The Sunspire

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The Sunspire is an ancient tomb built for the Solar Exalted who made up the Circle known as the Incomparable Adjudication Sect, who ruled a set of principalities in the River Lands. The Incomparable Adjudication Sect elected to forego burial in Sijan, establishing the Sunspire tomb at the meeting point between their five principalities. Though they also constructed the Moonspire on the other side of the lake, the Lunar Exalted discovered it upon their return to Creation and looted its contents, destroying the site entirely.

The design itself is interesting — constructed like a manse, the Sunspire was not built on a demesne. Instead, it incorporated a wide variety of control mosaic artifacts that permitted visitors to channel Essence into its functioning to allow the various features of the tomb to function.

The Sunspire itself consists of three basic levels. The topmost, the Widows’ Walk is open to the sky, and is a glass-floored enclosure that looks down on the main floor. It is also enchanted to allow it to gaze into any one of the five Solar tombs by activating the controls to permit it to do so. There is no staircase or other means of accessing this area, however, as it was intended for the Lunar spouses of those interred within, and built under the assumption that those who would visit it can fly.

The main level serves as both antechamber and honored burial for servants of the Circle. Made up primarily of Dragon-Blooded and golden children, those buried here were rotated out on a fairly regular basis. When one of them was to be replaced, their predecessor was immolated through the Zenith Caste power and their ashes placed on the shelves in the Chamber of Legacies in the center of the room.

The Chamber of Legacies also acts as a massive elevator shaft, with the shelves on which urns and other memorials were placed descending deep into the water as the entire floor of the chamber descends. Then, the chamber opens into a five-sided room, with a sealed tomb door marked with an orichalcum seal in the shape of the Solar’s totemic anima. Only those Solars who bear those animas can cause the tomb to unseal, in order to prevent theft. Of course, the only exception to this is the tomb’s guardian, Sondok. The doors themselves are made of pure, solidified Essence — when the seal is touched and melts in the face of the anima, the door itself dissolves entirely.

Each of the tombs is a long hallway with a blue-white marble floor and a ceiling and curved walls made entirely of clear glass that looks out into the depths of the lake.

Contents

[edit] The Control Mosaics

Throughout the Sunspire, there are a variety of waist-high mosaics crafted of precious stones and trace amounts of the Magical Materials. They depict a very stylized heavenly patterns, with symbols representing the Incarna and a single jade and adamant planquette that adheres completely to the surface of the mosaic while sliding soundlessly along its surface. The stone on the planquette remains a glassy grey color, but by moving it over one of the symbols of the Incarna and investing it with a specific amount of Essence, it changes to a gemlike color that indicates that feature is active. They remain so for as long as the motes are committed, after which they fade in twenty four hours. These features are:

  • Golden Sun: 3m. Activating the golden sun activates the Control Pillar in the Chamber of Legacies.
  • Silver Moon: 5m. Activating this raises the lights in the Sunspire, channeling light into all the rooms. The light usually remains at a dim tone appropriate for a tomb, but the lighting can be increased to allow study of specific features by a simple act of will on the part of the one who invested the motes.
  • Topaz Star: 5m. Investing motes into the topaz star activates the elevator floor in the Chamber of Legacies, allowing it to descend to the Five Tombs below.
  • Sapphire Star: 3m. Investing motes into the sapphire star causes a wave of Essence to play over every surface in the tomb, clearing out dust, dirt and other messes that don’t belong.
  • Ruby Star: 3m. Investing Essence into the ruby star activates the panoply vaults in the tombs, allowing them to be opened and accessed.
  • Emerald Star: 5m. Investing Essence into the emerald star causes the Salinan Mosaics to light up, flashing through the sequences in the symbols and imagery to reveal the Sorceries encoded in them.
  • Amethyst Star: 1m. Investing a single mote into the amethyst star causes the sacrificial braziers both around the central floor and in the Chamber of Legacies to ignite, ready to receive sacrifices for the dead.
Sunspire.jpg

[edit] Ground Level

  • 1. Walkway: This walkway is lined by small sconces which blaze with flame when the lights of the tomb are activated at the control mosaic. It leads all the way around in a circle, with pedestals along the inner wall that feature sacrificial braziers and overlook the tombs of favored servants and retainers of the Incomparable Adjudication Sect.

