And now, finally, we have the modern Yu-Shan gates of the South…
49) Atop Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this gate has developed the possibly-unfortunate side effect of rendering any creature that passes through it solidly material for several days – which has led to a number of unfortunate incidents of incautious gods falling into the sea. Since somehow becoming immaterial is a necessary part of entering Yu-Shan, this means that anyone who enters Creation via this gate cannot be recalled for several days – an effect which has made vacationing in Rio a tremendously popular choice among the Sidereals, who know that if they opt to vacation, or hold a conference, in Rio, it will be days before they can be recalled and re-assigned – no matter how big someone thinks the emergency is. Thus Rio has become one of the central hubs for Sidereal activity on Earth.
50) Located in Mali, in the western fringes of the Sahara Desert, this gate lies locked behind a defense mechanism run amuck – an ever-shifting maze of dreams, who’s mysteries include both it’s indestructible physical structure and a bizarre mixture of tales and plotlines – both of which must be negotiated to pass through. While many ill-prepared individuals have lost their ways within the maze they may or may not survive as anything beyond maddened monstrosities.
As usual, the Gate is an indestructible manse – in this case with modifiers such as Puzzle Manse, Wyld Revocation (as usual for the Gates Independent of External Geomancy and giving illusions partial reality), and a somewhat crazed AI to control things). Remember “There is research to be done. On the people who are still alive.” (Portal).
51) Deep in a cavern beneath South Africa, this sapient soulsteel gate is embedded in a mighty mass of nigh-indestructible diamond – which constantly grows, and sheds shards. Even the small ones are stones of high quality, the larger ones are fabulous jewels in their own right – and many are thaumaturgic talismans, whether beneficial or accursed. They are also monitoring devices and bait. The gate scatters them about the great diamond fields of Africa – and waits for mortals to claim them. When a mortal dies in possession of such a stone, his or her soul is drawn within it, and transferred to the original mass – to become a perpetual source of power for the ancient entities imprisoned within the soulsteel of the gate. Perhaps not even they know what the end result will be, but with enough power and time there is very little that cannot be done.
52) In the wilds of Madagascar, in a tangled and near-impassible tangle of ravines, the top of a massive carving thrusts from the ground, – so damaged and obscured by vines and plants as to be almost undetectable among the surrounding mountains. Sadly, the gate on it’s forehead in has been sealed since long before the Reshaping – in fact, since before the Usurption, when certain Sidereals discovered – to their horror – that a clever and paranoid Twilight had quite intentionally placed his geomantic superweapon in position to funnel the geomantic energy of the entire south into an elemental attack that would pass through the gate to devastate the center of Yu-Shan, destroy other gates, disrupt the Loom, and cause geomantic upheavals that might tear apart Yu-Shan itself. He might even have arranged so as to be able to do so by remote control. Today, with it’s base now sitting deep within the planetary crust, that weapon remains as potent as ever – and likely to trigger incredible destruction if any attempt is made to destroy it – and so this particular gateway remains SHUT under a high-priority seal from the Maidens themselves.
53) Deep in the ocean east of Africa this gate emerges in an ancient solar manse, in what was once the palace of the Perfect of Paragon – and, just perhaps, still is. The gate was sealed from the Creation end shortly before the march of the Wyld reached the area – a capability that no one had been aware that the Perfect possessed – and later investigation simply revealed that the entire area had apparently been replaced with a bland sea-bottom and that there was no sign of the gate at all.
A few savant-gods have speculated that the Perfect had somehow obtained a stored “Pressed Beyond The Veil Of Time” spell and is now – somehow – trapped elsewhere by the presence of the ocean where his realm would be returning to. There really isn’t any evidence for this though. There also isn’t any evidence for the idea that the area was wiped out by wyld and restored on some distant world, or that the Solar Manse that contained the gate is still supporting the Perfect and some of his citizens and is simply concealing itself, or any of a dozen other speculations. It’s possible that – unless the gate reopens – no one will ever know.
54) In the Arabian Desert, often hidden by blowing sands, are a scattering of towers of glass – once known as Chiascuro, now best known as Iram of the Pillars or “The Nameless City”. Here, under the supervision of a maddened Grandmother Bright, various demons crawl from a Host-Binding Circle in Power Failure – some competing to become one of the 1001 residents that Grandmother Bright permits to remain within her sand-buried city and others crawling forth into the desert to spawn legends of terrible jinn. The gate is generally kept sealed; few of the Celestial Lions wish to risk attempting to negotiate with an insane goddess and her horde of demonic minions. Occasional mortals DO attempt such negotiation, seeking to use the power of the demon horde for their own purposes. This rarely ends well – at least for the mortal.
