There are 7 Wonders of Uphelios, which are defined as man-made treasures that in some way represent impressive architecture, craftsmanship or mystic meaning.
They are typically listed in the following order:
Gardens of NebezzaEdit
Location: Rabimira; Çöl Bitkin (The Weary Desert), southern borders of Rabimira, nearest the city of Nevsehir.
Approximate Age: 2300 years
History: Also known as Işık Bahçe (the Gardens of Light in Miran), the legendary Sultan Xanthus had the Gardens built for his favourite wife, Nebezza. Xanthus was also credited with building the first metropolis, and unifying the lands of Rabimira into a single great empire which once stretched to include all of modern day Rabinon, most of Rusa and lands in Atgolia. The Gardens of Nebezza were so well constructed and planned that they still bloom today. Still considered a marvel of organic engineering, the irrigation and aquaducts managed to source deep groundswells of water far below the desert sands to create an oasis.
The stone arches made of shining alabaster and rose marble stand 18 metres tall, and though their once-exquisite carvings have been largely smoothed away by the sands and winds, traces of the shell, flower and leaf motifs can still be seen. Within this outer circle of arches and columns, the garden is laid out in two overlaping circles, and some metaphysically minded scholars insist this is a representation of the infinity symbol of alchemical origins.
The eastern circle of the Gardens houses trees, flowering shrubs and rockbedded flowers of eastern origin - the sorts of fruit and nut trees native to the northern reaches of Rabimira (orange, almond, plum, pear, hazelnut, cashew and pistachio), as well as fragrant spices and perfumerie flowers. The western circle houses imported plants from across the seas and found typically on the Asican continent, including chilies, cacti, night-blooming flowers, grasses and vines. That both have been able to flourish is largely attributed to the skill of the gardeners who imported large amonuts of native soil and rock for the construction of the beds, the layout of the arrangements so that the plants support one another for shade, space and protection, and the brilliant use of subterranean irrigation. The mosaic paths were greatly damaged, but in recent decades, the Sultanate has taken great pains and expense to restore and upkeep them.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Gardens is the central fountain which consists of four figures facing in the cardinal directions, each representing one of the cardinal elements: a mermaid for water (Est), a phoenix for fire (Suud), a faun for earth (Nord) and a cloud dog for air (Vesta). They support a disc inscribed with a gold compass rose that further points the directions, and atop which three pllars of marble (black, white and green) support a second level where the main font of water keeps rotating an orb of purest citrine that is nearly two feet in diameter. There are carved benches and potted plants surrounding the fountain itself, but few are allowed entry to this inner courtyard without express permission of the Sultan. Coronations, baptisms, marriages, jubilees and birthday have been celebrated in the Gardens, and often musicians and painters are granted passes under escort, but the common man usually needs to look on from the outer reaches or appreciate these treasures through the artists's impressions.
Silver Hills RoadEdit
Location: Gothan; origin: Oium, foothills of the Nepalayan Mountains - destination: Pallastre, near the Toltana border.
Approximate Age: The completion of the Silver Hills Road took over 300 years; its design and founding was begun by Emperor Batukhan, added to over several successive generations, and its final bricks laid down by Emperor Sukhbataar himself approximately 800 years ago.
History: The world-renowned stone masonry of Gothan is unparalleled. The iconic Silver Hills Road stretches from the norther borders of Herespere and the Nepalayan Mountains, down the ranges and through the country to end on the southern edge of Toltana. It is the longest unbroken track of road in the world winding its way for a whopping 23,047 km. It is said that sailing past the northern reaches of Gothan, it looks like a silver ribbon cutting through the mists and black forests, hence its name.
The Silver Hills Road had been intended initially as a means of uniting the Gothan Empire, but soon came to be used as a way to transmit messages from the watch towers by use of different colours added to the flame braziers, smoke signals and Carrier Hawk coops. It was instrumental in dispatching troups during the bitter Herespere-Gothan Wars, and instrumental in facillitating trade across the Eropan continent. Without the Silver Hills Road, trade needed to be solely carried out via shipping, and with the increasing rise in piracy, the risk of loss has exponentially grown. The Silver Hills Road is not only the only civilized route through the harsh wilderness of Gothan, it is also patrolled by soldiers and toll masters, flanked by many inns, way-stations, courier's posts, hostelries and stables to provide support, supplies and safety to the weary traveller.
