Some thoughts on fabrics and *roleplaying games in general
*I have to first announce that strictly speaking I'm not a gamer so if what I wrote below is off, the reason is obvious.
Are fabrics important in games?
I personally think they are as important as any other materials like ores, metals or substances. Most of these will probably end up as background items that help to enhance the atmosphere but occasional ones might provide nice plot hooks.
How can fabrics be incorporated into games?
1. The conventional way (random pick up)- through garments made of special fabrics that PCs might pick up during adventures
2. Shopping- PCs might encounter vendors of exotic fabrics in some faraway place. This might lead to future plot hooks eg. Might be a lead for PCs to start a campaign in a new location recently added/created by the GM (the PCs might hear a story told by the vendor about the origin of the fabric and the locale associated with it) or the fabric name might be the answer to some future riddle that the PCs will encounter or maybe the vendor can be a contact that the PCs can unlock with the right actions
3. Rewards- PCs might earn an exotic bolt of fabric as reward for side quests or general levelling up. The PCs might be able to resell this exotic fabric for money or use it to curry favour with a contact to gain information or even use it as a gift to earn new contacts.
In terms of the 3 fantasy fabrics linked here, the original inspiration for them is real silk. So that's why I've emphasised the fact that they are all very similar in texture to normal silk. Also, I had in mind that they would be tradeable mundane commodities and so I've steered away from highly magical fabrics. What I mean by this is that none of the fabrics currently included confers any magical powers on the wearer besides the natural characteristics of the fabric itself.
Now, without further ado, I present to you the Codex of fantasy non-magical fabrics.
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CodexDead Silk By: Shadoweagle ( Items ) Clothes - Cursed
An innocent square of delicate material - barely larger than a handkerchief in size. However, those who’s skin come into contact with this cloth, may find themselves wishing they never handled it.
Splayed across the table in the center of the mourning room, lay the corpse of Alarimis - the great mage of Mulgar’s tower. For seventy-three years the man had worked in the tower, revolutionising the use of magic for things never dreamed of before. With his untimely death due to heart failure, the sect of Mulgar could not bare to see him leave. And so the magi decided to practice a lost magic art. One which had been left where it lay three thousand years ago.
The legend is that the Sand-Dwellers of northern Ultrilla often made use of the darker side of magic. Using complex spells weaved from the off-beats of magic, they infused a dead body with artificial life. The revived person could once again think with the same mind and function with the same body.
The chantings began. A ring of six magi had circled the body, muttering the arcane language for the spell. After a good ten minutes of the low, rythmic words, a finger twitched. At the sight of this finger movement, the fourth mage in the circle nearly gasped - but managed to save herself with just the slightest of higher toning to her voice, which she corrected.
Seven more minutes counted out, before suddenly, the corpse rattled violently on the table. The completely unexpected muscle spasms caused the party to cease chanting and fearfully back away, watching as the throes became more and more violent. The latent blood of Alaramis began seeping through the pores of his skin, and with that came a sickly looking, amber haze of smoke. It was not until the corpse was bled dry, that the twitching stopped. Blood soaked the tables and the floors, and the room was filled with the amber gas.
Two of the six magi were weeping at the sight of their great mentors corpse bieng desecrated so. The rest had vacant stares at the body. Finally, the mage who had uttered the incorrect tone and cause the fault in the spell finally walked forward, pulling a handkerchief from her pocket and wiping the excess blood away from the revered mages face.
Two weeks later, the six magi were dead.
Their very skin had ceased to live, and literally began rotting off their bones. The deadly, gaseous bi-product of the faulted spell was toxic to human flesh, causing it to cease functioning and die away. Within a few days, their skin blackened, and a week later, they were bed-ridden, their muscles having been eaten away. Death came slowly, and painfully.
