2021-01-24, 05:58 AM (ISO 8601)
Bugbear in the Playground
Re: Serinbaʿal: The Lands of Torment
Architecture of the Lands of Torment
The qualities peculiar to the design and construction of the many teeming millions of edifices within the great cities of Serinba'al is certainly worthy of note to any travelers with an interest in this field. Perhaps a noteworthy example will assist in impressing the remarkable character of this world's urban architecture upon the curious reader?
Consider, then, the Court of Recumbent Shadow, once domicile of the Warlocks of the Grand Exchequer of the Habitual and Extraordinary Offerings, which can be found in the great Temple-State of Tha'ar the Golden, arguably the greatest city within the central province of the Obsidian Compact known as the Domination of the Valley of the Giants. This remarkable edifice can be found within the District of the Deep Penumbra, one of the so-called 'Shadowed Districts' of Tha'ar the Golden which is literally overshadowed by the immense bulk of the thousand-floor arcology known as the Golden Tower. In the days of Dreadmaster Kaltorr's rule, the Court was responsible for the assembly and disposition of the offerings and sacrifices of the Dreadlord's cult. Now, the remaining warlocks have attached themselves to one of the curious Sublime Shadow cults which have arisen in the wake of the Dreadlord's mysterious disappearance. Given that Kaltorr's Clouds of Hate have not dissipated from the vertigo-inducing summit of the Golden Tower, and his chosen servitors continue to draw power from this tenebrous mantle, a belief has emerged among many of the remaining warlocks that Kaltorr has not died, but rather ascended to a greater and more perfect form, joining his subtle mind with the Void, becoming, in effect, a manifestation of primordial chaos. Where once was the Dreadlord Kaltorr the Cruel of the Temple-State of Tha'ar the Golden, now there has arisen His Sublime Shadow, the Voice in the Darkness, the Mind in the Void. The Court of the Recumbent Shadow, alongside other sodalities of their sorcerous kin such as the Shrine of His Shadow Ascendant, now presides over the strange offerings of a much stranger species of religion.
In its profile, one might compare the Court to that of the baroque splendor of the Royal Palace of Caserta, whose magnificent grounds I had occasion to visit during my tenure in the Civil Service after the war. However, wedded to this essentially baroque arrangement of six courts is extensive ornamentation that calls to mind the art of a quite different period of our history --the famed bas-reliefs to be found in the throne room of the Northwest Palace of the Neo-Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II in Nimrud, or that of the Great Apadana of the Palace of the Achaemenid king Darius the Great at Susa. Of course, the specific subjects of these decorations are not the same as in these historical parallels, but rather draw upon the distinctive panoply of Serinba'al's own legendarium and pseudonatural megafauna. To cite but one of many possible examples, the imposing entrance to the Vestibule of the Shadow's Dawning, which lies within the south central quadrangle of the Court of of the Recumbent Shadow, is festooned with snarling effigies of the ponderous endotheres known as 'behemoths' which stride the Shivering Plains to the west of the Domination of the Ebon Compact.
As best I might describe it, one might compare this style to an alternative route of Earth's history where the ancient per-Christian religions did not die out, but rather continued to be represented in the art and iconography of the Renaissance and Baroque, though appending, also, a strong admixture of design elements from its aesthetic precedents in the Fertile Crescent.
I have myself been able to confirm that these observations, generally, hold for the art and architecture of many other of the Temple-States within the Ebon Compact. On the far side of the Valley of the Giants, the Spring and Summer Palaces, as well as the many impressive temples of Suuur of the Lilac Horn call to mind both the height of Ottoman glory in Istanbul, as well as the ancient Phoenician city-states of Carthage, Tyr, and Sidon.
Last edited by Marcarius5555; 2021-01-27 at 05:09 AM.