Through the carved tunnels you walk. For most of you these are the very same passages you walked during your youth. For one, you walk the tunnels with slight apprehension, your instructions were clear - but way is new. Regardless of the familiarity, soon you cannot help but know that something is different. Only a select few are invited into the central passages that surround the dome. Columns stand as they do periodically throughout the city, but here they are larger.
These columns have stood as long as the city itself. They were built even before the dome rose, defiant into the merciless desert above. Escorts greet each of you as you near the innermost buildings. Each takes a different path, some winding through buildings, others heading into upper levels. Doors, stairs, halls, and alleys. It is clear the elders meant to disorient you. Likewise, the pace is deliberate. All of you arrive at the same time, a central corridor lies ahead. The escorts gesture silently as the large doors ahead slowly open.
The large room has a simple stone table in the center, surrounded by sturdy wooden stools - a luxury that few ever see let alone sit upon. Tapestries line the walls, just below the railing the lines the upper level. Nearly all represent one of the houses of the dome. Accept for two. One, displays the ancestral crystal - symbolic of your forebearers who live on through the gearforged. The other, newer than the rest, shows a humanoid silhouette - embroidered with a small gear. One upon its head and one upon its heart - the symbionts.
Just beyond the railings you can make out figures in the shadow, observing. It must be the council of elders. A slight gleaming in the torch light tells you that even the gearforged is in attendance. At the table sits a newly elected elder, he motions for you to join him at the table.
“It is good to see each of you here. As you may know, I am Oso. I have, as my first task as the newest elder, summoned each of you here because you represent the best of your houseses. I leave it to each of you to decide whether or not it is prudent to reveal your house affiliations or not. In time, the trust you build in the field will take precedent over whatever faith you hold in the old ways.”
A slight murmur can be heard from above. Oso smiles as he continues.
“Your first task is simple. You must make your way to the corridor, where a repair squad awaits you. Your job is to guard them as they conduct urgent repairs within the corridor. Word of this must not leave this room. The corridor is in great danger. Attacks have increased and all but the perimeter guard have been summoned to protect the mines. So it is left to the four of you to insure that our lifeline stay operational. There is little time, but if you have questions speak them quickly. But before you do, I would suggest introducing yourselves. Though we here Oso gestures to those above, know each of you, you may not know one another.”
I've left some details here open as I'd like to leave each of you some latitude in how your house is defined and if you decide to reveal your house. Simply put the houses represent the families that survived through centuries. Most are associated with specific talents or areas of one of the three lost cities. When resources were scarce, the houses often competed with one another to increase their chances at survival. Though cooperation has since long been established as the unspoken law of he city, the council of elders still honors the old ways. Unless of course infighting endangers the city.