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Sunday, 28 March 2010

Cities of Abraxas: Tamo Anchan

Tamo Anchan is set atop a granite plateau above a sweeping jungle. Much of the city is built of a dark blue stone, which in the case of the noblemen's palaces is inlaid with rectangular gold plaques. The major buildings stand on pyramidal platforms, with high stairways simulating the city’s own position above the Tershen forest, and have tall Mansard-roofs, often adorned with "horns" along the ridge. Arches are corbeled or trefoil. Wide esplanades open from the streets around the perimeter of the city, the parapets of which overlook the jungle.

Throughout the city are parks planted with bright green moss. Here and there can be seen the ivy-twined stela which depict the rulers of ancient times and, in hieroglyphics, relate the great deeds they accomplished.

To the north is the great Lake of Stars, down towards which is directed a giant viewing scope. This device, left over from ancient times, monitors the pattern of stars in the lake (which do not mirror the stars above) and represents them as a three-dimensional matrix in the tower that supports the scope. The Anchan priests believe the lake is a portal through to another place, perhaps the underside of the world, and that the stars shown there have a sacred influence on their dream lives, just as the stars above affect their waking lives.

Government: The city's king is called the Deodand. He is appointed by a council of high priests and clan-chiefs, who take advice from astrologers. As long as his rule goes well, the Deodand enjoys the luxurious comforts of a god on Earth. But in times of trouble he must be sacrificed, the theory being that his soul can then go to plead the city's case in the Court of the Gods. From this custom derives the euphemism, "He has been sent to petition the gods," said of anyone dying violently or unexpectedly.

The clans of Tamo Anchan are: the Blood Ritual Clan, the Celestial Beast Clan, the Ceraunic Beast Clan, the Serpent Guide Clan, the Clan of the Vision Quest, the Axis Tree Clan, the Bird of Time Clan, the Manta's Spine Clan, the Fruiting Body Clan, and the Jade Skull Clan. Highly trusted individuals can be appointed Ahau, or "bannermen", by the clan-chief. Bannermen have special status. There are very severe penalties for a non-bannerman (of any clan) who insults or harms a bannerman, regardless of circumstances.

People: Anchans tend to be shorter than average (5'5") but nonetheless sturdily built. Noses are slightly flattened, eyes oriental, full-lipped mouths; skin color is glossy ochre; hair blue-black. Hair is straight and worn long. Facial hair is uncommon. Clothing is often woven of flax or feathers from the jungle birds, dyed in brilliant colors and set off with fire opals and black pearls from the lake.

Anchans set great store by personal bravery in battle. The highest honor to which a young warrior can aspire is to earn his place in one of the War Lodges, each dedicated to its own totem constellation or planet.

1 comment:

  1. Clever bit of wordplay there with the king's title. Nice art, too!