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Once a tertiary observatory, the ruins of Ytzel Cho reside within the eastern portion of Lustria's interior, monitored by the Saurus Scar-leader Scythera.[1b]

From the canopy of the jungle, one will see the triangular quartz tip of Ytzel Cho, gleaming uniquely hard even as twilight falls.[1c]

The Star Chamber

Within the central monument, ten feet from the far wall of a seemingly dead-end, lies a plate of solid gold. A complicated checkerboard of shapes had been punched into the smooth metal surface, strange cubic ideograms of lizards and feathers and skulls. A small piece of it has been shaved off in the corner, yet beyond that, it remains wholly intact. Stepping on the section depicting a bundle of snakes, however, reveals its true purpose, as an elevator that, without warning, hurtles up into the darkness above, leaving behind a smooth floor rather than a rising pillar of stone. So quick and effortless is the speed of the platform that it seems as if gravity had simply reversed itself.[1a]

Pressing down upon a spiral of three frogs depicted in the elevator causes it to descend, however. At first plummeting, the platform slows down to a gradual halt and settling gently back onto the floor.[1a]

The Star Chamber resides at the top of this aforementioned chimney. Having long since been abandoned, it can be difficult to tell how large the chamber is. Both its ceiling and far walls lay hidden by the darkness. Yet surrounding the elevator, sprawled together as intimately as the participants in some grotesque orgy, lay skeletons of all sorts. Not all are intact, nor are they all human. Some have the short, blunt look of Orcs. Others are smaller, their skulls elongated into snouts from which razor-sharp teeth still sprouted. Another, still held together by its chainmail, has bones as fine and delicate as porcelain. Yet for all their differences, each and every one of these skeletons had been incinerated, their bones burned into powdery chalk. The motes of dust that float through the acrid stench of the chamber are the same, dull white colour. And that dust, the last stubborn remains of things long dead in some terrible holocaust, is everywhere, hanging thickly in the stench of the room.[1a]

The far east wall of the chamber rests a slab of rock that, apart from the scorch marks that blackened its corners, was completely featureless. That is, except for eight cheerful little baubles that appear completely out of place in the darkness of the chamber. Beneath polar caps of dust, the surface of these objects swirl with the bright, primary colours of "children's toys or winter decorations".[1a]

Above it all, gaping open as hungrily as chicks mouths upon their mother's return, ten holes await. Eight were empty, as black as empty stomachs, but in the first two, laying neatly as eggs in a nest, where two more of the spheres. In truth, these spheres each represent one of the planets in the solar system. Placing them in the right order is paramount to accessing the Star Chamber's core purpose. Failure to do so, however, will result in the chamber being cleansed with fire.[1a]

When the planets are correctly placed, one can hear a barely audible rumble of hidden levers, the sound as powerful tectonics and as remorseless as death. The ceiling bursts asunder with a flash of blinding light. Then, a thousand stars blossom into flaming life, harmless in the darkness above.[1a]

Yellow or white or old, dying red they hang in the black void of space, the patterns their tiny bodies make against the vast darkness beyond as complex as a handful of thrown grain. Some burn bright enough to bring tears to an onlooker's eyes. Others, mere specks in the lightless void of space, could only be seen from the corner of the eye. And behind them all, as smooth and creamy as a trail of snowdrops across an onyx floor, lay the bulk of the galaxy, its edges frayed by the thousands of defecting stars.[1a]

Verdra can be seen as a solid green sphere, no bigger than a man's thumbnail. Its distant continents illuminated by the sun.[1a]

Source

  • 1: The Burning Shore (novel) by Robert Earl
    • 1a: Chapter 10
    • 1b: Chapter 14
    • 1c: Chapter 15

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