EXERCISE Challenge of the Elements: Water

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Zorilla, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. So the goal here is to cover all 5 chance elements, one element a week, and then on the sixth week to have a ‘combination’ of them. This weeks theme, water! ​

    Challenge:
    Water is a necessity of life. It gives plants their needs, it keeps our cells hydrated, it can provide electricity, it can even give forth destructive capabilities. Your challenge is to make a hydro-based society. Cover things like: Power source, location, and architecture.
     
  2. Neviju is a very cold planet, covered in a constant, thick sheet of snow. There are trees and forests, but no matter what, the plants are covered by the white blanket just like the streets of a strangely built city that uses a unique component of ice, thermal energy and charcoal to make it's buildings tall and luxurious. By mixing charcoal and ice in a special manner, using unknown substances to keep it together, the people of Neviju have created a great building material they call ice glass. It's mostly see through but slightly opaque, giving just a bit of privacy and interest at the same time. A more wooden base is often used for flooring, but sometimes ice glass can be used for the floors as well, albeit a bit dangerous to walk on at times. These buildings range in height and size, and generally have minor technology, yet seem to be fairly advanced.

    They run on charcoal for minor appliances, such as the oven. General charcoal fuel does wonders for them as a society. However, they've also found ways to power their power plants using special machines that separate the snow into a more early chemical base that seems to act as a battery for their machines, as well as computers and general electricity.

    Because it's always cold, people tend to bundle up, but the use of fire is a helpful thing. However, no matter how much snow they melt, it seems like it just grows back like a plant. No one knows when the snow comes so suddenly, but it seems to come mostly at night. Thus they are often taught to "fear the night, to hide from the snow's frothy bite."
     
  3. Minu looked to the sky. A rather pointless thing to do, as it's not as though the sky ever changed on Zhuul. A constant rain poured from the dark blue clouds, pounding the see-through domes across the city to meet again in the ocean below. It could be a bit disorienting, to watch the rain. Some argued that somewhere, beyond Zhuuyan sight, there were walls of solid blue where the oceans and cloud met and bled into one another. Minu was sure this was merely a flight of fancy, but the only reasons she thought as such was because she was a diver. There was no way one could swim in the clouds as she did her beloved ocean nearly every day.

    Dragging her eyes from the sky, Minu continued down the stairs towards her work. She was, as stated, a diver. This wasn't all that rare of an occupation. Nearly half the city's population were also employed in this fashion. After all, how else were they to get light?

    As soon as she reached her dive chamber, Minu made short work of preparing. All that was necessary was to don the headgear, to aid in continued breathing when her oxygen stores were depleted, and the 8 sensors to be placed along her body to maintain warmth in the frigid water. That was all that was needed, really. Minu's race naturally had flipper-like feet. She would hold her arms against natural grooves in her body as to avoid drag until she needed them to harvest down at the farms.

    With the last sensor in place, Minu dove into the circular opening in the floor at the center of the room. It was a 5 foot drop through the air before any contact with the water. Promptly, Minu began swimming. She took no time to look behind her at the familiar sight she knew like the back of her hand.

    Floating on the top of the water was what seemed like a bubble. Or, rather, several bubbles, all attached to each other. Inside of these bubbles, there were a myriad of different colors of the same spongy-looking material. Any resident of these cities would know, however, how solid the material was. Their entire civilization was built of it. Light, but strong. From below, that is all that's visible.

    Below in the water, Minu continued to swim. It took a long while to reach her destination; The lamp farms of Zhuul. They weren't expansive, but they were ever-replenishing. Near the farms, there were sacks tied to heavy rocks. Spotting one of these, Minu untied it from the accompanied rock and dragged it the rest of the way with her to the farms. To reach them, she had to swim through a series of tunnels, but it wasn't long before the telltale luminescence began lighting the way.

    Finally, reaching the end of the tunnels, Minu found herself in a familiar cavern. Around were several other Zhuuyans tending to several stages around the farm. Dragging the sack with her, Minu made her way to a commandeering female near the beginning of the process, and handed her the sack. Before even receiving the sack, the female was waving Minu off across the cavern, to the harvesting stage. Minu grinned. It was her favorite stage.



    (Oooook, I'm stopping here. I could probably expand on this forever, but I'm limiting myself 6-7 paragraphs. The city has no "power source". The only sort of technology they have is derived from natural resources, such as the lamps.)
     
