The Endless Archive Building / Landmark in Istralar | World Anvil

The Endless Archive

Long ago, when gods walked upon the soils of Istralar as men, Qi Zhong 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. His fellow gods derided him for it behind his back: "Why would the Great Master of Medicine tell all he knows to mortals?" they would mutter as their faithful descended into war.   When asked why, by the curious mortals that visited his home, Qi Zhong simply sighed. "Shizuru spreads war, but none question Her. Daikitsu shares food with the many, but Her 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
  It is said that the city of Liangxin's precursor was laid out to mimic the wheel representative of Qi Zhong'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. However, the rare instance of preserved information from the pre-Worldrend era indicates that there was once an additional component to this wheel: a central tower which held Qi Zhong's physical representation. Whether this representation was, in fact, a true avatar is not known - the god could have easily sent his Herald or Champion to maintain the residence - but the impact on what remains of that era's mythology is profound.   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, it is depicted as a palace-like building lush with rich decor from many corners of the world. 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 Archive has been brought to recent memory whilst the former settlement remains entirely lost.  

Fall of the Great Wagon

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 Qi Zhong's tower once the gods had already withdrawn from the planet in the wake of the Worldrend. Bereft of divine protection of the 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 Xin Jiyu bore the brunt of its powers. With the observed chaotic magic in the Sunari Wilderness even today, it is easily possible to believe that it might have reached north and claimed entire civilisations with little to no evidence.   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. Despite the unique culture created in Meihua and now in Yulan Sheng, the Great Wagon still manages to somehow 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.  

Reappearance of the Endless Archives

Though Qi Zhong's tower has never made reappearance 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:  
Tianlong has been missing for three moons! He spent the past five praising Qi Zhong 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!
  Similar disappearances have been reported for millennia, with very few of those lost ever returning. Those who do return seem to be scarred by the incident. Many hold no memory of what happened to them, instead gesturing to the many injuries and illnesses with some confusion, and this is to be expected - a number of the afflictions and wounds they carry are archaic and were long since thought to have disappeared. 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.
Alternative Names
The Wuxian Archive
Parent Location
Owning Organization
Characters in Location

Cover image: Istralar Generic Header by Hanhula (ft. photos from Phil Botha, Jonny McKenna, and Luca Bravo)


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