Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Secrets of Enzada: the Hidden Sky Builder Complex

Secrets of the Sky Builder Complex beneath the Monastery of Elinzada

The ancient Sky Builders were fascinated with the primitive life of Enzada, and early in their history they seem to have migrated to this world with the intent of studying and altering that life to suit their needs. They developed a keen fascination for the serpentmen and kandathric races, which they treated like servants and children. They regarded the cro-magnon humans they encountered like amusing curiosities, allowing them to worship the Sky Builders as gods.

The history of the Sky Builders is difficult to piece together, but it is believed that tens of thousands of years before the rise of the Inhuridan Empire and the dominance of the Daharesh the Sky Builders passed into memory. No one truly understands why, though the Scholar-Cults of the Serpent Men of Gaashk claim that their ancestors were the Sky Builders, and not mere pets. The truth of this is unknown to most, though the few scholars to dedicate their lives to the study of Sky Builder relics and ruins have found ample evidence to the contrary.

The hidden history of the Sky Builders is elaborate: they arrived on Enzada more than twenty million years ago, and appeared to be an alien race of tall blue skinned six-fingered humanoids with vaguely insectoid eyes. They were versed in technomancy and planar lore, and used their legendary Sky Cities to traverse space and time. They may or may not have been following in the wake of the great “tunneling” through reality that was crafted by the enigmatic wanderings of the “star god” called Drod.

Why they took an interest in Enzada is unclear, but they quickly set up shop. In the early days it was they sky cities, but as time went on they built great cities and temples on the ground, many of which can still be found, sometimes remarkably intact. The immense buried obsidian pyramids of Waladar are famous, for example, especially as all of the pyramids are hundreds of feet tall yet are completely buried beneath the earth in vast plains. How they came to be buried, be it catastrophe, natural processes or the wrath of the gods is unknown to this date. A few scholars even suggest that there is no homogeneity beyond language in these ancient complexes….that indeed, the Sky Builders were not a single phenomenon but an ongoing wave of “migrations” over time. No one can say for sure.
Of those few complexes that still exist and can be explored, the language is always of the same script, though the subtleties of the dialect remain difficult to translate. Thanks to the longevity of the scholarly tradition of Gaashk, the “rosetta stone” of the Sky Builder Script comes from the serpent man language, and it has also been translated to draconic and Kandathric. These translations were well-circulated in the era of the Inhuridan Empire, and so the language of this ancient people is well known among linguists and scholars in the Hub of Etyri region.

 One influential but secret complex is the buried remnants of an old Sky Builder flying city, located on the northern end of the Isle of Syrhaba. Along the northern volcanic expanse rests a monastery dedicated to Elinzada, which has stood for three thousand years as a place of sanctuary and refuge for pilgrims and students of the ancient goddess of pacifism and healing. There are actually two mysterious complexes beneath this monastery, however, both buried in successive ancient waves of volcanic lava, entombed forever.

The first tomb complex is a genuine tomb, that of an ancient “king of kings” of the Serpent Men from nearly seventy thousand years ago. This complex was built as a fabulous temple using ancient technomantic sorcery that the serpent men of the lost empire of Hazik once had mastered….allegedly because they were the true descendants of the Sky Builders, but in reality because by this era the serpent men had long since usurped control from their old masters and were spiraling into a prolonged period of decadence and decay.

The tomb complex was built to contain the undying spirit of some of the most powerful necromancers and sorcerers of old Hazik. For eons afterward the tomb lay undisturbed until a much later age, and it is known that avarice and a lust for power led some serpent men to seek out the remains of their most powerful ancestors and steal them away. This led to the tunneling and rediscovery of the lost tomb. It is unknown if anyone after the collapse of Old Hazik remembered the tomb, but no mention is ever found in old Inhuridan records, and the Monastery of Elinzada did not appear to have been built here because of the tomb, but rather the deeper sky city beneath the tomb, in an even older layer of basalt. Accidental discovery of the tomb happened within a century or two of the monastery’s founding, however, and the monks of that lost era quickly hid their discovery when they learned of the evil contained within.

Much deeper than the tomb or the monastery, almost at and below sea level is the old sky city. This was actually some form of ship, as the relic illusionary servants of the complex will relate, and it settled on this spot in an unknown era from the time of the Sky Builders, powered by the original race, at a time before the uprising of the serpent men. It’s name was “Elindre Ha’zada,” which means “Theological Observation” in the Sky builder script. A very small number of scholars have noticed that the Selindari habit of compounding words could readily explain “Elinzada,” the name of the healing goddess, as being a compound of this sky builder title. It has greatly concerned more than a few of the monks in the monastery over the centuries. The fact that the name of the world, “Enzada” is also believed to be a compound of the Sky Builder word, “Endires Ha’zada,” which in turn means “World of Observation”  is of even greater concern to a handful of enlightened but heretical scholars.
In any case, the first monks to come to this place found an entrance to the buried complex after an earthquake, seen as a sign by their ancient goddess of the time, who was believed to be one other than Elinzada. Beyond the rift created by the quake they found the complex, and entered. It was many years before they fully understood what they had found, or at least understood it as best they could. They found the chamber of Elinzada herself, and the healing waters. They found the mysterious devices which channeled planar energies into the water, imbuing it with the spirit of the goddess, and discovered that that spirit would migrate into a mortal of choice to transfer her healing gift to the world outside.

