The historic Living Gardens of Cartes are very powerful meditative gardens due to their continued use and frequent blessings. The gardens, are located at the very center of the temple district in Cartes and are considered a place of extreme magical power. They have been known to be frequented by magi as well as clerics.
The gardens are located in juxtaposition to the headquarters of the Hall of the Empyrean, which towers in an ethereal-like manner above the temple district's pervasive fog. You can see the towers and spires from the temple district headquarters throughout the Living Gardens whether it is day or night. It was built for the purpose of helping those who have wandered too far into the Living Gardens find their way out. During the day, it's beautiful to behold as it sparkles and shimmers in the sunlight that reflect off the beautiful, marble exterior. At night, the temple acts as a great beacon. Enchanted with several spells, the temple quite literally glows in the night sky. Because of it's enchantment, this Temple has also been called "The Lighthouse".
The Living Gardens themselves are quite vast, which is why the Temple enchantments are needed-- Even with these precautions, it is quite easy to become lost within the gardens. Deep within the recesses of the gardens has been a known gathering place for some of the less reputable mages. There they practice the darker aspect of magic. If one delves deep enough into the Living Gardens, they might perchance to stumble upon one such place where dark magic is practiced. So it is with caution I warn you to beware for those who stumble upon such magic have a difficult time leaving. These pockets of black swallow up all light-- even that of The Lighthouse-- and entice travelers to continue into these black depths to their very doom. Some say the cries of lost and tourmented souls reside in these locations. Others argue that it is the wailing of souls who've gone into madness practicing the dark arts.
Despite these pockets of dark magick, the Living Gardens isn't all a place to fear. For the most part, the gardens are a very cheery and relaxing place to be. The restorative powers of make this a popular place for young magi to hang out between exams. Younger magi and clerics are cautioned against wandering past the fringes of the Living Gardens for the deeper you go into this place, the stronger the force of the magic. Experience boasts control and thus older magi and clerics have been known to go deep into The Gardens to recharge after casting particularly strong spells.
Casting spells from within The Living Gardens is greatly frowned upon. Past experience has shown that most minor spells cast from within The Living Gardens fail. More difficult spells have been drastically altered due to the magical force found within The Gardens. While casting spells from within has been all but banned, spells can be cast on the fringes of The Gardens with no averse effects. In fact, the outskirts have been used a lot in teaching and training younger, less powerful mages.
Some early cartographers tried to map The Living Gardens. Their attempts were complete and utter failures. The garden is constantly changing and re-shaping itself from within so no two areas are the same at any one time. Scholars speculate this is due to the great magical reservoir located within the gardens. This constant state of change renders obsolete any maps generated previously. It is also the reason this place of power is called The Living Gardens.
There are certain monuments that have been manually erected inside The Living Gardens. Those can be used as markers for finding one's way, though the path to get there is never the same. The most popular of the monuments include the Fountain of Healing, which was erected at the point where the edge of the forest disappears from view; The Cypress Chapel ruins, a popular spot for Clerics to rest, lies a bit deeper within the gardens; The Statue of the Unnamed Equestrian-- unnamed because no one quite remembers who he is. Among the darkest monuments to run across is the Jade Necropolis.... though many believe its existence is sheer conjecture, but there are enough stories with matching descriptions of the place to lend the stories some credence.