The Island, Atia
❧ The Temple - All about Atia's temple
The Priests and Priestesses - an overview of the workers
❧ History - a brief history of the island
The Library - the temple library
Temple Facts and Rules - miscellaneous information about the temple
❧ Lifestyle - the setting, how people live, the natives, etc.
Approaching the temple, one will notice the 'forest' garden surrounding it. Thick and green, it is seen as generally peaceful. While much of the forest is plain trees, there are also many trees and shrubs filled with apples and pomegranates. Locals may talk about a "golden apple" that seems to have come from this forest, though few know of its true properties.
Priests and Priestesses
Just to the side, there is a small clearing with a fenced in, gated compound. Here, one can find the homes of the Atian Temple Guards, serious men and women who protect the temple. Unfortunately, access into their area is strictly denied.
When first entering the doors of the temple, one enters a waiting room, designed to act as a buffer between the temple proper and the outside. Pools of water decorate this area, reflecting a very large and beautiful mural that spans the length of the room. The mural speaks of the island's history, depicting it in scenes that flow from its founding to its grow under Atia's watchful eyes. As the mural draws to an end, the scenes become more dark and judging by them, one might guess that the very world itself might fall to pieces should it not follow Atia's guidance. Outsiders must be purified here here before continuing.
Beyond the atrium, one finds the temple is made largely of stone, with detailing in preserved woods, precious metals, and gemstones. The walls are decorated by murals and engravings, depicting bodies tangled in sexual acts and scenes of the island's history. Nothing depicting Atia herself exists on these walls, but there are other gods shown, unrecognizable for the most part and in some cases, their faces have been deliberately obscured. The floor is marble, broken only by the appearance of a few ornate rugs.
The central room of the temple is the largest, reaching to the ceiling. It is here that the people of Atia gather every Saturday and Wednesday to listen to the words of their priests and priestess, with wooden pews available for them to sit. On either wall are two small hallways, also blocked with curtains and rope. The wall opposite the entrance is plain, though one can find a beautiful statue of Atia. She stands behind the altar in this room, where the population of Atia gathers on its days of worship to listen to the words of the Scholars. While the wall behind the statue is unadorned with symbols, there are two large entranceways, usually blocked by heavy red curtains.
Beyond these curtains lies the inner chamber of the temple. The Altar of Offering stands out of sight to those first arriving from the shade of the atrium and central to most of the major ceremonies on the island, many of which involve virgins. Above it looms a large statue of Atia, twice as tall as a normal human, positioned as if to overlook those gathered. She stands surrounded by a pool of golden aphrodisiac water, a beautiful young woman with long, wavy hair. Crafted in stone, her eyes are fixed on the altar in front of her. She is clothed in wispy fabric that conceals one of her breasts while the other stands proudly uncovered. The statue has one hand extended, palm facing up. It seems designed to be filled and in fact, there may be a collection of crystal balls of various colors gathered in that hand at any given time. The other is crossed against her torso.
It is said that this statue and the altar are the two oldest things in the temple and workers can oft be overheard remarking how glad they are that they were able to bring the statue out after the rebuilding of the temple, hinting that the statue may have been elsewhere.
In the halls surrounding the first room, one can find a collection of smaller rooms. Here is where the business and more personal aspects of Atia's temple life occurs. These rooms may have basins and altars for private weddings and baptism equvilents, as well as privacy for couples in need of guidance. These halls and rooms are generally unavailable to the public without appointment. There are also some rooms that are locked and warded, guarding secrets and contraband alike.
The further one explores into the temple, the more like a home it seems to be. Furthest from the door is the kitchens, where a secondary exit to the temple is located. Here is found the men and women who are responsible for the health and well-being of all who live in the temple. Meals are served three times daily; dawn, after noon worship, and before night worship. It's not uncommon to hear of new Novices attempting to sneak for a midnight snack, only to be caught by the woman in charge of this area.
There are stairs in several places, leading to second and third floors. On the right side of the temple are the living quarters of the priests and priestess, and where they spend their days if they are not in the library or helping the community.
