|The Royal Church of Arangoth|
A view of the Royal Church and a portion of the Royal Cemetery.
|Location:||Church District, Drache|
The Royal Church of Arangoth was built before the arrival of King BLKDRAGON and Queen AngelSin in Arangoth, and while books in the church speak its founder, it is only fleetingly; no book found to date mentions his name or the location of his burial. For many years it was thought that the original founder sought to hide an evil artifact, which lead to the creation of the vault over which the original church was eventually constructed. Writings from past Head Priests mentioned secret catacombs beneath the church, but these were dismissed as rumors. Until, the year 470 that is, when the Royal Priest Kylus Dragonsbane began to hear pleas for help from what seemed to be within the altar itself.
One night, while Father Kylus was in his office in the church's storage rooms, he heard the voices again, asking for help. While reaching for a book on the topmost shelf of his study, he suffered a terrible fall that left him dazed and buried under books and shelves. While he was nearly unconscious, he saw visions of fields were there would be a future city, castles that would become ruins, and men who were long dead, but familiar in some way. The images flashed in and out of reality, and he saw a woman's pale face, her purple eyes hooded by long lashes, a white rose, a bloody sword, and a half-built foundation, which looked terribly familiar. He also saw the altar, newly carved, inside of which was placed a book, sealed away in a pocket dimension and hidden under runes that would be easy to miss.
Once Paetines and a woman named Eliza unburied the poor priest, Kylus dashed to the altar, sure of what he'd seen, and sure enough, it was there. The markings were so faint they would be hard to spot within the grain of the stone, but into it had been carved the runes of a spell, one which could create pocket dimensions. Kylus wasted no time, and plunged his hand straight into the rock. From it he pulled a book, very old and with its own enchantments. He knew who put it there, knew what it was that nagged at the back of his mind each time he entered the Church--or rather, -who.-
When the Royal Priest opened the tome, the white light of magic consumed him, drawing him into the tale inscribed upon its pages. Kylus Dragonsbane was left behind at the altar of the Royal Church, transported instead to another realm. His discovery would change the very foundations of Drache, and even Arangoth itself.
In Father Kylus' Own Words
Father Kylus wrote a letter to King Arlok ul-Dorn, describing the incidents that had taken place and what he had been told about the church's founding, the vault beneath, and the gods who gave their blessings. This are his words:
Written this Sundas, Sun's Dusk 5 in the year 470
To His Highness King Arlok of Hornath ul-Marfed...
Greetings and well met, I pray the Good Gods find you well upon
receiving this letter. I'm sure you have by now figured out the reason
for my correspondence to the North. Obviously I wish to present to you
an explanation of my station in Drache, and put at ease the concerns of
the reputable worshipers of Menxvan who sought your wisdom in the
matter. Hence without a further delay, I shall indeed provide what it is
you have asked for: an accounting of the Church's doings.
The Church I oversee has, is, and shall always be a haven to the
Goodness we as mortals seek to emulate throughout our lives. It was not
founded in Menxvan's name, but on the other side of the coin, Paladine's
emissaries had nothing to do with its original creation either. The
Church's foundation was first set by another traveler, a non-Arangothian
visitor named Darnil. His commitment and dedication to that force of
Good which we all worship--yet call by different names depending upon our
origins--led to the creation of a Church dedicated solely to that very
force; not to the name of Menxvan, or Paladine, or any one God's name,
but to the Good which They represent to we mortals who seek to serve as
Their agents. The Great Seal of the Church is the testimonial left to
all of us in Drache, for its magical protection was forged by Darnil's
hand, in conjunction with a native worshiper of Menxvan and a foreign
believer from the far west, in what is now Elvendeep. By their hands
they created the Seal which now defends the Church and its Vault, and
prevents those who worship evil from crossing the threshold into the
Inner Sanctum. In effect, the Church serves as a grounding point for
evil artifacts, that they may be protected from the hands of those your
reputable petitioners are concerned about. It has always been concerned
with spreading the great good, protecting the people from evil, ensuring
that those good souls who come to Drache are allowed a place of worship.
Because Drache is probably Arangoth's greatest city of travelers, you
can certainly see the important position that the Church is placed in.
Its mission here has always been one of respect towards other religions
over the conversion to just one religion, and as such the Church remains
open to any worshiper of Good, whether it be named Menxvan, Paladine,
Tyr, or any other name.
To address the discussion of the Vault of the Church, yes, I must
confess its existence to you and your concerned citizens. The Vault of
the Church is in reality a pocket dimension built within an Anti-Magic
field, and surrounded by three-foot thick walls of granite, the bricks
of which were soaked in holy water for 7 days and nights after having
runes of warding carved into them. Its mortar was made with holy water,
and the only door is a magical device, also three feet thick and carved
with runes; it shall only open when the proper command words are spoken
by the appropriate person. The Vault resides beneath the Royal Church's
foundation, accessible only to me by means of a staircase behind a
rather thick steel door. In short it is safe from the hands of the
agents of Evil, be they worshipers of Mexnvan's dark counterpart,
Paladine's Antithesis, or any other dark deity.
I must say, your Highness, that this situation has given me the
opportunity to have a lengthy and enlightening discussion with your
cousin Lord Marcion on the nature of both Menxism and my own religion.
