This is a Songs Of Fantasy! submission

People will have heard many tales by the time they reach The Road to Shambala. Many people have allegedly made the trip (or were companions). The tales have come into popular culture. Some will be completely true, some will be partially true – embellished by a story teller or mixing and mashing of several truth, and some will be patently false. Until one reaches Shambala one will never know the truth.

The Road

The City State of Shambala is somewhere in the Spine of The World, allegedly to the east of the Kalachakra region. To hear the people of the region tell the tale, one must be lost both physically and spiritually before one will find the road. It is a humble road, paved with the imprinted bricks of the Old North Eastern Triple Crown Kingdoms. It is not in perfect shape, but it is not in disrepair. Snow does not settle on it, so it is always clear. In the old tradition of the Triple Crown Kingdoms, there will be Stele along the route. Some will be markers for ones lost. Some will have prayers or bits of wisdom. A few will even be markers of history.

The road’s path is not an easy one.

Physically it is grueling, with steep climbs, switchbacks, and high altitudes. By the tales, one must travel the road alone. (Other tales say you can have others with you who are also seeking redemption or friends supporting you in your quest or holy one that has reached the city before, choose your legend).

There are a few villages that are either on the road or just off it. It is here the traveler can take a rest with the helpful and kind villagers.

Emotionally, the traveler will be challenged. They, being alone with their tortured thoughts, will reflect upon their lives and the things that brought them to the need for redemption. (Some say the road forces one to reflect upon their lives). Some tales say that the traveler will have to relive those events. The details differ, but it is based on the needs of the Traveler. The tales say that the traveler will dream a waking dream, others say they will be taken by a guide to watch themselves make their life’s mistakes, other tales say the traveler will relive the event as if they were there, once again taking the wounds and hurts of the moment. “As each mans steps are different, so will each man’s journey”, this phrase is common in the area and comes from the traveling of The Road.

Mystically, the traveler will be challenged. On the lonely road of Redemption and Renewal, beset by their own past, they will be confronted by Dark Spirits. These Devils have the job of keeping the weak away from Shambala. (It is unclear if this is an assignment given to them by The Great Divine or the Adversary to educate or prevent easy redemption). They will trick and work their ways upon the traveler. Sometimes it will be the whispers in the mind. Other times they will force a traveler to relive a past event they are not ready to relive or see it from a different angle so they will see how “evil”/ unredeemable they are. Of course, there will be the physical attacks. If one survives the Devils and Demons that hunt along the road, one will be stronger and more likely to enter Shambala.

The Double Clapping of the Righteous will repel the demons that haunt the road. (One must be challenged by at least one devil, but additional attacks are performed by Demons). In fact this piece of divine magic has been passed on to many cultures and is found in the High Rites when the Great Divine is mentioned or when the Prophets speak the words of the divine. In Kalachakra and other NorthEastern regions, the banging of a drum twice is said to drive away a dark spirit.

On two points, the tales do not differ:

The Traveler will travel the road up the mountain for nearly a full moon before you can possibly reach the Red Jade Gates of Shambala.

There will be rain. Upon surviving several trials, there will be rain – perhaps even warm rain. This rain, if the tales are to be believed, will help wash away the negative (the sorrows, troubles, pain, and sins, as well as wounds and fatigue). This rain is a “magical cleansing” of the mind, body, and spirit. There may be rain many times (done by demons) to create false hope and crush beliefs.

There will be a final ridge and the city gates will be seen in the mist shrouded valley.

If there are companions along the way that are not worthy to enter the city, they will somehow be separated from the traveler before this final ridge. Perhaps they are staying at the village down that hill for some reason (ow, my ankle). Perhaps they are lost in the fog or rain.

While walking down ridge to the city, it will become quite warm (pleasantly after the mountain cold) and humid.

The City of Shambala

The Red Jade Gates to Shambala are always open. If you have found The City, you are welcome.

The city gates used to be shrine gates and are of that style. The shrine grew into much more. The city was founded by Kaden one of the First Followers. (There are many books of his wisdoms, and he is mentioned in others). He was a holy man of renown who gave up his own teaching and studied under The First Wise One. He and a number of his students (and their families) followed The Spirit of Shambala to this spot. They built a shrine to The Great Divine (with a small side shrine to The Spirit). Their descendents and those that have come and stayed have built up the town and the valley.

In truth, Shambala is a town, not a city. The idea that it is a city is an illusion created by the mass of buildings right by the Jade Gate. The Shambala valley narrows here and has nicely sloping walls. The various buildings at the original shrine compound have grown up and up along the valley walls. Thus the buildings block out almost all the view of the valley. All of the buildings are of the older style of the Triple Crown era and seems to be a giant temple compound. (Only a few temples in the North Eastern regions still have buildings of this style left). The roofs are red with green adornments. There are two and three story buildings here, so the roofs are quite high. The walls have a yellowish off white, with green and gold adornments. The walkways between buildings are narrow and twisting, as the Shambalans have built up, and over, and upon the original temple and family compound.

The two main shrines are a hundred and twenty paces (or so), then turning right or left and proceeding to the last buildings in the city before the wall. It is deceptive, as the visible buildings of the main shrines are really just “outer buildings”, vestibules to the shrines proper. The two main shrines have been lovingly carved into the mountain walls. The Greater is to The Great Divine, the Lesser (left hand side) is to the Spirit of Shambala. They are wonders to behold. Each are made up of eight deep chambers connected by broad tunnels. Each deep chambers has many pillars for structure and decorative reasons. Every surface is covered with a bas relief of some holy person or spirit or some such. The shrines have a warm holy glow kept up by the candles and lamps. The deep silence of the shrines is palpable, the stone walls seem to absorb all sound rather than echo it. At all times there is someone praying or chanting in the main alter of the shrine, often several some ones.

