Enduring Hall

The Enduring Hall – previously known as the Eternal Palace, the Temple of Odr, the Temple of Haruman, and the Grand Mayor's Palace – is a social housing complex located on Uşɵzq̧ic in the Kamakari Mandate. The structure is known for having stood virtually unscathed through multiple wars and revolutions, being repurposed and expanded multiple times over the centuries since its construction.  

History

Initial construction

The central building of the then-unnamed building was constructed in 657 AC by the native human population in the city of Ajfil, Thisbur. It originally consisted of a one story sandstone structure containing a dozen rooms with a size of just over 350 m2. It began its life as a government building, occupied by the local constabulary and fire brigade of the city. Constructed during a time of artistic opulence in Thisbur, the structure featured columns carved like twisted vines topped with octagonal capitals, semicircular arches above doors and windows, sphere-topped pinnacles, and bevelled crenellations.   The building continued to serve in its capacity as the headquarters for the constabulary and fire brigade for just over a hundred years, undergoing two expansions, one which added an additional six ground-level rooms, the second adding a small second story with four additional rooms. These additions mostly retained the style of the original building, but did not use sandstone, instead being constructed of granite.  

Grand Mayor's Palace

By 545 AC, the city of Ajfil had grown to a size where the constabulary and fire brigade needed their own separate headquarters, as well as multiple secondary offices across the city. Expanding the current building was considered infeasible, so it was set to be abandoned and torn down. However, in 543 AC, Ajfil was rechartered as a Royal City by the Thisburian royal family, necessitating the appointment of a grand mayor. The former headquarters was originally slated to be a temporary residence until a more permanent palace could be constructed, but the first grand mayor, Harmin Felbur, enjoyed the appearance and decided to make it his permanent domicile. Subsequent grand mayors followed his footsteps and kept the building as their personal residence.   The Grand Mayor's Palace, as it came to be known, continued to function in this capacity for another three hundred years. It underwent three more expansions in this time, the first following an earthquake in 498 AC which damaged the surrounding buildings but left the palace unscathed. This expansion added an additional wing to the building, nearly doubling its size, with an additional 20 rooms added. By this time, the original architecture style had largely fallen out of popularity, and the additional wing featured a more symmetrical, plainer style with far less flourish. The subsequent expansions, in 423 AC and 369 AC, were more modest and aimed at adding second stories to the remainder of the building.  

Hannite Revolution

In 356 AC, the Hannite Revolution, a rebellion of land owners in southern Thisbur against the royal family, erupted. Ajfil was captured by revolutionary forces in early 355 AC, prompting the grand mayor and his family to flee. During the siege and subsequent capture of the city, the area around the palace caught fire, destroying many of the surrounding wooden buildings. The palace survived mostly unscathed, being constructed primarily of stone, though one outer room did collapse after the beams inside burned.   By 353 AC, the revolution had captured a sizeable and stable territory, declaring a new nation of Hanni with Ajfil as its capital. Once again, the palace was set to be demolished, as the Hannites felt it was emblematic of the excesses of the Thisbur government that they opposed. The building was spared, however, when a long-time priest of the god Haruman convinced the Hannites to convert the building to a temple.  

Temple of Haruman

Haruman was, at the time, a secondary god in the Thisburian pantheon, but the newly consecrated Temple of Haruman gave him much prestige. Many chambers in the building were altered to appropriately house a temple. Several rooms in the original building were combined to create a central worship hall; the salvageable sandstone blocks from the removed walls were used to repair the damaged room. The grandeur and historicity of the building attracted many, greatly increasing the number of prayers, devotions, and sacrifices made to Haruman.   When Hanni fell in 303 AC, the reconquering Thisburian nobility allowed the building to remain in the hands of the priesthood, to which it remained for another six centuries. It underwent several expansions during this time as the influence of Haruman and the population of Ajfil grew. The largest was in 9 AC, when a third wing was added, dedicated primarily to a large worship hall to accommodate the much larger congregations of this time. A fourth wing and third story were gradually added over several centuries. The temple reached its current size in 112 PC, containing four full wings, three full stories, 3 worship halls, and 154 other rooms.  

