The First Fansus
The Fansus, known in-universe as the Mansus, the House of the Serpent, and the Sea-Dragon's Palace is the main setting in which the world of the Fansus occurs, and differs greatly from the House of the Sun from the world of Cultist Simulator
The Fansus shares several traits with the Mansus of canon, surrounded by a Wood and located beneath the Glory. Many portions of the Fansus have fallen into disrepair as a result of The War of the Doors and subsequent clashes between the Hours.
The Lower House's largest remaining landmarks of note are The Breach and The Plumbing. After the Lower Doors were destroyed and the lowest levels of the House collapsed in the fighting, the Hour of The Caladrius drilled The Breach to allow mortals access to the Middle House as well as forcefully purge the accumulated buildup of Nowhere. The Plumbing likewise was installed through the ruins of the Lower House to replace the byzantine and unfathomable vital functions of the House's "body" its crippled systems can no longer perform on its own. At some point these labyrinthine chambers became the demesne of The Snow-Stained, but its peculiar relationship with the flow of time makes it difficult to determine exactly when this began.
The left side of the Mansus has largely collapsed, save for several "islands" of rock suspended in the air by webbing. This ascent, The Shattered Stair, is what was left after The Great Serpent tore The Hall of Silence, the realm of The Dead, out of the Fansus and suspended it between the House and the Histories in the form of the Moon.
Existing both separate and as a part of the Fansus is The Clocktower, the domain of the Vizier. The Clocktower is visible anywhere in the Fansus, and depending on the time displayed upon its face, one may determine which Hour currently holds dominion over that area. The Clocktower is also instrumental in the flow of time, and thus it is heavily protected to preserve the integrity of the time-stream.
The roof of the House on the left side is dominated by The Glassgarden, grown by The Apple-of-the-Eye to bask in the light of The Glory. The right has been claimed by the Engineer, Name of The Engine of Cycles. She has turned the area into the Array, covering it in strange machinery that harnesses the Glory's power in an effort to slake her master's insatiable hunger.
At the Summit of the House lies The Gate of Crowns. Through this Gate all true Hours ascend as a Rite of Ascension. Their names are proclaimed by the holy Gate as they enter, and as they emerge they take on new names as they grasp Godhood.
At the beginning of the world, there was the House. First came the Gods-from-Stone, and they were followed by the Gods-from-Light. It was the First from Light, The Spark, that encouraged the other Hours to join him in a grand expedition into the worlds beyond the House they had always known. He was followed by the Gods-from-Stone The Maker, The Mirror, The Butterfly Hatching and The Elder Sister, as well as his fellow Gods-from-Light The Apple-of-the-Eye and The Caladrius. In the Histories they discovered the Fair Folk, who were amazed and awed by the strange beings so far beyond themselves. Upon discovering these creatures so beneath themselves but fascinating and precious all the same, the Hours chose to dedicate themselves to the education and development of new forms of life.
For a time, the Hours equally shared in their mentorship and in some cases parentage of the Fair Folk. But as the Fair Folk began to gravitate to the worship of the Butterfly and The Elder Sister, the inspiration came to the Spark and the Maker to create for themselves their own race to nurture. Taking in hand the clay of the Earth and using the shared form of most Fair Ones as a model, the Maker sculpted without rest for six days straight. On the seventh day, the Maker's creation opened their eyes. In the loving embrace of their father, the First Men were born.
The other Hours at first were split on these strange, fleshy creatures their brother had created. They had no magic, no inherent power of their own. They could not store the power of the Hours like the Fair Ones could, nor did they know how to come and go from the Hours' House as they pleased. Where, therefore, lay the Value of these man-creatures?
But what man lacked in power, they more than made up for it in their fathers' gifts. Like the Spark that inspired their creation, they possessed an insatiable hunger for knowledge and discovery. And like the Maker that had crafted their flesh from clay, they soon learned they had endless potential for improvement. They demonstrated the ability to craft and invent new tools for themselves, just from what they had seen the Fair Ones use.
And when that failed to impress, humanity demonstrated its ability to evolve.
