Let us share some excerpts so that you get a sense of what it’s like:
Rising from the tor, Türos Tem’s curtain walls stand 10’ in height and thickness, and are surmounted with battlements 5’ tall and 3’ thick. Wall-walks, paved with stone slabs, run along the top of the curtain walls behind the battlements. The wall-walks are accessed by wooden stairs found in the mural towers (buildings 5-8) at the fort’s four corners. The curtain walls were built with local limestone, but have been rendered and white-washed, such that they gleam brightly by day. In this way, the fort symbolically reflects the glory of the Winged Sun.
The curtain walls enclose a five-acre area of packed earth containing the dozen buildings that house the garrison (buildings 9-20). Except where otherwise noted, all of the interior buildings (as well as the inn and bathhouse outside the walls) are constructed of rendered and white-washed limestone and furnished with sloped roofs of red tile. Their interior walls are of plastered and white-washed wattlework, while interior flooring is cement.
A small village nestles around the western edge of the tor. Other than the inn and bath house (buildings 22 and 23), the villages’ buildings are largely of half-timbered construction, using oak frames infilled with wattlework, with earthen floors. Like most villages which spring up around border forts, it is populated by a mix of camp followers, shop keepers, craftsmen, merchants, prostitutes, and retired soldiers. Traders arrive here along the paved road from Siadanos and Türos Luin, typically staying just long enough to sell supplies to the fort, before departing along the northern road for Türos Aster.
11m-p. Meditation Rooms: The outer walls of these room are pierced with large open windows that circulate fresh air. The unwindowed walls are painted with faded mosaics of Mityara engaging in acts of healing and mercy. In the center of each of the meditation rooms, a small three-legged table holds seven white candles in earthenware holders and a scroll written in Classical Auran. Each scroll contains one of the meditations of the philosopher-emperor Gaius Tavus, determined with a roll of 1d8 on the Random Philosophical Meditations table.
In ancient days, the temple was a glorious and profane cathedral to dark and Chthonic gods. As such, nearly every wall sports evidence of once-great carvings, frescoes, and mosaics depicting the majestic darkness of the Zaharans and their deities. While the brick-work is now cracked and damaged with age, and the paintings have faded, the Judge should stress that this was once a center for human activity and it shows in how the temple looks. This place was not built to be a beastman lair; it was a place of worship and religious practice.
Certain rooms make note of particularly large or noteworthy frescoes, mosaics, and carvings. These are described from the point-of-view of the average adventurer. The additional information listed in parenthesis next to each item should only be made available to characters who succeed on a Loremastery, Knowledge (Ancient History), Knowledge (Occult), Theology, or similar proficiency throw. Judges who are not using the Auran Empire campaign setting should, of course, substitute their own setting’s lore for that of the lost kingdom of Zahar.
- Entry Way: A great 130’ wide and 30’ high crack has been torn open in the side of the plateau here, giving access to the ruined temple. During daylight hours, light from the outside streams onto the decorated south wall of the temple, where tall columns carved in the shape of serpents flank a pair of massive bronze doors. On either side of the columns, a 10’ wide glazed-brick mosaic depicts a two-headed winged serpent encircling the earth. (The two-headed winged serpent is how the Chthonic goddess Sakkara is depicted in the Canticles of Xisuthros.)
- Carnal Chamber: The frescoes on either end of this 20’ wide, 40’ long room suggest it was once dedicated to the most carnal of purposes. The fresco on the north wall depicts a bloody and decadent orgy. (Such orgies are common in the religious rites of Nasga, Mistress of Pain, the Unchaste, Chthonic goddess of seduction, lust, and pain). The fresco on the southern wall depicts various couples engaged in a dozen different erotic acts. (The twelve acts depicted are known as the Twelve Holy Acts of Nasga. They are proscribed by the Temple of Ianna because they are feared to be so pleasurable as to instantly debauch anyone who experiences them.) Both frescoes are painted in lurid colors that remain shockingly vivid despite the passage of years.