• Tag Archives Axum
  • Off The Beaten Path 3: The Northern Stelae Park, Axum, Ethiopia

     

    Northern Ethiopia is home to the semi-autonomous city-state of Axum. It is a city of conquerors and the conquered. Once a seat of power for the Kingdom of Aksum, this progenitor nation predates Christianity by a century or more. With the advent of the Purge these are only a few of the details lost to the modern world.

     

    Central to present day Axum is the Northern Stelae Park, a holy site and presumed graveyard marked by ancient stone markers rising eight to twenty-four meters in height. These Stelae or gravestones are presumed to be markers for kings and warlords of a forgotten kingdom. Recovered documentation indicate that both the Obelisk, the tallest of the still standing Stelae, and King Ezana’s Stele were moved to Italy at one point. Records as to how, why, and when the Stelae were recovered are unclear.

     

    Each of the Stelae within the park are ornately carved, almost as if they were small buildings with false doors and windows.  The carvings are intricately detailed, possessing markings, which can no longer be translated accurately.

     

    Open to the public, the park is often visited by new age and mystic types, attempting to reconnect with older spiritualities or spirits themselves. This effort is not entirely without merit. Anyone visiting the site possessing the Realm Sense Focus can feel Grave resonance. This resonance is noticeably stronger than an average graveyard. Those with Ghost Sight may pick up faint wisps or trails through the park, along with the sensation of danger, or immanent battle.  These sensations are strongest at the Obelisk of Axum.

     

    Characters attempting to use the Spirit Travel Ability within the Stelae Park do not need to roll to Slip The Body as long as they posses a single level or more in Spirit Travel.

     

    Things Best Left In The Past

    Both Spirit Callers and the Church of Unua take a heightened interest in the Stelae Park. The Spirit Callers see the park as a link to the Grave while the Unuans believe Axum may have been either Eden or a recreation of it. While the city lacks other resonance sites, the carvings on the Stelae are enough to indicate a clear link to the unified city.

     

    Both Baronies have been locked in a three-way stalemate over control of Axum with the Keepers. While the Keepers do acknowledge the park’s historical value they fear it is a sleeping Gate to the Grave. That alone is reason enough to have the entire site wiped clean and the Stelae destroyed.

     

    Between the lines of war are the Qdus Arbanya, a small coven of native Lucids that work to undermine all three Baronies though bureaucratic movements circumventing plots to take legal control or alter the area in any way. The Qdus Arbanya takes exceptional precautions to avoid intervening directly working through proxy companies and special interest groups. Their operatives are not above manipulating new age tourists into taking action on their behalf without ever revealing who they really are, or what their goals may be. With the presence of the Callers, Unuans, and Keepers the Qdus Arbanya have become adept at playing one off the other and keeping suspicions high and pointed at other Baronies.

     

    Players finding their way to Axum could easily be drawn into this four-sided conflict.