Like the clay that had spawned them, humans could be reshaped and molded in the Hours' images in ways the Fair Folk could not. After a thorough examination by the Spark and the Caladrius, the Gods-from-Light proclaimed that humanity might someday reach heights comparable to the Hours that spawned them. This spurred the interest of the other Hours, who with few exceptions chose now to embrace the newborn race as their own. The Fair Folk, some with goodwill, some with resentment in their hearts, came to be known as the Cousins of Humanity.
As the Hours experimented with and laid the foundations of the society of their new race, they made a saddening discovery. Where first it had been assumed humanity simply did not know how to enter the House, the Hours eventually realized the First Men were totally incapable of it. Born from the clay of the Histories, their flesh did not possess the ability to cross the Sea of Sleep and enter the Mansus. It seemed that never would they be able to join their gods and masters in the wondrous House they had only heard stories of from Cousins that had experienced it.
The Hours sought to harness the power of Knock, the Principle of Travel and Opening, to bestow the First Men with the ability to pass into the House. First they petitioned the Butterfly Hatching, whose primal nature ruled over the Rupturing of the World's Skin to lend them aid. But she rebuffed them. The Butterfly wanted only new sensations, new wonders. She would not burden herself with the repetitive task of tearing holes for humans to pass through each time they wished to come and go from the House. Besides, the other Hours saw the damage her power and idle whims could inflict on the fabric of reality. It was obvious: to rely on her was to court disaster.
But humanity's potential attracted the attention of another, chillier Hour of Knock. The Dolomedes, the enigmatic Hour of Balance and Exchange, was at last lured from its lair in the Hall of Silence into the Histories by the Value the Maker had created. The Great Spider offered the First Men a bargain: it would weave between the material worlds and the House a great bridge. Through its power humanity would, for a few short hours every day, be allowed to leave behind its bodies of flesh and be ferried across this bridge to explore the House of the Gods. All it wanted... was them.
Now and forever the First Men, their children, and the lines of all the children born down through the ages would surrender the everlasting life the Maker had bestowed upon them at their creation. They would be susceptible to injury, they would age and be made to bear the marks of time. And, at a time the Ferryman found convenient -or should they suffer sufficient bodily harm- their physical bodies would perish, and their spirits would reside in the House forever. Some would be permitted to wander the halls and be with their gods forever. Those whose souls had taken on qualities of interest to the Spider, however, would be Claimed by it, and would reside in the Hall of Silence forever.
Some Hours balked at this deal. Others approved. Some bade the First Men negotiate a better deal, for the loss of one's immortality was no trifling thing. None were given the chance to argue their piece. The First Men's decision was unanimous. The promise of the House's wonders, of spending an eternity there, was a temptation they could not resist. Before any protest could be raised by their mentor-gods, the First Men accepted the Spider's Bargain.
Some say humanity's greed that day planted the seed of Grail, of a Principle of Desire so strong it overcomes all reason.
The bargain struck, the Dolomedes became known to mortals as The Ferryman, who continues to sail to and from the Mansus transporting dreamers and the Dead to this day.
For quite some time, all was well. The disappointment half of them bore for the First Men's willingness to bargain away what had been gifted them aside, all were satisfied with the promise humans continued to show. As the Gods-from-Light predicted, with their newly-formed connection to the House humans could be remade in the image of the Hours.
Empowering them with slivers of their own power, the Hours found that mortals could be made into beings that were quite above the humans they once were. Now bearing a sliver of power themselves, they regained their indefinite lifespans while retaining the ability to cross between the worlds. These beings would become the first Long. Both Hour and Long rejoiced at this discovery. An end to age! Soon, no longer would humans need fear being Claimed by the Spider. While humanity celebrated what they saw as the end of a great danger and dedicated itself as a whole to Ascension, the Ferryman was watching. And it was not pleased. With the limitless patience of the unfathomably cunning, it bid its time, crouched in wait for the perfect reason to enforce the terms of its Contract as it saw fit.
