Endless Archives Building / Landmark in Istralar | World Anvil

Endless Archives

Truly unending, they say it is.. books that descend beyond sight, beyond thought.
— awed scholar
  The Endless Archives - sometimes known as the Endless Archive, or as the Wuxian Archive - are a major subterranean repository of knowledge located in the heart of Liangxin, Yulan Sheng. The structure's exact origins are unknown, but it seems to have persisted in some form since the Worldrend, if not also prior to that most terrible of disasters. Its presence is a secret to most, due to the dangers of what may be found in its many pages.   Notably, attempts to destroy the Archives may succeed, but only temporarily. Through some strange means, the Archives seem to always return - on the exact spot of their destruction, and always in similar form.  
The Unbroken March by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
In 5623, in the wake of a strange corruption throughout the continent, a group of adventurers known as the Lost Ones - reportedly mostly Champions - entered the depths of the Archives alongside the Galasthin-sponsored research squad, the Starcrowned, and the Dreamer priestess Jinne.   They uncovered the presence of the Unbroken March within, and subsequently sundered the Shard - though not without experiencing traumatic time dilation, and not without three true deities being sacrificed in the attempt in one of the worst calamities since the Worldrend.   In the aftermath, many questions have been raised about the truth of all written down in the Archives and their vicinity.   Countless texts across countless eras seem to have been twisted by the Shard, to the extent that all written history from central Xin-Jiyu - and potentially beyond - must be studied carefully.
  There is no knowing how much history was damaged or lost to the Shard's corruptions, nor how much of Xin-Jiyu's current state could have been caused by its interference. Indeed, new questions have been raised around even the fall of Meihua.


Long ago, when gods walked upon the soils of Istralar as men, a deity lived at the heart of the Great Wagon in a humble tower.   Men and women came from afar to beg for divine succor or beseech him for fragments of his great knowledge, and he gave freely to them so they might share it with others.
— Xin-Jiyan Legends: An Overview, Part One
  It is said that the city of Liangxin's precursor was laid out to mimic the wheel representative of a healer deity's medicine, though the exact reason for why this might be has long since been lost to time. The Five Heavenly Bridges that span the city's borders are the most permanent lingering remnant of this ancient myth, though they are but replicas of what the myth decreed, arranged approximately where the city's diviners imagined the bridges to have been.  
Rare instances of preserved information from the Era of the Divine suggest that the wheel held an additional component now absent from modern Liangxin: a central tower dedicated to the deity himself, supposedly in physical form.   Though the manifestation of a true god in this era was impossible, it is nonetheless likely that he could have sent a Herald, Champion, or constructed avatar in his place. Some scholars also posit that these writings are from even earlier - from the First Era, prior to the First Divine War. However, this is extremely unlikely due to the condition of the findings.   Writings from the early First Millenia indicate a distinct lack of this tower, instead speaking of a great wealth of knowledge secured in its place in what was known as the Endless Archive.   In the few pictographs and descriptions found in reasonable condition, that ancient central tower is depicted as a near-palatial building lush with rich decor from many corners of the world - a surprise, considering the state of trade and relations in those days.
Archive Hallways by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
  Mentions of the Great Wagon, as the settlement within the wheel was known, disappear entirely before the Lost Empire of Meihua had even considered settling the area.   That Liangxin would spring up purely by chance upon the same spot, mimicking the former architecture, is something many scholars have long held suspicions about - especially as the Endless Archives have been brought to recent memory whilst the former settlement remains entirely lost.  
Behind his back, his fellow deities derided him.   "Why would the Grandmaster of Medicine tell all he knows to mortals?" they would mutter, as their faithful descended into war.
— Xin-Jiyan Legends: An Overview, Part Two
the Endless Archives by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Founding Date
Mid-2000s (estimated; current form only)
Alternative Names
the Wuxian Archive, the Endless Archive
Parent Location
Owning Organization
Tianlong has been missing for three moons! He spent the past five praising our Lord for granting us our great understanding of His works, and swore he knew a way to reveal what we, in our foolishness, had lost.   His effects - those not upon him - were found by the Heavenly Bridge of Earth, but there is no other sign of him. Our Master is furious!
— disciple

