Glimpses of adventure
Temple of Bouri in Zoa
The Tempestions of Zoa have enjoyed an income uncommon to many of their more rural brethren. So, a hundred years ago, when Lightning Fury Juugar decided that they need to replace their run-down wooden structure in the Circle of Gods – citizens of The Coins and welcomed it. The old temple was considered by most to be an eyesore and a wretched stain on the beauty of the circle.
Juugar hired the renowned architect Houxiir Laurtoum to design and oversee the construction of a new temple. Houxiir consulted with Juugar and designed what he thought was a great and marvelous setting for the Tempestions to worship. Juugar, himself, was pleased with the project, stating that it demonstrated the awesome power of Bouri.
Houxiir had not accurately gauged the Tempestions needs, however. As a result, he included several features in the temple that were of little use to the clerics, such as a library, and an indoor chapel.
When construction was completed, many of the wealthy came out to marvel at the structure. The clash of art lovers and the rough-and-tumble grim-faced clerics is even today a subject of many comical bard songs.
Over the years the Tempestions have managed to keep the outer grounds of their new temple fairly well maintained – mostly through the use of slaves. The inner areas, however, have deteriorated with time and neglect. Still, there can be no denying that the awesome façade has greatly increased their flock.
The temple of the Storm Lord sits on the southern rim of the Circle of the Gods, near the House of Waves. Ten smooth squared columns of gray marble form a one hundred and twenty-foot long colonnade. The columns stand upon a raised platform of white sandstone and their sheared off tops are support nothing but the open sky above.
At the head of the colonnade, facing the Circle stands an eleven-foot tall statue of Bluebolt, himself. The statue is carved from a single piece of bluish-green marble in the inimitable style of the famous Dejy sculptor Nejyn, whose works are well represented in the Circle. It depicts the scowling Storm Lord with his warhammer raised in his right hand and his spear pointed outward in his left. The spear is made of well-polished bronze and more than one cleric has noted that it radiates magic. The Order of the Pike, whose temple sits across the circle, has not failed to notice that it is their temple the Thunderer threatens with his spear.
Forty feet behind the statue, in the center of the colonnade, stands a thirty-foot tall irregular-shaped monolith of black stone. The sides of the monolith are covered with runes and symbols, which reveal the stone to have a translucent milky white interior. Any who brave the weather to witness one of the Tempestions’ ceremonies will see that at when lightning strikes the stone, the carvings glow with a fiery orange heat that lasts for nearly an hour.
On the far side of the colonnade stands ‘The Glass Tree’. This eight-foot glass object appears to be some sort of twisted and gnarled tree. In actuality it is the result of a rather large and powerful lightning strike in the Khydobian Desert. The tree a wonder to behold, and many Zoans come to look upon it, even if they do not worship Bouri.
Beyond the colonnade sits a two-story stone building that serves as the clerics’ quarters. The building is made of the same sandstone as the colonnade platform and its façade features a series of lightning bolts that point toward the set of brass-hinged oaken double doors at its base. Behind those doors, which remain open during daylight and storms, lies a large vestibule. Its ceiling is painted with great streaks of lightning and its floors are covered in a thick blue carpet. On each side stands a smaller brass statue of the Storm Lord, underneath which sits a copper urn. It is the custom of patrons to place an offering to the Storm Lord in one of the urns and then kiss the feet of the statue above it. Frequently this kiss is answered with spark of static discharge on the worshiper’s lips. This painful, but harmless effect is known as ’Bluebolt’s Kiss’ and it is considered a sign that the offering was well received.
Only Tempestions and those with official business may pass beyond the vestibule. The inside of the building houses the living quarters of the clerics, as well as their library, treasury, and dining facilities.
A large hall dominates the center of the lower floor. Older Tempestions can be often found lounging around here at one of several long wooden tables. The walls are painted with murals depicting various clerics of the Thunderer calling winds and lightning against their enemies. The room is not as clean as it could be, as the disorderly clerics are not the most fastidious of men. Occasionally Lightning Fury Advhail will order some acolytes to clean up the place when it gets too unsightly.
The first floor also contains a large kitchen where acolytes and slaves prepare meals for the clerics. The room is almost always in disarray, and smells of overcooked food and slight spoilage. Unwashed dishes and leftover food can usually be seen lying all over the place.
There are two barracks rooms where acolytes who are tasked with guard duty are supposed to sleep. However, Advhail isn’t consistent about assigning this duty, and most clerics at the temple sleep in their private cells whether they serve as guards or not. Each barracks contains four old and shabby bunk beds and a weapons rack. Visiting clerics who do not impress Advhail are often given these rooms to sleep in.
