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Comments: 14
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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.

Link Backs

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Almar

While setting up camp for the night, the PC's are aproached by another group of adventurers who seem nice enough. The road is somewhat dangerous and the other group suggests camping together. The two bands split watches, one adventurer from each group watching at once. The night goes by without incident, the next day the PC's travel with the other group as they are going the same way.

The group consists of Hordel the ranger, who is skilled with the bow. Hordel is a quiet man who speaks little but appears quite skilled. Dremar is a barbarian who is a little excentric, he seems to be an excasive drinker and thiunk that battle is the solution to everything. He appears to be a stout and powerful fighter with his greataxe. Ferrin is the leader of the group, a rouge by trade. He is daft and witty, speaking with the PCs often and asking many questions. He fights with finesse with his rapier. Preminitat as a cleric but he will not say which god he worships. He uses his spells to empower and heal his party and fights with a club. He sticks close to Ferrin. Ferrin is a great talker and tells much of himself and his party, but asks even more about the history and capabilities of the PCs. He tells of some adventures his party has had, and they seem like an interesting group of mercenaries. Hordel is quite and has little interest in speaking with the PCs, he ignores most questions. He spends a lot of time with Dremar and sometimes Ferrin. Dremar seems to not care about any questions ansked to him, nor does he seem to know the answers. He seems battle hardened and is a simple man. Preminitat rarely starts conversations but will speak with the PCs. However, some of his accounts of the party's history seem to condradict those of Ferrin.

The Party spends another night and day with Ferrin's group. One of four things can happen on the third night.
1: While eating dinner around the fire, Ferrin gets into an argument with one of the PCs when he/she mentions the discepincies between Ferrin's stories and Preminitat's.
2: Hordel gets mad after repeated questioning about his life from the PCs.
3. Preminitat gets mad after repeated questioning from the PCs about what god he worships.
4: One of the PCs rejects the offer of a drink from Dremar and he takes it as an insult.
All of these scenarios result in a battle between the parties. If Ferrin's party is defeated and still lives he swears vengance. His party may then cross paths with the adventurers again.

Encounter  ( Locations ) | November 15, 2003 | View | UpVote 0xp

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