The Blood Pool / استخر خون
The ruined and partially covered sandstone building 18 miles north of Bagdad is known as استخر خون in Persian, and generally as the Blood Pool. A cursed place no local will generally go near it without good reason. It is rumoured to have lain buried for millennia but only just starting to show for some unknowable reason. Local legends speak of ancient evil lying within and been there since early times maybe even during the birth of the world.
Purpose / Function
What can be determined from the general structure, and from the remains of cuneiform writing on it, the structure acts as a gateway to an underground crypt of some type. It seems to date back to before human occupation though follows some of the same features as the surrounding ancient human settlements.
It looks that the original building work was done on top of a natural crater filled with sandstone that had built up after a meteor crash hundreds of thousands of years ago. Over the millennia, previous buildings had been built on it, being modified since. The crater has been hollowed out over time with sandstone bricks & pillars installed at one point. Carvings of twisted humanoid beings are carved over the walls in the crater below. Each looks like hunched bald skeletal beings with clawed hands, sharpened teeth & nose, and pointed teeth. Some seem to be feeding on other human-like beings. Farsi seems to have been carved into the walls later translated as The Blood Pool (استخر خون), or The Source of Ancient Blood (منبع خون باستانی). A disc of bronze is built into the floor in the centre of the crater and is covered in a thin mosaic depicting the symbol of Lilith. These cover a cavern in below hollowed out that the meteor burst through to. At the centre is a large pool about 30 feet by 30 feet, and 10 feet deep. It appears to be filled with an iron rich liquid or actual blood, no can say. It appears sentient and along the walls placed 20 feet away in a circular pattern there are sun mummified bodies of human or human-like creatures' wit sharply defined features, sharpened teeth, and dressed in ancient gold finery. One is empty and appears to be an opening to a tunnel. If followed it will lead to a cavern with a ziggurat of Babylonian design that seems to be lit with torches.
The below ground architecture bears some distinct prehuman designs similar to ancient Yuan-Ti, and the rest appears to be primarily added later and similar in pattern to early Sumerian & Babylonian.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the area was an arid wasteland with a bad reputation. Prehuman civilisations believed that a creature lived in the ground below. When a meteor crashed into it, the meteor smashed a hole in the top of the cavern that opened it up. Inside was a being of immense power who could not stand sunlight. A pool of ferric impregnated water & blood was at the bottom of this, though a human sized tunnel was to the northeast. There the creature rested & slumbered in a sarcophagus situated in a ziggurat of ancient providence. This female being was cursed long ago and sent to this place as punishment by an angry god, to wait on the chance to torment members of the god's children. The meteor was sent when humanoids of other gods started to appear on the world, heralding the need to slow their expansion before humanity evolved. It found the blood of the living more powerful and sustaining than the pool and visited them at night to feed. When humanity arrived, she started to prey on them, and those that survived her realised that she was the being called Lilith and sent to Earth to prey on the living. She gained followers in early Sameria & Babylon in particular but was avoided where possible. The region was capped with an unholy temple to her and most avoided her including other animals. It just seemed off. Over time the Babylonian authorities recognised this site as a major problem and capped it to prevent more followers building up in the area. They had protective spells & wards placed over it to prevent people from accessing it, and to cut down the curse of vampirism that existed there. This has existed for millennia, and now it has been found anew. Talk is, is that when the meteor hit initially it damaged the whole region send seismic shockwaves through it, and one of these had ripped a seam open to the west in the desert, where a partially buried ziggurat is partially buried in sand. It contains a host of undead or so they say and is rumoured to contain the leadership of the Children of the Nazarene. This has never been verified with explorers never returning and many thinking that there is a massive crack in the Underdark leading between the two. One thing that is noted is a clay tablet that is said to lie buried in the library of Baghdad & and rubbing of it in the Vatican archives. Wrote in cuneiform and detailing this information it is meant to be where the first vampire existed, and Lilith drew in others from alternate dimensions to expand the types of vampirism for her use. Indeed, most vampires seem to venerate her, and an Archangel called Samael. What lies on down in the ziggurat is truly unknown and nobody can say much about it, though it seems to attract vampires from all over the world sooner or later. A further story amongst those that have examined cuneiform tablets and interviews of vampires seem to suggest that the Blood Pool has been there since the early days of Earth and maybe even been there since the existence of Pangea. A few ancient dragon legends state that it existed since they first arrived on Earth in the early days of the planet. How true this is another matter.
"What is there and what can be brought to the surface? Nobody can say as nobody has returned. Wouldn't go anywhere near it. If you do go keep your wits about. The local Imam has warned that ancient evil from before humanity arrived." Local trader in Baghdad.