The Second Fansus

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The Second Fansus, known in-universe as the Mansus and FNORD, is the primary residence of most Hours, excluding those who reside in the Wood. It was born from the violent collapse of the Other Place of which little remains now - for the best, as some of the older Hours will attest. As many Hours will demand, however, under penalty of the cryptic Crime of the Sea, forbidding the study of the Subsumption that led to the end of the Other Place, and cryptically, 'drowning the past'. In the wake of the Partisan's cindered ambitions and the scheme of the Hours who stopped him, the Mansus is precipitous, held at peace by the most delicate balances of power. An arrangement even the most minor of beings could upset...

Appearance

A sketch of the Second Fansus's appearance, c. 200 C.E.

The Second Fansus was constructed gradually, over a long period of time, and by no single entity. The oldest portions of it are said to predate this Place, and may in fact be the remains of a Mansus that came before it; those who could remember are mute on the subject, however. The Mansus proper can be broadly divided into three sections of unequal size - the Foundations, the Edifice and the Arbory - and is surrounded on all sides by the Wood. Adjoining it is the Den of the Mother Bear, the oldest part of the Mansus if one disregards the Ruins. It is topped by the Spirarch, who descends from the Glory as an inverted tree, forming the Arbory with its topmost branches.

The Foundations

Long ago, the Unending Worm burrowed its way into this world from Nowhere and never left, endlessly digging through the ground in search of the Light it has been denied. Over the eons its digging carved out sizable tunnels beneath the Ruins, filling them with its bulk in such a way that it came to be a set of living foundations for the Mansus above it. Over time many rooms have been set up between its coils, though not all dare venture into the deeper recesses of the Foundations nowadays.

Additionally, as a result of the excessive digging, some portions of the Ruins have collapsed and now are partly enmeshed within the Foundations. Some parts remain accessible to mortals; most shouldn't be.

The Edifice

The Edifice is the principal component of the Second Fansus, having been largely built by the The Spinner of Stars on top of the pre-existing Ruins over the centuries. It is a heteroclite assemblage of different styles, materials and intentions with little forethought given to its overall design, at least initially. Its exact bounds are ill-defined, but it is generally agreed it begins at ground level, where it connects with the Mother Bear's Den, and ends where the Arbory begins to take over.

The Arbory

Near the very top of the Edifice the artificial walls and floors give way to tangles of organically-sculpted marble branches, intertwined so tightly and finely that it can take some time to realize these rooms were not built but grown. It begins with a few branches poking through windows and cracks in the rooms below and ends when the tangle of branches becomes so thick as to prevent the emergence of space for rooms. A single, tiny passage weaves through this tangle, leading to the topmost part of the Arbory: the Heartwood, a forest within a tree, where one begins to enter the trunk of the Spirarch. There can those who are prepared for the journey begin their ascent to the Glory, climbing the winding stairs that journey up through the trunk and beyond. Those who are not ready will find the journey interminable and blinding, as the light of the Glory begins to seep through the sap of the tree to an unbearable intensity, while the worthy will find it to be a difficult but achievable ascent. Those who have made it to the top and returned have not shared their experiences thus far.

History

The Second Fansus's history begins thousands of years ago, in a place time no longer reaches.

The Hibernation and the Awakening

In a time before our time there was perhaps another Mansus, perhaps something else. As the other place was ending, the Mother Bear, the last of the great beings that ruled it, forged her Den. There she waited and slept, while the death of the other place birthed from her the Cub.

Then, in the third Autumn of the 75th Olympiad (c. 480 BCE), the Mother Bear’s awakening shook the walls of the Mansus and the roots of the Histories, awakening the remnants of power that became the later Gods-From-Stone, and rekindling the light of the Glory. From the darkest depths of the woods, in a swamp barely touched by the light of the Glory there arose a ruinous hour of Winter. The Rotted Ox was the remnant that came from the old powers of ending and its decay is the same as the decay of the other place. Out of the Mother Bear’s den came the Cub, who has the desire to protect of its mother, as well as the desire to grow, same as any young creature. From the ruins of a mighty castle, or perhaps a slum, rose the Monument, steeped in memories of the past and nostalgia for the place that was. Meanwhile in the Histories there was a great upheaval as the old powers crept back into the world, stones fell and the earth shook, the sun became brighter, then darkened. All over the Histories man was in turmoil as well, and with the return of the Hours the histories diverged and humanity could creep into the house once again.

The Union of Sky and Earth

As this unfolded on the surface, an unbidden visitor was slowly making its way upward. The Unending Worm had arrived from Nowhere long ago, seeking to pierce the Surface and devour the Sun. But though it bent all its will on this task, the surface remained inaccessible to it, and in time it came to be the Foundations of the Mansus, twisted and coiled underneath it. There it remained until the Awakening caused the first God-From-Light, the Spirarch, to descend from the Glory as a colossal inverted tree, branches reaching for the ground and roots planted firmly around the Glory.

Where the Worm sought the Sky, the Spirarch sought the Earth and what lay beneath it. It strained as much as its strength allowed, yet knew it could never reach it. Therefore it allowed a single leaf to fall from its branches, Naming it the Martinet and appointing it its emissary. The Martinet was sent deep into the Foundations to seek out what it could, and there it was that it chanced upon the Unending Worm, to whom it spoke of the Spirarch and its ambitions. A pact was made, the Spirarch and the Worm vowing to do all in their power to reach each other.

It is unknown what the effects of the Union of Sky and Earth will be. Many believe it will herald the end of this Cycle, leaving no room for Man and all other life to flourish. As a result, FNORD. It is believed by some that the Union would be the one thing capable of stirring the Worm Funktastic from its saxophone, although none know what would happen next.

The Treachery of Knives

<Murder of the World's Thane>