where the heavens reached out
"Oh Emma my dove, I’ve used you for love. Forgive me, I must say goodbye. Don’t ask where I’ve been I won’t see you again Till the ships have gone back to the sky." - Sand shanty, circa 4042 ACGovernment Before the Collapse, Stellas-Galleron was considered the Eighth Kingdom. Like the other it was a monarchy, ruled by a Sovereign. While he held legislative authority, he only commanded true power and loyalty if he was an active lord who would join the fleets on their journeys. While the starships still flew, if a monarch neglected to 'break the heavens' and 'taste stardust', he was considered a weakling and a fraud, no better than any poor landlocked sod. Since the earliest times, it was customary for the royal heir to at least one voyage into space. After the collapse, the mainland lost interest in them. Without the Aither fleet they were considered a ragtag band of desert rats, with nothing to offer the other kingdoms. The discovery of Amber however, and the utilization of sandships, has brought renewed interest. The Aeternus has sent 'delegates' to behave as guests and delicately offer 'management' and 'sponsorship', but they have been firmly rebuked by the new leader of Stellas-Galleron. The city is already far removed from the other kingdoms, and now surrounded by a nearly impassible desert. It is unlikely the Aeternus will have a substantial foothold there any time soon...he is "Emperor on land only", as the people there are fond of saying. Since their rebuilding, the people of Stellas-Galleron have followed their Fleet Captain, a remarkable hero who has both the love and admiration of his people. Geography, Infrastructure and Architecture Stellas-Gallaron was first built as a sprawling desert city with high and beautiful walls to keep the sand from overwhelming the structures. Masons and architects studied the wall and tested the stone to no avail...they could not understand the composition...it was like nothing they'd ever seen. Like the Pillar of Wings, it was left from a Pre-Cataclysmic era. The buildings inside were of a more recent construction, and had been built over many secrets and foundations from before their time. After the collapse, the walls and the Pillar were lost. Chunks of stone were blown out into the desert, and eventually disappeared completely under the shifting sands. The only survivors of the explosion were those living outside the walls, in a small expansion of the town that was attempting to build a neighborhood that rose along with the rocky cliffs of the Great Anchor. The Great Anchor was the central plateau where the Pillar of Wings was built. The surface of it was far too windy for settling in. But the city and the sides were protected at certain angles. With the disaster that wiped out all but a fourth of their population, what had been a casual experiment became an necessity. The city was reborn, albeit vertically this time. The only constructions on the surface of the plateau were the windmills, which used a system of pulleys and ropes to work the elevators, mills, and bridges. At the feet of this towering city lie the Drydocks...a wall of stone with several sets of steps leading down into the desert, which are buried at different depths depending on the whims of the sand. This allows the boarding and disembarking of those who sail the desert. Industry, Assets, and Defenses Pre-Collapse, Stellas-Galleron provided service in the way of transportation for the Eight Kingdoms. From ancient times the distance they could fly from the Pillar and still maintain altitude had been clearly mapped. Every Captain worth his dust knew the limits. They couldn't travel all around the world, but they could travel all the known world. That was more than enough. After the Collapse, the single discovery that allowed them to rebuild into the isolated but proud city they are now was Amber. Amber is found deep inside the very pit that had swallowed the Pillar. An apology from the sand, some said. Amber is critical to the construction of Runetraps, and the shields of the Justiciars. The Aeternum considers it a high-priority import, and as long as they are the only source of it, the people of Stellas-Galleron are guaranteed security and stability. The basic defense of Stellas-Galleron was always the starships, and their ability to pour fire from the heavens. Now, it is the impassable barrier of the desert. They jealously guard their sandships and refuse to share the secret of their construction. Even if an enemy were to somehow find a way across, they would have quite a difficult time scaling the vertical city once the ropes to the elevators and ladders were cut by the inhabitants, who are prepared to fight bitterly to the end. After clawing their city back from the edge of disaster, the people of the Drylands are respected far and wide for their independence and ability to tame the very sands. Stellas-Galleron stands proud...taller than before, smaller than before, but as long as the ships sail they will continue.
And when the city was finally beginning to flourish, and the Amber harvest was so profitable that they could afford to feast once more, there was a movement in the Council. "We must rename the city," a boatswain said, "We aren't a city of starships any more." Fleet-Captain Everett Wilder scoffed then, shaking his head. Having been silent for most of the meeting, he tilted back his feathered hat and swept his cloak behind him. Leaping lightly onto the table, he pointed at the night sky above. "Look man, what do you see?" The boatswain craned his neck to gaze at the stars, tears starting in his eyes. He was an old duster; they would forgive him. "I see the stars that we've lost." "Not so," Wilder said gently, "they see us, and we see them. Nothing has changed. They are still here, as they always have been." He knelt down, bringing his face closer to the other. "And so are we. Always." - The Rebirth of a Kingdom, published in 3600 AC.
circa 1203 AC
45,000 pre-collapse, 15,000 post-collapse