Azrael's Tear Wiki
Advertisement

The chapel, a fine example of the darkness and decay that permeates Aeternis.

Morte est locus iste
~ Inscription in the entry corridor, meaning "This place is death"

Located on the northern edge of Scotland, near Wick, Aeternis (Eternal in Latin) is the last stronghold of the Templar Order and home to the Holy Grail. It is located in an extensive cave system suffused with grailstone and peppered with ancient relics of the Byzantines.

The Temple of Aeternis is a cold, shabby place – full of debris, tattered tapestries, cracked walls and broken, ancient furniture. It is a world ruled by eternal night, yet it retains a certain dark and majestic beauty which, despite the ravages of time, somehow manages still to reflect the pride and strength of the men who built it. It is no place for the living, yet it abounds with life; all adapted and sustained perpetually by the Grail and the surrounding Grailstone. Every moldy room and wind-swept corridor is home to some exotic form (or forms) of life, all perfectly adapted to survive and prosper in this harsh and unnatural environment. Structurally the complex is scattered across the cave systems and navigating it required a certain amount of finesse. Every level is in an advanced state of disrepair and are in fact disintegrating. This degradation is not uniform, and seems to be at its worst in the outer level. The Inner Sanctum which houses the Grail is the area of the temple least affected.[1]

Mission[]

The subterranean temple of Aeternis was built within existing, extensive cave systems under Wick, Scotland, in total secrecy and with great expense by the Knights Templar to fulfil three main functions:[1]

  1. To house and train a new breed of immortal priests who, with the help of Grailstone, would establish a new world order under the control of the Templars.[1]
  2. To provide a platform from which to explore the remaining cave systems under Aeternis, and to extract all the remaining Grailstone scattered within them.[1]
  3. To house the most sacred of religious relics, the Holy Grail, which they would also use as a symbol of divine approval for their new religious dynasty.[1]

The Templars failed in these endeavours . The Temple was sealed and hidden from the world, its Guardians told to protect the Grail and keep it under Templar control-forever if necessary. It would be nearly 800 years before its existence was uncovered, drawing the high-tech thieves known as Raptors down upon it.[1]

History[]

Mesozoic era[]

During the Mesozoic era some 150 million years ago, a medium-sized meteorite enters the Earth's atmosphere. As it blazes a fiery path towards the Earth's surface it broke into two roughly equal segments. One impacted with an area that will one day be known as Istanbul, Turkey - the other on a stretch of coastline that would become Wick, Scotland. The Wick segment survived the initial impact but fragmented deep underground, scattering itself into an existing and extensive cave system. Time passes. Such creatures that blunder or find their way into these deep caves are nurtured and changed by the strange meteoric rock that surrounds them; they cease to age, do not sicken, and heal rapidly from their wounds. Their metabolic need for food decreases and they develop the capability to evolve rapidly to meet environmental demands. Animals that enter this exotic, subterranean zoo tend to stay and a complicated food chain evolves.[2]

Byzantine settlement[]

The Byzantine ziggurat.

An ancient tribe, the Solenta, pushing through into England comes across the second impact site in Wick. The Byzantines, eager to retrieve more of the valuable rock, order miners into the caves, but each attempt is driven back by the ferocity of the animals.[3] However, the Byzantines eventually manage to contain the beasts and settle into the vast subterranean caverns, establishing a civilization far beyond that which existed in Africa and the Middle East at the time.[4]

The Byzantine network under the ground was a mix of vast natural caverns and man-made structures, including a ziggurat and a horrifying laboratory where experiments with grailstone were conducted. Three victims of experimentation, part animal, part beast, and still alive despite the passage of time were found later by exploring Templars. Further still, the Byzantines erected an entire city, with its own pastures inside an underground cavern and bordering a vast underground lake. At an unknown date, their vast underground complex was abandoned, through them either leaving it or being wiped out by unknown means.[4]

Celtic settlement[]

In the fourth century, a Pictish tribe settled outside Aeternis. The beasts dwelling under the ground and the Byzantine remnants were treated by them with religious reverence, as they believed them to be homes of the gods. Sacrifices were made to appease the perceived gods... And as they usually occurred to counteract phenomena like the solar eclipse, the practice continued.[5]

Templar stronghold[]

The Aeternis docks, gateway to the world.

