Meeting House of the Sun Dragon

Map of a circular moot hut for tribal council

The steppes of the western reach have long been home to the nomadic tribes of the herd-followers. The tribes span the gamut of races and cultures, and each has their “territory” defined by the game that they follow. The Goat People follow the hardy long-haired goat herds, the horse people follow the herds of wild mustangs, etc. As animal herds know not of political boundaries, their territories are malleable and sometimes overlap. Where the herds come together, so do the tribes of people that follow them.

When different tribes come together, of course, there is the potential for conflict and the need for finding common ground. Tradition and the wise counsel of one Halkassan the Peacemaker, leader of the antelope tribes hundreds of years ago, a system of periodic gatherings of the tribes, known as field moots was established. Since all the tribes are nomadic, and the patterns of the herds change over the years, a series of neutral sites was established all over the steppes.

One such site is the House of the Sun Dragon. Originally just a cleared area on low, rocky rise, this meeting hall has been built (and rebuilt) over the years into its present form. As participation grew beyond just a couple of tribes, the chaos of all those people coming together needed some shape, so a low wall of piled stones was erected to delineate the moot-space for the tribal council. It’s made from stones brought by each tribe from across the region to symbolize the spirit of cooperation intended in the moot.

As the gathering picked up steam, a hit was built. It began as a temporary structure formed from the hides of animals from every herd, but eventually became the more permanent structure pictured here made of rough-hewn sandstone blocks. The sandstone, like the stones that make up the outer wall, are derived from quarries and outcrops that span the steppes, such that each tribe can look and see their territories represented in the structure. Additions over time include a secondary structure on the northeast side that contains a few jail cells, a central watchtower, and several other additions that have served variously as guest quarters, storage rooms, and private meeting rooms, sometimes all at once.

Mostly a practical building, the House has one nod to pure aesthetics in the form of colorful murals painted on the outside of the structure, depicting a dragon in many forms chasing the sun. Its styles reflect the cultural inclinations of the gathered tribes, and has been touched up, modified, and added to over the years. It serves as a visual history of the events centered on this particular moot site.

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