The Spires of Urizen


#1

Being an introduction to the various Spires of Urizen, for the discerning tourist or lazy spy from Axos.

Phoenix Reach

A spire both new and ancient. Phoenix Reach is on the last peak in the Morrow range before the land slopes sharply down to the River Couros. The Spire looks down on Highborn and Navarri lands to the West and North. Physically, the spire has been a ruin for at least a century. Only in the past five years has it been renovated and rejoined Urizen political life. The spire is built on the large scale indicative of pre-human builders, and has a large stylised phoenix carved in the central chamber. Other than that, little is known about the Spire’s history, as the relevant historical records were lost in the Nicovarian purge.

Today, Phoenix reach is a cosmopolitan, accepting spire. With few traditions, many wanderers and travellers have found a home there. A significant minority of the population were not born in Urizen. Although not formally a Citadel, the Spire boasts many sentinels and guards important routes into Morrow. The reclamation of the spire has attracted a large group of artisans, whose craftsmanship can be seen in the new construction, and a small cadre of Architects overseeing the funding of the operation. Magically, the spire isn’t focussed on one Lore - the Spire’s ritual capability is broad rather than deep. Two publishing houses work from the Spire: Sibella’s Books and the Torch newspaper.

Vital statistics:
Province: Morrow
Symbol: Orange and Yellow Phoenix on Blue
Size: 20ish
Specialities: Sentinels, Artisans, Architects, Publishing


#2

Shatterspire

[mod edit: this spire is no longer a going concern, please do not ask to join!]

45 miles south-southeast of Elos, atop a storm-lashed and distressingly forested clifftop, the Spire of Shattered Art Reforged is the third spire on this site. The first one sank into a swamp^H^H^H was destroyed by rampaging Spring magic. The second one burned down, fell over and THEN sank into a^H^H^H was burned by Emperor Nicovar. But the third one has stayed for these past ten years, and this one looks like a keeper. It’s a research establishment really, or it started that way, a bunch of crazies living in the upper levels of a clifftop spire that actively tries to kill anyone who lives there, where you can’t really do much below the treeline because of the omnivorous trees, where the cress seed you grow on your windowsill will sprout legs and come for you in the night. The spire was envisaged a hothouse for Spring research, and its mana sites are spectacularly productive, but certainly for the first few years there was basically nothing else - like a more permanent version of a field trip.

Then the population started growing. People started moving there as a fresh start - it’s got what you might consider a pioneer atmosphere - it’s possibly the Urizeni equivalent of a Wild West frontier town, a tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone else, except that no frontier town was ever bound together with such an oath of loyalty. And it seems to breed and attract strong personalities and strong minds, the kind of person who sees a young spire as an opportunity, a stepping stone on the path to power, a place to stand and place a lever to move the world. The recent change in Arbiter - and from a Seer to a Mage, at that - has thrown a new kind of energy into the spire, and the political connections forged by the spire’s delegates to Anvil have transformed the spire’s economy.

Magically, the spire is a recognised centre for Spring studies, but there has been a strong insistence by both the outgoing and the incoming Arbiter that a proper Urizeni education includes at least enough of the lore of Day to understand the conversation at dinner.

Fiction (cw: hygeine paranoia and (brief mention of) suicide)
empirefiction.livejournal.com/178142.html

Vital statistics:
Province: Redoubt
Symbol: Mawrig and Evrom runes just touching one another, in green on a tan background.
Delegation to Anvil: 6
Imperial Positions: 2
Specialities: Celestial Arch matters, Spring magic, scrying


#3

The Spire of the Auric Horizon

The Spire of the Auric Horizon is an ancient and previously somewhat insular Spire part-way up a steep, east-west valley in Morrow. Ancient platforms built out into the valley receive constant sunlight from dawn til dusk, weather willing, and allow for excellent observation of the heavens. The Spire maintained long records of divinations under auspicious times of day and night in its earlier centuries, but such records were largely lost when Emperor Nicovar burned the library. After this, the Spire dwindled further until it opened its doors to refugees from Spiral, and now the Auric Horizon seeks to renew its reputation for foresight and to lend its wisdom to the Empire as a whole.

