Manses and Demesnes
Starlight Crypt (Level 3 Abyssal Manse)
- An elaborate tomb located in a South Eastern Shadowland, the Starlight Crypt is thought to have once been a Sidereal place of power, later corrupted into an Abyssal Manse by the formation of a Shadowland after Ma-Ha-Suchi's forces decimated several of the local villages. The central chamber of the Crypt is a dome-shaped room with walls of pure obsidian. Embedded in the walls of the inner room are hundreds of diamonds. Each diamond is the remains of a human being. Anyone who dies within the Manse itself is incinerated by a flare of Essence and their ashes draw into the obsidian chamber, crushed and forged into one of the diamonds. Slowly but surely, the Starlight Crypt is creating a perfect map of the skies of the Underworld. Should anyone stay long enough to observe, the diamonds within the ebony chamber move inside the walls, following the courses of the Underworld stars. When complete, the Manse will be the single most powerful tool for the astrological arts of the dead.
Midnight Theatre (Level 3 Abyssal Manse for the Shadow-Sewing Stone)
- One of many Manses in the decadent city of Great Forks, the Midnight Theatre is owned by the Goddess of Shadow Puppetry, Akiry Tanaka. Within the Theatre no light is allowed save for the single blue-flame lantern behind the great white screen on which the Shadows perform. In a rush of darkness, the shadows of the Manse gather from all the dark spaces within the Theatre once an audience is seated and begin their performance. For the duration of their display, the Manse is lit by nothing, yet everywhere it is light. The shadows, performing on the screen, are unable to cast darkness through the Manse, but no light falls. Because of this it becomes impossible to see anything inside the Manse except for the screen and its performers for the duration of the show. When the shadows have finished their show, they return to their natural arrangements. The blue-flame lantern itself is the source of the Shadow Sewing Stone, held within its oil vat.
Fane of Clay and Blood (level 4 Alchemical Manse)
- A massive structure of black iron and rusted steel, the Fane is located in the far reaches of the Southeast. Once the site of one of Autochthon’s workshops, his cult of worshippers maintained the location even after he abandoned them to his slumber in Elsewhere. The glowing green vats within contain the special mixes of rare clays and living matter that are used in Autochthon to create the Alchemical Exalted. Useless at present, this Manse would be a treasure to any Autochthonian that discovered it. It is rumored the vats can also heal nearly any wound if the wounded person is immersed in them for a month and a day. The Hearthstone forms within the center of the Manse in a complicated pump that maintains the freshness of the vats’ contents.
Cave of Visions (level 3 Sidereal Manse)
- A prime amethyst mine in the First Age, the Cave of Visions was first created when a battle between invading fair folk and Earth Aspected miners created a Demesne within the mine. In order to reclaim the riches of the area from the twisting influences of the Demesne, it was hurriedly capped. The Manse that formed was unexpectedly Sidereal, reacting to the vision-stones that form within the Manse. These stones are amethyst geodes filled with milky water, supposedly the spilled blood of the fae mixing with the dripping water that carved out the cavern. When gazed into, these water-filled geodes provide short visions of the past, present or future. The Hearthstone of the Cave reforms inside a new geode every time and searching for it generally takes a good bit of time.
Hall of Whispers (level 2 Sidereal Manse)
- The Hall of Whispers is a large, blocky building in Yu-Shan that is constructed without a single room. Instead the entire building is composed of hallways and corners, each and every one shadowed and muted from carrying sound. If one were to examine the volume of the building and the amount of hallways and the number of corners, one would find that it is quite impossible for 1,001 corners to exist inside the Hall of Whispers, but at least that many have been counted. The Hearthstone forms in the corner.
