Silkenvault Cipher

Named for the city of Silkenvault - where it is most commonly encountered - Silkenvault Cypher is a secret steganographic conscript of the Vozendi language designed to be concealed within architectural elements.  

Cultural Significance

Silkenvault Cypher combines the dual New Voxelian proclivities for high art and subterfuge. Created in 9864 AR by an extant fraternity of architects within the Voxelia College of Bards, the Cypher can be seen as a symbol of subversive thought within that community. In a sense, the conscript serves many of the same cultural roles as time capsules - or graffiti - capturing the candid thoughts of each generation which utilizes it in their own architecutre. As most things which include Silkenvault Cypher are expected to stand for decades in public, however, things written in the conscript tend to be more carefully considered than painted or scrawled text.


The Cypher is also an important tool for Bards-Recursant to send and recieve messages in a way which, for those not immersed in the culture, would be difficult to understand. While often used for shout-outs, in-jokes, and pranks early in it's existence, the Cypher has since become a useful way to provide information about the true purpose and contents of buildings to officials without letting that information slip to Coalition forces. When incorporated into maps, paintings, or drawings of buildings, Silkenvault Cypher can also serve as a unique key for proving a document's authenticity.

Writing System

Silkenvault Cypher is unique in that it is primarily "written" in the form of architectural elements. The Cypher is a syllabary in which the sounds of Vozendi are converted into decorative fluting shaped into carvings, frescoes, and plaster moulding as a form of steganography. The cusps and curls of the Cypher's symbols are incorporated into other shapes which hold only decorative significance. For example, a pillar covered in a deco floral pattern might have Silkenvault Cypher symbols encoded in the arrangement of the plant stems or veins, while a pattern of small swirls pressed into the background of a raised marquee might include whole paragraphs of text.

Geographical Distribution

Examples of Silkenvault Cypher are most commonly found in Silkenvault, less commonly found in other Voxelian cities, and rarely in places with large numbers of New Voxelian expatriates. In short, Silkenvault Cypher goes wherever Silkenvaulter architects and engineers are found, though these groups (and Bards-Recursant) keep the conscript a secret amongst themselves. Most people, even most Silkenvaulters, just think that the patterns are an aesthetic choice and are blissfully unaware of the fact that the patterns actually convey messages.

Sentence Structure

While Silkenvault Cypher follows the structural conventions of the original Vozendi script, it can be read right-to-left or left-to-right and makes freqent use of palindromes. This is because, by mirroring the script, sentences in Silkenvault Cypher can be made into symmetrical strings that would not arouse suspicion if seen from a distance on a building's facade (i.e. symettrical patterns of laurel branches around the tops of pillars).
Root Languages
Spoken by

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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