"Beware the mist that wisdom maims
Beware the one and ten ordained
Should mortals fall within this hall
The prison without walls will claim"
- Whispers from the Darkness
The Shrine of Lost Souls is special prison housed in a chamber deep within the Citadel. This legendary chamber resides on the 15th floor and is shielded from spells by thick walls of girrall (a magic blocking stone). This prevents enemy mages from teleporting in. The chamber which houses the Shrine is a large circular room with twelve alcoves arranged around the outer wall. A raised walkway runs around the perimeter of the room. The twelve alcoves house Deth, the ten lesser guardians and a teleport arch (which leads to the temple high above) respectively. A magically enchanted glowstone is mounted on the wall between each alcove.
The Shrine rests in the center of the room. Directly above the Shrine is a shaft which runs through the ceiling up five levels to the Temple of the Shattered Skull.
The Shrine itself consists of an central stone obelisk surrounded by four side pylons constructed of the same mineral. Embedded in the central obelisk are hundreds of small purple precious gemstones.
Each gemstone is magically enchanted to contain within it a prisoner - body, mind, soul, spells, skills, equipment and all. A special spell is used to bodily trap the victim within the stone. While contained, the prisoner exists in a form of temporal stasis and does not age.
The Shrine is much more than just a prisoner. It feeds off of the energy of those trapped within and the energy is sent up a shaft in the ceiling in a continuous beam of energy to the Temple of the Shattered Skull some five levels above.
Side View of the Temple and the Shrine
The Shrine is off limits to all people except for the most high ranking priests and officers of the Citadel. Less than a dozen individuals have access to this sacred chamber. To all others, the Shrine is a place of legend.
The first and most lethal defense of the Shrine is the mist. The mist was devised by Sargran along with the rest of the Shrine. A damp, gray misty vapor fills the entire chamber of the Shrine. It is these vapors of sorcery that prevent mortals from venturing within. Anyone who walks into the mist will begin to feel sick as their mind and life force are slowly drained away. The process is slow and uncomfortable as waves of nausea, dizziness and headaches sweep over them. The average human adult male will die from such exposure in a matter of minutes. Holding one's breath does nothing as the mist seems to work on physical contact with any exposed flesh. Even if a victim vacates the mist before death, the effects of the mist are permanent. They will forever suffer a loss of ability and experience, a fogginess of the mind and they will be physically weakened. (Exact game effects are up to the Game Master).
The ruler of the Shrine is a lich necromancer named Deth. Deth is a figure shrouded in mystery. His existence is so intimately tied to the Shrine that he seemed to come into being along with the Shrine. It is possible that Deth is a physical incarnation of the Shrine's magic, nothing more than a phantom. It is also possible that Deth was formerly a mortal necromancer who was assigned this permanent post when the Shrine was created. The truth is not known.
Deth is able to "interface" with all of the prisoners held within the Shrine. That is, he is able to draw upon the memories, and skills and use them as his own. He is able to draw out their life force to heal himself. He is also able to summon their weapons, armor and possessions with a thought. He is able to read spells from the minds of prisoner mages and cast them as his own. This powerful ability makes Deth virtually invincible while he stands within the Shrine.
The Shrine is guarded by ten lesser liches which serve Deth directly. Each guardian is able to "interface" with the prisoners in a manner similar to Deth. However the guardians can only interface with one prisoner at a time rather than all of them at once as Deth does. The Guardians have a unique form of armor. They wear tattered robes but when attacked, a piece of armor will appear to deflect the weapon a split second before impact. In effect, the guardians summon random pieces of armor from prisoners in the Shrine at the speed of thought. Each time a piece of armor is "summoned" to deflect a blow, it is also the best piece of armor to deflect that particularly blow. (Taking into consideration factors like metal type, surface curve, weight, size, quality, magical enhancement and such). Usually, each time this is done, a different piece of armor will be summoned. As soon as the blow has been deflected, the summoned piece of armor will vanish instantly. This gives the Guardians a disorienting appearance as their armor/robes is constantly shifting and adjusting in the heat of battle.
Because the Shrine has a limited number of gemstone "cells", only the most dangerous or important prisoners are placed within the Shrine. A wide variety of prisoners dwell herein: Kitaran soldiers, Rukemian officers, spies, Carrikosian mages, high priests of infidel religions, traitors and even Duthelm citizens who angered the wrong person.
The Shrine was originally created by Sargran, a powerful Duthelm mage and founder of the Black Sorcerers. Sargran is best known for a set of nine spellbooks. The enchantments used to create the Shrine were gathered and written into the Ninth Book of Sargran. This book is now in the possession of Deth. It resides in the Shrine and never leaves that chamber. It rests on a stone pedestal before the Shrine. The Ninth Book contains all of the spells necessary to control the shrine. It contains spells to place a prisoner in the Shrine, to free a prisoner, to find and summon a piece of equipment from the Shrine and other things.
In the base of the Shrine is a circular stone "dial". This is the Glyph Stone. It contains a number of glyphs on its edge. A second set of glyphs (in reverse order) are inscribed on the stone around the edge of the dial. Turning the dial allows you to align the glyphs. Only one pair of glyphs can be aligned at a time. Each pair of glyphs is related to a specific spell. For instance, one glyph pair relates to "Free a Prisoner". Another pair of glyphs relates to "Find a Prisoner". Depending on what function of the Shrine is to be activated, you have to align the dial to the proper glyphs.
A Shrine Key
The Glyph Stone can only be turned using a Shrine Key. A shrine key is an enchanted stone. It doesn't look like a key and probably would not be recognized as a key. The tip of a Shrine Key fits perfectly into the hole in the stone dial. If a player acquires a Shrine Key and then sees the stone dial, he can probably figure it out. There are only five Glyph Stones in existence. One is carried by Deth at all times. One belongs to Caramus. One belongs to the Queen. And one belongs to Varlos. The last three usually don't carry their keys with them, but those keys are well guarded. The fifth key is held in the Citadel Treasury.
The following poem was crafted when a necromancer communed with his god and asked several questions about the Shrine of Lost Souls in Duthelm. The spirit world whispered back the following to him...
The Lord of Death has heard your prayer
Of glories such that you would dare
A sacrifice to save the lives
Of those held dreaming in the lair
Your courage crafts a daring deed
Achieved if you my warnings heed
Think not fools of those who rule
With stealth and might, you may succeed
Seek the grimoire Sargran's Nine
Whose spell filled pages rule the Shrine
With gifted stone evoke a tone
And mage wrought runic glyphs align
Cast out your learned mystic might
Embrace the flow and bathe in light
With spell in mind to chains unbind
Friend and foe will join the fight
Beware the mist that wisdom maims
Beware the one and ten ordained
Should mortals fall within this hall
The prison without walls will claim
This website was last updated October 5, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.