The Spire of the Auric Horizon prides itself on its strength in the divinatory arts and is eager to return to the Imperial stage as a significant magical establishment; the gathered arcane mastery of the community renders it one of, if not the, most powerful Day covens remaining in the entire Empire. The influx of fresh blood and talent from Spiral has reinvigorated the Spire’s sometimes conservative ways, and it is now interested in recruiting more people to fill those of its halls that still remain empty – albeit recruitment involving careful assessment of suitability. Furthermore, while war has never been the Auric Horizon’s strength, new Sentinels rise in influence and many of the Spire’s seers point out how their divinations are potently deployed for the military. Few Spire ritualists are likely to see the battlefield, but they are very interested in supporting from behind the lines.

Of particular note to historians, priests and scholars is the fact that the Spire of the Auric Horizon was the Spire to which Abraxus Whitespire was taken when he fell into a trance-like coma, remaining there until his death in 72 YE. It is claimed that members of the Spire at that time wrote down the words that Abraxus continued to speak in his trance-state, creating what would later come to be called the Abraxian Scrolls of prophecy; however, the burning of the Spire’s main library at the hands of a paranoid Nicovar has deprived the Auric Horizon of much of their accumulated lore. (See profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Abraxus for more details on this).

Province: Morrow
Symbol: A circle bisected by a golden horizon; the top half of the circle a rising sun, the bottom half a silver moon against the night.
Delegation to Anvil: Usually between 12 and 16.
Specialities: The Conclave, Day and Night ritual magic (Day in particular), divinations and scrying


#4

Also, we are currently looking to recruit about 2 more people, although we are only open to new characters for people who already know at least some of us OC. All rumours that you must have played an immortal character at Maelstrom to be able to join are absolutely false (even though the evidence might suggest otherwise). Iulian’s post pretty much covers what the spire is about. Please get in touch with me if you are interested.

We might also recruit people IC, but that would be an entirely IC matter :slight_smile:.


#5

Endsmeet Spire

Located on the southern border of Zenith, Endsmeet is a spire of mixed histories. It’s population made up of those who have called Endsmeet home for generations, but also to the families of refugees… those driven out from the lost territory of Spiral and from the Great Library of Ankarien 45 years ago.

Our delegation to Anvil, like our spire, is made up of a diverse group of people. We have those, such as the Hammer & the Sentinel’s Repose that merely seek to offer service in return for profits. We have representatives of the Endsmeet Magisterium… those that claim and seek to restore the Ankarien great library. But most of all, we have the survivors and descendants of the lost territory of Spiral, come to Anvil to find whatever if necessary to reclaim & rebuild their home.

Province: Zenith (but one day, perhaps returning to Spiral)
Symbol: Two arrows arranged horzontally, points meeting. (also described as an X with a strikethrough --X–)
Delegation to Anvil: Usually between 20-30
Specialities: Varied, but currently strong in Autumn magic, and Sentinels.


#6

The Spire of the Celestial Cascade

The Spire was founded by a research team sent to investigate a meteor fall in the mountains of Zenith, who built the Spire on the site of impact. Whether the Spire’s name came from the meteor fall or the beautiful waterfalls in the area has been lost to time. Initially specialising in the study of recently mined ilium, following the destruction of their research by Emperor Nicover the Spire’s focus shifted to divinations and to the duality between Day and Night.

While never heavily involved in Imperial politics, after the reign of Nicovar the Spire withdrew almost completely, ceasing representation at Anvil. This insular stance continued until the last decade when the previous Arbiter, Avitus, began attending Anvil with a small entourage, becoming a firm supporter of Empress Britta. In 376YE, Avitus was presumed dead with the Empress.

The Spire’s debating style encourages the production of pamphlets and essays, and views poorly any public attempt to comment on an argument one has not read in full. There is a substantial Lucidian presence in its priesthood; consecration is a rare occurrence.

Province: Zenith
Symbol: This mathematical pattern.
Delegation to Anvil: ~20
Specialities: Day and Night Magic; divinations; Courage, Loyalty and Way priests.


