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Anorra's Temple

"Blasphemous terae, that forest. It wants us kept quiet, lower than our priestess. We weep for the twisted root and stone, for it wishes to be illoa as one with Anorra. It cannot. It wants us with the dirt, caged as she, the Anorra beyond our eyes."
The last remaining readable excerpt in all the town.

Purpose / Function

The Temple serves as the home, the bed, and the symbol of Anorra. Villagers bring living offerings to appease her, in the form of unsuspecting travelers and dying townspeople. It towers over the small city of Ano to the south of it.

Design

The temple itself is a single room, rectangular in shape and large enough for a hundred people to rest shoulder to shoulder. This is the room in which where Anorra lives. It is bare and contains no furniture. The floors are made of fine red wood, from trees that no longer exist thanks to the expansion of the Demon Forest. The floors themselves are covered by a thin coating of amber, toughened throughout the generations. The roof is held up by six stone columns making up the edge of the room, each standing at roughly twice the height of a villager from the town below. The roof itself is made of the same wood as the floors, joining at the top to create a hip roof. Small roots come in and out of the many cracks all around the temple. The roof is supported by wood holding flat stone shingles that overlap one another. Roots upheaved many of the shingles, but much of the roof is still intact. While the stone columns and the floor leading up to the wood have drawings on them, the roof is mysteriously devoid of any drawings. None of the wood contains any markings.

Sensory & Appearance

Anorra keeps nothing in her room aside from herself, not even a lamp. The denizens of the town below know to bring their own light sources if they wish to visit in the dark. There is only a light smell of rotting wood, as much of it is protected by amber. In the daylight, the floor seems to shine and change colors, but later in the evening the true red hue of the wood becomes apparent.

Architecture

While the manner in which the temple is constructed is unknown along with the original location of the building materials, the stone that makes up the temple gives away the exemplary masonry of the individuals who designed and built it. Every block making up the stairs and walls is meticulously carved with images of Demons and Humans alike. The stones are similar in color to those found in Ishallan quarries, however these are much tougher.   The temple is of a style found nowhere else in current day Tsilanda. It is one of a kind, standing unmatched by even the town that originally created it. The temple itself sits atop a grand pyramid, with 90 steps on either of its four sides, with two steps into each of the 45 larger blocks making up the edges of the pyramid. There is an obvious "front" that faces the town below, where the steps are the largest and the carvings contain much more detail. Nearly every visible surface is covered with images of unknown beings, seemingly carved into the stone with some drawings overlapping one another.   The temple resting on top of the pyramid overlooks the Forest below, and is just high enough that the Forest's powers do not reach it. It is the only known structure standing above the Demon Forest's fake weather, meaning that the sky seen from inside the temple is the real sky.

History

Constructed by an unknown ancient civilization long before SE time, the ruined temple pyramid was later rediscovered by Anorra. There was nothing left but abandoned homes and tools laying about. Over the years, a small town began developing at the foot of the temple, calling the location Ano. Once a curious Human or two adventured up the steps of the temple, they discovered the lonely Anorra at the top. While she frightened the townsfolk at first, they slowly began to see her as a symbol of the town, a protector, a priestess. She became the village Healer, and her unusual powers were a well-kept secret within the town. Any and all travelers were intrigued by the pyramid, and the tales of the goddess priestess living at the top. The travelers who reached the top of the steps never made it back down.   Every new traveler and willing villager who visited the top of the steps becomes a sacrifice for Anorra. With each new sacrifice, a drawing appears somewhere on the stone of the pyramid in their likeness.   Due to the hidden nature of her abilities however, the Demon Forest asserted its protective nature over the townspeople. Roots entangled and grew through the cracked stone of the temple, fusing the two together in a twisted skeleton reaching toward the sky. At the top, the roots sought to cage Anorra within her room. The eternal priestess did nothing to prevent her encasement within the roots. The villagers however, waged war on the Forest. Fighting tooth and tool through the pale roots, they uncovered their priestess. Whenever the roots caged her, the townsfolk freed her. The Forest could not understand their determination, and Anorra could not understand their love. The temple paid for their battle with its foundation. The wordless battle raged for ages, through countless generations.   Through the years, the Forest became one with the stone of the temple. It fused with its carvings, tracing every block and expanding every crack with its roots. It only understood much later how Anorra meant no harm to the people in Ano. She held no hatred for them, nor for it. And while its roots never retreated, its misgivings toward her had ceased. Today, the temple stands as a monument, a forever silent symbol between the friendship of the Forest and the Temple of Anorra.
Submitted for the 2019 "Tower of Power" competition.
Type
Temple / Religious complex
Parent Location
Ano
Characters in Location

