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Xenos

Xenos
Xenos3.jpg
Location: Elysium
First Seen: Release 28

Xenos is on the island of Elysium, southwest of Novia, and is a critical juncture on the Path of Truth.

The city sits on sheltered cove on the Bay of Storms. This area is important because this is where you need to hitch a ride to Artifice. But to get on board, you need to win the lottery first. So good luck![1]


Housing Lots[edit]

Xenos Lot Details
Total Player Lots: 36
Inner City: Outer City: Water:
Row: 14 Row:
Village: 14 Village: Village:
Town: 4 Town: Town: 2
City: 2 City: City:
Duke Keep: Duke Keep: Duke Keep:
LotM Castle: LotM Castle: LotM Castle:

NPCs[edit]

(list needs sorting and proper linking)

Animals[edit]

Lore[edit]

The main attraction of the port-side entrance is the Forum of the Lottery. Here visitors to Xenos from across the world gather to participate in the Lottery in the hopes of winning the great prize, a ticket of entrance into mysterious and miraculous Artifice itself! On approach to the outer arches, flaming braziers atop stone pillars light the great statue of the Titan of Truth, which seems to welcome visitors as they enter below. Beyond those arches is a cultured garden walk, where participants and bystanders gather in conversation while awaiting the ceremonies.

Another set of inner arches, formed by the mighty bases of aqueducts that feed water into the city from the forested hills south, is topped by huge statues depicting the satyrs which are said to roam the far northern mountains of Elysium where they tend to the grounds surrounding Artifice’s magical golden entrance. Past hanging crimson banners can be seen the amphitheater of the Forum, also lit by large flaming braziers and lanterns suspended above the curving stone seats, where gathering guests will sit once the Lottery begins. This area also hosts fountains fed by water falling from draconic gargoyle heads, much like Artifice itself.[2]

One of the first things visitors understand is the fact that the culture of Xenos is ancient, predating the cataclysm, and that many of Xenos’ structures are actually built atop the foundations of the ruins beneath. In many cases, the most glorious of these were incorporated into the more modern architecture. There are few places you can gaze that won’t hold details of the old world, both small and large. The very entrance is no exception, for across the old road from the caravans of merchants lay a ruined courtyard surrounded by columns, its original use long forgotten. Further along the path into the city proper, past tall and imposing aqueducts, grand roads lead up steep hills that wind their way through several of the richer neighborhoods, whose fantastic views are now graced with sculptured foliage, stone arches, and pillars topped with braziers. From the ground springs forth old stone retaining walls, granite stairs, and evenly-paved roads like those of ancient Pompeii. Added to that are publicly-maintained decorative flower pots, shrubs, and trees, which the proud owners of those houses enjoy gazing upon as they frame their view of the sparkling sea beyond, with the masts of tall ships rising from the harbor. At the top of this grand avenue, a partial circle of arches gloriously frames various angles of observation across the sprawling city itself. A fitting view, indeed, for those of such wealth and extravagance that can afford to live in the wondrous city of Xenos, gateway to the pleasures of distant Artifice![3]

Blocked off from the rest of the bay and the docks for larger ships, the Lagoon of Pleasures has as its “gates” two large arched stone bridges that allow only smaller rowed craft through, such as gondolas or punts. As a result, the placid waters of the lagoon are perfect for lovers, poets, and merry-makers as they engage in idle pursuits. The scenic shores are lined with weathered marble terraces and colonnades, stone benches, and steps leading down into the crystalline lapping waters. The stone bridges host the road leading in from the south to the “Island of Noble Heroes” of Xenos’ ancient past… Gathered around a large fountain surmounted by a statue of Boreas, multiple columns rise to frame a variety of statues made from numerous materials from different ages, each depicting a philosopher, scholar, warrior, or noble from Xenos’ illustrious ancient history. Flowering plants and tall sculpted junipers accent the rotunda, lit from above by the mighty braziers that are the signature lights of the city. On the other side of the island, lucky residents from the tallest of their windows might hope to see a grand view of the sweeping colonnades leading southward toward the Equestrian Shrine jutting out from the water’s edge. Xenos is known for its extravagant public works! The Equestrian Shrine was raised long ago in honor of the first horses brought to Xenos from far away shores. It is said that all of Xenos’ wonders rest squarely on the strong backs of the horses of ancient times, whose tireless labors brought the many stones that were later carved and stacked to create the city’s intricate majesty. Even today, the tamed horses of cart and carriage, and the wild horses that wander the Elysian Plains all trace their heritage to those ancient ancestors that crossed the seas so long ago on the ships of forgotten voyagers and traders from distant lands. Statues of gladiators stand tall on either side to guard the honor of these noble beasts. The eastern edge of the lagoon is lit by the warm glow of various lights here and there along its shore, where partygoers lay out feasts in the tents of visitors hoping for a chance at winning the lottery for entrance into fabled Artifice. Here, as dusk consumes the marble-lined shores, and the waters of the lagoon grow dark, only the idle rich can afford tents filled with extravagant dishes and fine wines,…and of course fine wooden furnishings fit for a prince! But further away, beyond the battered stone caravanserai, the murmur and laughter of the poorer visitors to the city float from the veritable town of tents that has sprung up between here and the southern exit… Perhaps one day, after they are lucky enough to find their fortunes in Artifice, they too might revel with the rich foreign visitors in tents made of fine silk and spun silver. Perhaps, as the new sun rises, Boreas will smile upon them all![4]

