The History of Sunfall
After the vanishing of the Radiant Iriv and his cohort in the West, the Radiant Basadid ordered a mighty fortress built at the Sundom's farthest reach. His Luminance chose to build atop ancient ruins, reasoning the ancients must have seized upon the location for its strategic value.
Of the ancients, their works of too-smooth grey stone and strangely-carved metal were collapsed or built over, and the catacombs sealed off. Only the stone ring, perhaps used for some unknowable ritual, was left in place, to serve the garrison as a training ground.
Even though its builders and soldiers lived in fear of the land where the Sun goes at night, the finished walls of the fortress were mighty and unshakeable. His Luminance and his High Priest, the Irrefutable Pashaman, named it Sunfall under the blazing eye of the Sun, and by the light it was good.
None doubted the Radiant Basadid's prudence, nor denied his lingering hope that his brother might one day be sighted again, but no great threat would come from the West in his lifetime. Nor did it come for the next three generations, though records show the men of Sunfall fought many bandits and scroungers skulking in the Rustwash, and a dangerous stampede of Behemoths in the Long Burn.
In time Sunfall slipped from common memory, until the sixth year of the eleventh Sun-King's reign, when the Radiant Marzid himself came to inspect it. In the desert heat, His Luminance received a vision of an ornate Citadel with a dome of metal so polished it would greet the dawn, and catch the rays of the Sun's last shining at dusk. At once, he ordered the dedication of the Sundom's resources to building the structure.
After its construction, His Luminance took the Citadel as his summer palace, bringing with him many members of the Sun-Court, nobles and artisans. In time, Sunfall became a city unto itself, and the source of great works such as Passion of the Tallneck Among the Dunes, Turning Seasons at Bronzeflash, and Lament For Cinnabar Sands. The stone training ring was repurposed for shows of pageantry, where young blazons or the Hunters Lodge Hawks could display the Sun's dominance over the machines.
Sunfall's prominence in the culture of the Sundom continued for many years, until the Sun-King Marzid's untimely demise in the Citadel he so treasured. For his procession back to the Alight, a line of torches was laid all the way across the Daybrink, so that over the days and nights of his bearing he might always go in Light. The departed king's brother, the Radiant Hivas, was occupied wholly with renewing the soldiery of the Sundom, and with the old Sun-King's passing so too passed this chapter in Sunfall's history.
In the early years of the thirteenth Sun-King Jiran's reign, before the falling of his shadow, a particularly harsh season came upon the Sandwhisper Valley. Upon hearing that the storms could strip the very detailing off armor, he decreed that strongest among his guard should be trained in the desert here, and named Kestrels. Indeed Helis, who would become the most infamous of the Kestrels, was one of the first to survive his reforging by Sun and sand here.
In the fifteenth year of Sun-King Jiran's reign, when the sacrifices in the Sun-Ring were judged insufficient to calm the Derangement of the machines, he presided over the blooding of the ring at Sunfall. A trapped Behemoth was driven with spears and spurred over slaves of the Oseram and Utaru. When the beast turned upon the kestrels, the Sun-King stood and declared that the Sun, in its great generosity, would accept the sacrifice of faithless and faithful alike.
So began a fearful era for Sunfall, of sacrifices unending in its Sun-Ring, and the Citadel whispered of as a place where no light shone. Many upstanding citizens of the Sundom were taken inside its doors to disappear as surely as if they had journeyed to the forbidden West. In the last days of Sun-King Jiran's reign, Sunfall was in the charge of his kestrels and High Priest, no longer answering to the Sundom as a whole.
It was no surprise, then, that following the liberation of Meridian, Jiran's loyalists sought refuge at Sunfall. As a fortress it was impregnable, but cut off from the bounteous lands across the Daybrink, it was a city impoverished. So stood the stalemate, in the first year of the fourteenth Sun-King, the Radiant Avad, and so stood Sunfall. Once built to protect the Sundom from the shadow of the West, it now sheltered a worse shadow: the false Carja who dwelt within.