This shrine dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, Baveras, is located at the foot of the Mithral Mountains near Nepris in the Santharian province Manthria in the eastern part of Southern Sarvonia. It is a simple building without ornaments, but its beautiful setting makes it a special place nevertheless.
|Image description. View on the Nepris shrine through the reed growing next to Toran's creek. Picture by Talia Sturmwind.|
Little ripples on the water surface of
Toran's Creek reflect the light of the morning
sun. It is caught by the shiny corners
of a little circular building standing in the streaming, but at this place
relatively calm water. Six light grey
stonewalls, all of the same length and height of about three peds are built
within a circle. They seem to grow directly out of the
water like a strange plant. Each wall has
in its middle an opening with a pointed arch, dividing the wall in three equal
parts. The outer walls have a fine, but not reflecting surface, more rough than
smooth. However the stones the wall is built from are trimmed so exactly to fit
onto each other that you nearly can‘t see how they are set. A small part of the
outer corners, like the inner walls, are polished and shiny and seem to sparkle
in the early light of the sun. While the
walls on the outside are of an even light grey colour, the inner walls show
filaments of silver and blue as if an artist has shown his skill with doing
inlays of mithril and others valuable minerals. But it is the same stone you
see in the interior as on the outside. The only ornament is her symbol - the
triangle in the circle, which is carved in the outer walls next to each arch.
These walls carry a pointed roof, which is covered with the scale found in the nearby mountains. Every other of the six parts of the roof has a different pattern of the scales, mostly shaped like triangles. The top of the roof is open, showing the underlying wooden structure. It looks like in former times another material was used to cover the upper part, but now nothing protects the inner part of the shrine. The building itself, though simple constructed, looks very symmetrically and well balanced.
The shrine is located in the water, which is in the temple itself and a ped around it about one fore deep. The under water floor consists of the pebbles found in the little river, but laid to a mosaic, using pebbles, of different colour and size, mainly white ones, grey ones, some black and very few red ones. If the water is clear, you can see, that they are forming the bloom of a waterstar, the plant related to Baveras.
Under the water, in a distance of one ped three steps can be found, parallel running to each wall and forming therefore a rough circle as well. The top row is lying about half a fore above the ground level of the temple and its near surroundings, still covered by another half fore in normal times. Visitors may come with a boat and get in the shallow water near the temple. Down in the water at each of the edges of this underwater staircase you might be able to find a hook to fasten your boat.
At very rare occasions, when the water level sinks dramatically due to a drought in summer, the water around the temple may fall till it is only a handspan deep. The circle of stairs prevents that the whole temple falls dry. In these times it is easier to worship Baveras here: Stepping stones appearing now over the water surface are leading from the riverbank to the stairs.
Picture description. Sketches of the Baveras Shrine as found recently in the depths of the New-Santhalian library. Pictures drawn by Talia Sturmwind.
There is something strange to mention as well: Though this
Baveras shrine is located near
Nepris, a village founded to harvest the resources of
the sea, including pearls, not one building material from the sea is used, nor
are there any pearls to decorate it.
As simple as the building itself may appear, the more picturesque is its setting. The best time to view it is the morning, when the sun's light is falling into its interior, the best place is standing on the bridge leading to Norgerinth's cave. You see the steep slope of Toran's Ridge to the left side, to the right side the path to the lower part of Toran's Falls are lined with old baych trees, their branches reaching far over the little river which forms a small bay here. In the middle of the bay the shrine is standing as if it belonged to the river. Vast amounts of the waterstar plant are growing around it. In the distance you can see part of the Toran Falls and hear its waters roaring down. Past Toran Falls your eyes are guided up the steep hillside of the Chalbern Peak till they settle down on the Crazy Woman Pass.
Function. Obviously this is a Baveras shrine. Here every visitor may worship Baveras as he pleases, with fixed rituals or just by standing in the middle of the temple and greeting Baveras with a humble prayer.
