Cais Vihara | often known as the water temple | located southwest of the spine, at the base of the dark forest that surrounds the Eldyr Tree. Cais Vihara is a temple designated to offer tribute to the old Gods of the Vale and repent for the transgressions of man. The monks here know a bit of magic and are highly trained in martial arts. Kind to outsiders who adhere to their belief system that the race of man should seek redemption through prayer offerings and meditation.
A grave and horrifying discovery had been made by a young monk residing at Cais Vihara. Outside the temple’s intricate walls and canals and waterfalls and water gardens, at the cusp of where the dark forest rested, a mass grave was found. Or rather it was seen as a discard hole for the creatures and men alike in the gore pit. Livestock was found inside. Some of the missing monks were found as well, along with the few brave adventures who may have been heading on their journey to the Eldyr Tree. Wild beasts were found, monsters so vicious and cruel lay helpless in the pit. Women, children, the elderly were found as well— from where they came from no one could say.
The only thing for certain was that each and every being in this hole were missing their eyes.
Solitude stepped through the first stone gate of Cais Vihara. The sound of water could be heard all around. The temple was built into the base of a small mountain which houses many waterfalls that was the main water source of the forest. The temple had been constructed in such a way that the buildings would no interfere with the water’s natural course and instead alleviated any previous blockades. The temple had been standing now for centuries and the young assassin noted that multitude of monks, young and old, milling about.
Many were meditating, offering prayer, the hums and the chants creating a peaceful deep-bodied melody that matched the rhythm of the trickling water and rushing roar of the waterfalls. Birds were unafraid here and many flew past the monks and some even rested upon the monks as they braid. There were unlit stone lanterns that designated the allocated stone pathways for people to walk on; between the large river stones were an abundance of moss growing in between the spaces of the rounded stones.
“Where do I go to find the main hall? Aravind?” Solitude asked one of the few monks that didn’t seem to be busy with meditating. He smiled kindly at her, the corners of his eyes wrinkling up. He gave her directions, pointing through the large courtyard, explaining the other many courtyards and gates to be found. Solitude nodded, thankful for her training. Otherwise there was no way she would remember all the lefts and turns and to look out for this tree or that symbol to know which way she was supposed to go. Time was of the essence here, and the woman knew that she may already be too late.
She hated when a large group was already assembled and she had to not only rush against whatever evil horror lay in wait but also having to rush because someone could beat her to the finish line.
As she traversed through the the large expanse of the temple, navigating her way between courtyards that each held a different theme— water, sand, forest, stone, et cetera— she was getting closer and closer to the largest building that the monastery coveted: it was on a single platform and raised high up above all walls and other buildings of the temple. Surrounded by crystal clear water with only a small path of stepping stones to it’s entrance, perfectly maintained lotus gardens that created symmetrical rings. Sol knew she had finally arrived at Aravind, the center of Cais Vihara.
Skipping over the stone she entered that stone building covered in mosaics and carved stone. She had no time to focus on pictures or the beauty of the place. Incense filled the air, smoke swirling around stone pillars. The taste of magic was in the air. And much to Sol’s disdain she saw about a dozen or so adventurers already here. She was late. Like a quiet alley cat she stepped up to the group and glanced around.
Everyone was waiting for someone to arrive. Probably someone who was going to explain the situation to everyone.