Temple of Odr

In 289 PC, Uşɵzq̧ic discovered the secrets of soraflight and reached the Sora, with a soraport built in Ajfil in 302 PC. The realm was invaded and conquered by the Álfuríki in 306 PC, who immediately outlawed the worship of the local gods. The Temple of Haruman was taken over by worshipers of the Álfuríkish god Odr. The holy artifacts of Haruman stored in the temple were all destroyed, replaced with those of Odr. The temple was otherwise unaltered. During this time, the temple primarily saw usage by the occupying elven forces as the native humans had been reduced to the status of slaves.  

Eternal Palace

In 412 PC, the Álfuríki broke out into an extended religiously-motivated civil war precipitated by the followers of Odr. The people of Uşɵzq̧ic took the opportunity to rebel against their occupiers. The realm was officially abandoned by the Álfuríki in 414 PC as their local forces redeployed to other areas. The numerous rebel forces then started to fight among themselves, with the Redith Restorationists eventually achieving victory in 416 PC.   The Restorers proclaimed the Empire of Uşɵzq̧ic with Afjil as their capital. The emperor claimed the former temple as his new palace, harkening back to its early days as the Grand Mayor's Palace. As the building had stood for over a thousand years, he named it the Eternal Palace, using its ancient history as a symbol of legitimacy. The emperor spent several years restoring the building to a pre-Álfuríki state.  

Enduring Hall

The Empire proved to be just as tyrannical as the Álfuríki. After only twenty years of rule, in 437 PC, the populace rose up in rebellion. Most of the realm was quickly overrun, but Afjil held out until 442 PC, enduring nearly a year of siege and blockade. When it finally fell, the emperor was publicly executed and the Eternal Palace left empty. By this point, the realm was tired of war and oppression. Looking toward the nearby Kamakari Mandate, the realm asked to be taken under its aegis. The Mandate eventually agreed, sending a cadre of kamakari to oversee the realm.   One of the first acts of the Mandate leadership was to transform the Eternal Palace into social housing, allowing any who needed it to live there free of charge. The building was internally renovated almost completely, ultimately resulting in 203 rooms in total. The building was christened the Enduring Hall by the natives in testament to its many centuries of existence and the confidence the people had in the oversight of the Mandate.  

Physical Description

The Enduring Hall is a three story tall building with a floor space of 5660 m2 with a 1890 m2 footprint. It is roughly rectangular at 60 m long and 31.5 m wide, but laid out in a figure 8 shape. The original wing is the smallest, consisting of 36 rooms, in an L-shape. The first floor of the center of the wing is constructed of sandstone, the later additions and second floor are granite, and the third floor is primarily wooden. The second wing is attached to the original in a ˥-shape and is somewhat larger, featuring 44 rooms in all. It is mostly composed of granite, along with some brickwork and a wooden third floor. The third wing is [-shaped and attached across the two previous wings. It is the largest of the four wings, with 67 rooms in total. Most of this part of the building is constructed of brick, though the upper level is, like the rest of the building, made from wood. The fourth and newest wing is ]-shaped with 56 rooms. The first floor is made of brick, while the upper levels are made from wood.   Due to the great span of time over which the building has been expanded, as well as the multiple different construction materials, the Enduring Hall does not have a single unifying style. The oldest parts display a highly ornate High Thisburian style, while most of the initial expansion has a fairly plain and reserved Low Thisburian look. The third-wing expansion done during the Temple of Haruman era attempted to find a middle ground between the two, but most consider it to have failed, instead creating an odd mishmash that has been described as a simplified and blocky High Thisburian pastiche. The later expansions took a minimalist approach, aimed more for functionality than appearance. The interior is far more modest due to frequent renovations over the centuries, particularly those initiated by the Mandate. The individual apartments are rather small, at just under 28 m2. The hallways are fairly plain and bare with wooden walls painted a medium gray.   Overall, the building has been described as "a charmingly unattractive golem, its mismatched parts creating a unique whole which is greater than the sum of its parts." Many foreigners view the structure as unsightly, but natives typically hold is in high regard as a symbol of the tenacity and perseverance of the Thisburian people.


Cover image: by Denis Khusainov

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