55) This gate lies in Jerusalem, beneath the Dome of the Rock. Once almost exclusively used by Ahlat, god of War and Cattle, to visit his priests and accept their offerings of goods and sweet incense and cattle, it now lies beneath one of the most fought-over holy cities of the world where conflicting followers of the unnamed LORD and Allah have – for centuries – fought over the site and have offered up incense and cattle and goods…
Well – like it or not – taking Exalted’s Creation as the prehistory of Modern Earth says that pretty much all current religions are fundamentally wrong. If, of course, this is what’s going on… Ahlat would currently be receiving the prayers of Christianity, Judaism, AND Islam – and have more worshipers than the Unconquered Sun ever did. Of course he’d also have an administrative nightmare, be pretending to have far more power and influence than he actually would (even with that inflated position), and be violating many celestial laws. On the other hand he’d be funding most of the Celestial Bureaucracy out of his own pocket – which would let him get away with quite a lot. It’s hard to say “No!” to the man who’s funding everything!
56) Beneath the antarctic ice, there is a desert sky… With creation collapsing around them and the Wyld pouring in, the creation-adapted lion-fey of the south had little choice save to join the defense. Sadly, their power was nowhere near sufficient; the best that they could do was to gather together scattered isles of order – modest areas protected by various gods, immutable manses, and occasional reality engines – and wrap their freeholds around them, a modest archipelago of order wrapped in a borderland lagoons. For the moment, at least, the Wyld waves swept past – and then broke upon the erupting order of the Reshaping.
The Reshaping… encapsulated roughly a thousand freehold waypoints and a random sampling of immutable bits of the threshold territories within a single mighty freehold – occupying a fold in space and a modest area beneath the newly-forming ice of antarctica. Here are an assortment of tiny city-states, wyld lands, and other bits of the Original Creation, rather like the largest sampler box of chocolates in the cosmos.
And there aren’t any labels.
Nevertheless, here, beneath a blazing desert sun shining beneath the ice of the south pole, the Raksha have maintained the old market around the Yu-Shan gate – making small quantities of a myriad otherwise lost goods and services available to the elite of Yu-Shan – for a hefty price. The Raksha take care to look human, or to bring some human fronts along – while the Gods take care to overlook the presence of the Raksha. It’s not like they could readily return to the Wyld now, even if distance was not an obstacle.
57) In Mexico City, within the depths of Glass Reach, in a chamber warded against detection and filled with gold, surrounded by ancient solar tombs and their ghostly occupants, a gate stands – awaiting once more the sacrifices of the Dragon Kings or their successors. Around Glass Reach stand seven more ancient manses – a geomantic engine of vast power (and possibly of Primordial design). Over it, humans – in their blindness – have built an enormous, thriving, city – and often delve into the depths of the earth. All too soon perhaps modern foundations will meet ancient stone – and who knows what will be unleashed?
58) Not even Gaia is perfect. This gate opens up somewhere in deep interstellar space, where reality is thin – and has been, like so many of the other gates, sealed by the Celestial Lions. Most of them don’t want to talk about it – although speculation centers on creatures of the Deep Earth who were reshaped to suit their new intergalactic homes during the Reshaping.
59) On Prince Patrick Island, in Northern Canada, Jakatam Shining-Hammer continues to ply his ancient trade – forging wonders in volcanic fires. His manse – The Citadel Of Generative Flames – provides him with privacy and captures the heat of the volcanic rift to warm the area nearby. Here, supported by that hidden island of warmth in the midst of the glacier, a lost colony of seafarers has gathered, providing Jakatam with a modest cult, assistants and – when criminals are available – sacrifices to use in his forging. Few of the occupants of Yu-Shan realize that Jakatam still survives, much less that he is busier than ever – and none save the most trusted have been allowed to see past the manses illusions.
60) Hidden in the core of an asteroid there lies a city of the first age – still supported by it’s imperishable manses and machines, and still well-populated. Unfortunately, the massive deposits of Firedust beneath the city have been infused with wyld energies and transmuted into radioactive ores, leaking their mutagenic radiation across the ages. The strangely-warped denizens of the city have had nowhere to go for millennia – and know all too well that the cities systems will support a limited number of people. Their accommodation to that fact has been… brutal. Those who exceed the permissible lifespan are slain – and the children are pitted against various beasts, shapings, hazards, and each other in a variety of competitions. The strongest survivors get to live, and to continue to await the days when The Shining Ones (as they refer to the Celestial Exalts) will return to lead them. The luckiest wind up being purchased by gods or other inhabitants of Yu-Shan. The rest… are disposed of variously.
Occasional groups from Yu-Shan hire (or purchase) guards and soldiers here. While that might be seen as unscrupulous, each such event means one more child that gets to live…
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice XCII – Correspondence School (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice – The Modern Gates, Part II (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice – The Mondern Gates, Part I (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice – The Modern Gates, Part III (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice – The Modern Gates, Part IV (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice — The Modern Gates, Part I (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXX – Meanwhile, In The Forest (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXIX – Memories of Dream (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXVIII – The Primordial Archives (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXIV – On The Oregon Trail (ruscumag.wordpress.com)