Heirs to Shadow
To the locals it is no secret that the monastery is the lair of an ancient golden dragon. Such creatures are not subtle when they land and take off. Outsiders and visitors are unlikely to witness Kaelan Ra (or her mate), and on seeing the artistry of the monastery will rarely assume that the draconic motifs depict a specific individual. When out in the forward portion of the monastery Kaelan Ra prefers the form of an old human paladin, with dark skin, grey-white hair braided with gold thread, and golden armour. When not slaying great evil beings or redesigning her lair she spends much time in this form sitting with the abbess and discussing philosophy.
The monastery is reached by a series of 999 exquisitely carved, steep stone steps. They are frequently brightened with fresh paint by the young initiates, depicting the favourite subjects of the monastery; golden dragons, dragonborn paladins, blossoming trees, and beautiful animals and flowers. The complex is nestled high in the mountains, overlooking a large crystal clear mountain lake filled with shining fish.
Painstakingly designed to match the needs of its inhabitants the monastery is often in the process of being dismantled and improved on. The draconic quarters are accessed at the centre of the monastery and spread deep into the mountain and lake. The monks live and work in the buildings around it – the schools, nurseries, hatchery, training arena and temples. The dragonborn Atar clan live in the sprawling caves in the vine-covered mountain walls that embrace the monastery proper, networks of carved steps criss-cross the rock to allow access to their homes and meeting halls.
Beyond the dragonborn homes are rough caverns rich with gems. A kobold clan infest these caverns – The Knotted Tails. They first arrived 100 years ago determined to pay homage to Kalen Ra, but rarely make too much of a nuisance of themselves beyond swearing at the non-dragonborn from a safe distance, and stealing food.
Incense and saffron suffuse the air of the monastery, and banners with bells attached decorate the area. The banners have flexible ribs reminiscent of a golden dragons wings, and undulate in the wind.
The most sacred area of the temple is the hatchery. It is a huge dragon-accessible brightly lit circular hall with alcoves set into each wall. Beautiful mosaics depicting dragonborn and dragons bring glorious colour to the floor. Over these mosaics flow two feet of clean warm water, providing a safe landing for any precious eggs that manage to fall (although wet feet for the monks). The water cascades out of the hatchery in a waterfall.
Each alcove belongs to a different family within the dragonborn clan, and within are soft, lovingly tended nests, warmed with firestones. The eggs are turned by monks and painted beautifully with dyes. When a hatchling emerges into the arms of its parents the monks scoop up the fragments and varnish them to preserve them. These are often worked into jewellery or sculptures for the dragonborn to whom they belong. These mementos are treasured keepsakes, and a sign of their bond to the monastery, the monks and their clan.
At the heart of the room on a dais rages a huge bonfire, contained in a wrought iron mesh worked into intricate shapes. Nestled in the fire are Kalen Ra’s eggs – two shining treasures among the flames. The smoke flows up out a chimney designed to keep the weather out. Hanging at opposite sides of the fire are two circlets that grant immunity to fire – monks wear these when it is time to turn the eggs. This fire has burned without end for a thousand years, and carried many eggs safely into the world. It is what the cathedral is named for.