Places of Light and Shadow

In today’s installment of our expanded location descriptions, we visit the holy repositories and citadels of Teclis and Malerion, each a testament to aelf culture and the terrible secrets kept by the gods of aelfkind.

Isik Kulesi, “The Tower of Light”

Ancient place of study, in gentler times Isik Kulesi stood highest in Amasya’s skyline, proudly illuminating the streets in day and night. Here, students of the arcane came to learn, to study, and ultimately to teach and practice their art under the benevolent supervision of some of the greatest sages of Ghyran and beyond. In these days, much of the tower’s upper floors have fallen into ruin, subtle architecture ultimately unequal to the tide of years and perhaps the influence of more malevolent beings as well.

The grounds of the Tower are scattered with stone, all that remains of the pinnacle that fell calamitously into the Ur-River during its long abandonment. Much of the topmost floors was lost into the waterway, but much still lies half-hidden by overgrown lawns and gardens. The vaults once held within these upper floors shattered with the fall, their containment breaching and allowing the strange energies of the devices and artifacts within to leach out again. Creatures and vegetation around the riverbank have grown unusually active of late, manifesting peculiar and unnatural tendencies- but this is nothing next to the monstrosities that occasionally crawl out of the Ur-River itself, bolstered by now-untamed power.

The study halls that made up the base of the tower are less damaged, though only just- rain, roots and wind have destroyed all but the most resilient of the furnishings, and ruined the tower’s once-magnificent libraries. Still, the eldritch defenses of the library sometimes flare into life all the same, and the empty rooms and halls can at times be seen to spark with life and energy years after they should have fallen silent and cold. It would be dangerous to venture into the Tower, and yet if the wards are still active there must remain something worth protecting.

There are dungeons beneath this place of learning, secret and built to last until the end of time- places of storage and imprisonment set down by master mages of ages past, perhaps even with aid by Teclis himself. What is imprisoned here is unknown, save to a few, but widely speculated upon- dragons, demigods, daemons, devices of malign and rarely surpassed potency no doubt. If the damage dealt by the collapse of the upper vaults has been severe, the consequences of these lower vaults being broken would be cataclysmic. Fortunately, there are few with the arts and patience remaining to try and breach the depths.

Karanlik Saray, “The Palace of Shadow”

Standing opposite the Tower of Light, in Amasya’s heyday Karanlik Saray ate up its sibling’s illumination as quickly as Isik Kulesi threw it out. This foreboding construction is gloomy even beneath a noonday sun, and perpetually hides secrets within its shadows. Most pious folk avoided the temple during the Age of Myth- though its residents were sanctioned and in some ways respected residents of the city, they were never loved, and there was always someone telling stories of a friend or relative who ventured inside, never to be seen again.

The palace itself is deliberately ominous- beyond its unnatural darkness, monstrous and alien beasts of ebony and ruby crouch on its parapets, watching and judging all who pass beneath their gaze. Though these stone beasts are inanimate- as far as anyone knows- there are a multitude of openings through which one could watch and not be seen, hunting without spooking the prey. The hallways and chambers themselves are immaculately clean, save for five centuries of dust, but on close inspection traces of dried blood can still be found in some of the gutters. Walking the halls, one cannot escape the feeling of being livestock wandering a slaughterhouse.

Outside, the district immediately adjacent to the palace was the center of vice and iniquity in the city’s halcyon days. Though the city was built for pilgrims, many of they that came had mortal needs and desires, and saw no contradiction in partaking of the multitude pleasures of the flesh in the evening and shriving their sins in Azyrhol the next day. Sitting in Karanlik Saray’s eternal shadow, these streets were easy to get lost in even when they were filled with life- now that Amasya is dead, it seems that they have taken on a malign intelligence of their own, and take cruel joy in leading travelers of any description astray.

The city’s dockyards form the final curtain between the vice district and the Ur-River itself. These wharfs were once thronged by merchants and pirates alike, as they returned from a season of plying their trades. The air stank of fish guts and tar, and it was said that if anything could be found in Amasya it would be found here. Today, though the docks are unstable and in many cases have collapsed altogether and the smells of industry have been replaced with a constant deathly stench, there are still many treasures hidden among the ruins. The erstwhile treasure seeker will proceed at their own peril, though- the half-flooded streets and sewers are full of beasts natural and unnatural, and it may be that the murky waters have a life of their own…


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