As a safety measure, the corpses of the magi and all of their belongings were Consecrated - fired into ashes. But one thing survived the terrible scenario. That blood-soaked handkerchief which was used to wipe the mages face. The female mage had discarded the silken cloth after leaving the room, and prior to knowing she was inflicted with any illness. It was not found.
The handkerchief has been cleaned thoroughly, but the taint of the curse of death has been clearly placed within the threads, and cannot be removed.
Only magic users are effected by the disease of this silk.
If this material directly touches the skin of anyone with the ability to use magic, that section which is touched will cease to live. The skin will begin to blacken and rot away. If left untended, the skin will rot all the way to the bone.
If the rotting area is removed - usually by cutting out the flesh and muscle around it - the infection will cease, otherwise, it will begin to spread slowly. If someone touches the handkerchief with one finger, their arm will be blackened and dead within 6 months (It is a fairly slow disease). In this case, amputation would be the only feasible option.
This handkerchief can be torn apart, and individual threads would cause the same effect. If someone swiped a thread along someones face, a line effect of death would appear, first looking like somewhat of a scar.
- This item can be easily brought out of hand, causing a pandemic which only mages seem to get inflicted by. Finally, something that makes magi seem INFERIOR to the non-magic users.
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Flamesilk By: Moonlake ( Items ) Materials - Non-Magical
A type of silk woven from tree saps
The Kogish Trees and Flamesilk
Native to the Joreta region, a Kogish tree is a special breed of trees that grows in clusters and erupts in flames whenever the sun reaches its daily zenith, all the way until sunset. Such flames do not char the Kogish trees themselves but rather consume all the plant lives that grow around the Kogish trees. It appears that this is the method that Kogish trees use to propagate themselves as new Kogish trees often take the places occupied previously by other plants within the perimeter of fires erupting off Kogish trees. The flames erupting from Kogish trees cannot be quenched by normal water. Only water from the local Jtatk River will do the trick.
In appearance, a Kogish tree resembles a mahogany tree. However, its bark is bright red, the colour of flames. From afar, a cluster of Kogish trees might look like a bushfire currently ravaging a forest even when the trees are not themselves burning.
A Kogish tree produces a sap that is amber red in colour. This sap oozes out from the sides of a tree trunk, along low-hanging brunches and often collects into a form much akin to a single silk strand that hangs off the end of such brunches. Locals collect such strands and weave them into a material known as Flamesilk around the world.
~ Excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Plants, Animals and Social Customs
At first, humans who reside in this region, known as the Yklars, had no use for the Kogish trees. In fact, the original society of Yklars* is one formed from nomadic tribes, who roam the Joreta steppes in continuous flight from the encroachment of the Kogish trees. This changed when they come upon the Jtatk river and found that the the self-combusting flames from the Kogish trees can be put out by water from this river. As a result of this discovery, the tribes settled down along the banks of the Jtatk River and more or less co-existed with the Kogish tree clusters, though they still have to devote substantial resources to control the expansion of these trees.
*These Yklars had no knowledge of crafts and so could not cut down the Kogish trees. They also had little weaving skills and certainly had never come in contact with any kind of fabric material, much less silk.
Then a refugee family fleeing the Dragon Empire came to the Joreta steppes and lived quite close to one of the many Yklar tribes, the Uratus. At first this family lived much in separation with the Uratus even though they did not fear their neighbours too much. It was this family that first made use of the Kogish trees in the form of *firewood and the womenfolk in the family wove the sap strands into the original version of Flamesilk, from which the familys summer clothes are made out of.
*Kogish trees as firewood doesn’t self combust and behaves much like normal firewood
One day, the youngest children, a pair of fraternal twins of different gender, from this family were playing in the kitchen and the boy was too close to the stove and his sleeve went in except it didn’t catch on fire. That’s how the fire resistant properties of the Flamesilk was first discovered. This led to a second use for Flamesilk- the creation of fire dampening cloths that the family kept around the kitchen.
