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Ascendant Court

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Ascendant Court
Starstone Cathedral.jpg
(City)
Nation Absalom
Size Absalom city district
Government conventional (district council)

Source: Guide to Absalom, pg(s). 13

At the center of the City at the Center of the World lies the Ascendant Court—Absalom's religious hub, the site of ascension of four gods, and the final resting place of the Starstone itself.[1] The Ascendant Court is the religious center of Absalom, holding the preponderance of the city's temples as well as Starstone Cathedral.[2] Located at the physical center of Absalom, it serves as a hub between other districts: all roads in the Ascendant Court lead to the Starstone.[2] Aside from the many temples, the district's most notable locations include the Avenue of the Hopeful, God's Market, the Chelish embassy in the former temple of Aroden, and the Black Mask.

Geography

The Ascendant Court lies at the heart of Absalom, with the Petal District to the east, the Coins to the south, the Ivy District and the Foreign Quarter to the west, and the Wise Quarter and Azlanti Keep to the north.[3] At the center of the district lies the Starstone Cathedral, which sits atop a massive pillar of rock, surrounded by a seemingly bottomless chasm. The Cathedral is connected to the rest of the district via three bridges, one for each of the gods (Iomedae, Cayden Cailean, and Norgorber) who passed the Test of the Starstone and achieved immortality here. A fourth bridge tied to the lost god Aroden was destroyed in the massive earthquake of 4698 AR that damaged so much of the rest of the city, and has not been repaired since.[4]

Government

The district council of the Ascendant Court is called the Chamber of Ecclestials, which is headed by nomarch Sindoi of the Thousand Poems and includes representatives of the all the major temples of the district.[2] The nomarch is only rarely a member of any of the district churches, traditionally being assigned to a Vudrani sage.[2] Since the council is often more occupied with holy day celebrations, weddings, funerals, and religious observances, much of the day-to-day running of the district is performed by the Low Council.[2]

District Guard

The Graycloaks are the Ascendant Court's district guard, and consists only of declared nonbelievers who reject the status of the gods as anything other than powerful entities unworthy of worship.[5] They wear light gray wool cloaks, but have no other symbols of affiliation or allegiance.[5] Runewulf the Unbeliever, a cousin of Estrid the White, is Captain of the Graycloaks.[2]

Religion

Iomedae greets her followers before the Starstone Cathedral

While the Starstone Cathedral is undoubtedly the heart of the district, the Ascendant Court is notable for its concentrated mass of religious centers and for the spectacle surrounding the great and holy chasm.[1] Not far from the Starstone Cathedral one can find a number of major temples such as Sarenrae's Temple of the Shining Star, the Pleasure Salon of Calistria, Cayden's Hall, and the Seventh Church, site of one of Iomedae's 11 miraculous acts.[1] Even the Cathedral of the Fallen honors those who attempted and failed at the Test of the Starstone.[1]

Pilgrims and Zealots

Religious fervor and zealotry can be found in the streets and plazas of the Ascendant Court as well, as pilgrims, fools, and heroes with aspirations of divinity, and gawkers who don't care whether they witness a success or a failure all flock to this holy site.[1] Others come to write their wishes on pieces of paper and then drop them into the pit surrounding the Starstone Cathedral.[4] With the crowds, of course, come those interested in pilfering a few purses or running a little racket at the expense of the out-of-town rubes.[1] Religious conflicts are rare; the last major riot happened on Devil's Night in the late 4690s AR, when displaced nobles from Cheliax fought the guard to burn down the temple of Asmodeus.[2]

References