When there are 30 new holy ones of note or holy miracles, then The Shambalans will begin the construction of a ninth deep chamber.

Behind the town is the Rock Pile and Rock Pile Pool. The Rock Pile comes from the many cubic cubits (yards/ meters) of rock dug out for the Main Shrines. In fact, the pile of holy rocks and the pool next to it is what has hemmed in the town/ shrine to the mouth of the valley. There is a lovely footbridge over the Rock Pile Pool, though one can scurry over the rocks if they wish.

Further into the valley, things widen and become more pastoral/ agricultural. Some live in modest hovels out in their fields, but most live in the town.

The valley is filled with Hot Ponds. Warm to hot water bubbles up in these pools. It is these pools that make the valley so warm and life here so pleasant. Certain ponds have been marked for drinking/ agriculture only, while others allow bathing. The waters are said to be quite soothing and have unique healing properties.

In the farthest part of the valley there is another gateway, just like the red jade gates at the front of the valley. They are mounted up against the rock cliff there. It is here beings from the spirit world can enter the valley. There are two devil statues (or two reformed devils who stopped guarding the road and entered Shambala if the story is told) standing guard here, to fight off any evil spirits that might try to sneak in this way. There is often a novice here, keeping watch over the spirit gate.

Mystically speaking, Shambala is quite unique. It is a world of suprareality, a place of our world and the next. To those that are inclined, several of the priests can attempt to explain it, conveying the idea of a vast focal point of energies (both solar and extra-solar energetic life) which are assembled and brought together by the planetary Logos in order to create a manifestation adequate to His unfolding intention and planetary service. To those that have studied, it is a Holde. It is one of the rarest kinds of holdes. This is not because it is a divine holde, though truth be told there are very few of those. No, it is because it is a stable holde, anchored here by the shrines and the beliefs of the Shambalans.

To be in Shambala is to be at peace and feel the universal love and caring of the Great Divine. It is difficult, to be angry, sad, or fearful in the boundaries. Most of the locals have some degree of training as a spiritual being/ holy one. It is an interesting place to be.

As one moves towards Shambala, one most move towards peace. If one would enter here “unprepared” their “end” would be … complicated. There is a small mural in the anteroom of the main chamber, off to the side, depicting what happened to the first unworthy that entered Shambala soon after the shrine was installed. It is kept covered, in case a small child might see it and be frightened To avoid the loss of an innocent, the magics of The Road were created.

Visitors stay in Shambala for up to a week on the charity of the shrine. If they stay longer, they are pressed into service to fix, pray, or grow around the valley. They will get supplies and can be down the mountain in roughly two weeks (depending on season).

Other Travelers

There are some regular travelers to Shambala. Many High Holymen of the Great Divine will make a pilgrimage here, usually before they become an abbot or leader of a religious community. Certain lesser holymen will make the journey just to see the wonders of Shambala. Ideally these holymen would not need much to reach Shambala, but it is a humbling experience for some. Many holy men will not make the journey, because they don’t feel the need to “test themselves”. Their trips take anywhere from two to three weeks.

A Shambalan trader and his partner in the lowlands below will import the few things the Shambalans need and can not make themselves. Paint and plaster being the two primary ones. The two caravans meet usually at a lower village. Water from Shambala is sold for healing and holy purposes to balance the trade, the peaches from here are quite prized, and the artisans keep their skills sharp by carving small stone figurines for temples and home shrines. Because Shambala is considered mythical by most, The goods from Shambala are seldom advertised as from there. They are normally listed as From East of Kalachakra or Out of Kalachakra. (the traders can get in and out of the mountains in under six days).

Notes

The Great Divine is your cosmic universal god of Good. Insert any appropriate name for your campaign.

Kaden is the name of a noted religious figure, related to a great teacher. It is said that he left to the East to teach forever. His name is sometimes entwined with Shambala. Some legends say he founded the city, others say he found it.

Old North Eastern Triple Crown Kingdoms is a kingdom of great antiquity. It was when three kingdoms were unified as one through marriage and warfare. The Era of this Kingdom is a notable one. Make sure to insert an appropriate one for your campaign. (Or swipe mine, make me happy)

Some say the Road To Shambala can be any road. Eventually you will reach the mountain. It is hard to say.

Because of the nature of Shambala, very few people speak of it. It just does not feel right. While it is not a place of legend, it is treated as if it is mythical. So those that have made the journey are usually quiet about it. (It is odd that most swear they can recognize those that have made the journey by sight.)

Some say you can reach Shambala if you truly need healing or were wounded by a Dark Force and undeservingly tainted.

Double Clapping of the Righteous is really a mystical spell of divine nature. With pure heart one’s spirit is channeled into the claps (expending mana/ power points) and a prayer on the lips, the power will repel those things of dark association.

Use of a Shambalan statue or holy water in a divine ritual will provide significant bonuses to any holy magic.

There should be a gift or feat related to Shambala in game. It should grant one significant pluses when dealing the “negative”.

Your Light Shining is your inner light of spirit. It is said a person can see or feel their light while in Shambala.

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