The Twisted Canyon
Found to the south of the Plain of Spears, where the eastern Abbor-Alz run down into the desert, the Twisted Canyon is barely more than a score of yards wide at any point but reaches depths of up to two hundred feet. Legends of the nomads mark this as the spot that Vathris crawled to after being mortally wounded on the Plain of Spears. They relate how he died here in the very deepest depths of the canyon, cursing the wickedness of the kingdom that had laid him low.
After Sulm’s fall, worshipers of Vathris carved an elaborate secret temple complex into the canyon walls. Laid out over five main levels and numerous sub-levels that radiate outward from the central chamber, the temple also includes numerous deep cisterns, allowing its inhabitants, the Qolat Sisterhood, to remain within within most of their lives.
The central chamber known as the Vault of the Faithful, has certain acoustic qualities that allow the barest whisper to be heard at a great distance. The sound of prayer constantly reverberates here as it has for more than a thousand years. The sisters believe their prayers have the power to revive Vathris, a god whose physical form still bears the seeping wounds of his original destruction. The hero god manifests once or twice a year, wandering the desert in a state of wounded delirium, violently destroying monsters and ignoble men and stoking the desire for revenge among all he meets. Constantly bleeding from the sounds that killed him Vathris always dies again with days of his resurrection, and the cycle continues anew.
Vathris’ faithful dwelled here for almost a thousand years until a great schism split their ranks, polarizing them into two factions. The Qolat Sisterhood (a group of militant warrior priestesses) now holds the temple and from it fights the defilers of the desert. They are few in number now barely two score strong, but all are skilled in the arts of war and prayer. Jerianek Firaen (LN female Flan Cleric of Vathris L9 / Fighter L3), a strongly muscled, righteous woman intent on vanquishing all invaders, leads them. She distrusts anyone not desert born, taking a particularly guarded stance toward westerners. The other faction consists largely of male clerics and dervishes who cling to the Vathris of progress and ingenuity and seek to heal the god’s wounds, rather than simply use him as a pawn. They declared the Sisterhood anathema hundreds of years ago and still keep a watch for Qolat sisters outside the protection of their fortress home.