A volume entitled Librum Terram (the Book of the Land) points to an old church in the Carpathians, near a fortress now abandoned and gone to ruin. A cryptic passage refers to the “great beast who lies in slumber beneath the unholy altar surrounded by his native soil”. That was the Sernog Monastery, which lie far above the town of Sernog, between two spurs of the eastern Carpathians. Maps of the area show the town, but not the monastery. Still, it is possible to travel to Sernog, have the way to the monastery pointed out by locals and climb the 1,236 broken, winding steps up to the monastery.
The structure lies high atop a ridge above the tree line. An abandoned fortress looms menacingly, its blackened walls forming a dark skeleton against the sky, a shell of a building open to the stars. Attached to the fortress is an ancient cathedral, ostensibly in better condition but no less sinister than its companion building. Long ago desecrated, the land around the monastery cathedral no longer qualifies as holy ground; Cainites may tread upon the premises with impunity.
The cathedral’s interior reflected an atmosphere of dark foreboding. The architecture seemed carved from the fevered imagination of some mad designer. Grotesque carvings of beings that might be angels but resemble devils glare down upon those who pass through the archway at the entry to the former sanctuary. The air inside the cathedral has a musty, cloying odor, as if something eternally dying has embedded itself within the stones and now oozes forth its essence in a miasma of perpetual decay. Eerie moaning sounds fill the cavernous central chamber, echoing off the high vaulted beams and reverberating in a cacophony of shrill screams that mimic the cries of victims undergoing the agonies of prolonged and exquisite torture.
There is a trapdoor hidden beneath the altar of the church. Cut into the wooden planking of the floor, the door opens by pulling up on its iron ring. A narrow, dark stairway leads down into the crypt of the cathedral which contains a sarcophagus guarded by a small army of servitor creatures.
- Transylvania Chronicles I, p. 73-74