The Horizon (level 5 Solar Manse)
- A landmark in the Far South, the Horizon is a gargantuan ridge of sandstone in spectacular shades of tan, rose and gold. The swirls of color are somewhat hypnotic, especially in the high sun. They sometimes move. At one time, the Horizon was a deadly Demesnes, for the laws of physics held little sway over the area. The Horizon itself stretches across the desert as far as the eye can see, but one can walk around it in a day, or over it in less. The spires and arches of the Horizon make impossible turns and twists, huge loads suspended in air by hair-thin columns of sandstone or vice-versa. Even capped, the Horizon remains impossible, for its architecture was preserved by the arts of the Southern Dragon-Kings who used their Yielding Earth Path to form the Demesnes into a gargantuan city, possibly the largest single Manse in all of Creation. The riches of the city are long since stolen, but the city itself remains in prefect condition for even scavenger lords know the place caps a potent Demesne and none has yet been stupid enough to risk unleashing it.
The Bazaar of Heaven (level 2 Solar Manse)
- A small and simple residence by the standards of Yu-Shan, this bazaar is a riot of colors and patterns, with covered stalls and elaborate tents set up in a mind-whirling maze of brightly colored cloth. The paths between the various stalls and tents are cobbled in hunks of gold the size of a man's outspread hand. In the center of the Bazaar lays a small square surrounded by shops made of adobe stained with various colors and studded with brilliant gems and precious metals. These shops provide the eating, sleeping and secure storage of the Manse. The Hearthstone, a Thrifty Merchant's Stone, forms in the top bowl of an elaborate, multi-tiered fountain in the square's center. Only from above can the geomantic layout of the Bazaar truly be appreciated as the riot of color becomes a fascinating collection of symbols and patterns, converging on the center square.
Nightsea Hold (level 4 Earth Manse)
- Though the only building visible from the surface is a ten-foot cube of white stone with a single door set into the northern face, the Nightsea Hold is home to one of the most amazing visual wonders of the Blessed Isle. Underground the Manse sprawls in every direction, a network of carefully shaped crystal caverns connected by stairways of quartz and marble. The Manse is build around the largest natural crystal in all of Creation: the Nightsea. This single piece of quarts is a flawless formation stretching over three miles. A hollow was formed over the top of the vast stone, allowing visitors to the Hold it gaze into its limitless depths. The Hold's Hearthstone forms as a chunk of the Nightsea which can be lifted free from the rest.
Empress of Waves (level 2 Water Manse)
- Once a First Age warship, Empress of Waves became a Manse after it was destroyed and sunk to the bottom of the Inner Sea during the Usurption. Ressurected by the power of a bottle-nosed Lunar sorceress the ancient ship was anchored in place in the center of a deadly tidal vortex and the remains of its once mighty Essence manipulation weapons were turned to a new purpose: harnessing the Demesne. Now the Empress is forever bound to her current location, a barnacle-encrusted hulk that few dare approach for fear of the sorceress and the hundreds of ghosts of the dead crew.
Reef Palace (level 4 Water Manse)
- Many Demesnes in the Far West remain uncapped, some unknown, because it is extremely difficult to reach them. Many more Manses have been destroyed over time because after the end of the First Age, it has become impossible to keep them maintained. The Reef Palace is a rare find in that it is a deep-water Manse that remains intact, though dangerous. It has not yet capped the potent nexus of power it sits atop. Yet, because it is growing. Slowly, over centuries, the Manse as grown from a minor place of twisted power to a calm palace of the Chosen. Originally discovered by the aquatic Dragon Kings of the West, the Palace was capped as were many of the now free western Demesnes. The water-breathing folk used their magics to shape Manses as easily in the depths of the ocean as the Exalted did on the slopes of the Imperial Mountain. The Reef Palace is, in fact, a coral reef grown by Dragon King Magic from numerous species of coral, some unique to the Manse as they were created by mutating influences of the uncapped and partially capped Demesne. As they grew into more complex, geomantically potent forms they slowly but surely capped the wild place. For millennia, they have been growing and even now they have not finished their task.
