The metropolis of Kitsinger, founded and built on the north facing side of Mt. Kitsinger, was a home to all who wished to learn. Mt. Kitsinger was a large mountain in an otherwise flat range of hill. It jutted up out of the hills like an angry ant hill. Foliage grew in abundance about its slopes, with a large vineyard toward the south slope that grew some of the sweetest grapes known. A sweet wine was produced here that was coveted by any drinking it for its flavor. The base of the actual mountain was close to three hundred miles across with the peak close to two miles at its widest.
It was a place of beauty and majesty that few words could describe. Indeed, many an accomplished artist trained vainly to put the image of Kitsinger on to canvas or other form of art and failed to grab the correct beauty. Scholars, sages, artisans, and magicians all called Kitsinger their home, even if it was their home away from home. All manner of knowledge was formed and founded at the marbled walls of Kitsinger. Their buildings were all marbled, pinks and greens, blues and whites. Every color imaginable was displayed in their smooth lines and open views.
Mages from all over studied here, many of the revelations about magic having come from this city and documented in the pages for history. Great things were discovered here and magic was in abundance. So much so that even those who merely workers were keeping the city alive dealt with magic on a daily basis. Whether it helped them clean the sewers by moving the filth to a place to burn, or helping move stones and buildings to build and repair those in need. Commoners using magic was unheard of anywhere but here.
Magic was stored here in abundance. Potions, scrolls, items of great magic and worth; all were stored here just because. They had no desire to use some of it; they created most of it just to create to expand their knowledge of the magic world even more. Stored it and forgot about it, located in vaults that today would be treasure troves of kings. They just cataloged it and threw it on a shelf.
Located in the south, the weather was warm throughout the year making closed walls a problem. The buildings were open to let the breeze through to cool the day away, with slanted roofs to collect water in special designed containers. While not being scarce, it was nice to have on hand extra water, especially during the few hot and dry months of the summers.
Kitsinger was not a place of violence, a sort of calm exuded from the city itself and quarrels were snuffed out before problems arose, afterwards those in question would rarely remember why they had an argument. All in all, Kitsinger was a place of serenity and joy.
One year, centuries ago now, a loan beggar came to the city to seek audience with the ruler. Being an independent city, the city was run by a council of elders, those scholars that were appointed for life by their peers. He beseeched the council to move the population to a save place, as the gods has deemed this place unbalanced. A way of evening out that balance was at hand and many would die in the flames of the gods distain. Laughing at the beggar, they sent him away not knowing the truth to his words.
A few months after the beggar, the world of those living in Kitsinger would forever change. It is now speculated that the beggar was a deity in mortal form and tested the arrogance of the original people of Kitsinger. They called this change The Sunder, when the world exploded and their life was literally lifted into the heavens. Unknown to them, Mt. Kitsinger was actually an old volcano, inactive for its part in centuries before man walked. It slept and grew under the surface.
What the beggar saw as the gods wrath, in all reality it could have been, was the eruption of the sleeping giant of a volcano. There was no warning; there was no smoke or tremble in the earth. It was peaceful and serene and then chaos. The north side of Mt. Kitsinger was gone, as was the surrounding countryside and the city of Kitsinger. The volcano had blown through the side of the mountain, not at its peak. The resulting explosion and the mixture of magic being set off at the same time changed many things.
The chunks of the mountain and land that was blown out went soaring into the air and eased into a floating pattern. The chunks of land and stone became what are the Kitsinger islands today. It is theorized that the addition to the magic the was released from all the stored items shielded a portion of the city and the population a well as what caused the change in the chunks of stone that now float above the cursed ground to this day.
From the ground, the islands look like nothing more than large chucks of dirt and stone traveling through the sky waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting victim below. They are massive in size and can be seen floating lazily about the sky in their own random manner, like dark clouds that never seem to empty their boon.
Their unique creation has many scholars baffled. While many scholars in the beginning assumed that the islands were hollowed out form the eruption and somehow infused with a helium type gas, this theory was put to rest a few decades after when one of the dreg islands pitted war against one of its neighboring islands. The smaller of the two was literally torn apart, broken into pieces that never fell. The core of the island was as solid as the rest and it just floated continuously afterwards in small pieces.
Some of these small pieces drift to larger ones and seem to eventually meld together, like ocean coral of the southern warm regions. It is still unknown the full cause of the islands reaction after the Sunder as it has never been duplicated again. It was finally put to rest and theorized that with the force and heat of the eruption destroying so many items of magic the magic wove itself into the islands hence giving them their abnormal properties.
