Malun, the Winter City
Hey! No fair! I wanted to get the purple house this time! Why are we always stuck in the blue house!?
— Complaints of one of Malun-Chaujun's youngest citizens
Malun-Chaujun is a city established upon the floodplains of the river Honnun
and the surrounding foothills, in the country of Hansun
. It's a city of dualities, spread into two equal sized townships. As the river at the heart of the city waxes and wanes throughout the course of the year, the citizens who call its embankment home respond by packing up and moving. Every late spring, when the Honnun floods, the people pack up and move into the surrounding highlands in a city called Chaujun; in the late fall, when the temperature drops and the waters recede, they once again pack up, and move back down into the valley into the Winter City named Malun.
The First City
In the chaos that was the time after The Seven Day War
, communities needed to band together and search for new places to live, as a large majority of preexisting settlements had been destroyed. For the Chau, that search never ended, instead becoming a tradition of travel, migration, and flow. Like most of the people still living on the continent of Vir Tenera
, they worshipped Miyu
-- or rather, what was left of her after the God's civil war. In Miyu's new state, she stood in one place, swaying side to side in ethereal winds. The Chau emulated that swaying with their migrations, letting the winds of fate decide their position, swaying from place to place just as their God did.
Over the thousands of years after the war, the Chau travelled much of northern Vir Tenera, in what is now known as Hansun
. Eventually they began to retread familiar ground, finding evidence of their ancestors having traveled through the same area. This cyclic nature became as important to them as the migration itself, and soon certain key locations started to see more permanent activity.
As the cycles grew shorter, the Chau found themselves settling near the River Honnun more often. At the change of easons, they found nutritious, edible plants had grown whenever the Honnun's water receded. They named this plant Floodcrop
, and thus it and the Honnun's floodplains became an important part of their culture. As they grew more advanced, they started to build with stone -- years went by, and each year the Chau came back to the Honnun's floodplains, they saw more of their structures had survived the flood.
The buildings of Malun are made from the highest quality stone. Their thick walls keep us warm and sheltered during the harsh winter, and we can pack the cracks full of wool to keep the heat in.
— Wisdom from the Elders
A Flood of Benefits
provides nearly 70% of Malun-Chaujun's food for the winter. When the flood waters recede, it's thick stalks are found clinging to nearly every stone building in thick sheets, and also blankets the ground between them. On the day of harvest, when the city moves from their summer residence to the winter one, the entire town joins in harvesting the Floodcrop. The stalks, leaves, and husks from the plant are discarded onto the ground, which will in turn grow into new plants during the next flood season, while the edible part is taken indoors, dried, and stored. During the winter, the other 30% of their food comes from fishing upon the frozen Hannun.
The nature of building structures to withstand yearly high floodwaters means the buildings work well for protection against multiple elements.
With stone walls roughly 1 foot thick, the winter houses of Malun have a great insulating quality that helps to keep the heat inside during the cold winters of northern Hansun. The houses generally have few, small windows, to limit the amount of areas heat can escape. To produce that heat, each building has a central wood-fired stove that is used for both cooking and heating. The heat and smoke from the fire can either be directed towards a cooking surface, or diverted under the stone floor, heating the building from below.
The thick stone walls protect against more than just heat. Similar to the Chau, predators have roamed northern Hansun in migratory patterns for thousands of years. During the winter, when the highlands get too cold, and prey becomes sparse, large predator mammals move down into the lowlands, hunting whatever they can. Monstrous Rendling
versions of some of these predators have been seen prowling the winter lowlands as well, providing yet another reason to stay safe within a resilient stone home.
Malun, Frozen over
Not long ago, Malun experienced a winter season unlike one they had felt before; whether it was caused by errant magics in the air, or caused by some corrupt effect from a God-husk
is unknown. Preceding the winter was a harvest season with meager returns, which was then followed by a period of intense snowfall -- snow fell uninterrupted for 6 days and 6 nights, entirely enveloping the city. Citizens were trapped inside their stone houses by the weight of the snow and ice, with dwindling food supplies. When the snow finally melted enough that some could escape, nearly 10% of the population had died.
The City Expands
The most fertile ground is found directly alongside the river Honnun, and thus there is where the majority of the stone houses are built. As the cities population grows, more houses must be constructed, and the city slowly grows along the length of the river. They are running out of floodplain, however -- without it, no floodcrops grow, and those who's house provides no floodcrop for the winter may find themselves going hungry.
