Information relevant to the 6th chapter of The Chosen
the Pillar of Heaven
The Pillar of Heaven is the remains of the last volcanic eruption at Osrakum. A vast cinder cone, eroded over aeons, leaving only the basaltic intrusion of the main vent. This structure actually consists of two pipes ‘welded’ together, that reach a height of 2500m above the level of the Skymere
This sketch shows my initial conception of the Pillar of Heaven that had a small lake set into its summit. This lake fed a series of waterfalls that cascaded down the Pillar, in what later became the Rainbow Stair. At this point I conceived of the Halls of Thunder as being built into the cliffs overlooking this lake. Both these and the summit lake were discarded
The final form the Pillar took is shown in the first diagram—and can also be seen in the model I made of Osrakum. It is based on Devil’s Tower in Wyoming— that, incidentally, was the mountain playing a central role in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
The Pillar of Heaven, at the heart of the crater, dominates Osrakum. Close to its summit it has been hollowed to form the caves and chambers known as the Halls of Thunder. It is here that the God Emperor and the rest of the House of the Masks retire from the summer heat. In this respect, the Halls of Thunder perform the same function for the Imperial House as do the various eyries of the other Houses of the Chosen. The Halls of Thunder are reached from the Labyrinth by means of the Rainbow Stair
the Halls of Thunder
The Halls of Thunder are a complex of palace caverns cut high into the rock of the Pillar of Heaven. It is here that the God Emperor, the court and the rest of the House of the Masks retire during the summer months to escape the heat in the crater below—they are the Eyries of the House of the Masks
The predominant aspect of the Halls is the ceremonial axis, running southwest to northeast, corresponding to the route the Rains take from the southern seas across the Guarded Land to Osrakum
Most of the main structures lie along this axis or to either side of it.
Beginning from the Creation Window in the southwest, there is a progression of: the Thronehall, the Stairs of the Approach, the Chamber of the Three Lands (where the Election of a God-Emperor is conducted), the Encampment of the Seraphim and culminating in the Sunhold and the Amber Window that lets light in from the northeast.
The first diagram shows my initial conception for the Halls of Thunder, and includes all the structures listed above. Note the passage connecting the gallery around the Chamber of the Three Lands to the head of the Rainbow Stair to the northwest, which is how Carnelian first enters the Halls. Shown also are the horseshoe of chambers cut into the whole of the northeast end of the Pillar of Heaven. The small diagram in the lower lefthand side shows the door to the Sunhold
The second diagram was a necessary refinement of the scheme that was forced on me once I calculated how large the Encampment of the Seraphim had to be to accommodate the Chosen. Additionally, I had, by then, a much better understanding of how the northeastern end of the Encampment interfaces with the Sunhold in the east, with access to the chambers used by Carnelian and the rest of the Chosen, and that now runs only along the northern face of the Pillar of Heaven
Note also the more precise articulation of the Chamber of the Three Lands with its moat and the bridges that cross it. Also the extra stairs off the second landing of the Stairs of the Approach, leading on the southeast to the chambers used by the House of the Masks (including the Dreamchamber), and in the northwest to those used by the Wise
the Stairs of the Approach
The Stairs of the Approach link the centre of the Halls of Thunder to the complexes of chambers used by the House of the Masks and the Wise. They consist of three, precipitous flights of steps each leading up to a landing. The final landing terminates at the Iron Door that opens into the Thronehall. The Stairs are flanked by colossal idols of the many avatars of the Twin Gods
The first diagram shows the second landing. It is set about with thrones for the various representatives of the Three Powers. This landing is used for conferences between the Powers. From here, branch stairs give access to the chambers of the Wise as well as a further entry into the palaces of the House of the Masks
The second diagram shows a side view of the Stairs. I went to such elaborate lengths because I wanted to make sure that, though it was impossible to see any of the landings from the ground, or while on any of the flights of steps [positions A, D, G & K], that it was nevertheless possible to see all the way to the Iron Door from within the Chamber of the Three Lands [position X]. The inability to see a platform to which a stair climbs is true of Mesoamerican pyramids—so that those climbing the steps appear to be climbing into the sky
Note: position A corresponds to the outer wall of the Chamber of the Three Lands.