The largest city in Amaans and a holy city for Pharasmins, Kavapesta is a somber place possessed by a dour variety of religious fanaticism. The city takes its name from Mother Kavapesta, a Pharasmin missionary and teacher whose sermons on perseverance and suffering laid the foundations for the philosophies today known as the Pharasmin Penitence. After the priestess's death, her followers began the construction of Cryptgate Cathedral, which through centuries of renovations and expansions would become the largest church and monastery of Pharasma in Ustalav. The effort of constructing this monument and the tombs beneath brought droves of pilgrims to the banks of Lake Divirmis, which the faithful eventually renamed Lake Kavapesta. With the cathedral's completion, the assembled congregation lingered on, hoping to create a community based on the tenets of their faith. This community grew slowly, finally becoming the city known today.
Yet a city needs more than faith to survive, a fact the people of Kavapesta stubbornly defy. The foothills around the city are poorly suited to farming and the lake is tainted by poisonous minerals from the Hungry Mountains. A few mines in the surrounding hills scrape tin and coal out of the earth, though one has to wonder if the coin won from these efforts is worth the lives lost to cave-ins, choking maladies, and more mysterious disappearances. But worst of all are the plagues, the rampant sicknesses that seem to boil up from Lake Kavapesta once a generation and burn through the city like a field fire. Scourges like the Whithers, Tol's Voice, and, most fearfully, the Bleak Breath have killed thousands in their beds, with lesser scares and re-emergences occurring every few years. But the people claim that their city is blessed—not cursed like so many visitors say—insisting that each new calamity is a test from Pharasma and an opportunity for the citizens to experience ever greater trials, assuring greater rewards after death.4
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