[edit] The Halls of Memory

  • 2. Control Mosaic: The control mosaic stands on a pedestal similar to those of the sacrificial braziers. A wrought gold gate stands behind it, with a small ivory plaque behind it, with the words written in Old Realm: “Only Exalted are Permitted in the Tomb of Honor.” Investing the plaque with a single mote will open it, allowing passage into the Tomb below.
  • 3–11. Sacrificial Braziers: Waist-high pedestals with built-in brass braziers, these constructions are powered by Essence, lighting when the amethyst star is lit from a control mosaic. All of them stand on pedestals that look down onto the floor of the Tomb of Honor, with a set of stairs that leads up from the visitors’ hallway, and a railing on the side that faces the Tomb proper.

[edit] The Tomb of Honor

Each tomb is a massive, ten foot long affair, roughly keyhole-shaped crafted of white marble and inset with gold accents. The surface of these biers is a single perfect pane of clear glass with the hardness of steel, and the heads of the corpses within all rest on a massive golden seal in the shape of one of the Solar caste marks. These indicate who the person within served. At the foot of each bier, crafted in gold Old Realm lettering is a legend, which generally gives the name and something about the person the memorial is dedicated to. These legends are awkward to view close-up, but are perfectly visible from the pedestal that the sacrificial braziers sit on.

Additionally, each of the biers is hemmed in by inset lines filled with pure salt, and then covered in a plate of clear glass to prevent it from eroding or being stolen.

  • 12. The Tomb of Swift Arajani: This tomb is marked with the Dawn caste mark. The corpse within is that of a mortal man with a shaven head and a tattooed symbol that incorporates the Dawn Caste symbol just below his clavicle. The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Swift Arajani. Most Trustworthy Messenger.”
  • 13. The Tomb of Matani: This tomb is marked with the Zenith caste mark. It contains an old man, though his blonde hair is still quite youthful looking. The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Matani. Beloved Son.”
  • 14. The Tomb of Masterful Jagashi: This tomb is marked with the Zenith caste mark. It bears the remains of an old man, clearly a Dragon-Blooded by his slightly blue-tinted hair and very pale skin. The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Masterful Jagashi. Skilled Administrator and Dedicated Tutor to My Children.”
  • 15. The Tomb of Amago Yrisha: This tomb is marked with the Zenith caste mark. It bears the remains of a very beautiful man with fire-red hair, clearly a Fire-aspected Dragon-Blooded. The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Amago Yrisho. Beloved Courtesan and Father of My Children.”
  • 16. The Tomb of Sura Ichigo: This tomb is marked with the Twilight caste mark. The corpse within was clearly male Dragon-Blooded, with skin like a deep mahogany bark, and deep green hair with the appearance of fern fronds. The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Sura Ichigo. Dedicated Healer and Invaluable Assistant.”
  • 17. The Tomb of Dusk Lily: This tomb is marked with the Twilight caste mark. The woman within has radiant blonde hair, and very pale skin, and her nails are lacquered with some kind of substance that makes them look like liquid gold. The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Dusk Lily. Loyal Major Domo and Beloved Daughter.”
  • 18. The Tomb of Ebon Talon: This tomb is marked with the Night caste mark. The man inside has long black hair braided into a variety of tiny braids, all secured with little gold beads. The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Ebon Talon. Fierce Dueling Partner and Dependable Lieutenant.”
  • 19. The Tomb of Ixichal: The tomb is marked with the Eclipse caste mark. The man inside has short white hair, and a massive set of folded white wings! The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Ixichal. Paragon of His People and Exemplary Lover.”
  • 20. The Tomb of Amago Sumori: The tomb is marked with the Eclipse caste mark. The man inside has shoulder-length fire-red hair, and is obviously a Fire-aspect. The legend at the base of the tomb says: “Amago Sumori. Loyal Lieutenant and Skilled Sorcerer.”

[edit] The Salinan Mosaics

Each of the mosaics features strange flashing, flowing light patterns which illuminate different parts of the mosaic. A Perception + Lore roll, dif 3, will reveals that the light patterns aren’t merely decorative – they’re telling a story of some sort, or relaying a message.

