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5. Labour of the Sacred Bodies


“A message from the vizier?”


“Yes, foreman. Orders of a new temple he wants erected.”


The foreman looked with hungry delight at the heavy roll of documents in the courier’s hand. He had not witnessed an expansion of the pantheon in his lifetime, and building another temple was the dream of any temple foreman. It was an honour to be part of one, though, with the announcements from the vizier, the delivery came as little surprise.

The spiritual stability that the Erisey had secured for many years, although something to be grateful for, had caused slim hopes for the occasion now at hand.


He eagerly rolled out the documents and his eyes flickered impatiently across the pages, trying to absorb the plans.

The designs were astonishing: tightly placed columns of dark marble made up the outer walls of the building, gripping shadows were drawn as if emanating from within the temple, and strange symbols and characters, entirely unrecognisable to the foreman, decorated the rim of the roof. He paid them little attention, ethereal details outside his area of expertise. He cared only about materials, dimensions, and structure.


And yet, the practical and the mystical features were not contrasting disciplines of these plans. On the contrary, otherworldliness was embedded in every aspect of the temple, as Aziel had been sitting in a trance while drawing the temple’s plans unbeknownst to the simple man now enjoying his product. The vizier's hands had moved with an impossible steadiness and constant motion across the paper. Darkness had enveloped his mind, spilling from his eyes and onto the paper the foreman held, pooling like smokey ink. The darkness now danced subtly, giving the document an eerie, almost imperceptible appearance of being alive. The foreman consciously perceived only the numbers, and the practical vision of his part of the work claimed all of his attention.


“Hmm, this thing is going to be huge. It will take quite a workforce to complete any time soon,” he thought. He looked for details that the vizier might have added about the desired timeframe of the project. “6 months!?” he exclaimed.


“But that would require every single able-bodied person to…”



It dawned on him as he finished the thought: Aziel was prepared to force the people to work, with no regard for their consent, and he was his accomplice. He forced his attention back onto the plans to see if he had missed anything that might invalidate his worries.

But what was that? The temple faced an odd direction, directly north, which broke the orientation of the surrounding buildings, taking up an exorbitant amount of space from not fitting into the established grid. “This doesn’t make any sense,” the foreman said to himself in astonishment. “The face of the temple will be covered in constant shadows.”

A moment of confusion passed, then he muttered with concern, “what kind of gods are we meant to worship in a temple of shadows?”

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