Theologians once had the ability to create spaces outside the possibility of divine judgements or moral consequences, not even knowing the extent of their true potential.
Although Zindiq Chambers took their named for a medieval Islamic term for a heretic - albeit one somewhat crudely misapplied by European theologians - examples of objects that mirror their form and function could once be found across almost all faiths and cultures. At the height of their use the existence of Zindiq Chambers was, in fact, almost an open secret, and they were spoken of quite freely between religious scholars all over the world.
The history of how they fell so dramatically out of favour, becoming almost unused and forgotten over the course of a handful of decades, is patchy and incomplete. Information about their nadir and disappearance often seems deliberately oblique, carefully and meticulously obfuscated, even though details of their makings and their use are bountiful - if one knows where to look, and what to look for.
The tools and the supplies that were used to make a Zindiq Chamber vary somewhat from account to account, but even the most lavish and grandiose of constructions did not require anything particularly rare or expensive. Tarring and caulking the inside of the room or container in which the Zindiq Chamber was to be created is often referenced, but the materials for painting prayers and other religious symbols therein ranged from paint and ink to blood and tears.
The nature of these markings was entirely dependent on the faith and strictures the maker believed in and wished to be removed from; a voluntary and temporary form of absolute excommunication. In many traditions the proper making and marking of the physical space was enough to create a Zindiq Chamber, but a few required an additional step: The desecration of that space by way of a transgression so heinous that it mades one’s God, or Gods, look away in shame.
Some committed such sins themselves, being damned in the process and leaving them desperate for the making to work so that they might one day avoid their ill-fated eternity. Others were more cautious and more mercenary, either paying for or encouraging the conditions whereby such an affront to their Gods might come to pass with only their slightest involvement. Their hands then, if not clean, would at least be able to be washed with the proper acts of contrition and penance.
No matter how the Zindiq Chamber was ultimately built, the potential result was considered worth even a mortal sin and a scarred soul: Each and every single chamber held a self-contained world; a realm beyond the sight of the Gods, beyond their power and their influence, beyond even the laws which govern the worlds they were believed to have created.
There were a number of functions that Zindiq Chambers were built to meet, from the somewhat practical - forums for the theosophical exploration of ideas and rites which were considered too sacrilegious to be forgiven through confession and penance or absolution - to the entirely hedonic - spaces where every imaginable vice of the flesh and the spirit was gleefully and wantonly indulged away from divine judgement and moral consequence.
They were even used as prisons; endless and formless voids wherein their occupants could be forced to languish in seemingly or actually eternal isolation. They came back broken, if they were ever released at all, since the entrance to a Zindiq Chamber could be destroyed without ejecting or otherwise displacing the things and persons they were holding. The space inside them remained intact, apparently inviolable and entirely unable to be accessed from the outside world.
No matter how they were utilised, the properties of the Zindiq Chambers were observed to have strange interactions with the more mundane reality around them: Time moved measurably differently within a chamber and perishable items, foods and flowers, would not age or rot no matter how much time appeared to pass within the confines of a Zindiq Chamber. One story recounts how a catastrophically injured man was eventually able to heal because the chamber kept him alive where medicine could not.
These discoveries were only the most obvious and overt signs of how the Zindiq Chambers could be exploited; their true power and potential was nigh-on unbelievable, even when set against the backdrop of all the other impossible things which have been found to exist. Inside each one was not only a self-contained reality, but a unique plane of existence where, given sufficient practice, will and imagination, all the laws of physics were malleable, if not entirely fluid.
Despite their more common uses, perhaps the ultimate heresy of the Zindiq Chambers was that, given time and the requisite talent, one could become a God-like figure within their theoretically boundless confines. More likely, however, is that that dubious distinction goes to the theory - often put forward but, historically, quashed with extreme prejudice - that our entire reality might be a creation within a similar such crucible.
Proponents of this idea have argued that our existence is only a game or an experiment, dashed off on the whim of a being perhaps not so different from us and having all the failings and flaws that are attendant. This theory is also recursive, allowing for the idea that we are the children of a creator who was themselves the child of another flawed creator and so on, ad infinitum and ad nauseum.
This compounding of error upon error, of imperfection mutating and spreading, has even been suggested as the reason for the moral failings of our species and the continuing degradation of our world; though this seems more an excuse, a post hoc justification for the uncomfortable truths of our own shortcomings, than a legitimate theory for the sum of all the things we have done wrong.
Whatever the truth, even if it were as distressing as imagining our entire universe to be the creation of someone or something too similar to our own flawed nature, we cannot say that it is related to the absence of Zindiq Chambers in modernity. The most dedicated and detailed research hints only at the idea that their construction became impossible, a situation which remains the case even now, and that this was due to some deliberate and calculated act.