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Comments: 14
Ideas: 0
Rating: 4.7
Condition: Normal
ID: 800


December 31, 1969, 7:00 pm

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Cheka Man

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The Treasure House


Built to house riches that never came, the ironically-named Treasure House now lies in tumbling ruin.

At roughly the middle of the Bloody Age, in the forgotten kingdom of Tulakaia, which now lies in northern Parakonia, there was a great sensation. The villages and the capitol of Rishamaina were filled with whispers of a fantastic nature, wonderful whispers, golden whispers.
For just over the mountains, in the barren and chilly canyons where dwell the Nelus barbarians, gold had been discovered. Gold by the cartload, spoke the whispers, marvelous gold, soft and cold gold, gold that could be hacked from great walls of it open to the air, or gold that could be wrested from the heathen Nelus, who fought like sheep with weapons made from gold!
People by the thousands flocked across the mountains to Nelus, so many people that it was nearly a cultural migration- thousands flooded into Nelusia, in vast hordes or in wagons which split and shattered with the cold of peaks. Bands of tough adventurers went with them, and priests to proselytize to the meek barbarians.

Meanwhile, back in Rishmaina, Tokolutes, King of Tulukaia, began the construction of an immense and ambitious project. The young king’s mind buzzed, filled with the images of his advisors, who puffed him up with images of vast piles and loads of gold, enough to fill the royal coffers by fives. Among the nobility it was rumored that Tokolutes would soon send every nobleman, whether prince of the blood or petty hedge-baron, a cartload of gold. It was immediately decided that not even if the ancient royal vaults were used would there be enough space for all the revenue.
To the end of keeping all of this treasure, and containing the kingdom’s new swelling coffers, Tokolutes began the construction of what he called "the Grand Fortress of the Imperial Revenue". In the north of the capitol, among the rocky hills of Dratham, upon a large tor with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside, crews of straining slaves began the construction of a vast and sprawling fortress. It began with seven wings and four great vaults, but as the advisors raised and raised their glittering estimations, it expanded wildly, ten wings, eight vaults, twenty great towers, four huge walled gardens, and a palatial king’s suite of thirty rooms, and then, it expanded, more, and more, and more, and more. Envisioned as a fortress, a palace for the king, and a vault for the royal treasure, it would be the greatest citadel that the world had ever seen, greater, even, than Ur-Belut the Great Fortress.
Then, the money dried up.

The hordes who flooded into Nelusia did not find what they expected. Hundreds died in the first weeks, felled by cold, or by wild troll-cats and stranger things which dwelt in those parts, or by the Nelus, who did not, indeed, prove to be sheep at heart, but wild lions of men.
And there was little gold. Very little. In fact, there was less gold in the savage wilds of Nelusia than ever there had been in Tulakaia. The kingdom was left nearly deserted, the fields fallow, the soldiers mutineed when their expectations of huge pay disappointed. The nobles rebelled, decrying the lack of pay-offs for the venture and the massive "meantime" taxes that King Tokolutes had imposed.
There was no sadder man in all of Parakonia on the day that Tulakaia fell apart than Tokolutes.
It is said that he sat forlorn in the dusty corner of one of the vast empty vaults and wept, and as his ministers cried out for his help, he went to the great iron portal and shut it.

That portal has never opened again. Centuries later, the whole unfinished project lies tumbling in vast ruin upon the hill that is still called King’s Hill. Around King’s Hill there is cropland, where Parakonian peasants grow wheat and other grains; all the rocks have been cleared away, and a little town lies in the crook of the hill’s curve.
The people still call the great ruin above them the Treasure House, though they have no idea of the irony of this statement, nor any concept of what history has taken place there. The closest legend they have is the tale of an old king who angered a sorceror- this sorceror made him be buried beneath a great ton of gold in the mysterious sealed hall of the palace.
Most of the place lies abandoned. The roofs have caved in and the pillars have toppled. The masonry is scattered. What remains of the fine carved marble which was to face most of the halls and walls lies in piles in the grass outside of the ruins; some has been scavenged by the villagers, along with stones from the structure, which there is no dearth of, to be sure.
The ruin is a favorite play-place of the local children, as well as a place where village teenagers go to escape moral restrictions. Many of the abandoned galleries of the citadel are heavily carved, not with adornment, but with centuries of graffiti.

On certain nights of the year, groups of village men gather in parts of the citadel to gamble, grouse, bet on fights and wrestling matches, and pass about whores who are hired from a burg which lies several miles away.

But there is a dark side to the Treasure House. On moonless nights and rainy days, the famous and mysterious Iron-Doored Vault which lies in the northern part of it hosts a horrible guardian- a hungry ghost, that of Tokolutes, unable to rest and filled with rage. He takes the form of a squatting mass of shadow wearing dusty and crumbling royal robes, and his burning yellow eyes pierce any who look into them. He has a reputation for tearing apart and devouring any who come near the Iron-Doored Vault while he waits there; it has become a popular game among teenagers to go to and touch the Iron Portal, but they do not dare to do such a thing when the ghost is about.