  4. (Hope you like, Zori)!
    There is indeed a place far from Earth that sustains life. This place is called by the natives "Raknu." In their language, this means "Flowing." This place started like ours, water taking up as much as three-fourths of the planet, and land the rest; the only difference being that their land was made of not soil like ours, but a much weaker type, similar in consistency to sand. The land slowly started to melt, the water becoming different as well as the climate. It now constantly rains, and the people are suffering with a continuous (almost freezing) cold. These organisms are becoming more intelligent, however, and have developed water-powered vehicles similar to what we call boats. They are also beginning to become more like water creatures with every generation, their offspring developing non-functional gills. This species is also learning to incorporate water into their architecture, using it to make a glass-like material that is also transparent, again, like glass. Privacy is not important to these beings, of course, they are completely similar to one another with the exception of gender and color. These colors include greys, blues, reds, greens, and on a rare occasion, a light shade of purple. They stand upright just as we do, but are covered in scales and have sharp teeth due to their carnivore-like nature. The males and females rarely get into fights unless their mate or any offspring are injured. Now that the planet's state is declining, it is unfortunately survival of the fittest and the ones with the most advanced technology for these strange organisms. They hope that the gills of each generation begin working before it is too late.
     
  5. The city of Maltepi, located in the center of the river Matahertes, is like no other place in the entire world. Bound by great chains to the Teluvian Cliffs some 9 leagues away, the city lives in a precarious balance between riding the surface of the great river and being pulled beneath it. Many believe that the Maltepans live in the giant domes that cover the city, but this is false. In reality, the city's people live in the comparatively small gaps between the great, artificial hills. The Domes are in fact not domes at all, but orbs that lie half above the water and half below. The great spheres are hollow, cleverly crafted to be airtight, giant buoys keeping the great stone city in check. The city is powered by the river itself. In addition to the massive hydroplanes beneath it's surface, Maltepi also possesses rotating fins that use the river's own power to supply the city with electricity. The fins connect at each corner of the city to great glass spires filled with water that act as constantly recharging batteries, then to the wire lines that hang over the city like a massive spider's web. Prophecy says that, one day, the city's unbreakable chains will snap, and Maltepi will be washed out to sea, forever gone from the river that has been it's home for over 500 years. Still, the people refuse to leave, claiming that they would rather remain until that fated day comes than seek safety now.
     
  6. Zänya is a planet rich on water and also has an abundance of plant life as a result giving the opportunity for a varied and unique fauna as well. Despite all the downpour Zänya has a varied geography thanks to the evolution of Näyians, the sentient race on the planet, with their large population and large cities the climate in populated areas is drier with a more controlled flora and outside the cities damp nature takes over, marshlands, swamps and large unusual flora grows. On a planet as rich on water as Zänya it may seem strange that the Näjians almost worship it, but their entire society relies on water. Everything is powered with water, and sometimes aided with magic, and without their water they wouldn’t survive, a fact that they know full well, so water is highly priced and strictly cared for so as to not pollute it.

    Culture

    Despite their large cities and advanced use of water the Näjians live in an era closer to medieval than modern, they have no electricity instead relying on fire, but their mindset is decidedly more modern although they live in a stone hewn culture allowing little stride from what they know. Led by an Imperial family that rule with unquestioned authority from the capital and placed in the other cities are governors, often related to the Imperial family, that cares for the matters in their city. Men and women are equal as long as they do their share of work in whatever way they can and both genders have just as much right to inherit, rule or study there is however distinct tiers in their culture. They are mainly divided into six ranks; The Imperial family, Merchants and Craftsmen, Mages, Military, Workers and Scholars. Children are quite free, generally having shores but nothing major except school until they are above fifteen which is when their schooling for a job starts and they are expected to start doing their share of work to aid them all.


    Weapons are forbidden to use by civilians, a law that is strictly upheld, the only exceptions are if civilians for some reason has to or wants to leave a city, perhaps to study the nature, then they are given weapons by the military. Weapons is most commonly swords and spears but bow and arrows is fairly common especially if they are aided with magic infused crystals that gives the arrow unique properties, this is also used for other weapons as well. Crystals infused with magic can also be used as weapons in themselves, depending on the magic a crystal can be helpful, like summoning water to put out a fire when help is not close by. Or they can be harmful, like icicles that can be let loose towards a threat. These crystals can be owned by civilians as long as they are bought from mages affiliated with the Academy of Magic, however harmful magic is rarely given to civilians.

    Groups among the Näjians protest against the strict no weapons rule against civilians claiming that if only the military can wield weapons it is a threat towards the free will of the people. That the Imperial family holds to much power as well, that they can strike out as a tyranny any moment and no one could go against them with their skilled and loyal army. These groups are what have caused a few rebellions during the years but most people treasure the peace and safety brought by a stable government and the rule for no weapons keeps them safe amongst themselves as well.

    Relations

    As the only sentient race on Zänya the Näjians have no interracial problems to deal with instead they live spread across the planet and has during early wars formed clans and claimed their own lands. Now they are much too large to be called clans however and wars tend to be much larger but during the last few hundred years peace has reigned. Architecture and culture has remained strangely similar between the different countries and that is the reason why they have so large amounts of peace and also why they tend to break out into war, they are too similar.

    Trading is common between the countries, they import and export regularly to get their hands on what their own country can not offer and the trading caravans are highly guarded against rogue thieves and wild animals. A job as a caravan escort offer a lot of money for the skilled ones mad enough to fight against the large animals and dangerous nature.

