• Location • House of the High King

The largest temple devoted to Faldrun.

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House of the High King

House of the High King
In a city known for such devotion to their patron Immortal, it should be no surprise that the temple would tower with grandeur and intimidation over the rest of the city. Elaborate stone stairways cut back upon themselves, leading worshipers to a last ramp over the streets below, lined with banners of praise and threat. Over the entrance way reads the temple's name, carved in Vauni: ëlui'th eav ädà hä'j ca hav.

This threat is directed as much to those whose faith might wane after years of conflict, as it is to those who encompass the enemy side of this conflict. But those who traverse this path with sincere praise believe they have little to fear. Whether this is true or not matters little to those of such zeal.

But for the Aukari, just entering this temple is a test of faith, to some degree. For it does not take all that much strain to cause one of this race to ignite themselves; and the hot atmosphere inside the "Sanctuary" brings them all the closer to self-immolation. The zealots of Faldrun welcome this daily added pressure, and are wary of those who hesitate to enter, or appear to brace themselves against the added strain.

The stone walls within the temple carry heat from local volcanic sources. This is both hot air, brought in through tubular vents cut into the stone, and the flooring itself, which has decorative patterns of red lines, which give the impression of magma ready to bubble through the tiles.

It is not uncommon for an Aukari worshiper to be suddenly triggered into combustion. Such an event is greeted by enthusiastic revelry, as the devout shout encouragement to the departing soul to join Faldrun in an ethereal paradise of joyous release from the woes of Idalosian struggles.

Members of other races would find the atmosphere stifling and asphyxiating, were any allowed to enter. The innate resistance to heat, possessed by all Aukari, gives them cause to look with scorn upon 'weaklings" that wilt in the divine heat of their glorious Faldrunian rituals.

The sudden combustion of worshipers may interrupt the flow of the readings, prayers and hymns lauding Faldrun's glory, but resumption of the service always carries a marked increase in zeal at the display of "purification" in their midst. It is not uncommon for sympathetic combustions to follow.
However, even the Zatkai and his underlings recognize the need for business, training and schooling to continue. So the daily services held in the main chamber are of short duration, and repeated throughout the day to accommodate the schedule of everyday life.

This is not the case with the ceremonial events held below the Sanctuary chamber. The "Lauditorium" below is the scene of all high religious events, including sacrifices, and holds significantly less bodies than the Sanctuary above. It is reached through a small, idealized pulpit, that doubles as a gateway, which is located behind the raised Lecturnal platform in the main Sanctuary.

Other passages lead to upper chambers, where it is cooler. Living spaces for the clergy, a library of texts on faith and history, meditation chambers, ledgers of contributions and achievements, and stores of paraphernalia and necessities are found up here. As is a large, obsidian-domed chamber, magnificently furnished for Faldrun's visits to Sirothelle. None but the Zatkai ever know when the deity can be found there, but most Aukari are content to know that they have made this gesture of gratitude to He who grants them control over the fire within.

One must have a standing of unquestioned faith to be allowed into the Lauditorium below, where the heat of Faldrun's divinity is even more intense. Even then, a failure to be punctual is likely to deny you room to attend such events. Many are the offerings, both living and dead, to the altar as Aukari choirs raise choruses of praise, to bring harmony to the screams of the offered. Such shrieking being held to emphasize further the superiority of Faldrun and his followers over the joint hosts of other Immortals.
The altar itself is an impressive construct of torchlit carvings, and murals formed of precious stones and metals, depicting scenes of Faldrun's victories, past and present, over his foes. The ceremonies conducted here are more restrained, despite the emotional surges caused by the screaming of sacrifices, or the joys of Aukari unions.

It may be surprising that zealous self-combustion is a rare event in these services. But the fact is, that those who have reached the level of prestige to be granted entrance are not as inclined to be motivated to such displays.They tend to conduct themselves with more dignity, having nothing to prove to those around them.

Generally, the average age of attendees is higher than the daily services in the Sanctuary. Other than the acolytes who attend the Zatkai, or his subordinates, there are few below the age of twenty arcs. After the ceremony, they are primarily tasked with disposal of any leftovers or remains. This is done through the doorway behind the altar, which opens onto a large, natural shelf overlooking a volcanic flow hundreds of feet below.

The clergy suppresses rumors of escapes through this cavernous passage, though few believe it even when such rumor reaches public ears. For it is said one would have to submerge themselves in the magma to ride the current out.
word count: 912

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