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July 2, 2007, 3:45 am

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The Forgotten Shrine of Talna


The tiny shrine doesn’t look like much; a tumbledown temple overgrown with weeds, fading quietly into obscurity.  But appearances are oftentimes deceiving.

Talna was an obscure goddess worshipped by a small mountain tribe.  Small temples were built in honor of the goddess on the slopes of the mountains the tribe called home.  They were quiet affairs, staffed by monks who lead lives of gentle contemplation.  The tribe and their little temples went largely unnoticed by the more powerful nations surrounding them.

However, the tribe slowly drifted down the mountains as life on the slopes became increasingly difficult.  As they withdrew, they left their temples behind.  Some were completely abandoned, while some remained inhabited by monks who did not wish to leave.  Eventually, the monks who stayed died out, and the tribe vanished soon after, absorbed into the nations they migrated into.

All of the abandoned temples fell into ruin, crumbling back to the mountains they were built on.  All but one, the one that was of the greatest importance.

The Forgotten Shrine is the only surviving shrine to Talna.  It is located in a cleft between two rocky peaks almost at the top of the mountain range.  The mountain mists make it impossible to see what is in the valley behind the shrine. 

Although the temple is overgrown and partially in ruins, it is still more or less structurally sound.  This is partly due to the fact that it was constructed of extremely hard granite that resisted erosion well, but it is mostly due to the small maintainences performed by Miklos, the sole inhabitant.

But the humble exterior of the shrine hides a great secret: the valley behind it is a sacred place, and one of great power.  It was said that the valley was where Talna first stepped from the heavens to earth, and is the source of all life.  Whether that is true or not, the valley has a remarkable effect.  Illness and injuries fade within its boundaries, and even death itself seems to be a distant foe.

If the valley’s properties became known to men, the mountains would soon be overrun with those who would seek to abuse its power.  Miklos is the valley’s ageless guardian, steering people away from it and concealing its existence.  He is but one man, however, and can only do so much in such an isolated place.  He was not left without a way to summon help if need be.

In the main sanctuary of the temple, there is a large bell.  It has not been used in centuries, and the dust and corrosion bear ample witness to this.  A casual observer would quite likely wonder why it hasn’t fallen from the wooden beams supporting it.  The answer, of course, is that it is not an ordinary bell.  If struck, it has the capability of summoning the descendants of the Tribe of Talna to the valley’s defense. 

Aside from the great bell, and the concealed entrance to Talna’s Valley, the only things of interest in the shrine are Miklos’s simple living quarters, and a small moldering library of archaic religious texts.

Miklos is not exactly enthusiastic about entertaining guests, but will provide shelter in the temple to those lost in the mountains or caught by storms if they can find the place.  He will try to hurry them on their way as fast as possible, lest they discover Talna’s Valley.

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Comments ( 4 )
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Voted Scrasamax
July 2, 2007, 8:24
So is the power of the valley a magical effect, or is it a divine effect?
Voted manfred
July 2, 2007, 16:31
More importantly, why does it have to be off limits to humans? Is it "only" a question of sanctity, or is there a more important reason? Perhaps it serves a greater purpose. If dark times are coming, it could be a refuge for the people (a certain tribe comes to mind). Or something else...?
Voted valadaar
July 3, 2007, 10:38
This place would most definately be overrun if discovered,even all of the scattered decendants of Talna rose to defend it. Armies have marched for far less.

Now, the power of healing should quickly resurrect Talna's religion as people come and see the demonstration of the power and perhaps the first army to arrive could be so converted.

One could even view the poor old guardian as 'evil' if he prevents people from coming to be healed...
Voted Morningstar
August 14, 2015, 0:53
Only voted

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