A host of colourful legends surrounds the Sun Hall. The folks at The Three Foxes Inn recount many tales about travellers accidentally stumbling into the Sun Hall as well as those who set out to get there and never returned. One thing remains clear – the Hall has much in common with the Sun on whose power it leans. Just like the flaming sphere, it can be kind and warm but also punishing to the unwise and unworthy. He who stares into the delightful sunlight for too long goes blind. The Sun’s message is clear – that which alone is the source of all sight is also the sight’s undoing. The eye and the mind can crave things made alive by the light but the very source of this life is forbidden to them. Thus the secret of the Sun Hall is no less dreadful and ground-breaking than the mysteries of the other Halls – just like them, its heart contains the ancient contrast of light and darkness, of life and death, warring with each other in a lethal love embrace.
Scent – The scent of the Sun Hall is the day itself in all its shining glory. Just as men live in houses and rooms, the Sun dwells in days and years. The day is the Sun’s abode and its temple, emitting the scent of the Hall of which it is but a distant imitation. The Sun is the master painter and its scent is meant for the eyes. When the clouds break after a purifying rain and the air becomes as clear as glass, the sunrays, like pikes and swords of the hosts of light, penetrate the barricades of the bubbling celestial waters, bringing with them the Hall’s scent, which, though only insinuated and seemingly muffled, is at its strongest. The thinner the blade of light, the more terrible the already retreating clouds, the clearer Hall’s scent as well as the path, trusted by just a few. Some tell stories of mysterious experiences in the middle of a storm when a crack suddenly appeared in the thundering bank of clouds and through it, one could see a hidden golden treasure. To others, the crack revealed shining cities and majestic figures, and at that moment, they were allowed a glimpse into the Sun Hall.
Antechamber – There aren’t many who wouldn’t blanch at the sight of a blade of light slicing through the clouds and so the Antechamber is the stuff of various legends. Taciturn Pilgrims, known to visit the Hall from time to time, may offer a snippet or two on what happens inside, and so we must take our chances and trust their account. The shining, cloud-piercing blade is not only a flaming weapon of the Sun and its wind troops but also a path taken by the courageous ones. It is undoubtedly hard to find a blade as sharp as a sunray, and if one can trust the words of the wise, for those with faith, such a blade is sturdier than the earth itself, while for the cowardly it is the fall incarnate. Whoever sets foot on the ray has, in fact, entered the Antechamber and left the world of the mortal men. He can still see it but only as cloudy shadows – a grey emptiness given shape and face only by the golden hand of the Sun.
Threshold – The Hall is said to have three Gates, and therefore three Thresholds to step over. They are called the Threshold of the Singing Crib, the Threshold of the One Laughing in the Storm, and the Threshold of the Narrowing Eye.
The Threshold of the Singing Crib lies open at the moment of dawn. The fair-haired Morningstar frolics over the woods, taking away the misty veils of the new-born Sun. The starry choirs shake the heavenly vault, woven from cosmic laws, with their chants exalting the heroic Sun, who have once again defeated the Serpent and risen from the dead to save the world from eternal frost. The horizon chimes to the cracking of the thawing ice-bonds that the terrible serpent has wound around the Sun during the nocturnal battle to forever quench its flame. At this moment, the Sun touches the horizon and a straight road leads to it. The golden path, woven from the hair of a new-born Cyclops, the heir of blue pastures and white herds of cattle, winds through the kingdom of mists. One has to take the path and never look back, otherwise, it will bend, pressing against the twisted furrows left by the iron ploughs.
The Threshold of the One Laughing in the Storm is the path for the most valiant of heroes as it offers itself in a strike of lightning, in a blink of an eye. Whoever falters is struck blind but the determined one who steps over the Threshold with the swiftness of a furious wind finds himself standing in the Hall that has always been only a step away.
One can cross the Threshold of the Narrowing Eye during the sunset, and the path to it leads among red cliffs under the darkening sky. He who walks on with his eyes firmly set on the end of the road stands a chance of entering the Hall, but the shadows of the gathering night swallow anyone who hesitates for too long, the gold water trickling towards the Delta of the West, ceding its place to the dark carnival with no name or memory.
Heart of the Hall – Not even the Pilgrims will speak of the Heart of the Hall so we have to rely on accounts of those gone astray, or the noon sleepers who, came the first spring storms, looked past the rainy curtain and beheld a hidden Hall. Their words are contradictory, sounding like songs of delirious maidens, but they are still the only such account ever to reach mortal ears. The grass within the Hall is said to have the colour of green ember, the tree-leaves are nephrites, their veins woven from gold pulsing with the life of the sun runes. There are wide undulating plains blessed with fresh breeze carrying clouds of golden down on its arms. The land is full of steep towers and cities of warm stone flashing their golden domes and cupolas into the distance, their busy marketplaces teeming with creatures from miscellaneous worlds. Air-balloons and castles hover above these cities, abodes of the Sun Genies, who are the guardians of this place. All this is spanned over by a majestic sky whose vault is made of greyish clouds and whose windows are stained-glass of the rainbow and celestial blueness; the latter dotted with starry omens, twinkling despite the brightness of midday. The Sun itself is ten times as large as the Sun in our cold world and wraps all the land in a warm embrace.
Hall’s Inhabitants – The Hall is said to be inhabited by the Gold Genies, the ancient guardians of the place. They live and thrive on sunlight; hence their dislike for leaving the Sun Hall for lands they call the “Gloom” – places that, in fact, correspond to our world. However, some Genies, lacking in fortitude and loyalty to the laws of the Hall, were exiled beyond its borders; now they wander the twilight lands at the brink of the Hall and the Gloom, eagerly latching at any source of power. Throughout the ages, many of them have changed into hungry demons, and their mind, unsteady and treacherous from the very beginning, has turned into a vessel of lies and hate. These fallen Genies lie in ambush on the paths leading to the Hall, posing the greatest danger to anyone headed that way. In the old days, the Hall used to be accessible by many different roads, but as ages went by, the passage through twilight became increasingly perilous due to its demonic inhabitants who began to call it their home. During that time, three solid Thresholds were built, allowing the pilgrims to reach the Hall by well-lit paths, thus avoiding the dwellings of the Twilight folk.
Hall’s Magic – The origin and centre of the Sun magic are doubtlessly in the Sun Hall. The power of the Sun is beyond measure – according to its worshippers, the Sun is the father of all life on earth, the provider of all sustenance and the only righteous God who shines on the wealthy and paupers alike, persecuting no one but bestowing gifts on all from its great golden basket.
The golden sun-runes are knots in the Sun magic, their power similar to that of the Sun and gold in that it is unchangeable, unwaning, unwithering and undeclined, always the same, like the ineffaceable memory of the Gold Genies. The sun-runes are theirs, after all: golden letters in the tongue of the Genie-kind. Many of these runes will make no sense to the mortals as they are closer in meaning to the lives of beings who feed directly on the Sun – trees, herbs or the Genies.
The Sun Hall is famous for yet another magic. Scattered across its plains, there are sanctuaries where intricate braids are woven from hair-like sunrays; these then pass through the skilful hands of the smiths, being transformed into warm gold-like Sun metal. Everything in the Sun Hall is made of this metal (it is forbidden for any of the “impure” metals of the Gloom to enter the Hall) that bestows Sun’s power and protection on those who carry it with them to other Halls and lands.