Old July 23, 2017, 11:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Lotus Temple] The Swirling Lotus Garden

 


The Swirling Lotus Garden

Situated in the midst of the Askin Woods of central Moonstone, the Swirling Lotus Garden is a testament to man's tenacity and ability to rebuild. The Black Fog that fell over Lauryl, a terrible weapon wielded by the Xet Alliance, annihilated much of what had lived within the province. Despite the devastating impact, however, in just a few short years life has begun to return to the area. While the effects of the Fog will likely remain for some time to come, both nature and mankind have made great strides in returning normalcy to the stricken areas. Revitalization efforts have seen the long stretches of dead and rotting wood slowly recovering and returning to the lush ash and cedar yakusugi forests of old. Dozens of species of rhododendron and bryophytes litter the once-scoured ground. Sika deer can occasionally be seen grazing through the trees, and the durable Toro-Toro wander the shores of the River Laroo.

In the midst of nature's gradual recovery stand the structures that constitute the Swirling Lotus Garden. These buildings have seen far more rapid repair than the surrounding landscape, as the ruins of the Lotus Temple were renovated and rebuilt to their new purpose.

The entirety of the campus is surrounded by a set of stone walls, such that the only public point of entry is a staging area at the very front. The main road is tangent to this location, allowing for an steady stream of traffic capable of coming to and from it. It is here where that guests arrive and depart from, allowing them immediate access to the large entrance hall in front of them. The guards ensure that no weapons and other contraband are carried into the campus grounds - any such items that are declared by the guest will be held for them and can be picked up before departing, but those that are found through searching will be confiscated. Upon entering the entrance hall, immediately before them stands a large statue of a woman in a reclining position, clad in a revealing robe with arm bent at the elbow so that her head can rest upon her hand, legs spread and staring down at the newcomer with an inviting smile. It is made of a curious material such that, to the touch, it feels as if one is touching the flesh of a living, breathing person. She is the matron of the Swirling Lotus Garden, personally welcoming each and every person that passes through the entrance.

The entrance hall has a group of receptionists set up in an arc, ready to provide directions to anywhere in the sprawling complex. Immediately beyond the hall is a massive outdoors courtyard, paved with stone and containing numerous grassy blocks, trees, and benches upon which individuals can lounge about, socialize, and interact with other guests. Two open-air pavilions flank the sides of the entrance halls, providing both lounging areas and natural routes to the structures that flank the courtyard itself. This first area is the Velvet area, available to all who enter the doors of the Swirling Lotus Garden and the first tier of accessibility.

To the left lies the Elysium Casino, a house of gambling and long odds. It will likely be the only bastion of professionalism present at the Swirling Lotus Garden. That isn't to say that there isn't some degree of rowdiness to the casino, but it is only present among the guests themselves. Servers frequently wander around the tables, ready to take orders and deliver snacks and beverages to the clientele. Card and dice games tend to be the norm, regulated at a table with a live dealer on hand. The Elysium also enforces its Last Carriage policy - a guest who has played at any table may, at any time, request a small amount of coinage enough to at least pay for a carriage back to Ziel Aerca. This way, no bankrupt individual is stuck at the gardens with no means of travel back to whence they came, although the coinage can only be requested once. It is not recommended to continue gambling with it.

To the right lies Foxys Club, which serves many purposes for the clientele. It is the primary bar of the area, hosting the largest variety of alcohol and staffed by talented bartenders capable of mixing together any request from a customer. The numerous tables away from the bar belie its function as a restaurant as well, somewhere guests can sit down and have themselves a proper meal if need be - a great deal of time can be lost in the Garden, after all, and an empty stomach can be terribly distracting from the hedonistic pleasures to be found. The club also serves as the primary distributor of the various drugs and narcotics available on campus, from the more well-known varieties of qaifa and kero to Ziel Aerca's own Rapture and Jubilee. Foxys Club would like to remind patrons that the servers are under no obligation to sexually service guests and that such solicitations should instead be directed to the establishment to the north or be made once the customer has arrived at the proper location in the next tier up.

At the very end of the courtyard is the Honey Pot brothel, stretching across the entire edge such that it touches upon the edges of both the Elysium Casino and Foxys Club, such that traffic flows from building to building. One could get away with simply describing it as 'just' a brothel, although that doesn't quite do the Honey Pot justice. The staff are better trained, are there because they want to be, and best yet, absolutely clean. A degree of pride is taken in their work and while some requests remain too debased for the brothel, the standard fare is provided with a good degree of enthusiasm.

A large sprawl of grassy garden is present beyond this first area, a park full of paths, shrubbery, and vegetation. A few small alcoves are present in this area, and the entire area continues to be excellent for its initial purpose - a location for wandering, retrospection, and quiet meditation. These paths all converge, however, to a single point - the entrance to the Lace tier areas.