Villa of Eternity (level 5 Wood Manse)
- Lost since the First Age, the Villa of Eternity is located on an island exactly half way between the Elemental poles of Earth and Wood. The Manse is protected by a number of potent enchantments which, among other things, make the entire island invisible and impossible to location on any kind of map. Nestled in the center of an ancient forest, the Villa is a sprawling single-story complex of white-walled buildings with parchment ceilings and floors of living heartwood. Each of the 100 rooms of the Villa contains at least one tree which bears the Peaches of Immortality growing through the floor. At the center of the Villa is a vast hall, dominated by the first tree ever planted in Creation. It was this tree, created, planted and nurtured by Gaia that produced the first Peach of Immortality. In all of Creation, only the Villa is home to these rare and wonderous trees. The Manse forms a Gem of Incomparable Wellness which appears in a hole in the trunk of the central tree.
Demesnes and Other Places
Sea of Gears (level 3 Alchemical Demesne)
- In the scavenger lands, there is an area where the rivers grow dark with the oil of industry. This pollution originates in the Sea of Cogs, an ancient blight upon the land. It seems to be exactly what it sounds like, a black sea filled with floating cogs. But anyone who approaches the shores find that the sand is rust and ash and that the water itself is not liquid at all, but rather a massive collection of heaving cables, wires and pipes from which the cogs and wheels that give this place its name rise. Oil seeps from the pipes and conduits here and fouls the surrounding water. Because of its violence and unstable nature, no attempt has been made to harness the Sea of Gears with a Manse.
The Mine (Level 4 Earth Demesne)
- An expansive series of caverns near Gem, this place is a miner's dream. Within its confines the mineral veins and loads shift and change every moment. They never run dry and shift between every mineral imaginable. This may mean that iron mined today is gold tomorrow, or that gold mined today is lead the next moment. Once removed from the Mine, however, the shifting influence ceases and the minerals are perfectly natural and always of the highest quality. At the center of the Mine is a tunnel that branches off into five caverns. Inside these caverns are the only stable loads in the Mine. Each cavern holds a single metal. One holds gold, another silver, a third copper, a fourth iron and the last holds tin. No matter how much metal in mined from these caverns, there is always more easily accessible.
Maze of Directionless Crystal (Level 5 Earth Demesne)
- Buried in the mountain ranges close to Gem is this spectacular, and disturbing place. A twisting labyrinth of passages formed of billions upon billions of hexagonal plates of some silvery-gray crystal, the Maze curves in seemingly impossible ways. All attempts to map the Demesne have failed, leading some people to suspect it changes the tunnels’ direction randomly. Within the Maze the only meaning of ‘down’ is “where your feet are”. It is possible to walk on any side of the Maze as if it were the most solid ground anywhere in Creation. Once an object is released from the hold of a living being, however, it is subject to the Maze’s own demented directional standards and can fall up, left, right or backwards. The Maze is off limits to explorers due to the danger of getting lost, or injured by ‘falling’ objects.
Lake of Dreams (level 5 Sidereal Demesne)
- A famous Northeastern lake, all who live around it know the Lake of Dreams is touched by magic, the incomprehensible runes and lines that never fade from the crystalline sands around it make that clear, as does the indescribably wild taste of the lake's silvery water. No fish dwell inside the lake, and no person standing on any shore has ever seen the opposite. To swim in the Lake of Dreams is to invite fortune to twist the life and, rarely, the body of the swimmer. People claim to have been cured of crippling injuries or diseases by a swim in the Lake, even restored to health from the brink of death, while others claim to have learned secrets long forgotten. The Lake's gifts are never predictable, but always benevolent. A single draught of lake water will give visions of the past, present or future, though few can make sense of the portents within. Some claim the Wyld dwells within the silver depths of the lake.
I am really impressed with these, quite possibly far more impressed with your manse's and demesnes than the hearthstones and artifacts that other people have put up. Well done. -EndlessChase