Stairs of the Moon
Ancient temple of Desna built before the Whispering Tyrant gained rule over Ustalav. Located somewhere in the ShudderWood. The temple is believed destroyed by agents of the Whispering Tyrant and is now no more then a ruin. The ruins are believed to be haunted by vengeful spirits.
The Stairs of the Moon was an ancient temple of Desna constructed in the Shudderwood during the first half of the Age of Enthronement. For over 800 years, the temple administered to those of Desna’s faithful among the settlers of the Shudderwood, until the Whispering Tyrant came to Ustalav.
The Stairs of the Moon lie only a few hours from Ascanor Lodge. The temple is essentially two buildings in one—a wedge-shaped, f lat-roofed, trapezoidal edifice attached to an immense tower of stacked f lat stones rising to a dizzying height. Also constructed from large stones, the wedgeshaped building stands about 25 feet tall, though it contains only a single story. A series of arches in the north wall permits access to the interior of the building’s ground f loor, while a pair of ascending ramps carved into stairs climbs to meet the spiraling stair that wraps around the tower. Along the south wall of the temple, the first ramp climbs from the forest f loor in a straight path until it reaches the roof of the low building at its western end, 25 feet above the ground. Along its north wall, the opposing ramp doubles back, climbing another 25 feet to connect with the tower and join the staircase spiraling around it. The tower forms a tapering column of solid rock that rises nearly 150 feet above the forest f loor, capped with an open-air observatory at the top. At one time, the tower’s apex stood above the trees, but over the passing years the trees have surpassed its height, hiding the temple from view.
At that time, the high priest of Desna at the temple had a single son whom he loved dearly. During the wars against the Whispering Tyrant, the priest’s son served as a missionary, but when he returned home some years later he had changed, for at some point he had contracted a particularly virulent strain of lycanthropy. The priest tried everything he could to save his son. He imprisoned his son in a secret chamber beneath the temple and conducted experiments upon him, desperate to reverse the curse. When his research failed to yield positive results, these experiments turned dark and terrible. The priest developed a serum from his son’s blood that he used to infect his congregation with lycanthropy in order to study the disease’s effects.
Over the generations, these afflicted werewolves’ offspring became natural werewolves, and their descendents now hunt the Shudderwood as the Mordrinacht tribe. When the temple fell to the armies of the Whispering Tyrant, consumed in mysterious pillars of white fire, death transformed the cleric’s wretched son into the undead vilkacis. The Stairs of the Moon was soon abandoned, and its memory wiped from the world at large.