The road to the Shrine is a well-trodden trail flagged by sporadic pockets of small shrines, totems, guardian statues, and the like poking out from and decorating the forest foliage just beyond the path’s reach. It is a long walk through the dark and eerie woodlands, but, as one passes beneath a strange, woven-branch doorway along the path, one may find comfort that the Shrine is not far off.
Located in the heart of the Blackwoods, the Shrine sits in a decently-sized, circular clearing. At its center is a large, open firepit that acts as both a beacon of light, as well as a common place for rituals and the like to be performed. Despite its decorative appeal, the large stones that form a circle around the pit — as well as the abundance of small, smooth, grey pebbles spread out within the stone perimeter itself — help prevent the firepit's flame from accidentally spreading to the nearby forest. From the pit, the larger stones mark a wide pathway to the actual shrine that sits towards the back of the clearing.
The Shrine itself is constructed of wood and lumber cut, carved, and custom-built by Salsola's own people in the summer of 2022. Because of the sanctity it holds, an elegant design was chosen, making it stand out compared to buildings found within other populated areas within the Kingdom. The building and its immediate surroundings are decorated with various things crafted by Salsola's people, from hanging trinkets to guardian-like totems to even smaller shrines. A somewhat discreetly hidden storage building is located not far from the Shrine.
To help keep the Shrine clean, one must step up onto a small porch to reach the shrine's doors where a bowl is available for cleaning one’s paws. One will find that, rather than being on a hinge, the Shrine's pair of doors slide open, tucking themselves neatly out of the way while saving space. Beyond these doors, the Shrine within is not overly large, but is enough to fit up to three Luperci comfortably. This private quarter can be used as a place of prayer, for rites and blessings, for small-scale rituals, amongst other things. There is a dedicated space to store small ritual items, incense/burning sticks, as well as commonly-used ingredients. Along the back wall of the enclosed space is a beautifully-carved, wooden statue of a peacock rising between two fanged snakes. Sitting before this altar, there are three long, dished, rectangular offering bowls. Within the shrine as well are plates on varying levels (eg. tables, shelves, floor, etc.) to hold candles for one to burn at their convenience.
Upkeep of the Shrine falls under the duties of the Sanctum.
- The Coven and Sanctus Faction may find themselves regularly using the Shrine and/or its surroundings areas. As it is tied to their Faction, Sanctum members may also frequent this area in general to perform their duties and/or responsibilities in maintaining it.
- Here’s how to make use of this communal feature!
- Meditate, or, hold spiritual or religious ceremonies, rituals, rites, prayers, etc. here, be it for personal or communal use.
- However, please refrain from anything overly messy (eg. a blood ritual or sacrifice) that would tarnish, damage, or destroy the inside of the Shrine for usage by others. These types of rituals are best kept outside or for the environment of one’s personal home. Remember that you can also use the Stone Altar as well for these sorts of things!
- Restock, donate, or replace religious items.
- Clean, repair, and/or maintain the shrine and/or the surrounding grounds.
- Eg. remove old/perished offerings, ashes, or spent wax. Clean smaller shrines, or, clean immediate pathways around the main shrine of leaves or debris, sweeping the shrine. General cleaning, repairs, or maintenance, etc.
- Erect smaller shrines and decorations in the nearby area.