Otherplaces – Ferzhola, the Sealed Vault of (A to Z Challenge, F)

6 April, 2012

Ferzhola has an old and storied history, and one story has always been of the sealed vault.  Located just off of a market square, once a judicial square, once the training yard for a magical academy, and who knows what else before them.  The massive metal doors that lead into the vault are a proper tourist attraction complete with souvenir stands and tours of the area.

the Sealed Vault of Ferzhola

Down a wide side street, cobbled in green stone, from a second rate market square -famous only for its meat buns and spiced ale- is a massive building that has subsided unevenly and now cants at a noticeable angle.  The building is notable as it is clad in white-veined black marble that has survived the ages remarkably intact, a few small crack are visible, especially near the base, but it seem otherwise unmarred by age.  Though time has dulled the polished surface which must have been spectacular when it was new. It is said that attempts to dig under the vault found that it is faced with marble on all sides.

The building is a massive cube and featureless except for a pair of massive doors, each thrice the height of a man and wide enough that a chariot could drive through.  The doors open in, so no hinges are visible, and like the building are featureless, no handles, locks or mark is visible.  The doors are made of an unknown metal that has aged into patterns of dark blues, indigo and greens.  There are diviners who claim to be able to read the future in these patterns (and who will do so for an entirely reasonable fee).

The most important quality of the sealed vault is that it is sealed, and remains so, in spite of the best efforts of thieves, scholars, engineers, wizards, priests and others over the long centuries.  Siege engines and spells, tools and trickery have all been employed to try to open the vault to do avail.

It is a place that almost all visitors to the ancient city of Ferzhola take time to at least see and the area around the vault are cluttered with touts and souvenir sellers, diviners and artists (“Sketch you in front of the doors of the Vault, noble sir?”).  Tours of the city inevitably come close enough to see the vault, though perhaps not close enough to be sucked into the tawdry commerce around the vault (or they employ ‘bully bois’ to keep the rabble at bay) .

Who built it, why it was built, what is inside and what open it are all questions with thousands of answers, some of which may even approach the truth.

One comment

  1. Mysterious… Kind of rang a little like the Qaaba in Mecca 🙂 I loved the description of the diviners and the souvenir entrepreneurs (“sketch you in front of the doors of the Vault, noble sir” is sheer genius). This world you’re building comes across as eerily real–great job!

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