Aug 1, 2015

Maps of the Artisans' Guild

I’m so intensely proud of these maps/blueprints! This Artisans’ Guild is a really interesting building where a bunch of my fantasy series takes place. It’s been powered and shaped and adjusted by magic for so many centuries that it almost has a life of its own. (In this country magic works through art.) With every season, the building is a little different. In the warm months it shimmers like a rainbow when the sun shines off it. In these months it seems to grow larger and wake up. It’s a completely different experience for my characters in book 1 (winter) than it is in book 2 (spring).

The most obvious thing is that this building is huge. That round grotto in the center? It’s about the size of my local park. Adair and Etri’s room is only slightly smaller than my entire apartment and that’s just one of the small rooms on the second floor (there’s a star marking it), if that helps with scale! Being this large and atop a hill in the center of the capital city, it’s the city’s defining feature; it’s how Silveridge got its name. (Ridge for the hill, silver for the color of the building.)

The coolest feature is that the building rotates. Every two hours or so, it rotates so that the next door faces the street/driveway leading up to the building. (On the first floor you can see 12 doors in the position of numbers on a clock.) This is so that the art studios always face the sun for the best light; by the next day, the building has done a full rotation. The building has a tall tower sticking up from one part and as this turns with the building, it functions as a clock for the city around it. (The culture has clocks and watches now, but originally this was a good way of keeping track of the time.) There’s stained glass everywhere- and those windows turn into doors when the building rotates to the front.

The first floor is the main one. It contains the art studios, the offices of the Grand Masters (there’s one for each branch of art- the highest ranking artist in that branch), the kitchen and dining room, the library/records room, etc. The key part is the grotto. This is the most arcane part because it’s where the ghosts of the founders (the Creators- they’re like gods) have the most influence. Strange things happen in the grotto and you can only get in if the Creators want you there. ;)

The second floor is the living area of the visiting artists (artists don’t live at the guild) and the docents (the equivalent of priest/esses) who do live here. The inset is what one of the artist rooms looks like. One thing of note: the lavatories aren’t separated by gender. There’s no reason to be when there are stalls for the tubs and toilets. This culture has had complete gender equality from the start and no one is more comfortable around their own gender verses another. (Plus this is a culture that accepts that there are more than two genders.) A lot of the hangups, hatreds, biases, etc the real world has are missing here. I love this!

The third floor only has three very large rooms: the ball room (where parties and celebrations are held), the art gallery, and the base of the “clock” tower. The top of the tower has a parapet around the front; I visualize this as looking a little like the walkway on my favorite lighthouse.

The last picture is underground. Here you have the really mundane stuff like storage, laundry, and the mechanics that make the building rotate directly under the first floor. (Magic may shape the technology, but a waterwheel does most of the work.) There’s also parts down here, lower than the mundane rooms, that only the docents and the Grand Masters know about. One is the crypt where the founders/Creators have their tombs. This is below the grotto, so no wonder they have the most power there! The “artisan record wall room” is what it sounds like. This is where there’s a memorial of all the members of the Artisan class, listed by death date. When these people die, they turn into ash (their magic burns the shell of their body), so this is their memorial rather than using a cemetery. This room becomes a plot point when a character stumbles into it and sees her name carved into the wall- when she’s very much alive.

This is so long and probably sounds so boring, but it’s really not! I promise! I’m having a lot of fun building a society of magical artists. :D

~Meri