Temple of The Great Fish
(a.k.a. K’ai Xend’Ikar)
We must remember not to make assumptions about a reader’s knowledge of the City of Gateway in the event this book reaches far beyond its context as a warning against the kind of persecution wizards are suffering at the hands of Those Who Would Claim Governance Over Us. But we are certain we do not have to explain the nature of fish to anyone who lives anywhere in the Known World.
The bigger the fish, the older and wiser it is; that is a universal truth. But not everyone realizes that the second largest fish in the Known World resides right here in Gateway, in the district known as Northtown. His name is K’ai Xend’Ikar, but most people know him as “The Great Fish” and he is more than 800 years old. K’ai was around during the Unification of Gateway, the time of the Masons, but back then K’ai was the size of a man.
Although he had legs and arms in those days, K’ai is not a Saloran, but rather a fish who grew legs and arms by choice. This is sometimes a confusing distinction, and it can be hard to tell the difference, even among Salorans and true fish. It is especially confusing when you consider that a Saloran who lives beyond the age of 200 begin to lose his or her arms and legs and revert to a more fish-like form, usually choosing to live out remaining days in the ocean among true fish. We could get into all of the differences as they pertain to various fish and Saloran species, but we do not have nearly enough page space for that. If you are interested, read Mogh P’Tolemeck’s “Treatise on Fish and Fish Folk in 12 Volumes - 3rd Edition.”
K’ai’s real size is hard to determine, but for reference: the majority of his mass is hidden inside his 15-storey flooded temple and his head sticks out above the top of the main tower about 5 stories. A few sewer workers have claimed to have seen his tail in a murky flooded chamber 12 stories below ground level, but these claims have never been substantiated.
K’ai is the city’s foremost dispenser of wisdom and expert on just about every known subject matter. His knowledge of Gateway history is unmatched, and his understanding of the various magical arts is encyclopedic. Though not a practicing mage these days, K’ai was once an accomplished Summoner and even taught summoning arts for nearly 12 decades at university. At his size, the mental weight of his collected knowledge and wisdom would make spell-casting nearly impossible. However, one scale from The Great Fish’s body can hold a charge of magic equal to about 20 high-capacity runestones. Several of his scales have been stolen by runethieves, most of whom have been caught and prosecuted, but it is believed that there are at least a dozen scales still somewhere on the black market or in the hands of collectors.
K’ai has several people under his employ who manage his schedule, tend to his temple and grounds, and guard the facility from thieves, vandals, and rogue wisdom-seekers. The original temple was built by a band of worshippers of K’ai who believed him to be a god, even back when he was only 65 feet long. They invited him to live in a large, marble pool built in the center of the large temple; he accepted, finding the arrangement better than living in the polluted waters of Gateway’s harbor. He rather liked the idea of being worshipped as a god; it had precedent in history, after all. He decided he would try it out for a hundred years and see how things went.
Ultimately, both he and his worshippers determined that he was, in fact, not a god. But by this point he had such a lucrative business going as a consultant in the magical arts that he was able to part ways with the Church of the Great Fish on friendly terms, even buying out the mortgage that they had on the Temple. As he grew, he expanded the facilities until eventually he had to seal off the doors and windows and flood the main tower. Various platforms were built in order for visitors to meet face-to-eye with him as he grew over the centuries; the current platform is located on the roof of the main tower.
The Central Governance under the rule of our “beloved” Chancellor tried to force K’ai to allow Inquisitors and City Guard to be stationed at his temple to monitor the conversations of his visitors in order to identify potential terrorists. He refused to allow it, so the Ministry of Sanctioned Business Practices had his license revoked, and placed the temple under close watch. They offered to reinstate his license if he would agree to work as a special counsel to the Central Governance, but K’ai chose silence and sunk his body down into the temple, unseen now for nearly four years.
It is now effectively impossible to meet with K’ai, but some claim that there is a way to access the temple through the flooded reservoir chambers in the underground.