Another day in Paradise
Courts of Chaos
Cathedral of the Serpent – Though not technically a state religion very few in Chaos do not fail in worshiping the Serpent of Chaos. The Cathedral is the first or second most impressive building in Chaos depending on who one ask and who is asking, the other competition is Thelbane. The Cathedral is a massive chunk of granite that rises up and has been formed into the grandest of houses of worship. Massive arches and statuary hang at every angle, some float mere inches away from the surface as if about to fall. So massive that its reality radiates outward and sometimes effects other nearby Houses. The Cathedral is just to the right of Thelbane facing Thelbane’s spire. The front of the Cathedral is formed of a thousand step staircase leading up to the grand hall. Still more impressive is the single coiled Serpent that wraps around the base of the structure. Its very scales forming the steps constructed of coil upon coil, forming landings at irregular intervals. Just when you thought that would end, you can look up into the fanged mouth of the Serpent who hangs over the Cathedral’s entrance. It stairs out with one red baleful eye ever searching for its match. Shay La Amblerash is the residing Head Priestess of the Serpent.
Thelbane – Floats above the Abyss and is the only structure to exceed the Cathedral in size within the Courts of Chaos. It is a chaotic series of buildings, castles and palaces. As Emperor’s over time have come to rule the island has been rotated to present a new front made just for that Dynasty. So the exterior is a confusing mixing of many styles, as well as, thoughts that could be loosely identified as a style. The Plaza continues up to the foot of the present front of Thelbane.
Thelbane has a single spire that rises inky black shiny rock up into the chaotic sky. This Spire serves as the closest constant as the inky shades of blackness and light on the far side of the Abyss turn, it keeps time in the most primitive of ways known as Turnings.
Thelbane also resist the churning of the Abyss which licks up its side at times ripping away chunks of reality and Thelbane as well. Sometimes these are repaired, sometimes not. However the near constant screams of the last breath of reality as it perishes in the Abyss is a constant. Even Citizens of the Courts find crossing the bridge to Thelbane unnerving as a random lash of nonexistence may snatch even the most powerful away.
Plaza of the End of the World – the web work that connects the Houses and other central parts of Chaos is commonly referred to as the Plaza of the End of the World, or just the Plaza. While the Plaza is technically defined as the large open grounds at the foot of Thelbane’s bridge to which the Cathedral connect and a few Major houses. This area covers roughly a contracting and expanding half a mile area. The ShadowMaster and Caravaneers Guilds are the only two buildings contained wholly within the confines of the Plaza. A multitude of roads exit off the Plaza. Some use the Plaza to refer to all the roads connected and floating in Chaos though untrue it is still common.
The Pit – The Pit is the actual lip of reality that interacts with the Abyss. It is constructed of materials that have been pulled toward the Abyss and become impacted against it before collapsing into the nothingness. This is the area of intense energy that is untappable due to its chaotic nature compared even to the rest of Chaos.
Keeper of the Logrus – Suhuy is current Keeper of the Logrus. The position is one of true political power but Suhuy seldom wields this power. He is a somewhat disconnected from the Courts concerning himself with teaching and initiating the members of various houses. He has been Keeper so long no one knows what house he originally came from. His loyalty seems to be only to the Logrus and his students.
The Black Zone / Black Kingdoms – The Black Zone is a term to encompass all the Black Kingdoms which are the small chunks of stable shadow beyond the reach, at least at present, of the Abyss. The Black Kingdoms provide the resources that keep the Courts functional providing personnel, food, raw magical energy or anything else the Courts require. Each house usually owns and controls anywhere from five to fifteen of these Kingdoms. Some minor houses, closely associated with the controlling house, administer them as well, depending on their importance. It is a rather complicated and overly connected or dependent system."
The Rim Lords – Is a council made up of the Head of each Major house. They advise the Emperor in many manners and are also responsible for dealing with house members who cross the lines within Chaos. They deal with contract disputes between houses forming impartial judges from non involved houses.
House Amblerash – This house is deeply involved in the Church of the Serpent. They are synonymous with worship and the political power of the church. They are also known as Logrus Masters as this is sometimes a form of worship and a means to grow closer to the Serpent herself.
Swayvill – This is the Royal House. It not only has its own internal Bloodline it also welcomes others into its fold, as long as, they foreswear any previous allegiance. They are loyal to the Emperor and serve as his well trained staff. The Emperor serves as Head of House. When a new Emperor is chosen the house becomes theirs and they forswear allegiance to any former house.
Chanicut – Serves as a house providing Marshal services. Most guard duties outside of the Major houses is provided by them, as well as, many minor house internal security forces. They also provide many professional Duelist. They also provide many houses with advanced marshal training
Hendrake – The house of Military might. While Chanicut holds many smaller contracts, House Hendrake controls armies, Both in the Courts and along the Black Zone. They also train military leaders at all levels. They provide about seventy percent of the military forces in the Courts.
Helgram – Helgram often acts as intermediaries with both te minor and major houses. Often called on as witnesses and contract negotiators. Their informational services are also widely respected as well as an inordinate number of highly skilled shape shifters.
Sawall – Known as the Gentlemen’s House this is the oldest house and so well established within the Courts this will most likely continue for eternity. Their information network is legendary. Sawall maintains its strength by not succumbing to petty infighting amongst its members, in fact eliminating anyone who is overly disruptive to the House early on.
Jesby – Once one of the greater Marshal houses they have slowly been moving into a more mercantile role. Competing with Chanicut and Hendrake proved unwise however not many Major houses controlled the Merchant area seeing it as something for Minor Houses to squabble over. Jesby is proving them wrong.
Vanderghast – This house is built on teaching, advising and experimenting in three major fields; Logrus, Sorcery and Conjuration. They are acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities on such knowledge. They often rise and become leaders of various Guilds within the Courts and often Advise other houses, training their nobles.
Guild Discreet – Serves as a specialized group of confidants and escorts within Chaos. Their reputation for keeping secrets and giving honest advice. They are often seen in the Courts so that unattached males, females, neuters and trans may attend social events respectfully and avoid too many suitors. Some even specialize in duplicating the forms of partners to allow them the freedom to be elsewhere. The are a higher form of Prostitute, Geisha and Companion.
Guild Midwives – Due to the ever shifting environment and forms of those in Chaos on occasion it is necessary for specialized knowledge to aid in the deliver or creation of children. The Midwives are there to witness the birth of new members of the Courts. They are also the trusted masters of being able to trace blood lines. With the shifting and potential for clones Midwives hold the secrets to ferreting out the truth on identity in Chaos. Which comes about more often than one would think.
Caravaneers Guild – The roads must be maintained and this is trusted to the Caravaneer’s Guild. They make sure the ways are properly connected and all the many roads in out and through Chaos are cared for. They also forge new roads for houses by contract, as well as, maintain them among the Black zone. They are allowed to charge tolls when needed to pay for these roadways. Another service they provide is transporting bulk material along these roadways. Many houses find it cheaper and more efficient to sub contract out large material movement to them especially in the ever changing environment of Chaos.
Shadowmaster’s Guild – While anyone with Logrus and some training can maintain and design a Ways there are specialist in the design, creation and maintenance of Ways. They are the preeminent Ways decorators and designers. Many artist join this guild to allow for the freedom to create and meeting challenges only a Great house could present. Shadowmaster members are trained to work in unison to produce truly spectacular structures.
Helmaids – One of the largest Mercenary companies in Chaos. Recognized for their all Female identified members. Their reputation is well deserved a great number of members are ex Hendrake and Chanicut members looking for a little more independence.