Legend of the Four Pagodas
Legend of the Four Pagodas
Between The World and The Darkness lies the Netherworld, a place of spirits and elemental creatures. The Netherworld is ruled by four powerful beings, each a representative of one of the four elements.
The King of the Earth Pagoda – Shi Long
The Earth realm is one of stone and soil, metal and sand. Earth elementals stomp across broad expanses of desert, through wide canyons and caverns and up vast mountains. The King, Shi Ling, is rules with a fair hand, steady and loyal to his minions. His pagoda is as huge as a mountain and filled with uncountable treasures from the ground. Metals, base and precious, sit with a rainbow of gems in cyclopean chambers.
The King of the Water Pagoda – Shui Long
The mercurial Shui Long rules this watery realm. Entering this realm is to find oneself in an endless ocean. Up is lighter but there is no surface. Down is darkness but the is no bottom to this ocean. Leviathan creatures and tiny shrimp all share this sea. The King’s Pagoda is a towering twist of coral and pearl growing from The Shelf. The Shelf is a huge cliff that marks the only true border in this realm, between the Shallows and the Deep. The Shallows contains many coral reefs and rock caves. The Deep is an endless darkness and home to the largest of all creatures.
The Queen of the Fire Pagoda – Huo Long
This bright and fiery kingdom has at its heart a colossal volcano that constantly spews forth a torrent of lava. The lava river runs from the volcano to a sea of fire. Queen Huo rules from her Pagoda, a towering castle that walls encircle the whole Volcano. An immense gatehouse sits astride the lava river.
The Queen of the Air Pagoda – Qi Long
The Air Pagoda of Qi Long, a floating castle of cloud, meanders through the Unending Sky. Everything that lives here flies, one way or another. Air Elementals, Tengu and Arrakocra all have ancestral homes here. Also seen in The Blue are airships, balloons and other strange flying contraptions, piloted by strange and ethereal races.
Other Nether Realms
The Spirit Realm that borders each of the Four Pagoda Kingdoms is an infinite horizon that stretches beyond sight. Spirits of the departed congregate here waiting to be processed by the Heavenly Bureaucracy. Even though powerful Divine Wardens working for The Heavenly Bureaucracy protect the recently dead from the native ethereal creatures, some are taken. Scholars and Wise men have often pondered the fate of such unfortunates. Some of the stranger entities that sometimes haunt the Empire are said to gain access to the world of the living through the Netherworld but have never been found living there. This has lead to speculation of even stranger Far Realms that might border the other side of the Spirit World’s infinite horizon.
Journeys to the Netherworld
According to legend a dreamer may, on very rare occasion, find himself drifting from the Dreaming into the Netherworld. Tales of such fantastic journeys can be found in all parts of the Empire. In most cases how the dreamer returned is as an incredible tale as the creatures he met whilst there. The shape one takes during your dream will influence where in the Netherworld you will go. Jun Gao dreamt she was a fish, and as a fish she travelled to the Water Pagoda, was swallowed by a whale and spent three years exploring the oceans whilst living inside it. Jun finally made it home after beseeching Shui Long himself for aid. Ho Min Li was dreaming of flying like a bird when he was transported to the Qi Long’s Cloud Castle. There he witnessed many amazing and incredible sights before returning to his home, still in the form of a bird. A local Wu-Jen kept him as a familiar for many years before releasing him and turning him back to his normal self. One popular tale tells of an Emperor’s dream that took him to the mountainous Pagoda of Earth where he played Go with Shi Long. Some versions of the story say that they wagered the Emperor’s soul on the outcome of the game, some the Empire itself. No matter which bet was made the Empower is always victorious and is escorted back by a platoon of gargantuan Earth Elementals.