Rain Fury Paicaav’s quarters and office can also be found on the first floor. His office contains typical but simple furniture. The most notable items in here are his ledger of the treasury funds and the solid steel door that leads down to the vault. The door itself is quite thick and particularly strong. It was made to resist even the Darkened Skies power (Break DC is 35, Lockpick DC 25). His quarters are simple and clean.
The central hall and vestibule have high ceilings that do not allow for a second floor above them, however there are upper levels on either side above the kitchen and Paicaav’s personal area. Both have wooden floors, which are old and creak and pop on cold nights. The boards squeak whenever anyone walks on them (-10 to Move Silently checks).
The floor above Paicaav’s office holds the library. The room is lined with many shelves – most of which are empty. The few books that are contained here are books left by adventuring Tempestions who acquired them and decided they were too much trouble to lug around. Most of the books are of little interest: ledgers, journals, and even a few sketchbooks whose former owners ended up on the wrong side of a Tempestions hammer. There are a few rare books, perhaps even an arcane spellbook or two, whose worth escaped the donator. Of course there are many copies of Sky’s Fury found here, as well as a few other books on the subject of weather. Paicaav can usually tell when someone is in the library and will often investigate when he hears someone upstairs. If anyone tries to take a book, he will want to see what it is first. He expects payment for any copies of Sky’s Fury that are taken, and he will attempt to retain any book whose worth he recognizes.
At the south end of the library is a room designed to be a chapel. A smaller statue, similar to the one that stands at the entrance to the colonnade sits on a pedestal with balcony behind overlooking the courtyard. The room is almost never used, as the Tempestions prefer outdoor ceremonies, and the statue is coated in a layer of grime from dust and rain.
Above the Kitchen is Lightning Fury Advhail’s private quarters – which consist of a bedroom, an office, and a storage room. Advhail is a packrat and a bit of a slob and his quarters reflect it. Advhail loathes for anyone to touch his belongings and thus he never has acolytes or slaves clean the area. His bedroom is littered with various items he has acquired over the years. Some he found himself, others were donated or taken from visiting clerics. Weapons of all types lie about within easy reach. Sculptures and paintings sit stuffed into corners amongst piles of dishes, casks of wine and ale, and unwashed clothes.
His office is only slightly better. A large oaken desk is littered with small miscellaneous items, few of them papers or anything else that might denote actual deskwork. Used flatware, pouches of minor coins, empty flagons, and soup-stained bowls make up the bulk of it.
The storage room contains nothing more than piles and crates of items Advhail wanted out of his bedroom or office. Many of the items found there are broken from one of the high cleric’s frequent rages and placed here because he didn’t feel like hauling them out.
Behind the main building is a walled courtyard with an adjoining smithy and stable. Young clerics can be seen here most days, learning weaponsmithing and practicing their combat skills. Fourteen small private cells line the east and west walls of the courtyard and these are the quarters for acolytes. Usually, only about half of them are in use. The others are offered to visitors who are not relegated to the old barracks rooms.
There are two subterranean levels. A stairwell in the kitchen leads down to a large cellar. This is used for storage, both of food and non-valuable equipment. The southeastern corner of the room holds a series of simple cots and it is here that the temple slaves sleep. The temple currently owns six slaves.
Another stairwell leads down from Paicaav’s office to the vault. This is where the temples donations and relics are kept. Paicaav and Advhail both have keys. There is no connecting passageway between the vault area and the cellar area.
Lightning Fury Advhail (Clr 7/Rgr 1) – Advhail is a short but powerfully built Reanaarian man. He sports a curly black beard and long curly hair to match. Advhail is the high priest of the temple by virtue of his prowess in combat. He is quick to anger and rarely smiles. His leadership style consists on one basic rule: stay out of his way. He allows Rain Fury Paicaav to take care of most of the daily routines of running the temple. He is, however, a fierce defender of his faith – and his sermons are both loud and full of wrath.
Rain Fury Paicaav (Clr 6/Rgr 1/Exp 1) – Paicaav is a hawk-nosed man with a wispy beard. He appears to have both Reanaarian and Dejy blood. Paicaav has a slim build and more than a few lesser clerics have challenged him for his position. To their surprise, they found that Paicaav is stronger than he looks, and very quick. Because Paicaav has a head for numbers, and some organizational skills, Advhail charges him with making sure the daily routines are kept up in the temple. Paicaav is the man to see when tithes and collections are being turned in. He seems well educated for a Tempestion. It is widely assumed that Paicaav will one-day challenge Advhail for his position.