The islands vary in size from a few hundred miles across, to twenty miles being the largest. Birds can be seen roosting in the pocked mark stone and dirt on the underside of the islands, well away from normal predators. The height in which the islands float oddly enough is not dependant on their size, but the size of the population housed on them. The more buildings being raise and the more people living there, lowers the ability to stay afloat. Only one to date has been known to drop to far and actually set back down permanently. This was due to over population and increased in building.
The topside of the Kitsinger Islands is wonderful to view, but depending on what level they fly in depends on the beauty or even anything living there. In the lower levels, approximately five hundred feet, the islands are no different than the actually landscape below. A little cooler as the wind is not cut as much by obstacles, but the fresh air is inviting and leads to seemingly healthier life. The top most levels of island flight is close to ten thousand feet above the usual ground. Little to nothing survives at this level, except the most reclusive of mages who wrap their strongholds in protective barriers to not only ward off the intense cold but also supply enough air to be breathable.
Some of the islands still have some of the original buildings still standing to this day from the original blasts of Mt. Kitsinger. They have been painstakingly restored to their original beauty and excellence. Other buildings have taken on a design all of their own. Lower islands, closer to the actual ground, seem to be more open and inviting of the sun and winds, while the higher islands have bigger and blockier buildings that protect from the cold snap of the weather regardless of the time of year.
Because of their virtual seclusion, over the years the mages that were left or survived the original blasts, and those that were to follow in the later years, gifted the islands with transport devices that would bring them back and forth to neighboring islands. These quick transport devices would only work if the islands were in a close proximity so the term island hoppers was given to the devices. In order to get to a high altitude island it could take a jump that would span three or even four islands total depending on the location and the distance. In some instances because of differing patterns of flight, differing speeds and direction; one someone hopped onto an island they were stuck for what could be years as their islands would not intersect again months if not years.
One thing to remember though when visiting these islands is that, the lower you live in the islands patterns, the lower your station is. Some of the low islands are virtual paradises, made with enjoyment and pleasure in mind. Their patterns stay in one general area and the vegetation seems to grow in abundance. These are private islands and only open to islanders or Kitsingers as they are now called. There are also a few small chucks that have been claimed by individual people and built homes on.
The vegetation and animal population has adapted to their new environments, with some evolving beyond what would normally be natural. While most of the crops grow as they normally would, albeit a bit smaller or larger, some plants produce odd results. A few islands have fruit trees that produce different types of fruits, depending on their location. Not all and all a big deal, but when an apple tree produces, bananas or oranges because their climate and location has changed it makes it odd for a non-islander to understand.
Cattle and other domesticated animals have also evolved to their lifestyle. Some of the larger animals have grown larger to cope with the cooler air, or the increase in a need to breath as oxygen is less the higher altitudes they go. So they breathe more, lowering their body weight but increasing their lung capacity to adapt to a new need. Certain animals like chickens are rare as they seldom like the islands motion and tend to try and jump off the first chance they get. Poultry and eggs are a highly paid for commodity here.
Because of the proximity of the islands to the ground it was nearly impossible for anyone to arrive on the islands from the ground below for nearly two centuries. This led to an individualist idea of most of the survivors on the islands. They refused help from below and continued their existence fighting for survival. There was little help from anyone, and the few magicians who could travel to the islands before transportation was found, did so with their own agendas. Because of this, the pseudo government that eventually formed turned the islands into their own isolated community who then claimed independence. By doing so they shut off most of the world below and try their best to survive without them.
This ruling caste was created by those with the most influence and power. Realizing where they originated from it is not surprising that the Kitsinger Islands are overseen by a conclave of scholars and magic taught. This conclave of twenty of the oldest men and women on the top most islands see to the daily lives of those whom they call countrymen. Their position is a life term, but they can step down or be removed via a vote of their peers. Once a member is gone they remaining members call a vote to see who will replace those missing. This obviously has caused minor factions to develop over the years and many alliances have been forged and even broken in the Halls of Porte Deceil, or Hall of Heavens Gate.
There are five (personal, public, dregs, prison, intellectual) types of islands, and three types of islanders. Depending on the level of island that you live on, will depend on your social status among the other islanders. The lower your island floats, the lower you are seen in the other islanders eyes. Even should your island be perfect and extravagant, the others who live in the higher levels look down on those beneath them. The collective thought of most islanders is that they think very little of those living below them, and those living on the ground have even more distain and contempt. If not for the occasional need for supplies from those below they would outright ignore them completely.
Personal: These small islands are mere chunks or rock that survived and are large enough to build some form of building on. While some are no more than an outpost, others are small mansions with a view unique to only those willing to live on a floating piece of stone. To date there are roughly two hundred and thirteen registered personal holdings of Kitsinger Islands, when ownership is claimed one must register it in the Halls of Cielo.
