Wednesday, 2 November 2016

What If Metropolis: Travelogue

Travelogue: Veteris

Looking back now it seems rather strange. Veteris was not a city that aspired towards the future but was one that was content with its self. As the world around it began to take steps forward in technology Veteris stayed behind. It was not that the city or its people were backwards or refused to make contact with that of the outside world. Rather it was due to the large distance between the civilizations. Any new comers from a foreign land are welcome to stay, or leave, however it is rare they ever return to home.  

Following a path across the barren lands, avoiding near death from thirst, eventually one would be able to spot the vague silhouette of Veteris. Long ago the citizens of Veteris purposely moved away. The journey towards the new resting place was open for anyone to uptake; the cost of completing the journey was always higher. At first glance from afar the city would appear as a varied collection of upright shapes all huddled together.

Before entering Veteris one had to go through a large arch that stood at least 10 metres tall made of stone that had been oddly shaped. Despite there being a lack of physical barriers people still entered through the gate. It is unsure if this was due to tradition or superstition. Never the less the worn stone path led on towards the outskirts of the city.  

Stories of how the city originated would be told to every generation, from a young age children would be informed of a tribe that travelled using large creatures. Soon the nomads settled down and with that the creatures all but perished, leaving only their petrified husks. Even in death the beings served their owners sheltering them with their bodies.

The material used was not modern; it did not have to be. The surface of the houses appeared to be that of stone; occasionally there would be a bone like component that would stick out. Observing the walls cracks can be seen with the weathered pattern showing the age of the structure. When the walls broke the people repaired it, sometimes with clay, mud or hay. When the time came they would expand their homes using the very same materials that were available to them combining severed fragments from structures that were yet to be occupied. The extension of the home would vary sometimes building upwards others sideways. With this increased amount of living space the growing family would be satisfied.

After the joining of two families both groups would follow the tradition of constructing a new home. This was done by taking apart their own homes and bringing in the combined materials to from a new structure. Over time the buildings would get larger showing a distinct pattern. At the centre of Veteris where it all began the largest buildings stood tall housing the bigger families. When it was necessary new families would move towards the outskirts occupying empty structures. Their homes would start small but it would not be long before they grew.

No home was the same, even the original structure varied in both size and shape. This was not taking in account of the individual changes made by those who lived inside. It was these little differences that could tell another about those who lived inside. Those with large conical chimneys would often belong to a baker or in the rare instance a blacksmith. Every now and then you would come across a house that had stripes of black or white painted across them, signifying the number of generations the house held. Upon carefully inspection around the outside you would eventually find a small clay plaque that would hold the names of the collective families, a piece of history that was carried on from the previous house.

Alongside the buildings, spiked structures protruded from the ground. Often found together in pairs chains of lamps would be hung lighting the streets. Much like the inhabited structures the material appeared to be of a solid stone material worn away by the time. Following the pattern of the buildings the extended structures also consisted of coloured stripes of paint.

While the inner houses were larger than those on the outskirts it would never be larger than the central structure of the city. Its true purpose is only known to a small portion of the population. Most believe that the centre is used to govern the necessary resources for the city to run; others believe that the tower holds a dark secret. Despite the floating rumours what is known is that 2 guards always stand by the entrance, never moving wearing their ceremonial clothing, spears and shields.

It was not that the city or its people were backwards or refused to make contact with that of the outside world but perhaps the opposite. Maybe seeing other’s way of life they were content with their own. 

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