Temple of the Sundered Green
When the Kingdom of Ngavar was ravaged by flame, what was then called the Temple of the Bounteous Green was one of the few structures to survive the devastation. It did not escape the devastation undamaged, but either chance or divine will saw the great temple spared. With their homeland destroyed, and the Green turned to Ash, the Temple became the last possible refuge for the "Spirits of the Green"—figures central to the Ngavari religion, which served to further heighten its importance. Of course, with the Green turned to Ash, their religion was in need of serious structural and theological changes.
The name of the Temple of the Sundered Green is largely an artifact of history. There is, of course, the main Temple building, which hosts the majority of rituals, rites or other religious services, as one would expect a temple to do. However, a complex has been built up around the Temple proper that is generally grouped together with the Temple Building under the name. Surrounding the Temple Building are the Temple Gardens. West of the Temple Building, past the Temple Gardens, is the House of Splendor, to the south is the House of Glory, the the east are the Houses of Wisdom, and to the north, near the entrance to the Temple's section of the city, is a guard post, manned by the Sentinels at all times.
The TempleThe Temple is a largly circular structure structure, facing northeast, built from locally-mined granite. The exterior is painted in a multitude of different shades of green, which are arranged in swirling patterns. Past its large, double-doors—made from planks of wood from the Ngossor tree, which is now extinct—is a vestibule. The main path of the vestibule is carpeted in dark blue, and lined with columns, with one shrine each at its northern and eastern walls, dedicated to guardian Spirits. Past the vestibule is the Sanctuary, a large, ringed room with a vaulted roof. A channel has been cut into the outer wall, in which flows water, used for ritual ablution, and which serves as a shrine to a powerful water Spirit. The inner wall is lined with shrines dedicated to different Spirits of the Green, most of which incorporate an altar or offering bowl. Each approximately 1.5 meters wide, and with approximately 2 meters between any two shrines. The walls above the shrines and the channel are carved to depict important stories and events from Ngavari scripture and history—most of which predate the Sundering of Ngavar. There are four very particular shrines set into the inner wall of the Sanctuary, which are half one meter wider than the others, and have one half meter more room on either side. They are positioned at the northernmost, southernmost, westernmost, and easternmost points on the inner wall, and are composed entirely of plant matter—wood in the north, leaves in the south, moss in the west, and vines in the east. For members of the Temple's Priesthood, and certain other, very particular persons, these shrines will open up, acting as entrances to the Grove. The Grove is a circular, domed room at the center of the Temple. Rooted in the center of the Grove is a Ghorratan (/ɣorataːn/), a plant which eludes conventional classification, being at once alike to a tree, a cluster of vines, a shrub, and a particularly large clump of moss. Its branch-vines cling to the roof and the walls. The Grove is lit by a pale blue light cast by a glowing fruit which grows from said branch-vines. This Ghorratan is home to a particularly powerful Spirit of the Green, a Great Spirit, known as Ngavornga (/ŋavoːrŋa/), possibly the most powerful of its kind still in existence.
The GardensThe main Temple building is surrounded by a series of carefully-maintained, interconnected gardens. It can vary from manicured and tame near well-trodden paths, to fecund and near-wild when far from them. The Temple Gardens is the home of a number of specimens of plants that were otherwise wiped out by the Sundering of Ngavar. The Gardens are maintained by a large team of specially trained priests, who also tend to the many shrines scattered around them.
The House of SplendorOccasionally known as the Temple Palace, the House of Splendor serves is a rectangular building, 26 by 32 meters, with an exterior painted in a wide array of natural colors, and adorned in statues depicting a vast array of Spirits of the Green, most of which have taken up residence on the Temple Grounds. The interior is divided up into a large number of rooms, mostly consisting of offices for the administration of the Temple, but also a small Sentinel guard barracks and armory, as well as the personal apartments of the High Priest of the Temple of the Sundered Green.
