WITHIN THE KINGDOM of Remain, the High Gates provide the primary means by which inter-duchy travel is accomplished. This will be news to nobody, of course. The youngest child of the smallest noble house is aware of this fact in theory -- if not in practice. (I myself stepped through the High Gate on Kon for the first time in my fifth year; an experience no one can easily forget!)
The High Pendants, however, are less well-known.
Of these powerful and fascinating objects, three things can be said with certainty:
First, the High Pendants were undoubtedly crafted by the Five Great Sisters as part of the mandate given to them by the Founding Monarch, Acasius Dallanar.
[I have treated this topic in detail elsewhere, but by the far the best, most reliable, and most easily accessible source on the topic is Katherine II’s Prolegomena to Imperial Tactics and Diplomacies, wherein this particular point is treated in detail.]
Second, the High Pendants are limited in number -- only five seem to have been made for each duchy.
[Although some debate is still broached on this subject, the fact remains that the largest number of High Pendants seen together from any single world is five -- no more, no less. For example, the five High Pendants of Genonea, Itáteos, and Ethené are known as a set and are occasionally shown together and studied in their respective High Keeps to this very day. As far as I know, this number has never been surpassed at any time, nor has any reputable source ever recorded more than five High Pendants from a single world being witnessed in a single viewing. To be sure, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” as the old saying goes, but in this case, I believe that our suppositions rest on firm historical ground.]
Finally, the High Pendants of each of the Realm’s one hundred and four duchies were initially -- and specifically -- entrusted to the first one hundred and four High Houses of Remain.
[Katherine II records that Acasius Dallanar ordered this to be so. She further records that his motivation was to unify the Realm’s elite caste by providing the first ruling families the means to freely communicate with their fellows, their allies, and their liege. Needless to say, his judgement in this matter has been questioned often -- and with some force -- for millennia.]
To state that the ability to move with relative freedom anywhere in the Kingdom at will is “powerful” would be an understatement of ludicrous proportions. [Indeed, the crafty Fen I (FY 10,568-10,590; the Silver Dog) is said to have offered five of his own great cannon to the Stenegard of Sparáton for a single pendant before seizing power; in this case, clearly, a single pendant was enough to swing the entire balance of power in his favor.) A High Pendant is one of the most precious, potent, and mysterious objects in all of the Silver Kingdom. Ownership of the same is jealously guarded . . . to say the least.
I myself have never traveled by High Pendant, although I have read and have heard firsthand accounts of how it is accomplished. I did have an extremely strange experience with an Eressan Pendant in the collection of Lord Scolum here on Genonea two years ago -- the so-called "Fifth Pendant" . . . . But I will write of that at a later time.