The World of Orsus
The Temple of Whispers
Approaching the Temple
As you enter the Valley of the Fallen from the north, you see the land gently slope downward for several miles before being stopped by a fern-covered rocky wall. The earth is lush and green; full of soft dew-covered grass and gentle ferns. The edges of the valley are very steep, covered with heavy brush and huge, vine-y trees. Up the mountains and into the surrounding hills, you see nothing but the damp Hajan Jungle. Everything smells wet and earthy, occasionally fetid with still water. A narrow dirt trail leads toward several structures in the distance.
Fields of cabbage, cucumbers, cotton, and various tubers stretch down the road, dotted by the occasional cow pen. Slaves work the fields and pastures, and do not look up as you pass. A few taskmasters overlook the workers, who do gaze up to scrutinize you. They are only lightly armored, but keep batons at their wastes and short swords at their back. No houses or structures of any kind appear to be near the fields.
As you approach, the main temple stands out in beautiful splendor, several stories high. It is built with local steel-gray shale and imported sandstone, making for an interesting contrast along the artistically carved edges of the building. Faceless statues dot the building at different levels, all posed in dramatic, evocative ways. Some appear to be bent over in suffering, while others stand tall and proud. Some have a more feminine form, while others masculine. All of the statues are roughly hewn, and without faces.
To the east of the temple is a large and sparkling lake. The water is very clear, reflecting the green all around. A small stream leads to the lake, trickling in from a waterfall at the far back of the valley, less than a mile from the temple.
To the west of the temple is a very plain building, by comparison. It is also made of shale, but is dull and rectangular; only dotted with several shuttered and glass-less windows. Two stories high and very long, this appears to be the slave dorm. It is an unusual feature in this area – it is usually better to keep slaves closer to their work areas, and in small spread-out huts, rather than grouped up so far away. If asked about this practice, it is so meals can be distributed easier, and the workers allowed a sense of bonding and comradery by being so close to their peers. (An unspoken reason for the dorms – is so their tools can be easier checked back into storage at the end of the day, and their numbers accounted for as well as monitored at night.)
Further west of the temple are several other buildings, all unique. Many of them are homes, but some are buildings of commerce. There are a few small shops in the center all gathered around a stone fountain. The fountain has a tall shale pillar in the center, covered with indistinct and featureless faces. Four faces at the top have almost grotesquely open mouths, spewing water. All of the buildings are made with Hajan jungle wood and shale supports. Many of the buildings have moss and small plants growing on its wood surfaces. The shops include a two-story general store, a butchers shop, a blacksmith, and a cloth/cotton shop. Occasionally vegetable stalls will be set up when there is an influx of visitors. An inn and tavern is currently under construction to handle the overflow of patrons to the Temple’s Lounge, and a dorm is just starting to break ground for more recruits. All other goods or services are handled by the temple, and all trade is regulated by the Master of Accounts.
Inside the Temple
The ornate and dark-stained wooden doors are wide open, leading into a comfy 10×10 chamber. A beautiful relief pattern is carved into both sides of the door, making you think of ocean waves and undersea coral. The dark stone is well-swept. Another set of large double-doors stand shut on the other end. These are heavily reinforced with iron bracing. Two comfortable looking chairs sit on the left wall, and a bright red bellpull hangs from the ceiling to the right. If you pull it, you hear a beautiful chiming sound from the other side of the inner doors. A female slave comes to greet you and ask your business.
The first antechamber has a few doors lining the walls, and a few lightly-colored and beautifully patterned cotton drapes. The stone floor is covered in a thick, royal blue carpet that leads down the hallway. Beauty and pleasure are highly prized, and the temple is richly decorated with drapes, paintings, and all the comfort they can afford. A few more statues decorate this room, all humanoid in shape and very vague. Like the ones outside, they’re all missing faces. The ten foot wide hallway is lined with clear glass windows, upholstered benches, and rich cloth of all colors.