The Nature of the Drawings

  Every stone that makes up the pyramid is covered in drawings, etched into the surface by an unknown tool of the temple itself. They are intricate, and would take anyone at least a day to create a single one in this tough stone, however nobody has ever been witnessed up on the pyramid creating the masterpieces that exist all over it. But the etchings are indeed there, they can be felt by anyone's touch, and appear to anyone who looks. They appear in an instant, engraved into the gray stone, deep enough to be visible on almost all days.   When the villagers first arrived to the pyramid, it was nearly barren and free of any designs upon the solid stone, and looked to be almost unfinished in that sense. Devoid of any design beside purely architectural, a few brave townspeople attempted to carve into some of the chipped pieces of stone from the base of the temple, but to no avail. None of their stone nor metal tools could work the rock. But the drawings continued to appear, and a correlation was made when Anorra was discovered at the top.   As more and more individuals with malice in their hearts or ill will toward Anorra fell victim to the tales of treasure and god-like power at the top of the steps, more etchings appeared on the stones. As the villagers noticed these designs and questioned their origins, their explanations fell to divine creation. Anorra was believed to be the divine ruler of the tower, and the drawings were thought to be her doing. However she was never asked about her involvement, and thus it was neither proven nor disproved for the townspeople.   The temple seems to favor those of Pure Demon blood over those of any Human lineage. Nobody is sure of why they think this, or where the idea came from, but the townspeople know and they are sure of this fact. Very few Demons have come into contact with Anorra however, possibly due to them sensing her strength at the top of the temple.   The drawings serve as a reminder of all those who have lost their lives at the top of the steps, and a show of the abilities of the unknown ancient civilization's masons.

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Comments

Author's Notes

Translations:   The term "terae" is a derogatory term often times referring to a Demon of lower status, often times to compare two Demons or to show distaste in a Demon. The rough translation of it is "lesser Demon" and is meant as an insult above all else. The term "illoa" is the direct opposite of "terae" and roughly translates to "higher Demon." This is used to show respect or in comparisons between Demons.


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14 Feb, 2019 21:51

Wow!

Briggston
Charles Briggston
15 Feb, 2019 02:25

Wow!

Elijah T
Elijah Talbot
15 Feb, 2019 09:38

Wow!

Elijah T
Elijah Talbot
15 Feb, 2019 09:15

I like the article for what it shows. However, I have a few issues with it. For example, the design of the building feels vague, and I think it needs a bit more descriptions. Because right now I only imagine the building, looking like it has four pillars and a slab roof on top with some markings throughout the pillars. I also suggest telling the audience what SE means. It sounds important and has a meaning to this article.

Briggston
Charles Briggston
15 Feb, 2019 09:20

Yeah I'm still having issues being able to describe the building itself, and judging from your review and the way you see it, I really need to work on it more than I thought. SE in this world is the equivalent of BC for us, and is just a time period. I'll work some more on it. Thank you!

15 Feb, 2019 13:20

This is very cool, Is Anorra building up to something? Like a critical mass? Or are the people absorbed into the stonework like a parody of medusa's cave?   Who or what is Anorra? What is her/his/it's goal? Narrative/story? Is it a protector of the people? or is it actually a prisoner trying to make it out like the monkey king?

