On Jimano’s World, continents move metres in years and the order of the seasons can change. This is because the planet is a home, a hermitage of a god of the material that responds to his movements deep below.
In this world of hyper-active geography there are few locations stable enough to make it worthwhile building permanent homes. Off the coast of the known world lies a set of seven islands, the unchanging isles. Strung out in a chain, these mountainous islands are irregularly shaped and covered in thick rainforest. On the largest the elves have built the only know stone city – Ronda Herth Vindë. So named for the blue-grey stone used in nearly all the buildings.
The island is dominated by the peak of Tulca Talaf, which takes up the southernmost third of the land. The city sits halfway up the hillside, forming a ring around it. Up here it’s stout walls are away from flood waves and changes in sea level. Built around the avenues that circle the hillside which divide the city into levels. Wealthier and more important elves live higher up the hillside. The levels near the outer are a maze of narrow streets between small homes interspaced with military barracks guarding the gates. The houses at the top of the city are large villas with private gardens enclosed behind their own stone walls. At the very peak of Tulca Talaf is the temple to Jimano, where the ruling shaman reside.
The moist rainforest climate has resulted in the inhabitants avoiding the use of paper for long term record keeping. Instead, the history of the city is carved into the library wall, which protect the temple. Just over half the wall has been covered now in the carefully carved runes of the elvish language. The wall tells of how seven hundred years ago the shaman Seirye first discovered that the unlike the rest of the known world, these isles do not move. First they built great houses in the tree and then slowly taught themselves to carve stone. From there, the settlement blossomed into a city of some 50,000 souls.
The elves of the city have become very different from their nomadic cousins. No longer needing to move around to find food, they are much more technologically advanced, to the point where they are beginning to surpass the dwarves. Some say they can forge metal that is unbreakable and can make stone that you can see through. Culturally, they are more materialistic as they have actual homes that they can store possessions in. This is offset by the beautiful and complex artwork that adorns all layers of the city, a legacy of a long dead artist. Rather than the egalitarian band society of the nomads, Ronda Herth Vindë has a social structure, topped by the shaman and built on the backs of the illiterate. This structure is not rigid though, as the shaman may come from any social class. The richer need be careful they don’t exploit the poor family of a powerful shaman.
Many aspects of the city are still to be developed and I’m looking forward to seeing how it diverges further from being an Elvish version of Hong Kong. Suggestions and ideas are of course welcome.
Image Credit – Almourol Castle by nmmacedo – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0