|The Palace of Goldsea|
The seat of House Sunshatter, and the opulent and diamond heart of the Goldsea, The Palace is a glinting and gilded manor that sprawls over the flat plain it resides over. Large, but low, most of the manor is one level; yet in an attempt to encourage airflow and cooling, the height of the wings remain two stories, allowing for huge halls and rooms. Most of the edifice of the palace is open, columned and free to the air.
The marble used to create the halls and pillars of the palace was quarried from distant mountains and prized for their smooth and cream-like coloration, veined with white. The pillars are mostly unadorned, save some doric flourishes on those within the inner sanctums; instead of carvings, they sport bands of gold, to accent the marble’s own hue.
The center of the Palace rises above the rest, four to five stories at the front and declining again to a single level at the back. In the higher levels are the rooms and suites for the Sunshatter and their guests. The permanent residences are more private, with latticed walls. The guests quarters are more mobile; silk screens and wheat-woven lattice planks can create large spaces or small, and are arrangeable at a moment’s notice. During certain festivals, they are removed entirely, to allow all (of a certain status) to mingle with one another and enjoy the festivities.
Deeper within the complex, there are genuine stone walls and rooms. These serve as the living quarters and private rooms within the Palace, as well as safe rooms in case of attack; interspersed in secret rooms within the heart of the complex, there are passages to below the manor, where infernal portals are kept powered by Soulstones (an invention of the now exiled Infelidrac) to protect the Sunshatter and their villar.
Beyond the comfort-designed rooms, the main draw and beauty of the Palace is the grand fountain known as the Diamond. Created for the Palace by an artist plucked from the center of Gem’s Rest, it is considered the more flawless of the two jewels, though its opulence speaks only of the wealth of the commissioner.
Part reflecting pool, and part wading basin, it is deep enough in the center for a grown man to be submerged to his chest, and only at ankle depth at it’s edges. Tiled with clear glass over white facing, it lives up to it’s name wherever the light strikes it. It is also large enough to allow those who wish to swim in the shade of the walls to be able to avoid the sun’s glare. Terraced at it’s southern end, and with a gentle incline at the north, the eastern and western edges are identical, and the only part of the pool that most do not visit. These areas are for the reflection of sunlight, which is bounded into mirrors fixed into the ceiling above to illuminate the hall without the use of magelights or magic during daylight hours. The mirrors are arranged to such a degree that no matter the time of day, from dawn until dusk, there is always an ambient glow of sunlight within the grand hall.
The centerpiece of the Diamond is a towering fountain. Over 20 yards at it’s base, it rises in tiers to a awe-inspiring three stories, cresting just below an opening in the ceiling. The whimsy of the fountain is that it is rarely the same for multiple visits; seasonally, artists and stone masons from Gem’s Rest are invited to make new facing for the facade, controlling how the water blossoms from the spire in the center.
The Diamond is attached to the heart of the irrigation springs, and flows with magically infused waters that sparkle colorlessly over the glass-over-ivory basin. These waters are claimed to have healing properties rivaling that of a moonwell, however as there has been little research done, it’s impossible to prove. Nevertheless, there is some truth in the transformative nature of the waters-- a tan gathered while wading or swimming in the Diamond lasts three times as long as those gained outside it, and they seem to remain more even. The refraction of sunlight through the magically infused waters seems to cause this, but nothing definite can be said.
Styled after ancient murals of the hanging gardens of Uldum, the green center of the Palace is a luscious and well maintained relaxation spot. It is used for informal walks as well as picnic dinners, another staple of festival season for the Sunshatter and Goldsea. Hosting palms, dates, jade grasses and even some artistically arranged ‘wild’ areas using the natural grasses of the plains, it is another pride of the Palace, second only to the Diamond.
At the entry to the Oasis, there is a natural amphitheater framed from the halls of the Palace itself. Using the structure of the hall that houses the Diamond as backing, and cleverly curved walls, it allows for voices to carry unnaturally far. Aided through magic, it makes certain never to be too loud, unless the scene requires it. Actors from Gem’s Rest are invited to do shows here, with no expense spared in bringing their stories to life.
Smaller fountains also dot the oasis, all interconnected through the magically irrigated channels that allowed the prosperity of Goldsea.
Beneath the languid glamour of the Palace, the Sunshatter hide their secrets. Accessed through nondescript rooms within the center of the complex, these entrances are the sacred trust of only the highest level servants, and the Sunshatter themselves.
Created using the skills stolen from the Amani in the earliest wars, these subterranean tunnels hold the secret to the wealth of the Sunshatter-- they lead to the source of the underground river used to feed their fields. This water is maintained and enchanted by the Sunshatter, who consider it their greatest strength, and greatest weakness. One child of every Sunshatter Lord is tasked with the protection and enrichment of the water, and as such they are forced to remain within Goldsea for all their lives, often precluding marriage-- as the Goldsea do not often bring outsiders in, preferring to instead marry their children out.
A recent addition to these dark halls is a series of portals, maintained with soulstones. These are the last gift of Infelidrac to the woman who was his wife, Lady Reinyara-- a means to escape, should things turn to the worse. Inactive, but stable, these portals theoretically can allow the Sunshatter to travel anywhere they desire, if they have the skill to manipulate the fel.