Sietch Amber

“Hey, watch that knee!”   “Sorry, not very roomy here in Sook Grand Opera!”   “Room is the priciest item in Sook, you know.”   “Room, really?”   “The place can’t get bigger, it’s a stone bubble, like Zhighuli Amber.”   “Zhighuli Amber?”   “That’s the Moniqan name, you call it Sietch Amber.”   “Like Mountain Home?”   “Yes, little sister, Mountain Home. But Mountain Home isn’t home to hundreds of thousands.”   “They’re the same size?”   “I’m not sure, but what I saw of maps had the same number of sections, so possibly, if they were on the same scale.”   “That’s interesting.”   “What are you thinking, Dreamy Domei Dan?”   “Oh, you, just that maybe that weird extra oomph we’ve been noticing, from spells cast in Mountain Home, what if it was sympathetic magic? From Zhighuli Zenith?”   “That was Merlyn’s theory, and it was debunked.”   “Debunked?”   “Well, not so much debunked, but it didn’t account for even half of it, according to the most optimistic theories?”   “Was Zenith as big back then?”   “No, but it didn’t account for the differences then. The differences are actually bigger now. When he made the magical theory, Zenith had half the population it had now.”   “And how big is the magical contribution of mountain home now?”   “It’s about two units, or maybe one fifth the total, but I have no idea what would account for the other nine. Merlyn’s theory would let Zenith contribute two units.”   “Why only two? Shouldn’t the doubled population double the contribution?”   “Hmm ok, yes, that is possible, but where would we find the next five?”   “Do we know of any place with mystical sympathy with Zenith?”   “Rennick.”   “You sound sure of yourself, Xiang.”   “You’ve visited it, you didn’t see the air of the city, all huddled to one side, away from the sea?”   “Ok, yeah, I saw that while there. What of it?”   “I just got the impression the layout of the city was the same.”   “Let’s compare topologies, later, after the Opera.”   ...Later, after the Opera   “Ok, so the same grid-plan, 20 squares of 1 thousand paces, by 20 squares of 1 thousand paces,(guesstimating YUL’s ~600km2 to be matched by an in-universe New Firenze of 20km2 by 20km2, for 400km2 ), mostly same elevation, the tallest buildings are taller in Rennick. Zenith looks like a sphere gouged out of a plain, Rennick looks gouged out of a coastal mountain, and lopsided because of it. Well there’s definitely some sympathy, but I doubt it’d be enough to cast all sympathetic magic. Good call though Xiang.”   “I’m surprised there’s not more.”   “I’d be surprised if we find many more sympathetic places though.”   “Maybe if searched further afield? Rennick, Zenith and Mountain Home are still on the same continent.”   “Wouldn’t being on a different continuent make them dissimilar?”   “Maybe, maybe not, but it’s still interesting.”   “Djind has many cities with much more population than Rannick.”   “Yes, but they’re mostly built along a river, usually a river’s floodplain. Next.”   “Ruthen?”   “Zhiguli here is a stone bubble?”   “But it is the wrong shape, formed out of mountains naturally, it’s all narrow.”   “These Maori have an area with the same grid… oh wait… It’s submerged.”   “And Victorialand nearby has another, with… corals?”   “Yes, I visited on a dive, it’s beautiful there. No idea it was based on a sphere though.”   “And here, in Murac? This area along the volcano?”   “Murac, Tangeers, all promising, all at best, with the upper halves cut off.”   “And this far off Europa?”   “Not here, not here, not here.”   “Zuerrick?”   “Nope, but the closest match we found, so far. Still 55% of the sphere we’d need.”   “This Suez?”   “No, the channel cuts it in half.”   “Found one, what’s this Royalmount place?”   “It’s a dormant volcanic hill, what are they using the sphere for?”   “They found a spherical void inside the hill, decided to use it for potable water storage.”   “Potable? Just how much of the stuff can they have?”   “New Firenze has the largest potable resources in the world. Seriously, it’s uncanny.”   “And how much do they store there?”   “Err, a few days of the city’s need.”   “And how big is the city, that sounds like a lot?”   “Six or seven Rannicks. It’s much smaller than other places in Eurania , or New Etrusca .””   “150 million litres is a lot Ami-chan, except in New Firenze. It’s their tenth largest.”   “But it’s uncanny.”   “You bet, that such a spherical structure even exists freaked them out.”   “Then we found out more…”   “Yeah, it must have immense sympathy with Rannick, the part that’s under water.” Harder to see the sympathy with Sook, though.   “But this is just under the city?”   “Yeah, but the place was under a sea, so it’s a mix of silt deposits, and volcanic pumice. The city’s on top of the shale. And it’s a lot larger than Rannick.”   “How much bigger?”   “Seven times, like I said, it's almost a million and a half, even if New Etrusca in general is like empty of people, and it’s not a densely populated one, by the standards of larger cities. New Firenze, especially, is beautiful to visit, but empty.”   “Anyone made the trip?”   Doka spoke up: “I did, with Tam, on our honeymoon. I loved what they did with the place. Visited Bathurst (ZBF), Royalmount (YUL), then Stadakoné (YYQ), Bytown(YOW), Ashbridge Bay(YYZ), elbow river(YYC), Strathcona (YEG), Gastown(YVR), was so exotic.”   “Isn’t it cold there?”   “We visited in their summer, silly. And we were prepared.”   “Their summer?”   “We’re on the other side of the equator from them, their warmest season is our winter.”   “But aren’t they much further from the equator?”   “I found more variance between places in New Etrusca, than related to latitude, There is some of that, but many microclimes mess all those calculations up.”   ”Oh, like what?”  Warmth Bay in Octem was too hot for us, if it tells you anything.”   “Any place as cold as we’d expect?”   “I doubt it, coldest was Gastown, was like spring here.”   “Don’t they have snow?”   “They do, but in the winter dear, we were gone by then. Our hosts sent us photos, apparently had we gone four months later, we’d have frozen our bits off after a historical snowfall season. Four paces of snow.”   “Four paces?”   “Four paces over the winter, Royalmount got one pace and a half in a single, 36 hour snowfall.”   “I can’t imagine that much!”   “Well of course dear, you never even saw half a pace except in the mountains. When you see a sizeable lake even half frozen over, it’s quite different.”   “How sizeable?”   “It made lake Harbour look puny, dear. You can see Harbour’s opposing shore. It helps Lake Soo is the single largest lake in all Arnd.”   “Just how close is it?”   “Not even close, for it to be close, you’d have to consider the underground lakes that it shares water with as separate. Then, there’s a brackish sea in Ruthen that’s bigger.”   “Wait, what?”   “That whole hydrological system is among the best studied in the world, Amichan, the river that drains the whole thing is wide enough it’s used to calibrate instruments in orbit. And the debit from it? Well there’s enough churn at the place the whales congregate at, it’s used to calibrate pressure meters.”   “All of that river’s strange, the river estuary of the Leonardo River encompasses two of their provinces, bathing them with fresh water, the third province is on the edge of the estuary, and is bathed with brackish on most days, but when the river surges, it’s bathed with fresh on one side. The marine life there is especially interesting, not really freshwater, not really seawater either..”   “Well, this is very interesting, but we’re not finding our sympathetic cities.”   “Found one, look at this topomap!”   “Ok, this terraced city looks close enough, where is this?”   “It’s in New Holland, carved out of a priorly volcanic mountain, used to be submerged.”   “Hmm, maybe that’s what we should be looking for?”   “What?”   “Well, every time we find one that maxes out our criteria, we find it used to be beneath a sea. What do we know that fits?”   “Ok, there’s Pantanal.”   “Bingo, Pantanal has an area just like we want, along the edge, where the mountain ranges go down, basically where Pantanal starts.”   “Ok, so Rannick would be most like this Pantanal, then Royalmount, right?”   “Yeah, doesn’t let us explain Sook, though.”   "No, but well, we don't have to explain it, really, the elements seem to be ok with us doing something without understanding."