Aside from the longevity of its planning and the meticulous craftsmanship, what really makes the Silver Hills Road such a wonder is the terrain on which such a stable backbone of the world has been built. Despite transitions from murky bog to hardest granite mountains, through forests and swamps and craggy plateaux, ingenious engineering has kept the sweeping lines of it stable, level and accessible. There are stretches of land where the road is built up in pseudo-bridges, tall pillars supporting it despite the depth of bogs and swamps. Others stretches have built-in pulley systems to help haul carts and caravans up steep inclines over mountains, while separate stairways wind on the edges of the causeway to offer some protection from the often inclement weather and dust and noise of traffic. The watch towers offer an unparalleled view, in some places all the way over the landscape and to the ocean. In those stretches where the terrain is habitually wet, foggy or rainy, there are portions of the Road built with overhang or full cover to protect travellers.
Location: Medirland; Tiellan (ruins of a dead city outside of Eden)
Approximate Age: Unknown; estimated at 8000 years.
History: One of the oldest remaining structures built by human hands, the Wailing Rocks were created with such feats of engineering that could not be accomplished using the tools and technology of such an antiquated people. There has been speculation that some form of powerful now-lost magic must have been used to arrange the stones used to create it. The knowledge of accoustics and resonance is another marvelous feat, as the rocks themselves give off a vibration that creates a hum in the crystal which changes in tone and pitched based on the weather. It is theorized that the changing heat and humidity and the presence of mist, sun, rain and wind changes the air currents and speed at which the stones vibrate in order to produce different pitches and tones, like a complex tuning fork. Some describe the ensuing 'music' as beautiful, haunting, spiritual, mournful or disturbing. It is likely that one will never hear the exact melody twice and several minstrels and composures have made it their life's work to record and document (using sheet music) the compositions of the Wailing Rocks.
It is still unknown as to what the intented purpose of the Wailing Rocks was, or even which people built it, how, why or when. Even its original name is unknown; the name Wailing Rocks was given to it by the people of Eden, one of the oldest cities in Medirland, to refer to the sound that would drift down from the hillock during certain weather phenomenon.
In location, the Wailing Rocks are set up on a hill in the centre of the ruins of an ancient city known as Tiellan which has long been abandoned. There are no bones or writings to be found in the area, nor any signs of war or calamity, leading many to believe that the people simply left, possible due to famine or disease. The best preserved of any of these ruins is the Wailing Rocks themselves, which consist of 17 'towers' comprised of 37 different stones. The curious fact is that each tower is composed of arrangements of Prime Numbers, leading some to speculate that the unknown builders were extremely advanced mathmeticians. They are arranged in a set of concentric circles, with a single stone in the centre, a ring of 5 around it, and 11 outside that (more Prime Numbers).
The central 'stone' is actually a massive chunk of raw quartz standing approximately 17' tall and 7' wide. The second ring are geodes, cracked or cleft to face their interior crystals towards the central Quartz Tower. These range from 2' to 7' in height and are composed of stacks of 1 to 3 geodes a piece. The outer ring is the tallest, with the King Stone standing at a whopping 59' tall and 19' wide. This outer ring consist of slabs of various stones including basalt, mica, igneous and so on, representing a wide range of vibrational frequencies. There are no symbols or carvings on any of these monuments, though it is thought that perhaps any such marks may simply have worn away from natural erosion.
Location: Topego; Chitochtan, (the acropolis of Chitochtan is still used as a meeting place and market by the surrounding tribes, but the city itself is considered extinct).
Approximate Age: Estimated at 6000 to 7000 years old. It is believed that the temple was built in stages, or possibly damaged or destroyed several times over its lifespan and rebuilt, due to the variance in cut of stone and irregularity of the universal aging of its masonry.
History: There were many ancient cultures that lived in the lands that range from Tokaskan to Topego, but none so revered in folktale and shrouded in mystery as the Xathu. They were a peaceful race amidst some of the most bloodthirsty tribes to ever hunt through the jungles and deserts of Asica. While they too were a Pagan culture, with a pantheon of primal deities, signs point to a different sort of human sacrifice, and the Tlalxathu Temple has been instrumental in uncovering what exactly went on in the life and religious practice or this ancient and vanished people.