The Velvet Petal brothel is the sentinel that stands guard here, as the entrance to the building is the only means by which one can enter the Lace tier structures. All locations of this second tier pride themselves on their lewdness and depravity, taking the overall themes of the first tier and putting a lascivious twist on things. Entrance to the second tier requires buying the privilege to do so, and only then are these premium guests allowed to pass through. It is to the Velvet Petal that many of the requests the Honey Pot is unable to fulfill are funneled, where the services provided are allowed to be far more debauched and debased - up to a limit. Employee safety and the consensual nature of all such affairs reign supreme, and the customer is not always right.

Two pairs of squat building flank the bottom portions of the Velvet Petal building, and reflect the services provided in the Velvet tier. These are the House of Slots Casino and the Saxante Neuf Club respectively. Dress code for both establishments is 'clothing optional.'

The House of Slots tends to involve games with higher stakes, and where money doesn't necessarily have to be what's gambled. An understandably sexual slant is often taken on games, such as favors being performed instead of receiving a payout. Sometimes it might be as simple as playing a game of cards while using a sprawled out naked individual for a table. The House of Slots is named after an interesting mechanical device that, upon being shaken, will display one of a number of symbols in three parallel rows or 'slots', with the intent being acquiring matching symbols. This definitely the reason for the name of the casino.

Saxante Neuf is modeled after the capital city's famed Club Vibrato, only taking away much of the classier entertainment options and replacing it instead with degeneracy every day of the cycle. It is understood that everybody has their own preferences, and so the club is separated into three, distinct areas where the demographics of the staff vary - full female, full male, and a mixture. Alcohol flows freely, the air is often hazy and smoky from the drugs being imbibed, and a frenetic, thumping drum beat is often present in the background. Depending on which section a guest is in, they may see a scantily clad woman dancing around a pole, a bronzed beefcake benching a guest or two for their amusement, a server pressing her bosom together to allow a client to drink alcohol out of it, or a naked man with designs painted on him with glowing paint dancing in a dimly lit corner to the cheers of a throng. Quite unlike Foxys, lechery is encouraged, and the club's cleaners are among the best in the service.

In the areas directly above both of these establishments, and flanking either side of the portion of Velvet Petal that juts out above them, is a decently forested woodlands area. A likely unexpected group operates out of these locales - a small group of Carmelyans! Perhaps they are the ones responsible for the regrowth in the area, but as with all other things in the Lace area, their presence isn't without a touch of the salacious. Nature can be very wild and primal, after all, and the Church of Faith oft insists that the populace should turn to Carmelya for fertility issues. The Carmelyans tend to like to let people get imaginative when it comes to what sort of requests are made of them.

The Lace area is also well known for its assortment of bizarre, wanton, racy rituals. The Velvet Petal tends to be the base for these but they have been known to be present in the other establishments as well. These can range from a massive gangbang for the purpose of impregnating a woman to a 'punishment' game in the woods of the Carmelyans involving somebody (un)fortunate enough to get to play the role of Diana. Not to mention the 'confessional' booths that involve trading away information and secrets for worldly pleasures...

One might question as to how dirty a business this could be. The answer, of course, is absolutely filthy. The Swirling Lotus Garden's cleaners are likely among the most well-trained, highly experienced, and (most importantly) best paid of the profession. But it does not to do merely clean the floors and tables, after all. To that end, large bath areas are available to the east of both the Velvet and Lace areas, sprawling bathworks that draw water from the nearby River Laroo and allow individuals a place to clean themselves up after their debauchery. The Velvet area consists of a slew of private alcoves, whereas the Lace area also includes a larger more public space - and recommends that any ensuing shenanigans be moved to the area's own alcoves. Across from both of the baths are also dormitory facilities, provided such that those who might, for whatever reason, need to stay a night have a proper place to lay their heads free of charge.

Directly north of these grounds is a large, wide stream. Its depth and its current make it difficult to ford, and there is only a single bridge where an individual may cross it. The surface of the stream is covered in the pads of lotus flowers and water lilies, which are prevented from being swept away by large grates in the walls on either side, allowing for the passage of water but not the plant matter. This stream is what separates the Lace area from the third and highest tier available at the Swirling Lotus Garden: the grounds of the Satin tier.



The Temple of Sinful Delights

While it is enough to merely pay a premium to get into the Lace area the only way to acquire access to the Satin area is through invitation. This is because the third and final area serves as the campus for the Temple of Sinful Delights, a secretive religious organization that holds Alithea as its primary benefactor but pays homage to many deities. Founded in the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple of Carnal Love in Har'oloth, it primarily consisted of Vysstichi survivors of the aforementioned purge rescued by a well-meaning then-Zygran who figured that their lot deserved as much as anybody else a place to be able to come together and worship their gods. With roots planted at the Lotus Temple and protection for the fledgling group provided by its head in her position in the Moonstone government, its corrupting influence was allowed to grow unmolested and develop into its current situation. The Swirling Lotus Garden serves as the public face of the Temple, providing a veneer through which its most popular facet - Alitheanism's lustful and hedonistic tendencies - draws attention away from its other illicit operations. As it is, however, the stated aim of the Temple is to provide a place for worshipers of any deity and from any walk of life to be able to come together freely and without fear of reprisal or judgement. This is primarily aimed to allow for Aeternian and planetar worship, but Aetherians are always allowed so long as everybody gets along.

