The Chapel and Monastery at Holokrine overlooks the strong headwater of the Great River in the northern region, just short of the Tower Wall Mountains. It was built, not on a peak, but halfway up a hillside on a site chosen to afford protection and concealment from prying eyes and as a kind of monastic humility. It is built on a verdant promontory located in the middle of a mountain cirque, which is often wreathed in clouds. (This image has often been captured on frescos, illustrations, and other medium, as one of the most strikingly holy. (Few actually know that it is a real Chapel) The Holy Center has this image, with a holy light shining through the high clouds, in the Monstean Chapel.) A peak on the opposite side of the river is over 2,500 strides (meters) high. The monasteries of Northern Region of the last era are not isolated, unlike their counterparts in the Southern and Western regions. They were built in a village environment. Holokrine Holy Monastery is surrounded by many hamlets in the surrounding valleys, dales, hills, and mountains. The better to spread The Faith and to make commerce easier.
The Site here was dedicated to Most Venerably Holokrine of the Book. The Holy Folk here are believers in his holy guides, in the sanctity of books and knowledge, in the study of logic to express faith, and that a wise man will always choose the right path (or know that he is to be “lost”). He wandered these lands in his end years, passing on the teachings and guides that color the faith of the Norther Regions still today.
The Founding of this Church started one year, to the day, from his mysterious death in Bannalstad. The Dour Prince had a chance meeting with the man the day before. He was so impressed by him, that he was moved to tears upon learning that this great light of truth had been lost to the world. He commissioned the Chapel here, and eight others. They are all that survive of his lineage’s legacy.
The complex is comprised of seven buildings. The main building, The Chapel, is just short of a cathedral in size and style. Its tall central somewhat pointed dome rests on the four imposing pillars of the lateral walls. (The domes are made of reddish tiles) The outside walls are dotted with triangular recesses (made of brownish grey stone). There are many pointed rooflines along the various spines of the building covered in the reddish tile, to keep it free from the weight of snow. A fresco in the apse depicts the many trials of the holy faith, with an The Sainted Holokrine behind the alter. The patron for the chapel and related complex was the Dour Prince Kapaan. He is is depicted in heart breaking detail with his family in the south transept (a transversal nave intersecting the main nave). It is the only surviving image of the Dour Prince given the Caldorian Uprising. Apart from one or two minor restorations carried out three and four centuries ago, The Chapel has retained its original character.
There is the small somewhat pointed domed Church, called The Small Church at Holokrine, dates from two centuries after the founding. It was reserved for “local use” or private ceremonies.
Two small side chapels (proper chapels) were added to the original - The Chapel.
The Great House was started five decades after The Founding. This three story building replaced the hovels for the holy men and clerics here. In the early centuries of The Chapel, it was here that learning occurred. The Church emphasized Letters and the Holy Words, but taught history and other Imperial Studies. These days, only those holy folk in direct attendance to the Chapel reside here. The rest are found in the large refectory built outside the bounded limits of The Chapel grounds, halfway between the closest village and the grounds.
Because of the good relations the Monastery had with the locals, and its somewhat remote locations, it has avoided damage or destruction based on the Caldorian Uprising, The Great Reformation and The Greater Twenty Year War, that claimed many older holy buildings.
There are still studies here. The monks still hold seminars on a variety of subjects. The Church holds many a conclave at the site. Many still study in the Great Library found in the Great House. Here, the only surviving original copies of many great works are found. Some are even pre-imperial. While the emphasize the theurgical/ the spirit, they run the gamut of knowledge. The Monastery follows Holokrine’s direction to the faithful to revere the old and all knowledge.
One must be a member of the holy order to access the library; or have a special pass from the crown government. Any student must spend a week in holy preparation before any studies in the library are allowed.
This brief part of the description is what makes the setting dramatic. Players will always need access to the information here, but be unable to properly access it.
The Bell Tower of Song is a three-story tall free-standing belltower. The distinctive domes and pillar look of the buildings is best expressed here. The eight bells in the tower make a beautiful call to faith, and have been used to give a variety of songs. It can be heard throughout the region here, tolling four times each day.
The Scriptorium is perhaps what The Monastery is best known for. Here The Holy Words and many greater works from earlier eras were copied with the greatest of care and artistry. Most of the monks trudge from the Refectory to the Scriptorium every day. (Though the habit of sleeping at one’s desk is quite common). Though The Reformation (and the Press) has reduced the need for the word passed here, beautifully illuminated holy works are still made here. Each Noble Family in the region, once raised by the Crown Government, receives a copy of the Holy Words from the Monastery.
There are also a number of splendid khachkars (cross-stones) of the the early part of the last Era standing on the territory of the monastery. The best known among them is the All-Savior khachkar which has been standing since here since the completion of The Chapel, moved from the now destroyed Great Temple at Dannub.
The monastery has been damaged many times. Sometime during The Reformation Years, an earthquake destroyed parts of The Monastery and it was not restored until fifty years later. It also suffered numerous attacks by armed forces in the many centuries of its existence and from a major earthquake just a decade ago. Nevertheless, much of the complex is still intact and stands today without substantial alterations.
Today the area is an increasingly-popular pilgrimage site.
One quirky note: The Monastery was built with a Wardstone like Churches of the earlier eras (and all Imperial Centers). These stones were meant to seal the spirit of the land to the Holy Faith (or the Path of Order if Imperial), protecting those who follow it and their descendents. It is deep in a “lost” store room under The Chapel, the stairwell is under the right side’s new chapel. The last earthquake cracked the Wardstone (which should be impossible given their magics). Wilder Magic, not known to the Civilized Lands for nearly a Millennium because of the network of WardStones capping node points, is slowly returning to the region.