Dome Room (above Torch Room)
    tomb of Ramses II
    nearby Engravings Cave
    Temple of Zork (alternate)


The Temple of Zork is ancient underground temple now connected to the Dungeon of Zork, most likely abandoned during the fall of the Empire in 883 GUE. This very strict religious sect centered near the former location of Flatheadia possibly has its origins in a local religion already in existence before Duncanthrax's invasion of the Eastlands. Joel Flathead was the last High Priest of the Zorkers of this ancient temple, whose beliefs were very obscure. He would read the daily incantations at the sacred Altar of Frobozz, calling Zorkers to prayer.

The entire temple is composed of several rooms, including a chamber with a white marble pedestal upon which at one time set the Torch of the Endless Fire (before it was taken by the Second Dungeon Master in 948 GUE) and a small tomb once containing the gold coffin of Ramses II (also taken by the same person). The central worship area of the large temple, lined with huge marble pillars, has a high arched ceiling and rows of stone benches. At the south end sits an altar which once had been filled with a heavy prayer book, a pair of candles, and a book of matches useful for exorcism. It was known that a soul banished to Hades could pray at the altar to return to the land of the living, where the distant sound of a lone trumpet would herald their awakening.

The major tenets of this faith have been written down in a large black prayer book, a sort of bible titled, "Twenty-Two Favorite Exorcism Prayers of the Great Underground Empire." Others were engraved in the walls of the underground caverns where worship took place, in an ancient script, rarely used these days. Those that have tried to translate these religious tracts, could only make out that they sought protection form absent-mindedness, from encountering small insects, and forgiveness for the picking up and dropping of small objects. (Or else, depending on some of the ancient characters that seem worn away with time, it could be a deadly warning, meaning exactly the opposite.) What could be stated with sureness is that the final verse very clearly consigns trespassers to the Land of the Dead.

Followers of this religion seem to have been very restricted in what they were free to do. For instance, Commandment #12,592 strictly forbids merely speaking the words, "Hello Sailor." (Interestingly enough, that phrase is the motto of Antharia. Some historians believe that Eastland natives, fearing Duncanthrax's Antharian-based invasion, wrote that particular commandment to prevent the natives from contacting the invaders.)  Punishment for this offense, and for trespassing in the temple, the place of worship, was to be sent to the Land of the Living Dead for eternity.

Conveniently enough, the Land of the Living Dead, also known as Hades, was actually quite close to the temple itself. It could be reached by following a passage beneath the structure deep underground. A horrible desolation filled with mangled bodies, Hades is usually guarded by evil spirits and wraithes. In 948 GUE, the daring adventurer, who would become the Second Dungeon Master, not only pillaged the entire temple, but was able to the utensils there to perform a powerful ceremony involving certain noises, lights, and prayers called upon an unearthly power to exorcise the spirit. This ritual involved several specific steps:
    1. Ringing a tiny brass bell in the presence of these spirits at the Gates of Hades would cause the bell to become red hot and fall to the ground, but the wraiths would became instantly paralyzed and face the ringer.
    2. The next step involved the lighting of the pair of candles. The flames would flicker wildly, appearing to dance. The trembling earth caused the spirits to cower at the unearthly power.
    3. Then upon reading the black book, the words of the exorcism prayer reverberated through the halls in a deafening confusion, followed by a distant voice commanding the the spirits to begone. The spirits, sensing a greater power, instantly fled through the walls. Unfortunately, the spirits were only temporarily vacated by this ritual and later returned.

Some commandments found in the book, all related to the banishment of evil, are:

                     COMMANDMENT #1562:
Yeah, verily, doubt not the Ascension of Zylon the Aged
Or be scarred a sinner of the worst kind.
Can you understand the magnitude of your deed?
He rose, he joined, he transcended, he died not
Only one other among the kings stands with him.
Lo, know this to be true or suffer the fate of an unbeliever.

                     COMMANDMENT #12592
Oh ye who go about saying unto each:  "Hello sailor":
Dost thou know the magnitude of thy sin before the gods?
Yea, verily, thou shalt be ground between two stones.
Shall the angry gods cast thy body into the whirlpool?
Surely, thy eye shall be put out with a sharp stick!
Even unto the ends of the earth shalt thou wander and
unto the land of the dead shalt thou be sent at last.
Surely thou shalt repent of thy cunning.

Any burning of these books instantly kindled the wrath of some higher power. Replying in a booming voice with "Wrong, cretin!" all violaters were turned into a pile of dust.

SOURCE(S): Zork I, Zork User Group Postcard, Zork II: Malifestro Quest, Zylon the Aged, misc