Hall of Speakers (Planescape)

From Karriviki

Hall of Speakers

Seems amazing, but body bound and determined to poke his sneezer around the Hall of Speakers can see quite a lot before anyone thinks to stop him. See, the Hall's a public place; Any sod can get in, but few get to look beneath the surface of normal legislative goings-on.

The Signer headquarters rests in the lively corner of the Clerk's Ward. Street criers, scribes, touts, and couriers stay plenty busy. Visitors to the Hall need their services and will pay. Mercenaries resting between campaigns book rooms in the lush inns here, refurbish their gear, and change their foreign coins for local jink with the money-lenders. Importers of exotica sell their goods to the wealthy and the perverse. Devas in disguise pursue goals of their powers. And lone knight of the post - the most adept at the trade - skim the rich pickings available.

The hall itself has no lawns or terraces, but rests amid the surrounding welter of affluent lodgings and domiciles. Its tall, graceful spire makes the place hard to miss. The oval Hall itself is carved of marble. A covered arcade surrounds the building, interrupted by two entrances; the Signer's Portal at one end and the Speaker's Portal at the other.

Speaker's Podium

The foyer inside either entrance looks bright and airy. The walls seem to glow, and the high windows checker the floor with light. A continuous stream of flows through the entrances; some head for the meeting rooms and private apartments leased out by Signers, but more make for the chamber called the Speaker's Podium. A basher standing in the foyer of the Speaker's Portal can hear quite clearly the debate raging dead ahead:

"I demand that the Fhurling Bridge be demolished forthwith!" yells an irate Indep. "That crumbling span's a hazard to any basher crossing it, and I'm tired of telling the Clueless why they can't get from Ulick's Bowse in the Hive to Ilyer's Haberdasher in the Lower Ward without going all the way up the Zaddfum Trestle."

Debates such as this usually get resolved in the Council Chambers to either side of the Speaker's Podium. Folks on the speaker's list come here to hold public hearings or discussions. Getting on the speaker's list makes this Hall another arena for interfaction battles. See, anybody can be a speaker, as long as they get on the list. The council of Speakers comprises only official delegates from each legitimate faction - factols or other high-ups. The Speaker, always a Signer, oversees all public sessions, presiding over the debates regarding statues, decrees, and Sigil law. After sufficient public hearings, the Council retires to chambers to vote the proposals into law - or vote them down.

Upper floors

Across the corridor and to either side of the Speaker's Podium, a visitor might spot two spiral staircases that give access to the Hall's upper chambers. A pair of identical stairways flanks the Signer's Portal at the the other end of the Hall, and more stairs are situated at intervals along the corridor that encircles the Hall. A basher climbing to the top of a stairway sees a long, curved hall, spotted with doors at regular intervals. Behind these doors lie meeting rooms, faction members' kips, and the rented cases of visitors and dignitaries who don't mind having landlords who happen to be the centers of the multiverse. The stairs each climb stories above the Hall's main floor.

Faction rooms

The far end of the Hall's faction territory - but except for the guards on either side of the Signer's Portal, the area frequently goes unpatrolled. A daring basher could approach even the factol's quarters without anyone squelching the peel. Though glimpsing Darius herself always makes a body wonder what she's thinking, spying on her rooms is pretty dull. 'Course, a blood that does as much concentrating as she does wouldn't clutter up her bland quarters with a lot of knick-knacks and treasure.

Exiting the factol's rooms into the Hall's immense garden, a basher can sneak right past the faction's Chamber of Concord. Watching the long line of Siners pass out its door, a basher has to ask himself how they ever arrive at consensus. Aligning so many personal multiverses into a shared view can't be easy.

The most mysterious chamber in the Hall of Speakers is the tomb of faction founder Rilith. The impressive vault, oval like most other rooms in the Hall, features strangely organic pilasters supporting a cornice that resembles stalactites arranged in a line. Magical light from high above in the curved roof - everything looks curved in the Hall of Speakers - focuses on a massive urn carved from colossal ocean pearl. According to the chant, Rilith's remains rest within that urn. A contingent of Signers watch the thing day and night, all the while thinking about their founder. See, they fear Rilith might disappear from history, should their attention lapse a moment. And, without its founder, the faction itself might vanish!