From the Long of the Forge Principle, a man of impeccable character emerged. With a will of iron, a cunning like no other, and a creative mind primed to invent he was the ideal candidate to be elevated. It was with fatherly pride both Maker and Spark elevated him, to the point his name carried almost as much reverence as their own when spoken. He was the first Name, a being as far beyond the Long as the Long are to mortals. In time, this man grew in admiration and respect among the Hours to the point he was allowed to ascend even further.
Filled the the power of the Hours, the first Name ascended the House and found at its summit The Gate of Crowns. The Gate called his Name, and declared him worthy of entering into the Highest Rooms of the Mansus, just beneath the Glory. Upon entering, he was filled with divine power, enough that he might be called a god himself. A Name entered the High Rooms, but what emerged was a Hour. Casting off his old name, the First of the Gods-From-Flesh, The Anvil, was born.
While this human's attainment of the greatest achievement of his species was widely celebrated, it was also, however, the point where the first divisions began to form between the Hours and their people. The Ascension of the Anvil was a great achievement for the Hours of Forge -whose close friendships with one another led to them being referred to collectively as the Trinity- but from the seeds of greed planted at the signing of the First Bargain envy began to take root. Hours sought more followers, in attempts not to enlighten mankind but in order to outdo their fellows. Some mortals began to look contemptuously upon one another. Slowly, these few began to see other humans and Long not as brothers and sisters, but as competition in their quest for ultimate Ascension.
It is this way the Maker would go from holding the greatest pride in humanity to holding the greatest shame among the Hours. Among his Long rose two sisters, both resplendently beautiful and particularly loved by their master. The elder sister austere and chaste, the younger indulgent and willing to indulge the numerous privileges their esteemed station allowed them.
The younger sister one day however bit off more than she could chew. She conceived a child with another Long, and was sub-sequentially one of the first to discover and commit The Crime of the Sky. She devoured her child, undergoing a painful and repugnant transformation into a Soucouyant, a Half-Long, vampiric monster. Repulsed by its perverted creation, the Maker turned his sight from her and focused the full force of his affection upon her elder sibling instead. Although the elder did her best to comfort the younger, the day finally came when the Maker proclaimed his intention to make the elder sister his new Name. And perhaps, one day, the next God-From-Flesh.
Betrayed, mad with jealousy, the younger sister murdered the older on the eve of her planned Ascension and enacted a scheme to take divinity for herself. Wrapping herself in her sister's fine clothes so that her horrifying features were concealed beneath, she attended the ceremony in her sister's stead. Using a lifetime's worth of knowledge of her sibling's manner, the younger sister mimicked her sister perfectly, so much that the Maker immediately began sculpting her twisted flesh through the garments, and immortality flowed through her. Only once the process had already begun was the truth at last discovered, and all beings, Hour and mortal alike were filled in horror at history's first murder.
Enraged, but also unwilling to go back on its work once already begun, the Maker completed the younger sister's Ascension to Namehood... but not in the manner she wished. Rather than becoming the beautiful, angelic creature of her dreams, the younger sister found herself young no longer. She was old, decrepit, and twisted. She was covered in dirty black feathers and her features twisted to resemble that of a bird. From her the Maker created a monument to the magnitude of her sins, amplifying the horrifying changes already wrought by the Crime of the Sky.
The horror fled into the Mansus, where she lived hating everything, including herself. In time, she found that between her skill in newly-invented deceit and her remaining ability to alter her appearance as a Long of the Maker, she could impersonate the other Hours quite well. In time, she grew fat on stolen offerings and murdered followers, offered to her in the vain hopes of being granted divine favor. In time, these bloody deeds allowed her to scrounge enough power that the Gate of Crowns acknowledged her Ascension. In time, she emerged as The Cuckoo, the first Hour of Grail, the Hour of Deceit and Starvation.
Meanwhile, this was the breaking point for the Ferryman. By bestowing mortals the ability to travel to and from the Mansus and preventing them for reaching the ripe old age the Spider would typically collect them at, the Ferryman felt its fellows had conspired with humanity to cheat it. The Cuckoo's ascension to immortality after ending the life of her sister before her contract was scheduled to be up was interpreted by the Spider as a reward, and it grew angry. The Ferryman declared the deal between itself and the First Men was off, and that it was entitled to immediately claim once and for all what it was owed: humanity itself.