The coastal hills from the Elysian Plains southwest of the city lead to a rocky entrance. Though many will choose to visit the land of Elysium by ship from the mainland of New Britannia, thus arriving at the port of Xenos, those adventuring out into wilderness and rolling hills of Elysium and returning again will enter from the south, passing through forested acres festooned with the tents of travelers unable to pay for richer housing within the city. Since the draw of Xenos is the Lottery, and the laws of the land allow fair passage to all races, assuming they behave in a civilized fashion, the tents of the people of many lands can be found here, as well as the occasional encampment of friendly elves and kobolds. This is a place where many different tales can be found and shared, and the hopes and dreams of supplicants awaiting their chance at the Lottery of Artifice can be wistfully imparted upon those who will listen. A variety of tents spread through the meadows and thickets. The well-traveled road leads past the ancient caravanserai stationed near the edge of the Lagoon of Pleasures. This is a place for the more quaint travelers to barter and trade. Within can be found the same types of tented merchant stalls as can be discovered along the busy docks near the town center… The idea with a caravanserai, however, is that the visiting merchants with their wagons and caravans would actually reside (at least temporarily) in one of the many different rooms available in this building, and pitch their wares in the stalls either within the inner courtyard, or upon the second story roof balcony overlooking it from above… Not far to the east of here several neighborhoods stretch away toward the plains and the bay, and if one were to gaze out over them from atop one of the many taller building found here, one could see the northeastern aqueducts stretching like a crooked stone snake from the taller heights into the residential areas below. The spaces in between are dotted with little gardens and follies decorated with bits of ancient ruins and artful statuary, while the coasts have steps leading into the water, and platforms here and there bedecked in flowering plants and tall sculpted junipers.

Those who enter the city from the north, however, will enjoy the finely sculpted stone docks of Xenos, and its busy port full of market stalls, garden paths, and the Grand Gate leading into the Forum of the Lottery itself! Only the dazzling city of Ardoris, who shares with Xenos the need for aqueducts, has a similar flavor and mystique, with its paved streets and many alleys. But it is the historical nature of Xenos’ very foundations which entice the traveler with thoughts of the cultures that thrived here long ago, ancient even before the rise of the Obsidian Empire,…older than the catastrophe that shattered the moon itself. Colorful merchant stalls can be found near the piers, and decorative plants and statuary line the streets and walkways leading into the city center.

Toward the Forum itself, travellers pass through the Grand Gate, beneath the statue of Boreas, and between the guardian Shedu which gaze forward toward those who seek admittance. Beyond the Grand Gate is a domed rotunda held aloft by ancient pillars and surmounted with an oculus open to the sky. It rests within the inner courtyard between the gate and Forum, and is a place where those who wait for the ceremonies meander and greet one another. Above the Grand Gate is the insignia of Xenos, its broken-shackled hands holding aloft the gear-work icon reminiscent of the wooden gears and cogs of the many waterwheels found within the city at various points, providing power to the aetheric generators that feed various buildings and services here and there.[5]

The central city neighborhoods from West Bay road are surrounded by housing lots ahead and to the right, though there’s still plenty of room for decorative foliage, tall junipers, and statuary to demarcate areas of interest such as this crossroads, which spills out onto the newly developed west dock-side shoreline. This city has been a port-of-call for well over two thousand years or so, since long before the Fall of the shattered moon, and remnants of the grand stone docks built in antiquity are still in heavy use, as you will note! My goal for all such areas was to conjure both the grit and the beauty of the ancient populated Greco-Roman shores of our Earth’s Aegean Sea. The water certainly helps create that illusion. Various areas are dotted with some of the decorative pieces native to this region.

The Elysian Heights neighborhood area overlooks downtown from the hill. The Overlook Point with its grand colonnade has a fountain, and the yards bordering the nearby housing lots have been manicured a bit to show that the city builders have an eye for the fine aesthetics they believe will please the elite who choose to make their homes there. Here too the older ruins, while being cleaned up of rubble and debris, have been allowed to remain, accenting the gracefully tall trees and colorful flowering plants. Statues from several ages of Xenos’ culture gaze down upon its joyful residents and visitors alike, and one can always expect to find a beautiful old rotunda or small formal garden tucked away here and there.

