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Whitecrest

Hollowed into the primal behemoth’s head lies Whitecrest, a district named after the ancient observatory carved from raven-black basalt into the shape of a woman’s head that bears a defaced white emblem on its forehead. From the back of the observatory’s statuesque cranium juts an enormous telescope that uses the beast’s crystallized central eye as a magical lens that according to legend allows the astrologers to see the skies of ages past. The observatory is protected by a hundred different magical safeguards and the few intruders who’ve managed to bypass the wards have returned shredded to pieces as if torn apart by a hail of invisible arrows. Only a handful of the highest ranking sorcerer-astrologers are allowed inside the main observatory after a long-winded bureaucratic process that can take years. Rumor has it that the basalt head also houses a wondrous First Age orrery that can be used to perform powerful astrological magic of potency unheard of in the Age of Sorrows.

Several other smaller observatories dot the cavernous district with their telescopes protruding through the skull, surrounded by opulent mansions and libraries built from ebon wood, magically shaped basalt, smoky grey crystal and purple marbled silk. Known these days as the Hall of Aruspicy, the establishment is the most prominent sorcerous academy in the South-West of Creation, its students numbering in hundreds. From lowly mortal thaumaturges to potent Dynast sorcerers, the institution’s ranks have grown over the centuries and the originally astrology-focused academy has taken on a wider approach to sorcery and the mystical. Even if their focus has shifted, the members of the Hall of Aruspicy retain the title of Augurs after the original institution’s function of divining the future. The magical substances distilled from the still-perspiring Essence humors of the behemoth corpse gather alchemists from all around Creation and the wondrous ingredients grown under magical light in Whitecrest’s hanging gardens have the same effect on enthusiastic botanists. Chimerologists come to wonder at the sorcerously bred bioluminescent nuga-centipedes that illuminate the cavernous city and summoners obsessed with Malfeas flock to Lathe after the persistent rumor that some can hear the whispers of Hell itself within its tunnels.

Initiation to the Hall of Aruspicy is a complex process that includes swearing magical oaths that bind the initiate to protect the institution and its secrets. As an interesting option, anyone with sorcerous or thaumaturgical capabilities can apply regardless of their history. The Hall of Aruspicy is willing to give troubled sorcerers a new life and a new identity if they give themselves fully to its service, weaving a powerful sorcerous working that blurs their past in the minds of those affected and binds the sorcerer to eternal servitude. Many of these bound Augurs are tasked with the keeping of peace in Lathe as an agreement with the city’s satrap, mainly patrolling the wealthier districts. These peacekeepers are seen by the population as mysterious figures floating above buildings on top of billowing sorcerous clouds, dressed in flowing cowled robes of black and violet and wearing white porcelain masks carved with five terrifying almond-shaped eyes in the shape of a star; two additional pointed diagonally toward the cheeks and one vertical on the forehead. When they descend upon wrongdoers they’ve been known to breathe out thick purple mist about them that incapacitates the unwary that inhale it. Beyond assisting with keeping order, the main duties of the sorcerer-architects of the Hall of Aruspicy lie with maintaining the tunnels, cavernous walls and other parts of the city’s sorcerous infrastructure.

The Hall of Aruspicy is led by a council formed from its strongest sorcerers and teachers, fronted by High Aruspex Nellens Juuka, a powerful Dynast sorceress that a century ago shifted the institution’s focus from stargazing to harvesting rare ingredients from the wondrous remains of the husk. She is known as a brilliant but strict persona, obsessed with security and control over the institution. That said, she is more than happy to talk to fellow occultists about her favorite subjects for hours on an end, sometimes getting so carried away that her anima of cherry blossoms and black thorned roots starts sprouting from her silhouette.