#7

The Citadel of Eye’s Overwatch

In the time before the Urizen nation was founded our people inhabited the plains to the North. When the orcs descended upon them though they fled South to the mountains of Morrow. During their retreat our ancestors were less magically able and relied more on force of arms for defence. In particular light infantry, scouts and rangers. These regiments would protect our people on their travels and would strike swiftly and decisively against the orcs that stood between our people and salvation and refuge.
Upon reaching Morrow and our people ascending the peaks to find their new homes, the rangers patrolled the lower passes and made the paths safe for their people to explore.
Two units of these warriors established a base of operations in one of the ancient, alien halls in one of the peaks overlooking the Eye of Morrow, below what would become Canterspire.
Overtime the Citadel that formed around the base the rangers had made became known as Eye’s Overwatch considering its location above the Eye of Morrow and the military men stationed there became known formally as the Kestrels and the Rock Drakes in honour of the Lesser Kestrels and Pygmy Rock Drakes that they shared the mountaintop with.
When the Empire was founded the rangers of Eye’s Overwatch were in favour of an alliance with the forming superpower even if the Urizen turned down membership overall. When the Volodny rose and the Urizen sent magical aid to the Empire the rangers were part of the forces that bolstered border patrols in case of an Imperial defeat.
Since the Urizen joining the Empire the rangers have been parts of Imperial campaigns numerous times and take Pride in the history their regiment has as well as looking to innovate in moving forward both through magics used but mostly through the development of military sciences, leadership methods and the development of fighting styles and techniques.
In recent years however the rangers have taken significant losses, their numbers being thinned hugely by their part in the attempts to defend Spiral and cover the civilian retreat and on other campaigns in defence of the Empire generally.
The previous Arbiter-Commander rarely attended the gatherings at Anvil but was unfortunate enough to attend the gathering that led to him and his retinue joining Empress Britta on her last campaign. Since then, with new, young commanders heading the operations at Eye’s Overwatch, the rangers are slowly recovering from the losses that they’ve suffered and with the death of the most recent Empress the Sentinel Rangers of Eye’s Overwatch feel that after the hope she gave the Empire, considering the years of decline prior to her coronation, that they must be the voice and protectors of their people and the Empire as their predecessors were regardless of recent losses in terms of manpower.

Part of the military tradition that the Sentinels of the Eye swear to live by at Precepts. These were originally devised by Arbiter-Commander Cornelius the Blind in 126 YE and were carved into the wall of the Citadel upon his death in 132 YE by his successor Prisca. The Sentinels of the Eye follow these almost as fervently as they adhere to the Virtues.

  1. Defend and Unite the Empire – We have always defended our people against foes both vicious and savage in nature and cruel in heart. This is our eternal priority until we return to the Labyrinth for our next journey throughout its walls.
  2. Learn and Teach – We are masters of our arts. Many foes have fallen as evidence of this, but we are not perfect. Learn, rehearse, educate and be happy to do so for and with all those that will join you in your studies.
  3. Recruit – As proof of our lack of perfection, there are always casualties. We need to be selective in who we recruit. Poise is most important in our selection. Demonstration of Poise suggests control. But be wary; recruit those that understand a calm smile is more a sign of control than a blank and stern mask.
  4. Prosper and Improve – As we aim for Arete and Poise in regards to ourselves we must ensure that our facilities, resources, defences and relationships are maintained and built upon.
  5. Provide Perspective – Those that dedicate their lives to martial practices solely are far rarer than they used to be. As a result we have a different view of the world from most of our kinsmen. Most of them have not had to bury our dead far from home or had to face down a barbarian charge with nothing but broken steel in hand and your fellows beside you. Many haven’t seen the pain in the eyes and sadness expressed by those from other nations we fight beside who don’t focus on Poise as we do. Take this to them and help those in power make informed decisions and inspire them with your Poise and knowledge.

Province: Morrow
Symbol: Kestrel and Drake back-to-back under a Sun-like Eye.
Delegation to Anvil: 5-10
Specialities: Sentinels, Healers.


#8

Halcyon Spire

Halcyon is a spire of modest size whose purpose is to care for people driven insane by magic or other means. It overlooks a high valley in Clypion, in the northwestern part of Zenith – not terribly distant from the Cargo road or the Weave, but sufficiently far from the major roads that it few people pass through except to visit the Spire itself… and the Spire does not have many visitors. Its economic presence is currently minor, and its interests in the outside world largely concern taking on new patients, returning the fortunate few who recover enough, and contributing to research into mind-altering effects.