The Temple itself is a pyramid standing at 200 feet tall, featuring 400 steps leading up to the temple complex at its top. The Temple House was designed with intentional sections of the ceiling not filled in, and carvings along its walls to react with the passage of light and seasons outside. In different times of the year, certain sunrises and sunsets would cascade light along carved paths, making serpents slide over the walls, birds inlaid with gold and precious stones to gleam, waterfalls pour light down a series of cascading pools, and astrological charts to be completed by the sky visible above them. This in-depth and advanced understanding of astronomy has long baffled scholars, and many of the modern calendar systems and time pieces have been developed through study of the stone slabs in the Tlalxathu Temple.
From accounts passed down by the Pegans and other surviving tribes of the area, the Xathu all disappeared prior to a great war. The Pegan ancestors of the Topegans had long-prised the area for its fertile land, lush vegetation, clean water supply and strategic topography. There had been a number of increasingly brutal skirmishes along the outer edges of Chitochtan territory, and finally the Pegan tribes decided to launch a full-scale war to overtake the city and conquer its people. The Xathu, by all accounts, prepared for this coming war by finishing their works of art and craftsmanship, burrying them in the temple courtyard, and then - en masse - vanishing. at least 15 000 people simply dissappeared. Superstition claims they somehow found a way to open a portal to Xibalba, and effectively leave the physical world. Others point to certain prophecies in the Droksvan Tablet and its alleged connection to the legendary Halanthus. Whatever the truth of it, grave robbers over the subsequent centuries have overturned countless tombs to discover all of the sarcophagi empty save for dolls, trinkets and crafts.
The land around the Tlalxathu Temple has since lain fallow, and though the lands at its edges still yields crops, any plant grown within the complex itself never bears fruit. Treasure Hunters and scholars are the most common adventurers to make their way to the Temple now, and while it is easy to hire a Pegan guide to lead through the jungle, none will agree to enter the Temple House itself.
Location: Numas; in the cliffs above Nisene, at the Sarphoia Waterfalls.
Approximate Age: 6800 years approximately
History: The priestesses of Numas speak of the Sarphoia as a spiritual place, a spot where the soul of the body swells and unfurls, like a dew-kissed bud, ready and capable to become something more. Practitioners of the Mother-on-High faith are encouraged to visit the falls, stand in the cold waters, breathe in the mists and be rejuvinated. While there, during certain hours of the day, one may hear a choir singing, what sounds like hundreds of voices raised to praise life and the Goddess, echoing across the Morfeli lake at the base of the falls.
Only the Priestesses may actually enter the Delai Precipice, over which the Sarphoia Falls pour at a staggering 3117 ft straight drop. The blue and grey shale face of the Delai cliffs is carved to look like pillars of the Goddess, where a lifted arm and folded wing, hip and leg are flanking either side of the falls, the water itself completing the picture as a torrent of long wild hair. These carvings follow the full height of the falls, making them the tallest man-made carving or structure in the world.
If this in and of itself were not impressive enough, the rock that lies behind the falling water is carved away to facillitate a spiral staircase with amplifying ceilings and alcoves so that the Prayer Choir of the High Priestesses of Numas may stand behind the thundering water and mists to sing. The impressive use of echo and acousitcs has created the illusion of a multitude of voices raised in song, but in actuality, at most, only a dozen acolytes can stand within the Delai Precipice at a time. The trick of them harmonizing with their own echoes as well as with the rhythmic thrum of the falling water and the lake itself to warp and carry sound creates an eerie and awesome effect.
There is a great amount of concern over the preservation of the Delai Precipice as the heightened erosive power of the churning waters and the constant spray of mist has eaten away larger portions of the carvings. Extensive debate has been bantered over whether or not the Precipice should be allowed to gradually fade from the world, or if the spiritual power it adds to the Sarphoia should be maintained; and if so, should stone be imported to build back up that which has been eroded, or should the Delai Precipice continue to burrow into the cliffside as the water gradually eats away at it. Currently, the High Priestess has allowed teams of Adonises to work on restoring the carvings on either side of the falls, using a combination of runic magic, deflectors and suspended scaffolding, but such measures are a temporary fix for a highly contentious issue.
Sun Wheel of BethetEdit
Location: Atgolia; in the valley south of Kabdulla, on the banks of the Achar River.
Approximate Age: 2600 years approximately.