There are large dorms for the Novices, divided by gender. There is little privacy to be found here, and only beaded curtains mark the boundaries. The Initiates are luckier, as they all have their own private rooms. Still small, these rooms are enough for them to live comfortably. All rooms have a personal shrine to Atia.
Strangely missing are the rooms where the High Priestess and High Priest may stay. But then, some people say they no longer live on this mortal realm...
The left side of the temple is devoted to the library, connected to the right side by a singular hallway.
- There is very little tech in the Temple. Only the Novices may have some, in radios and lights for reading at night. Even the equipment made for broadcasting is never stored in the building.
- Each Novices has a personal area blocked off from others by a beaded curtain. There's enough room in this area for a bed and a small set of drawers with a bookshelf on top.
- Initiates are free to add things if they wish, but generally the rooms contain beds, writing desks, bookshelves, and standing closets.
- There used to be an observatory for watching stars, but that was moved to the volcano, as the highest vantage point on the island.
- Beyond the wards and locks are rooms filled with more magical items, hidden away from the eyes of any who may be tempted to use them. Most guarded is a room with a small collection of collars in it, in small unbreakable containers, though these collars seem to be quite plain... Characters may NOT know this information yet.
- If you listen closely, you will hear Initiates whisper about the basement, though there seems to be no entry. Perhaps these leads to the catacombs.
The temple is ruled over by the High Priest and High Priestess, though these two are rarely seen. They are considered the mortal beings closest to Atia, and as such they leave behind the world to join her in her realm, or so they say.
Novices are the lowest rank of clergy. They are typically teenagers coming in from Gryta, eager to learn the ways of their Goddess and devote their lives to her. They are responsible for mundane chores and the easiest of tasks around the temple, and it is very easy for Novices to leave the temple to get married and have children, since they haven't completely given their lives to Atia yet. They study and learn for five years with one of their seniors, as there are many, many rituals to know.
Novices live in large dormitory type rooms, separated by gender.
The next step up are the Initiates. These learned men and women are responsible for many of the day to day activities in the temple. They counsel citizens, give them blessings, watch over ceremonies. Upon their initiation into the full priesthood, they may choose a new name.
The Scholars are the three people who oversee the temple in place of the High Priest and High Priestess. Currently, there are two women and one man. Jacinda, Aspasia, and Philemon.
While priests and priestesses are allowed to have children, they may not get married. Ironically, they are referred to by their rank and their name, leaving their titles asexual. I.E. Scholar Aspasia, Initiate Calixte, etc.
While Novices and Initiates wear sheer robes in the temple, they have other robes depending on the ceremony or what they must do. They may leave the temple for house visits to dedicated but ill worshippers, or to run errands or speak to people. While out of the temple, they wear olive green robes with hoods and complicated and beautiful embroidery on the hems. The only ones who do not wear sheer robes are those responsible for more physical work - those who work in the kitchen or gardens, clean, etc. Their robes are a dark yellow.
The Scholars, High Priest, and High Priestess all wear elaborate robes of exquisite silk, yards of sheer and light fabric. They rarely step out of the temple grounds.
Atia's temple is not without its Guards.
Guards are dressed in dark red, sturdy material, and as sharp weapons are not permitted openly into the temple, they train in the use of hand-to-hand combat or use staves or iron fans. They have their own little compound outside the temple in the back, where they share rooms and can store equipment that is not permitted in the temple.
While they worship Atia, they also look to Ares for guidance and for prayers, which is why they choose to live outside the temple, as Atia does not permit idols of other gods in her temple. There are about 16 of them, both men and women. They are just as sexually active as the rest of Atia, but because of their profession, they normally do not have children and may have surgery to render them infertile.
At any given time, there are least four Guards on duty.
The priests and priestesses of Atia are generally more open and friendly toward the outsiders than the rest of the natives. In fact, they are usually willing to help outsiders in any way they can.
Surprisingly for a library, the books fill only half the room, and the other half seems to be used as a seating area for research or just for leisure. The entrance on the third floor is a balcony above the second.
