Crythal Article 2

Crythal Article 2

A Story by Stephen Mayo
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This is the second piece I wrote for Fenix Magazine. It deals with the Crythal city, hidden away from the view of most of the world. http://www.newhorizonrpg.com

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New Horizon is a vast moon with endless stretches of untamed wilderness. Early on in the settlement of the moon, colonists discovered that the local wildlife, and usually plant life, were often hazardous to the settlers. The world was just too strange and alien for people to walk out into unprepared. For that reason, much of the population has stayed inside of the largest cities on New Horizon. In the 200 years that humans and wafans have lived there, they have barely scratched the surface in terms of mapping and cataloging the world. Staying close to their dedicated trade routes and safe zones, the colonists have missed out on many wonders of their new home, some only a few kilometers away.

The Youzem continent is by far the most heavily populated, boasting such places as Avalon, the Port of Narehl, Trapper Town and Warhead. Even with this population, much of this continent has been left unexplored. The word that best describes civilization here is perimeter. The first is the City's perimeter, the places where they have wrestled as much control as possible from the surrounding landscape. The second is the perimeter of nature. The greatest cities in the area barely skirt the edges of nature's playground. Avalon sits at the edge of the Azuremar Plains, places such as Warhead and Trapper town rim the edge of the Azuremar Mountains, and the Port of Narehl rests at the boundary of the Narehlian Jungle. Very little of the interior of these vast places has been explored, few dare to enter the deepest recesses of the wilderness, and many don't come back.

The Azuremar Mountains cover an area nearly the size of North America back on earth, they boast the tallest peaks on the moon, and titanic cave systems that go deeper than almost any other place around. Thousands of valleys traverse the landscape making inroads into a veritable maze of mountain peaks. Those who don't know the way can get lost in this place for years, wandering ever deeper into the unexplored and unknown, assuming the wildlife doesn't get them first.

With so much of these grand peaks left uncharted, there are untold mysteries left to find and explore. Traveling for many days on end, through some of the roughest territory around, one eventually can come to the Garden of Zen. The garden encompasses some of the massive valleys resting near Mt Michal, watched over by the natural protection of sheer cliff walls, steep valleys and abundant lakes. By those who have visited this region, the garden is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world. The garden boasts grand waterfalls and terraced gardens, gorgeous reflecting pools and abundant sunlight. There is little question why this place, with its innate peacefulness and tranquility, was chosen as the center of the Asian cultural revival on New Horizon.

For those who can make the trip, the Garden of Zen is the experience of a lifetime. Many save for years just to make a pilgrimage to this place and speak with the learned elders. Even those who do not believe in the meditative approach to life that this place boasts cannot deny that it feels almost holy compared to the more rough and tumble places that line the edges of the Azuremar mountains. That is not to say that the place is undefended. Aside from the natural barriers that protect the garden, it boast a small force of samurai soldiers trained in the reemerging martial arts as well as the more modern weapons of the world.

Few outside the natural citizens of the garden ever see this place. Even the travelers are not such a great number when faced with the dangerous trek to the inner ranges of the Azuremar Mountains. As such, the stories from the garden have occasionally been shrouded in myth and legend as the tales pass along from traveler to traveler. Beyond the garden lies a place even more shrouded in myth, a place known to exist only because of the few encounters with its local inhabitants, a place where none have been save the possibility of the Zen Elders. That place is Elornaeo, the Crystal City.

Ever since the first crythal walked from the morning mist and made themselves known to the inhabitants of the Garden of Zen, many have speculated about their grand city. One speculative tale tells of a place of sweeping beauty and peace, much Like the Garden of Zen where they chose to make their first appearance. Others think that the hidden city is a place of technological might that would dwarf Avalon. A few who have heard other tales claim that the city is the last vestige of a civilization destroyed in some past apocalypse. Some have attributed the ruins around the world to this mysterious race, but no actual connection has ever been found.

Of all these theories, the first is arguably the most true. The city of Elornaeo is indeed a place of wondrous beauty. The city is located on the far side of Mt. Michal from the Garden of Zen. This proximity to the Garden is one of the many reasons that the crythal chose to make their first appearance there. The main reason that the city has yet to be discovered is not one of distance, or hiding, but one of accessibility. The crythal city is located near the heart of a vast chain of kyanite valleys found in the Azure heights.

The origin of the name Azuremar is debated, some say it comes from the blue glaciers found in many of the valleys throughout the mountain others claim it comes from the massive 500 foot high kyanite crystal valleys deep within. Regardless, it is these crystals which give the Azure Heights their name. The heights are threaded with rift valleys boasting kyanite crystals of astounding size. Some of the larger valleys cover areas as large as Rhode Island. Though only ever rated as a semiprecious gemstone, kyanite has uses in electronics and is often used as an electronic insulator. This gives the stone some worth in technologically advanced societies.

The reason that these valleys have yet to be explored on a larger scale has to do with the inherent dangers therein. The atmosphere in these valleys is extremely rich in sulfur, making it poisonous for unprotected humans. Atmosphere aside, the lifeforms that inhabit these valleys are positively primeval and many are able to feed on the inner workings of Wafans. The evolutionary change that caused much of the life on New Horizon to be a dual base of carbon and silicon apparently never reached these peaks. Much of the life here is primitive, reminiscent of the ancient seas of earth, if such life had been coated in crystal or spun from glass. Silicon dominates the biological landscape, crafting many legged creatures that skitter and fly about in forms that resemble fine artwork crafted by gem cutters and glassblowers alike.