History: After the Exodus of the Pharoahs preserved in the annals of Atgolian history, the Bedouin Pharoahs found themselves in a new and harsh land, unsettled but possessed of many trasures that could allow them to build a strong and long-standing nation. They began building along the Achar River, the most fertile lands in all of Atgolia. In these days they were still worshipping their old Pagan deities, many of whom were recognized as (or incorporated into) the Cabal Angel pnatheon. One of these deities who was taken up in the transfer is Bethet, an ancient god of Prophecy, the Soul and the Messenger of Worlds. In their mythos, it was Bethet who came down to judge their ancestors, and Bethet who offered them redemption through the Exodus. Again, when the Pharoahs finally wound the way to the end of their migration, and settled in Atgolia, it was Bethet who touched the brow of the Great Pharoah Abd-al-Rashid and gave him the knowledge of the Sun Wheels.
There are many Sun Wheels built throughout Atgolia, and presumably they had been built in more primitive form in their places of origin, though these are lost somewhere in the southernFronteirslands. The largest and most important of these Sun Wheels is that in the Valley of Bethet, south of Kabdulla, at the spot where the Achar River originates. The Sun Wheels themselves are astronomical calendars, divided into segments for each of the Planets (and through them the zodiac) and their associated Stars and Constellations. They are great towers with giant stone discs that rotate around the axis of the tower itself. Each one has segments carved out to great different shadows on the sands below, and if viewed from the ground, highlight sections of the sky. Most of the smaller Sun Wheels are manned as a clocktower or lighthouse, where a Hermit is stationed to adjust the separate discs to keep pace with the movements of the heavens.
However, the Sun Wheel of Bethet is the first known work of clockwork in the world. The discs are carved with giant interlocking teeth of stone, and through some perpetual motion mechamism, with pendulum weights and minimal winding of the Hermits who guard the tower, it automatically clicks through the heavenly calendar in perfect time with the movements of the world. The ages of the year (according to the Bethet Calendar, which the Atgolians and many sects of the Cabalists use) is broken up into Moons, Suns and Stars, or months, Years and Eras. While there are many points of overlap between the Bethet Calendar's Eras and the Ages of the Droksvan Tablet, the Sun Wheel has been used as the origin of much of the modern clocks, clockwork technology and almanacs used throughout the world.
Curiously, the Sun Wheel of Bethet is also inscribed with qualities, in writing too hard to read from the ground beneath it, but which can be read if one performs the devastatingly dangerous act of climbing out on the rotating discs and walking between the layers of the Planets (a clearance of approximately 6 feet). These qualities combine to predict what each combination of the contrasting Planets with each of the Moons, Suns and Stars of the Calendar. Despite the supsertitious nature of this Astrology, the Sun Wheel of Bethet is so uncannily accurate in its predictions that some have come to revere it as the voice of Heaven itself, a gift from the Cabal Angels to guide mankind.
Location: Uvatspere; village of Droksvan
Approximate Age: 4000 years
History: Discovered when the people of Droksvan were attempting to irrigate a wide stretch of land east of their village that was unclaimed moorland. Dowsing and divination always showed the location to be a place of great power and potential, yet it still remained barren. When the moss and ivies were cleared away a massive slab of engraved stone was discovered. As more excavation was done, the soon-to-be world famous Droksvan Tablet was unearthed. A single piece of andesite measuring a mathematically perfect 4 kilometres at its widest point and a perfect pentagon in shape, the locals had never seen such stone in their lands before. Known to come from volcanic formation, scholars and geologists came from around the world to study it - and soon after came the linguists and historians.
A single, rough garnet and quartz inclusion marks the mathematically perfect centre of the pentagon, and from this point, arranged facing outward on each side, the stone has been carved with a forgotten language. While patchwork pieces of this dialect had been found on ancient artifacts dredged up in fishers' nets in the south of the Marauder's Sea, this Tablet offered the first large and unbroken collection for linguists to study. This dead language is known as Halanthoi, and is believed to be the precursor language from whence Nonian, Numan, Namiran and Miran originated. This proved as a wondrous find to historians who had long been trying to prove the existence of a lost continent known as Halanthis, which was believed to be situated in the Great Sea and lost in antiquity, according the the creation myths of nearly all of the cultures along the Marauder Sea and Great Sea's coastlines.
The text of the Droksvan Tablet, while not perfectly translated, seems to allude to the Five Ages of Humanity, and how each one would come to a close. There has been much speculation that the Halanthans must have been an incredibly advanced and technologically superior people to have been able to craft the Tablet, transport it to Uvatspere, and to have precognitively known of their own downfall (written in the First Age) as well as the rise and fall of the peoples to come after them... Largely revered by the scholarly community and dreaded by the religious communities, it has nevertheless fascinated philosophers and theologans for centuries.