The infirmary is accessible by another richly carved set of double doors, usually shut. Each bed is lined with a straw mattress and separated by a lightly-colored cloth. A storage room sits in the back for herbs, potions, and other medical necessities. This place is used to treat common injuries as the need arises.
The meditation chambers are walled off by more curtains, and each chamber’s curtains are left open when unoccupied. Cushions abound and slaves regularly keep the rooms clean and comfortable.
The business room is dominated by a large table, and large bookshelves along the back and right wall. The Master of Accounts can be seen here most of the day, organizing books and tracking the financial progress of the temple.
The library and study is highly prized. The walls are lined with dark Hajan wood and lit by soft glowing candles in stained glass lanterns. The ground floor has a huge variety of common-knowledge books, all donated by members of the temple. Everything from bardic knowledge, arcane and divine spell-casting, fighting styles, historical texts, sea-faring knowledge, and much more can be found here. There is usually something for everyone. The stairs downward on the right end lead to a basement library, where all of the records of whispers are kept. This area can only be accessed by members of the temple.
To the right are two small private temples for meditation and contemplation. It is not uncommon for priests to take the harlots in here, in order to tend to their body’s needs as they pray. This room is also decorated lavishly with rich tapestries, down-filled pillows, and thick carpets.
The training room is the least-lavish of all. The Master of Arms can be found here most of the time – either learning a new style or teaching one. Due to the variety of people from all over the world, the temple has access to a plethora of knowledge. Fighting styles vary greatly, and the Master of Arms must truly be a master to practice so many. This room is sparsely decorated, but brightly lit from the open glass windows and torches along the walls. Training dummies stand between weapons racks, and the few decorations that do adorn this room are paintings of great fighters from the past. Archery targets are stored in here at night, then brought out through a side door to the west during the day. Training dummies are also moved outside when the weather is good, and training exercises regularly happen by the lake.
The dining hall is decorated with several tapestries and two long tables. They are simple on top, but with ornately covered legs to match the twisted and vine-like looking chairs. It is said that they weren’t carved, but that a druid “asked” the trees to grow in that manner. Food is served here twice a day, with lunch being “on ones own.”
The kitchen is equipped with the finest tools and ceramic ware. Slaves here work during the day to prepare meals for the establishment. They eat whatever food is left over, which is usually a good amount. The larder is well-stocked with imported foods, as well as local.
[PAGE STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION]
People of the Temple
Master of Bones
William Maubenc – Male Human
Speaks kindly and patiently to any who listen. Definitely enjoys finer clothing and large jewels. He’s very ostentatious in the jewelry he wears, with two rings on each hand, multiple jewels in vestments, and several piercings in his ears. He keeps his salt-and-pepper hair short, and prefers cream colored robes.
Master of Whispers
Cedar Sanson – Male Wood Elf
Cedar is a very simple person, keeping to clean sage-green robes, no jewelry, and plain dress. He keeps his gold hair long in a pony tail. He speaks with no frills, but a commanding tone. He is stern but not unkind.
The High Listener
Robin Waleri – Female Human
The High Harlot
Danya Elohiem – A grey elf with raven hair and silvery eyes that look a little too intense. Her skin is deathly pale with just a hint of seafoam green. Word has it that one of her ancestors was a Trumpet Archon. Unlike most grey elves, she does not look down on other races. She embraces them all with full and unconditional love. She has been with the temple for over 40 years now, and became High Harlot after just six of those years. She occasionally makes the other harlots jealous, knowing that they could never climb to her rank as long as she lives.
Master of Arms
Brunhild Vatteville – Male Half Orc/Human
Master of Accounts
Brennan Smoothskin – Halfling Male Expert 5.
Earl Blundville – Male Human
Terrowin Grai – Male Human
Lobela Greenbottle – Female Halfling
Isolde Louet – Female Human
Bristol – The youngest boy in the Harlots, he’s about 13 years old. Thin and human, some assume he may have elvish blood. He was born to slavery, and seems content with his life.
