LOCATION LISTING May 25, 2015 18:37:48 GMT -6
Post by 月老 on May 25, 2015 18:37:48 GMT -6
THE JADE PALACE
A glamorous display of imperial architecture and prowess that rests in Shangdi’s center, climbing upwards to the sky and built to lie beneath the sun. Always it raises above their castle, and the speckled blues and seafoam greens and creamy whites glean below the light. Walls hide it away from the commoners and the unwelcome, and before the palace lies a set of one hundred stairs and a stone slab that serves as a stage where the Jade Emperor can address his people.
01. IMPERIAL COURTS
A somber, often empty landscape that shows all the tell-tale signs of its age. History has been squirreled away in its three-hundred-year-old book shelves, and each of five separate branches exist that spread out from the main entrance. The halls are built of jade and marble, golden-trimmed banisters holding sloped roofs as the rock-eyes of lions stare down below. The seat of the Bai-shi is found tucked inside, equally as spartan and strangely practical as the whole of the Emperor's court.
02.THE EMPEROR'S THRONE
A chamber, pillared and golden, that spans the length of a battlefield, one of mable. A dragon sways through the gilded murals on the wall among a flock of birds, their feathers mother-of-pearl and their black eyes inlaid with diamond, as the Emperor's throne lifts above his court on a bejeweled, canopied dais.
03. IMPERIAL GARDENS
Art wrought in trees, water, sunlight, and blissful soundlessness as courtiers stroll through these sculpted gardens. A thin strip of colored rock carves a pathway between the trees, and each seems to unravel as smoothly as a landscape scroll—drooping leaves in all shades, a distant pavilion that overlooks speckled streams, and webbed windows that frame the misted mountains to the west. A moon gate, its rounded doorway open to guests, waits at the entrance.
04. TEMPLE OF HEAVEN
South of the palace lies an open-air temple, its roof tiled in deep sapphire and its pagodas draped in blue banners. A statue—massive, swathed in gold and dripping crystals—sits in the center of the southernmost wall, balanced on a noble foot with its chakrams of fire set alight. A lotus flower blooms below, water spread out under its marble stage.
05. TEMPLE OF EARTH
North of the palaces lies a stone tower sunken a story into the earth guarded by a legion of terra-cotta men. Chiseled, empty stares bore into every corner and crevice; they are forever the soldiers and the watchers of the Earthly realm. To match its sister temple, a second buddhavista—powerful, bronze shaped in thick muscle and soft cheekbones—towers towards the wood skeletons of the ceiling above a sprawling pool of sand.
06. UNEARTHLY GATEWAY
A gate—with heaven below and earth hanging above—made of stars, sun, moonlight, and black pillars bearing an arc. A crane nests in the high of the arc. She leaves at dawn every morning, flies into the blackness beyond the gate, and returns at nightfall with white stones in her beak. Each day ends in twelve and begins with nothing, the stones dropped into the gateway to ward away bad spirits that hope to enter.
07. SEAT OF LAW AND ARCHIVES
A massive tower, each layered and lurking above hundreds of heads that pass in-and-out of the city's greatest library. A sundial casts a long shadow is carved into the topmost out of polished jade, and its black numbers are veined in seafoam and cream. Seven tiers exist to the House of Law and Archives, each housing dedicated public servants who work tirelessly to better Shambala; bureaucracy rules supreme, and the concepts of law and time are often intertwined here.
The outer ring of Shangdi, the imperial kingdom belongs to the affluent and the scholarly. A massive observatory is its greatest feature and landmark, the eye of its telescope catching the sunlight as it peeks free and looks towards the heavens. A canal cuts through, and bridges are flooded with citizens as they find their way away from home and back again. Past the watchful stare of the Serpent, a dragon said to protect Shangdi, is the Unearthly Gate where demons dwell and a doorway to the land of the Spirits—the Inner Kingdom.
08. THE CANAL
A river—snaking, turning, and reaching deep into Shangdi’s center—glints under rows upon rows of bridges. Small boats maneuvered by boatmen carry goods to and from the uproar of the marketplace, each wrapped in blankets and brown paper tied with gold string. The scent of green tea dusts the air from tea houses, restaurants, and sellers that set up shop alongside passerby on one side; laborers and carpenters crowd the other.
