The Golden Maw
Golden Maw: A mouth agape, with a bottomless gullet, starving even as it overflows with treasure. If another cult is as aptly named, do not say so around Laethys’s slaves, who are as envious as they are greedy, and they are greedy beyond all reason.
These are the corrupters and embezzlers, merchants who buy magistrates and magistrates happily bought. The Golden Maw holds its decadent rites in the halls of power and the parlors of the fabulously wealthy, and in the afterglow of gross indulgence they plot to seize more wealth and power.
The Golden Maw can be found wherever there is want, as filth can be found wherever there is plague. They wrest wealth from the workers, food from the farmers, toys from the fingers of children. And they always want more.
Architects of desire
The Golden Maw is a rigidly structured cabal. Acolytes bow to (and covet) the superior assets and influence of their leaders, a pyramid of lickspittles and lordlings topped by golden Laethys. They will free the Earth Dragon to flaunt her plenty over the wanting world, and hoard her discarded morsels.
Always remember that the Golden Maw gapes for every excess. The glutton, the pervert, the narcissist is welcome. Each believes Laethys loves the cultist who eats and is never sated, or wants her perfection and is never indulged… yet in all the planes there is but one being Laethys loves at all.
Richest of the ancient Ethian holds was Eboni, its queen Callista the dazzling gem atop a city of treasure. She and her fathers and mothers before her wrested untold bounties from the earth, and so made Eboni prosperous and fortified beyond the dreams of other Eth. The royal family had grown demanding in their tastes, and Callista was no different—it is said that as a girl she had a dollmaker’s hands struck off for making her a doll of porcelain and not gold.
Shortly after the Blood Storm first darkened the sky, Callista began erecting statues of golden dragons on every street corner. Passersby would find themselves wanting more: more wealth, more lovers, more power. And they grew ever more certain that their neighbors, their loved ones, their children had things they did not. All Eboni fell to squabbling, then to crime, then slaughter in the streets.
Soon, the few survivors lived like jackals amid the decay. When Laethys's army walked into the city, they dropped scraps of copper in their wake, and the people hailed them as saviors.
Eboni became the stronghold of Laethys, at whose bidding Callista had built the statues. After Amardis and her comrades turned the city into a volcano to imprison Laethys, they found Callista surrounded by flows of magma, scrambling on hands and knees in the dragon’s horde. Clutching treasure to her bosom, piling it on though she had more than she could carry, heedless that everything around her had already melted to glittering slag.
As the molten gold reached her, Callista did not scream but smiled, still beautiful. "Now I shall be like Laethys. Sheathed in radiance."
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