An earlier version of this post was originally posted to the Old School Heretic Blog.
Obelisks of various styles rise solemnly or sharply into the sky all along the Misericorde Canal as it extends outwards from the perimeter platforms surrounding the squat onion-domed municipal reservoir where it begins. The reservoir collects a portion of the cascading waters flowing down the staggered waterfall that forms the open heart of Devukarsha that feeds life-giving waters into the canals, basins and so forth that form the circulatory system of the city-state.
Pinnacles and monuments to materialist science the Oblisk Gates are the collective repository of gate-connections held in abeyance until such time that there is need for room to expand beyond the present configuration. Elegantly carved, expertly sculpted, harshly etched, or otherwise worked into the form designed for it by some past master, resident-minister or one of the Plenipotentiaries of the Spheres, the various obelisks along the canal serve as the public pronaos of the particular world(s) to be found beyond their specific gate. Each obelisk opens unto another world, similar in some respects to the public-access gates of the Tributary Worlds scattered hither and yon through the Esturarial Parks, except that the obelisk-gates are far more formal and proprietary, monitored and watched-over by various personages invested with their authority both by governmental decree and ritual attunement. Where one may freely wander the gates of the Tributary Worlds to their heart's content, none cross the thresholds of the Obelisk Gates except by permission or invitation.
Beside the one hundred obelisks along the Misericorde Canal, there are two other lines of obelisks flanking two similarly straight canals that are set at 45-degree angles to one another. Each of these canals likewise has one hundred obelisks situated along their length as well. Of the three-hundred Obelisk Gates thus disposed around the lower-precincts of Devukarsha, most are forgotten, neglected, the sad bastions of disgraced nobles relegated to the hinterland regions of wilderness star systems confined to the Obelisks like stately prisoner-princes and melancholy-eyed madonnas who hold the keys to vast and beautiful hidden kingdoms hidden in plain sight like open secrets.
Twelve Worlds Beyond the Obelisk Gates
A wickedly harsh expanse of radioactive glassine rock tortured by the tidal action of a thousand competing moons tugging and pulling upon the world's ever-buckling crust, Jrand is a deadly, yet beautiful world that looks out upon a binary star so rich in high-end spectral emissions that many compare it to Yillon's majestic and equally as deadly Sapphiros. Those who seek attunements from Our Lady of Jrand face a notoriously stern mistress who only imparts her sorcerous gifts to those she deems most worthy. Few have proven themselves in Her eyes so far, but there are rumors of relics left behind by certain of Her previous champions that might provide some measure of the sorcerous power to be had from even a clandestine connection to this blasted world, should one be desperate or ambitious enough to attempt such an undertaking.
Imagine a fishing net of super-fine yet super-strong thread bordering on the invisible, glinting silver in the glare of a far off sun. Now hang a million beads of ice of various sizes and shapes all through this net as though they were fish trying to escape through the gaps in this vast net. Troviir spends his time stitching together each chunk, shard and errant fragment of an entire Oort Cloud surrounding a dismal sun he hasn't even bothered to name. Each strand of Troviir's Net is a strangely-flexible, impossibly supple form of colony-structure composed of an incalculable mass of nano-scale filaments all working in unison according to the grand scheme of this eminently bored ex-politician.
Bruzaaldun's Rosette is composed of four planets stationed in symmetrical opposition maintained by massive isostatic resonator-anchors so that each one is equally distant from the next so that they are spaced along the same orbit in exact quadrants. In-between the four Rosette-planets are intertwining streams of small asteroids sculpted into a peculiar pantheon of vaguely humanoid figures in assorted ponderous poses, all mounted upon multi-layered spherical bases that have been carved into slowly rotating series of nested spheres of some so-far unrevealed numerological or other significance.
Porzaim's Chain is similar to Bruzaaldu's Rosette, but less well-regarded as it is essentially a variation on the theme already explored by Bruzaaldu, and it is such a gross exaggeration upon that theme as well since it is a chain of 36 worlds arranged within one orbital path, each planetary body synchronized to one another and locked into an artificially-maintained sequence and inter-connected by a dedicated system of gates that form a truly spectacular elevated roadway flanked by hanging gardens and floating skylands that migrate from world to world in circuitous sequences. The jaderoses of the third through ninth planets of the Chain are especially well regarded by the most accomplished and discriminating of competitive botanists.
A dry, brittle world devoid of water, air or life which serves as the cenotaphic sanctuary of a coterie of undead poets who sleep undisturbed in stasis-caskets buried deeply beneath the curdled crust of this silent, hideous world of feral shadows, displaced dreams and the lingering minions of dire poets in repose.
Azure and turquoise waters surround gentle lagoons and sandy-shored atolls that extend across the entire surface of this world without icecaps. Peaceful, serene, with barely any weather beyond the gentle twilight rainfall and the soft breezes of the early morning, Xaalm is a refuge jealously guarded by the Lord Istachet who lures artists to his paradise in order to feed upon their creativity and horde their works as his own.
The main-part of the only settled region of Tesp is a dark, dreary and often rainy forest dominated by sinuously writhing trees noted for their vividly yellow-green leaves which resemble those of Niris-Calais or Noss in the most superficial characteristics and are completely lacking in the psychoactive qualities inherent in the plant-life of Noss nor do they match the sheer lustrousness of color that borders upon luminescence found amongst the forests of Niris-Calais. But despite its unfavorable comparisons to other worlds, Tesp has an undefinable something about it that has captured the imaginations of more than one painter or other artist who all too often run off into the woods and are rarely, if ever, seen again.
The seventy-two spired vaults of Ordemiar keep pace with the slow, stately rotation of a solitary gas giant that they encircle, their slender sting-like spires pointed directly down into the uppermost layers of boiling clouds.
Little is known of the mysterious world beyond this particular gate as any who seek to cross the threshold of the Obelisk are suddenly gripped by a terrible lucidity that few have survived.
A restricted place prowled and patrolled by vaguely in-phase blade-drones and the like. This world is claimed by the Sublime Pentalphic Palladium of Peyrabu and they do not countenance interlopers or those who would casually trespass upon their sanctuary.
Barren orange rock extends as far as the eye can see, cracked and rutted and heaved into mounds or low hills by the seismic queasiness of the world's crust as it is warped and squeazed betwixt and between two gargantuan masters; a searingly bright blue giant sun and a massive maelstrom-wreathed black hole. Kajara Dustai orbits around a point in-between the two titanic bodies, slowly spiralling down to an eventual, inevitable convergence with the maelstrom of broken worlds and ruined matter swirling around the black hole. There are a few dozen cupolas and gazebo-observatories located here and there upon Kanjara Dustai for visitors to look deeply into the raw, writhing abyssal-maw of the black hole and see what there is to see in doing so.
Rich, cobalt-blue jungles occupy every niche and cranny within deep ravines that continue to erode deeper, and deeper into the curdled and buckled crust of this world. The atmosphere barely rises to the level of the equatorial low lands and the mountainous regions of the polar zones extend up and out into the cold heights of vacuum. Thing slive deep in the blue jungles of Hanijata, terrible, venomous, prideful things that only the most skillful, daring and meticulously attuned sorcerer would call upon. The Pact Masters of Hanijata are vicious, blood-thirsty and unforgiving. To seek attunement in this place is to court far worse than death should you fail. At least one of the feral species known to inhabit this world delights in crafting hundreds of pod-clones of its prey so that it may indulge itself in exploring every possible manner of hunting, dissecting, and devouring them over and over again...and it is rumored that each clone is empathically bound ot all the others so that the emotional feedback only grows and grows the longer this goes on...