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The Oracle of Derketo

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Moths to a flame: that is how the common folk of Khopshef Province describe the mysterious allure of this holy figure, who presides from an ancient temple that sits in the shadow of the great pyramid south of the village of Bubshur.

Visitors who travel to the temple in hopes of receiving one of the oracle’s divinations are enthralled by the young man’s golden skin and his exotic, androgynous beauty. His wisdom and charisma belie his youthful appearance, and many young men and women who are fortunate enough to bask in his presence renounce their former lives and dedicate themselves to serving him.

The oracle’s cult has grown steadily since his recent arrival, and numerous tents have since sprung up around the temple to house his worshipful disciples. The cultists continue to clean out and reclaim the semi-ruined temple building for the glory of their leader, decorating the worn stone walls with colorful banners and scraps of cloth to restore some of its former glory.

The oracle isn’t universally loved, however. Prosperous merchant families who have lost sons and daughters to the oracle’s cult have been prevented from seeing their children at all, their inquiries deflected by one excuse or another. The citizens of Khopshef Province are troubled by the constant stream of converts who are leaving the village and devoting themselves to the mysterious figure, although they can’t point their finger at any signs of malice or evil in the oracle’s agenda. In recent days, however, a group of Black Ring emissaries have arrived from the southeast and made camp on a cliff overlooking the brooding pyramid.

From there the emissaries watch the goings-on at the temple with the foreboding interest of carrion birds. What this portends for the oracle and his fanatical disciples remains to be seen, and only deepens the mystery surrounding him and his all-consuming cult.

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