| "This secret is perhaps not as carefully guarded as it should be."
Beyond this point lie spoilers for Fallen London, Sunless Sea, or Sunless Skies. This may include midgame or Ambition-related content. Proceed with caution.
"This is Caduceus, where devils keep a garden of roses."
"The devils were here before me. They were wearing those masks when I arrived. This temple was once something else, something important to them. They reclaimed it, though for a new purpose."
Where the Roses BloomEdit
Caduceus was the gateway to Parabola through which the devils escaped after their failed revolution. Now that they have returned, they and a few other ragtag groups use this place as grounds for a mysterious set of rituals called the Rites of the Rose.
The Rose-Binders have erected shrines here that are devoted to the Saints of Hell. One of the Saints of Hell, the Drummer, can be found in the cavern below the temple. He is contained in a gargantuan glass vessel resembling a heart, and it is he who determines who is worthy to participate in the Rites. His drumbeat can be heard reverberating throughout the cavern, and sometimes during the Rites of the Rose.
In a typical diabolical fashion, individuals with "aesthetically displeasing" souls are ignored by the residents of Caduceus. Those that have cold or "dull" souls are advised to improve their soul in Carillon.
"I found Caduceus not long after I arrived in Eleutheria. I was frustrated with the methodologies of Winter's Reside. Where was the poetry? Where the beauty in all the horror?"
The ritual leader of the Rite of the Rose is the Thorn-Maiden, a jaded - human! - ex-revolutionary who left Winter's Reside after being frustrated with how the Calendar Council operates. She seems to be venerated by the devils for her role in the rites. Interestingly, just like the devils', her sense of style is rather anachronistic; perhaps she learned a few tricks from them?
The Rites of the RoseEdit
"As your eyes adjust to the illegal radiance of the sudden sunlight, you can see that the Arboretum has been entirely transformed. The statues are covered and crowned in wild roses of every possible colour. Impossible roses bloom on the throne and on the marble slabs on the ground. Celebrants run through fields of brightly-hued flowers, drinking and dancing and laughing."
The Rites of the Rose are the mysterious celebrations of Caduceus, during which the temple is bathed in sunlight and the roses start to bloom. Celebrants can be seen dancing, sleeping, and walking through the fields where the Rose-Binders tend to the flowers. Hissing can be heard from the bushes, and celebrants cavorting near them often have their fingers bitten.
When the roses fade and the sunlight dims, celebrants gather in the Hall of the Fiddler to participate in the Mystery of Beholding. They are then guided to pick a rose, which will show them a specific future. Celebrants that pick a certain rose are then allowed into the higher mystery called the Mystery of Indulgence. In this rite, the Rose-Binders gather in the Hall of the Pipers and offer a choice of indulgences to the revelers: wine, dance, love, or sorrow. After this rite, the celebrants sacrifice something significant to the roses in the Hall of the Drummer. These may range from a piece of your flesh, your mind, or your entire person.
Finally, those who have been fully initiated are directed to the marble wall behind the Thorn-Maiden's throne, where the sunlight shines the strongest. The marble "wall" is in fact a mirror through which they can pass. Behind the glass is a garden where the Rose-Binders and many-armed devils tend wild roses, and something slithering can be seen in the shadows of the garden. Not all celebrants return from behind the mirror...
One day, the Thorn-Maiden says, she will bring this dream-garden and its roses into Eleutheria.
"There is a gate behind the glass. There is a kingdom that is not. There is a sky more sunless. There are promises that beguile and dreams that do not lie. All impossible. All attainable. This was once an escape; now it shall be a union. Three powers conjoined, like serpents on a staff."
- ↑ Log Entries, Sunless Skies
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Thorn-Maiden, Sunless Skies
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Place of the Rose, Sunless Skies
- ↑ The Darkling Caverns, Sunless Skies
- ↑ The Temple of Almost-Time, Sunless Skies
- ↑ A Moonlit Pool, Sunless Skies
- ↑ Ask about Caduceus, Sunless Skies
- ↑ The Rites of the Rose, Sunless Skies
- ↑ Participate in the Mystery of Beholding, Sunless Skies
- ↑ Participate in the Mystery of Indulgence, Sunless Skies
- ↑ Leave a gift for the roses, Sunless Skies
- ↑ Approach the Thorn-Maiden, Sunless Skies