The Cathedral of Light
The product of centuries of slow, careful, painstaking work, a testament to the Old Ways and the power of Thaumaturgy, the Cathedral of Light is known of across the whole of Kuramen.
Deep within the ancient dwarven settlement of Milanec, there is a series of vaults extending in a long spiral down from the city's upper edge, known to nearly all thaumaturges and thaumatechnicians as the home of what may be the first thaumaturgy truly worked upon the world. The entrance is plain, simple and functional in the dwarven style, little more than a doorway with thick curtains draped across it. To step through the curtains is to leave behind the somber darkness of the city and enter an echoing cathedral hall where every single surface glows with a soft light, collectively as bright as true daylight. This is the entry hall of the Cathedral of Light, a testament to the power of Thaumaturgy and Faith.
The citizens of the city make yearly trips through the long vaults, each one filled completely with an endless Script of identical runes, all linked together as they flow from the entry of the first hall through dozens of other halls, each one carved in a slightly different style from the ancient to the modern, all of them ablaze with Light. At the end of their trek, each resident takes up a small chisel, and with the aid of the Cathedral's caretakers, they add a new rune to the script's leading edge, extending the light a little further and making the entire assemblage a tiny fraction more powerful. It is a testament of the strength of their people, their faith, and the ability of both to withstand the test of time's relentless hand.
The Cathedral is so old that no record exist detailing what circumstances brought it about, but it is known that the god the runes draw upon was once little more than a nascent Small God of illumination, whose scope was restricted to the city's quiet streetlights. The ceaseless Script, each one a tiny, eternal prayer to the god, has amplified it, and the yearly ritual of the citizens, made as a gesture of faith, has amplified the deity into a God of Faith, whose Light spreads for leagues in all directions around the city, and the patron deity of Milanec itself.
The Cathedral's caretakers watch the paths which residents walk each year, carefully re-etching the oldest runes to ensure that none ever go out or break the Script, and as each chamber nears completion, they begin work on the next cathedral hall, extending the hollow space into the darkness of the earth, waiting to be filled with the light of the faithful.
-It is long after Milanec was populated; the PCs, exploring the ancient ruins, come across the entrance to the Cathedral and find the long chain of halls, still blazing brightly after all this time. What do they make of this, if no record persists of the city and the people?
-Such a density of runes would normally provoke a buildup of thaumic energy, but the Cathedral does not. Thaumatechnicians want to find out why, while the people of Milanec resent the intrusion into their faith. Do the PCs side with one or the other? Do they learn the secret of the Halls? What if the Script is broken by an over-eager thaumatechnician?
-The God upon whom the Script draws begins to ail for unknown reasons; strange flickers of darkness ripple through the cathedral, to the concern of all. The caretakers approach the PCs, or put out a call for adventurers willing to look into the matter.
-A god of shadows and darkness resents the Cathedral and what it stands for; the god's rune is similar to the rune that fills the hall, and servants of the deity intend to sabotage the script by introducing their own rune into the Cathedral, potentially causing a disastrous thaumic reaction that could leave the entire city a devastated magical wasteland.
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? Responses (9)
Plot hook-somebody wants to smash one of the runes.
That would likely fall into the 'god of darkness' line, I expect. I suppose someone else might have a reason for it, of course.
Is there a constant tide of pilgrims who spend an entire day of their year performing this act of worship, or do all the worshipers come at once and carve their rune in a designated 'box' marked out by the priesthood?
The former. I expect the residents generally make it something like a part of their birthday celebrations; honoring another year of life and light by adding to the Cathedral.
I also expect that in other places, such as Tarralein, there's slang along the lines of 'trying to make a Cathedral' to refer to some overly massive and grand project someone is trying to accomplish; the wealthy baron trying to build a fifty-story-tall statue of himself as a 'present to the city' is the kind of thing.
I like it, there is some pretty spiffy imagry here.
Thank you; I've had it in the works for quite a while. It's good to finally finish it up.
I like it when dwarves and runes appear together. The location is perfectly logical as it is compact. Good work!
Would it be possible to increase the light output to actually harm (or at least blind) someone? I imagine undead wouldn't like it here.
It is possibly to make a potentially hazardous light source via thaumatechnology, yes.
And actually, since Kuramen uses Siren's elemental gods, the undead are actually creatures of Light, as the Goddess of Death is also the Goddess of Shadows, and tends to regard undead as a violation of Her domain.
This is quite nifty. You could even have the PCs' find this cathedral outside of its heyday, having been lost and forgotten for some reason, and its partial light serving as a welcome respite after days of spelunking.