In The Liar’s Crown, we get to see quite a bit of the Palace of Oaesys. This is the primary palace and residence of Meren’s grandmother, the Queen, and her twin sister Tabra, who is next in line to the throne.
The palace is located in the capital city of Oaesys. It is primarily described as made of black marble, obsidian, and onyx accented with lots and lots of gold. Most of the stone will have come from the Obsidian Desert in the western part of Aryd, but the metals originate from the mines of Mariana.
I very much wanted a place that was over the top with riches, in contrast to the rest of the dominion which has slowly been diminishing. I also wanted it both warm and glowing and a feel of home–which it would have for Meren–but also ominous and brooding as a hint that Meren’s royal family haven’t been doing that great a job ruling, too busy keeping their thrones.
In my head I pictured something along the lines of the incredibly ornate palaces in France (think Versailles)–only in all blacks and golds. Because in this world glass is forbidden (so no glassed in windows or rooms) I also was inspired by elements of the more open air images of Egyptian palaces and Greek temples, with columns, high ceilinged rooms, and drifting sheer curtains. And, since Aryd is the desert dominion, I also pictured it like a fortress with high, thick walls to keep out the sands and help mitigate the heat. All of that came together, along with various story-driven needs, to form into its own unique look and feel for the world.
The descriptions of the palace are scattered in small snippets throughout the book so that it slowly comes alive for the reader. Here are a few descriptions I ended up with…
As my hands glow sunny yellow, the portal glass changes into a view I’m achingly familiar with.
The opulence of that chamber is all about the bronze and gold, the brilliant colors of the paint, the obsidian walls themselves. Fires burn in golden braziers, bathing the room in a burnished red and orange radiance.
Eventually, the flicker of light from the acolyte’s lamp travels to the opposite side of the temple, disappearing and reappearing as she passes behind thick columns of onyx.
As I enter the long hallway that leads to the courtyard, I ignore every obsidian wall decorated with painted carvings of the history of our people. Minus a few odd, forgotten princesses.
I run down the sweeping stairs to the long hall, out into the courtyard, past the deep well spiraling down into the ground, and into the hypostyle hall that leads to the throne room itself. The sound of my bare feet slapping against black marble floors echoes off gigantic columns and the high roof made of pure black gold from Mariana.
Sick of waiting for Tabra to come get me and invariably being late on the occasions I came by myself—mostly in recent years—I’d discovered another way. Also risky, but less so in my mind.
That’s the way Reven and I must take.
The palace is surrounded by two sets of walls. The first keeps out the rest of the city. It is too tall to scale, topped with jagged metal shards if you managed it, and patrolled from the ground on both sides.
But I don’t go over it, I go under.
“Can you hold your breath long?” I ask Reven in a whisper. I already know he can swim.
“Do I need to?”
I pause, glancing over my shoulder to raise my brows at him. He gives a grave nod.
Every person bows low and doesn’t dare raise their head until Eidolon seats me on the ornate onyx throne situated on the raised dais, taking his place at my side on a throne covered in gemstones that remind me of the portal room in Tyndra.
I gaze out over my people—their expressions full of expectation and some with trepidation—and allow myself a small smile. One I hope Eidolon will mistake for happiness and not the bone-deep satisfaction that thrums through me.
Because I have plans for the king.