Temple in the Blasted Plain

North of the mountains of The Spire lies what was once the heart of an empire. That stretch of fertile rolling plains is now untrammeled, abandoned. The capital city which once dominated that horizon, gone.

A vast temple complex stood at the core of that capital, dedicated to the god of agreements and law, ruler of his pantheon. From there the priests of the empire oversaw the rise and spread of a power few have since matched. Certainly no realm which now rules lands once claimed by the empire can rival its ancient might.

Now that city lies buried, stricken at its height. The central temple is the only building which still emerges fully intact from the land around it, crowning the city’s tallest hill, uncomfortably preserved against the passage of time.

The fall of a god is unkind, never gentle.

Now, few ever visit the city’s stricken corpse. Fewer still dare to enter the holy grounds of the fallen god of order. The skies above wreathe themselves every day with the same storm, an eerie and unrelenting echo of the city’s swift and brutal end. It rolls north from the mountains, the gloom-black cloud front grinding across the sky like a sarcophagus’ closing lid. By the height of midday, the ruined city’s only light flickers from cloud to cloud in dazzling arcs. The blasts, when they come, fall in endless succession; they smite the city’s ruins again, every day, exactly as they did the day the city’s god was deposed and swept, fragmentary, into the abyss.

At midnight, the storm dissolves once again.

This endless cycle has played out for centuries. It has pulverized the ancient empire’s remains. Those who dwell in the lands nearby know not to travel near that god-cursed ground.

But others—the faithful, the learned, the foolish—seek to know what has preserved the fallen god’s sacred place in the center of such destruction. Their stories are inconsistent.

Those few who arrive untouched at the center of the storm, those few who see the fallen god’s holy house, cannot agree. Some find the pediment as it was, the order of the world from top to bottom in gleaming bas relief, the god front and center and larger than life. This temple still stands, but its doors are shut with verdigris and time. Others claim that the temple still stands, yes, but has been replaced by something wrong; the god of that temple screams from his carved likeness, the rain falling from his open mouth as blood. That temple, to that overthrown god, echoes from within with sounds unsought: the voices of those you thought safely dead, the secrets you wished kept, that which will undo you. Its doors stand wide open.

Some claim that those gray-green doors sealed by ages long past have opened at their touch. Few believe them. No one claims they’ve entered the open temple, but a lie of omission is still a lie.

The adventurous speak of other temples taking pride of place in that storm-wracked necropolis, others found instead of the two most well-known. They have told tales of wooden statues brought to life, of warm and welcome darkness with a heartbeat inside, of torchlight and the endless sounds of drums. They have spread rumors of passages into the several hells ruled by the shattered lord, of ways into the precarious past before the fall, of awe-inspiring visions of the broken god’s injustices and of his all-encompassing rule.

But it is the crazed who speak the truth as to why any still venture into that land of lightning and destruction: they would have a glimpse of that old god… and seize a shard of his power for themselves.

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