The Spire was founded in the early years of the Empire on what was then the frontier of Urizen territory. For a while it remained a centre of research into the effects of magic on the mind, attracting some of the finest healers, ritualists, and exorcists that the Empire had to offer, and even broadened its outlook to take care of those afflicted with less magical forms of madness. Its ruling Board recruited experts in disciplines ranging from ritual magic to herblore to exorcism, giving patients the benefit of every form of treatment the Empire had to offer.
Over time, though, the Spire became withdrawn, having less and less to do with the outside world. News through the Heliopticon became sparse; the stream of scholarly papers slowed to a bare trickle; and though Halcyon continued to take on staff and patients, few of them were ever seen to leave.

Following the disaster of Britta’s death in Skarsind, the Arbiter Heron decided to change all this. He prepared for a delegation to be sent to Anvil to engage once more with the other great minds of the Empire, to partake in the advancement of magical technique, and to spread the aid of the Spire to a greater number of afflicted citizens.
Unfortunately he suffered a catastrophic and violent breakdown with days to go before the journey north. A young Night ritualist called Eudaemon was hastily elected Chair and Arbiter, and travelled to Anvil as the Spire’s sole representative in Winter 377. Now convinced of the benefits of Anvil, Eudaemon has determined to bring some of his colleagues along in future – and perhaps some of the inpatients as well…

The Spire is specialised in its goal but not in its approach. Its Board and staff count Night and Day ritualists, exorcists, physicks, apothecaries, and other magicians amongst their number, while patients can come from any walk of life and occasionally from other nations.

The group is recruiting – please ask if you are interested. Just be aware that any IC recruitment that happens will work rather differently to joining OOC!

Province: Zenith
Symbol: Formally, a white wadjet eye in a green triangle; informally, the runes Aesh and Wyr combined
Delegation: 2
Specialities: Madness and the mind


#9

And in news just in, Phoenix Reach now is a Citadel.


#10

Echostorm spire:

To the early Urizen explorers, Echo was a mixed blessing. On one hand the range, near the heart of the
Zenith Mountains, was saturated with the magical auras they had spent so many months and too many
lives trying to locate. The peak of Echo cast a long shadow over the majority of the local geography, its
interior was a warren of natural caves - room enough for the needs of a spire and then some. Indeed,
Echo could have been an ideal Urizen stronghold - were it not for its big brother, Storm.
Storm is not the original name of Echo’s companion, but its current occupants find it hard to conceive of
it being called anything else. Its peak is hidden under a thick, chaotic mass of cloud, wind and rain from
which it takes its moniker. Although the intensity of the storm that shrouds the peak has been known to
fluctuate, it has not abated in recorded memory.
Ironically, it was the presence of this inhospitable storm, rather than any of Echo’s benefits, that
convinced the first Urizen explorers to set up a spire in these mountains. The temptation to study
whatever natural or magical confluences brought about and sustained such a phenomenon proved too
great, especially given Zenith’s famously clear skies. Also needless to say that the Urizen desire to seek
mastery over their environment made domination of Storm too strong an itch to not scratch.
Echo’s depths contained many flooded caves. During the reclamation of one such cave, “Storm’s
Passing” was discovered. The Passing didn’t appear to be natural, rather a carved passageway leading
deeper into the mountainside. Due to centuries of cave-ins, it took years for the explorers to dig through
the rubble. When it was finally cleared they found it connected into a second set of caves within the
heart of Storm itself.
In the centre of this cave system laid a cavern they quickly named the Hall of Whispers for the strange
echoes and murmurs that crawled and skittered around its walls. Beyond this the caves continued, until
a final ascent placed the Urizen, blinking and breathless, into the clear, thin air at the summit of Storm.
From that point on, whilst Echo remained host to most of the Spire’s citizenry, the caverns within Storm
became the de facto home of the Spire’s researchers. Soon the inhabitants felt it unseemly to exclude
Storm from the name of their settlement, considering its importance in their lives, and so the Spire of
EchoStorm came to be.

As a group:

  • We’re primarily noncombatants.
  • We’re based in Zenith
  • Current senator of Zenith is based here.
  • We specialise in Day and Night ritual magic.
  • We dress in green, mostly.
  • Anvil Delegates: Around 10-15

#11

Netherwatch Spire

The Netherwatch is situated in Redoubt, close to Delving. Its name was chosen by an extremely optimistic priest of prosperity, Xenophon, who served as its first Arbiter. The reality is more prosaic; it mainly serves to provide Day Ritualists to the mines around Delving, where their skills in surveying the rocks have proved quite useful, especially in avoiding cave-ins and scrying for new veins of ore. (Although their last recorded casting of ‘Bright Eyes Gleam in the Depths’, alas, was over two centuries ago.) It is their proud boast that ‘Where there is darkness, we bring light’; this has led them to being occasionally mistaken for a spire of exorcists. (Knowing Xenophon, the playwright of several comedies during the First Century, this was almost certainly intentional.)

