Caverns of the Juxtalen
Long ago, during the collaspe, the underground emergency shelters that were build for public use were flooded with vast numbers of people, far beyond what could be sustained long term. It was too late to fix, too late for outcry, to late for everything. People died by the thousand outside, clawing at the sealed doors and people died by the thousand inside the shelters as air filtration, water purification and food supplies ran out. The choices were simple, eat less, breathe less, learn to sleep standing up. Or die. The people that would be changed by low cielings and cramped conditions, the spillage of radiation and biological agents through faulty air handlers and just bad design became the social Juxtalen. Used to living shoulder to shoulder with dozens if not hundreds of what would become massive extended families and clans became their normal. Now stooped and changed in other ways, they still find the most solace in these deep caverns. To meet water demands early thinkers bored holes in the windward side of the cavern walls, leading to places where the wind could be channeled. Cielings were lowered or metal objects hung over depressions in the floor. Incoming wind would cool below ground and give up its trace moisture as dew, which dropped into pools below. Wind traps such as this are a common feature and the Juxtalen have ceremonies concerning the giving, taking and drinking of this communal water. A small ritual space can be found at the edge of many of these pools for just that purpose. For private space, there isn't any. Just extended caverns and heads as far as the eye can see. There are great kitchens where food can be prepared, gardens of mushrooms and other things that grow below ground, and more spaces to suit the needs of a family, if it was numbered in the thousands. Space to raise children is limited, and one of the few areas with less people. It is used as needed with parents taking turns. The caverns are perpetually being extended below ground as the Juxtalen believe only those unfit live above. Visitors are few due to the lingering hatred against those that lied to the public about the capacities of the emergency shelters and who they beleive acted against the public good and instigated an unnecessary war. Most of those that do are emmisaries of other Juxtalen settlements. The remainer find the conditions unsettling. There is no space to yourself, the voices never stop and you are constantly jostled about as others move from place to place.