Public: These islands vary in size from a few hundred feet to a couple of miles, making them ideal for residents and farmers, depending on the altitude, to live there. They have set up small communities on each island in the same fashion as their worldly counterparts. They have their own festivities that some islanders travel from island to island to take part in the steadily evolving cultures now growing on these islands. These islands are the ones likely to be farm land and closet to the ground so that their crops will not have difficulties with the higher elevation and cold.
Dregs: Even a paradise such as this is bound to have the lowest of the low. Some are naturally this way. When the Sunder happened, those stuck on certain islands changed their views and ethics. They became more militant or apt to force what they wanted form someone as paying for it, working for it, or asking for it. These became the no mans lands of the islands. Veritable havens of the worst part of humanity that fought for survival. Little has been done on these islands to improve them or help push them into a working society.
Then there are the dregs that are such because of over population. There are some islands, before this was commonly known not to do, that simply kept building. They expanded, and when they couldnt expand outward anymore, they expanded up. So many people and so many buildings were built that eventually the island began to sink until they sank below the average islands and their flight path. As said previously, one even sank so low it crashed back to the earth below.
Prison: It was not long before the idea of using these isolated islands as prisons came about. Militaries began swiping the first few for their personal use, to this day little is known what goes on in these military facilities. Others however, have popped up at the behest of kingdoms and even private ventures. They supply service for kingdoms that have little room to house their prisoners and no desire to try and maintain a prison of this type or size. All for a fee of course. Only a few escape attempts have been public knowledge, a failed attempt by two brothers who though of the perfect idea of jumping while over the ocean was witnessed by a group of fishermen. Needless to say the height in which the dropped, little was found other than a few pieces of clothing. That stopped the desire of wanting to jump free, which is one of the only options at this point.
Intellectual: These islands are mid way up the chain, close to about as high as one could go without help from magic. Most of the surviving architecture from the Sunder and the original Mt. Kitsinger are here. They are by far the largest of the chunks of stone floating to this day. The buildings have been rebuilt as best they could with magic and outside help. Those living here are self proclaimed nobility, raised up on high by the Sunder to look down on those below them. Arrogant yes, but they are intelligent.
Their extended living at a higher altitude has given those born on these islands a boon. They tend to think faster, solve equations quicker, all because of their birth and their extended living on these islands. When, if, they go land side they will usually get great headaches and have trouble breathing, not to mention feel a bit sluggish. Because of this they will rarely go to the lowest islands unless forced or the need or desire is great.
A scientific explanation of this follows.
Because of a thinning of air they bodies were forced to adapt, like the Tibetan monks and other cultures that live in higher elevations. Because the air is thinner on these islands without help they had to evolve. Some breathe twice as fast as someone living on the ground. Their lung capacity is larger and they breathe in twice as much, forcing oxygen into their blood quicker. Others simply have changed so that their blood holds more oxygen and by holding more oxygen or getting more oxygen it is supplied to their brain quicker and in greater quantities. Making them naturally evolve into more intelligent beings. This of course is just speculation.
Halls of Cielo, is the reconstructed library after the original Library of Cielo before the Sunder. It is housed on the main island of Kitsinger. Ever island ever registered, owned, lived on, and used is listed in the Documents of Cielo. Even birth records of those born on the islands are listed here to document for future generations. It holds many secrets that many a scholar has been trying to get their hands on for years but the inhabitants only give this information out to certain individuals. Claiming that the knowledge held within the Documents of Cielo are what caused the Sunder.
Temple of Vita, is a large temple housed on the main island of Kitsinger that was originally a temple of a number of gods of light. Now in the wake of the Sunder, a new religion was founded that worships the ideal of life and not the ideal of a singular deity. Varying groups travel to this temple every year on the anniversary of the Sunder to give thanks and praise for their continued life.
Hall of Porte Deceil, is a moderate sized building on the topmost island of the Kitsinger chain. This island houses only this building and is only accessible to the twenty members of the conclave and those they bring with them. The building itself is fashioned from glass rock found after the Sunder on some of the small islands. In fact some of the small islands were used to build this building. Each stone formed to fit to the next until an open roof hall was erected in respect to the gods. This glass stone is very smooth and seems to radiate a small portion of heat, which is helpful at such a high altitude to stay warm.
A plaque out in front of the building is inscribed with the following prayer, "Osservi giù sulla mia anima e che sappia che non nascondo niente." Which translated into, "Look down on my soul and know I hide nothing." This was placed there so that all who enter know that they gods could be watching at any time and to be wary of your words and thoughts. The last time they defied the gods, their world blew up.
The conclave resides here on a weekly basis to gather and speak of any issues that need to be resolved or in a time of concern or worry. They regulate the laws and guidelines of the islands, which the residents tolerate on most occasions. For the most part they do not meddle in the affairs of commoners on the islands and therefore are forgiven the few ridiculous laws that they write.