The Spire is positioned upon a ridgeline known as ‘The Paragon’s Crown’; this is due to, if one looks at them from a certain angle in the sunrise, it resembling a seven-pointed crown. Each ‘point’ is named after a virtue, and is given a fitting function. ‘Ambition’, the observatory, is among the highest peaks for miles round; it is as such a prominent centre for stargazers. They find a rich delight in taking their craft into places where the stars can hardly be glimpsed, especially the mineshafts. ‘As above, so below’, the old astronomancer’s maxim, has an even greater resonance with them.

Many of its members are also highly skilled artisans, forging Delving’s ore into objects of great beauty. This is the most common occupation for the more claustrophobic of its folk.

Never a Citadel, the Netherwatch nevertheless has a number of enthusiastic duellists and students of the martial arts. Some of these migrate to other spires’ delegations, to seek employment as a Sentinel-or are strongly suggested, in the spirit of following the Net of the Heavens, to do so, especially in the aftermath of their boredom overflowing in some unpoised manner. As such, the wandering tradition runs deep.

Delegation size- one.

Specialisations (in the event of any actual recruitment being done)- combat day rituals, battle magic, sentinels.

Territory: Redoubt

Maxims: ‘Where there is darkness, let us bring light.’ (Xenophon Netherwatch, First Arbiter.)
‘As above, so below.’

((Note-OOC this is just me providing background for my itinerant astronomancer. If anyone wants to come from Netherwatch, speak to me OOC :slight_smile:.))


#12

Stormhaven

As a ship seeks shelter from the storm and rough seas so do those who seek calming surroundings for meditation and recovery from wounds physical, mental and spiritual seek out the spire of Stormhaven in the hills of Redoubt looking over the bay. One of the healing house spires in this area, Stormhaven specialises in treating Sentinels that have experienced great trauma in conflict and remains very insular given that news from outside can be a distraction that delays or sets back recovery.

With its position as place for healing spiritual trauma there is a large number of Priests of the Way, many of whom are exorcists. There is also a small unit of Sentinels within the spire however most folk turn their attention to the healing arts.

As they like to keep themselves detatched only a small delegation attends Anvil currently.

Delegation size: 2
Territory: Redoubt
Symbol/Banner: silver triskellion on light blue field
Speciality: exorcism


#13

Shatterspire

I’ve had a couple of people express interest and can’t edit the original (3 years old now ^^;;; ) post. I’m sorry, but Shatterspire isn’t a going concern any more.


#14

I’ve put a little note in the post with my shiny moderator powers. :woman_mechanic:


#15

The Citadel of Oblivion’s Edge

Oblivion’s Edge is about as aptly named as it’s possible for a spire to be. Built as close to the Black Plateau as was humanely possible, it was a medium-sized spire originally home to many people who kept Vigilance, while other healer-types were invested in keeping its occupants healthy and able to continue their work of observation.

The spire fell around fifty years ago while Spiral was under Grendel orc control. Even today, it is nothing but a ruin, save for the Night Arbour, a poorly-maintained mana site, and its underground vaults guarded by stone constructs powered by the Night realm. Recently though steps are being made by the current Arbiter - Cato Auricspire - to resurrect the spire, and have it rebuilt into a Citadel specialising in martial prowess and the Summer realm, and recreation of its observation tower overlooking the Black Plateau.

The Citadel is recruiting. Despite its current status as a ruin, we are a sibling Citadel to the Spire of Auric Horizon (see above) and enjoy their hospitality at Anvil, whilst remaining a part of their coven. We have our own distinct colour scheme of mauve or grey with purple or black highlights and an obsidian arrowhead necklace, and we currently comprise entirely of Changelings.

Delegation: 3-6 (recruiting)
Territory: Spiral
Symbol/Banner: The sun setting over a depiction of the Black Plateau below the rune of Jotra, with a partial reflection about the horizon depicting the moon and an eye.
Speciality: Summer magic, Marksmen, Sword Scholars, Battlemages, martial prowess