As time goes by, this family started to interact more with their neighbours and got adopted into the Uratu tribe. In this way, knowledge of weaving and crafting tools spread to the Yklars as the Uratu men and women learnt from this family. This started the production of Flamesilk en masse as the nomads started to wear silken gowns in summer in replacement of animal skins, their traditional garment*. This is because the Joreta weather is generally quite warm in all seasons. In this way, the Kogish tress became as much a necessity in the Yklar society as they were once a menace.
*In winter, the Yklars now wear clothes woven from hemp, another innovation brought in by the refugee family from the Dragon Empire.
And yet, there is a further twist to the story. Later, a particular curious-minded Yklar child, by the name of Taruksha, found that if he gently rubbing Flamesilk against each other, he could produce a tiny flame. This flame is in fact quite a pretty sight as it seems to be floating on top of the fabric. Very rapidly, this became a favourite toy of Yklar children, while Yklar adults remained ignorant of this fact (as the children tended to play with flamesilk only when there were no adults around). It wasnt until that an entire hut got burned down as a result of a particular child playing with scraps of Flamesilk in his mothers sewning basket and rubbing them together too hard that this became generally known. Luckily, no casualties resulted from that accident. Nevertheless, the Yklar tribes came together to discuss the implications of this discovery. At the end of the meeting, two new ideas concerning the use of Flamesilk were brought up: one on the weaving of an improved version of the fabric by interspersing each strand of Flamesilk with a hemp strand for use in clothing and the other concerning its use as a torch to light the way at night.
Flamesilk smothers fire, came about due to constant washing in the Jtatk river, whose water is the only form of water able to rouse the fire of the Kogish trees. As a result, the fabric has taken on the property of these waters. For the original version of Flamesilk, however, a flame is also created if flamesilk come into contact with each other. The actual size and strength of the flame created this way depends on the force of contact i.e. a light brush versus intentional rubbing of Flamesilk with vigour. When this property is discovered, however, it led to the creation of a improved version that does not have this dangerous effect.
The Yklars built fences made up of a single bolt of this form of improved Flamesilk around their towns to protect them from the effects of bushfires caused by the presence of the Kogish trees. In addition, all the original Flamesilk cloths that every family kept around in case of fires were replaced with cloths made of the improved Flamesilk. The original version of Flamesilk, however, is still in use as adults utilise what become to be known as a Taruksha flame in the lighting of pathways when travelling at night.
Note: The post is inspired by a section in a Chinese novel written in the Qing era (the one associated with the reign of the Manchurians) titled Flowers in the Mirror, telling briefly of a type of tree that combusts on contact and which bark was weaved into bolts of cloths resembling cotton.
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Icesilk By: Moonlake ( Items ) Materials - Non-Magical
A material similar in texture to normal silk, but woven from strands of ice
Full Item Description
Icesilk is a material similar in texture to normal silk, but woven from strands of ice. It is produced in the region of the Svetla Glacier, by the Ice Maidens. Icesilk is pure white, like the ice that they are woven out of.
There are 2 varieties that they come in: those that never melt (the most common variety) and those that melt on contact with human flesh.
Originally produced for the clothing needs of the Ice Maidens, Icesilk became a main exporting commodity to the Dragon Empire in the Lu Dynasty. This occurred when they were chanced upon by the sole surviving member of a team of diplomatic envoys sent out to negotiate a military pact with the Persians, who all died in an avanlache except for one.
At first, there was only 1 variety of Icesilk, the type that never melts that the Ice Maidens produce for exporting. Noble ladies and wives of rich merchants often ordered gowns made of this type of Icesilk to wear in summer. Thus, in the Dragon Empires, Icesilk is considered a luxury item.
Over time, however, one of the top families in the assassination trade saw an alternative use for Icesilk that, instead of never melting, would actually melt when it first comes into contact with human flesh. This family commissioned a Tuner Mage to alter the properties of Icesilk in accordance with its particular vision and a new variety of Icesilk came into being, which was used to fashion what later became the signature weapon of this family, the Ice Needles. This variety can only be found on the black market but like its counterpart that is sold legally, it too commends a high price.
