Black Spire

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Previously known as the Jade Spire, before it was burned. Working from the calendar reference commonly used in the Jade Taiga ("...since the burning of the Black Spire"), that happened 32 years ago.

A report from Elder Danyu:

The Jade Spire caught fire on the Night of the Early Dog in the Month of the Serpent, in the tenth Year of the Tiger since the Regency Council was formed, during a thunderstorm. The tower was struck by lightning; the grounding for the tower was presumed ineffective in retrospect, and led to re-examination of the lightning grounds on all the other tallest towers. The strike on the tower was both seen and heard by onlookers; none of the other towers were struck during that particular storm. None of the Spire's servants were in the Spire at the time, as none lived there.

On the Day of the Late Fox in the Month of the Butterfly (that is, about a month and a half before), at a Council meeting of the King and the Dukes, there was said to have been general agreement that the Jade Spire was "abandoned" by the Empire, as there had been no Emperor in residence for cycles. There was some discussion of cutting back on the payments for upkeep, and repurposing several of the Treasures of the Kingdom which were resident in the tower. It is not known who instigated this conversation, but no particular action was taken between that time and when the Spire burned.

Several people reported seeing a light in one of the tower windows two days prior to the burning, and guards were sent in, but nothing suspicious was found, or found to be missing.

(Follow-up question: regarding the Treasures, which are presumed destroyed:)

Most notably, there was a tapestry depicting swans in flight, and a carved jade sculpture of a flowering tree.

The King at the time of the burning was the father of the current King of the Jade Taiga. Though the Council discussed formally taking possession of the Jade Spire, no action was ever taken, so it is still formally property of the Empire. There are rumors that some of the people who went to fight the fire came out with loot, but there hasn't been any follow-up on that.

A search of the ruins of the Black Spire turned up a coded notebook, and some other observations:

Xiao Fa thinks that the chi of the tower is not the chi of a tower, damaged or ruined, but the chi of a ruin. It definitely has an effect on the chi of the city around it, more so than just "a tower" would.

Lijuan finds a couple of very old zhu.

Shen-Ji doesn't find any hidden magic items, alas. He thinks that the stone of the tower walls was probably originally constructed/worked with some Earth sorcery in the mix, but that was a *long* time ago.

Hana doesn't notice any ghosts; it's about as not haunted as you can get for a ruin (well, except that it has Hana in it right now), which suggests that no one was in it when it burned.

Min Feng finds a couple of places where people's initials have been scratched into the blackened rock; it appears that you are not the first people to have searched the ruin.