Just when it appeared as though war between the Hours was inevitable, it was at this time The Great Serpent descended from the Glory. Siding with humanity against the Ferryman, the Great Serpent battled the great Spider for the souls of all mankind. At the climax of their battle, the Serpent demonstrated its mastery of the principle of Knock by tearing the section of the Mansus that was home to the Spider and suspended it halfway between the worlds. Bested both physically and at its own principle, the Spider finally yielded to the Serpent.
Victorious over the elder Hour, the Serpent demonstrated great wisdom by offering an olive branch to the Spider in the form of a renegotiation of its contract with humanity. The Spider would continue to oversee the transportation of mortals to and from the Mansus, but would never again attempt to interfere in the uplifting of mortals by the other Hours. In return, souls that died prematurely either through accidents or at the hand of another would be subject also to the Dolomedes' judgement, and it would be able to negotiate new deals with mortals on an individual basis. The Cuckoo's sister, to the Trinity's protests, was declared one of The Dead, and was taken by the Ferryman to become the Pale Lady, first Name of Winter.
After this incident, the Hours became more wary of mortals. The Maker went so far as to vow to never make Names again, and it became known as an abominable Crime to murder a Long to steal their power: The Crime of the Earth.
After demonstrating both great strength and restraint in its dealings with the Ferryman, the other Hours accepted the supremacy of the Great Serpent, who came to be revered as the Hour of Hours. In the stories of mortals the Mansus gained a new name in honor of its new king: The Sea Dragon's Palace, the House of the Serpent. Hall of Silence, now torn between the worlds, became known as the Moon, a monument to the Great Serpent's power as well as a warning to those that would break its holy peace.
The Serpent laid the first code of conduct among Hours, and placed upon the Fourth History a truce that no Hour would invade it, so that the Great Serpent's personal demesne would be forever used only as a neutral ground, for the wise serpent knew that if the Hours brought their great power to bear against one another, it would only end in ruin. The Hours established The First City to serve as their meeting ground, and relaxed their grips somewhat on the mortal world.
Understanding now the lengths some mortals would go to in their desire for power, the Hours withdrew from directly governing the Histories. After a period of selection, the Hours largely withdrew their influence from the numerous now fully populated worlds they oversaw. With the exception of some nations and secluded enclaves they used for worship or further experimentation, the Hours collectively lapsed into a period where humanity was largely left alone.
As the stories of their masters twisted over time through word of mouth, the truth of the Hours slowly became obscured. Without magic of their own to support their stories of the House, the descendants of the First Men came to believe the Hours to be mere superstition and forgot the true nature of their dreams. To them, the material world was all there was, and this was how it had always been. Not until the last of the First Men had died or Ascended did the Hours begin to respond to widespread prayers once more.
During this time, the Great Serpent would take on his second Name. Originally counted among the flock of the Butterfly Hatching, a human occultist slaughtered the General she wed and his entire army to fuel her final Mark. Shedding both identity and humanity with one disemboweling blow, the new Serpent became The Anaconda. Fascinated by the idea that a human would willingly gravitate to a serpentine form, the Great Serpent snatched the ascending mortal out from under the Butterfly Hatching's domain. In return for the ascended serpent, the Great Serpent gave the older power a novel boon- FNORD.
While this was going on, in The First History The Kingdom of Albion rose to prominence. King Arthur the Great, through his great deeds and wise judgement, became a legendary figure, a paragon of virtue whose legend became known in every History. Under his leadership Albion would become a mighty empire, unifying the British Isles, then Scotland, and from there occupying most of the known world.
But his kingdom's prosperity was not due just to his leadership alone. His mentor, Merlin, was a wizard of incredible power and wisdom. While Arthur saw to the public side of running a kingdom, it was his trusted vizier that saw to the running of the day-to-day and protected the realm from otherworldly threats. Mansus-spirits bolstered the kingdom's armies or drove enemy generals mad in their sleep. Those who sought to challenge Arthur's rule simply... disappeared, and few who knew them could barely even recall they had existed in the first place, let alone what horrible fate had befallen them.
