Seven Ancient Cities
Recent investigations by the Gentlefolks Exploration Society (formerly of Novadom), aided by several members of the Adventurer's Guild of Alusia, have discovered the existence of a network of ancient cities. They are:
- Pasifika - on the island of Rangiwhero
- Phili'Delphia - in the Far North of Terranova
- Beth Salem - in the Sea of Grass
- Pellucidar - somewhere underground, in a giant cavern, located near Destiny
- Serendip - on the shore of Mare Serentatis on Luna.
- Perelandra - somewhere on Freya (the second planet)
- Malachandra - somewhere on Thunor (the fourth planet) near a very large volcano (Olympus Mons).
Each city was linked to the others by a set of trilithon portals. However, over time, many of the portal keys were removed, deactivating the link. Subsequently many keys have been lost. However a new network has been set up with the remaining keys (see below). A trilithon portal is wide enough to drive a wagon through (2 hexes) and has 9ft 9in (3 metres) clearance. Each block has a 19.5 inch by 19.5 inch (.5 metre) cross section.
Each portal requires a key to activate it and both ends need to be activated to establish a link. The portal keys are made of stone, are an inch thick and fit into depressions on the cross piece of the trilithon. The shape for each destination is:
- Pasifika - circle
- Phili’Delphia- diamond
- Beth Salem - hexagon
- Pellucidar - square
- Serendip - half circle
- Perelandra - pentagon
- Malacandra - triangle
According to the Central Library on Pasifika, the cities were constructed over 40,000 years ago at the time of the great Elven/Drow war, possibly the War of Tears. Apparently elves were involved in the construction of the cities for what motivation we have yet been able to ascertain. However we have ascertained that they were mostly populated by humans and were used to provide shelter for the humans during the long conflict. Pasifika was built first with the other cities being constructed a short time later - within a few hundred years of each other.
As time progressed, the cities began to specialise in separate areas of knowledge but remained linked by portal. Pasifika remained the capital and contained the Central Repository of Knowledge. Most of the population there was made of philosophers and sages.
The other cities tended towards specialisation in one area of elemental knowledge. Phili’Delphia tended towards air, Pellucidar to earth, Serendip to light/dark, Perelandra to water and Malacandra to fire. It was theorised that Beth Salem's speciality could be life but when it was discovered, it was found that the magics there tended to Binder and E&E.
The architecture of each city tends towards the Greco/Roman style of construction with lots of pillars and arches, as is still found in the Ellenic States. At the centre of each city is a pyramidal ziggurat with a temple on top. Each temple contains a gold lined doorway which has the ability to remove any non-permanent enchantments/magics on anyone that passes through it. We suspect it is for some sort of cleansing before the supplicant is granted an audience with the priest-king.
Each city was ruled by a priest-king (except for Serendip which had two) who served the dual purpose of guiding the people and conducting the necessary rituals.
The cities existed for several thousand years until some of them suddenly severed their links with the others. Pellucidar was the first to be abandoned as it proved difficult for the civilization to exist underground. Apparently they were stricken by some sort of madness - cause unknown - although it is believed it may have something to do with the long-term exposure to a mixture of strange fungal spores in the area. The city is abandoned with the forces of Nature attempting to take it back.
Serendip was the next to be abandoned when the Selenites (the insect race) took over and enslaved the survivors. Those that managed to flee removed the portal keys behind them. Now Serendip is buried beneath the lunar dust. All that is visible is the top of the temple. It was believed that the survivours fled to Pasifika but a link could not be established from there. Neither could it be established from any of the cities reachable at this stage so the possibility was either Beth Salem or someone stayed behind to remove all the portal keys at the Serendip end, leaving themselves to be taken by the Selenites. A subsequent test at Bath Salem showed no active link to Serendip from there either.
It is not yet known what caused the others to isolate themselves. Of them, only Beth Salem is known to be uninhabited. There is no sign of the central area of Beth Salem. All that is left in, where the city should be, is a depression, currently filled with water, as if the city had been scooped up and carried away. Subsequent events showed that is exactly what happened when the city returned from deep space. The city had a flying device fitted, and, when last seen, was heading back out of the Alusian system. The device in question had been developed on Serendip but wasn't able to be used there before the Selenites arrived. It was instead taken to Beth Salem and installed there. Upon the city's return, a Guild party helped retrieve an enhancement that allowed interstellar flight. This was retrieved from old research labs located in a cave on the shores of Mare Tranquilitatis on Luna.
Phili'Delphia was also thought to be lost but recently, a Guild party managed to access it and discovered it was still inhabited. It floats above the Emperor Peak, the highest mountain in the Five Kings mountain range, located in the Far North of Terranova and is shielded by cloud. Recently, a rune portal link has been set up between it, and the settlement of ice mages, formed during the ice/air schism several years ago.
Perelandra is located beneath the waters of Freya but the portals are located on a small island nearby. Whether this was deliberate, or Perelandra sank subsequently, is unknown. This city is inhabited by a mixture of aquatic elves and merfolk. Several years ago there was a marriage between Princess Annelsie of the Pasifikan merkingdom and the current Prince of Perelandra, Saial.
Malachandra was, until a few years ago, ruled by a War Priest of Ares until his defeat by a Guild party. Malachandra is located near Olympus Mons on Thunor.
Pasifika continued as a separate entity until the time of Penjarre when a cataclysm caused Rangiwhero to sink. Much was lost when the city sunk and the inhabitants had to flee to the nearby island groups, becoming the current inhabitants of the Southern Ocean Pasifikan group. Rangiwhero rose again two thousand years later (801 WK) and the knowledges stored in the ruins are being rediscovered. Those portals also were underwater during submergence.
Most of the contents of the Pasifikan Central Library were preserved in wax sealed amphoras, indicating that there had been some warning before the landmass sank. Unfortunately most of the writings are in a rather ancient language, that is only now, being understood and translated. It has been discovered though that the ancients were very knowledgable in several fields of Philosophy as well as being more advanced in Mechanician skills than had been previously thought. Some of the inventions that they had have only recently been reinvented in the Western Kingdoms, such as mechanical clockworks and contrivances powered by water or steam.
Many of the portal keys have been recovered and the current network configuration is:
- Pasifika: Perelandra, Malachandra, Beth Salem, Phili'Delphia
- Perelandra: Pasifika, Phili’Delphia, Malachandra,
- Phili’Delphia: Malachandra, Perelandra, Pasifika, Beth-Salem
- Malachandra:Phili’Delphia, Perelandra, Pasifika, Pellucidar
- Pellucidar: Malachandra, Beth Salem
- Beth Salem: Pasifika, Pellucidar, Phili'Delphia
Spare keys: Beth Salem (1), Serendip (4)