• L.L. Stephens

LORE: The Rill

Updated: Apr 24

Pre-Return. The Rill is one of a few First Creation feats of engineering to have survived into the Second Creation. The others are the three remaining eternal Cities of Permephedon, Sordan, and Mormantalorus and numerous still intact energy cores buried and forgotten under the destroyed cities.

Leur collaborated with the Aryati in creating the Rill. The main corpus and superstructure of the system were Leur and, thus, living. The operational systems — stations, controls — were Aryati and included elements like the Overlays which allowed the Aryati to communicate with and direct living Leur corpus. The Rill served to connect fixed points through the Creation into a single entity; through these connections, the Aryati traveled, communicated, and conducted commerce. The Rill linked to a lunar base from which the Aryati would travel to outposts in the solar system or to stations for spacefaring vessels.

The Devastation of the First Creation heavily damaged the Rill. Though the Rill sheathed itself upon discerning the threat and much of it survived in some form, limbs and external structures throughout the vast system were broken or disabled. As a result, the entire system was paralyzed at the time of the Return. The Moon and its lunar base shared the same fate as the rest of the Creation and that part of the Rill is both inoperative and inaccessible.

After the Return. Amynas and the Leur found the Rill structures at Sordan to be largely intact, in no small part due to it being housed within the eternal City itself. This also proved to be the case at Permephedon and Mormantalorus, although the volcano at the latter had enveloped the corpus and terminal node there. The offspring of Amynas and the Leur, The Three — Ergeiron, Derlon, and Amarantos — incorporated reviving the Rill in their plans to rebuild the Creation through their combined transformative gifts. Among their reasons were securing and safeguarding… and possibly using… the Rill’s vast, still-intact energy cores.

Following Ergeiron’s transformation to create the Wall at Stauberg, Derlon conceived a means to instill his immortal life into the formerly living Rill corpus. He descended to the dark core of the Sordan terminus, to the spot from which Leur had grown the foundational corpus. He spoke to three of his seven sons, then plucked out his left eye, from which he created a green living gem and placed this into a ring he had crafted of Rill corpus. This ring he handed to Deben I, the eldest, pronouncing Sordan to be forever the City of his bloodline and naming them Sordaneon. He then entered the machine and yielded to it his immortality and creative power, his cells replacing and healing the damaged Leur corpus.

The Rill grew rapidly at first and joined with Permephedon. This awakening alarmed the Aryati, who at that time still ruled in Gweroyen and were at war with the Highborn princes. The Aryati undertook to poison the newly transformed god. They captured Derlon’s youngest son, Peleor, and filled his blood with melsajra, a neurotoxin, then slaughtered him on the newly revivified corpus at Simelon. The corpus absorbed the blood as being its own and absorbed the poison with it. This poisoning did not kill Derlon but it did halt his growth for a time… a delay which proved consequential.

Derlon remained self-aware for a few centuries, during which time — in conjunction with Deben I and Deben II — he awakened nodes at Dazunor-Rannuli and Leseos and continued to grow his new corpus to pre-Devastation nodes, though more slowly than before. Gradually, however, Derlon’s consciousness existed solely within the Rill Mind and became difficult to petition. Deben III raised the node at Stauberg but could not do so at Simelon, halting any hope of linking the Triempery’s capitals.

Corpus. The Rill corpus is a living structure. Originally of Leur matrix, it now consists of a fusion of Derlon’s immortal cells with that matrix, meaning it self-heals and has some properties of Leur omnificence. Corpus exists within nodes — active or dormant — and recognizes other parts of itself upon contact. Active nodes once linked to the greater body become a permanent part of the Rill.

Because the corpus is Derlon, the Entity retains race memory and can be deadly to its enemies. These include the Hen Kyon, who slaughtered Peleor on the platform at Simelon, and the Undying Crown.

Rill corpus will infect gift-receptive Sordaneons. Most often this is done with intent by exposing a Sordaneon to penetration by the Rill Stone, the Rill’s bond to which adheres to a second genetic signature and renders it visible to the Entity.

Charysii. A charys is a Rill vehicle created at need, usually through the operational system but occasionally through contact with a Sordaneon wearing the Rill Stone. Its shape is variable; most are cylindrical. Some are wider or taller for the conveyance of larger loads. Although Rill slips will transfigure to a size necessary to accommodate an oversize charys, this ability is so seldom needed it is mostly unknown.

