Feast of Aeons
The Feast of Aeons is the largest Necromancy Temple ever discovered. Situated high on a mountain plateau, it was sighted only once by a reconnaissance aircraft flown by the Gudersnipe Foundation. The famous "Aeons Torn" photograph snapped by Lieutenant Commander Robert ("Bob") Emanual was, for some time, believed to be the only picture in existence.
In truth, the famous image is not the only picture, just the only good one. The Gudersnipe pilot who took the picture did so with his personal camera (not the airplane's sensor payload) and actually took about a dozen pictures. Only one was clear and showed the entire complex, though the others have been studied in some detail.
The name of the complex was actually given by the necromancers in Arindell, who identified the mysterious ruins as the Feast of Aeons. They identified this as its historical name, not a name given later. They would not comment further, however, leaving historians to fill in the rest of the puzzle.
The sprawling facility is located on a high mountain plateau in an un-named range that joins the Stormreaver Range roughly 5,500 miles from Arindell. The complex itself is a rectangle maybe 12 by 9 miles, though could be signficantly larger (no object has been found within the frame to provide a definite scale).
The complex also appears built on a rise or mound, possibly indicating a long period of inhabitation and construction. It is a series of temples surounded by and incorporating a large city.
It appears to contain dozens of very large, inter-conected temples, each built in the traditional style. Twenty-seven distinct temples have been identified, each larger than the last, culimnating in "the Grand Most High" around which the entire complex appears to revolve.
The city/complex was originally seen as haphazard, with several disused portions that clearly were temples at one time, alongside temples still in use before its abandonment. The discovery of the Grand Most High finally revealed a sort of pattern, which would seem to indicate that the Necromancers there were building with a purpose.
There are no identifiable signs of habitation in the images taken. Bob's camera, though for personal use, was a very sophisticated GS field unit that included numerous lines of sensory data along with the color image. No heat; no movement; not a single sign has been found in any analysis of the image to indicate that the site is anything other than an abandoned ruin.
During the mid Fourth Age, amid fears of a future Kamian Attack, the GSGS was asked to update its cartographical maps of the region around Arindell, in preparation for a possible future ground war in the region.
Because of the size of the region being covered and the relative unimportance of the mission (a ground attack by Kamians against Arindell was believed to be a very, very, very unlikely scenario), the Foundation chose to dispatch super-high-altitute aircraft for the job.
The craft chosen for the mission was a rocket-propelled spaceplane with no operational ceiling (it was certified a spacecraft, though it lacked the engines required for true space flight) and a maximum atmospheric speed of MACH 12. The mission profile, however, had the aircraft covering six thousand miles of the High Mountains, running west to east from the Sword Coast, then turning where the High Mountains reach an unexplored and unnamed range. This flight plan went 1000 miles further than the mapped portions of the High Mountains, with the added space required for the craft to decelerate from MACH 6.
The profile called for the aircraft to cut all engines and decelerate for 1000 miles, or until it had dropped below the speed of sound. The ship was then to execute a low-speed turn before making its return trip. The initial profile called for the main flight to occur at 140,000ft altitude, dropping down to 80,000, during the deceleration stage.
After completing the turn, the ship would then accelerate again for a second pass over the opposite side of the range, again decelerate, and finally land on a carrier off the Sword Coast. Entire flight time would be a little under three hours.
The purpose for this plan was to allow the entire region to be photographed on a single clear day, using a single flight over, opposed to dozens or even hundreds of flights taking weeks or months.
Early in the flight, the aircraft, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Robert ("Bob") Emanual encountered unexpected turbulence, and was forced to climb to 160,000 feet. He further encountered engine trouble on the descent stage, and flew an additional 200 miles, dropping down to 40,000 feet before making the turn.
He was able to recalibrate the engines and returned home at a lower altitude, with Higher later deciding that a single pass would suffice.
The Feast of Aeons complex was never actually flown over (as was frequently believed); but while making the return-leg of the trip, Bob spotted it through cloud cover and took several pictures with his personal camera. He estimated his distance from the site at less than 60 miles, but cannot confirm the exact altitude at which the pictures were taken (he believes it was around 39,500ft).
Bob actually took as many pictures as he could before being forced to return his attentions to flying the plane. However, only one image was of significant quality, the rest being blurry, or showing most of the site obscured by clouds. Only the best picture was ever released, thus leading to the assumption that only one picture was ever taken.
Possibly the largest question mark of the entire complex is 'who built it, when, and why?'. If it was the capitol of the Necromancers during their Golden Age (around 3,000 years before the Golden Age), then it is in the wrong place, as that region is not where the Necromancers' Golden Age is believed to have happened (thought closer to ancient Ataya).
Further, even given generous margins of error for the size estimation, many historians contend that it could not possibly have been built in so short a time as 500 years (the length of the Golden Age of Necromancy). The Necromancers of the time (and even those into the Third Age) used only hand tools and limited animal power in their contstruction projects. The entire masonry structure, then, should have taken 2,000 years to complete, not 500. Because no expedition to the site has ever been made, all information remains speculative.