The area of the Forum of the Lottery beyond the main gate features winding pathways, a variety of flora, and various objects of art. These paths lead directly into the central part of the downtown district and through the Forum’s seating area itself, which drive homes the opulent and festive nature of the proceedings held there, and for which hopeful visitors have traveled so far to see.[6]

At various locations around the bay, gondola docks are available with a boat which will take you to any of the other locations! Grand convenience! On the way to catch the gondola, you’ll notice that merchants have set up their wares in market stalls that line the busy docks. Colorful awnings and goods of all kinds entice those who have newly arrived to the city from far, foreign shores! And speaking of merchants, the caravanserai is stocked with them as well, and offers a comfortable environment in which to sit and socialize while enjoying a sweet pastry or delicious fruit from the local orchards.

As far as orchards go, not far from the caravanserai and the tent city near the edge of Xenos can now be seen rich farmlands and tilled fields full of crops ready for harvest by the local plebeians. Nearby are fenced-in paddocks and grassy acres where cows and sheep wander placidly grazing. The great Elysian Plains stretch away toward the distant horizon. One can even find a shrine to a forgotten harvest goddess nestled in the middle of a wheat field on the way toward Hatter’s Hill, evidence of the pantheistic ancient days before the Fall, thousands of years before the path of Virtues was established.

Much like the steep road leading up to the Elysian Heights neighborhood across the bay, the cobbled road to Hatter’s Hill district is adorned by pillars topped with burning braziers to light the way in the shadows of the steep cliffs. Statues of long-dead legionnaires known as the Tagma Guard, warriors in service to the ancient royalty of Elysium before the Fall, watch over travelers as they climb the hill to the top. A brief respite on the way may be in order near a fountain fed by the same artesian wells that supply the Eastern Aqueduct with fresh water that services the Elysian Meadows neighborhood below.

Atop the Hill itself are a variety of interest points, much like the distant Elysian Heights and the West Bay area. Water features such as the old fountain seen above, small bathing ponds, and public wading pools are fairly numerous, many of which are decorated with statuary from the old kingdom. And of course, a variety of ruins of ancient Xenos can be discovered throughout the area, especially at the city’s outskirts. The plateau of Hatter’s Hill itself was once the seat of power for Xenos, established long before the Fall by twin brothers according to legend (one of whom betrayed the other to assume the throne as sole monarch, it is said), and whose massive statues still stand on either side of the great Elysium Gulf, which leads to the Bay of Storms. When the moon was shattered and fell from the sky, though no shards struck Elysium, the shores of Xenos were battered by vast waves and shaken by terrible earthquakes. The palaces of Xenos’ ancient rulers were toppled in the cataclysm’s fury, and what is left of them can still be found on the Hill to this day, long since looted and choked with shrubs and overgrowth.

In the City Center district lies the gleaming Hall of Boreus, erected well over a century ago during his stay here after the end of the Obsidian Empire, and housing (now that he has apparently vanished) an enormous statue carved in his likeness. Trimmed in beaten sheets of gold, and carved by the same masons who erected the graceful arches and pillars of the Lagoon of Pleasure (as well as several other features found throughout the city), this splendid shrine to the Titan of Truth stands as the perfect centerpiece to this thriving city of luck and pleasure. Perhaps a visit to this shrine will enhance the luck of those seeking their fortunes at the fabled Lottery.[7]

Trivia[edit]

  • Chancellor Notus mentions that he is the overseer of the Artifice Lottery and mentions Boreas.
  • When Xenos was added in Release 28, it was a clone of Solania. It was revised for Release 32.
  • Right before persistent, Xenos was uncloned and some modifications were made to it for specific plot points. A polish pass was done beginning in Release 36, and should be complete by Release 38.
  • The developed areas of the Xenos region has a “Greco-Roman” feel to its architecture. For the capital Xenos and its surrounding environs, there would also be a bit of old-world Italy in the mix, just for the sake of variety… Like Rome in our world, Xenos should evoke the feeling of new architecture have been built within and upon the ruins of the older civilization that once thrived there. Since Xenos is not quite as huge as Rome, however, additional inspiration is drawn from concepts of what Pompeii must have been like in its hey-day, before the terrible destruction of Vesuvius…

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Update of the Avatar #186 - 2016.07.22: Xenos Reborn
  2. Update of the Avatar #202 - 2016.11.11: Xenos Polish
  3. Update of the Avatar #203 - 2016.11.18: Xenos Polish
  4. Update of the Avatar #205 - 2016.12.02: Xenos Polish
  5. Update of the Avatar #207 - 2016.12.16: Xenos Polish (cont)
  6. Update of the Avatar #209 - 2017.01.06: Xenos Polish (cont)
  7. Update of the Avatar #211 - 2017.01.20: Moving Platforms – Blood Bay Air Patrol

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