Briggston
Charles Briggston
15 Feb, 2019 23:24

I'm currently working on Anorra's article, but I hope to have it ready to publish maybe in a few days? A little bit of information, Demons are eternal beings, and Anorra happens to be one of them. She takes the form of a humanoid being and thought the temple looked like an excellent place to live in peace and not be bothered, since the people who built this big pyramid are all long gone. Once humans started coming around, they discovered her and feared her, but over time she became a sort of protective symbol of the town. A few brave souls spoke to her and discovered her powers, which I don't really want to spoil here just yet, but it has to do with sacrificing individuals in order to save individuals. After this the townspeople worshiped her, calling her "the Anorra" after the town name of Ano. They named her and she adopted the name for herself. The more sacrifices were given to her, the more mysterious drawings appeared all over the tower. I'm honestly not entirely sure if it is building up to anything at this point in time. The tower was based off Mayan culture, and in a way Anorra started playing the role of killing people who reach the top. The drawings that show are sort of a thanks, showing who lost their lives at the very top. The drawings are not directly linked to Anorra herself, they are sort of the tower's "power" if that makes sense.   Over time, the Demon Forest tried to stop her from using her apparently harmful power, thinking that she is a threat to humans. Its main goal is to defend human beings, so it tried to lock Anorra in her room at the top of the pyramid. The humans however loved her, and fought to keep her free.   She never fought, and never hurt anyone out of malice, she wanted to be left alone. But after she discovered that the townspeople loved her for her abilities, she found it to be a good enough reason to stay there. After a while the Demon Forest realized she meant them no harm, and ended its efforts to cage her, leaving the tower covered in its roots forever. So she remains at the very top, living alone for the rest of her days probably, with occasional visitors asking for help or sending her sacrifices. In a way, she became a protector of the people, but more in a symbolic way as she does not partake in any fights on her own. She isn't trying to escape, she's content with sitting up there and watching the clouds go by.

Briggston
Charles Briggston
15 Feb, 2019 23:29

Forgot to say thanks for the comment, thank you!

Orikrin1998
Ywan Cooper
15 Feb, 2019 16:29

I was surprised to be feeling sad when I was done reading this; it didn't feel novellesque but somehow it's filled with emotion. I suspect that this is because you embedded the temple within the forest just like the forest fused with the temple. It felt like you wrote this in the exact way that Anorra's ways work and that's really cool! Looks like the whole temple is a tree now.   I was wondering, since the wood the temple is made of disappeared, it should be very precious, right? Isn't there any trafficking of the most tiny shards of it? Charlatanism around its properties? Or maybe it really has power?

Briggston
Charles Briggston
15 Feb, 2019 23:28

Well the only way to really know what is at the top is to go up there, and those who do that just for fun often times end up paying with their lives, so stories never get out about the precious wood at the top. I would assume that yes, trafficking could be a problem, but only if they somehow managed to escape with their lives and the wood in tow. The village is so secluded that few ever go out there, and it is difficult to see what is at the very top of the tower from anywhere else. The villagers would never dare take their precious priestess's home apart, for they also know what happens to those who go meet her with malicious intent. That wood does not hold any magical properties that I know of at the moment. They really were just normal trees. I would think that it is only precious to the villagers for religious reasons.

Briggston
Charles Briggston
15 Feb, 2019 23:29

I forgot to say thank you for the comment, my bad! THANK YOU!

Orikrin1998
Ywan Cooper
16 Feb, 2019 16:02

Unknowing thieves could be sacrificed too, hehe. Thanks for your answer and don't worry. ^^

Redclaw123
Elias Redclaw
15 Feb, 2019 16:51

Very good article! I love the sense of mystery you manage to weave in this article right from the very beginning. The article is certianly interesting since it manages to hook the reader in with the beginning quote and keep it up with the mysetry of Anorra. If you are going for a mysterious vibe then i would say the current format is absolutely perfect! Looking to see more of your amazing work!

Briggston
Charles Briggston
15 Feb, 2019 23:28

Thank you very much! I was hoping to go for the mysterious tone, glad I managed to pull that off.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
18 Feb, 2019 04:46

I enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing it. :) its a really unique idea. As far as the sidebar hmmm if your artistic maybe throw in a little image of the drawings. Maybe throw in annkmage of the temple? If not maybe another quote. A good one would be maybe the temple being studied? May not work but I'd love another little quote. :)

Briggston
Charles Briggston
18 Feb, 2019 07:00

Thank you! Glad you liked it. I was wondering about doing drawings but I never drew the temple before so I hadn't even considered that. The idea I was going to go with was possibly adding quotes of the few survivors who have seen the temple and lived to tell the tale. Also the temple hasn't been studied or anything, so that's out of the question. But quotes seem to be the most popular thing people have suggested so I might go with that once the event is over! :D

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
18 Feb, 2019 13:23

Ii think that would be a good idea. Im intrigued.