Fons Ater

Fons Ater, the “Black Spring,” is in a natural cave under the Esquiline Hill. No light may be taken in there, and it is a favored site for black magic.

Although the cave and spring are natural, the entrance has been reworked, and sealed with two large bronze doors. The outer door opens outwards, the inner, inwards, and they are linked by three heavy chains, which mean that opening one closes the other. Normally, one is fully closed before the other is opened. The doors are decorated with bas reliefs of terrible acts, violating every standard of civilized society, Kindred and mortal. Some Kindred have elaborate theories as to what all the scenes mean, but most think that the scenes are just there to shock and warn.

It is said that anyone who takes a light into the Fons Ater will be struck down by the gods. A few scientifically minded Kindred have visited the shrine, and determined that this is partially true. The spring is not water, but a black mineral oil, and taking an open flame into the cave would ignite the atmosphere, an event that would certainly be fatal to any Kindred within. The outer door would be pulled shut as the flames tried to draw air in, and that would starve the fire.

However, most Kindred believe that there are also dark curses on the spring, because it is the most infamous site for the performance of black magic anywhere in Necropolis. The spring’s existence is a matter of common knowledge, but its precise location is said to be passed down lineages of witches and sorcerers, who use it for their darkest rituals. This is completely true.

It is difficult to use the spring without at least one level of Auspex, to enable the vampire to see in the pitch darkness. Those who can see, however, find a fairly large natural cave, with the spring bubbling up from under one wall. The oil pools, and then flows across the floor and out through three sink holes, each large enough to swallow an adult human, and with no known bottom. The floor is uneven, and the walls of the cave have many natural niches. Almost every one of these niches contains several lead curse tablets, along with other ritual objects from the working of dark magic. Still more have been cast into the pool or sink holes, with imprecations to the darkest powers.

Towards the end of the 4th centuary, the mechanism controlling the doors failed resulting in an explosion that killed 12 sanctified who had defiled the sacred site.

Equipment Bonuses: +3 to any Kindred sorcery, including the magic of the Augurs, Theban Sorcery and Crúac.

Fons Ater

Blood of Rome Darkfool