Reappearance of the Endless Archives

Though the deity's own tower has never reappeared in the centre of Liangxin, rumours of a great wealth of knowledge beneath the city certainly have.   The first reported disappearance related to these rumours was a mortal man named Tianlong in the late 2000s, only a few centuries after Liangxin had been constructed.   Similar disappearances have been reported for millennia, with very few of those lost ever returning. Those who do return have always seemed scarred by what they found, though hold no memory of what happened to them.   Worse, most afflictions they carry do not resemble those from modern eras - instead hailing from times long past, if recognised at all.   It is suspected that the Wolf's Bite might have been brought back from these mysterious Archives by one such traveller, as the affliction has no recorded source.   To this end, the current government of Yulan Sheng asks that citizens report any affected with delusions of the Archives to them for investigative purposes.

Fall of the Great Wagon

When asked why, by the curious mortals that visited his home, he simply sighed. "The dragon-goddess spreads war, but none question her. The hunter-god shares food with the many, but his gifts are never turned away. We hold power so that we can share it; what wound can magic heal if it is given no opportunity? None. Let us be done with these silly questions."
— Xin-Jiyan Legends: An Overview, Part Three
  Geological surveys of the area surrounding Liangxin have shown that whilst the area is not located upon a fault prone to earthquakes, it has suffered damage from shaking earth in the distant past. Experts theorise that a great earthquake, perhaps one that helped spawn the Talmian Range and other mountains of Xin-Jiyu, was strong enough to reach the Great Wagon and trigger the collapse of the central tower once deific influence had been withdrawn from the planet in the wake of the Worldrend.  
the Central Tower in the Great Wagon by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Bereft of divine protection of its usual extent, the city would have no resistance to falling rock and flame, let alone the inevitable metres-high waves that would have swept across the town's port. Where the town once stood, there would have been little remaining. The land's inhabitants would, equally, have been destroyed in the disaster.   Only those further abroad might have survived, and by the time they could have returned safely, nature would have already reclaimed the ruins. This was, after all, in the millennia immediately following the Worldrend. Magic was tumultuous in this time, and both the continent and indeed the planet bore the brunt of magic's wrath.   As each continent still wears its scars today, with the Sunari Wilderness lying to the south, it is far too easy to understand what chaos may have swept the region clean of evidence - even without nature's own intervention, the abrupt disaster weaved by arcane magic has wrought far worse.   Perhaps, too, this was when the Unbroken March first came to the region - wiping the slate clean of what was there before, and corrupting what would be built anew.
Great Wagon, post-collapse by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
  The modern-day city of Liangxin was established in the mid-2000s on what is assumed to be the same spot as the former Great Wagon, as mentioned before. The city has grown and thrived over the past three thousand years, and is now one of the most populous on the continent. Despite the unique culture created in Meihua and now in Yulan Sheng, the Great Wagon still manages to influence Liangxin's establishment from beyond the grave - the city has always boasted five bridges in the same fashion, and whilst there is no tower at the centre, rumours of the Endless Archives lurking below the city have been recorded almost since it was built.

Cover image: Archives cover by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


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Jan 16, 2024 22:15 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

The idea of a shard corrupting all the books makes me hurt in the same way the burning of the Library of Alexandria does.   What an interesting place, though.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jan 16, 2024 23:28 by Han

All of the Shards have had some awful impact on the world, but man, the March has probably had the worst and most enduring long-term impact. Only written work created after its destruction can be definitively confirmed as real :(   Especially bad when you consider Shards can theoretically reach further than the area within their direct control, and likely have moved around at times... this thing has impacted the *world*.

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