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How the Virtues Came to Avadon

#1

Foreword:
The following is excerpted from the journal of the priest Zachariah Fenn, an acolyte of the Temple of the Codex and former spiritual minister to the people of the Western Reaches. The journal itself was found by excavators, partially preserved within the sealed chamber of an altar at the ruins of Saint Francis Cathedral shortly after its destruction. The book is of considerable historical and religious value because its age places it shortly after the foundation of the Temple itself. Though portions of the manuscript were destroyed, our scholars have pieced together legible sections to present this, the most accurate and near-complete version of the original work. Needless to say, the author's use of language is obscure and makes references which are lost to modern scholars. The subject matter, a portentous fantasy dismissed as fallacy by the Temple's current administration, should be approached with understanding that the author was of advanced age by the time of his writing, likely suffering from senility. No factual evidence exists regarding the true identity of the Temple's founder, and in any case, we consider such musings to be squarely in the domain of the religion itself.

-- Coriolan Anzod II
Chief Advocate Curator
Cambrian Chamber of Historical Studies
Ardanis 615AC

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Excerpt dated: Trinsday, 14 Callumnas Rega 425AC:
xxx/x/x...reads signals in their reactions, and with the impending completion of the Shrines comes the conclusion of my direct relevance to the leadership of the Cathedral. As of today, seven of the Eight stand finished, Humility reserved for the last as a gentle admonition to those who shall continue to serve as clergy. In this moment of tranquility I now find the chance for quiet reflection; freedom to inscribe a brief memoir of earlier times, most pressingly the secret tradition of Father Enoch Mazirion, our founder and teacher. To begin: In Aronas 402 a dark portal opened near our home in the desert, spilling a black oily liquid over a wide swath of the surrounding area. Thirsty, the sand took in the oil but left behind the fragile figure of a man in robes. He was delirious and lashed out at us, babbling incoherently about a Huntsman, a Precipice, and the Abyss. We bound him to a litter and dragged him to the healing circle where he eventually slept. A sentry remained to watch over the portal and nothing further emerged, however on the third night a cloaked figure came from the direction of Cambria and passed through into the nothingness beyond. We mourned the poor soul, because soon afterward the passage closed upon itself and disappeared.

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Over weeks, the strange man recovered and began making an honest effort to contribute to the village. He was elderly, with a long beard and stooped posture, but gazed on our land with the wonder of a child. He rapidly learned our customs and assisted an herbalist in crafting an ornate distillery. I noticed he had a distinctly wistful and tragic demeanor; he disapproved of our kinsmen's petty squabbles and often placed himself physically between combatants at considerable risk to himself. One cold morning, we woke to learn a tailor had been robbed and murdered in the night. Father Enoch, for by then we knew his name, sat in vigil by the deceased and held to his chest a small totem he'd made from two crossed twigs, one of which ended in a loop. He called it an Ankh, and seemed shocked at our unfamiliarity with the shape. I remember, it was this moment when he must have truly understood our unfamiliarity with his religion, and he began speaking to us of the Virtues. Initially few truly heard him, but over time disdain melted before his steady words: all are capable of harmony, all must follow the path carved by the Avatar.

The remainder speaks for itself in the glory of our Temple's rise. Within ten years our Cathedral was completed, named not for our leader but one of his own early mentors, long-since martyred in a distant land. The project of the Shrines nears completion, and I foresee their grand importance in the dark times ahead. Without Father Enoch's arrival this land would still be unaware of the Codex, disarmed of our only weapon against the rising forces of evil. The man himself always remained cryptic about his origins, but on one occasion early in our history I believe I saw him reveal a clue. He had only recently begun to make missions, and we were traveling in procession along a new route when we passed by a mountain in the far south near Cambria. Father Enoch stopped mid-stride and stared open-mouthed, then guided us to its northern edge where a passage lay overgrown with vegetation. He entered alone and after a time emerged, shaking his head in amazement, saying only "By the Eight, it is so different... yet this is home...."

Of his ultimate disappearance I have little to add. I will say that by that time, he'd seen us become a self-sustaining community, with the Cathedral built and the project of the Shrines well underway. Perhaps there was no better time to lose him, but we felt it sharply when one day he simply failed to arrive at our morning gathering. We are forever indebted for his kindness and teaching, and as he wished, we will hide his name as our guarded secret. Perhaps he perished, but we are true believers, and consider him to have completed his Path at last.

"Avium."
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ErikGray

Seer
Counselor
#2
Ah, a most enlightening excerpt! In my studies, I have not discovered this piece of literature. I do wonder - are there more excerpts to be made available? Or perhaps more of them remain buried in the ruins of the old Cathedral...

Wonderful work!
 
#3
622 AC

The Pathfinder's have established a small expedition site at the remains of the old Cathedral. Bob, an odd man who speaks to a candle called Greenlee, makes his way to the ruins as an advanced party. His job is to clear the current inhabitants which are squatting at the historical ruins.

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"Look at that sight Greenlee. Hard to believe it was some Cathedral at some point. Oh well, we came here to clear out the vermin so let's get to it!"

Bob takes the candle Greenlee and places it inside of a lantern for protection

Shortly after "armoring" Greenlee, Bob aptly uses his knowledge of explosives to remove the unwanted visitors from the site. He set elaborate tripwires all around the ruins to catch them off guard while he attacked them at range with a crossbow. Unfortunately several buildings from the ruins house the rude guests which required a different tactic.

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With reckless abandonment Bob set trap after trap off until the foundation shifted in the building he was clearing...

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With his job done for the most part, Bob attaches his adventurers rope to what he hoped was a secure floor stone, and scaled his way into the dark abyss.

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Greenlee lit the way for the wayward adventurer. The walls were unnaturally smooth to the touch, and for being under the water, there was no moisture in the air. He steadily walked with his boots echoing through the elaborate walkway.

"Who the heck built something under the water like this. Honestly how they keep the water out is an amazing engineering feat. I wonder if they used bees wax or some kind of combination of......", Bob rambled to Greenlee for some time until finally coming to the end of the tunnel.

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A simple sarcophagus was placed in the center of a small room where a stone was etched with the mantra of the eight Virtues. Not being a pious man, Bob continues to scan the room for anything of interest until finally he decides to open the center piece. Setting Greenlee to the side he hoists the lid off letting the wooden cover slam to the ground on the other side.

"Let's see what we've got here Greenlee. Bet it was some rich schmuck with too much money so he couldn't be bother to be buried with the common folk."

To his surprise it was a man of advanced age with an enormous beard, but his head was completely bald. Not even a rogue strand of hair grew upon his scalp. In the mans hand was a small tear shaped object attached to prayer beads. Carefully Bob reached in to examine the religious item, and saw a word etched into it that he had never seen before.

"Avidus..... I wonder what that means", Bob was rhetorically asking.

"It means Sacrifice"

Startled to no end, Bob falls backwards landing hard on his buttox. Holding Greenlee up high, the man in the sarcophagus slowly sits up and turns towards them. With a hoarse, yet soft voice, the man speaks once more.

" My name is Enoch. Father Enoch Mazirion. You wouldn't happen to have water would you?"
 
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