The history of Aeternis as a Templar stronghold begins in 1153, when the twelve guardian knights were sent to Wick, Scotland, to survey a possible site for a Temple to the Grail.[6] Aeternis is designed by Sir Geffrye.[7] Their exploration of the cave network uncovers three millenia of human habitation, ready for adaptation for Templar purposes. The expedition into the depths, spearheaded by Malik and Geffrye charts the underground dwellings of people they christen Byzantines. Their discoveries include a ziggurat, horrifying grailstone laboratories, as well as an underground lake and city. The greatest discovery is a giant cavern, with walls encrusted with grailstone. This chamber was selected to be the Holy Grail's resting place, the inner sanctum of the Citadel and its heart.[6][8]

Inspired by these discoveries, Geffrye designed a mighty stronghold for the Templar Order. In total secrecy, the Holy Grail was dispatched to Wick and the construction of Aeternis began in earnest. Slaves and supplies were brought in night after night from French coastal ports, starting in 1187.[9] Aeternis is designed by Sir Geffrye.[7] Construction is finished in 1194, after seven years of labor by 600 slaves and more than 40 ship-loads of material. The enslaved workforce is summarily executed a day later, drowned in the North Sea.[7] Unbeknownst to the Templars, the Priory infiltrates the project with Spider and Cobweb.[10]

Now permanently living within Aeternis, the knights and their servants were constantly exposed to grailstone. Within thirty years of completion, changes began to manifest, ranging from aggression to heightened intelligence.[11][12] In response to Tobias' concerns, the Templar High Command ordered Aeternis to reduce its contact with the outside, to prevent the aforementioned sickness from spreading.[13] This may have ensured the survival of Aeternis, as when the Templar Order falls in 1307, only a few people aware of its existence remain on the surface. The last order from the High Command is to hide and protect the grail, forever if necessary.[14] The last Templar fleet departed from La Rochelle for Scotland. Two carried the final supplies and documents for Aeternis, while the remaining ten would travel to Strathclyde, where the Templar remnants used it to infiltrate the Scottish Freemasons.[15][16] The Priory needs a guarantee that the Grail will remains safe and carries out an attempt to seize the Grail. Sailors from the Cirrus infiltrated the Temple and seize the Holy Grail, but were stopped thanks to Phillip, the junior Priory agent in Aeternis. Tobias decided to seal Aeternis in response to this perfidy,[17] ensuring the Grail's safety, as the Priory intended.[18][19]

As the long vigil continues, the world moves on, sometimes influenced by Tobias in the guise of Baphomet. Under his orders, the Freemasons under William Sinclair construct a well-fortified castle above Aeternis to enhance its security in 1482.[20] However, Tobias' preoccupation with the visions that occur to him as a result of extended exposure to Grailstone caused him to neglect the moral on the homefront. As Malik completed his research into Byzantine lore and technology,[21] he grew more belligerent and outspoken, slowly challenging Tobias' rule as morale crumbled.[22] It's not the only thing to crumble either: Despite the Templars' efforts, entire sections of Aeternis fell into disrepair, with the most noticeable changes beginning in 1600.[23] The situation deteriorated further around 1658, as Malik openly challenged Tobias' rule, securing a stronghold for himself deep within the old Byzantine rooms.[24] Seven years later, another structural collapse cut several areas of Aeternis off, including the pastures and the printing room. The Guardians were forced to rely on ancient Roman drains for transit, abandoning the usual passageways. Indirectly, it also ensured Malik's safety for a while longer.[25] Yet another setback occurs in 1672, when the fortifications above Aeternis were destroyed in a siege.[26]