Location. This little shrine of Baveras is easy to reach. A wanderer following the path setting out from Nepris and leading to the Crazy Woman Pass won‘t have to go far. The path runs by the side of Toran's Creek, now and then crossing the little river. After a walk of perhaps two hours up a slightly rising hillside, the wanderer reaches a junction. To the left the path crosses the river and continues winding up the now steep slope till Toran's Ridge is reached. Following this path will lead you finally to the upper part of Toran's Fall where the tomb or Norgerinth can be found. The other path stays on the right side of the river till the lower part of the Toran Falls, where it turns away from the water, now entering the steep last part up to the Crazy Woman Pass. Near this junction the water is flowing quite calmly, far enough away from the lower part of the falls and it‘s disturbing white waters and not yet rushing down the last bit till the sea. And there, in the calmer part of the river, the little Baveras shrine is constructed.
People. The shrine is
mostly visited by the women of Nepris. It's not
uncommon, though, that their husbands accompany them, asking for success with
catching the fish, though it seems that the
shrine was built more to honour the Water
Goddess in general than the Goddess of
the Sea in particular. But travellers coming from the
Crazy Woman Pass or adventurers searching for
Norgerinth's tomb are seen as well
to remove their boots and step into the little temple.
Climate. Sitting on the eastern slope of the Mithral Mountains the weather varies greatly here, from gently falling rains in the spring to hot summer days and ravaging icy winds coming from the Adanian Sea in winter. So in winter it may be possible after a long period of frosty days to reach the shrine by foot - over the frozen water of the river. In spring the shrine can‘t be used for some time due the masses of water coming down from the mountains. After that period the floor ornament has to be renewed.
|Image description. View on the foggy eastern Mithral Mountains from the ridge up to Norgerinth's tomb. Picture by Talia Sturmwind.|
Flora. The prevalent
pines in the Mithrals are growing on the
slope of Toran's Ridge, despite its steepness, to long healthy trees, on the
other side of the river however the here very rare
baych trees form a little open
assembly, their branches reaching out over the river. The ground under the trees
is covered only with moon moss, another rare plant in the
Mithrals. It looks like as if both trees and
moss are planted here, because it is not their natural environment. Around the
temple as well as in great parts of the creek the
waterstar is flowering.
Fauna. Little silvery fish swim in great numbers in the river. Sometimes they are forming scuals and appear then like one big fish. At other times they scatter and hide in the waterstar. Almost every time some are found in the shrine itself, where they shoot quickly around, chasing each other playfully, seemingly without any other purpose than that of enjoying life.
History. There is not much known about this little building. It seems it is quite old. The villagers of Nepris say it was always there, standing in the streaming water and used to worship Baveras - sometimes more frequently, when a Baveras Will is staying in Nepris, sometimes less.
However, its mystery might be revealed soon. The known sage Artheos Mirabilis Federkiel came, while diving into the depths of the New-Santhalian library, about an old map and sketches of a building to be constructed which resembles the Baveras Shrine near Nepris very much (see scrolls above). Parts of the papers are missing or not readable anymore, but it is in general well preserved. If it was a design for Nepris alone or for several shrines to be build elsewhere is unclear. His report:
"The map and the sketches for a nearly circular building are on various scrolls. The first picture shows the building from the side, with exact outlines how big it should be in each dimension. The second picture represents the outlines - showing the steps which lie under the water level. The next images are additional explanations on how the ground mosaic could be laid every year after the spring floods and how the scale tiles are to be varied on the roof. The last part shows a map. This map is of a different style than the sketches before, so it might have been added at a later time. It would fit into the region east of Nepris, only the path and the bridge leading to Norgerinth's tomb is missing."
It is to mention, that the constructor of this building tried to use Baveras' symbolic numbers, the three and its multiples where it was possible. The building is round, but shows six corners. So though Baveras' name is not mentioned explicitly, it can be assumed for sure, that with the Goddess Baveras is meant.
Information provided by Talia Sturmwind