09. THE SERPENT
A painted dragon, long and serpentine as it stretches across the inner wall, that is pieced together by shards of blown glass and colored tile. Its whiskers spread the length of two men, eyes sparks of black glass. Fine lines have been etched into the work, calligraphy spreading from one end to the next, and intermingled with stars and shapes throughout. Where it ends there are two pillars that rise above, opening up to the drunken glamour of the entertainment district.
10. THE MARKETPLACE
A stretching cove with wool blankets and stands cluttering the roadsides. Lifted towers and pillars stand connected by ornate bridges, and carpets—magicked, hovering and twitching and alive far above ground—carry their owners from one vendor to another. Men cluster for bargains and women hold out weavings, pottery, and food fresh from the desert. It is a place of activity, never still and rippling with the sounds of everyday life.
11. THE MOURNER'S ROAD
Lining a man made stream dug deep into the stone and earth, raised platforms—they are fenced and long, designed with the twelve animals as they race towards the stage that sits before the stairs of the Jade palace—and pavilions are shaded by hundreds of cherry trees. The white blossoms never die and never fall, magicked long ago, and just beyond lies the gutted ruins of a haunted Cats' ghetto.
12. THE OBSERVATORY
An imperial college where astrologers and scholars crowd its halls. Murals colored with constellations and dotted in planets are the pride of the observatory, and rows of texts line their libraries’ shelves. Each strata—built one upon the other, its observatory like a red hand struggling to grip the heavens—caters to specific bureaucracies and fields of study. The topmost is a room with a whirling ceiling, a view of the sky projected across its shadowy walls, and a huge beast of a bronze telescope sits at the heart.
Explosions of color, the rush of strange smells and sights, and papers plastered to walls with talks of circuses and theaters hidden in the distance. Offerings to spirits that hide among humans in the thrill of the Inner Kingdom line tiny throngs of shine-houses; are left on windowsills, in homes, and against peepholes. No one is what they seem here, and the ominous Sidhe often take up residence in the Lost Kingdom. A bath house blows smoke and steam over the cluttered roofs, and lanterns hang from a red gambling hall that never sleeps.
13. SHANGDI'S HEART
The central plaza of the city—thirteen pillars stand here, perched with the statues of the Zodiac beasts. Below them, a mosaic ring, depicting the lunar calendar that governs all, decorates the plaza floor. People swarm in and out, coming from all walks of life, and they throw heavy gold coins across the calendar for promises of good luck. Wooden charms with prayers to heaven written on their fronts are hung from low-lying branches of the trees that enshrine it, shade cast along the murky blacks, royal purples, and soft golds.
14. THE TURTLE AND THE CRANE
The Turtle and the Crane, esteemed and ancient stage of all stories and all actors—tragedies, comedies, and romances. The verandas and pillars are trimmed in crisp gold, and stairwells climb high into the looming ceilings above. Actors and actresses are poised on their stage, half roofed with an island that juts into the crowds below, and music rumbles throughout the hall. Lantern lights are kept low, burning long into the evening and no windows line the walls.
15. THE UNDERBELLY
A byway of the slums that heads into Shangdi's deepest and darkest corners, sinister and suspect to anyone who happens to stumble on it. The windows are beaten, shutters and wood sheared off, like spy holes that look down on the earthen streets weaving underneath. Ugly business dealings, screams, and unusual sounds murmur in its alleyways and behind closed doors.
16. THE TIGER'S DEN
"NO ADMITTANCE WITHOUT WRITTEN REQUEST
- NO WEAPONS
- NO SOLICITORS
- NO FOOLS WHO ARE NOT LOOKING TO DIE"
The Tiger's Den is a small, crumbling skeleton of a building with a roof hung like a broken wooden hook. The stairs lead underground, into the tunnels and passages of the catacombs, and eventually end under the desert skies in Nibiru.