Although Icesilk does not confer any magical properties to users, it is nevertheless an enchanted product. It is purely through the magical powers of the Ice Maidens that such a clothing material can be woven out of ice.
A gown woven from Icesilk will keep the wearer cool at all times. On the black market, there are also transactions on the sale of Icesilk that melts on contact with human flesh, which are used to make Ice Needles for assassination purposes (see 30 Unconventional Weapons)
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Kristoff's Kerchiefs By: Kassil ( Items ) Home/ Personal - Magical
Squares of colorful cloth, often enchanted with minor magics to better serve the owner - but, first and foremost, it is merely a kerchief.
Full Item Description
Kristoff’s Kerchiefs are small, colorful kerchiefs, crafted from a mildly magical fabric that combines the better qualities of wool and cotton. Often embroidered at the edges with fanciful patterns, or monogrammed for the owner, the basic form is merely that of a relatively tough and pleasant-feeling kerchief.
The slightly magical nature of the cloth, owing to how it is made, makes the kerchiefs ideal for enchanting with minor effects, however; as such, the majority of the kerchiefs which may be found have some form of extra effect appended to them.
Kristoff Fairhaven was a journeyman magician who suffered greatly from allergies and sensitive skin, enduring redness, swelling, and a sore face every time his allergies flared up, as the common fabric of his kerchief abraded painfully after a few days of use.
It was after one particularly lengthy bout of hayfever that he concluded that if magic could not cure his ailment, he could at least find a way to use it to lessen his suffering, and so began to search for a way to magically blend fabrics together, hoping to achieve something pleasantly soft and smooth, yet durable. It took nearly a full year, and many failed efforts (as well as one which yielded a fabric as strong as silk and as coarse as crude-spun hemp), but in the end he created exactly what he sought: a fabric that was both strong and durable, yet forgiving to sensitive skin. He immediately sought out a reputable tailor and struck a bargain; in exchange for the first product and a continuing cut of the profits, the mage would provide the fabric for the tailor to craft kerchiefs from, as each bolt held barely enough cloth to make a single set of modest clothing, and would demand an exorbitant price, but many kerchiefs could be crafted and sold more modestly.
It wasn’t until nearly a month later that the mage, when working a cantrip to clean his new kerchief, discovered the ease with which the fabric could be enchanted; his cantrip readily cleaned the cloth, to the point of rendering the colorful square a gleaming white. Soon enough, the tailor began to sell kerchiefs with additional properties, and both her and Kristoff reaped the profits.
Since then, the secret of Kristoff’s fabric has been spread, and many of these handy little cloth squares can be found throughout society, most enchanted with a useful trait or two.
In the simple form, the Kerchief is merely a durable yet pleasantly soft square of fabric, capable of serving effective in the role of any normal kerchief, although lasting longer and causing much less irritation to those who suffered sinus troubles.
The fabric readily accepts minor magics worked upon it, strengthening their effect several times over; a cleaning cantrip, applied carelessly, can strip away not only all the materials befouling the fabric, but even the very dye that gives it color, while a cantrip to call it from across a room often leaves the caster desperately trying to pull the material from his face as it clings with a glue-like stubbornness. More powerful magics, however, simply overload the cloth’s innate power, often destroying it in a burst of magical smoke.
Below are sample enchantments permanently worked into Kerchiefs, most of which are merely the more common cantrips applied the the material.
The Gleaming Kerchief - Enchanted to be perpetually clean no matter how noisome the substance applied to it, the kerchief waits for a few seconds - long enough for the owner to move the fabric away from themselves - before magically repelling anything on it. Even thick, sticky sludge such as tar or molasses simply spills off. These Kerchiefs are named for the gleaming white hue of their material, as the dyes are considered a ‘befoulment’ by the augmented cantrip.