The Restless Ones
There have been few candidates to be a Restless One lately, and only a group of five is known to be out and searching right now.
Rake Tozavar – Male Halfling Rogue
Lori Ahmadi – Female Human Sorcerer
Jordon Jahanbani – Male Orc Cleric
Thirur Copperpick – Male Dwarven Fighter
Strum – Male Halfling Bard
Workers and Slaves
Bethany – The lead cook is a silver-collard chef from Tolgar. She has the cook’s stamp as well as the hand and lips. She is in her late 30s now, and her face looks a bit haggard from her days spent in the heat of the kitchens.
Other workers about the temple are mostly slaves, but occasionally petitioners to the Clergy will be given degrading tasks in order to test their devotion.
The Lost Ones
These folk are worshipers of the Dead God, but do not live in the Valley of the Fallen. The Lost Ones commonly known at this time are the Hellini Family, living in the capital city of Tolgar
History of The Temple
While exploring the layout of the land, our great founder Torem happened upon a small valley. The land was described to be sunken in, as if a very god had fallen to earth and created a crevice. Toward the far end of this crater was a lake, fed by a small stream trickling down the side of the cavern. The valley was filled with lush grass and a pleasant forest to the north. Only one path clearly market the eastern entrance to the valley. It was there Torem first heard the Whispers.
The Whispers guided him to a rocky cairn, wherein he found a cave. He lit a torch and ventured forward. After several hours of walking, he stumbled upon a cavern full of wealth beyond his imagining. Suddenly he realized this treasure was guarded by a fearsome emerald dragon. For three days he battled with the beast, and eventually slew it out in the open – where this very Temple now stands.
Torem harvested the dragon’s scales and bones for armor and weapons and as he cut open its belly, he found within it a strange bone – in appearance it belonged to the ankle of a man. It had small signs of being eroded by acid, but was not dissolved as it should have been in the stomach of a dragon. Rather, it was polished, and shown brightly. The Whispers grew for him, and told him to create a compound on the very spot he slew the dragon. It was then he named this place the Valley of the Fallen, in honor of our god whose body created the land, and of the dragon who bestowed upon him the first of His bones. Using its treasure, he bought slaves and hired workmen, quarrying stone and taming the land. The Temple of Whispers was built then, and was finished in the year 779 ADW.
At first the clergy was small, and limited only to Torem’s family. They too heard the Whispers, and their children as well. Those who joined The Temple rarely heard Whispers during those times, but believed nonetheless.
The Temple has since grown. Torem met a peaceful end in the year 805 ADW. A later priest heard a Whisper, and was commanded to embed the first bone in a mirror along with a few bones and scales of the dead emerald dragon. This mirror is now used to see outside the Valley of the Fallen and search for more bones.
In the year 806 ADW the ritual began to search for more bones of the Dead God. Before then our goal was only love and worship, seeking to grow the compound and obtain more followers to His cause. Several graduates journeyed in search for bones. Some returned with false bones. Several returned empty-handed. Others did not return at all.
In the year 810 ADW the first real bone was brought to the compound since the First Bone. Buried in the deserts of Creston, it took a team of slaves three weeks to dig it up. It was found in a sunken compound with signs of dragon habitation, but no dragon nor other wealth was to be found. This bone was then embedded into a bracer, and is now worn by the Master of Arms.
Two more bones were found in the year 817, and had been fashioned as a set of drumsticks. The drums associated with these sticks are known to be magical, but few at the temple know their purpose. They are kept somewhere deep within the vaults of the temple.
It is now the year 827. It has been over 10 years since a new bone has been found. Followers from all over the world hear the Whispers, and journey to find The Temple. Many come on pilgrimage and later leave. Some stay for longer periods of time, tithing then adding to our teachings. Some are born here, and hear the Whispers their whole lives – gaining divine inspiration from the Dead God. Others elect to learn from us, train from us, and go on a holy quest for more bones. Not everyone is fit for this great task.