|Temple of Hephaestus|
|Region||Falgorn, Southern Yamato|
|Race(s)||Elves (until 1000 AE)|
|Ruler(s)||High Cleric Niswath Dorlian (until 1000 AE)|
|Faction(s)||Stormborn (formerly), Clergy of Hephaestus (until 1000 AE)|
The Temple of Hephaestus on Falgorn, or Hephaisteion, was the former main place of worship for the followers of Hephaestus, the God of Smithing, and where the magic swords Dawn and Dusk were forged by High Cleric Niswath Dorlian. It is located on Falgorn Island in Southern Yamato in the Third Age and had an elven population from the time of the Explosion. It was razed by Chaos Dwarves sent by Distreyd Thanadar XII who slaughtered the elves living there during the Unification of Yamato. The temple was left in ruins with only the ancient Forge of Creation and the entrapped entity Kaos residing within it.
Hephaisteion, the greatest Temple of the god Hephaestus in the Land of the Living, was built on top of the ruins of a more ancient Stormborn Temple of the Sky on Falgorn Island in Southern Yamato. The builders were elven clerics of Hephaestus who had survived the Explosion which had shattered Miletos where their kin had been persecuted by Arawn Losstarot's tyrannical regime. The location for the temple was chosen because the previous temple's grounds, which bore markings of the Stormborn, was deemed magical and thus suitable for the clergy's magical blacksmithing.
For centuries, the elves lived in relative peace, worshipping the God of Smithing deep within the temple, and ignored other races entering Falgorn and founding settlements such as Port Hawke and even rival clergies like the Clergy of Mardük which built Vulpengaard Keep a day's journey from the temple grounds. Despite Hephaisteion's prominent spot, it was shielded by illusionary magic which made dark clerics who vaguely sensed its presence search for it in vain.
Deep within the temple lay the Forge of Creation which High Clerics of Hephaestus used to forge many weapons, shields and armor which they would use to honour their god. By 1000 AE, when the Unification of Yamato began, High Cleric Niswath Dorlian who received visions from Hephaestus and Cardia, used the elfsilver which his followers had secretly mined from around Mardük's Prison to forge the twin blades Dawn and Dusk which would be used to oppose the ambitions of both Mardük and Nergal, rivals of Cardia and Hephaestus.
At the same time Distreyd Thanadar XII was anointed as the new High Cleric of Mardük and, aided by his allies from the Clergy of Nergal, finally discovered a means to penetrate Hephaisteion's magical defenses. Distreyd XII sent an assault force of Chaos Dwarves and other clerics led by Abbot Toshiro Hakunetsu to raze the temple and kill all the elves there to make sure they wouldn't threaten his reign.
The raid was successful and led to the obliteration of the elven clerics defending the temple grounds. Only Niswath's disciple Schuldich Cedheros managed to escape from the carnage unnoticed and took Dusk and Dawn with him abroad so he could deliver the blades to their destined wielders and keep them from the dark clergies.
The Chaos Dwarves made sure to either loot what they could find or destroy anything they couldn't carry with them; only the Forge of Creation and a select few statues and clothes were left behind. The time of the Clergy of Hephaesus had come to a bloody end on Yamato, and the temple they had once called home no longer had prayers echoing in its empty halls.
Demons invaded Yamato in the Cataclysm in 1006 AE, which rearranged the landscape, and took over the former Yamato Empire which had been weakened in the Great War against the Grand Alliance. Although demons either destroyed or conquered settlements and temples they came across, the Temple of Hephaestus on Falgorn was spared. No one really knows why the demons avoided the place although some scholars speculate it may have been because whatever Light magic lay dormant in the ravaged temple was enough to give the demons pause and made them instinctively avoid it.
In 1017 AE during the Second Great War, the temple was deemed little more than a relic of the past although its tactical position between key locations on Falgorn and as a place which demons avoided stirred some curiosity among Yamatian freedom fighters. However, none were brave enough to enter the temple grounds which were believed to be haunted by vengeful elven spirits. However, an escaped slave, pursued by demons of the Southern Horde, decided to enter the temple than risk getting caught in the winter of 1017 AE. The slave was ultimately killed by Kaos, a chaotic entity trapped deep within the Heart of Creation which had stayed hidden for over a decade.
The Black Hunters fled to the temple with slaves they had freed after the Battle of Otoineppu in the same winter. The temple was besieged by the Southern Horde soon after although the demons were still hesitant to approach the ruins, especially when they would have to enter it through the main gate and risk getting ambushed by the Hunters. Unbeknownst to both demons and the Hunters, however, there were other people hiding within the temple who wished to see the demons fall but for their own reasons.
- "I am a Wallbuilder. Let my walls endure, from season to season, year to year, and age to age. Let my walls stand, while families toil, armies march, and empires fall. I am a Wallbuilder, and my walls shall stand always as a shield against the chaos of War. This I pray, that shall the Smith grant."
- —Inscription above the gates of the temple
Located on a hill from which it oversees the land, the Temple of Hephaestus stands tall with walls of white stone and heavy gates. Above the entrance is an inscription carved into stone in Old Thracian which contains the Wallbuilder's Prayer.
Rooms of PurificationEdit
The Rooms of Purification serve both a pragmatic and symbolic function within the temple. The rooms remind clerics of the dangers of succumbing to the seven deadly sins and to the eighth, hidden sin. They also make the clerics devote themselves to serve Hephaestus with all their being, both body and soul, by following the great virtues of their faith.