In the early years of the cult the monks would pick a bearer of the spirit, who would then go into the world to do good. They found that the bearer who perished while traveling lost the spirit, and they would have to brave the complex below to summon the spirit forth once more into a new host for the future. It was centuries before one enterprising monk realized that the healing waters were the key, and that a host who bathed in the waters could allow the spirit to transfer into another entity nearby; the water was the conduit to energizing the spirit of Elinzada.

At first the monks moved the water to a pool in their own complex, and began a ritual that insured hosts for Elinzada always returned at the right time for a transfer. Eventually they learned how to enchant water to work in the right fashion, using a small amount of sacred water in larger pools to transform that water into the same substance. Thus did they create the holy pools of water for Elinzada in Huldreth, Uralhat and other Selindari cities.

In the old days, the monks brought tribute to the ancient chamber of the goddess within the Sky Builder complex, but as the centuries wore on they brought less and less treasure, and when they learned how to replicate their own sacred water they eventually sought to conceal the complex and its entrance entirely save for a time of special need. The treasure brought to the temple in exchange for healing was ultimately brought to the temple now purely out of tradition; they knew not what the guardians of the complex did with it anymore.

Today, the complex lies fallow but for two exceptions: the secret chamber of Elinzada still functions, and contains its ever-replenishing sacred water to the goddess. Here, the goddess can manifest once more if a proper ritual of sacrifice and devotion is offered, though the ritual by which this occurs is most strenuous to those who seek to bond with the spirit.

Second, the complex contains a working “portal” or teleporting gate that opens up to three other locations in the Hub of Etyri region, plus four regions not of this world. One leads to a remnant of a powerful teleport gate now a mere decoration in the ruined city of Drath. One opens up to a lost Sky Builder complex buried beneath a mesa in the lands of Mazadran, and the third opens up along a remote stretch of Neparic coastland, in a region dominated by barbarous Kandathra.
Of the four other-worldly regions, the mystery as to where these places are deepens. The four locations are:

Tannagrath, a ruined city-complex that may have been a related species of being called “Prehunates” that existed contemporaneously with the Sky Builders. The ruins of Tannagrath are partially intact but were submerged first in earth and then water over countless eons; the portion that is intact is currently inhabited by a race of dark sorcerers called the Hamaki, and while they know how to reach the surface of their alien world, they are extremely Xenophobic.

Fastlendar, an aquatic Sky Builder ruin deep beneath a vast and deep ocean. Traveling here without protective magic is instant death. The aquatic species on the other side are friendly, and can relay to foreign visitors that their world is called Hyskortius, a water world visible in the sky from Enzada as the famous “Shy Maiden” constellation.

Gath, an ancient complex that appears to have been another species’ work entirely, which stole Sky Builder technology for their own. The haunted complex is on a vast chunk of stone floating in empty space, and it is in a vacuum. Undead riddle the asteroid, and few have been brave enough to piece together what it is or what it comes from. Visitors from Lingusia would realize that it was part of the “Haze” as they call it; visitors from Enzada would recognize it was being somewhere in the River of the Sky, a place mythically said to have been the cosmic river along which the original Sky Builders traveled to reach Enzada in the first place. In any case, a powerful evil, a being called Aodrath The Insane, stalks the asteroid of Gath and kills all who it can find, adding them to its undead army.

Shekaresk, a frozen tundra inside which is buried another ancient Sky Builder ruin, this time a monument, which appears to have been the only such structure left on this world called Astrathon by the ancients. Shekaresk is reached by way of ancient ice caves cutting into the earth, and shamans of the local culture called the An’halaki know the way to from it. Exactly where Astrathon is in relation to Enzada in the sky is unknown.

The Dragonkin Gar’Konimus, a mixed-breed dragon halfblood, has been using the artifact for countless centuries now. He is an ancient student of magic and planar explorer, but he found the mysteries of the Sky Gates as he calls them to be beyond fascinating. He has spent centuries now locating these gates and networking their passages. He once left the complex beneath the monastery to explore, and befriended the monks, though he did not have the heart to reveal to them that the complex was not the sacred temple of an ancient goddess seeking to impart her healing spirit, but in fact some sort of experimental complex which could generate potent “VEs” as the system calls them, which inhabit human forms and provide healing through technomancy. The VEs appear to Gar to be a form of complex spirit elemental, and they are all imbued with the personality and directive of the creator artifact in the complex, which of course goes by the name of Elinzada now.

Gar has figured out that the VE can create but one “spirit” at a time. He also knows that the artifact which creates these spirits seems to draw them from something the Sky Builders called the “Rasak Helare,” which roughly translated means Etheric Space. He has a weird theory that the domain of the In-Between in Enzada is actually a construct of the Sky Builders….that they effectively built this Etheric Space, and that it occupies the dominion between the mortal plane and the outer planes. He claims no other world he has visited has a dominion quite like the “In Between.”

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