This week, Jacinth looks back into the history, not of a person per se, but of an important building, the Cathedral of Ithaenc:

Years ago, back when I still traveled the roads and trails of Ispar, I paid a visit to an old Jojiist who had made his home upon the side of a great peak. Among other things, the hermit shared with me this piece of wisdom: “Do not grow boastful and never hold yourself above others, for we are but motes in this wide world. Though I have seen a great many wonders in the tens and tens of years that I have lived here, the mountain has witness all since the dawn of time.” Locations, both those of natural and manmade origins, are often the greatest witnesses of the history of their world. They stand silently as seasons pass, kingdoms are birthed and overthrown, and men leave both literal and metaphorical marks upon their edifices. There is perhaps no greater example of such a site on this world of Auberean than the Cathedral of Ithaenc.

Erected by the long-dead Falatacot race, the cathedral is situated above a great waterfall on the back of one of the Veseyan Islands, an area important and sacred to its builders due to the presence of the “Witch Gods” whom they worshipped. Over the eons, the Falatacot bloodlines dwindled, and it and the world as a whole passed into the hands of new masters, the Yalain. For many years, Ithaenc was overseen by the Lady Adja, a sorceress of Falatacot descent, and her order. At the height of the first Shadow War, the Lady of Ithaenc gave her life in order to seal the terrible Hopeslayer in his crystal prison, and one of the fragments of that prison was entrusted to the remaining “Adjanites” for safekeeping. However, hate for the Falatacot origins of the order’s ways and greed for the power and influence guarding the prison shard would bring led Nali Valind, the leader of the Northern Church, to declare the Adjanites irredeemable heretics. A cadre of crusaders, blinded by righteousness and bloodlust, stormed the cathedral and murdered the order members, leaving nothing but their bodies and the broken, burned remains of Ithaenc in their wake.

And so the cathedral sat in silent mourning for centuries, until a new denizen made its way into the world–us. We Isparians had made our way to the shores of the Veseyan Isles, some in an attempt to escape the Olthoi, some to prevent the release of Bael’Zharon, and others to hasten it. In part through the actions of the Shadows and in part due to the folly of Dericost nobility, a path was opened beneath Ithaenc, and there was fought a last-ditch battle to prevent the sixth and final crystal fragment, the Shard of the Herald, from being broken. As we all know, the battle was lost, and the Hopeslayer was once again unleashed upon the world, a tale for another day.

There are some poor souls who seem doomed to suffer, whose entire lives are filled with disappointment, sadness, and misery. In the countless millennia since it’s construction, Ithaenc Cathedral has been an edifice that shares a similar sad fate. It has stood witness to the slow death of its architects, watched silently as its denizens were slaughtered for worshipping the “wrong” divinity, and shuddered in fear with the rest of the world as the greatest horror to walk this land was set loose. Yes, Ithaenc has seemingly seen naught but the very darkest sights this world or its people have to offer. When one stands here within the fractured walls and among the toppled spires, as I do this very night, one cannot help but believe that this ancient and storied place deserves a better fate. Perhaps one day, should whatever guides the fates of beings flesh and blood, or brick and mortar, deem it so, the Cathedral of Ithaenc might yet stand watch over far brighter, happier times.

For more on the Ithaenc Cathedral, check out the Catacombs of Ithaenc quest writeup.

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