The Houses of WisdomThe Houses of Wisdom are a series of nine towers rising out of a more manicured region of the Temple Gardens in close proximity to one another, all built from blocks of granite. Their heights vary, as to their function. The smallest—which serves as the place of primary education for new priests—is 4 stories in height, the second and third smallest—the Temple storehouses—are 5 and 6 stories, and wider than the smaller tower. The remainder—which house the priests—range from 7 to 9 stories in height and have the largest radii of all. The different towers have floors made from oak. Every inch of their exteriors are painted vivd shades of blue and purple. Only the rectory towers have interior adornment of any kind—but even then, none which alters the architecture of the building in any way
The House of GloryThe House of Glory, a large mausoleum that hosts the dead of Kul Khalesi, is not overly impressive to look at. Its exterior walls are the only one unadorned on the temple grounds, and the Temple Grounds grows low and thin. Above ground, the House of Glory is a courtyard walled with stone, and lined with statues. In the center, there is a staircase that descends into the mausoleum proper. Below the ground, the House of Glory is just as solemn as above ground, but far more expansive. It is composed of a network of hallways and alcoves spread out beneath the entirety of the temple grounds, and extending seven levels into the earth. The House of Glory is lit by glowing fruit harvested from the Ghorratan Ngavornga, which cast a pale, blue light on friezes and carvings of the deeds of historically prominent The Ngavari and The Ashfolk individuals. The walls of the underground corridors are regularly broken up by alcoves and chambers where the dead are interred.
Long before the Sundering of Ngavar, the Ngavari people flourished under the guidance of the of the Great Spirit Ngavornga, who taught them the secrets to harnessing and manipulating the natural world. A rudimentary temple was built around the Ghorratan in which Ngavornga lived, which would come to be known as the Temple of the Virulent Green. Over time, the building was repaired, redesigned, and replaced until a grand structure resembling what can be seen today was built, which stood for centuries, serving as a base of operations for a priesthood that spanned the whole of Ngavar for most of the time Ngavar existed. Even after the First Kingdom of Ngavar fell to the Enthroned Shadow, the Temple of the Virulent Green and the city around it survived under siege behind a barrier created by Ngavornga, its people fed by the fertile magic of the priests. Following the defeat of the Enthroned Shadow, the efforts to reclaim Ngavar operated out of the Temple, and had largely succeeded before reinforcements could arrive. When an attempt to revive the monarchy fell the bickering before a king could even be selected, and Ngavar fell into the chaos of a multitude of squabbling city-states, the Priests of the Green were the strongest players of all, and the Temple was their throne. It was the designs of Ngavornga and High Priest Ngotonos Zarrangar that ultimately led to the true restoration of the monarchy in the form of the Second Kingdom. When the Nimean Conquest of Ngavar brought the Second Kingdom to an end, the invaders chose to spare the Temple and integrate the Priests into their power structure, rather than attempt to crush it. The Temple, and the many Spirits of the Green throughout Ngavar, were worked into the state religion. And in doing so, the conquerors brought peace. The Priests of the Temple, and Ngavornga, were willing to abide by these terms, rather than face the alternative. But they resented being made to share their faith with Nimea's Summerlords, and though they would bury it to safeguard peace, they would hold on to that resentment until the end. When the Summerlords grew arrogant and decadent, that resentment began to flourish. The halls of the Temple would birth a dozen rebellions against the Nimean yoke over the time Ngavar was occupied. It was not until the last that it was traced back to them. When the Summerlord Malor Lavanaar III discovered the role the Temple had played, he flew into a rage. The ultimate result was the Sundering of Ngavar, which saw the once-fertile land reduced to an ashen wasteland. As during the invasion of the Enthroned Shadow, and a handful of wars since, Ngavornga raised a barrier against the Summerlord's wrath. But as the land around the Temple and its city was turned to ash, even as the barrier repelled the flame, the power of the Summerlord's rage seeped in in waves of heat, damaging the earth—and the Temple. Indeed, though the Temple was one of the few large buildings left standing in all of Ngavar, the Temple was, as a symbol of the Ngavar faith and priesthood, the locus of the Summerlord's ire, and so suffered whenever his rage seeped through. What's worse, as the Temple and the earth were damaged, Ngavornga's power diminished, and the barrier contracted. Weeks after the Summerlord had set ruin upon Ngavar, as suddenly as it had begun, the Sundering ended as his power was rebounded onto him. The Temple looked out upon Ngavar, damaged, but standing. When Ngavari, now Ashfolk, society began to recoup after the destruction of their homeland, the temple was renamed; it was now the Temple of the Sundered Green. After the structure of the Temple itself had been repaired, and the priesthood took a truly subservient role in society for the first time in centuries, the grounds around the Temple were changed. The gardens were devised as a refuge for those Spirits of the Green which had survived the Sundering, and for those few plant species endemic to Ngavar which still survived. The old buildings were re-purposed, remodeled, or replaced to suit the new paradigm.