Solo Paper Plains

Too much time and a new city. What do you do?

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Paper Plains

Postby Branimir on August 27th, 2015, 3:06 pm

Summer 81st, 515 AV

A few nights ago, Branimir had made an interesting discovery about how he related to the world, or how the world related to him. Or something. He'd found that he could deal better with the world once he'd abstracized it onto paper. Whether it was the nature of the drawn images or the process itself, he didn't know. Right now he just knew it worked. And so he'd gone to make this city his own in that way. To know this city, topographically speaking, he needed to draw a map first. And to draw that map, he needed to measure it.

Unfortunately, the Akalak might take a dim view to someone dragging a lanyard along their streets so as to cause people to trip as they exited their houses. Or wave around a yardstick as they passed. Luckily for Branimir, one of the first practical lessons he had learned in his studies was one of symmetry. Specifically, the symmetry of his own mortal shell. On a good day, Branimir was a hand's breadth over six feet tall and if he spread his arms, he measured that same length from fingertip to fingertip. When not hurrying, his steps were two and a half feet each. By taking controlled steps, counting carefully and taking notes, Branimir could measure the length and breadth of Riverfall without tools.

Having a vague idea of the layout of the city by now, the young man chose to begin at the city gate, measuring the street from there to the corner where his inn lay. Passing the Blue Bull tavern behind it he turned north towards the Oathmaster's Tower. Pausing to jot down the amount of steps from the corner by the tavern to the tower, Branimir idly wondered what the local Oathmaster even did. Probably judicate vows, like a clerk. He also wondered if the Akalak would let him ascend this tower to get a better look of the city below. A clerk's tower seemed more likely to allow tourists than the large guardtower he'd seen or the towers of the Gods. Though that might depend on the God in question. Or the tower. Wysar's Tower lay on a perch high enough to not need to ascend the so-called tower proper after all.

Incidentally, the path to that tower was the next street Branimir intended to measure. Moving in on the cliffside step by step, measured and measuring, he stoically navigated the passing masses.
Last edited by Branimir on September 15th, 2015, 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Branimir on September 15th, 2015, 6:01 pm

Upon closer reflection, Branimir had decided to go to the temple on another day, then marry the information of his exploration on the ground -and the numbers gained that way- with the excellent view he would have from up there. Especially the irregular shapes, such as parks and the run of the Bluevein river, would be better seen from up above. But as far as the layout of streets was concerned, the Akalak were commendably exacting -or stubborn- and showed a preference for right angles. Of course, that penchant was lost when he descended to the lowest level of the city at the end of the wonderfully straight street.

Down here by the bay, everything was a jumble. Buildings seemed placed without thought or care to Branimir. All of this could be improved with a uniform mindset, the architect thought. The kind of mindset an obsessively, compulsively orderly person possessed. Someone trained in architecture, a discipline which not only covered the building of houses. In fact, it was accepted fact in the more scholarly communities he'd cared to bother with that all great realms owed their greatness at least in part to their engineers and architects. From the Eypharian sands to the milder climes of Suvan or the harsh realm of Alahea, these peoples needed to consolidate their holdings.

They needed fortified waystations and guard towers and tollhouses along their roads. They pacified patches of land by erecting model citadels in their midst, often in places chosen only for strategical purposes. This in turn tended to create more work for the architects of those realms as they needed to raise farming communities and lines of supply and even rerouted rivers. Of course, the modern age left little of that work. Five centuries after the Valterrian, the land was still healing from the devastation. Civilization was pushed into corners and isolated in pockets. Given two armies -one of soldiers, one of workers- a skilled architect could reconquer that land for good, certainly. But for whom?

The cities of the world yet had the space they needed and tended to control their farmland well enough. On the other hand, the Akalak of tales were a proud and fierce people given to conflict. Maybe they would enjoy the idea of increasing their lands, making their city richer and more bountiful, if only to attract more of the women they so sorely lacked? But even if, how would Branimir, Branimir the yet untested, drive them to have that wish? First, before he could take any larger steps, he'd need to prove his worth to these people. Putting their dockside in order might seem like a good first step.

As he measured side street by pathway and noted them down in his book, along with little drawings denoting the points and angles at which they intersected, he considered how easily he could elevate this city. On paper anyhow. He imagined the cauldron the bluevein had cut into the rock as an amphitheatre, with rows upon rows of buildings crawling up the cliff, and between them little canals and ponds providing easy access to water to the upper tiers. They would be fed by the Bluevein up above and cascade down in so many tiny waterfalls, giving true credence to the name Riverfall. And that would just be the housing for the poorest of the people.