Crossing the bridge into the Temple's Satin grounds brings one to the Temple's entrance hall, mimicking that of the Swirling Lotus Garden as it possesses its own statue of Alithea (for that is indeed whom the statue is modeled after). The pose is much the same, however the clothing that the first possesses has been coyly pulled back in the second, tongue teasingly poking out between her lips to reveal the obscenity beneath. All manner of smaller individuals dance atop her body, engaged in all sorts of carnal rituals to appease their goddess. There are no receptionists here, merely the Temple guards who dutifully check to make sure only those who are allowed can go beyond, and throngs of Givers - individuals who for whatever reason have been assigned the role are required to give themselves fully to whoever might come along, unable to deny any request made of them so long as it does not cause them undue harm. Punishment, or an opportunity for indulging in a bit of excess and degradation? It varies from individual to individual.

Passing through the entrance hall opens up the entirety of the Temple campus, not quite as restrictive in pathing as the Swirling Lotus Garden as it consists of a wide open grassy area with paved paths between each of the buildings. Just ahead is the centerpiece of the former Lotus Temple complex known as the kondō, or "main hall." It is the only two story building in the entirety of the campus, with the first floor being a massive area where statues of the pantheon have been erected - but only those deities who have received representation and whose followers have joined the Temple's coalition have been allowed a place there. A massive statue of Alithea stands at the center in her usual more nymph-like appearance, absolutely naked and flaunting her body as she stands with both arms above her head in a sultry fashion, serving as the load bearing pillar for the rest of the Temple.

Around the perimeter of the room stand the other deities, in all their glory. Haya stands in her beautiful Vysstichi form, dressed in regal robes and staring haughtily across at Meephos, a chortling portly man with a pitcher of wine in one hand and a coin held between his fingers towards Haya, as if about to make a bet with her, body adorned by a sheer robe. To the side is Turtas, whose historically grotesque appearance has instead been changed to a more charming form along the lines of her sister and mother - after all, why not lie a little about how the Demi-God of Lies looks? She gazes speculatively off in the distance, hand holding up the mask that covers her face, seemingly unaware of her nudity. Off in a dark corner is Jalat, form mostly built into the wall such that a great portion of him is not visible, save for an armored head and folded hands in front, brooding as he watches over all others in the room. Also given her space is Zyrgra, a ragged and emaciated looking woman isolated in another corner, covered in jagged thorny brier patches and snarling at the onlooker. Last is the incredibly regal Carmelya, standing apart from all the rest as the Lady of the Wild, an antlered hunter woman clad in greens and vines. Elsewhere, there are two statues that are still being worked on, but have yet to be finished: a wise old man who would stand near Carmelya, and a very angry individual to be placed in his own corner - inroads have been made but full representation is lacking.

The second floor of this building is utilized as a private sanctum by the higher ranked clergy of the Temple. Here, hidden from public eye, are a second set of statues that reflect the Temple's more corrupting nature - the poses are lewder, the figures more erotic. Haya and Meephos come together in the throes of passion, Alithea engaging in scandalous incest with her sister Turtas with a conspicuous third body missing, a fully nude Carmelya teasingly sticking out her tongue as a long, impressive horse phallus sprouts between her legs, and Zyrgra bound in a compromising position by a series of ropes.

North of the "main hall" stands another vast structure that serves as the primary activity hall, containing an assortment of rooms set aside for rituals, ceremonies, and training purposes. The campus kitchens are also located here, both serving as a cafeteria to those nearby while also delivering and catering to those further away. It is also where this area's baths are located, fed by the River Laroo just as all the rest are. This is the primary location that any 'clientele' of the Satin area will be congregated in. It is here that nearly every request can be satisfied, every fetish fulfilled, and no kink judged. The mantra, however, never changes: stay safe and stay consensual. Breaking these rules results in heavy-handed punishments. It is also here that individuals may participate in the lewdest of the Alithean and corrupted Carmelyan rites available, from terribly chaotic orgies fueled by alcohol and drugs, to Alithean 'marriages' that are arguably flimsy pretenses for more mass orgies, to receiving scandalous blessings through, you guessed it: probably an orgy. The ever-popular 'confessionals' remain as well, although the uptick in quality of service oft necessitates even juicier secrets shared...

Two large dorm buildings are to the north and east of the activity hall, serving to house much of the staff who work on location. Further to the northeast is a large open-air pit in the ground. This houses the Temple's resident basilisk, who is used to punish the Temple's worst offenders. Those individuals petrified by the basilisk provide the source of the fleshstone that the Temple's statues are created from, giving it the feeling of flesh when being touched.

Sliucha Sindosa, governor of Moonstone, is the Temple's secret Matriarch and High Priestess of Alithea.
 


Credits to chat for helping with naming: Liahal, Niven, Kailin, Calanon, Adynirach, Rosie
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