The Pillars of Heaven
In the dry plains of Aldina, a great corpse sprawls in the dirt. Trees grow between its fingers, and brown grass curls around its feet. Markets have sprung up between its ribs, level upon level built into the bones, zip lines and rope bridges cris-crossing the yawning gulf of its chest cavity. Houses dot its mouth, nestled against its great teeth in concentric rings. The jeweled palaces of kings look out from its empty eye sockets. This is Elworroth: The City of the Corpse.
Despite its name, Elworroth is not as morbid as it might first seem. The empty reaches of Aldina leave very little to sustain travelers, so they came to this place to gain shelter from the frequent rains and surly winds. But Elworroth is a city haunted by ghosts, and obsessed with the dead. The dead do not always depart after dying, as their souls are gathered up by the alien Soulwinders, who make them into guardian spirits, ghosts, or even revenants.
At night, the city rings with joyous tributes to the lives and deaths of those who have come before. The denizens make art from the bones of the passed, and some even preserve the bodies of their loved ones and keep them on display in their homes. It is not uncommon to hear someone in Elworroth speak to one of their ancestors, and for the ancestor to answer back in a hollow voice that emanates from thin air.
The city is ruled by Sieph, an immortal god-king who broods in the fortress of Chadrat in the left eye socket of the City of the Corpse. Grown reclusive and melancholy, he rarely sees outsiders and has done little to further the service of his city in generations. His desires and edicts are interpreted by the Janissars, a group of soldier-mystics who claim to share Sieph’s mind. The Janissars have grown ever more factionalized and hostile to one another, and some have begun to doubt that Sieph even still lives. Others occasionally plot to find, and abscond with, the source of Sieph’s immortality.