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The World of Time Master.

A Guide>History>How the World Works>Random Matters

A little of how the world works...

The Castle...

The castle of the Star Peninsula is the oldest surviving building in the world. No records of its construction exist, but it is widely believed that it was created, or at very least inspired, by the gods—though which gods is a matter for conjecture. Certainly no human masons could have cut and manipulated its vast black stones without supernatural help. Set on a massive stack and joined to the mainland by a natural rock span, it is a dramatic and daunting sight to any visitor, with its four towering spires stark against the backdrop of the uncharted northern sea.
            For all its forbidding appearance, though, the castle is a surprisingly pleasant place to live. Its many rooms are well furnished, there are servants in plenty to fulfil the needs of inhabitants and guests, and the spacious storerooms and frequent provenance wagons supply excellent food to be served in the great dining hall. The wine cellars are famed, and there are even underground warm bathing pools. But beneath the secular surface lies another aspect of the castle—its magical properties, which the Circle guard and use, even though they may not fully understand their nature.
            Chief of these is the Marble Hall, deep in the castle's foundations. Filled with mist and set with pillars reaching to a ceiling lost in dimness, the Marble Hall appears to defy spatial laws. It is said to be impossible to find its outer limits, but the Circle are less interested in testing this piece of lore than in using the Hall's other properties. Magical energy is concentrated here; especially so in the vicinity of the black circle set in to the mosaic floor, which—again, by repute—marks the Hall's exact centre. The magi knew that the black circle is also a gateway to other dimensions; the Circle, too, have discovered this but their knowledge is incomplete. What they do know, however, is that the Marble Hall is a place of enormous and potentially dangerous power, and for this reason only initiated Circle members are permitted to enter.
            The other major supernatural element is the Maze. Marked by a rectangle of grass slightly greener than the surrounding sward of the castle stack, it too is a spatial gateway; but between locations rather than dimensions. Using a combination of visualisation and dedicated amulets made and charged to trigger the Maze's powers, people can transport themselves instantly between the castle and any other place in the world. The magi used the Maze as an everyday matter, but after their fall most of their records were destroyed in the drive to wipe out all traces of their rule, so for many centuries the Circle knew little of this ability. However, they did discover the Maze's other attribute: the ability to shift the castle fractionally aside from normal time and space. Thus with the gateway closed the castle was visible only to outsiders who crossed the bright rectangle of grass and passed through. As one chronicler put it, 'They used the Maze to hold themselves aloof from idle scrutiny, but they did not fully understand what they used.'
            Centuries passed before the technique of travelling through the Maze was finally rediscovered, and early experiments were fraught with problems and, in some cases, dangers.

But eventually its use became as routine a matter as it had been in the magi's time.