While the party is resting with the maidens, Hazrad translates a number of questions for Pandora…
In the beginning the Three Gods, Gorm, Madarua, and Usamigares, were allies, and the rightful rulers of the people. This was as far back as history itself. The Gods cooperated so that the people had good lives. Madarua was the most important – she ruled over the natural cycles of life – birth and death, growth and decay. Gorm and Usamigares ruled over the people’s social and personal lives. Gorm was the power of working together and collective action, Usamigares represented individualism and creativity.
Then Zargon came, creeping out of the dark – void. This was long, long ago – before the grandmothers of the grandmothers. The evil of Zargon corrupted the people, and corrupted two of the three Gods. Only Madarua was able to resist it. Evil men became priests of Zargon and seized control of the people. Under the influence of Zargon, Usamigares and his followers have become selfish individualists – they use magic to attain personal power, and don’t care for anyone else. Under the influence of Zargon, Gorm and his followers have become mindlessly uniform, unquestioningly obedient to authority, and punish all dissent. Although all three of the Three Gods oppose Zargon, only the Madaruans do so for the right reasons, with the good intent of helping the people. (Madarua, and women, are more resistant to evil because, being mothers, they have compassion in their nature – they care for their children. Not all men are evil, and not all women are good, but it is far easier for a man to fall to evil than for a woman.)
Pandora only knows a little bit of the history. There are older, wiser women in the Madaruan Enclave in the undercity who could tell more. Also, there is a room off of the Great Temple on the first (lowest) level of the upper pyramid, near the entrance to the way to the undercity. It is said that the walls of this room talk, and speak of history. That is what is said, although Pandora has been through the room many times and has never heard the walls talk.
The Pyramid (or what Pandora continually calls the “upper pyramid”) was built as a contact point, as a gate between the people and the light – void. People travel from the undercity to the light – void through the Pyramid. Before the coming of Zargon, the Pyramid was populated – many people lived there, but now it is mostly monsters.
The Pyramid contained many temples, like the Great Temple on the first (lowest) layer, the Common Temple on this layer, and the individual temples on this layer. The priests lived in quarters around the temples, like where the Madaruans are right now.
When Zargon came, his followers attacked the temples in the Pyramid. They destroyed the Great Temple and the Common Temple. They built a temple to Zargon on this level. At first, the followers of the Three Gods retreated to the Undercity. In the time of the grandmothers they were able to retake parts of the Pyramid.
The first level (lowest level; what you call the fifth) of the Pyramid is where the entrance to the undercity is. (It is in a room near the Great Temple.). This level is the base of operations for the Zargonites in the Pyramid, which you destroyed.
Pandora thinks that in “the tomb level” (or for her, the second level of the upper pyramid) are the remains of the court of rulers of the people from a time long ago, from before the coming of Zargon. She thinks their names were Queen Zenobia and King Alexander. She has only used it to travel through.
The third level (for you, the third level as well) is the level of the Three Gods. All of the factions have temples on this level (including gorm, the zargonites (though their temple is abandoned) and the Common Temple (now ruined). The Maidens and the Magi also have their dorms on this level.
The fourth level (for you, the second) is where the gormites have their dorms – or had them, until you destroyed them.
The fifth level (for you, the first) is where the door to the Light – Void is.
[Hazrad is unable to translate the word “map” to anything that Pandora understands. Ember shows her the map of the tomb level, and Hazrad says “marks on a paper to show a place.” Eventually Pandora understands that you mean a drawing symbolizing a real place. While she gets this, she seems unable to grasp the concept that a person could actually MAKE this. You might find such a drawing, you might read or understand such a drawing, but a person could not make one. She gets that Ember want to know where things are, and keeps falling back to “we can show you, and you will learn – then you will know.”]
To work the revolving door, from without, you press the symbol that matches where you are. This summons the door. Then you step within. Once within, you press the symbol of where you want to go. This brings that part of the pyramid to you and then you can leave. Or, you can walk to the other end and be at the opposite part of the pyramid.
