Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Monastery of the Yellow Rose
“To be suffering with another is to be the other; losing oneself, and the distinction that any suffering is not our own, is our truth.” –Etched on wall next to the gates to the monastery.
The Monks of the Yellow Rose, also known as the Disciples of Saint Sollars dwell in their solitary monastery high atop the Earthspur Mountains. They are known for their loyalty to their allies and destruction to its enemies. Greatly respected on matters of truth and diplomacy, the monks’ work hard to survive in their remote sanctuary. The monks often travel with Ilmataran paladins, particularly from the Order of the Golden Cup. It is considered a high honor to be chosen to join the ranks of the Yellow Rose. Cantoule, its leader, personally chooses each disciple within its walls.
Also known as the Citadel of the White Worm, the Monastery of the Yellow Rose was founded before either Vaasa or Damara. The monks who established the monastery more than a thousand years ago crossed over land that would become Damara when that unborn nation was still overlain by the Great Glacier.
Their order is devoted to Ilmater, the god of suffering and endurance. These fanatical devotees sought the most inhospitable and difficult region they could find as the place to locate their temple. Not surprisingly, they eventually came to the highest peaks of the Earthspur Mountains.
The building itself is enormous. Each generation of monks adds new structures and digs out deeper chambers. Built on the stony side of a jagged mountain peak, the monastery overlooks the Glacier of the White Worm. About half of the rooms look out into the daylight; the other half are underground chambers dug right into the mountain.
The monks of the Yellow Rose are ascetic and simple, but they are determined to create beauty in hardship. Their toils are matched by their stamina, and both seem boundless. No monk works less than 16 hours each and every day. The lower initiates are responsible for the bare necessities of survival. They labor in the meager gardens, haul ice to be melted for water, or forage on the bleak mountainsides.
Their efforts enable their more skilled superiors time to concentrate on creating sculpture and tapestries.
Few visit this place casually, for the trails are not easily found or followed. Those who do manage it, find the journey worthwhile. The monastery is a spectacular museum, with every room exhibiting artwork and architecture reflecting the supreme discipline of the order. It is a monument to the ages, an ever-growing tribute to the painstaking stubbornness that has allowed mankind to rise to dominance in the Forgotten Realms.
Extensive catacombs twist through the mountain under the monastery, threefold in purpose. Some sections serve as burial vaults for deceased monks. In another wing, a vast cellar holds vats of wine that the monks make from blueberries they collect. Finally, the catacombs house the most complete archives of the Bloodstone Lands to be found anywhere.
Each year, mid-level monks lead expeditions down the mountain to gather data in the cities of Damara, Impiltur, and in even Vaasa and Narfell. They concern themselves with news of local births and deaths, travelers passing through and newcomers settling in the region.