A charys to convey humans houses cradles that perform as seating until immediately before transport, at which point the cradle secures the passenger for the duration of transit. Cradles of various kinds, sung into being by chantors, assist in securing different manner of cargoes, usually in separate charysii configured for that purpose.

Cognizance. Unlike the Wall, which is wholly self-created, Derlon joined his immortal body and lifeforce with a quasi-living system, i.e. an immense eternal device already possessing both machine and organic components. Though Derlon amalgamated the Rill’s machine intelligence with his own, the integration resulted in Derlon devolving over time into a borderland state of consciousness his descendants came to term the Long Dream of Immortality.

While the Entity maintains and completely orders Rill functions, it is aware only of the nodes where Rill corpus is fully awakened and operational — and not at all aware of nodes yet to be awakened. When contacted by a powerful enough Sordaneon bonded to the Entity, Derlon can be made aware of and awaken to other nodes. The Hierarch Tarlon was able to do this to awaken the node at Randpory Crossing. Four generations later, Dorilian contacted Derlon to awaken the node at Hestya.

Derlon remains part of the Mind, though only in that he senses when a member of his bloodline or Ergeiron’s has come to harm. He does not communicate with his descendants to the same degree the Wall can but recognizes the wearer of the Rill Stone.

The Rill Stone. The emerald in the Rill Stone is Derlon’s transfigured left eye. As such, it possesses its donor’s Leur magic and can be used by a Sordaneon Hierarch to imprint the eagle symbol of Derlon’s grace upon any surface. The Sordaneon Eagle serves as a seal for documents, a signature for treaties, a mark of ownership, or — when imprinted on the forehead — as symbol that an individual has been trained as a Rill mage and reached the rank of Epopte. Only a Sordaneon wearing the ring can use it to imprint.

The Rill Stone is the greatest of the Rings of Order created by Derlon before he transformed. The other rings are worn by the four Epoptes of highest rank. Like the other Rings of Order, the Rill Stone unlocks Rill-linked doors and controls.

When in contact with Sordaneon flesh or blood, the Rill Stone’s emerald gems glow. When not being worn, or when worn or held by anyone not Sordaneon, the device remains lightless. As a device the Rill Stone taps into and can gather Rill energy, though exactly how much is something no Hierarch has fully tested. Summoning Rill energy is dangerous.

Rill Energy. The Rill commands immense energy reserves. Its Leur creators incorporated core arrays made of star matter into the Rill’s design and shielded these to be used solely by their creation, just as they did for the eternal Cities. Derlon has fully integrated with these energy sources, which makes Rill operation seamless, eternal, and completely without cost to mortals.

Some, though not all, Sordaneons bear a Leur neural trait that allows them to summon and direct energy flows, either from a device or — in the most gifted — through connection to the now fully grown and vast corpus of the Rill. Famous uses of this talent include Deben III Sordaneon throwing down the Aryati stronghold of Iddolea, Tarentar Sordaneon shattering the frozen lake at Bynum during the Winter War, and Delos Sordaneon severing the Vermillion Aqueduct one thousand years after his forefather Deben II had used Rill energy to raise it.

Sordaneon summoning of Rill energy, seldom seen, has become rare. The last Sordaneon known to do so, Delos, was unable to control the power directed through his body and died of plasm incineration. It is less dangerous to use other energy sources and devices.

Rill Commerce. After the Aryati wars, the surviving Highborn princes took up rule of the three empires: Essera, Sordan, and Mormantalorus. Though ease of travel and the movement of military forces helped disperse and secure the settlement of the new Triempery, the Rill’s greatest might proved to be the movement of goods and the growth of wealth.

The first Rill mount Derlon opened after Sordan and Permephedon was in a small river town named Hed, of which he was fond.

“They used nets and hunted birds in the fens. They had the most beautiful women and happiest children, and the men sang songs in the evening…. I chose their mount to raise the Rill. First Sordan, then Permephedon. Then here. I chose this place over all others, because its people sang to me and I loved the laughter of their children. I wished them to thrive and prosper.”

After the Rill appeared overnight — platforms, station, and Rill superstructure crowning its mount — merchants descended upon Hed and the town was renamed Dazunor-Rannuli to reflect where it stood on the Rill run. Just as important was that the new mount sat upon the wide and deep Dazun River, which meant goods could be shipped both to and from the mount with great efficiency.

The same was true of other Rill nodes—Sordan in particular—and before long the Triempery grew rich from the ease and seemingly infinite capacity of Rill transport.

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