If we cannot fit any more houses onto the floodplain, then I say we create more floodplain! Tear down the embankments, rip up the riverbed, and force it to provide for those of us who live along it!
— Controversial opinion heard during a Council meeting
that page flood is SO COOL
TJ's Summer Camp 2023 Pledge - including an interactive whiteboard and my plans for a new region in Melior this year!
Thank you! ngl, it might've been the main reason I mustered the energy to write this thing :D
I love the town. Love the spoiler trick. Love everything about it! Wonderful, as always <3
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Thank you so much! :)
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
The flooding is so cool! Great job! :D I love the idea of a city that moves with the turn of the seasons because of the floods. It's a really fascinating concept. Is there ever any fighting over who gets what house? I assume that might become more likely as the population grows.
Thank you Emy! :D There would definitely be fighting! I think it might be a way of showing social stature -- certain houses would be seen as "better" due to location, size, or layout, so people who think of themselves as "better" as well might try and claim the house.
Woah! Epic CSS!
Thanks Jac! This one was fun, I'm going to have to use it in more places too I think
C. B. Ash
Brilliant! The article was already fantastic but with that Flood button? That takes it to epic!
Thank you! Really glad to hear you liked it :D
M H Biscup
I love the duality of this city, what a great concept. That quote about wooden boats and winter houses made me smile, too. I could see my own girls getting excited in just the same ways.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
Thank you so much! :) I'm glad to hear that! I'm almost certain my younger cousins would say the same sort of things, haha
Garrett Grace Lewis
A fantastic idea! And great presentation! I gotta ask— how do they deal with squatters? I'd imagine with so many homes left unoccupied for so long that someone would take advantage. Do they guard both cities year round?
Thanks, Time! :D Squatters would definitely be occurring at an increasing rate, as populations across Cathedris are rising at unprecedented rates. For Malun, squatters probably wouldn't bother, as most of the city would be underwater while it's unoccupied -- and then Chaujun would be very, very cold during it's unoccupied months. But still, there might be some! Because the people don't attribute ownership to property, I don't think they'd mind too much. They would assume it's a new person moving in, and joining the community, I think! Thanks for the great question :)
Garrett Grace Lewis
Thanks for the great answer!
R. Dylon Elder
My lord, I'm predicting now that this will win the category. Its not the number of likes. This is an amazing approach to a settlement. As always the art and images are fantastic, the writing is well done, and that page flood.... that there sealed the deal. Well done. I too my hat to you sir
Oh man, thank you so much Dylon! That is some very very high praise! :D <3 Keep on rockin World Ember, I hope to start catching up in the coming weeks!
This was nice to read. I wodner one thing: The predators seem very very dangerous. Aren't they a problem during the flood harvest? Or does the number of people present already prevent desaster from happening?
Thank you! Yeah, predators are definitely dangerous. During the harvest, when the waters recede, the people have strength in number and also the safety of well reinforced buildings! So it's not too too bad for them. Though, clashes between humans and wildlife still occur, and they need to be vigilant.
I'm not even going to comment on the flood button. But I will comment on the fact that having a city that casually floods is amusing in its own right. Fantastic work Storm.
-ZogMadDog"I am become
destroyercreator of worlds!"
Thanks Zog! :D It was an idea that just wouldn't leave my brain, had to write it and figure out how it worked!
I really liked this dual city, but what took it to the next level for me was the communal property of everything. It's hinted in some quotes, but then I really liked the clarification, the traditions behind it, etc...
I also have a place where people have summer/winter homes, and I may "steal" this communal concept for these people, as it indeed makes a lot of sense ;)
Thank you for the excellent comment! :) Ooo yeah that sounds great! I think a sense of communal possession goes hand in hand with this style of living, for sure. Looking forward to your take on it!
Let's see. It's not a priority because it is really far away from where my players are at at the moment (it's in a whole different continent!). But here is the SC 2019 article I did for one of the winter cities:
A semi-permanent settlement which allows vanaras to live in the harsh tundra
I've been scouting some more people to try to get out there and reach out to more worlds and learn how to write better. It's been some time since I last read anything from you, and as always, what sticks with me is the fact that your articles are always visually stunning, the flood motion is a very original way of presenting everything, it's hypnotic almost. Thanks for the amazing story!
Apologies for not responding to this right away! But, this comment really means a lot to me -- it's such a wonderful thing to say, and really impacts me, so thank you for that <3 I'm really glad to hear you liked it, and I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! I will do my best to continue to make articles like this :D