pretentious cosmic picture

Chapter 18: The White City

Angusin did not regret overmuch the loss of the elves. As great as they were as smiths and artisans, the star-warriors (many of whom had elven blood) were also skilled with their hands, and made their own weapons. So they would work on the White City, Chialta, during the day, as Tuao passed by overhead during the day.

Klaschi, the first of the star-warriors, had taken his elvenbride aloft one night, and had lost her, fighting Tuao, and when he tried to save her, his hand was ripped from him by the greedy dragon, and he fell to earth, a shooting star. He was found and nursed back to health by a human woman in an isolated section, and she was awed by his cold, bright armor and his unearthly demeanor. Even so, the wound was grevious, and it was months before Klaschi felt like walking around. The human woman fell in love with him, and he felt at least gratitude for her, and for a while they lived like husband and wife. She got pregnant, but the form of the babe was like that of Linfal, the centauress, and he was a centaur. Wild it was, hard to teach, and grew swiftly. In a few years, the centaur ran off. It is not known whether it mated with unicorns, hippogriffs, or human women it dragged off. But within a few decades centaur herds started spreading. They were wild and savage, but if a centaur lived long enough, some of the wisdom of their grandmother came over them, and they became wise, quick to learn, and excellent teachers.

The star-warriors had mourned the loss of Klaschi, and thought he had died indeed; but Zaer said not so. Tuao saw his old enemy as he crossed the sky, but in his hatred for him, said nothing. Klaschi's power was weakened by the loss of his hand, he could not easily ascend to the sky. He felt bound by pity for the woman who loved him, also. Then, she died, as mortals do, and he was left alone. Donning his armor for the first time in decades, he stood out in a field, a star brought to Earth. The stars noted the starlight gleaming from earth and descended, overjoyed to find Klaschi.

Klaschi left the war between Stars and Sun, no longer able to hold himself to the sky by his own power. Though he had been married to an light, high, elvenwoman, he had ever been fascinated by the skills of Astusya, gnome-queen, and the other gnomes who could make magical weapons...and Linfal taught him more. Though one-handed, that one hand was incredibly skilled, till even the gnomes looked with envy at his works.

Klaschi became, though not a full Kaan, nevertheless the smith and artificer of Chialta, and Angusin loved him dearly. Often gnomes/dwarves would come to aid him, anxious to be apprenticed to such a smith. In turn, Klaschi, at Tjisir's urging, taught a class of giant smiths on Tesut, whose work was greatest among mortals...until they helped to try to catch Zaer, and so became the hideous cyclops.

Among the jinn, fiercely loyal Thopyth was the highking and ruler. His queen, Terhest, took an even higher position, that of guardian of the gates to the White City. She bore a flaming horn and a blade of flame, and none could pass the gates without the consent of that fiery female warrior. The other jinn, when not engaged on service for the Kaanho, sported among the lower reachers of the greatest mountain on Tu, Angeng. They in turn acted as a deterrant against anyone mounting Angeng to reach Chialta. Terhest acted as the final guard, and kept any, mortal or immortal, from reaching Chialta uninvited.

Gardus was the name of Angusin's great hall on Chialta, where the thousands of star-warriors were free to stay by day (although sometimes they took to homes they have built Under-Ocean). There the star-warriors would often tell Angusin of things they had seen during the night, and little would escape their notice, for their sight and hearing is the keenest of all who live on or over Tu. There is a high tower leading off the great halls, Starfather's seat, where Angusin retires to look over all the World Waterrimmed.

To the right of the Gardus is Klaschi's Forge, Asachei, and enough room to house many dwarves/gnomes and even some cyclops who are lucky enough to come there.

To the left are Linfal's Halls of Wisdom, Promecoe, where the greatest library of all is stored.

Further on the right, next to Klaschi's Forge are Tjisir's Halls of Thunder. The rooms are huge, as befits its giant occupant, but so high that some say clouds form in the upper reaches. Echoes ring out in every room. Jathpeake is its name.

Next to the Halls of Thunder are Hedene's gardens, where the finest plants in the World Waterrimmed grow. Extensive and vasty are those gardens, though a greater collection is below, in Mayalaph's lands. Iddite they name the Gardens of Chialta that Hedene tends.

Next to the gardens, in the western end of Chialta, is a vast animal preserve devoted to Edonarter, who wants no halls but sleeps under the sky. Still, the perserves are not so vasty as those far below in Mayalaph's realm. Dallmis is the name of the preserves on Chialta.

Next to the river that runs from the Flame is Posiam, Sashang's halls; her home there on Chialta, which she rarely uses., preferring the surging seas.

Next to her sea-green halls are Jirapol, where Tuao stays occasionally when the star-warriors are out during the night. A place of mirror and crystal, his light is defused and spreads out over the city of Chialta.

Behind his great halls are the jinn-dwellings, where the fiery jinni keep their own halls and extend them down the slope of the great mountain Angeng. The jinni and Tuao delight in each others, both with an affinity for heat and fire. Nevertheless, his efforts to persuade the jinni to join him in his battle with the star-warriors have so far proved fruitless.

Next to Tuao's palace is the home-away-from-home for Mayalaph, the Kaan of wild nature, and of desire, Sangchri. A thousand rooms are there, and each is different, and each has a bed or a couch suitable for the loving pursuits.

Next to Mayalaph's great halls is a single small dwelling, Kidun, the guest-residence of Zaer. Death rarely stays there, preferring his own great halls in the misty lands that encircle Angeng. Beyond that is Linfal's great library.

These dwellings form a ring around the sloping plateau of the top of Angeng, with Angusin's great watchtower facing the east, and the river rushing down the westernmost slopes, to fall in great falls down to the sea. Edonarter's preserves run down the northern slope.

Within the inner plain, there are is the Flame at the eastern part, before the halls of Angusin. The river Noth runs from it, bisecting the plain, with two bridges crossing it. To the left of the Flame, in front of Linfal's library, is the great Evais, the hall where the Kaanho hold their conclaves. Beyond that are various places for the Kaanho and others on Chialta to indulge in intellectual games or songs. To the right of the flame are places for physical sports and gaming, and beyond that, the Evarig, the great feasting hall for all the Kaanho, when they are not eating in their individual domiciles. At the far end, just before the river Noth rushes by Sashang's dwelling, are statues to the Amonkaanho, the four Kaanho who still dwell in the Greater World with C'Don.

Encircling all Chialta is a high wall, that only Angusin's tower overtops. The great gate is guarded by the jinnqueen, and is situated between Gardus and Promecoe, very slightly southeast of uttermost east.

Thus ends the first story, as told by the Kaan Linfal and imperfectly recorded by the giant Gwerngen centuries ago in drowned Tesut, translated by the human scribe Miritlew.

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Copyright © 1997 Al Schroeder