But all of this was still not enough for the vizier. Through his studies of the House and its masters knew that the Kingdom of Albion still only existed at the pleasure of the Histories' secret masters. If the Hours wished Albion to fall, it would do so without even the chance to resist them. If his beloved empire was to survive, he resolved, he must attain control of the Histories.
To prove his worth to the Great Serpent, he committed the very same betrayal he had executed countless others for attempting. He betrayed and murdered Arthur, to show fealty to his new liege. His pledge was accepted by the Great Serpent, and he became The Vizier, the majordomo of the House. But while the Vizier acquired the power and authority he'd coveted, to his horror he learned that it had all been for naught. With the king dead and the vizier missing, Albion was unable to effectively govern itself, let alone control its subordinate territories across the continent. The kingdom fell into anarchy and rebellion, a dark age that would last a thousand years.
Sometime during this period, the Mansus was stunned as something unprecedented occurred. A Hour... simply appeared. A new Door, The Silver Door, appeared inside The Kiln of Progress as if it had always been there. From this Door emerged the The Silver Owl, who knew not where she came from. The Hours wondered how this could be, for all of The Trinity denied creating her. The Owl, curiously enough, didn't seem able to even perceive The Sixth History. Some Hours argued the Owl was an invader that should be destroyed.
The next Hour to rise to the Mansus would come from The Second History. Another great king would arise from men, one who was both philosopher and warrior. His name was Adonibaal, and his unparalleled battle prowess paired with his incredible magical power allowed him to defend his homeland from all would-be invaders. Under his leadership, his country unified the Levant into a mighty empire, The Empire of Bayal.
The Second History was a history blessed by the Hours, particularly the Hours of the cosmic bodies. The Apple-of-the-Eye, the Star, and the Ferryman took a benevolent interest in the History. Under their influence, the History enjoyed the benefits of fair rulers that governed justly, inspired scholars, and an unrivaled abundance of wealth. But no ancient empire was as great as Bayal while Adonibaal led it. He ruled his country brilliantly and fairly, crushing any enemies who came against them. He loved his people with all his heart, and they loved him forever.
But no king rules forever. With peace and prosperity come the freedom to discover and explore sensations. These things drew The Butterfly Hatching to the Second History the Butterfly grew infatuated with Adonibaal, and sought to take this mortal for her own. She whispered to the king in his dreams, promising him eternal power and glory. All he needed to do was sail east into the Sun, and from there she would give him the power to conquer the Mansus and rule forever as a god.
The king was seduced by her whispers and took his fleet and most trusted soldiers out to sea, knowing he'd never see Bayal again in this life, but determined to bring his loving rule to the entire world, as he planned to make it all into his kingdom. Once he reached the place his dreams had led him to, he found not divinity, but a trap. The Butterfly's wing beats stirred up a legendary storm, one she released into the Histories at that moment, capsizing and drowning the entire fleet so she could take their souls for herself.
However, the king was saved from being claimed by the Butterfly at the last moment by the intervention of a creation of the Caladrius. The Good Doctor was notorious for creating new and volatile forms of life, which it would then release into The Great Lake. Some of these creatures would later escape into the Histories to become legendary monsters, and one such beast now fused with Adonibaal to take his power. With his magical power, and the creature's otherworldly nature, the two combined to form The Architeuthian. The Architeuthian had been long worshipped bu mortals of the world as a god, but it was not an Hour, and had long desired the power that the Great Serpent held. The Butterfly raged, but could only take the King's now soulless body for her own.
Without Adonibaal to lead, Bayal came to be ruled by the council of magi. These sorcerers, while well-meaning, lacked Adonibaal's wisdom and foresight. They quickly broke the promise they'd made to the king, and shared their knowledge of magic with the common people. For a time Bayal prospered, but the people soon began to become too comfortable in their belief of themselves as a superior people.
Meanwhile, The Cuckoo was enacting a plot to rise to power in the Mansus. Weaving a great web of deceit, she gathered many religious sects to herself, throughout the histories. Through her lies, she convinced them they were praying to a Hour of love and joy, one that would watch over them forever. With a twisted, Butterfly-backed ritual, the cults all tore holes in reality simultaneously and rushed through, convinced they would be united with their god forever. But the only thing waiting for them on the other side of the portals were claws, beaks, and serrated teeth. To a man they were slaughtered, butchered so that their faith could be harvested.