    Magic

    Magic exists on Zänya and many animals and even plants can either use magic or draws from it but among the Näjians it is slightly uncommon and any magic user receives a high rank by just knowing magic. As indicated by their home planet their skill with the manipulation with water is exceptional but they use other elements as well and can also manipulate inanimate objects. Experts argue on the point but studies seems to indicate that a mage’s skill with a certain element is related to their family line, in that some families have a greater skill with air while others are more in tune with fire.

    Mages are in charge of many things, their affiliation to elements and their skill with it are specified while they study at the Academy of Magic and after a period of four years they are sent out to their new jobs. Those who want to or those who are unable to get a job as the places are full have the option of continue their studies and eventually can become sages, exceptionally skilled mages with a wide area of skills of multiple elements and have plenty wisdom of many subjects. These sages often become major figures in society and control the Imperial Army Mages, the Water Shrines and the myriad of temples throughout Zänya.

    Religion

    There is no set religion in Zänya, many gods are worshipped and have their own temples, many too prefer to believe in their own strength or in logic and what they can see. Priests and priestesses that oversee temples and care over religious matters are almost always mages, although those in lower ranks can be normal people but the head priest or priestess must be a mage. People believe that magic was given to Zänya by the gods and that only by honouring them can they keep the magic, therefore mages have always had high ranks in temples. However no one has any real physical proof of the gods existence, whether that is because they do not exist or that they never walk on the mortal plane or even that they are so good at hiding as mortals that no one can see them for what they are no one knows and it is the source of many debates.

    Architecture

    Houses are built mainly of stone while the unique opalescent marble is used for temples and other important buildings and decorations. The appreciation and love of water is seen everywhere in the cities of Zänya, fountains decorate squares and gardens while elegantly carved channels lets water flow on houses themselves, framing doors and creating small waterfalls down walls to join another channel or even a larger aqueduct. Houses are generally large and has an open design on the inside allowing for a lot of light inside, the exterior is beautifully decorated and has carvings around windows and doors. Houses are generally large, housing large families and people rarely live alone on Zänya, houses have many rooms allowing most to have their own rooms, with younger kids and couples sharing rooms. Much time is spent in the large living rooms where people interact. The interior is often carved by hand much like the exterior, paintings and tapestries are also common decorations as is potted plants as Näjians love nature and gladly takes it inside as well has having their city full of it.

    Power

    Everything on Zänya is powered by water and touches of magic, large aqueducts stretch through out cities gathering up rainwater as well as spring water from where the aqueduct originates, these are protected by a special branch of the PPSS that focus only on the care and safety of the water lines. These aqueducts branch of into smaller ones and also goes underground to reach every building and area where water is needed, special systems make it possible for houses to have running water, cold and hot, as well as drainage systems and sewers to flush out the used water.

    As the Näjians are so reliant on water in their society they are very protective of their water sources and are very careful about what they let back out into the nature, anything that may be polluted or harmful to the land is placed in special containers that are stored in underground bunkers while the mages work on the long process of removing the pollution before letting the water back out into nature.

    Locations

    The Wänjian Swamp: The largest swamp on the planet and home to one of the most unique flora and fauna as well.

    Creature Training Centre: The many facilities throughout Zänya where the specialists trains a variety of wild creatures to safely aid the population as well as the army. These facilities deals mostly with the large or especially dangerous animals as well as newly caught ones.

    Breeding Centre: Often, though not always, attached to the CTC these facilities hire expert handlers to breed and train creatures before they are sold to civilians or the army.

    Kaetehanu: The capital city of Zänya located slightly south of the centre of the country, it's extended use of the opalescent marble has given the city it's nickname, The Jewel of Zänya.

    The Academy of Magic: The only certified school for mages to learn how to control and develop their special skill, it is located in the capital offering a a perfect distance to anywhere in the land. Students live on the school grounds and can roam Kaetehanu whenever they do not have class or other duties, students can also chose to continue their studies here to become sages or to become teachers themselves.

    PPSS - Public Protection and Safety Squad

    This large military unit is especially trained to handle wildlife and minor crimes, being stationed in every city and village to keep law and order amongst the citizens and also protect them from wild creatures that stray from their own habitat. They are not heavily armed and doesn't have all the fire power that the Nävian army has but what they have is enough to handle the wild animals and minor criminals. Whenever harsher action is required the more heavily armed army is sent out from their stations in major cities. PPSS soldiers patrol the streets and borders in small troops or in teams of three, inside cities they patrol alone, and their duties is just as much to help citizens as it is to guard them.

    The Imperial Army

    The large and well armoured military in charge of violent crimes and warring against other nations, they are much more skilled and heavily armed in comparison to the PPSS. Divided into large regiments that in turn are divided into smaller squads the army is incredibly well trained as they spend a lot of their time training when they have nothing else to do during peace. They also have a special regiment of mages led by a sage that also aid the Imperial family when there are no wars.