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Time Of Judgment - Gehenna
10The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.
11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.
 The Sanctuary is an old, historic, but long-neglected quintessential Gothic Cathedral, a Catholic Church abandoned years ago at the dead end of a side street that once went further, until cut off by the creation of a new Beltway exit nearby. Ironic, considering its final fate.
 The derelict corridor of Highway Route 1 housed no one with both the inclination or the money to give a damn about restoration, and thus it sat, gathering up graffiti, used needles and condoms, dust and leaves.
The structure itself was condemned by the Alexandria Department of Housing ten years ago. Its ownership is long forgotten, and whoever it belongs to legally has shown no ability or interest in renovation. Since the road was as much a dead end as the church and lives it once served, all were collectively forgotten.
 It currently looks as if it sustained tornado damage, but the only tornado to touch it has been the swarm of local ruffians and transients using it as crash space, or a hideout for various nefarious activity.
Most of the outside entrances and first floor windows are not only boarded up, but reinforced with steel bars bolted into the bricking, a futile attempt to keep out the detritus of vandals and other nefarious denizens of this hopeless and polluted part of town. Most of the stained glass windows have long ago shattered and fallen away.
There is still access to the Sanctuary through the main church double doors, up a large flight of concrete steps with an iron rail bisecting them. They open up and lead into the Narthex, which is in bad shape.
 The inside of the church is in two sections. The front main Sanctuary, the original historic part of the church, lies in ruins. The Sanctuary itself likely once housed a congregation of 200+ parishioners, with over two dozen pews on each side of the massive main aisle.
The large, stone altar is still there, barren. There is a smoky sort of outline on the wall behind it, indicating where the Crucifix once likely hung, though it seems to have been stolen or vandalized years ago.
There are signs of deterioration from small fires the homeless may have set while squatting, gone awry; pews and other items broken or rearranged for shelter or a place to sit, and the simple assail of exposure to the elements and the hands of time, through various broken windows or holes in the ceiling.
The roof is completely gone in some places, allowing patches of sunlight inside; however, interestingly, bad weather does not intrude. Rain and snow are mysteriously kept at bay within.
 However, through the choir door you pass into a hallway to a smaller, side sanctuary, likely used for modest weddings, baptisms and similar events. This area is in less disrepair, as it is deeper into the building and also significantly newer by at least 50-75 years, from the rest of the church.
Despite this seeming wealth of space, which is predominantly in tatters at best, there are corners and hallways in which one might garner a touch of fleeting privacy; yet, there is no real sense of ability to remove one's self from the area for long, giving it something of a claustrophobic feel at times. Cabin fever is an authentic danger here.
 At the end of the Narthex hallway, there are stairs to a basement level, which from the signs, maybe have once held classrooms and a kitchen, but it is flooded from broken water pipes and lies rotting now, ignored for years. The water has no place to drain away, nor sunlight to evaporate it. It may be refilling, in fact, from misdirected rainwater or sewer lines. It sits stagnant, almost putrid, occasionally splashing as some unknown critter who made its way there moves about.
 While characters will find a way to "make it work," securing an intact pew bench or wad of abandoned blanket to rest upon, there is still the inescapable classic brooding feel of the timelessness of Faith and the omnipresent sense of God, though distant.
A few religious symbols remain scattered about; stained glass, albeit some broken; an altar and cross; and an area for candles (it seems that some of the Cathedral's squatters were still at heart good Catholics, or else perhaps they just wanted the material comfort of the light).
 There are still portions of the building intact, towards the back of the Church, and in the newer additions. Some areas are not burnt and really just could use a good cleaning, and in fact could still be restored.
 As the characters have settled in to their new quarters, they set about cleaning up some of the debris and damage within the church.
Over the course of their trial, the characters established an area in the side hallway for posting artwork, lyrics, pictures and other art and mementoes of their ordeal.
 On the far right side, near the steps up into the choir loft, is an open stairwell that leads down into another section of the basement. It is not blocked off by debris, but by the presence of dozens, seemingly even possibly hundreds of black water moccasins, swimming about, blocking further passage. Nobody yet knows to where it leads.
 There is an open set of stairs, covered in old, vermilion industrial-grade carpeting, that run along the [back] wall, leading up into the choir loft overlooking the altar. The loft is made up of about 10 tiered rows, on which once might have sat additional pews for the choir which are now long gone; the balcony overlooking the Sanctuary. At the back of the loft, there is debris blocking any upstairs access-ways into other parts of the building.
Et cognoscetis veritatem et veritas liberabit vos - John 8:32
SYSTEM NOTES: The Sanctuary possesses a unique power much akin to a very high Arcane rating. Anyone who is within, and anything that goes on inside the Sanctuary, is more or less out of mind to the outside world.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined." -- Isaiah 9:2