Underground Necropolis of Necros

The Necropolis of Necros is a massive underground series of cemeteries, crypts, and ossuaries. It runs under the Temple of Na'arin and Castle Shivano, both of which are built into the side of a mountain, and extends well under the mountain itself.   It has become a symbol of deference to the dead and to Na'arin, Necromancer God of the Underworld, and is a beautiful, if somber sight to behold. It is a high crime to deface any surface or desecrate any remains within the necropolis.  
Power swirls around you down there. The spirits are so close, so easy to call.
— Necrosi citizen and mid-level necromancer
  Statues, alters, and shrines can be found in many of the natural recesses and grottos throughout the necropolis.  

Layout

Royalty are laid to rest beneath the castle. Typically, a king's bones are placed in a sarcophagus in a sepulcher (burial chamber) with his closest of kin kept in a nearby, larger chamber. Each immediate member of the royal family is granted their own sarcophogus, the size of which varies based on status. Lesser members of the royal line will sometimes be allocated nooks along the walls of the chambers, as in the catacombs. Their inclusion in the family tomb must be approved by living royals.   These tombs are often decorated with statues, furniture, and other finery and are accessible to family members through the entrance within the castle's sanctum. Smaller, more private tunnels are rumored to exist.  


Priests and Acolytes of Na'arin are kept below the Temple of Na'arin in the ossuary. The bones of the priest have been arranged in small chambers surrounding an underground alter. Each room has a different theme, with the bones arranged in different patterns.
Nobility who can afford it buy chambers as close to the royal chambers as they can. These chambers too are filled with sarcophoguses and decorated in a similar manner, though often lack the separate sepulcher. Nobility may also access these tombs from the castle's sanctum.  
Lesser nobility and wealthy merchants may purchase burial chambers in other areas of the necropolis. Others in this upper-middle class choose instead to build mausoleums inside of massive caverns serving as underground cemeteries. Access to these chambers can be found in various locations around the mountain and from an entrance in the Temple of Na'arin.   Necromancers will often also have mausoleums within the cemeteries and/or sometimes statues and other shrines built in their honor.
  Middle-class citizens and wizard-class are typically buried within sarcophoguses in the cemeteries.   Military civilians are buried in a separate cemetery along with necromancer and wizard military members that choose to be buried there instead of their family tombs.   Lower-middle class citizens often choose to be placed in the catacombs, often with a small placard to identify the remains.  

Crypts are still used for those who cannot afford a space in the catacombs, the homeless, prisoners, unknown persons, and the remains of ancient Necrosi with no surviving relatives.   Special crypts near the Temple of Na'arin are reserved for those sacrificed in the Ritual who are not otherwise located.

Alterations

New columbaria are being built underground to house the ashes of fully cremated individuals. While cremation has not yet become popular, the current Head Priest encourages people to utilize this space- and money-saving method to honor the dead.

Architecture

The majority of the necropolis relies on natural cave formations. In some areas, recesses in the walls of passageways have been dug to create catacombs. A series of tunnels and stairways connect the various caverns, and columns have been added in some locations where further support was deemed necessary. Some areas have been excavated, but most of the necropolis has remained in its natural state, which includes working around stalactites, stalagmites, and other natural formations.
Carlsbad Caverns.jpg
Caverns by hcraven

History

Early Necrosi living in the region of the capital city utilized the mountain caves as burial places for their dead. After the Temple of Na'arin was erected and capital city of Necros founded, burial became more organized.  

Royal Remains

  Necrosi kings and queens have always been laid to rest beneath the castle.  Burial chambers of the earliest kings remain accessible to royalty through the castle's sanctum.  

Everyone Else

  Everyone else was laid to rest near the Temple of Na'arin. Priests of Na'arin were kept in a single, small crypt, nearest to the statue of Na'arin. All other Necrosi were kept in crypts together, bodies stacked upon each other until the crypt filled. Acolytes of the Temple would brick off the entrance to a full crypt and then seek out another cavern in which to store bodies.   Eventually, acolytes created plaques to mark the years in which individuals were placed in a crypt as well as plaques identifying any noteworthy people contained therein. These plaques would be plastered onto the closing wall after the crypt filled. The oldest of the crypts contain no such information.   Grieving family members could request visitation to the crypts, accompanied by a priest, but most would settle for lighting a candle in the temple.  

Historical Impact of Disease

Disease outbreaks greatly influenced the storage of remains and how that changed over time.   The earliest inhabitants of the region, before the city was founded, are thought to have simply left bodies in easily accessible, open caverns, which typically meant quite near to natural openings where wild animals and rodents could easily scavenge. After one particularly nasty outbreak, which wiped out over half of the settlement, the earliest crypt was started, with bodies being stored deeper into the mountain.   As the city grew, more and more bodies were being stored below ground. In an effort to control a series of smaller outbreaks, as well as the smell of decay which would sometimes eek out into the city above, acolytes of the Temple of Na'arin moved all bodies except those of priests and royalty into a single crypt and walled it off. After this, corpses were stored in a more orderly fashion, filling only one crypt at a time.   Eventually, acolytes began to prepare the bodies for burial by cleaning them before interring them into the crypts. Cleansing rituals were developed and changed over time to include anointing with fragrant herb-infused oils.   Despite these efforts, another massive plague outbreak struck. The reigning king lost his firstborn heir to the disease and faced the worst outbreak in recorded history. In an effort to save his city, and with the head priest's approval, he ordered all bodies to be burned henceforth, starting with that of his son, before the bones could be laid to rest beneath the city.   Today, all bodies are cleansed, anointed, burned, and finally the bodies are laid to rest in the necropolis.  

Cultural Impact on Structure

Over time, society's views on death and status changed. Many began to view the crypts as offensive, impersonal, and inauspicious. With the threat of disease no longer a concern, wealthier families demanded the right to visit the bodies of loved ones and demanded better accommodations.

Underground cemeteries and mausoleums were built within massive natural caverns. Winding catacombs were created as tunnels were built to connect caverns, and resting places were built into the passageways. Statues and other forms of grandeur made their way underground as people poured more resources into death, slowly creating the necropolis as it is today.

Even the priests of Na'arin changed their attitude toward their final resting place. Once content with the utilitarian crypt, at the turn of the last century, the priests collected the bones of all previous known priests and acolytes, and arranged them into ornate mosaics and patterns to create an ossuary centered around a small, underground alter.
Alternative Names
Na'arin's Necropolis, City of the Dead
Type
Catacomb
Owning Organization
Characters in Location
I visit the necropolis as often as I can. It restores the magic.
— Low-level necromancer
 
The priests' altar beneath the temple, that's where your spells will be the strongest, your potions the most potent, and your connection the deepest.
— Necrosi citizen

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