The Vault is the largest structure in the Realm of Xii. It functions as a repository for the worlds created by the Xiinisi, and the contents of this structure continually shifts and changes, as does the architecture. It came into existence at about the same time as the Xiinisi’s Code of Conduct, marking a shift in their focus toward creation as a form of education, bringing an end to their chaotic and violent origins.
In its earliest form, the Vault began simply as a designated area in the realm, where the Xiinisi created worlds to study. (Their earliest worlds were less sophisticated, mostly designed for the purpose of escaping the violent tendencies of the older, stronger Xiinisi; but, many Xiinisi found themselves trapped in these subdimensions by those eager to torment them, and could never be recovered.)
As the landscaped changed and the worlds increased in numbers, a retaining wall was constructed. Eventually, the retaining wall evolved into a simple rectangular structure. When that structure became crowded with worlds, the Xiinisi began to construct sublevels, adding matter to the land as needed, both to the underside of their flat world or to what eventually would become the tallest mesa in the Realm, accommodating over a hundred levels at any given time.
Later, during their collaborative creation and study of the world we know as Earth, many of the Xiinisi interacted with Earth’s inhabitants at certain moments in the world’s evolution. Remnants of their presence are still studied to this day and can be seen in many ancient cultures around Earth, especially in the animal-hybrid and alien-like depiction of gods, demons, and spirits.
Many of the Xiinisi were deeply impressed by the architectural advancements accomplished by the Ancient Greek culture and adapted them to their structures, the Vault in particular. The original foundation remained rectangular, but the walls were turned into pillars topped by a triangular peaked roof.
The pillars were wide at the base and narrowed slightly toward the top, subtly fluted, and roughly spaced apart by about four feet, allowing the younger, unskilled Xiinisi to enter without shifting and to peruse displays of the most well-revered of their worlds and gain access to the sublevels.
The Ancient Greek influence continued throughout the interior, as well, with varied iterations reflected in the many vaulted ceilings, pillars, daises, alcoves, and archways, suggesting that the overall style is the result of a fusion of several different periods, but nothing specific or fully rendered.
For eons, the Vault existed as part of the flat world anchored to the Matter Fountain. Then, it underwent another transformation and was adapted to a more nomadic, organic landscape. The style remains the same, and the structure is mostly similar, except instead of being made from marble, the Vault is now made from bone.
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Ancient Greek culture continues to be a great inspiration and influence on a lot of modern day fantasy. One of my favourite earliest influences is The Trojan War by Bernard Evslin. I still have the Scholastic edition, illustrated by William Hunter (see image to the right). It’s in horrible condition, ready to fall apart at the seams at any moment, and probably not very accurate anymore in its interpretation of the myth of the Trojan War, but nostalgia wins out. If you’re interested in reading this version of the myth, published originally in 1971, it is still available, but with a more modern, trendier cover…