The Epoch Calescent
Sugati Bahudeya Estate
The estate of Sugati Bahudeya (a name which means “Star-Auspicious Munificence”) is located perhaps ten minutes by horseback from the great Varangian city of Yane. Sugati Bahudeya is a gift to the Imperial Satrapy from the Wizarat of Varangia. It is currently in the holding of the current Satrap, V’neef Jiana.
The palace itself is a beautiful edifice, constructed with geomantic and astrological precision, extending out onto Lake Splendor of Stars. It is built with two large keeps that stand across the courtyard from one another, the Guest Vault and the Household Vault. It also has four smaller square keeps at its corners, set aside for military and domestic use. The outer walls themselves are not simply walls, but contain all manner of antechambers, slave quarters and similar structures needed to keep the Palace in operation.
The Palace itself is explicitly not a government edifice – it is given over to the maintenance and comfort of the Satrap and her household. As such, only the Satrap’s household servants and guards are installed here as staff, and only her direct guests are welcomed. This was given to the satrap as a gift for her friendship and fair handling of the Varang people.
The Guest Vault
The Guest Vault faces the road that leads to the estate. Its massive doors open out onto the elegant but simple courtyard, permitting access to the two-story tall, cobbled passageway (easily wide enough for any wagon, save the largest of the Guild’s keep-wagons) that opens on the Garden Courtyard. Flanking this entrance are a pair of stairs leading up to balconies overlooking the hallway. This balcony has a number of entrances, leading to several guest suites, made up of multiple rooms apiece. A smaller set of stairs leads upstairs to single guest rooms and communal eating spaces for all guests here. A full set of servants tends to the needs of guests here. The middle of the lower hallways has passages that lead into the Roadside Walls, as well.
The Household Vault
The same size as the Guest Vault, the Household Vault does not have to sacrifice most of its interior space to a central passageway. Its interior is opulent, as befitting the palace of an Imperial Satrap, with many public areas on the main floors, and wings worth of suites, ballrooms, small theaters, nurseries and the like. The central hall, the Satrap’s Refectory, is where most people in the estate take their evening meals when the Satrap is in residence to take hers.
The Roadside Walls & Towers
The Roadside Walls are honeycombed with two kinds of rooms: guard stations (each of which looks out onto either the Garden Courtyard or the road outside) and storage (which are accessible only from the passages). The sole exception to this are the stables. There are two stables, one on each side of the entrance. These stables open onto the Garden Courtyard, with a side passage that leads out into the main hall through the middle of the Great Vault. One of the stables is reserved for the exclusive use of the Satrap and her household, while the house guard and guests use the other stables. The two towers that face the road hold armories and barracks for the household guard, as well as defensive stations along the upper parts of the towers.
The Lakeside Walls & Towers
The walls along the side of the estate that faces the lake has a variety of small rooms and suites along its length. Most of them are closed off or used for storage, though the V’neef Advisor, Qatia, maintains rooms in one set of them. Many of these rooms have large balconies that gaze out over the lake. It also has a set of stairs – the Lake Stairs – that lead up to the main level of the estate, and which have a variety of moorings to allow small boats and the like to be tied up to them. This set of entrances is guarded by household guards, of course.
The two towers that face the lake have been turned into household offices, libraries and meeting rooms, as well as a summoning room with a binding circle imbedded into the floor of that chamber. The upper stories of these towers have been turned into opulent guest quarters for those Imperial or House guests who are too important to be put into the comparatively plain guest suites of the Guest Vault.
The under-side of the estate is a vast and impressive open cavern, with high-arching ceilings upheld by massive stone pillars. Most of the space down here is open to the lake surface. Relatively narrow stone walkways hug the supporting walls and arches. The entire series of water-cellars are also clearly intended to allow for the inevitable rising and dropping of the lake: there are three levels worth of these walkways, with the bottom-most level only revealed in the heat of drought season, and everything but the uppermost level submerged in typhoon season.
