Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:06 pm
Location: Houston, Texas
|Hi all, I'm back. Made it through Ike with electricity intact. 5 million people lost power though.
To Paradox: Ouch. I'll have to texture it twice then, because I need some form of it completed within 45 days for my class.
Very perceptive statements on the nature of the temple. The building was, in fact, used by a sect of The Tree cult in its last century of use preceding the fall of D'ni. That was the last of three phases of its history.
The second-floor area is actually a small library, containing a table and two bookshelves, plus assorted minor details.
The planes are going to be a section of cavern, slightly visible through the stained glass window. The modelling is simple, two facades of buildings and a large planar surface behind them, mapped with digitally painted textures. They'll look pretty blurry and simplistic up close but nobody will see them up close, only through the partially transparent panels of the window.
I have a history of the building worked out, I may tweak it here and there, and affix dates to it, but this is more or less it:
The temple had, over centuries, been used by various groups, beginning with construction by a team of artists who specialized in illusory arts and what could be loosely described as a form of D'ni surrealism. Certain artifacts from that intial period remain intact, including some perspective illusions rendered in paint.
Supposedly there was some phenomenal secret or clue hidden in the design of these works, but nobody ever found any proof of this. Some said it led to an alcove filled with ornate riches, others said a hidden linking book, and still others said it was a great scientific discovery or historical secret written subtly into the art on the walls. After two of the artists in the team vanished and never returned, some speculated that they had found a link to Yahvo's perfect age, had been enthralled by it and never came back - or that they had met some horrible fate in a dangerous age which should never have been discovered. Cryptic carvings in the wall were either seen as a near-impenetrable code leading to a secret, or a meaningless red herring designed to confuse visitors and provoke questions and imaginative speculation.
One of the artists in the team was considered to be exceptionally talented and was a family member of one of the Guild-masters in office at that time, and this element of prestige reinforced the feeling that there was something really special about the place.
After a while, with no secret located after centuries of scrutiny, and the original team deceased, the building lost its allure and was auctioned off cheaply on the public market.
It was bought and resold by several owners before being acquired by one rather controversial congregation in the Church of Yahvo, which gained some notoriety for its insistence that the slavery of the Bahro was morally wrong and that any abuse of a sentient being was an affront to the will of Yahvo. The group survived there for some time despite persecution from the upper classes of D'ni, who owned many slaves and were upset with the ideology of this particular group - and particularly bothered by the thought that they might come to possess any of the rumored treasures left behind by the original architects.
One of the other eccentricities of the teaching of the group of Yahvo-followers there was an attempted resolution between casual followers of Yahvo and those highly focused on purity and obedience.
The belief that only taygahn - "to love with the mind" was required to please Yahvo contrasted with a belief that devoted obedience was also required. This temple, however, taught that obedience was a natural outgrowth and expression of authentic love for Yahvo, and that therefore doctrine teaching that taygahn was a sole requirement to please Yahvo, inherently encompassed obedience. To love and to obey, then, according to this congregation, were one and the same.
The group proceeded to offer increasingly radical expressions of faith in Yahvo, which so dominated the lives of the members that the D'ni classified the group as a totalitarian, mind-controlling cult, albeit a well-intentioned one that wanted to help others and express selfless love.
Eventually the old leaders died and were replaced, the new ones drifted into hypocrisy, arrogance, greed, and blatant abuse of power, the group struggled with internal conflicts, and ultimately disbanded entirely.
After that group had been dispersed, the structure was abandoned briefly, then acquired by an offshoot of the ancient Tree cult, which placed the tree in the center not as an object to be worshipped in itself, but as a symbol of the Great Tree of Possibilities. This new Tree sect believed that the metaverse was an object of worship, and that all things within it were in some sense part of a divine whole. In practice, some of the actions of this group could be described as vaguely environmentalist in nature.
The tree in center was chosen from a world that could best be described as a rogue planet. It had drifted away from its sun and was exposed to very little light, however it was still highly geologically active and had a thick atmosphere. Rivers of flowing lava heated and lit the surface of the planet, and the atmosphere retained the heat and light generated by it. A tree from this age was chosen because of the longevity and slow growth of such trees, and their capacity to thrive under low-light conditions. The group wanted its tree to be a near-permanent fixture that would survive for many thousands of years, signifying the perpetual existence of the Great Tree it represented, which the group was convinced would last forever, and was also infinite in size.
(They believed that the belief in the Tree would last forever and someday grow enough to supplant and replace belief in Yahvo, and that the D'ni civilization would last forever too. They, like virtually everyone else in the cavern, were totally unprepared when the fall occurred)
That tree was from one of a number of books catalogued in the library at the back of the auditorium, some brought in by the Tree sect and some left there by earlier occupants of the building. One of them, a large jungle age, was rumored to have once been in the Tomb of the Great King, thus leading members of the sect to search it to determine whether it possessed any special powers. None were ever documented, but several members of the cult died after drinking water from the age, presumably from some kind of bacterial infection, not contagious or related to Ahlsendar's plague.
During the second century of the operation of this group in the building, the fall of D'ni took place. Despite earthquakes, the structure remained intact and surprisingly well-preserved.
Today, explorers closely observing various details of the building may note remnants from the different phases of its history and use by the D'ni - everything from the work of the ancient artisans to the tree which still thrives in the mostly desolate cavern.
_________________Matthew L. Hornbostel, creator of Panoramic Worlds,
a Myst fansite, and
various other stuff.