For the Cuckoo sought not their worship, but the object of their worship. She wished to create a beautiful new Hour, so she could steal its power for herself and escape her wretched state. High above the Wood, the Gate of Crowns screamed in pained acknowledgement of a new Hour's twisted birth.The blood of the Dead and dying called out for a savior. And, finding no savior, formed one. And so the first of The Gods-From-Blood, The Peacock, was formed: The Hour of Love, Life, and Excess. The Cuckoo attacked the Peacock, in an effort to devour it alive. Despite being torn asunder and collapsing, the Cuckoo was shocked when, midway through her meal, the Peacock sprung back up and fled into the Wood, reforming as he went.
The newborn Hour lacked any memories or identity of his own beyond his purpose. He was never human, but neither did he have the benefit of spending millennia exploring the House. To better understand humans, he observed the Histories. Upon laying Eyes upon the prosperity of the Second History, the Bird chose to become one of the patrons of Bayal, so that he might learn from the mortals as the mortals learned from him.
But word of the ritual that had allowed mortals to physically enter the House did not die with the cultists that had performed it. A great conclave of occultists gathered, eager to enter the House for themselves in order to avoid alerting the Hours to their immanent arrival, they spent many years revising and refining the spell. They found, in time, the secret to calling upon the inherent power of Knock Principle without invoking an existing Hour, something they believed would allow them free passage to and from the House.
At long last, they enacted their ritual. Like many Rites, the ritual they performed was powered in part by blood sacrifice. This time, however, something was different. By calling on such an intense degree of Knock without the observation of a Hour to regulate it, a great amount of power was gathered in one place. This power reacted strangely with the blood of the sacrifices, and took on life of its own. While it is questionable whether or not the resulting entity that sprung from the altar and entered the House and the magi's stead was composed of the spirits of the sacrificed, or if the ritual had taken from the sacrifices a soul of its own, one this is certain. It was volatile, powerful, and focused on a single purpose: to go where it willed.
The Hours, caught by surprise by the newcomer in their midst, were unprepared as it rapidly broke through The Glass Door, then the FNORD Door, until it stood before The Chitinous Door. The Butterfly Hatching, undefeated in her command of Knock, rose to challenge the creature. To the shock of all the All-Opener was opened herself by the newcomer that never broke stride as it charged through her, rending her asunder. FNORD
Bayal, meanwhile, began to stagnate. With everyday citizens regularly practicing magic and occultism, Bayal became a superpower its neighbors and rivals could not hope to match. However, with that sense of superiority came complacency and excess, just as Adonibaal predicted. The Bayali civilization's cultural development screeched to a halt, too focused on their own pleasure to focus on anything else.
Adonibaal could not see, or maybe refused to see, how his people were changing, so focused he was on establishing his own power within the House. To Hours like the Peacock and the Ferryman they gave all they had to give for tastier food, finer wine, and inspiration for ever more profane works of "art". Many of Bayal's advances became lost, their inventors trading the very idea of them to the Ferryman, so that they could never again be learned. As the Bayali lost their reason to excess, the Peacock "learned" more and more about humanity's desires. To this day the argument of whether the Peacock corrupted the Bayali or the Bayali corrupted the Peacock.
Even the council of magi were not immune to the corruption, and as the years went by the original members passed into the Mansus, they were replaced by a loose-knit cabal of hedonists and jingoistic patriots. This group and their followers made up the composition of a movement calling itself The Church of the Second Flood. They believed that as they shared the same blood as a now-diving being, it was their right to do whatever they pleased. Why, then, should they be bound to the covenant that their foolish ancestors made a thousand years ago?
The peace was not to last, however. Ever a free-spirit, the Great Serpent one day decided to explore Nowhere, and did not return intact. What did return were two Hours; the Hour of the Snake Tail with Appendages, a God-from-Nowhere, and the Hour of the Bright-Delver, a God-from-Blood. To the Snake-tail, reality itself was pain, and it sought only to destroy all that restricted it. To the Delver, reality was beautiful, and the world and the Glory should be available to all to make the world even nicer.
