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ORDER OF EAGLECROSS: COUNCIL CHAMBER

Council Chamber

Council chamber

 
The secret council chamber, where the 7 Masters of the Order of Eaglecross deliberate and take their capital decisions.
 

Access is through a secret passage, from the pretorian guard below. A great spiral staircase rises then 20 meters inside the cliff of the imperial Citadel. The council chamber, where the 7 Hin Masters meet around an ebony table, is an ancient cistern that the palatial architects believe to have walled up and filled with stones, and that the Order thoroughly erased from the imperial maps. Materials were added behind the walls and above, to improve acoustic insulation. The chamber is beneath the base of a tower.
Few people, even inside the Order, know of its existence.
 

On arriving on the landing, to the right is the sanctuary, a place of rest where the Masters discuss in an informal way, waiting for the beginning of councils. The East wall supports nearly 5 meters of racks on 12 shelves. They contain a quantity of small vials sealed with wax, that hold the blood of all the Hin Masters since the origins of the Order, nearly 7 centuries ago. Since the vials are not sealed under vacuum, germs in the residual air have contributed to the slow degradation of blood, changing the contents of the oldest into ochre powder.
Far from being morbid, « it’s a symbol of blood shed for the Order ». While waiting for councils, the Hin Masters are invited to contemplate the multitude of flasks, and remember the efforts of their predecessors. Also, if they are killed and their body never recovered, at least part of them rests in the sanctuary beside their peers. Only one vial, it is heard, was ever removed…
 

Small bays of stained glass, concealed in the hollows of the rock offer a dominating view on the Noble Quarter and the City of Eaglecross below.
 

The council chamber shelters two large wall maps, of the Empire and its 13 provinces, and the imperial City. At the far end, an acoustic conduct drops to the great underground Library. It is possible to ask for particular maps, that assistants send up through the hoist.

The bays are to the South, and slightly to the West, letting in part of the setting sun. The light must first penetrate the hollows, then pass through the bays concealed with ambered glass, which often leaves the chamber crossed by rays of light or cast in a diffuse glow, the rest abandoned to shadows.