**Please read this in your web browser for proper formatting.
The temple hall was not particularly large, though it had a very high ceiling rising up to a central peak. There were 20 or 30 people in the hall, here to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed temple, the rest of the party-goers were outside, and down the long wooden staircase that leads to the street.
Long ago, Old Korvosa ran out of available land, but the need for new housing and new buildings continued, so the city started building upward. They constructed new buildings on top of the old. Some of the structures were designed with brilliance, balanced over the old with new reinforced support features, but some were built cheaply, with little care for the older buildings beneath. Predictably, those new homes and businesses often collapsed, crushing the old ones beneath them. More interested in newer construction in more favorable regions, the city’s rulers chose to avoid the expense of clearing out the old demolished and dilapidated buildings, and continued to support the method of just cobbling together new ones on top of the old. They stacked buildings higher and higher, up until its tenants could feel the buildings sway back and forth. It is common practice for a family with a newborn to relocate to a more highly stacked home. Some say that it’s because the swaying soothes the child, but others say that it’s because it’s more acceptable to let the elderly be crushed to death in the stack’s next inevitable collapse.
This temple was built on top of several small homes, which were built above other homes, which in turn were stacked on top of the remains of an old warehouse that had partially burned, and was now being used to stable horses. At its peak hangs a very large bell that originally rang from the top of the temple to Aroden before he died and his temples were abandoned. While all of the temple to Aroden’s neighboring structures have completed multiple cycles of collapse and renewal, it still stands empty and idle, but its bell can now be heard again, subtly ringing throughout the day due to the natural swaying of the new temple to Desna, winged goddess of luck and the stars.
The walls of the temple were adorned with paintings from local artists, and behind the dais is a mural of a traveler walking down a long winding road that stretches out toward the last gasp of light escaping from the setting sun whose long thin beams streak out past large fluffy clouds into the deep blue starlit sky. The sparkling stars spread up toward the peak of the roof where perched upon an enormous crescent moon was a beautiful blue and silver butterfly.
Beside the dais there was a band comprised of a female half-elf playing the harp, an older man playing the pipes, a dwarven drummer, a Desnian priestess with cymbals, and an elderly male Halfling playing a human sized Vielle braced between his legs. A sylph-like young Varisian child danced in the middle of the room while the band accompanied a Gnomish Songstress named Kessali Bale as she sang The Dance of the Fey:
O you who dance among the trees
With endless grace and tireless ease
Would it disrupt your song to speak
Of who you are and what you seek?
…rang above their heads, and Kesali continued singing.
We circle through the forest green
In patterns left to you unseen
And when the sunlight lights the sky
To other places we must fly.
Again, the great bell rang, the young child danced and the Kesali sang.
O you who fly into the night
With eyes that shine like stars and light,
Please tell me now where do you run
When you depart from day and sun?
Once more the bell of the dead god Aroden rang out.
With light that you will never see
We travel over rock and tree
Yet in the blazing glare of dawn
Our own devices must be gone.
… C-L-A-N-G and S-M-A-S-H!
The great bell snapped free of its roost and broke through the high ceiling. The music stopped, replaced by the people’s screams. While the others scattered, Kes saw the little dancer standing still, staring up as the immense bell descended from above her. She, tumbled through the panicked crowd toward the child, grabbing her and throwing her to safety, just as the bell slammed into the floor, grazing Kes’ heels.
Everyone stood still and silent for several moments, then an old woman in the crowd began to laugh. The tension broke and the crowd calmed. The dancer’s father walked over to thank Kes, but before he got to her, the temple shook and shifted, the floor now at a 30 degree angle. The High Priestess loudly instructed everyone to exit the temple.
The floor beneath the bell gave in, and the bell continued to fall. Bang, Crunch, Clang, and Smash, it just kept falling. Kes tried to jump for safety, but she was too slow and began following the bell down into the deep dark chasm. Looking up as she fell, she saw the temple collapse above her, sealing her fate.
**Song lyrics from The Elven Dance by Amanda Baggs