drive home that not many have seen it.

Now working on
The Hylian Fantasy
2 Jul, 2018 20:48

Thanks for your feedback. I've extended the last paragraph a bit, I hope you like it.

2 Jul, 2018 19:27

The Great Oracle is so ornate that even the visual I have in my head is stunning. Because it is so elaborate and made with so much gold, I am curious about whether or not any invading army has tried to conquer/steal it. Or if thieves have ever attempted to take items from within. I know it the house of the gods, but sometimes people can get desperate enough that angering the gods seems acceptable if it means they can eat or have wealth.

2 Jul, 2018 19:43

The risk of normal thieves is relatively low, as even the access to the most of the Island of Gods itself is restricted, but to a larger group. Being noble, a priest, or a hero is sufficient.   However, my world has two pantheons: The Thirteen (who are the good gods) and the Seven (who are the evil gods). As it would be one of the most noble achievements for a fanatic follower of the Seven, there definitely have been attempts at all kinds of illegal activities concerning the Great Oracle.   That is why the Silver Guard is posted right outside the Red Wall. It is their duty (among other things) to guard the Great Oracle. Think of the Swiss Guard, but more shiny steel and less colorful cloth.

2 Jul, 2018 19:27

The visuals in the Architecture section are very striking. It would be really cool to have a picture of the temple on the sidebar, to really show off the imagery. It makes me wonder if the flat world also has thirteen sides, so it might match up with the temple at its center.

2 Jul, 2018 19:48

My first instinct was "Damn, why didn't I think of that?". It would fit this imagery so nicely. However, when the world was created, there were 20 gods. The thirteen are only those who won the great wars and banished the other seven. So the world having 13 edges would be contradicting its own history.

2 Jul, 2018 19:51

Ooh, nifty. Where'd the other seven get banished to? Do they ever try to un-banish themselves?

2 Jul, 2018 19:54

They do... at least that's what people believe:

The Seven Dreaded Nights
Tradition / Ritual | Jul 3, 2018

2 Jul, 2018 20:16

The architecture section is nicely detailed and paints a great picture for the reader/visitor. You start the article with a nice cynical tone, I would have loved for you to expand on that, and / or to pick that up at the end to round the article up. Nice use of the tooltip - more of that please! :)

Welcome to Ekozia!
2 Jul, 2018 20:50

Thanks for your feedback, I'm glad you liked it. I've extended the last paragraph a bit to come back to the initial quote.