Chapter: The Flood

Information relevant to the 10th chapter of The Third God

the Blood Gate

Here are contained the various studies that I made to help me understand the Blood Gate. I even resorted to making a model—fro some particularly complex landforms and structures, drawings are not enough

diagram of the Blood Gate from the book
the Blood Gate
the Blood Gate

I produced this diagram for inclusion in the Second Edition of The Third God, attempting to somewhat emulate the style of the Neil Gower originals

the Blood Gate as viewed from the Black Gate
the Blood Gate as seen from the Black Gate
the Blood Gate as seen from the Black Gate

This is what you see as you leave the crater of Osrakum, once you pass through the Black Gate—the Blood Gate sitting on its ‘island’ rock

Running up from the foreground, on the left, is the chasm of the Cloaca that divides on either side of the rock. Two bridges cross to the rock from either side of the canyon floor. Ahead rises the ‘homeward’ gates between the two immense towers that form the Blood Gate. Beyond, to the left, there is a glimpse of the Killing Field

The vast canyon walls rise up on either side

the Blood Gate as seen from above
plan of my Blood Gate model viewed from above

These two images show how, by making the model, I refined my understanding of the structure of the Blood Gate

From above, it can be seen how its structures all sit upon its ‘island’ rock—a portion of the Canyon floor left isolated by the branches of the Cloaca chasm (1) that pass it on either side. The Blood Gate proper (2) consists of two towers (one considerably larger than the other) linked together by two massive sets of double gates. Behind the Blood Gate is a large open field (5) that is joined to both sides of the inner Canyon floor by bridges (7). The front of the Blood Gate connects to the Killing Field (3) by means of a bridge over a ‘moat’ (8). The Killing Field connects to the two sides of the outer Canyon floor by means of two further bridges (6). Rising beyond is an immense tower-fortress called the Prow (4)—note that there is another ‘moat’ between the Prow and the Killing Field.

The tower in which Carnelian takes up residence is the smaller of the two (9).

Side view of the Blood Gate
side view of the Blood Gate
side view of the Blood Gate
a side view of the Blood Gate defensive system

There are aspects of the Blood Gate that are best appreciated from the side. Specifically, note the ‘moats’ that isolate the fortress structures from the Killing Field. The Prow tower is wholly isolated and can only be accessed through tunnels, running deep under the Killing Field, that connect it with the Blood Gate proper. The Blood Gate is connected to the Killing Field but only by a relatively narrow bridge, and this is blocked by the vast bronze gates that are considered impervious to any attack

Note also how high the Killing Field is above the Cloaca. The dragon with its tower depicted in the second image gives some idea of scale

the Blood Gate towers
view of the main towers and gate of the Blood Gate
view of the main towers and gate of the Blood Gate
balconies up the corner edge of the South Tower
balconies up the corner edge of the South Tower
the South Tower as seen from the south-west

The Blood Gate defensive system consists of two sets of gates, a number of bridges to narrow and direct any attack and three towers. One of these, the Prow, is isolated on the other side of the Killing Field and thus behind any potential attacker. Like the other towers, it is provided with a great number of huge flame-pipes fed from vast naphtha tanks. The other two towers—one twice the volume of the other—stand on either side of both sets of doors. Both are armed in the same way as the Prow. All three towers have, besides their military engines, large residential quarters for its garrisons.

Focusing our attention on the Southern Tower—that is the one in which Carnelian and Blue take up residence—the 2nd and 3rd diagrams show the tower’s south-western (incorrectly identified as south-east in my notebook) corner. The patterning of balconies matches the military hierarchy of the Ichorian Legion. It also gives a notion of the scale of this tower and, thus, the whole of the Blood Gate complex.

View into Osrakum from the Blood Gate
looking back into Osrakum from the South Tower of the Blood Gate

I produced this sketch to give me an idea of what could be seen from the South Tower of the Blood Gate when looking back into Osrakum. If I had just ‘made it up’ I would not have imagined that this is what it would look like

It does make certain things clear. The first is just how massive the Canyon is—the Black Gate, though quite a large structure in its own right, looks like a low fence. Even from this distance, the Pillar of Heaven is still a dominating landmark—which I suppose is not entirely surprising, since it is 2km high. I was a little surprised, however, to find that the Sacred Wall on the far side of the Skymere is also visible

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

the Valley of the Gate
a map of the Valley of the Gate

This is a map of the Valley of the Gate—not only the largest coomb in the Sacred Wall, but also the mouth of the Canyon of the Three Gates as it opens into the crater of Osrakum

On the left, the throat of the valley is closed by the Black Gate. The valley itself is filled with hexagonal columns of black basalt. The Valley of the Gate connects to the Isle by means of the Great Causeway. To either side of this, the Valley descends to the Skymere by two flights of Turtle Steps

The Cloaca passes under the Black Gate and cuts down through the valley. Before it reaches the Skymere, it opens into a huge basin. This spillway has been delved into the bedrock so that it is at a lower level than the lake. Slots cut into the rock wall that separates the basin from the Skymere are controlled by sluices. By means of these sluices, the overflow of water from the Skymere into the Cloaca can be regulated. The purpose of this system is to keep the level of the Skymere constant—a task especially critical during the Rains when, if it were not for the Cloaca, the level of the Skymere would rise, flooding the coombs of the Masters

the Cloaca sluices
a Cloaca sluice

This diagram shows one of the sluices that controls the outflow of water from the Skymere into the Cloaca. These operate in slots that are cut down into the basalt of the Valley of the Gate. It should be noted that the floor of the Valley is considerably higher than the level of the lake. Each sluice consists of a slab that, when released, resides in a casement cut into the spillway floor. The weight of this sluice is balanced by the counterweights shown, that permit the sluice to be dropped and raised from above by means of cables that, passing over the wooden arch shown, are wound around capstans. Note that there is a sluice at both ends of each slot: at the Skymere end and at the spillway end. Human figures have been added for scale

the Kharon and their bone boats
a Kharon ferryman

The Kharon are a specialized caste in Osrakum, living in family units in boathouses on the outer slopes of the Ydenrim, as well as the shores of the cone that walls in the Plain of Thrones. These family units vary in size. The smallest may have but a single boat, the largest many. The kharon mate exclusively among themselves

A Kharon child has its right eye plucked out at birth

A Kharon mask is made of ivory or bone. These masks show a face in right-profile. Reading this as one would a glyph gives the impression that the steersman is gazing into the future

The first drawing depicts a steersman wearing the characteristic headdress: a nest of bone fragments at the heart of which is located a turtle shell—a symbol for the sky

Kharon bone boats

The second diagram shows rough sketches of the bone boats with which the Kharon ferry people back and forth across the Skymere. A galley with extremely tall prow and stern posts, a bone boat is propelled by oarsmen—more Kharon rowing beneath the deck. A bone boat is constructed and maintained from the bones of the dead of the family that operate it. Kharon are bound to their ancestral vessels in life and death