Where places such as Narehl are filled with the incessant buzzing and chirping of insects, these valleys have a musical quality to them as the inhabitants walk along on crystal beds and glide on crystal wings filling the air with sounds reminiscent of wind chimes. Most life here is quite small, ranging from microscopic to only a few centimeters across. In that respect, crythal and the creatures known as cryth are an oddity. Crythal are roughly the size of an olympian human, with cryth ranging from the size of a small to medium dog. There are also the proto-cryth which are about the size of a house cat. These three are among the largest inhabitants of the Azure Heights.

Elornaeo itself is a city which seems to grow directly from the crystal of the valley around it. The impossible shapes and angles lead one to question how such structures were created. The entire city is seamless in construction, with each building's form flowing smoothly into the next. If one spends enough time in the city, the answer becomes clear. Cryth are abundant here, in fact they are only ever found in the presence of crythal. The smaller creatures possess three pronged pincers gifted with an amazing amount of dexterity. The bodily fluids of the cryth appear to soften the crystalline structure of the valley as well as promote the growth of new crystal. This allows the cryth to shape their surroundings with the help of their dextrous pincers. With hundreds, possibly thousands, of cryth roaming the valley, entire structures can be secreted and molded in a manner of hours.

The outer edge of the valley holds living quarters which are recessed into the valley walls. The natural crystal growth has been followed and expanded upon creating a flowing landscape for the city. Streets are laid out in a way that showcases the beauty of the crystal itself. Deeper into the valley, one finds delicately tended gardens consisting of the strange silicon based plant life that grows in this place. If one were to only ever see such a garden once, it would be easy to mistake them for sculpture. Only when one can watch the crystal life slowly grow and change does the true nature of the plants become apparent.

The main focus of the city seems to be aesthetics. If ever possible, things will be both beautiful and useful. Carved motifs cover the central buildings of the city, each picture flowing seamlessly into the next. It is possible to start at one end of the city and follow the flowing artwork to the other end of the valley without ever finding a break. There are many places around the city where one can sit and listen to music, song and stories or simply watch an artist in the process of creating masterpieces through carving, drawing, or any other form of artistic expression. Along with the beautiful carvings, much of the city is filled with fine silk tapestries created from the different forms of silk that the creatures of the heights are capable of producing. This same silk is used in most crythal clothing, and would be capable of fetching great prices outside of the heights.

Most of the labor and production seem to be handled by the cryth as they flow over the valley like a colony of ants, this leaves the Crythal free to follow other pursuits. Almost every Crythal is trained in some form of artistic expression, from those who create the beautiful artwork around the city, to those who fill the air with melodious sounds. Speaking is also considered an art form, with storytelling regarded as the highest form of that art.

The places for leisure form one of the many facets of the city, shaped like a carved gem. Another facet holds the Queen's palace, the Geode Hall and several other large buildings. Though not the largest building in the city, the Queen's palace is still magnificent. The crystal which forms the walls flows in bands of color ranging from many shades of blue to red, green, purple, even black. At any given moment it is possible to see the entire spectrum of crystallized light as it reflects through the walls and plays off thousands of carved pieces of art.

The palace holds the largest garden in the valley with the most delicately cared for inhabitants. Throughout the gardens flows a pristine clear stream that has been routed through an artificial bed that creates water falls and small bubbling rapids and fills the garden with soft natural music to accompany the chiming of the insectile inhabitants.

Just beyond the palace sits the Geode Hall, where the governing council of the city meets. The hall isn't large, but it is comfortable and the inherent design of the place fosters an attitude of acceptance and friendship rather than confrontation.

For beings so alien, there are many things in Elornaeo that would seem almost familiar to the outside world. There are gathering places to eat, fields for sport, and stores that sell a vast array of goods. Many of the designs from this place show a curious relation to the civilization outside of the heights. One can find artwork that matches styles from the Garden of Zen, Aquilon, and many other places. Tools in many cases seem to follow the same design principles as ones available around the world.

The most highly decorated building in the entire city looks like a palace with high walls, magnificent crystal towers, and many smaller outbuildings. This place is known as the University of Light, of Cry Enal in the crythal language. Cry Enal is a place of learning that houses all of the collected knowledge of the Crythal. The way the inhabitants of the city speak of Cry Enal makes it clear that it hold an especially important place in their society. It also holds what could be considered the most curious connection that the Crythal show to the outside world.

The Cry Enal houses the entire history of the Crythal people, their knowledge of science, religion, philosophy, and any other subject. The largest section of Cry Enal is known as the Hall of Memories, which contains thousands upon thousands of stories. However, these stories rarely deal with Crythal. The collected stories in the Hall of Memories contain what appear to be stories from the lives of the other inhabitants of New Horizon. There are stories from all six of the races that make up civilization outside of the Azure Heights. No one outside the city seems to be able to explain how Crythal, a race which has only recently been seen, and only within the Azure Mountains, could have collected stories from every continent, every city on New Horizon. Little is truly known about Crythal culture, but these stories seem to be valued and respected almost as if they were religious text.

The origin of this city is unknown. If it is the last remnants of a civilization that was on New Horizon before the arrival of the Icarus, then the possible knowledge of world events would be priceless. How the crythal manage to gather their stories is a mystery, but those stories may hold the secrets to the past, the answers to the other mysterious ruins dotted around the moon. For all the mysteries and secrets that Elornaeo may hold, the inhabitants do not appear to have any hostile intent toward the outside world. Whether or not this is actually the case remains to be seen. Perhaps what is known and what is speculated are only a dim reality, a shallow facade to mask the truth. When at last civilization as a whole becomes aware of the possible wealth and knowledge within the Crystal City, peaceful interaction may not be a possibility.

© 2012 Stephen Mayo


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Added on January 23, 2012
Last Updated on January 23, 2012

Author

Stephen Mayo
Stephen Mayo

Billings, MT



About
Been a while since I updated this. At the moment I'm writing for the New Horizon RPG (http://www.newhorizonrpg.com) I'm also working on a few personal projects whenever I get time. more..

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