If ever there was a trail to reach the temple in the lake on top of the mountain, it has been lost. No one has visited in thousands of years, and any person that might have known the way has long since expired. All that remain are legends, rumors, and ancient texts buried in dusty libraries. Several key points remain consistent among all the accounts: The temple sits on a rock in a mountain cater lake, it is a source of great power, and supplicants seeking a blessing from that power must be worthy.
The specifics of how one is “worthy” and what “great power” actually entails vary greatly. Some say merely approaching with an attitude of deference is enough. Others cite specific rites and incantations. There is no agreement on who or what the temple was meant to honor. A god? A demon? Some unknown power from beyond the known world and universe?
Should one actually find and gaze upon the temple, one would find a rough-hewn structure that is actually two buildings connected by a bridge. Both are rough-hewn from black stone that appears volcanic in origin, although even the most proficient stonesmiths would be challenged to identify its true origins. The smaller structure, on shore, serves as a preliminary cleansing room. There is a statue there which may or may not appear familiar to any supplicants that have come to plead their case.
Assuming the supplicant or supplicants pass the first test—which may be different for each of them—they may cross the bridge to the temple proper. One might consider simply bypassing the antechamber and crossing the short distance across the lake directly, but the closer one gets the more resistance one feels. Mental resistance. Physical resistance. To the point that one would find themselves both unable to traverse the distance and without desire to reach their destination.
Once through a smaller adjoining chamber, visitors arrive at the main shrine. A massive chamber about 55 by 45 feet in size contains a 10-foot raised stage at the end opposite the entrance, with stairs leading up. Resting upon this stage is a large statue carved (grown?) from the same mysterious stone as the structure. It reaches nearly to the arched ceiling. The statue once again seems strangely familiar, regardless of the supplicant’s background. In spite of that familiarity, it actually hurts to look directly at it. Those seeking answers or power from this forgotten god should make their final pleas here.
Behind the statue, hidden well in the ornately-carved stone floor, is a trap door to tunnels and chambers beneath the temple. There aren’t even any legends of what may lie below. Perhaps no one has visited them and lived to tell the tale.
What ancient rites could unlock the secrets of the Temple in the Lake on Top of the Mountain? Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter to give me your thoughts. Follow me on Instagram for more like this, and occasional previews of upcoming work. A high-res (3600px x 2700px) version of this map is available to my patrons.
Maps & Tales is supported by patrons just like you.
I have been and will continue to release content here—free for personal use—on a regular basis for as long as I possibly can. When you become a patron through Patreon, you'll be helping me sustain this effort. You'll be helping me upgrade my tools and devote more of my personal time to creating high-quality content for your enjoyment. As thanks, I've got a few extra goodies for you, including exclusive content for patrons and custom maps—just for you!.