The 18th century was hardly an improvement, as Malik lost his marbles due to exposure to Maal. Philip became the senior ranking Priory agent within Aeternis,[27] and aided Tobias in bringing an end to Malik's experiments. Against beasts flooding the temple because of a collapse in the lowest levels,[28] Tobias ducts poison gas into Malik's court, flushing out his followers.[29] Malik escaped the purge, fleeing Aeternis with the entire store of grailstone gathered by the guardians over six hundred years of isolation. Sir Guy pursued the fiend, but perished outside with no grailstone to sustain him (while also providing a convenient way for the Priory to attract thieves to the stronghold at the appropriate time).[30] For the next two centuries, the remaining knights occupy themselves with their own pursuits, while Aeternis decays further and further. Everything changes with the coming of the Holy Thief in 2012,[31] as the prophesied apocalypse manifests and the world changes forever.[32]

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Design document
  2. Design document: " During the Mesozoic era, a medium-sized meteorite enters the Earth's atmosphere. As it blazes a fiery path towards the Earth's surface it breaks into two roughly equal segments. One impacts with an area that will one day be known as Istanbul, Turkey - the other on a stretch of coastline that will one day be known as Dunstanburgh, Northumberland, England. The Istanbul meteorite fragments on impact and with such force that it peppers the soil to a depth of up to 60 meters underground. The Instanbul site does not come into this story. The Dunstanburgh segment however, survives the initial impact but fragments deep underground, scattering itself into an existing and extensive cave system. Time passes. Such creatures that blunder or find their way into these deep caves are nurtured and changed by the strange meteoric rock that surrounds them; they cease to age, do not sicken, and heal rapidly from their wounds. Their metabolic need for food decreases and they develop the capability to evolve rapidly to meet new environmental demands. Animals that enter this exotic, subterranean zoo tend to stay and a complicated food chain evolves. Those that later leave quickly sicken and age - they return or die. Many millenia go by."
  3. Design document: "Another Celtic tribe, the Solenta, pushing through into England comes across the second impact site in Dunstanburgh. The Druids, eager to retrieve more of the valuable rock, order miners into the caves, but each attempt is driven back by the ferocity of the animals. Reluctantly, the site is abandoned, but mention of its existence passes into celtic oral history."
  4. 4.0 4.1 Expedition log
  5. Holy Thief: "I saw what I think was a ghost by an old well."
    Tobias: "Yes. Niamh. She was part of a Pictish tribe that lived outside Aeternis in, I think, the fourth century. They were a barbarous people and she was a sacrifice to the beasts. As for the presence of her soul. This place has a certain reluctance to let the dead remain so. Even when a body can no longer support life, the soul will not leave it"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Design document: "Twelve Templar Knights are sent to Dunstanburgh in north-east England with the Holy Grail to supervise the construction of a huge, subterranean Temple complex. Slaves and supplies are brought in night after night from French coastal ports. The Temple was named Aeternis and took 47 years to complete. Twenty metres underground at the centre of this complex construction lay the Holy Grail, a point of worship and the source of well-being and longevity for all those within. Around this Inner Sanctum lay a maze of corridors, dormitories, chapels, a library, kitchen, and teaching chambers.
    Under this complex, accessed by barred stairwells is Underworld. Here lies the ancient, deeper caves, complete with their menagerie of exotic and dangerous wildlife - and their original quota of scattered Grailstone. The environment within these caves is too dangerous for any man to survive, so access tunnels were constructed around their perimeters.
    Why did the Templars go into this expense and trouble? Because Europe was in a mess: The papacy had become nothing more than a corrupt and powerful terrorist organisation, and barbaric, illiterate feudal kings squandered their peoples' wealth in cycles of perpetual conflict. These wasteful struggles for control had been going on for hundreds of years with no end in sight.
    The time had come for a new world order, one that would responsibly control both the spiritual and financial aspects of European society. One that would forever break the stranglehold of the Popes and bring the feudal kings to heel. The Templar plan was bold and simple, and the site of Dunstanburgh was central to its success. Aeternis was designed to fulfill three main functions:
