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With every step he took through the city of Puyo, the Prince Resplendent in the Ruin of Ages lost a fragment of his armor. His foot hit the dusty earth and links fell from his chain coat; his arm swayed at his side and knocked free the tormented shapes cast in bas-relief on the breastplate. The deathknight trailed debris, but even as it fell apart his armor revealed new depths, like a snake shedding its old skin in favor of the glistening scales below. And despite this wonder he wore, the Prince Resplendent's eyes were only for Puyo.

The city was old, built during the Shogunate, and made of interlocking courtyards scarcely walled by free-standing columns. Between the buildings ran wide alleys, vaulted by narrow arches and roofed with silk. The recessed walls of buildings were chequered with tile or covered in dense arabesque designs and, everywhere, crowned by great, seemingly weightless, domes. Thick walls surrounded the city, which itself sat atop a steep hill; from the high towers that marked each corner, a guard could see the faint line of the Grey River on a clear day. Even the Mask of Winters' great walking war machines would be hard-pressed to lay Puyo to siege. And in the center of it all sat The Palace of Endless Tranquility.

Saving only that hated, uncomfortable palace, the ancient city was almost a construct from the Prince Resplendent's black crust of a heart, and he had a powerful need to make it his own. He also had a plan, a dark ritual taught him by the Abbot of Hunger and Dust and certain knowledge, bought from Weeping Jade, about the Pashah of Puyo...

Heaven's Mandate