Ever-Ready Kerchief - A simple gesture, set at the time the Kerchief is given to the owner, will cause the Kerchief to leap from wherever it lies into the owner’s hand, as long as the owner is relatively close - no more than a room distant - and there are no intervening barriers.
Fragrant Kerchief - Popular among nobility who do not wish to contend with the aromas of the lower class when out from their homes, these Kerchiefs perpetually exude a mild fragrance that masks other odors around them. The Perfumed Veil is thought to be the inspiration of this enchantment, as few of noble blood would care to wear a garment used by those who work in the filth of the sewers.
Chameleon Kerchief - Favored by those who are often found in a different outfit every day, the color and pattern of this fabric can be altered by the owner, if they hold the Kerchief and concentrate on the desired appearance for a few seconds.
Warrior’s Kerchief - This vividly colored Kerchief is enchanted to stick to the skin if placed so that it fully cover a wound, allowing air to pass in but preventing blood from spilling out, the better to encourage a wound’s healing or to prevent the owner from dying from loss of blood until a healer can attend them. Rumors of vampiric Kerchiefs are almost certainly untrue.
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Moonsilk By: Moonlake ( Items ) Materials - Non-Magical
A type of silk given by a special type of larvae, much finer than conventional silk. Gowns woven from Moonsilk are not more alluring but can also give off musical sounds as breezes rustle over them.
Full Item Description
Moonsilk is woven from strands that form the cocoon of a type of special larvae found in the region of Hitermann. As a result of ingesting the particular breed of mulberry leaves in the region, this specimen of larvae spits out strands that are a lot finer than usual.
Any gown woven from Moonsilk will be so translucent that it will reflect the moonlight, hence the name "Moonsilk".
Gowns woven from Moonsilk are particularly alluring as such half-transparent gowns sets off a woman’s figures in subtle ways that spark the imagination of suitors in a way that would be both a pleasure and a torment to men.
In addition, breezes rustling over such gowns would create a musical sound much like that of wind chimes. Moreover, the pitch of the notes given off such garments changes with different types of body movements as well as the strength and direction of wind. It is rumoured that this is the result of a special technique of weaving that no one outside of Hitermann knows. Hiter musical troupes often wear gowns made of Moonsilk to utilise the unique sound given off the garments. Such troupes do not perform according to set pieces since the notes given off by the gowns on any given day are totally unpredictable but rather all performances are based on moment improvisations. The best of such troupes perform around the World and are generally the most high paying performance troupes simply because they are such a rarity.
In addition to fulfilling the locals’ clothing needs, Moonsilk is also commonly used for the following purposes within the Hiter Society:
The Moon Drum
This is a ceremonial instrument only played on the night of the Summer Solstice, a day dedicated to the Deity of Music (Shani) culminating in a festival involving songs and dances. The Moon Drum is a large drum with a diameter roughly corresponding to half the height of an average Hiter. Each year, a new drum skin for the Moon Drum is made from weaving together the various squares of Moonsilk that Hiters routinely give as offerings to the local Temple of Shani.
The Resonating Knot
A symbol of the harmony between two souls (of different genders), the Resonating Knot is a decorative knot made with strands of Moonsilk from the same bolt of cloth that the two lovers weave collectively. It is composed of two symmetric detachable parts dyed blue and red to represent the two different genders respectively. As its name indicates, these two distinct parts create a resonance when held in the proximity of each other. In Hiter society, the crafting of a Resonating Knot between two individuals signifies commitment to each other, which is openly displayed by the two wearing the part of the knot that is a representation of him/herself (referred to as the Self portion of the Knot) as a clothing accessory. At the same time, this commitment can be revoked when one party unties the Self portion. After marriage, the two parts are joined together and worn openly by the husband. Upon the death of either party, depending on whether the remaining spouse intends to remarry or not, he/she will either bury his/her Self portion with the deceased (as a sign of affection for the deceased but signifying the commitment is no longer binding) or the entire Resonating Knot.
