Uxmat's Armillary

Uxmat's Armillary (also known as the Ancient Ovinex Compass) is an armillary sphere which served as a template for the first spherical compass, an essential tool for modern inter-cube and inter-tesseract travel.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

An outer, cubic cage holds eight casters (one at each vertex) upon which the inner mesh sphere would have been able to rotate given appropriate lubrication. Intricate gearboxes, their components long since corroded away by the sea breeze, once connected the casters to devices, also missing, which would have attached to the cage at the vertices. Small, rounded fragments of glass found near the armillary by the first Rostran visitors suggest that these devices may have been astrolabes with lenses in the eyepieces. A large pivot on the base would have allowed the entire mechanism to be rotated manually and locked into one of several pre-set orientations.  
Within the inner mesh sphere lie a number of concentric rings with graduated markings on them; these markings are believed to be part of a system for indicating relative angles. Counterweights on the rings keep them balanced, while strategically placed lodestones would have caused them (when properly lubricated) to eventually settle into an alignment with the Northern and Southern Tesseracts relative to the sphere's own location.
You carry one of these on your sky-boat? But... how can you carry a white-stone pillar this big into the air?
— An Ovinex wool trader to a Free Faces League importer
  Despite the complexity of Uxmat's Armillary, no contemporary script is found upon it or the carved marble pillar on which it now rests. The name 'Uxmat' is scratched into the marble pillar in Iuxataba script. Ancient sources attest Uxmat as the Rostranized name of the Ovinex Island Ranger who first showed the armillary to outsiders.

Manufacturing process

The methods by which Uxmat's Armillary was constructed - as well as who originally constructed it - are lost to history. The intricate bronze and lodestone workings of the armillary would have been beyond the technical prowess of the Ovinex in the 4th Millenia, but Ovinex oral traditions indicate that the armillary was known to have existed as a monument in their ancestral territory since even before that time.

Significance

When Rostran explorers first visited the site after the Rostran-Ovinex War, they were inspired by the construction Uxmat's Armillary to create spherical magnetic compasses and, later, mechanical guidance devices for large vehicles. These inventions were, in turn, crucial for the development of modern navigation technologies; it is possible that, without the discovery of Uxmat's Armillary, the Navigator's Guild would not have risen to prominence so early in the history of the Manifold.
Item type
Unique Artifact
Owning Organization
Rarity
Uxmat's Armillary is unique, though devices derived from it are ubiquitous in the modern era.
Dimensions
2.5' x 2.5' x 2.5' cubic frame assembly, 2' diameter inner sphere assembly, 3' tall marble support pillar
Raw materials & Components
Uxmat's Armillary is an ancient device constructed from brass and lodestone. The outer cubic cage stands on one vertex, the point of which is mounted into a large brass pivot. The pivot, in turn, is inset into a thick column of carved marble, the base of which is ringed with a raised marble platform. Over time, this platform has become partially overgrown and buried by airborne sediment, though regular visits by Ovinex pilgrims have worn a path to the device.


Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth

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