The Temple of the Twisted Flesh
The Temple of the Twisted Flesh is a temple run by and tended to by Changelings. A hidden place, it preaches that those with the gift to change their appearance will eventually be able to take over other societies from the inside out. If that means killing off those they mimic then so be it.
Purpose / Function
The Temple is a place of sanctuary for the majority of Changelings, and for their creed of infiltration & world domination. It also fulfils a spiritual need to them, preaching they are the physical children of an entity named The Changer of Fate.
Carved out of stone, primarily pale marble, it has major features reminscent of Roman, and some Gothic, architecture. Bathed in cool light at all times it has many deliberate hidden pockets of shadow allowing the Changelings time to hide and change their appearance.
The Temple is secretive and only one known way in can be found. This is through an old ruined Roman temple a mile outside the southern gate of Wien. This lies behind a statue to a forgotten goddess, that must be twisted 180 degrees so her face is turned to the wall. The person then has 5 minutes to enter th secret passageway before the statue resets. A couple of guards is usually secreted in the ruins and just beyond the entrance. Most of it is made of marble and hard stone, so is strong enough to be able to survive all but the strongest attacks. Also, the knowledge of the temple & the entrance is only ever passed verbally between the Changelings of the Temple upon pain of torture & eventaul death. As well as this, the Changelings have deliberately spread rumours that it is haunted by a couple of evil spirits putting off all but the most fulhardy & curious. They also will employ Dopplegangers to act as intermediarys to patrol the area, including in Wien itself, to spread misinformation about the ruins and temple to further avoid suspicion.
Created centuries ago by the Changelings in the area of Austria, it has existed in one form or another since before the fall of the Western Roman Empire. With the Roman Empire it provided the resources & expertise to create the physical structures of it in a more permanent style (and details). It seemed that well before the Romans came there were folklore of creatures aorund the tribes of Celts here of creatures that could assume the shape of others and hide in plain sight. This has held up over time and the Changelings believe that this was the spot that some Fey-like creatures first mated with human women. By doing so, the race of Changelings & Dopplegangers were first birthed. It is also believed that the first Fey changeling myth may have sprung up here, where a human baby is replaced with a Fey baby, leading to the old legends found in many Celtic tribes since. Since those early times, most Changelings feel a pull towards this temple. They don't know why, but it can be overpowering to them. A minority don't feel this so there is always a few that will even pass by but nothing registers. Those Changelings that do attend here, have learned that they are to replace all empires of Man in time, in their own form. Their deity the Changer of Fate is said to have touched the ground below leaving two fist-sized rocks below the main altar, one black & one amber. The former is a stone of pure concentrated magic able to improve spellcasting, and the ability to warp the fabric of reality. The other is pure amber from the World Tree with a portion of their god in it, to allow direct communion with it directly.
"There's stories about that old ruined temple there. Another is supposedly buried below it. Can't say for sure though, as the place is reputed to be haunted. The locals stay away obviously and the odd death has been reported. Falls, cursed by rocks, even a couple of drownings are known. Also, there's stories from some of the farms around it saying that their wains have been replaced in their crips with changelings. Best avoided if you ask me, to be safe. You just can't be too careful there." Count Michelle Gautier