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The Leech Cloth, or The Cloth of Souls By: MysticMoon ( Items ) Other - Magical
An item revered by the Serenia and reviled by the Fasceti.
Let me tell you a tale of the Cloth of Souls, known by the intolerant Fasceti as the Leech Cloth.
A score or more miles to the east, deep into the wastelands, lies the ancient road to the City of Savagery. There is no other way to reach the city than by this road, and no way to return except by its rocky and meandering path. They say that it never winds the same way twice, and I believe it. I would know. I was born in that city, and I will miss it every day of my life. Perhaps I shall return one day, though it would cost my life to do so.
But that is not the tale you are asking to hear. You want to know about the Cloth. You want to know how to speak to the dead. I will tell you, for I can see the pain that wells up deep within, behind your eyes. Your beautiful eyes, full to overflowing with obvious pain. I’m sure it was someone close you lost. A sibling, a spouse, or a child. It does not matter to me. I will tell you what you wish to know. I will also tell you what you need to know, although most refuse to hear it.
Many years ago there lived a man. He was a true savage in his younger days. A more vicious and bloodthirsty criminal you will not ever see nor hear of, as long as you live. However long, or short, that may be. What drove him to that savagery is unknown. Who cares? What matters most is that he was a true scourge of the countryside in those days. Acting alone he caused more mischief than any band of thieves ever could. He performed the most vicious murders, violated his victims in the worst of ways, tormented the survivors in ways that drained away all semblance of sanity. I will not share the details. They are not important to my tale, in any case. It is only important that you understand that this is the path Geraint followed for more than two decades.
He eluded the authorities for the length of his career. When they finally caught up with him, they were ready to execute him on the spot. Lucky for us they did not, but instead dragged his despicable self back to the city of Holsten. From there he was jailed, tried, and sentenced to death; no surprise to anyone, of course. Many clamored for a more painful form of execution than that required by law.
Upon the day of his execution most of the city showed up, ready to cheer as the headsman cleaved the neck of that most hated man. But before he could, there was a surprise: a man appeared, quite similar in appearance to Geraint, though obviously a few years older.
“I am Tiber,” the man said, “brother to Geraint. I come to claim my right as kin to be a blood duelist.”
You can imagine the shock which rippled through the crowd. I don’t expect you’ve ever heard of a blood duelist, of course. It was an old tradition, nearly forgotten even in that day long past. But it was still a right of law, and the magister’s hand was forced to recognize it. A blood duelist is not at all what it sounds like. It is a barbarous affair, where a direct blood relative agrees to face what amounts to torture for the slimmest chance to save a condemned life.
Tiber was chained to a post and the courtyard was cleared. The Hounds of Blood were gathered. The magister’s trembling hand held the hourglass. The hourglass was flipped over and the hounds were let loose upon Tiber until the last of those grains fell through. The gist of the situation was this: if Tiber lived, so did Geraint. There is a tale as to the origins of the blood duelist; some of the old wise women still talk of it, if you are curious.
Tiber lived, to the amazement of all. His wounds were bandaged, stumps were cauterized, and he left town on the shoulder of Geraint.
For a little while the city feared that Geraint would return to his old ways. Some even formed a search party to hunt him down again before he could do more harm. He was not found.
Only the inhabitants of the City of Savagery know the rest of the tale. Tiber and Geraint headed off into the wastelands. Geraint, confounded as to why anyone would work to save his life, tended to Tiber as best he could. Despite his best efforts, Tiber’s wounds became infected and he died shortly afterward.
Geraint wandered the wilds of the wastelands until he stumbled upon a strange path. I say strange because it began to dog his movements. Whichever way he turned, the path appeared. Exasperated, devoid of will, he followed it. Weeks of travel went by. He survived only by becoming a scavenger and soon looked like a wild hermit.
