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The Viridian Labyrinth is our celestial family's Chancel. It was formed by taking Singapore's twin island and folding it in upon itself, causing it to vanish from the surface of the Earth and the minds of mortals. In so doing, the initial inhabitants of the island were warped and pulled apart into their component forms, giving rise to the new races that form most of its population today.



The primary inhabitants of the Chancel are the members of five elementally-associated groups of races native to the place.

Incredibly long-lived are the Sindri. Their eyes are perfect jewels, and their skin is solid rock. Born of the earth in a conflagration that smelts out the essence of stone, they begin life as small, rough-hewn caricatures of children, bulky and rotund. Over time their form grows towards perfection, standing tall and smooth and dark. They are craftsmen of infinite patience and practice their skill endlessly, using their own body as training. Slow and measured in their actions, they make no mistake twice. By their hand are made all manner of devices, from intricate rings of minute detail to great masterworks of machinery. Their most important labor of all is the crafting of the Automata.

The Automata are beings of pure metal, each one the product of a Sindri artisan. No mere machines, they are truly alive, living and feeling with the true soul that lies within. Their form is untainted by so foreign a force as electricity, much less the rude workings of fire and steam, which is reserves for the the unfeeling machinery they tend to. Instead, their motive is by metal on metal alone, the winding and unwinding of clockwork giving rise to all their actions. Each automata is designed with a specific sort of task in mind, but within that field, they are quite flexible. Each Automata learns by experimentation and shares this knowledge with others to enlighten them as well, with no expectation of recompense. With time, they may find themselves inadequate, and thus go back to their makers for refitting. With each such change, their fundamental self shifts somewhat, but they feel it a worthy sacrifice for the cause of advancing themselves.

Among the devices the Automata tend to is the vast underground system of pumps that purifies and distributes the water of the Chancel. The water itself is alive, forming the third of the native races. In small amounts, it is but a drop of water containing a single word, or a glass holding an entire dream. In sufficient quantities, it achieves sentience and control over its own form, sweeping up into laughing children of clear fluid, running around leaving damp spots in their wake. Known as the Vitreous, they are ever full of wonder, for though many may have done something before, it is highly unlikely that each drop of water has previously taken the same role in the same act as it does now. The water-children themselves are constantly melding together and splitting again, shuffling around their memories and personalities. When bored, they splash into nothingness to be absorbed by the soil, and in the few cases where their collective knowledge has been needed in the name of The Viridian Labyrinth, they have formed into gigantic beings who know near all and are stricken with madness by it. Most of the Vitreous are amusing and endearing, but those filled with the salt of the sea tend to be more capricious and wicked, and caution is advised in their presence.

When a water-child melts into the soil to rest from the hardships of simply being, the water is often taken up by the roots of a tree. The trees of The Viridian Labyrinth are special, for on their branches they bear fruits that grow into the Ogham, the fourth of the Chancel's races. There are as many types of Ogham as there are species of tree to birth them, eighteen in all. Each race of Ogham is different, but within each race, it is hard to tell one individual from another. Sometimes the Ogham themselves forget exactly who they are, but this does not trouble them. The various types of Ogham vary greatly in their lifespan, from a single year for the Reed-Folk to unknown centuries for those born of Fir or Yew.

When an Ogham dies, its body is put to the torch, and from the flames of the pyre bursts forth its suppressed individuality. The fleeting spirit gives life to the flames, sometimes singly, and sometimes two or three at a time, and they rush off to experience life before they burn out. They are the Ephemera, last of the Chancel's magical citizens. Most flicker and die off within a day, but a few who find the fuel to drive their existence can survive for years, flitting from place to place in a mad rush to experience as much as possible. If the ashes of an Ephemeral are fed back into a fire, it is reborn, albeit stripped of the memories of its last brief flash, to try its lot again. Unfortunately, it is all too likely to die out again. The only way to provide it permanence is to convince it to burn itself into the ground, and from the molten slag of this sacrifice will arise a newborn Sindri, its personality a haunting echo of its forbearer.

In addition to these fantastical beings, there are also ordinary humans in the Viridian Labyrinth, although they are not numerous. Most of them are descendants of people who found their way into the Chancel by accident and either did not know how to get back or chose to stay. A very few can trace their ancestry back to original inhabitants of the island that managed to survive the tumultuous enchancelling long ago.




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Last edited June 7, 2004 5:22 pm by Andres (diff)