Narthex of HumilityEdit
The Narthex of Humility is simple and humble with sunshine pouring in through the openings in the walls. The sight reminds clerics that despite the work of their hands in building the grand temple, the sky above is even more ancient and the immovable home of the God of Smithing whom they serve, and thus serves as a lesson against the sin of pride.
The only notable things in the room at all are a pair of statues that flank the entrance to the next room. The statues are female in shape, made of metal that looks like gold, and have long, flowing and finely carved hair and simple sleeveless dresses. Each statue holds a sword made of the same metal parallel to her body, pointing towards the ground. The statues can move and snatch anyone who trespasses on the temple grounds.
The Nave of Diligence has a hallway that splits off in three directions; this crossroads symbolizes the danger of deception, and how easy it is to lose one's way on the path of the faith and simply give up choosing the right path if one succumbs to the sin of sloth. At the crossway, a worn-out symbol of Hephaestus, a hammer striking an anvil, is visible on the floor. The room has shattered skylight above the crossway since the raid on the temple.
The right path leads to the Chambers of Chastity, the middle path leads to the Refectory of Temperance, and the left path leads to the Oratory of Patience.
Chambers of ChastityEdit
The right path leads to the Chambers of Chastity. It consists of several rooms on both sides of the corridor: the chambers on one side are reserved for male clerics and the chambers on the other side are reserved for female clerics. The elves divided the chambers in such a manner to prevent their fellow clerics from succumbing to the sin of lust and to keep up the ideals of chastity as they should only dedicate themselves to their god and not earthly pleasures.
Some of the chambers also have secret passageways which are accessible by pressing certain tiles in the wall. What the purpose of these secret passages is remains unknown to this day.
Refectory of TemperanceEdit
The middle path leads to the Refectory of Temperance. It serves the function of a dining hall with many long wooden tables which clerics sit at to eat and drink while preparing for the chores and sermons of the day. The large hall is ascetic and served simple foods and drinks, reminding clerics that they should not succumb to the sin of gluttony and should only take the bare minimum of nutrients that their bodies require for daily service.
Oratory of PatienceEdit
The left path leads to the Oratory of Patience which consists of a big hallway which is flanked on either side with doors that lead into meditation gardens and rooms for the clerics. These smaller rooms and gardens form the oratory as a whole and remind clerics that they should not mourn or avenge their fallen brothers and sisters and succumb to the sin of wrath. Instead they should only ever defend their holy grounds with a tranquil mind and meditate to understand the wishes of their god better.
At the far end of the hallway lies a stairway which leads below ground into the Smithies of Kindness.
Smithies of KindnessEdit
The stairway gives way to a stony hallway which has many doors leading into the Smithies of Kindness. Here the clerics forge weapons, shields and armor for their protection and in honour of their god. Although some clerics may be better at being blacksmiths and artificers than others, these rooms symbolize how their less skilled brothers and sisters must not succumb to the sin of envy and instead learn from one another's strengths and weaknesses to not only become kinder but also stronger in faith.
At the far end of the hallway lie another, longer set of stairs leading even deeper underground. This is the Stairway of Penance which the penitent ones must walk on to show their dedication to their faith.
Chalice of CharityEdit
- "Lead me from the dark towards the light, water of the chalice, fire of the forge, hammer of the god."
- —Inscription above the entrance to the inner sanctum
The Chalice of Charity is a name given to the hidden lagoon beneath the temple which leads towards the Heart of Creation, the place most holy within the temple. The area is shaped like a chalice, hence its name, and has a port for ships to dock in with four statues of notable elven clerics of Hephaestus guarding the entrance into the inner sanctum. The lagoon is wide enough for eight large ships to be side by side, and has a way out which is hidden from view by an elaborate warding spell which only a cleric of Hephaestus can dispel. The chalice symbolizes the generosity of the elves to welcome seekers of faith among them and to discard the sin of greed to keep their knowledge only to themselves.
Heart of CreationEdit
- "If the foundation be weak, dost thou wail and gnash thy teeth? Dost thou ask it to repoureth itself? Nay, thou tearest it down and beginnest anew. So shall it be with all My Children, whether they be Stone or Flesh, of Mountain or Forest."
- —Words inscribed into the Forge of Creation
Once the walk of penance through the rooms of purification is complete, the faithful are rewarded by entering a place most holy in the temple: the Heart of Creation. It lies deep within and below the temple, holding the Forge of Creation which the High Cleric of Hephaestus has used to craft the divine blades Dusk and Dawn at the twilight of their order. Simple but encouraging words are inscribed into the forge, readable to those who understand Old Thracian.
|Settlements:||Bilthama · Hyama · Kageshima · Kusomachi · Oreinashi · Otoineppu · Port Hawke · Ryugashi · Shippuu · Shipwreck Cove|
|Other locations:||Adlivun · Daisuke's Palace · Hidden Castle · Mardük's Prison · Nagashima Fortress · Nishikawa's Dojo · Temple of Hephaestus · Vulpengaard Keep|
|Regions and Geography:||Devilfish Strait · Falgorn · Jihao · Kitsune Mori · Nabatsu · Tekaido · Valley of the Blind Monk|