That too was the art of architecture. Not only did it elevate bricks and blocks of stone and wooden beams to a higher state of being. It could elevate the people within the walls it built. The young man knew all that, he knew, he knew. But who would believe him? Who would believe the idle and admittedly crude sketches that flowed from his hand without him even needing to look? He needed an inroad with these people. He really did.
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Postby Branimir on September 30th, 2015, 3:03 pm

Next, the young man considered the bay itself. Safe as it lay from Zulrav's calamitous temper, it was not impregnable. Not that Branimir was aware of any piracy on the Suvan Sea, but for Branimir it was only a question of time before man's ingenuity took back what he lost to the Valterrian catastrophe. Sooner rather than later, the cities dotting the land would rise again. And when all the land in their domain was theirs and tamed, they'd cast envious eyes towards their neighbors. Granted, Riverfall's weakness was up above, where the Bluevein ran. The bottleneck of Plunge Pool Bay was a point of attack for madmen, to know as much one didn't need to be a naval strategist.

However, the tiny opening all but invited a blockade. Also, there were creatures in the Suvan one might want to distract from the bay. While not a needful consideration, the architect actually dreaded to ruin the stark natural lines of the bay with emplacements and so decided to raise artificial islands outside of it, there to place towers to ward off interlopers. That thought alone birthed a dozen ideas on how one might pacify the Suvan Sea for good, but a sharp tug at the simple chain around his wrist killed them where they spawned. He had a goal for right now. An attainable goal, a sensible, practical goal. Casting one last look at the bay, he made himself turn on his heel and ascend back up into the city proper, constantly taunted by the image of Wysar's Temple up on the cliff.

Returning almost to the point of his origin, Branimir once more passed the Blue Bull tavern along his path, dodged the early afternoon brawl as it began to spill outside and felt like a local as he did. Funny how these things worked. The Blue Bull was not exactly on time, but there were clear tides to it, like the sea. Attendance swelled and swelled and eventually broke out into violence, or so it seemed. But that was about all the consideration Branimir could afford to spare on that establishment. Instead, he busied himself with the next entry on his ledger of Riverfall's roads. The other side of the Bluevein where he'd soon be was wider and the streets busier in both attendance and design. Of course he'd master the pattern, but only because he'd gone before to learn it. Now he was simply sizing it up for the kill.

Patterns. Patterns existed in all things and to all things there was one, the young man thought as he measured his little world step by step. The streets were laid out in a pattern. It might not be regular or repeating (though his designs would change that, he swore), but there were reasons the street turned left after the bridge. If only because Akajja's tower stood that way. Or maybe the tower had followed the street to the edge of the city. They both had their reasons for being where they were. It was not his place to question those reasons, nor his intention because, at the end of it all, Branimir did not care for those reasons. His own design would be based on his own reasons and that was enough for him. He'd not be fool enough to tussle with the will of the Gods, nor would he be fool enough to even question it.

Maybe they'd respond in kind where his own will was concerned. Maybe his own Gods were simply better, wiser beings than one might assume. Again, he did not mind. Fixed points in the cityscape were inspiration and challenge more than obstacle. They gave starting points and stopping points and commanded the quarters they belonged to. And thusly, these quarters would neatly find order around, say, Akajja's Tower in the future, too. Though he was not sure how to appease the Goddess of Night. Another thing Branimir would have to research. Would she treasure black houses? Ones bereft of windows? Or walls? He could tell of Zintila, but as the stories went that Alvina gave unto her followers their own hallowed building material, a masterful glass without peer in all the land. Sadly. this was not Lhavit. Luckily, it was Riverfall.

Clearly this town needed a vision in a way the legendary city of Kalea did not. His vision. His design. His order. All this was clear to Branimir. Still unclear was how to convince anyone of this. Standing outside of Akajja's temple and jotting down his numbers, he wondered of the Goddess had an answer.

Also, while hoping not to raise the nightbringer's ire with this thought, he missed his very own patron. Clutching her charm in his right hand, he closed his eyes while trying not to pray for guidance. Eyris wouldn't help those who couldn't help themselves at any rate, Branimir trusted he knew.
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