Erin Hoffman (zhai) wrote in dqj,
Erin Hoffman

[Location Profile] The Blue Cliffs and Gathering Village

The Blue Cliffs and Gathering Village

The Grand Council of Di'Quinasev meets and resides in the highest chamber carved into the blue shale cliffs that overlook the Endless Sea in Di'Quinasev's northwesternmost reaches.  If Guardian City is Di'Quinasev's heart and Whitemoon her spirit, the Blue Cliffs are certainly her mind.

Viewed as a place of sophistication and aristocracy by the majority of Di'Quinasev's population, the Blue Cliffs are also home to the Great Library and Archives kept assiduously by the world's scholar class.  The Cliffs are a great center of learning much admired by aspiring scholars and mages all over Di'Quinasev, for the presence of the PoleAdepts attracts a steady population of mages to the small city that over time has solidified into a center for formal magical education.

The large mage population has also shaped the very face of the Blue Cliffs themselves.  Where Whitemoon draws its beauty from the handcrafted sculpture and careful carving of the Seridensana, the Blue Cliffs are marked by massive relief carvings set into the shale, achievable only by the application of substantial Earth magic to the sharp, brittle stone.  Although the cliffs don't have much in length, stretching perhaps a quarter of the length of the Sanctuary Mountains, they are arranged in layers, marked between by great crevasses of unknown origin.  Some parts of the cliffs needed no augmentation, being peppered with ancient fossilized life that stretches in artful shapes all on its own -- the presence of these fossils has provided a further draw for scholars and archaeologists.  Combined with the carvings that have been added to the cliffs over the years, to stroll through the ravines between the Cliffs is to gain access to one great panel of sculpture after another, each stretching hundreds of feet into the air.  The ravines mark a spidery labyrinth through the cliffs, and their structure suited another of the cliffs' purposes, for wherever there are politics, there lies secrecy and intrigue.  It is entirely possible for a careful gryphon to thread his or her way through the laybrinthine corridors provided by the ravines and find a passageway untouched in all the years of the region's habitation; those seeking solitude often do precisely that, carving lairs in the great stone walls far from sight of any other creature.

Despite the large presence of magicusers, the largest portion of the population is instead comprised of bureaucrats and scribes.  The gryphon scribes, known collectively as the Order of the Talon -- a deceptively militial name for a group of gryphons that in fact permanently blunt all but one talon on their writing claw; the 'Talon' refers to that single appendage -- collect at the Blue Cliffs and serve at the Great Library, though a certain portion of their population is constantly in transit, gathering information from the rest of Di'Quinasev.  Bureaucrats, representatives from each of the Aerie and Village councils, also take permanent homes in Di'Quinasev; some choose to return to their home villages or lairs after their service, but an equal portion elect instead to adopt Blue Cliffs life permanently.

The Great Library is located directly below the Di'Quinasev Council Chamber, which perches just below the ridge of the highest cliff at the center of the city.  Rather than being a 'library' as one would picture it, the Great Library is itself a ravine, albeit a thin one, snaking through the cliff rock.  Long ago Blue Cliffs Earth mages sealed off the top of the ravine and conditioned the entire Library chamber to keep it free of mold and dust, but while the Library does hold a number of scrolls and conventional books, its importance lies in the very rock that forms its walls.  Carved there in gryphon script, beginning at the top of the wall immediately left of the entrance, is the entire recorded history of Di'Quinasev as watched over by the Order of the Talon, from the first gryphon to step across the border into what would become Di'Quinasev.  Much of the Order's work is devoted entirely to filtering all of the information brought in by the scribes and determining what will be recorded on the Library walls.

The Di'Quinasev Council itself is comprised entirely of gryphons, and has been since the Migration.  In this the final governmance of Di'Quinasev is clear, for although members of all other species do send representatives to the Cliffs to gather at the Great Council in Gathering Village, final decisions on matters concerning Di'Quinasev as a whole are not made there, but by the gryphons.  The Great Council is in fact a second tier of the Di'Quinasev judiciary system, such as it is; grievances are brought first to one's local council of elders, and from there can be escalated (and it is any citizen's right to request such escalation) to the Great Council.  Matters not resolved by the Great Council can be passed along to the Di'Quinasev Council, on the condition that those contesting agree to abide by this final council's decision.  For the most part the Councils' lives are quiet, however -- most citizens resolve disputes on their own, and those that cannot are generally satisfied by the decisions of their local elders.

Each Aerie and Village combination provides a staff of mages, healers, and skilled workers to their councilors at the Blue Cliffs.  As a central location for the collective eyes of the world, Aeries and Villages often send their best craftspeople, healers, and mages; it is considered a great honor to be selected for a term of service at the Cliffs, and in turn, the concentration of skilled and learned individuals at the Blue Cliffs elevates the esteem of that region and draws a steady flow of visitors that come for services or simply to view their world's center of government.

Despite all this, life at the Blue Cliffs is not exclusive.  Its isolated placement does tend to make it an expensive living space, and unless one obtains special permission, only pre-assigned lairs are available for habitation in the east-facing side of the Cliffs designated as the city's territory.  Anyone can live there, but many choose not to, preferring instead the more readily available wild game of the less populated regions or the melting pot of cultures and species that is Guardian City.  Cuisine at the Cliffs tends to rely heavily on fish, for its proximity to the sea -- being the only sea-facing Di'Quinasev region, in fact -- affords it easy acquisition of all manner of sea life.
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