S – The stairs to the next level up
SW – The storeroom of the Magi
W – The Temple of the Magi
NW – The Temple of Zargon
N – The Common Temple and the ramp to the next level down
NE – The Temple of Madarua
E – The Dorms of the Maidens
SE – The Temple of the Brotherhood
The Light – Void
[“Outside” the pyramid is not a concept that Hazrad is able to translate. Pandora calls it the “light – void” and seems to think of it as a vast, empty space that touches the topmost level of the Pyramid]
Pandora and some of the more experienced maidens have been to the top of the pyramid and looked out into the void. Sometimes monsters come from the void and occasionally food animals. People have never come from the void before – your group is the first.
The undercity is in a large open cavern along the shore of a great underground lake. There are many buildings and many, many people. There are mushroom fields and animal pens and fishing boats for the lake. [Pandora does not know the word for “tree”]. The largest building is the Temple of Zargon, but each of the Three Gods have fortifications as well. Most of the people live in individual or communal houses and there are civic buildings as well. People sometimes trade with each other, goods or services or coins, but there is no market. Anything of value is quickly noted and appropriated by the Zargonites.
Most of the population of the undercity are common people. They do most of the labor, grow the food, etc. They are controlled by the Zargonites. They are punished for disobedience and rewarded for compliance. Typically the reward is with mushrooms, so most of the citizens do not have a clear distinction between the dream world and the real world. The Madaruans use mushrooms to have visions, but only sparingly in religious ceremonies, when Madarua herself can guide what they see. Because the common people over-use the mushrooms, they are often very confused and live out fantasy lives (and here one of the maidens suggests the men you found who thought you were demons and they were priests). Their masks relate to their own inner fantasies, and all adults wear them. The children typically learn crafts and trades from their parents or the other adults around them.
The followers of the three Gods have sympathizers and spies among the common people. When they see that a youth is strong, is willing to reject the lash of the Zargonites and the escapism of the mushrooms, they arrange to have them taken by one of the groups and raised by them. Most of the Maidens are actually born as maidens, but many of them were born as commoners. Female children become maidens, but male children can become lesser members and still live within the Enclave of Madarua. The Madrauans have a spiritual leader (High Priestess) and a secular leader (Great Mother). The secular leader is chosen by a consensus of the adult maidens. The spiritual leader is chosen by Madarua.
The priestesses of Madarua can heal the sick and wounded and can make potions of healing, but Pandora has no experience with that and does not know how one would identify an unfamiliar potion. Hazrad struggles but cannot translate “lycanthrope” – there is no specific word for it in his Alaysian (it is just called “cursed”) and he does not know what the word might be for them, if they have one. When he tries to explain literally a person turning into an animal, Pandora gets confused and believes he is referring to the masks and mushroom-visions. When he asks about whether Madaruan priestesses can cure curses in general, Pandora says that Madarua can cure any ill, but the execution depends on the skill of the priestess and the worthiness of the cause.
Morgan: Do the Magi have a place where they keep scrolls?
Pandora knows little specific about the Magi.
Morgan: Do they have extra shields?
The people seem familiar with the concept of armor, but not shields.
Most animals in the undercity are food stock animals, but some commoner children keep smaller versions of them as pets. The maidens allow children to keep animals as pets as it encourages the development of their compassion and maternal instinct, but when they become adults they are expected to care for other people, not animals.
The words for “vegetables”, “fruit”, and “mushrooms” all seem interchangeable, or at least to have subtleties of meaning that are lost to Hazrad. As for milk, “children get milk from their mothers, or foster-mothers.”
They understand “bad air” and “good air” and that the candles cannot be kept going too long or the good air will become bad air, but they fail to see the problem inherent in Fluffy’s question.
The masks express who they are, or who they are trying to become, but don’t help them see out. They can see in the dark. It is actually easier for them to see in the dark then in the light – bright light is painful and disorienting. Low light is important for religious ceremonies and sometimes for fine work like sewing but little else.