It is said in the cities that if a man goes west across the great Lanhara Mountains, he will come to the Desert of Lost Faces. In the great houses of learning, they will tell you that if he then continues across the Desert of Lost Faces, he will come to the Hills that Breathe. And old housewives may claim that beyond the Hills that Breathe are the Golden Wastes. And if one were to believe all of these claims, and to scale the Lanhara Mountains, to cross the Desert of Lost Faces, and to stumble through the Hills that Breathe, one would see, in the Center of the Golden Wastes, an enormous construction, a catapult larger than all the cities of the east, and beside it, a small monastery, known to those who dwell there as the Most Serene and Devoted Temple of the Moon.
If one were fortunate, he would come to the Golden Wastes at dawn, when the morning sunlight sets the countless fragments of gold that are found there sparkling as if he were walking on the sun itself. If he were less fortunate, he might arrive to much the same spectacle at dusk, but then he would need to be wary that, when the sun crashes down to earth in the Golden Wastes, he is not so close as to be wounded by the spray of golden shards that accompany its landing.
But then, our second visitor would see the monks of the Most Serene and Devoted Temple of the Moon roll an enormous ball of silver out to their catapult, adjust its facing ever so slightly, and fire the ball into the heavens, at such an incredible arc that it seems to hang in the heavens all night as the moon. No doubt, somewhere far in the east there are the Silver Wastes, where the moon crashes to earth, and a corresponding Most High and Exalted Temple of the Sun, where monks respond in kind every morning.
One will find that the monks of the temple are very hospitable, more than willing to house guests for almost any length of time. The monks are vegetarians, growing their food in the dazzling radiance of the Golden Wastes, and the temple is small in size compared to the enormity of the catapult, but there is room enough for a few guests.
Questions about the monk's faith, or why they fire their silver into the heavens, will provoke only suspicion, and short answers expounding on their ancient rivalry with the High and Exalted Temple of the Sun. The two temples launch their missiles at each other daily, and have every day for millennia - never has the Most Serene and Devoted Temple of the Moon been hit. Of course, the monks cannot say whether they have been any more successful; they assume they have not been, as there has never been any cessation in retaliatory missiles.
If the monks are pressed further on any of these issues, they simply shrug their shoulders and say 'This is how it is to be done, this is how it has always been done.'
The monks will not turn out anyone, but most visitors leave after watching the sun rise over the Golden Wastes.
Notes: Not too many plots to attach to this one; in many ways, it's intended as something to go see 'because it's there.' Sort of an homage to the Dictionary of Imaginary Places, I guess.
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? Responses (7)
This is nice, and i think would fit more as a fairy tale in a game about the sun and moon, than an actual physical place.
Short and sweet, and with good imagery.
This is simple, straightforward, and elegantly done. It makes me wonder what other sorts of wonders exist in such a world.
If I ever had cause to send the players out on a scavenger hunt, I would include a shard of the sun and/or the moon and then make them work to discover this place. And, perhaps, by having them go to both places they might learn something by what each says about the other. (Not that they'd want them to stop their rivalry! That would be apocalyptic :P )
A very human sounding legend with accompanying hubris, to think that both the moon and the sun were human made, regardless of any complications this might bring. I like it, very original and thought provoking. Works as a fairy tale, as has been pointed out, and the locations mentioned sound very alluring.
Nice, Very evocative, very Everway. Well written and imaginative. I will find a way to use this.
It works very well as a fairy tale for me, and has lively imagery.
MysticMoons comment does it for me.
If it were not a fairy tale, than the Silver and Gold would have to be something like gilded stone, as anything approaching an 'enormous' ball of silver, gold or even copper would be ruinously expense, and impossible to catapult without a tremendously strong and/or magical catapult.
A fun and fairy tale type submission.
Nicely written and very evocative imagery! I happen to love locales that just happen to exist, and don't necessarily need any attached plot hooks. Also, i get a sense of a subtle hubris and maybe even a 'serene madness' vibe from the monks here.