The Catacombs

The secrets of the oldest of all vampire clans lie in these chambers beneath the cathedral. This is the house of the dead, where the past has soaked into the stone and made its home among the illustrations and carvings that line the walls. Ancient relics of long dead Anantya are hidden here, and amongst these reminders of the past the most sacred of Anantya ceremonies are conducted.

Members of Anantya enter the catacombs by way of a small arched doorway behind the altar, hidden in the shadows and difficult to notice if one does not already know of its existence. Despite the somewhat unwelcoming entrance, the catacombs proper are clean and dry with no trace of either mold or vermin in spite of being deep underground. The winding staircase leads down to a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers; it is not wise to wander alone unless you are certain you can find your way out again. Bringing one’s own light is prudent as many of the tunnels are very dimly lit. The hallways are made of stone; glints of quartz can be seen in the dark as one walks along. The chambers, however, have everything from wood paneling to sheets of solid marble for their walls.

The tunnels are guarded by the Unspeakables, huntsman muted by nature or design who know the catacombs and the secrets within…and will never, ever tell. It is not wise to dally without purpose, for the guards are restless beings, protective of their dwelling and jealous of their secrets.

Of the many and varied chambers in the catacombs, a few are known by all in Anantya.

The Initiation Chamber
This is where the initiation ceremony Link takes place. It is a large circular room, opened by an Elder on the night of a new Anantya’s initiation rites. The doors are opened by the initiate; they must press their bloody hand on the Anantya symbol carved into the heavy slate door.

Inside, the sand stone walls can barely be made out in the dim. A pillar rises from the center of the bowl shaped room, which holds the ceremonial chalice used during the initiation rite. Tiny tiles on the floor form a mosaic of the Anantya symbol.

An initiate becomes better acquainted with the catacombs immediately following their ceremony; they are left in the chamber, alone, to contemplate their new life.

They must find their own way out.

The Hall of Honor
This is a long stretch of tunnel where various Anantya of old are memorialized. It is open to all in Anantya, though like most places in the catacombs, silence is highly valued here. Neatly carved alcoves house sculpture, weapons, armor, and other significant items belonging to Anantya of the past and tapestry and relief carvings line the walls. This is the most well lit area of the catacombs and leads the way to the council chamber.

The Hall of Truth
Opposite the Hall of Honor is the hall of Truth. It is completely unadorned save a reflective pool with mirror flat water at the far end, resting on three pillars. It is thought to be a place where all is cast aside and laid bare. This hallway leads to the Justice Chamber.

The Chamber of Equals
A small square room known for its wine cellar underneath, here clansmen may speak as equals regardless of their status. It takes two people in cooperation to open the door, by turning two recessed handles on opposite sides of the door in tandem. The walls are paneled with dark walnut and this is the only chamber in the catacombs with reasonably comfortable chairs.

This same famous wine cellar also happens to carry sound quite poorly; in fact, should there be a disagreement no one would hear the loser’s screams.

The Justice Chamber
When Anantya must be tried and sentenced within the clan, they go to this large round chamber. A select few, including the Elders but also those close to matters of justice within the clan, can open the doors to this chamber, though the method is unique for each.

The interior of the room is set up to resemble an arena, with a circular area in the center for the accused to stand and rising benches for witnesses to sit. The floor of the center circle is slate, with the Anantya mark carved into the stone. This arrangement serves to host the three possible trials an Anantya may endure: Trial by Combat, Trial by Ordeal, or Trial by Jury.

The Unseen Places
These are the secret places, concealed in shadow, though if one happens to stray too close they would meet silence and the cold eyes of the Unspeakables. Who knows what secrets they protect?

The Dungeons
Beneath the Unseen Places, where the most criminal of all Anantya are imprisoned for spans ranging from years to eternity. A simple wooden door with a metal ring opens into the staircase leading to this dark pit, but only the Unspeakables know the way of opening said door. If one had the misfortune to go down to the dungeons, they would soon find themselves walking along a pathway made of ash leading to various darkened, isolated cells carved into the stone.

Unless, of course, they were to wander by an occupied cell, which is inadvisable to say the least.

The Hall of Sorrows and the Gate of Tears
This hallway and gate is the way those that are banished from the clan exit. It is a long walk of disgrace through a tunnel wide enough that one can see only darkness on either side of the narrow path, though some claim they can make out the faces of the worst of the traitors in the blackness.

The hallway begins at an archway just beyond the Chamber of Justice and the stairwell leading to the dungeons. Only one who is banished may take this path; an Unspeakable will halt anyone who wanders to close on accident. The stones of the archway are discolored a rusty red; it is tradition that before a banished one exits, they leave behind a last part of themselves in the way of vampires, the way of blood.

As one approaches the Gate of Tears, it is said that a sound like screaming or wailing can be heard, though no one knows if this is a result of the wind or sound of the dungeons below.

The gate faces East, and some choose to take advantage of this fact; the ground surrounding the gates is dusted in ash. Those who choose to continue on would find themselves facing the woods, which they can pass through or circumvent.

The Council Chamber
The only place in the Catacombs open to those outside Anantya, albeit via a separate entrance through the Manor. An outsider can enter this way and never realize they have gone underground at all.

The two entrances to the council chambers are both large solid cedar doors said to carved from two ancient trees from Mesopotamia. The room is stark with unadorned black marble walls. It is said that there are no hangings depicting codes of conduct because the vampire race is older than written law. Toward the far end from the public entrance is a long semi-circular table with five seats for the elders of the two clans. The table is carved with writing in many different languages each saying:

From human hearts and minds we came
In the fullness of time.
Wisdom and tradition, both we claim
With the fullness of time.
Through these doors greatness strides
And from this table it justly guides
In the fullness of time.

Behind this table is the doorway through which the elders of Anantya walk; all others must use the Manor entrance.