    1. To house and train a new breed of immortal priests who, with the help of Grailstone, would establish a new world order under the control of the Templars,
    2. To provide a platform from which to explore the cave system under Aeternis, with a view to extracting all the remaining Grailstone within them,
    3. To house the most sacred of religious relics, the Holy Grail, which they would also use as a symbol of divine approval for their new religious dynasty.
    Although many hundreds of Templars were involved in its implementation, the plan in its entirety was known only to the Grand Master himself, Jacques de Molay."
    Note: The dates in the article have been adjusted to match the in-game dates.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Entry 55
  8. Expedition log
  9. Design document: "Twelve Templar Knights are sent to Dunstanburgh in north-east England with the Holy Grail to supervise the construction of a huge, subterranean Temple complex. Slaves and supplies are brought in night after night from French coastal ports. The Temple was named Aeternis and took 47 years to complete. Twenty metres underground at the centre of this complex construction lay the Holy Grail, a point of worship and the source of well-being and longevity for all those within. Around this Inner Sanctum lay a maze of corridors, dormitories, chapels, a library, kitchen, and teaching chambers.
    Under this complex, accessed by barred stairwells is Underworld. Here lies the ancient, deeper caves, complete with their menagerie of exotic and dangerous wildlife - and their original quota of scattered Grailstone. The environment within these caves is too dangerous for any man to survive, so access tunnels were constructed around their perimeters.
    Why did the Templars go into this expense and trouble? Because Europe was in a mess: The papacy had become nothing more than a corrupt and powerful terrorist organisation, and barbaric, illiterate feudal kings squandered their peoples' wealth in cycles of perpetual conflict. These wasteful struggles for control had been going on for hundreds of years with no end in sight.
    The time had come for a new world order, one that would responsibly control both the spiritual and financial aspects of European society. One that would forever break the stranglehold of the Popes and bring the feudal kings to heel. The Templar plan was bold and simple, and the site of Dunstanburgh was central to its success. Aeternis was designed to fulfill three main functions:
    1. To house and train a new breed of immortal priests who, with the help of Grailstone, would establish a new world order under the control of the Templars,
    2. To provide a platform from which to explore the cave system under Aeternis, with a view to extracting all the remaining Grailstone within them,
    3. To house the most sacred of religious relics, the Holy Grail, which they would also use as a symbol of divine approval for their new religious dynasty.
    Although many hundreds of Templars were involved in its implementation, the plan in its entirety was known only to the Grand Master himself, Jacques de Molay."
    Note: The dates in the article have been adjusted to match the in-game dates.
  10. Special Order 1048
  11. Letter to the Grand Master, 1220
  12. Letter to the Grand Master, 1259
  13. Response from Templar High Command, 1264
  14. Design document: "The Templar order suddenly falls! The Pope, suspicious of the pillage of Constantinople, and hearing other reports of peculiar Templar activity has contrived with King Phillip IV the Fair of France to destroy their power. Templars are arrested and false confessions of immoral activities are extracted under torture. All Templar wealth and property within the Christian world is seized. Templar knights are arrested en masse, imprisoned tortured. The Guardian knights of Aeternis receive one last message from their Grand-Master before he is arrested - "Protect and hide the Grail, forever if necessary. One day we will return and we will have need of it." The 12 knights of the Grail turn their back son the world of men. Barring and concealing the entrances of Aeternis behind them, they descend into the eternal night."
  15. Entry 783
  16. The last communique
  17. Entry 785
  18. Missive from Spider
  19. Special Order 1103
  20. Entry 959
  21. Malik's log, April 1512
  22. Entry 1020
  23. Entry 1177
  24. Entry 1205
  25. Entry 1243
  26. Entry 1269
  27. Special Order 1390
  28. Entry 1313
  29. Entry 1501
  30. Colin Scott's letter
  31. Colin Scott's letter
  32. MS-2: "MISSION - Aeternis penetrated - 12/2/2012 - all systems functional - OBJECTIVE - holy grail"