17. THE GAMBLING HALL
A riotous, single-level red mansion lit with crimson lamps and windows veiled by heavy curtains. Tables are scattered past the red double-doors, crowded by men struggling for beads covered by tan koi and mahjong pieces in perfect rows. Guests line card tables, fingers linger on the levers of slot-machines, the roulette twirls in a blur, and the dice clatter against the green. Faces keep changing and everything seems to be moving, a motion-stain.
18. THE BATHHOUSE
Steam pours from the windows of the Bath house, a luxurious spa where the rich and the poor, the chosen and unchosen, meet in—equality. The walls are done in cool blues and off-golds, paint peeled and scratched away in corners as the floors pile atop each other. The inside is bright and extravagant, each bath tucked behind wooden walls adorned with ink paintings and careful carvings. Pulley-drawn elevators carry spirits and humans alike higher into the tower.
The poor side and the end of the wall, the outer kingdom is an unpolished jewel among the rich and the thieves. Paper-thin and decrepit, the husks of buildings and homes sit alongside Shangdi’s end before stairwells dip low into the catacombs below. The greatest attraction—rambunctious, impressive, a display of culture, beauty, and madness in one!—is the circus of the Lost Kingdom. Men and women hang from silk, coax lions through hoops and walk through hot coals sparking under their feet.
19. THE SLUMS
The bleak, cramped den of the 'Cats' or the Unblessed—rickety buildings huddle close together and climb haphazardly toward the sky. Barren, people trailing one another and with water dripping from broken pipelines and leaky roofs, the slums are places home to Shangdi’s poor and forgotten. Vendors and pick pockets hide behind overturned boxes, keeping to their dark back alleys and familiar dens in abandoned buildings.
20. CRYING LADY'S WELL
The old well has been sealed, shut until no air seeps in through the wood cracks that climb along its sides. Demons and spirits are said to moan and screech and claw at night, trapped under the cover. Townsfolk remember a strange, womanly noise before all the rest; high-pitched, garbled, and almost a giggle that softens to a whisper when the gongs ring seven at night. Hunters and vagrants have torn in apart and destroyed the fragile insides, believing that treasures lay just-out-of-reach in mazes left behind from the old imperial palace.
21. CIRCUS GROUNDS
A circus influenced by all the careful arts of Shambala, acrobatics of Nibiru, costume theater of the islands, draping cloth and coal-under-your-feet displays of the Djinn. Covered by a full city block of tents spread over a rolling green field on the Eastern side, you can see caged animals past half-closed flaps, models of ancient death traps for escape artists to do their daring feats, and troupes-turned-families whispering to each other in circles as they practice.
22. COUR DES MIRACLES
A brilliant hollow lit with every color of the rainbow—but a haunted hollow home to the sleepless abodes of the ghosts summering in the imperial city from Mag Mell. Buried underground, past the soundless halls of the catacombs, the Court of Miracles is cast in shadow and the low lights that belong to the will o’ the wisp. Homes are built in tents and wood, and they are raised or crowded together with barely enough room to breathe. A hum of music lingers, along with a breath of fresh wine and alchemical concoctions.
23. THE LOST KINGDOM
Dark, dusty tunnels lined with the obsidian urns holding the ashes of the empire's dead. Shangdi built its heaven above the black underworld, and no one quite remembers the secret histories that lay behind these thousand-year gates and curving stone corridors. The door to the old world is a carefully guarded secret, and many of Shangdi’s wanted use it to escape persecution and flee the palace guards that prowl the streets above.
24. THE WALL
The brilliant red city walls overhanging the banks of the river; the deep ruby color fades and is streaked with green as it meets the water. Emerald country spreads out in all four cardinal directions, and Shangdi’s edge is bathed in shadow as the wall towers above it. A fortress, guards stand vigilant and lion statues eye the horizon—their paws raised towards the sky, daring any foe to challenge the age and glory of their nation.
All things that exist outside the protection of the Wall; rivers, stretching white sand along beaches, empty roads and checkpoints flanked by guards snoozing against stone walls. Mountains run jaggedly across the skyline, great masses of gray and white mist that reach into the clouds. The door to Carneval’s cairn is watched closely, no one to enter and no one to leave, and trade posts of Nibiru are erected across the whole of the great trade route between the two countries.