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The Menagerie, also known as the Court of Beasts and the Oasis, is a holy site of The Wildmother located in southern Xhorhas near the Whitedawn Lagoon.

The Menagerie Oasis - BlackSalander

Fan art of the Menagerie Oasis, by BlackSalander.[art 1]

DescriptionEdit

In the middle of the dense jungle southwest of the Whitedawn Lagoon is a clearing with a small lake or oasis pool of extremely clear water fostering all manner of fish. The thin shore is dotted with rocks and scattered brush atop the rich red exposed earth. Beautiful rock carvings of various animals and creatures line the edges of the lake, like a statue garden or menagerie of beautiful art enshrining this space as the Court of Beasts. Jungle deer, bears, elegant jungle cats, massive lizards– all sorts of creatures, all immortalized in sculpture. Along the western bank are a few odd, broken rocks that push away from the rest of the smooth edges of the water, like a hillside with red rock that is submerged, and there are scattered slivers of well-carved statues sitting around the entrance to a cave, like a cathedral entrance, with the statues set to walk through and into. The raised bank itself is the mouth of a cavern that just beyond where the water is, in shadow, descends deep into the earth on that side.[1]

On the north side of the oasis, the softer red earth turns into hardened red rock with grass and thick vines growing over the top of it as it leans outward like a shelf over the water. Beneath it, there is an opening to a cavern in which the bright red rock becomes smooth and hand-chiseled as as it plunges downward. Rich exposed veins of pure gold wind through the walls and create shifting beautiful reflections in a pattern like an endless splintering lightning bolt of shining dawn that carves through the rock on all sides and above.[2]

The tunnel widens into a domed oval-shaped cavern of ruddy rock formations splattered with the same gold veins, the Cave of Remembrance. Numerous small huts and structures of humble stone and dried thatch mark the perimeter of the inside of the cave. The center of the large space is home to a formidable multi-part shrine of rising pillars, arches, and beautiful temple structures that house the Stone Family and provide social spaces for worship and work.[3] Faint pieces of glowing crystal light the interior. There are pools of water that cause a reflecting shimmer that dances across the cavern walls and catch elements of the gold veins that swirl and swarm throughout the red rock.[4] Around the edge of the cavern is a very intricately carved series of stairs, shelves, and doors leading to side chambers and rooms, housing close to sixty or so people.[5]

Points of InterestEdit

  • The Oasis - The clear pool of water surrounded by jungle.
  • The Cave of Remembrance - The cavern carved into the red rock around the pool, containing the Temple and the homes of the Stone Family.

HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

Located in the jungles southwest of the Whitedawn Lagoon,[6] the Menagerie was created and maintained by the Stone Family at the behest of the Wildmother as a gift to The Changebringer.[7] Millenia ago,[8] following the death of a hero of a then-recent conflict, the Wildmother instructed a champion of the Raven Queen named Stone to take the limbs of the hero to an oasis and create a Menagerie as a gift to The Changebringer, where he would feed the limbs to the beasts there.[7] The lake was placed there long ago as a beacon from the Wildmother, and the shrine was built as a connection between the Wildmother and Avandra the Changebringer, with the essence of the Raven Queen sending the families out to find a place to lay the champion. The Stone Family took one of the three pieces of the dead hero, created the place of worship and began the cycle of interment.[9]

The Stone Family continues to maintain the shrine and bury the dead brought to them there by preparing them with salts and minerals that begin the process of decomposition. A sign or vision from The Changebringer or The Wildmother then indicates to which beasts the body should be given, and the animals consume it,[10] eventually returning it to the earth.

"Chases and Trees" (2x65)Edit

In a dream, Caduceus saw a mammoth ravine of grey and dark rock carved into the earth, steeped in shadow. Along its southernmost base was a rudimentary city. Below and beyond that was a beautiful untouched shore of beaches and tumultuous surf, and within the nearby dense jungle was an oasis, a solitary lake amongst the tangled trees and vines. He saw beasts called to drink at it, and along its edge the red earth and rock formed a cavern which twisted and wound with thick heavy veins of gold spiraling down like frozen bolts of lightning in the rock, revealing a temple with natural water drifting down from the lake above forming a pool. Caduceus saw purple crystals fall into the waters of the pool and begin to grow roots, like crystal fingers, along their base.[11]

"Causatum" (2x70)Edit

Caduceus related his family legend to the rest of the party, telling them that long ago, The Wildmother told a champion of the Raven Queen named Stone that he should take the limbs of a fallen hero and walk the plains until he found an oasis with a red and gold veined cave, and that beasts would gather there. He would feed the limbs of the hero to the beasts that would water there, and upon that site would be a Menagerie with creatures that would be a gift to The Changebringer from the Wildmother, to remind her that nature is infinite.[7]

"Stone to Clay" (2x91)Edit

Caduceus reiterated his family legend: “You shall take the limbs of this hero and walk the plains until you find an oasis at the mouth of a red and gold-veined cave. There, upon my altar, you shall feed these limbs to the beasts that walk there, so that they may hold my mark. And to this site you shall build a Menagerie whose beasts shall be my gift to the Changebringer, to remind her that nature is infinite.”[12]

"Blessing in Disguise" (2x95)Edit

The Mighty Nein reached the Oasis and discovered a multitude of petrified beasts around the crystal-clear pool, among them, the missing members of Caduceus's family. As they inspected them, they were charged by a massive armored bull-like creature.

"Family Shatters" (2x96)Edit

The Stone Temple - BlackSalander

Fan art of the Stone Temple, by BlackSalander.[art 2]

After surviving the fight with the gorgon, Caduceus and Jester used Greater Restoration on several members of the Clay Family and Stone Family to restore them from petrification. Later, Caduceus and his sister Calliope discovered that by dipping their half-transformed crystals into the pool in the interior cavern, they were further transformed into what almost appeared to be germinated seeds.[13] The next morning, they restored the remaining members of the Clay Family and left the Stone Family to continue restoring the other petrified people while the party and the Clays used a Teleportation Circle to travel to Uthodurn.

TriviaEdit

References Edit

  1. See "Blessing in Disguise" (2x95) at 3:28:15.
  2. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 1:53:39.
  3. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 1:55:33.
  4. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 2:21:34.
  5. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 2:41:39.
  6. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 0:09:05.
  7. See "Causatum" (2x70) at 3:32:41.
  8. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 2:35:42.
  9. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 2:34:30.
  10. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 2:39:10.
  11. See "Chases and Trees" (2x65) at 2:59:59.
  12. See "Stone to Clay" (2x91) at 1:49:55.
  13. See "Family Shatters" (2x96) at 3:06:41.

Art:

  1. Fan art of the Menagerie Oasis, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of the Stone Temple, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
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