Both theologies, I am happy to say, are quite similar in their basic
beliefs and values. Menxism is based upon the holy division of Menxned
into Menxvan and his nameless counterpart. My own doctrine holds sacred
the belief in the "High God" who came out of nothingness and created his
'children' Paladine of the Light, Gilean of the Balance, and Tahkisis
the Queen of Darkness. The basic idea is that there shall *always* exist
between the Lord of Light and Queen of Darkness a delicate balance, and
while each shall fight the other for eternity to tip the scales in their
favor, one shall never completely destroy the other, for to do so would
mean existence itself shall crumble. Good cannot, after all, exist
without Evil, and after a lengthy talk with your esteemed Cousin, it
came to light that Menxists are of a similar mindset regarding the
eternal struggle of Menxvan and his counterpart.
I hope--and pray--that my letter to you is suitable and enough to calm
the fears and concerns of your citizens in the North, your Highness. The
Royal Church was founded upon the principles of a free right of
religion. Its nature is to be a bastion to the Higher Good, a force
nameless in itself, but which contains the ideals that each and every
one of us strive to attain, emulate, and pass on to our children. Never
have I or any of those under me sought to undermine Menxvan's presence
in Drache through conversion in the Church. Indeed, we as clergy should
not be concerned with the name our faithful call the Greater Good so
much as we should be working together to spread that good throughout
Arangoth and the world. Is it not said among the faithful of Menxvan
that "Vice is Menxruk's Handmaiden; Deception, his Page; Disease, his
Sword." ? We are indeed faced with the point of the Dark One's sword, as
part of our great city suffers from sickness. Now, however, should not
be the time for blame, it is the time for faith, prayer and action. The
Dark One is ever attempting to tilt the balance of the universe in
His--or Her--favor by visiting misfortune upon the servants of the
Greater Good, trying to strike down as many as possible, while torturing
the survivors into renouncing their faith. We cannot allow such a thing
to happen. Instead of being concerned at what name I call the Greater
Good, or what it is named by any traveler to Drache or to the North, we
should be uniting against sickness, against vice, and against Evil.
I do pray this has calmed your people, your Highness. If not then please
extend my invitation to those who wish it: visit Drache and see. See the
Church for what it is, what it does, and who is within it. See with your
own eyes, rather than hearing the words of gossip which travel from
Drache tabloids to the north on the lips of questionable characters.
I pray the Greater Good--be it called Paladine or Menxvan--protect you
all, and remain,
Royal Priest of Arangoth
The site of the Royal Church has existed for over 100 years, looked after by a Head Priest and various attendants of the numerous religions throughout the area. The original Royal Church was razed to the ground by a dragon over a decade ago, and thus the building that stands now is the second one to have been constructed in the same location.
The church is a large building made of sturdy stone, decorative carvings, hard work, and powerful blessings by benevolent gods. The exterior is shaped like a square, hiding the true form--an oval--of the Inner Sanctum, a path branches to the right, leading past the church and to the Royal Cemetery. The main double doors open to a small foyer in front, and beyond is a great oval space, illuminated by candles and the light of day through many stained glass windows. A carpet of cobalt blue cloth leads up to and surrounds the altar stone. Candles stand in front of the altar, a great table of grey granite, highly polished and etched with runes and symbols. On either side of the altar, wooden pews allow people to sit down and offer prayers to their respective deities. Icons and other religious items from various sects are stored within the church, which is devoid of any decor representing specific deities.
Behind the altar, at the back of the Inner Sanctum, are three rooms. The rooms to the left and right are confessionals for the penitent, and the center is a storage area where priests can keep robes, vestments, candles, books, etc. To the left of these three rooms is the Tabernacle, a small but strong safe where offerings and donations are kept. To the right is the holy water fountain, a small pool of blessed water that can be drawn from when the need arises.
Inside the center room is another door, locked with both a single key and a powerful ward. Beyond the door is a staircase that leads down to a pair of massive stone doors, the entrance to the church's vault, a place where things of evil or accursed nature can be brought to ensure they remain safely out of the wrong hands. The vault is a tightly sealed room protected by blessings and a powerful anti-magic shell that prevents not only evil magic from leaking out but also prevents others from working magic within. These protections defend against rogue mages who would seek to "borrow" the items contained therein.
The Great Seal
At the door to the Inner Sanctum, set in the floor and cast in solid platinum, is the Great Seal. The seal reacts to the presence of evil, and it will glow brightly whenever a figure of such alignment enters the church. This holy light will spread from the seal around the ring of platinum set in floor around the Inner Sanctum, creating a sort of barrier. Evil personages trying to enter the church will find this glow annoying, painful even if they go too close or touch it, and thus most tend to avoid the Church.
Behind the Name
The Royal Church is not a church insomuch that it is dedicated to a particular deity or religion, but instead, it is simply a consecrated building, open to worshipers of any and all 'good' deities.
Most Notable Features
The most famous and notable features of the Royal Church are the Church Commons and the Royal Cemetery.
Behind the Church, is a tall hedge with several openings in it. Beyond those natural doorways lies the Church Commons--a serene, peaceful place consisting of a grassy meadow with trees and flowers planted in beautiful patterns. Benches are scattered around the commons, and people often sit and exchange the latest news with one another.
The Royal Cemetery
The Royal Cemetery is entered through a main gate, under an arch of grey granite. Here are the eternal resting places of the people of Arangoth. It is host to numerous memorial tombs, dedicated to the countless soldiers who fell while fighting to defend the lands, along with many singular graves that sit silently, surrounded by flowers, their stones bearing the names of those who have found their rest. In the very back of the cemetery is an old caretaker's shack, and though it looks abandoned, smoke is can be seen rising from the crumbling chimney from time to time.