Tremendous Troubling Task to Take Temple Treasure

From CWS Planet
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tremendous Troubling Task to Take Temple Treasure
Two Travel Tales
LanguageGfiewish (manuscript), Lohetan (publication)
SubjectAccount of a treasure hunt in Loheta
GenreTravel literature

Tremendous Troubling Task to Take Temple Treasure is a 1895 Lohetan travelogue, based on Gfiewish manuscripts found abandoned in the basement of the Kezei zadirw (castle-palace). They describe a treasure hunt undertaken by a Gfiewish academic, a former Gfiewish intelligence agent, a Lufasan priest, and the Lohetan monk and travel guide Turis in 1894, seeking to obtain the Lohetan relic named the Statue Box of Kezei.

The book is composed of three different manuscripts: an apparently dramatized account of the actual journeys, a diary by the intelligence agent and notes and bookkeeping by the academic. The latter two are interspersed throughout the first text. The two tales in the subtitle refer to the two main parts of the journey, the difficult voyage from South Jute to Loheta on sailing ships and then the actual treasure hunt in the Kezei region of Loheta.

Originally the manuscript was published in a translated form in Lohetan, later this version was translated into Gfiewish, Ohnaucan, Naean, Balak and South Jutean. It is considered a classic of literature in Loheta and Gfiewistan.

Cover text

"Loheta, for many Ystelians a distant land on a large northern continent that they had first reached in the late 19th century and had hoped to find to find as a pastoral paradise, as their legend had claimed it to be. But Loheta's own legends and mysteries still captured the curiosity of the seafarers and later visitors.

It remained a mystical country in their cultural imagination, and as ideas about it spread across the continent, a number of people became particularly fascinated by the stories of great and valuable artifacts said to be hidden or lost in Loheta. This is the story of three treasure hunters and their Lohetan guide, told by them in their own words."


Wealthy academics of the Gfiewish Society Instructing Treasure Hunters (SITH), an academic society providing libraries, lectures and language lessons for self-declared adventurers, hear of what was widely seen as the crown-jewel of Lohetan treasures: the Statue Box of Kezei, said to be carrying an statue made of jade, gold and brass depicting the Sky Legendary, one of the main deities in Loheta, standing on a pedestal made of marble.

It isn't just the materials that make the statue so valuable and sought after, because it is supposedly the only object depicting the gaze of Feza or Holy Mother, the main deity of the Kezei region, unlike most of Loheta, where the Sky Legendary is seen as an immortal peacock phoenix with fiery rainbow colors. The gaze of Feza, usually described as a black-haired woman wearing red and pink robes adorned with various regalia, is said to either blind the owner, or grant them immense spiritual powers, if they have the necessary rigorous mental training and right attitude. As a result, other depictions of her usually show her faceless, as meeting the gaze of the Feza is only allowed for religious leaders, a position always taken up by the octarchs, the regional leaders of Loheta collectively forming its national government. This means anyone who has the statue and survives the encounter with it will likely be seen as the true religious and political leader of Kezei, which made it sought after by various foreign spies, ambitious local officials and treasure hunters from many corners of the world.

A rectangular glass case resting on four legs, adorned with various ornaments and a top shaped like a decorative sloped roof
The sole depiction of the relic

There is just one problem: there are no records of the statue ever existing, and the only evidence for it are rumors, as the last person who is said to have hold it in their hands died 70 years ago. This doesn't stop the SITH from taking a particular interest in it and sponsoring a trip to the far-away country, however.

A ship with the Gfiewish treasure hunters, a muscular academic leading and managing the expedition, a former intelligence agent turned writer, and a Lufasan priest interested in studying the power of other deities soon sets sail, but manages to get lost in a storm along the way and arrives much later at the coastal harbor of Gollisad in Loheta than intended, when winter has set in, making the journey to remote regions such as Kezei almost impossible, with the trade routes connecting it to the country suspended until the beginning of spring. Even getting to Wataful, the capital of the country located halfway between Gollisad and Kezei, would be extraordinarily difficult during the blizzards that were raging.

Nonetheless, the group, posing as lost and oblivious tourists, manages to find a guide, Turis, willing to make the unusual and extremely hazardous journey with them. However, the leader of the local union of travel guides first did not allow it to go ahead, out of safety concerns. The adventurers from Ystel had to guarantee the safety of the guide and also take on a secondary mission, notifying the high priest of Temple Tower in the capital of Wataful of a theft of a statue in the local temple that had occurred when the Lufasan priest had visited the temple with the guide.

They start their journey the following day despite the still raging blizzards and ready horses packed with supplies, equipment and weapons. A spy named Supri attempts to steal some of them, but is stopped by the academic, who coerces him into following and assisting them on their journey. The first night is spent in a small village, where the tour guide agrees to take a small ailing dog, named Shadow, to the capital for treatment.

The next day takes them to a forest, where they have to spend a night, during which they shoot a bear that they had spotted near their camp. By noon the following day they found an unlocked hut with supplies and seemingly secret information on the statue they are after, and after an incident with a water buffalo blocking a narrow pass between a rocky formation and a dense, elevated forest they encounter a man charging at them with a sword, demanding a traditional duel. Supri recognizes him as a lost "co-worker" and talks him out of it, telling him to get back to his work and ask around for help if needed.