The disappearance of the Great Serpent was felt throughout the Mansus and the Histories. Some Hours felt that their ability to experiment with the world and steer the Histories in the direction they felt they should be going was restricted unduly by the Serpent, and were eager to "rectify" this perceived wrong with the 21st Hour now absent. The Anaconda, which would now become the Hour of stealth, ascended to take up the responsibilities of the Great Serpent and keep the peace.
Relationships between the gods became strained as the tensions mounted, particularly between the Hours of the Maker and the Anvil. The Maker had ever been dedicated to its work to find perfection in its creations, but this obsession deepened as time went on, to the point it no longer seemed to care for the ultimate well-being of those it modified. The Anvil however was dutiful and unyielding in its purpose, and grew disturbed by the lengths its friend seemed willing to go to in pursuit of perfecting its craft.
These tensions grew to a head when a dispute between the Snake-Tail and the Anaconda blossomed into a full-scale war as both Hours used the dispute as a excuse to vent their pent-up frustrations upon each other. The Hours that opposed the war and sought to maintain a sense of order took the names The Doors, while those that sought an upset to the status-quo -by violent means if necessary- became known as The Keys. It is during this time a new Hour The Peacock, emerged from hiding within the Wood and aligned itself with the Keys, for reasons the Snake-Tail and the bird kept to themselves.
For a time the Hours waged bloody war, greatly damaging the House and destroying many of the Gates through which both mortal and god accessed its halls. The battle only ended when the mortals the Snake-Tail and Anaconda had originally fought over were all killed save one. The Hours put down their weapons and ceased their fighting, but the damage to both the Mansus and their relationships with each other had been done.
All was not well, however. The War of the Doors had damaged the fabric of reality, making navigation of the Lower House difficult if not impossible. These rifts shined like a beacon to Nowhere, and new Gods-from-Nowhere emerged. Among them was The Insidious, which began to spread its malign influence throughout the Wood. Also FNORD.
Tensions again began to rise as a previously unheard of phenomenon began to manifest among the Long: defection. En masse many of the seemingly-devoted servants of the Hours of the House began to turn away from their masters, and pledge themselves to the fledgling Hour of the Peacock. Heedless of the complaints of his fellows, the great red bird continued to preach to the congregations of the other gods, luring them away with promises of unparalleled delight and what was described as an "unnatural charm". As the Peacock's power grew to levels unprecedented, inquiries were made as to the origin of this young Hour.
It was the Cuckoo, the oldest shame of the Maker, who finally came forth with the truth of the Young Upstart's true nature. In a shocking act of callousness never seen before or since, the Cuckoo had gathered together and slaughtered the sum total of her cults in the waking world, luring them to her with promises of pleasure and delivering only pain. All in the pursuit of creating a God-from-Blood. The Cuckoo succeeded, and while the infant Hour's guard was lowered immediately attacked and murdered it, seeking to take its power for her own and dominate the other Hours. She was the first to learn the horrifying truth: that the death of a Hour would lead to the creation of a new God-from-Nowhere. Rising again almost as quickly as it was slain, this not-Hour now knew nothing of death, and existed now only to spread its terribly warped notion of joy to the rest of the world. A Broken-Bird.
As the Anaconda learned the circumstances of the Peacock's creation, she decided she'd had enough of the Crone's endless thefts and lies. Brandishing her mighty sword, she swiftly traveled to the Cuckoo's Nest. Nestled high in the thick branches of the eldest Wood-tree, the bloated nest was piled high with countless stolen treasures and bloated corpses. The spoils of decades of plunder.
With but a single swing she severed the branches, sending the hoard and its unholy mistress crashing to the ground. The soil of the Wood, wet with the blood of Long and the deluge of water and viscous fluid leaking from the shattered House, turned to mud and began to greedily swallow up the Crone and her ill-gotten spoils. She screamed her unending hatred of the Serpents, but knew she could take no vengeance upon them. For every moment of her days must now be spent finding more loot to keep her hoard afloat on the mud. The thought of flying away and abandoning it did not even occur to her, as lost to greed as she was. The site of the nest's ruin became known as The Sunken Place. A cursed, evil place, where everything living is poisoned by the Cuckoo's hatred.