Temple Facts and Rules
Many of the books are records. While some are of the more mundane bits of life on Atia, lists of births, marriages, and deaths, there are quite a few books on Atia's history and records of special events that have taken place on the island.
The mundane lists include former novices, initiates and scholars, when they lived, served, and died. While many of them died after a lifetime of serving Atia, there were those who left the temple to marry for love.
The oldest available books are falling apart, and in an unrecognizable language. They seem to end at a point over 600 years ago, though as the books older than that are stashed away in special boxes with special wards, who is to know how old Atia really is?
The more recent a record gets, the more it begins to use the "Common" language, though it seems there are translations of it in Atia's native language as well.
If perusing the ancient tomes, one will find that the Scholars painstakingly wrote down the details of life in Atia all these hundreds of years.
Events of note include...
- Several mentions of collared arrivals. Just as now, there were always problems when they first arrived, though many adjusted to their life fairly quickly. There is no mention of where they came from or how they arrived. The most recent before this newest group of collared people occurred about 20 years ago. The time before that was over 130. Their fate is unknown.
- Famine and War: While there are a few times the record keeper mentions that they've heard of war happening on the mainland, Atia is usually very peaceful. The only 'war' of note was the recent one between Demeter and Posiden (May 2013). Otherwise, there have been two attempted attacks in the past 600 years by sea, but all ships sunk before they ever got close to shore.
- The mainland has changed name several times. Atia's name has stayed the same.
- There are scattered mentions of the other islands. Records of people who were born on "Dei" or "Gryta" and the criminals who died on "Lethia". A man four years ago attacked a temple worker and killed her on holy ground, he was sentenced to life on Lethia for his punishment. Dei mentions dealing with plentiful harvests and speaking with the women who work in "her" temple.
- Several mentions of the going ons at the "child temple" on Gryta, where many of their novices come from. This temple is nearly identical to the one on the main island, though much smaller. It is where the children and their parents and the men and women who work on that island may worship. Novices and Initiates may work at either location, and some have switched their workplaces over the years.
- A very detailed, comprehensive history of the past few years, from when new people arrived to the major events that happened. In December of the first year of the current arrival cycle, there is a note that these newcomers are different than the normal ones.
Mod Note- While characters are allowed to find out about Atia's history from the above, please try to be reasonable with what they know and how quickly they find out about it. It's unlikely that characters will be able to piece together the whole picture the first time they sneak into the library.
Variations of the information above may be found in the Atian public library, from things such as newsclippings or reports. Feel free to contact a moderator if you're unsure.
- The temple is run on both donations and proceeds it makes through creating small statuettes of Atia out of precious wood and blessing them in the water at the foot of Atia's stone statue, which never dries up or gets dirty. These are sold for the use in personal shrines many of the inhabitants have in their homes and businesses.
- Atia is the Goddess on this island, but inhabitants are allowed to worship their own gods. However, they may not bring any idol of any other god into her temple. Dei and Gryta both have their own patron goddesses, though very few seem to know the names of them.
- People are not permitted to die in the temple. The ground is holy to life-- those who are dying are brought to spend their remaining days in Atia's palace or in the hospital. In the event of a sudden, accidental death, the area must be purified.
- Weapons with blades are not permitted in the temple. Neither are any firearms. Staves and fans are the permitted weapons.
Language: There are three languages that exist on the island of Atia. When your character wakes up, they will be able to fluently speak what is known as the Common language, as well as the languages they were able to speak in their original worlds. They will be able to use the Common language to communicate with natives and other collared individuals on Atia.
Separate from the Common tongue, there is also a "Native" tongue that is unique to the native inhabitants of Atia. This language is not auto-translated for your character.
Finally, there is also an "Ancient tongue," which is what the oldest, most sacred texts about the island are written in. This language does not bear any resemblance to the more common languages on Atia, and reading these ancient texts will be difficult, if not impossible, for those who are not scholars in the ancient language.
More coming soon...