The Arcane Remains & Knife in the River
The Arcane Remains & Knife in the River

The Arcane Remains & Knife in the River

The Arcane Remains

It is well known that the Arcane, those mysterious blue giants from the phlogiston known for trading, are barred from the streets of the City of Doors; but what few know is just how this information became wide spread. The Arcane Remains is how. Resembling the picked-over carcass of a beached behemoth, the Arcane Remains are the remnants of the first ship to pass through Seafarer’s Arch from the outside. It was a regal craft, bejewelled and gilded with precious materials, its sails woven of the finest silk, its decks were carved of the richest wood. Its crew were aristocratic and noble, not at all the scurvy sea-dogs the imagination would assume, and its captain a regal giff admiral of astounding stature. Unfortunately, the craft’s girth was greater than the width of the Ditch itself (some sixty cubits), and it ran aground in a disaster of catastrophic proportions. Whatever cargo the craft may have been carrying never made port; mere moments after its alighting on Sigil soil, the enigmatic Lady of Pain appeared, her mute shadow hacking the grounded ship like a butcher’s cleaver. Now, its struts poke the sky like bony ribs, and the once-magnificent, massive bombard that ran the ship’s length lists to the side, corroding and useless. None have dared search its half-submerged body, fearful that whatever reason the Lady had in gutting her might be applied to any bubber foolhardy enough to set foot in her. Should any barmy try and somehow succeed, they could be rewarded with weaponry beyond their wildest dreams—the giff are known to be quite fond of  their bombards, arquebuses, and smoke powder…

“‘She who controls the powder, controls the multiverse…”

—Zadara the Titan, in one of her less than lucid moments…

The Knife in the River

Named after a witless play-on-words, the Knife in the River is a gargantuan slice of metal jutting direct up from the muddy riverbed. Standing only a few meters away from the Arcane Remains, that ship’s great bombard hangs mutely, its muzzle pointed directly at the metal monolith. Its rusting, patina-ed surface stained by the years, the Knife in the River is triangular in shape, with the apex buried deep into the brown fluid of the Ditch. The obelisk is roughly pocked and chipped, its top edge twisted like shredded wicker. like a knife, one of the other sides is honed to a razor edge, still sharp despite the holes and erosion that have marred its surface.

Legend has it that the ship now known as the Arcane Remains did not give up the ghost without resistance. As the mute Lady of Pain advanced her silhouette on the beached craft, the Arcane crew, the giff captain, and its Spellweaver spellslinger let loose enough destructive power to have levelled the Outlands and cause Sigil to topple of the summit of the Spire. Such a deafening blast came from the vessel’s glittering bombard that it was heard all the way to the Gate-towns. The culmination of that devastative attack, it is said, did what no blood thought possible—it wounded the Lady of Pain. Slamming into her with the force of the multiverse’s wrath, the retributive Arcane tore a blade off of the Lady’s halo of knives. As it plunged point first into the frothing morass of the Ditch, the Arcane craft was eclipsed in the Lady’s shadow. The shrieks were so shrill that even today people call an anonymous cry in the night “the Lady’s satisfaction.”

Since then, the Knife in the River has become almost a holy symbol to Xaositects and the Revolutionary League. Even the Athar secretly covet it, more evidence to support their assertions that even the powers can be slain.

Canonical Sources:

  • In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil by Wolfgang Baur and Rick Swan, pg. 49.
  • Polyhedron #137 article ‘Of Sigil and the Sea’; William James Cuffe, more info on that here.

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