Geography

A stubby mountain rising over a raging underground river cooling some geothermal sources, Sietch Amber is nothing if not unusual. Soon after being discovered by the members of the Elemental Circles its properties were the object of much speculation. It had rooms displaying all the classical elements: earth, fire, water, plus the open air caverns leaving to the outside allowed much air in the form of refreshing breezes. An attack by some mystically-minded foes later, runes of protection, defensive works and other protective devices were added, which were quickly and then regularly tested and re-tested. There are dozen of ways in, none of which are easy to penetrate without permission from the Circles and the magical defences range from 'stun you unconscious' to 'we won't find the pieces in the lava, hope you don't mind'

The view from the summit of the mountain is breathtaking, starting with the Tcha Groves along the sides of the mountain, the stadium, Harmony Lake(think the size of lake geneva), with Veneer's gaudy city scape on the horizon on one side, and the other, less shiny, shows more tcha orchards, the military base, another part of Harmony Lake, wheat fields, orange orchards, then Megamisama city, the Palace being visible with binoculars.

Fauna & Flora

One entire quarter of the mountain is covered by a Tcha orchard(a rose garden, but whose leaves can be used for Tcha, that is, tea).

A sizable portion of that is a single bush, known as Temple Guardian, whose leaves have mythical properties. It is considered a special pet of the Elements, the local equivalent of deities, and its leaves are only plucked ritually, using magic, never touched with bare flesh(even with magic, the thorns are wicked enough, wounds are expected) Temple guardian is 4 meters(13 feet) high, and 200 meters(650 feet) to a side.

Besides the flora, there is extensive fauna, from songbirds imported from twenty of the different neighbouring countries, to pet rats, cats, ferrets, gerbils, tarsiers and sugar gliders. The underground river is home to blind fish species not found anywhere else, but more conventional koi ponds and goldfish aquaria dot the gardens.

Inside the mountain's underground river, six different types of fish, five of them unable to perceive visible light, fight for survival, along with mollusks and crustaceans, some of the latter venture out on the river banks.

A few trees grow inside the mountain, and the Amber Shrike is known to make its den in their branches, hunting the odd songbird that adventures inside, and when not, ranging out for kilometres in search of food.

Natural Resources

The Tcha grown on the sides is a major export for Kagomei.

Tourism

Religious pilgrimages occur all year round, most of them from the nearby area, but all of Arnd does participate, and every Arnd believer is expected to find a "major temple", of which this is the most venerated, to make a pilgrimage to. Most only make one such pilgrimage in their lifetime, but especially devout, or wishing to appear devout pilgrims can visit even annually.

Alternative Name(s)
Sietch Tabr, Table Mountain, Shield Wall
Type
Rock Formation
Location under
Included Locations
Owning Organization
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