By following the pattern they create, it is possible to puzzle through the occult details of a Sorcery spell. Doing so requires a roll with a cumulative difficulty. Each roll is an hour worth of meditating, watching the mosaic’s pattern and figuring out the correspondences and symbolic meanings. Each roll is a Wits + Occult, difficulty 3 roll (or difficulty 4 for the Sapphire Circle spells).

Five successes on the cumulative difficulty means that the observer gets an idea of the very basic elemental correspondences of the spell. Ten successes grants a rough idea of what the spell is supposed to do (those who cannot use the appropriate Circle of Sorcery cannot exceed ten successes). Twenty successes actually grants the understanding of the spell.

These mosaics are lettered A through J.

[edit] The Chamber of Legacies

  • 21. Control Pillar: This control pillar stands about waist-height, with a flat, round top. A circle is incised into the surface top and inlaid in orichalcum. There is a planquette there, made of adamant with a single, sun-golden stone inset into the center of it. Into the circle are incised five symbols – the caste marks of the Solar Exalted.
    • The Exaltation of a member of this Circle can enter his tomb by turning the planquette over an appropriate caste mark and shining his caste mark so that it filters through the stone onto the symbol beneath it, which begins to glow as a result. When activated, the room begins to spin and descend, the open doorway showing one mural after another denoting the glories of that individual Solar’s previous Exaltation. Then, it finally stops in the opening to the tomb.

[edit] The Pillar of Tombs

A great pillar of striated glass and stone descends from the Sunspire proper. The Chamber of Legacies’ lift-floor descends in a spiraling pattern down this pillar, with the murals along the interior of stone portions of the pillar.

The tombs themselves are five lozenges crafted entirely of glass attached to the outside of the pillar. This glass, once cleaned through the activation of the Sapphire Star on the Control Mosaic are almost perfectly transparent, making it seem as though a wall of water surrounded by chamber. If the Sapphire Star was not activated, these are filthy and encrusted with the detritus of the lake.

The biers themselves are large white marble biers, with orichalcum plates imbedded in the sides of the biers that tell their names. The adamant-glass covers that seal the tombs cannot be opened without breaking; it would, in fact, be easier to break the stone than the glass, and even those are artifact-quality.

The centers of the lozenges are split by a single floor of blue-white marble, under which the tomb panoplies of the Solars are stored, awaiting the proper destruction of their previous bodies.

When the bodies are destroyed, either by the anima-light of someone that bears the Exaltation they once bore, or by the touch of a Zenith caste’s power on the glass of the bier itself, the elaborate cases that store their funereal artifacts rise from the floor, ready for reclamation.

[edit] The Tomb of Consecrated Arrow

  • Murals: This tomb is reached after viewing a number of murals that show the archer Consecrated Arrow at war with Fair Folk (both with bow and axe), speaking at what is probably the Deliberative (if the tiers of faceless figures with Solar Caste marks are any indication), and reading in front of some kind of edifice in the middle of a bamboo grove.

Bier: This bier is empty.

[edit] The Tomb of Most Resonant Ahisa

  • Murals: This tomb is reached after viewing a number of murals that show Most Resonant Ahisa as an impressive martial artist, her hands constantly surrounded by prayer strips of power, playing a sanxian and moving even the gods to tears, and her as a mother, holding a babe in arms and telling a story to two other children, one a toddler, and one prepubescent, both listening in rapt attention.

[edit] The Tomb of Thrice Fortuitous Stone

  • Murals: This tomb is reached after viewing a number of murals that show Thrice Fortuitous Stone as a capable sorcerer, summoning up demons, studying in a library with a faceless figure marked with the symbol of Jupiter on the face and the name mark Oadenol in Old Realm, and him in the middle of a great battle amid terrible demons, killing with a strange, almost invisible blade of Essence, aided by great tentacles made of magma.

[edit] The Tomb of Gander

  • Murals: This tomb is reached after viewing a number of murals that show Gander as a sinister cloaked figure, battling demons with a long poleklaive and listening unseen in the courts of the Fair Folk.

[edit] The Tomb of Auspicious Mystery

  • Murals: This tomb is reached after viewing only a few murals, of Auspicious Mystery battling wicked gods, and speaking before what can only be the Deliberative (if the tiered rows of blank faces marked by Solar Caste marks are any indications). Several of the lower spaces are not filled with murals, however, save for the last one, marked only with two Old Realm symbols: Traitor and Murderer, etched in deep red jade against black stone.
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