It’s a rare thing to still find such a place in the middle of a windy region. In decades of travels, I’ve never seen ruins like these.
The Whispering Woods have grown around the temple clearing, eventually burying it in their embrace. So, when a traveller manages to squeeze past the trees that grow in the thicket closer than the poles in a palisade, they suddenly stumble inside a bubble filled with air and architecture, as if by miracle. A nostalgic, quite mysterious miracle.
How did I come across it? By now I no longer remember. I’d been chasing an old striped deer for hours, as it made a mockery of my blunderbuss. Instead of my quarry, I found this temple, shrouded in the silvery mist that rose from the damp moss.
From there, nothing else has mattered, other than understanding where the ruins came from and how they had been spared by the wind that constantly gusts through the woods.
How strange was the silence looming over the scattered stones! I could barely hear the faraway song of the wind, blowing through the branches like the pipes of an organ.
It is very hard to fathom what the temple looked like at the height of its splendor. The rooms interweave and overlap in apparent anarchy. I have no clue to assign them this or that function, for the time being.
The halls are only distinguishable for the hue of their stained glass: everywhere, every opening, every alcove, every archway seems to have housed great, complex, colorful glass panels.
Wind be my witness, there are only a few panes left intact: the others all lie in pieces on the ground. But the surviving windows show a strong impression of color. What to the symbols decorating these great windows mean? Some depict snakelike animals, coiled and stretching, such as the one in the section we call the “blue room”. Slumbering judges or threatening guards, the serpents watch over all our comings and goings. Elsewhere, strange birds inhabit the walls. Small niches decorated by basins and steps remind me of certain temples in the still lands. This was the gathering place for a cult, although we do not know which obscure deity it is for. It is impossible to date its construction. For centuries, the region of the Whispering Woods has been in the hands of urbanists. It is a miracle that such a monument has escaped their work.
An indescribable feeling of fullness mixed with sorrow hangs over the place. The light filtering through the broken glass looks more diffuse and discreet than the one in the surrounding woods. What is it afraid of hurting, of awakening? Who came here, seeking a shelter so colorful and yet so melancholy?
The archaeologists of the region cannot agree on the official history of the Temple of Broken Glass. According to Quintus of Ipomos, who has the luck of not living far from the forest, the temple was not a religious structure at all, but just the strange village of a forgotten people. He points to the remnants of furniture, dishware and sundries found there. Honestly, I cannot believe him. I have an easier time believing Lonora’s thesis, which does not rule out a priori an ancient cult in a windy region. Even if Quintus was right, the disappearance of a people with such a keen aesthetic sense is an enigma. And a real shame, if I can say so myself.
Fortunately, the environment makes exploration difficult. I tremble at the thought of a horde of crazed professors trampling over the glass shards that litter the ground. It took us ten months to pick up every fragment in the purple room and sort them all. Now we are trying to compose the panels by using the still-standing ones as a guide, but it’s a mosaic with millions of pieces! It’s rather hard to stay focused, even with all the will in the world. Your gaze inevitably ends up drawn to the glasspanes, carrying the spirit along in its digressions. Prüs insists on having it all transported to a laboratory, but he can go to Hell: the glass is too thin to be moved around for more than a few meters, and… Everyone who works here ends up growing fond of the shards, as if they were the soul of these ruins. It would be heartbreaking to kidnap them. Especially the blues, says Lonora. As for myself, I fell in love with the greens.
Dioctis of Kosava
Temple of Broken Glass – Whispering Woods of Noroit
First gusts of autumn