Rise of Nations
Temple of the Elk
The thick tangle of brambles surrounding this site gives way into a large clearing, its border partially defined by ruined stone pillars. The western face of the clearing is dominated by a looming, upthrust ridge of rock, nearly 300 feet across and rising to a moss-topped height of 100 feet at the center. The side of this towering boulder facing the clearing has been carved in the likeness of an immense elk, its antlers drooping down from its weathered face to frame a 50-foot-wide cave entrance hung with creeping vines. A large oval pool sits in the middle of the clearing, its waters now clear and pure.
Once a small, but majestic shrine to Erastil, the Temple of the Elk has lain forgotten in the forest depths for over a hundred years, ever since it was abandoned after Taldor’s last attempt to occupy this region. Unfortunately, the high priest of the shrine went over the edge after he finally admitted to himself that the natural disasters, crop failures, indigenous tribes of trolls, savage humanoids, and primal monsters had “won” and would drive the Taldan colonists out. Frustrated, the cleric lured a large bear to the temple and sacrificed it in the name of “any who would answer the call” to aid him. His lack of faith in Erastil proved to be his undoing and the god of the hunt drove the priest mad, and stripped him of his abilities and even his humanity. The mad priest became a large grizzly bear to replace the one whose life he had sacrificed, and Erastil granted him immortality in his new form but not enough intellect to make much of it, forcing him to remain at the site as a guardian until someone worthy of Erastil could come to life the curse. A fallen priest by the name of Father Jubal Hirsch heard the call and came to the Stolen Lands seeking redemption and with the help of the party, was able to defeat the mad bear and finally lay its tortured soul to rest.