The vaults down here are open, for the most part, to the lake itself, although there are a small few rooms that are sealed off save from entry above, though water is permitted to still fill them: the wine cellars, in which many bottles of pale wine are kept in racks that can be winched down into the water to keep them permanently chilled, and the water oubliette, a series of eight lightless chambers accessed from the guard towers (four per tower) with narrow ledges on the sides of the wall, up and down the height of the deep chambers, forcing those within them to either find a way to cling tenaciously to these ledges, sleeping and awake, or spend their time in the water below.
The Garden Courtyard
The central courtyard might be called a garden, if gardens grew trees. Its lavish and beautiful landscaping is surrounded on all sides by galleria. It is filled with impressive statuary, and those who are here for long begin to see a theme to the layout: it is divided into the twenty-five Celestial Houses, though this is hard to tell with all the little copses, nooks, crannies and private spaces scattered through it.
There are seven small plinths that appear and disappear within the garden courtyard when no one is looking – a white one lined with orichalcum veins, a black one lined in veins of moonsilver, and five others that look like large pieces of polished hematite, with veins of glass in the colors of the Maidens. These items appear in new areas of the gardens as that Incarna’s celestial body moves into the House that part of the garden is associated with – a sort of astrological tool hidden in garden landscaping.
The estate’s astrologer Daivaja Has-Kan Matilna has found that this tool is not only better than the individual calculations any given astrologer might make with ephemeris, but also updates itself perfectly, without needing to track the movements of the Maidens. It is also proof against the strange patterns that the Incarna bodies sometimes make in the Heavens, which cannot be predicted in an ephemeris, and can only be spotted directly.
In the center of the garden is a grand five-sided gazebo that stands upon a hill overlooking the rest of the courtyard: the Heart of the Garden. It is enclosed by glass walls with some kind of etching on them. This gazebo can only be opened by the bearer of the hearthstone. Within is a small five-sided pillar into which the manse’s Essence is channeled and solidified into a hearthstone, the XXX. Additionally, at night, by touching a single pane of glass, the symbols of the Zodiacal Houses glow in soft, pearlescent light, with a small mote of light on the glass in a color of one of the Incarna, corresponding with the location of that plinth in the garden, even if it can’t actually be seen from the Heart of the Garden.
The estate itself is surrounded by rough terrain, with sandy soil and a great deal of scrub. It is unsuitable for agriculture without a great deal of expensive soil conditioning, and very few herd animals could possibly pasture here. Despite this, the satrap has found a handful of ways to make it profitable.
The land itself supports small numbers of goats, including a handful of wild herds. Household goatherds see to the care of the estate’s goats, who are penned in a small wooden compound a half-mile from the manse proper. This compound has space for a dozen or so herds, and sleeping arrangements for all its goatherds, plus their wives and families. These goats provide food for the estate, and the coin that comes from selling them at market is split between the goatherds and the estate.
The herds of wild goats are a draw to a number of predators, including the large pumas of this area. Other wildlife of this area includes wild boar and a great deal of fowl. This is another source of the estate’s income: hunting parties. The estate’s groundsmaster, Ilava Yane Rakisa, puts together and organizes parties of hunters, who pay for the privilege of hunting the well-stocked lands of the estate, with the guidance of a skilled hunter like Rakisa.
Finally, the last and most profitable venture was the idea of the Satrap’s Second, who noticed that among the other twisting scrub bushes were often found the rare dragon-palm shrubs. When its bark is slit in the season of Water, the trees “bleed” a red-brown sap through the Seasons of Earth and Wood. When dried, this sap produces the expensive dragon’s blood resin so used in incenses all over Creation. Estate workers harvest the resin, often even sleeping in the fields to keep resin-poachers from stealing any.
The lake of the estate is beautiful, shining with the reflection of the sky during the day, and sitting still as a mirror at night. Such a body of water in this land is coveted, and one of the estate’s other sources of income includes the many fishing parties held here. A full day of fishing, along with boating and ending in a meal of what was caught during the day, cooked on the pebbled beach, is well-coveted and well-paid-for by the nobles and wealthy of Yane.
The estate also has a variety of small pleasure craft for the general use of the staff and household. The largest of them is very nearly a yacht, with a covered area replete with luxurious cushions and plenty of space in which to relax in the sun.