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The Offering

The Offering, or <Error: Data Not Found> in High Arnan, is one of several pieces of stained glass found in the Consortium left-over from the time of the Arnikari Empire. Dated to <Error: Date Not Found>, it is one of the eldest known pieces of artwork still surviving.

Etymology

<Error: Data Not Found>

Description

A reproduction of The Offering in its modern state.

The Offering is composed of three panels of stained glass bordered by slim panels of thickened and darkened glass. In total, it measures 10.8 meters long and 6.3 meters tall (including the borders) with each individual panel measuring 3 meters long and 4.5 meters tall.

The leftmost panel is dominated by a depiction of a large stone bowl full of bright white to dull yellow flame. The bowl is a dark color with curving inlays of gold.

The middle panel features a kneeling figure clothed in light cloth (likely originally white, now a dull tan). The figure rests with both knees on the floor, their back curved and head bent toward the right. Their hair, a light brown color, falls freely to the side, leaving their featureless face exposed. Their hands are held in front of them, palms up, cupping a floating flame that matches the color in the stone bowl of the previous panel.

The stone bowl also edges into the middle panel, limiting the space available for the kneeling figure. This results in a cramped feeling for the pane.

The rightmost pane features a standing figure clothed in dark fabric. A bright red sash is wrapped around their waist, and their hair is covered by the same dark fabric as their body, which extends in a cape-like fashion to the right edge of the panel. A gold crown or circlet rests on their head, and thier right hand is held up in front of them at shoulder height with the palm facing the kneeling figure. The left hand is held just in front of the hip, palm down.

Interpretation

The figures depicted in The Offering are commonly referred to as the Supplicant and the Authority. The stone bowl is thought to depict the Stone Brazier, which rests in the center of the room where the stained glass is displayed. The pale colors of the flame, along with the height (reaching up past the top of the panels), resemble the alchemical flames induced by atyiki [at.ji.ki] in the Rite of Declaration.

The Supplicant is likened to a youth by the relative lightness of their clothing, the unbound hair, and the positioning within the panel. The imposition of the stone bowl on their space is also likely intended to make the figure appear smaller and fenced in - limited by their inexperience and pushed toward the Authority.

The Authority figure is marked by two consistent symbols found across Arnikari artwork - the gold circlet and the bright red sash. Additionally, the covered hair and darker robes are both reflective of the figure's age in relation to the Supplicant.

Significance

The Offering is thought to depict the original version of the Rite of Declaration practiced by Mag'arna today. The artwork also offers numerous clues into the culture of the Arnikari, who the Mag'arna hope to emulate, including the significance of the color red. In particular, the red of the sash worn by the Authority has proven difficult to replicate even in modern times. It is theorized that the pigment was achieved with some rare and precious ingredient in addition to the powdered drake scales used to create a darker magenta characteristic of Arnikari artwork.

The purpose of the work is yet unclear - the Arnikari were not known for keeping records and were notoriously secretive as a people, so their penchant for recording what must have been culturally significant rituals in stained glass is a mystery. Some see the panels as instructions left for future inhabitants of the Spire, while others point out that their secrecy may not have extended to their own followers.
"If they left their artwork as instructions for future inhabitants, that implies they knew of their impending demise. What kind of conquering culture forsees their own destruction and decides to record instructions for future unrelated generations in glass of all things? It makes absolutely no sense, and is more reflective of the pride and arrogance of the Mag'arna than the Arnikari."
— The Archivist's Private Notes
"The most complete of the remaining panes, The Offering is unique in the relative preservation of its original design. The bright red of the Authority's sash remains a goal for modern Mag'arnan alchemists that has yet to be replicated."
— An excerpt from The Art of the Conquerors, by Lord Khal


Related Articles

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Tradition / Ritual | Aug 1, 2021

The ceremony in which a student declares their intention to join a House.

Stone Brazier
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Cover image: by crowscribbles

Comments

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21 Jul, 2021 18:34

What a great and unique way of approaching thus article. Really well done and amazing artwork.


Featured Articles in the Shadow War across Creation by Graylion

Roleplaying
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Rollplaying
21 Jul, 2021 21:36

Thank you! It’s still got a bit to go, I’m not quite happy with the significance section yet, but I’m you like it!!

1 Aug, 2021 12:08

Very nice article and cool way to work with the prompt! Nice touch on adding a bit of mystery at the end as to why a culture would put instructions down for future generations :) The art that goes along with it is pretty nice as well!   I noticed that there are some <Error: Data Not Found> in the text. Perhaps you have changed something that gives that error?

Feel free to check out my River challenge article and my Secrets in the swamp Adventure article if you want to see what I am up to!
1 Aug, 2021 16:57

Thank you!   And no, the error messages are basically my placeholders. I type them in intentionally when I want to include something but haven't settled on it yet. Mostly names, and (in this case) anything in High Arnan since I haven't started creating that language yet.

Eternal Sage LauraVAB
Laura VanArendonk Baugh
5 Aug, 2021 02:02

I love your use of visual art as the message for this prompt (I did that too!) and your image is great. Nice article.

5 Aug, 2021 15:01

Thanks! I’m so happy with how it turned out, crowscribbles (or whitewingedcrow, i need to figure out which they prefer) is an amazing artist.