Humanity assumes that Elventi like to live in trees. That is a simplistic view. The Elventi Peoples wish to live as part of nature/ magic and amongst the beauty of the natural order.
Given the "disturbances of the world" over the last millennium, the Elventi have retreated farther and farther away, creating buffers between them and the disturbances to the way of the universe. UnderSkyWater has to be the most unique city, nature providing the buffer they crave. It is a uniquely Elventi solution.
One could miss the city gate if one did not know what they are looking for. Along the shore there are many rocky formations. One of the broad flat black basalt stones serves as a plaza where the Gateway stands. The Gateway to the city is two human sized standing stones. There are some very faint, apparently wind worn carvings on them. If one can see with "star eyes" (ultraviolet vision) and can read the SwirlingTongue-of-SpeachWithoutSpeaking (Elven writing), the proper phrase to open the way to the city in the MoonInk. (There are six lines of poetry there, thought only the forth of six is the key to open).
One walks forward into the surf. While there might be a spray, one remains fairly dry as one descends the curving path. The walls of the path are smooth blue green water, slowly growing slightly darker as you descend. Only a dozen steps or so and the water flows over your head. It is oddly quiet.
The path brings you to the underplaza. It a broad area paved with flat stone, the same stone as above. The entire location, and really the entire city, glows a soft blue light that filters down from the surface. This is somewhat dark for other species, but those with Star Eyes can see well. The edges of the plaza have coral walls with fish swimming around. One can reach out and touch the coral, but will discover that the sheer wall of water starts an arm span and a half from the beginning of the coral.
From here there are four pathways leading away to the four clusters of the city, all paved with the dark basalt rock. The paths are broad walkways, so you never should have to bump up against the sheer wall of water. The fish will watch you with mild curiosity as they swim by.
Note: if you examine the dark ground stones, there will periodically be Cairn Glyphs (See CityCairns) subtly carved in them. These glyphs are mixed in with other subtle etchings, so they will not stand out. There is just too much magic being used here to have a single cairn.
The pathways branch out into a net of nodes. There are symbols at each intersection directing people away from personal places. Each node is a good sized domed room where a family or person's room is. The "walls" of the room are decorated with coral outcroppings (just out of reach), interesting rock formations, or fields of subtle sea grasses. Many nodes will be subdivided by folding privacy screens. A few will even put screens next to the walls, as they do live in somewhat transparent houses.
Folding screens are an art form here, as well as a major architectual element. The fabric is made with a combination of algea, kelp, various fish elements, and some local silicates. It can range from a matte white to a nearly metallic finish depending on processed. While beautiful in their raw state, they are so often painted with an eye for color and composition that only an Elventi could produce. Clothes and other fabric products are made of this material as well, making for many colorful products here.
Note: some of these products might look "odd" on the surface. They are normally created with the bluish tint of the city's day light in mind.
The city is so very different. It is always some what damp here... and slightly chilly. No matter how much magic is used, away from a hearth stone, it is quite cool here. The city is oddly quiety. The watery wall absorb so much of the sound floating about (put your ear close to a tub of water). There is no ambient noise prevolent in any large gathering of people. During the day and somewhat into the night and dawn a blueish light is everywhere. While brigher lights may be around, every corner is illuminated by the glow of the ocean walls.
The aquatic theme has been extended everywhere. It is in the small carvings of the furniture or the painting of the screens or the light blue tinge to the Lighting Balls. In tasteful places throughout the city, there are what appear to be tall Kelp Fronds. In addition to keeping the air fresh, they add to the look. They are magically enchanted to stay "up" (though a few have grown tall enough to extend into the water out of the node) and to sway slowly in the "current". The artisans here also create colorful enchanted toys shaped like fish. These "fish" slowly float from room to room, hallway to hallway, wiggling (apparently swimming). They appear to be small colorful fish swimming inside the city. There are many shaped rocks and corals inside the city that are occasionally used as furniture, tables, and decorations, that were created by artisans. The city uses a prodigious amount of magic, even for an Eleventi City. If it was not built on a major quad ley node, it would be impossible to support.