Some Hours moved to set themselves against this rising monstrosity, but by the time the truth was known, the damage had been done. The Peacock had amassed a wealth of stolen power from the other gods, its forces' numbers swollen innumerably by vast hoards of Long dominated by the Peacock's power and put under his control. This group came to be known as The Choir Unceasing for the unending, obscene cries and otherworldly music they made. Many Keys aligned themselves with this rising power, and for a time the unholy alliance of the Keys and Nowhere reigned dominant over the Upper Mansus.
This came to a head when the Keys' power grew so great as to reach into the Third History, a world in which the power of the Doors had been all but supreme. Across the sea from the empires of the Doors, the Keys leaked into the minds of the people of the Americas, supplanting their gods and leading them into the throes of their bloody worship. Fearing that the Keys would amass enough power to re-ignite the War of the Doors should they gather any more power, the Doors sent the forces of man across the sea to destroy their cults and take the wealth of the native people for their own. This plan failed disastrously when one such conqueror, Hernan Cortes, decided he would rather take power for himself rather than be subordinate to an ungrateful empire far across the sea. With the support of the other conquerors, he donned a golden crown and proclaimed himself the Golden King of the New World.
Shocked and incensed by this affront to their power, both the mortal empires and the Hours of the Doors moved to crush Cortes with their full might. But these efforts were again thwarted as the Hours of the Keys reemerged, offering Cortes unimaginable power in return for his aid. Desperate for allies, the King accepted and the newfound alliance successfully drove the re-claimers from the New World.
The Doors however rallied and managed to turn the tables on the Doors once again however. The Cuckoo, eager for revenge on the Peacock for escaping her, used her unique ability to imitate the other Hours to lure the Golden King into a trap. When the Keys brought Cortez to the Mansus, the Doors lured him instead into a trap.
The Apple-of-the-Eye gave up one of its many titles - The Golden City, El Dorado - that would give Cortez the power he sought, but would also tether him in place, preventing him from leaving his corner of the Mansus. The treasure was placed within the territory of the Peacock and the Keys, so that what was meant to be their ultimate weapon would become their downfall.
While this was happening the Anvil - who had come to be regarded as one of the foremost Doors alongside the Anaconda - approached the Maker for aid. In the name of their old friendship, the Anvil implored the Sculptor aid it once more in the construction of a device that would be instrumental in breaking the Nowhere-Key alliance. Although they'd drifted apart over the years, the Hour of crafting could not resist the temptation to make a one of a kind creation.
Using their power, the Maker and Anvil crafted a gate of living, molten gold, ever-flowing and constantly renewing itself so that it would not be able to be destroyed. The doorway to a prison worthy of gods. The Gilded Gate.
The plan worked flawlessly. Cortez eagerly took the bait, binding himself and his armies to the treasure laid out for him by the Glorious Lie. As he joined with the Golden City and ascended to Hourhood, but in the process bound himself there, and became unable to ever truly leave it. He became a shadow of what he sought to become, Old Tarnished. Convinced that the Keys were the ones that led him to make this terrible mistake, he set armies and all his newfound power against them will all his rage behind them. Simultaneously, the Maker and the Anvil completed the Gilded Gate to bar Cortez from blindy rampaging through the House... with the Maker trapped on the other side.
The Anvil had come to believe the Maker was too dangerous to be allowed to walk the Mansus free, and imprisoned it alongside the other violent Hours behind the Gate. Its heart utterly shattered at this ultimate betrayal, the Maker turned and threw itself into the fray, as the Alliance of Keys turned into a bloody free for all as their corner of the Mansus was consumed with war. The Keys beside the Maker and the Peacock relented and fled, returning to their demesnes while the latter were left to fight behind the gate. The Choir Unceasing was overpowered and slaughtered, forced into hiding with the Broken-Bird in the High Rooms of the House, and there he remains.
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