At the end of his trek, he came upon an abandoned city. He took up residence in this city, and painted the words, City of Savagery, Home of the Mad Orphan upon its gate. After a time, others found this city, wanderers as devoid of purpose and hope as Geraint was.
Years went by and Geraint became an old man. His brother’s sacrifice had taken the mean out of him, as they say, and he lived those years as a simple farmer in a city where few spoke of their pasts.
Nearly upon his death bed, Geraint decided that he wanted to be interred in the city’s temple, a building none had dared enter. The entryway had been blocked with a large stone. Upon the stone was carved the words, Only a Seer May Enter! Feeling that he had seen the horror of his earlier life, Geraint felt he qualified as a seer of sorts and had others help him remove the stone.
Within lay the Cloth of Souls, hanging across a stone altar. It is a beautiful thing, let me tell you. It appears to be a ragged, yellowed piece of rough linen, and yet to view it is to lay eyes upon a kind of rapturous beauty. I have not touched it, yet the urge is great. I will not touch it, until I am ready to move on the next world. But that is my choice.
Impressed upon the Cloth of Souls is an echo of every life that has been snuffed out by foul means. None have discovered its history, but all have the same experience with it. To touch it is to feel that echo of any lost soul whom the participant has had any contact with. You can imagine the shock and horror Geraint experienced upon touching this thing. His screams echoed for miles around and when it was over his eyes had melted within their sockets.
I know that you think this is a good way to touch the souls of a lost loved one. To commune with someone you have lost through foul means. And you are right. You will be able to feel that person close by for the rest of your life. But you will live your life without your eyes. All who touch the cloth go blind.
Of course, the Fasceti believe it is an evil artifact and if they could find the city they would destroy it. They call it the Leech Cloth because they believe it sucks in souls and prevents them from reaching the next sphere of existence.
So, finish your tea and be certain that your pain is worth such a price.
— Lagantha, the Serenian
A Glimpse into a Lost History
The tale of what is now known as the City of Savagery has been lost to the world for more than a thousand years now. The city was founded as an Abbey millennia ago by an order of nuns who revered the goddess of the underworld. The original aspect of this goddess has been lost to time, but in the present she is known among the Rhee as Ouliana, the Shepherdess of Souls.
At the time of its founding, the Abbey was easier to reach than it is now. Many a mourner traveled to there to leave offerings for the goddess whose purpose was to watch over their departed loved ones. The nuns dedicated their lives to comforting the living and beseeching their goddess for mercy upon the dead.
The Cloth of Souls was created upon the request of the Abbey’s most devout abbess. She pled with her goddess for a conduit with which the living could speak with the dead. The goddess consented, but with the caveat that only “one who sees” could safely handle this conduit, for she feared that such a powerful artifact would sow greed once it became known to the larger world. (“One who sees” was a euphemism for the blind and a reference to a now defunct order whose monks intentionally burned out their eyes in order to see nothing but the glory of their god.)
The cloth, soft and pure white when first created, was placed upon an altar in the main temple and only a blind nun was allowed to care for it. Few of the nuns knew the proper rituals which would allow the holder to commune with any soul which had passed on. The living could not contact the dead directly, but could ask questions and receive guidance through the assistance of the blind caretaker of the cloth.
As is true in this time, there existed those similar to the Fasceti who saw such things as blasphemy against their god and put together an army to wipe the scourge of the Abbey from the face of the world.
Word reached the Abbey ahead of the army. With little time to spare, the abbess pled with her goddess to keep them safe. Her prayers were answered and the Abbey was cursed; only those who sought nothing could find the Abbey.
Effectively cut off from civilization, the Abbey eventually emptied out and was lost to time. Before the last few nuns left, they covered the temple entrance with a stone. Upon the stone they carved a warning: “Only One Who Sees May Enter!”
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