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Valley of Ruins and Temple of Truth

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Overview

The story of the Temple of Truth cannot be told without telling the tale of the Valley of Ruins and how it came to be. Long ago, in the days before the Battle of the Octagon, the Valley of Ruins was a vastly different place. A tribe of nomads the Rijom called the Sseki believed that the valley was a place sacred to them. Of the nomadic tribes, the Sseki were the most mystical and tied to the world of spirits. Their shamans, called dreamwitches or dreamwalkers, claimed that the Valley was a place where Aradath touched the world of spirits. Every Sseki shaman was fully awakened to the spirit-world within the Valley of Ruins, the Rijom say that the last of the Sseki were slain there by the other nomadic tribes when the Sseki began to twist their connection with the spirit-world to a darker purpose.

Centuries passed until a small group of humans settled within the valley, founding the city that now lies in ruins. Exactly who these people were or what they called their city is lost to history. What we do know from relics found within the ruins and from some of the frescos that still exist within some buildings is that the inhabitants revered and studied the arts of magick. Like the Sseki before them, they found the valley to be a focal point where planes of existance met. They found ways to travel between this world and the others, returning with strange ores and precious stones unseen in Aradath. What they either did not know or chose to ignore was that the other existance is a world of darkness where chaos and madness infuse the very air and the earth. Jewelry and weapons forged from ore mined from the world slowly drove the valley's inhabitants mad, with each successive generation becoming increasingly tainted with chaos and madness. A bloodthirsty cult arose within the city, one that it is believed worshipped a dark god of murder sprung from the other existance. One day, the mage-priests in the city attempted a ritual to enslave the humanoids native to the other plane. The ritual went awry, tearing the thin veil between worlds and drawing the Celerith through the ensuing hole between realities. The Celerith slaughtered the city's inhabitants in a great battle which saw the destruction of the city. The Celerith wove their dark magicks over the corpses, preserving them in the horrific moment of death and displaying them throughout the city in the most grotesque ways imaginable, often upon crosses or spears fused from the victim's own bones either ripped or sliced out of their bodies.

Tales soon spread about the fantastic wealth to be found in the ruins of the city, of items made with gemstones of unearthly brilliance and of beautiful objects forged from strangely luminescent metals. Impetuous treasure seekers descended upon the ruins, heedless of the dangerous Celerith. The few that managed to return with treasures stolen from the valley more often than not came back stark raving mad, but most believed this was because of the horrors inflicted by the Celerith. Many of them were either slain or put to death for the crimes their madness drove them to, their belongings confiscated by the temples in payment for their crimes. Soon it became apparent that it was the items from the valley that were the source of the paranoid madness as clerics and priests within the temples began to go mad as well.

Realizing the danger from the tainted items, priests from the seven temples put aside their differences and joined together to contain the spread of the tainted items. First, they built a great temple to all seven gods near the entrance of the valley, both to keep the Celerith in and to hopefully keep treasure seekers out. Deep within the temple, they built a great vault to hold any tainted items they came across either in the valley or that were recovered from other cities and lands. They chose to man the temple only with clerics of the hand as there were concerns about clerics of the sword or heart coveting some of the tainted weapons or armor. The temple was christened The Temple of Truth, for the one Truth all seven temples shared between them was the Truth of their Faith and Duty to their Gods. Once the temple was finished, the temples cleansed the Valley of Ruins as best they could, destroying any Celerith they found, recovering any tainted objects and putting the bodies of the former inhabitants to rest. As a warning to any who slipped passed the temple, stone gargoyles were placed throughout the valley. For a time, the valley was relatively peaceful and the clerics guarding the tainted objects and the valley had little to do but practice their faith and ensure the items within the vault remained safe. However, the Celerith had not been eradicated as was thought. Several powerful Celerith illusionists had survived the purge in the valley and now sought not only revenge upon the temple but also to recover some of the relics of power kept within the vault. They used their dark magicks to animate the stone gargoyles left in the valley, creating an army that never tired or slept. They also wove strands of chaos and opened a channel through which demons flooded to attack the Temple of Truth. Neither the Celerith nor the Defenders of Truth have been able to triumph over the other, their battle still goes on today.

 

 
 
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