Finally reaching the capital, they find the gates locked, and the guards only allowing the guide in. But as the gates get opened for him, the guide manages to distract the guards, showing them the dog in his care, who are taken in by the "adorable ball of fluff". The entire group can therefore enter the town easily and sleep at the Temple Tower.

The following morning they are reporting the theft to the high priest, who turns out to have already been told by the guard, and suspects the Lufasan priest for the theft. But he manages to shift the suspicion onto Turis instead, who subsequently is arrested and held at the local castle-palace for questioning. The high priest reveals how he had been drawn into a conspiracy by the union leader who wanted to use the threat of a trial to blackmail the group into obtaining the relic for him.

Instead, the treasure hunters are now to bring the relic from Kezei to the Temple Tower, to safeguard it from the biggest unrest in the history of Loheta that is currently taking place there. Locals there object to the lavish spending and heavy-handed rule of the regional octarch, who has built up a massive surveillance regime and regularly imprisons anyone found to be in any way critical of her, and even many who aren't. The group is to get a new guide who will bring them safely through the Waterfall Cave, the only connection between the capital and Kezei in winter, and spends the day in the town, visiting the local castle-palace, the seat of the regional and national government, where Supri is sent on an errand back to Gollisad, and the dance theater of the town. There, the Gfiewish writer is gifted a foldable raft with an electric engine from a spectator who is impressed by his knowledge of literature and his group's ambition to take on such a dangerous journey in such harsh conditions.

Their new guide then brings them back to the temple, but the next day, the guide is unexpectedly substituted, with their new one being a secretive, hooded man wearing a bandana and using gestures and books instead of words to communicate. In the caves, they not only encounter various troubles such as long, dark passageways, a huge lake with waterfalls and various aggressive, giant jellyfish, losing control of their craft and crash landing on its rocky shore, they also find out that their new guide has secretly been carrying the same dog Shadow that was supposed to stay in Wataful for treatment in his bag. This instance of dog-abduction is met with disapproval, but due to their circumstances left unresolved.

Later, they encounter boulders blocking their path, but with some combined strength and planning they manage to move them out of the way. However, one of them falling into the water leads an octopus the size of a man to appear. The writer, unaccustomed to all such dangers, begins to panic and hallucinate and takes a long time to calm down. When they can already see the light of the exit, they are ambushed by a group of female warriors that claims the group trespasses onto Kezei territory with no permission. At first, the group manages to avoid a fight by distracting them with a conversation about religion including a claim about a mythical shrine hidden behind a waterfall[1], and move past them to the exit. However, the warriors catch up fast and the priest tries to hold them by throwing the unfolded raft in their way. This works to slow them down, and additionally the academic also shoots one of them in the head, which allows them to get away safely. They camp in a forest near the gates of Kezei.

The next day, they manage to get into the city after a brief conversation with the guards at the gate that eye them suspiciously. In a teahouse near the walls, they find some women planning a new protest against the regional government that seeks to avoid having its participants arrested like the last time. With the regional octarch having their authority questioned, some of them suggest the relic could serve as a test for the local sovereign and if necessary help find their true religious leader. They do not prove helpful to the treasure hunters, dismissing their offers for help, saying these actions should be for locals only.

Shortly thereafter, the teahouse is raided, and while the political organizers manage to escape in time through a backdoor, the Ystelian group is arrested with their guide and brought to the local castle-palace. There, it is revealed that the guide was really Turis all along.


The abrupt end of the manuscript is assumed to be connected to the belongings of the group being seized, since the writings were found in the basement in the room reserved for questioning people accused of crimes. It is not certain what happened to the adventurers. Various theories exist, with the most common having them escape in a hurry and returning home, as there is no record of Ystelian prisoners in Kezei at the time. Other critics think the clearly embellished nature of the journey would indicate a fictional tale which the author tried to lend credence to by inventing a origin story.

Nonetheless, it is established that searches for Statue Box of Kezei did happen in the period, which were all unsuccessful. The relic remains an unsolved mystery, which eventually forced the octarch to make political concessions, as with no relic in her possession and increasing public pressure her legitimacy was eroding dangerously fast. She agreed with the other regional leaders of the country to have a parliament created that could control the budget and limit punishments.

This political change is the subject of Guiding People, which is commonly seen as a sequel, but in fact was published a year earlier by an anonymous tour guide as memoir, often identified as Turis.


The book was a runaway success, leading to translations being published in several Ystelian countries, such as South Jute, Lufasa and Gfiewistan. It inspired many more trips by readers to Loheta and Ystel-Loheta Friendship Societies grew significantly. Even in the present day it is credited with continuing to encourage people in Loheta to travel to the Kezei region and in Ystel to bring people to take up an interest in the far away country of Loheta, treasure hunts, and the mystical in general.

  1. The shrine was never found in later expeditions. It is assumed the claim was made up on the spot.