Chapter: The Three Gates

Information relevant to the 16th and last chapter of The Masters

the Wheel
the entrance to the Canyon of the Three Gates
colossi flanking the entrance to the Canyon of the Three Gates

A view of the mouth of the Canyon of the Three Gates as seen from the Wheel, showing the flanking colossi carved from the rock of the Sacred Wall itself. For scale, a mass of human figures is shown passing between the colossi

Having entered the Canyon, it is necessary to pass the Green, Blood and Black Gates before gaining entry into the crater of Osrakum itself

the Canyon of the Three Gates
the stretch of the Canyon from the Green to the Black Gates

The Canyon of the Three Gates is the only way in and out of the crater of Osrakum. It is a narrow defile, running between sheer, cliff walls. Three fortresses have been built along its length, the three ‘gates’: the Green Gate, the Red or Blood or Ichorian Gate, and the Black or Death Gate. The Cloaca—a channel cut anciently in the floor of the Canyon—allows excess water to be carried out of the lake that fills the crater of Osrakum

The diagram shows only the portion of the Canyon that lies between the Green and Black Gates and is not drawn to scale. The Red Caves lie between the Blood Gate and the Black Gate

the Green Gate
the western approach to the Green Gate

The Green Gate is the first of the Three Gates and is a curtain wall, running across the Canyon, the surface of which is covered in bronze spikes, so that the whole mass looks like an immense hedge. At the lower level, gates act as ‘airlocks’, where goods from the Outer World are transferred to the other side by Red Ichorians. Gates higher up, on either side, allow the leftway and the Lords’ Road to continue along the Canyon. The former allows messages to pass in and out of Osrakum: the latter is used by the Chosen.

The drawing also shows how the Cloaca passes under the Gate through grilles. A throng of people are shown for scale

a plan of the Green Gate fortress

The second drawing shows a plan of the Green Gate. Note the double set of gates—each consisting of three gates—that seal off, between them, two ‘airlocks’. It is by this means that ‘contamination’ from the outer world is kept out of Osrakum

the Blood Gate

The Blood Gate is the primary defence structure of the Canyon of the Three Gates and, as such, the primary defence of Osrakum. It is called the Ichorian Gate in Quya, but the Blood Gate in Vulgate, and is also called the Red Gate in both languages. Indeed, the fortifications themselves, as well as the systems that extend out in front of them, are painted the colour of fresh blood

As a defensive system, the Blood Gate is exceedingly sophisticated. The Cloaca branches around the main superstructure, rendering it a kind of island in the middle of the Canyon floor. Two bridges lead to the ‘killing field’ that spreads in front of the gates themselves. Any army having made it this far would be caught in a crossfire from not only the towers flanking the main gate, but from the watchtower rising at its rear

plan of the Blood Gate showing its setting in the Canyon

The actual gates are, by far, the most massive in the Three Lands, and there are two sets of them forming another ‘airlock’. It is here that are found the elaborate cleansing chambers that are provided for the Chosen so that they are not forced to endure the quarantine that the Wise insist on for others

Beyond the Blood Gate lie the Red Caves in which the ‘dragons’ of the Red Ichorians are stabled and where their main barracks are located

an early plan of the Blood Gate
the Black Gate
plan and front view of the Black Gate

The Black Gate, or Death Gate, stands at the narrowest point of the Canyon of the Three Gates where it enters the crater of Osrakum

Bells set into the Black Gate announce to the inhabitants of this hidden valley the entry of any Chosen