Every once in a while, curiosity will be aroused, and adventurers will penetrate the ruins looking for gold which is rumored to be there. There is little to find other than that which may have been dropped there by careless villagers.

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Comments ( 14 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

April 15, 2005, 3:04
Very descriptive.
April 15, 2005, 5:37
*sigh* Oh, Captain, come on... now I have the irresistible urge to add this to my world.

Ancient Gamer
April 15, 2005, 8:03
Me too Manfred, me too!
Excellent Captain 5/5
Cheka Man
April 15, 2005, 9:05
5/5 I wish I could add something like this to Acqua. Very good and realestic.
April 15, 2005, 13:46
The irony! The poetic justice! The pure bliss! *melts into a puddle of sweet-smelling goo*

thumbs up! May the same fate befall all who wish to plunder and empowerish just for the sake of coin!
April 15, 2005, 16:23
Sweet is such savage pleasure.

June 21, 2005, 19:42
June 22, 2005, 3:43
Oh dear captain, we know your work is good, but... aren't 6 comments and a pure '5' rating enough for you? ^_^
Voted Cheka Man
July 19, 2005, 13:27
I get to vote again! 5/5
July 19, 2005, 14:46
Perhaps, our dear Captain wished for something... creative?

OK... what if a certain ritual requires, for instance "Fatal Uselesness" to work?

A piece of this building would the ideal embodiment of this idea. Remember, a whole kingdom has practically fallen apart from it.
Voted Wulfhere
December 21, 2006, 20:19
A building to symbolize the tragedy of false hope and self-deception, left desolate to fall to ruin.

And yet... Few structures are left alone forever. Perhaps, someday, an ambitious ruler will look upon the faded maps of his forefathers and ask, "Why has not this 'Grand Fortress' been restored to use? Surely men of the modern age do not fear children's tales! Send for my architect at once; I have an idea!"
Voted tinypoisonousfish
January 10, 2010, 23:10
Only voted
Fallen Angel
March 21, 2010, 19:04
Wow..... Woah... w-o-w.

Damnit... whomever did not 5/5 this needs to speak up. What great thins hav e you done recently?

Just got a idea - requesting Capt. Penguin's permission to append a idea to this post. I'll be Private Messaging it when I get it written up.
Voted valadaar
April 30, 2013, 21:10
This is a great location, and not terribly difficult to use.

More CP goodness.

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Castoria, Land of Shattered Stars

       By: Veretrix

Castoria was once a thriving and prosperous nation, a rich trade center for the surrounding lands. This all changed when, on one fateful night nearly a century ago, the Mist of Eternity rolled in and surrounded the land, obscuring more of the outside world as days and nights passed.

By the time the Mist blocked out the sun, a new light shone during what was assumed to be daytime: The Starpoint Spire, a mysterious place atop Castoria's highest peak in the northern-central region. Some say that there is some sort of building atop the mountain shining the dim "sunlight" onto the land, but it is only ever too bright or too dark to fully make out any structure, not to mention the mountain's immense height.

Not a month after the Spire's light lit up, the stars fell. Flaming rocks and debris from far-flung edges of space plummeted downward onto the eastern region of Castoria. Once the shower subsided, a strange energy from within the fallen stars transformed the eastern lands in what are now known as The Voidwastes, a barren gray land littered with craters and strange alien creatures (these can vary, but I had Pathfinder's Akatas in mind).

To the south, strange mechanism of eldritch origin are again at work after aeons of rest in the Ruins of Kchuthngnl, an ancient city of non-human creation that is estimated by scholars to be no less that five millennia old.

To the west, the once peaceful and serene forest, now known as The Plagued Woods, has been experiencing corruptions of the wildlife and humanoids living there. Some humans have reported creatures that appear not unlike a halfling, except that they can open their mouths to massive proportions to swallow creatures the size of an ogre.

When adventurers and citizens alike try to make an escape from Castoria, they are never seen again, and it is utterly unknown whether they found hopeful sanctuary or agonizing death withing the Mist's depths.

What is unknown to all residents of Castoria is that all of these events occurred because of the actions of a secret but powerful cult loyal to the Elder Gods who call the space between the planes their abhorrent home. The cult still lives on, larger than ever, and their plan is for the alien horrors to incubate and thrive within the dome of mist that now envelops Castoria, so that when the Elder Gods return as the cult's prophecy foretells, they will have an army of blasphemous creation at their disposal that they will use to make war with and enslave the denizens of the Material Plane.

Ideas  ( Locations ) | August 4, 2015 | View | UpVote 4xp

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