There are several wet gateways that lead to and from the sea and reef. They are only accessible by those who are carrying a city seal. It is here that morphed Elventi or those carrying Talismans of the Ocean gather and hunt in the areas around the City. Very little is taken from the surrounding areas, but most of the food and products are grown inside. Despite their love of the sea, very few Elventi wish to go out in it. It is there as a buffer from the world.
The community here is of like mind when it comes to being "separate" from the disorderly world. The The water forms the first layer of buffer. Even if one dives deep into the water, one would be unable to see or find the city as it is offuscated. The coral and rocky out croppings in this area keep ships and larger creatures away from the city. The Elventi have enhanced both to ensure their privacy. The city is situated on a manna node, so it makes the surface weather and tidals pulls in this region treacherous. With a subtle push of magic, this has been enhanced. While gracious to "appropriate" guests, they are quite happy ignoring the world beyond.
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? Responses (14)-14
The first City Image in a really long time. We should really all get to writing some more.
Talk about atmosphere! Another good Elven city, isolated and unexpected. You should link things mentioned like the Cairn Glyphs so we know what they are good for. Other than that, it makes a solid City Image.
This is a great city! i really like the concept of a city under the waves like this... the atmosphere is very well described.
The visual element is quite intriguing, with the blue tint on every objects.
I still wonder how the walls work. do they simply keep water at bay, so that you may put your arm through it if you wish, or do they act more like a membrane, which flexes... what about the fishes (the real ones), do they sometimes end up inside the corridors by mistake? How do the elves get fresh water?
I also wonder what the city would smells like? (ok, weird but I still do...)
Intriguing... will certainly make some pcs come across this one!
I still wonder how the walls work?
I was looking for an Abyss effect. It is simply a wall that stops the water only. There is a reason that all the coral is an arm reach and a half away from the 'wall'. While the pressure and mass of the water will provide some resistance (can you say surface tension?), wou can reach in or even exit through the wall. However, if you don't leave by a gateway (and don't have a talisman), the offuscation will soon kick in. Then you won't be able to find the wall. However surface tension and pressure will provide some resistance to 'falling in'.
Real fish are smart enough to stop when they hit the air, so they don't normally enter the city. However, if they were paniced enough, they would go straight through the wall and land on the floor. So you might find a random fish every now and again, much the same way you find a large spider in your house.
If they were going really fast and hit a corridor, they would rocket across and hit the water on the other side. That would be a great visual.
How do the elves get fresh water?
Osmosis: Simple filtering spell. Pull the water through the magical membrane and poof fresh water.
I also wonder what the city would smells like?
It would smell of the sea. Not the sea of the shores where you have decaying plant matter and such, but of the far ocean, where it is just the salty smell of the sea.
Doh, forgot about the fresh water! in a world where the entire ocean is kept at bay, fresh water and ventilation are going to be parlour tricks!
The magics of the cairns, I suppose, rather that the membrane, also keeps predators at bay then, I would have definitely seen a shark munching on an elf otherwise. Mind you, that would make an interesting scene...
The visuals of the fishes crossing the corridor would be fantastic!
I still perceive the smell to be different though, with the kelp, fish materials, ocean floor, etc... as well as any smell from the processes in the city.
A very nice location indeed!
It was the mental image of a fish diving across a hallway that made me think of the dolphins.
Now if the offuscation works on intelligent beings, they would never find the city to play with it.. but if they were not affected...
I could see them sticking their head into the walls. They could do this to breath. They would do this because they were curious about what was going on. They might even try to talk to the people inside the bubbles. I could see them jumping across hallway walls as a game. (I could also see them moving through their friends in the hallways, to remind them of dolphin games).
Add a touch of magic and the Elves could speak with the dolphins. The dolphins could trade their hunting finds for little magics. An exchange of songs could occur. It would be interesting.
Absolutely brilliant! That would be just spot on! You can definitely see the dolphins and Elventi cooperating like this...
Wow. I feel like I just snuck through the Aquarium without buying a ticket. Nice.
Actually if you need a visual, look up aquarium tunnels. These are the 'special aquariums' where you move on a people mover down a corridor and have a plexy tunnel surround you, allowing you to see the fish.
Undersea Restaraunts is another good image to search as well.
Updated: missing words
Updated: updated links
Certainly a unique and fully fleshed out underwater city