Saturday, 18 July 2009

the pleasuredome

Enclosed in ancient walls and ruined towers eight miles round lies a decaying realm of beauty and splendour carved out the land by a warlord of legend. The bards say when the realm was founded, he became invincible in war and contested his brother's claim to the throne with such vigour his brother bowed before him at the warlord's crowning here. The truth is lost to stories and fables as now the land is beautiful but wild, it's stewards are lost yet bound to the place by addiction, longing and ritual, their descendents grow inhuman amid ruined statues, overgrown gardens and palaces conquered by creeping plants bearing sweet fruit and serpents with jewel-like scales and exquisite venoms.
  • Getting past the walls and ancient towers is not so difficult; the land has slowly shifted and in some places, the walls are tumbledown and crawling with vines and flowers. Scaling the walls is easy, though the snakes among them makes a climbing attempt a little more exciting for those expecting an easy journey.
  • The gardens are overgrown but hold precious trees awaiting harvest; exotic resin and strange fruits that offer bliss when eaten. The descendants of the ancient gardeners and porters are now hermaphroditic shape-shifters, addicted to the decadent harvest who share the bounty to visitors as a presage to using them as breeding stock.
  • In a fissure covered by cedars on the side of a hill lies an entrance to the caves guarded by a dome of golden marble veined with purple and lit by enchanted mirrors of crystal so that the dome's shadow is always visible to those within. The wary may hear the whispering of waters from the caves or they may hear a sibilant voice whispering secret desires.
The Dome of Pleasures
  • A dome supported by eight pillars each bolstered by eight statues of androgynous women that becomes scimitar-wielding warriors if the warlord was attacked. Now the dome is pristine and deserted, the serpents and plants are cut back by the statues. The dome is a perfect shelter, a chill breeze from the cave keeps heat at bay in the day.
  • The shadow of the dome falls upon a cave entrance from which cool air rises; further within can be found tendrils of frost. The cave entrance has treacherous footing and the air is chill enough to cloud breath. There are infrequent sounds of rushing water and the clattering of stones; there are no denizens near the cave entrance.
  • Ice-caves fed by a chill underground spring which spits geysers of icy water and rocks as large as skulls (the latter with some force) aloft at regular intervals. The spring maintains the ice in the caves and occasional rains of rocks discourage habitation though some of the dwellers below come here for fresh water.
The Sunless Sea
  • Beyond the ice-caves flows a meandering underground river along five miles of caves that are inhabited by ape-like, pale-skinned degenerate humanoids armed with primitive stone and bone weapons. Their orgiastic hunger is only exceeded by their violence and devotion to an entity that appears to be part woman, part serpent and part crab.
  • The river opens out along eight salty estuaries. Each estuary has a settlement, there are tales ranging from albino serpent-men in purple robes and wise in alchemy, to eerie fungal giants, to pale lovely women with siren voices and ape-like guardians. One of the estuaries is alleged to have a fiend bound to it's shores, a black bloated and hungry thing.
  • Within the deep caverns ebbs and flows a sunless sea. White scales tinged with gold and purple bear witness to the presence of great, scaled serpents in the depths of the sea; some are found by those who fish the sea or washed up on the shore of an estuary. The sea also holds stranger things than these...
(inspired by Samuel Coleridge's Kubla Khan and the WFRP/40K demon Slaanesh)

1 comment:

  1. With a soundtrack by Frankie Goes to Hollywood? ;)


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