Godshead Rock is a Vale Verdial city-state located in sunny (yet cold) Caudal B. Known to many as the 'Intercostia of the Vale Periphery,' Godshead Rock serves as a free trade zone, resupply station, and neutral ground at the doorstep of the War of Reunification's Caudal Front.
Despite the geography of the region, Godshead Rock is home to a permanent population of around 3,000 people. Most of the permanent population is Vale Verdial in extraction, though there is a sizeable minority of verdialized outsiders as a result of local family ties or other long-term residency. Like every region with a large verdial presence, Forgism is the most common religious affiliation in Godshead Peak, though the Church of the Unexpected maintains a temple devoted to Cosmeon there.
Guilds and Factions
While Godshead Rock is nominally a direct democracy, three factions wield outsized influence within the city: the Petalcap Vale Customs Authority the Navigator's Guild, and MartMart International. The PVCA maintains the skystation PVCA North in the lnflection layer which leads to Medial C. Therefore, the PVCA exercises a degree of oversight over airship travel between the Verdial Arc and Human Arc, the two regions being adjacent to one another over Godshead Rock. While the PVCA generally does not exercise favoritism, mostly performing inspections to ensure that the two desmenses do not cross-contaminate one another with invasive species or hazardous waste, they have the power to shutter all skyports in Godshead Rock should an emergency of this nature arise. Because inter-tesseract travel generally requires the services of trained navigators, the Guild both maintains a guild hall in Godshead Rock and maintains a field office aboard PVCA North to facilitate connecting flights. Many navigators, wary of living in a warring state or in the many lawless port towns which dot the Manifold (such as Intercostia or Eusiormapu), chose to live in Godshead Rock for their own safety and prosperity. As such, while the Guild maintains it's much-vaunted political neutrality, the large number of its employees which also hold Godshead Rock citizenship mean that the Guild's ideology carries enormous clout at city hall. MartMart International, beyond having a successful location in Godshead Rock, also makes judicious use of the city-state's free trade policies to pass normally grey- or black-market goods on to locations throughout the region. If a mechanic in Craterhold wants to get his fix on Colonade, for example, the soda he ultimately buys at his friendly local MartMart will likely have passed through Godshead Rock at some point along the way. This rankles regulators both in the Coalition of Breakaway Colonies and in Voxelia, but neither organization is aggravated enough by this brazen war profiteering to risk starting an unneccesary front in the War with the as-of-yet untested military of the Vale.
Verdial travellers reached the top of the rock (then known the Greenknot Plinth) in 8480 AR and established the settlement of Godshead Rock. The name was chosen because of the location's resemblance for a large statue head when approached from the direction of the Eastern Tesseract. The top of the rock maintained a persistent colony of constantly-stressed Penrose fescue which, in addition to helping maintain the shape and topsoil cover of the rock, also served as a source of hearty flour for these early settlers. Raised high and isolated from the rest of Vale society, Godshead Rock had an insular population of no more than 150 people until the arrival of Eqai Voiranoi in 9858 AR ushered in an era of trade between Petalcap Vale and the rest of the Manifold Sky. Early airships lacked the range of larger, modern airships after crossing an inflection layer, making waystations valuable sources of trade and, therefore, revenue for the communities which supported them. in 9860 AR, Godshead Rock acquired a small fuel biosynthesis plant and a mooring tower for airships making the Caudal B/Medial C transit. Over time, the rest of the community grew in connection with this plant, with farming moved to the surrounding lowlying plains and most of the rock's 'scalp' becoming covered with residences, businesses, and a small network of roads. Eventually, as the city continued to expand, residents were forced to build multi-story structures, with skywalks between these structures facilitating the increase in foot traffic. A rail line was laid between the municipality of Petalcap Vale and Godshead Rock, with the rail depot on the Godshead end of the line being hewn into the the 'head's nape'; goods and people are still hoisted onto and off of the rock via large cranes rather than direct road access, however, as the locals seem to prefer isolation from 'groundly' affairs. The last major alteration to Godshead Rock's infrastructure occurred in the year 9910 AR, where a series of air raid bunkers and underground passages were chiseled into the rock in response to the War of Reunificaiton happening just beyond the inflection layer above; time will tell if these will ever be needed or, if so, will prove effective in the event of bombardment.
As a major waypoint on the route to Petalcap Vale, a geologically and architecturally unique location, and an independent city just out of reach of wartime violence, Godshead Rock is a very popular airship tourism destination. During the summer peak season, there may be as many as one tourist or other traveller in town for every three permanent residents. Voluntarist verdials often visit Godshead as a way to immerse themselves in the culture (and Caudal lichen spores) without having to endure the questioning glares of the illiberal citizens of the Vale's core.
Buildings in Godshead rock tend to be tall and narrow, with dark gray stone brick walls, high-peaked roofs designed to slough off snow, and numerous skywalks defining the local architectural style. A perimeter wall, known colloquially as 'Creator's Crown,' encircles the city proper, completing the vaguely medieval aesthetic - despite the fact that the latticed airship mooring spires are also visible from anywhere in town. The locals tend to decorate their homes and businesses with local wood and wrought iron, prepetuating the medieval feel in part because it draws the eyes of tourists and in part because it feels natural to them through long practice. Notably, the city hall (where local refferenda are written and voted upon), main airship mooring point, and PVCA air traffic control occupy the same large tower in the center of town.
Godshead Rock sits atop large, rougly cylindrical rock structure around a mile high and wide. This geological formation is believed to have been formed by ancient erosive forces, where the looser soil and debris at the foot of a long-extinct volcano were blown away, exposing the sheer sides of the solid stone core. the top of the structure is rounded and some portions of the sheer rock faces have broken away over time, creating a shape vaguely like that of a human head when viewed from certain angles. The top of the rock structure supports an isolated alpine ecosystem, with the surrounding hills and meadows being notably more green in the growing season than the rock itself.
While the old Penrose fescue fields have been reduced to parks and other green spaces within the Godshead Rock municipality, the region does have another exploitable natural resource: crystal. Because the rock itself was once a column of lava which cooled over an extended period of time, the insides of the 'skull' are filled with large quartz crystals and deposits of semi-precious stones. Mining efforts are ongoing, but must proceed with caution so as not to weaken the city's foundations. In general, vertical shafts are immediately filled with new construction, with the largest near the city's center converted into an agri-mine.
This article was inspired by Meteora, medieval castles built on high cliffs, and, of course, various pieces of surrealist art where cities appear built on or into people's heads. I love worldbuilding human inhabitation in extremely isolated or unusual environments, letting the characters of the stories set therein 'conquer' brutalism through sheer inginuity, tenacity, and cooperation. In fact, that was sort of one of the inspirations for the Manifold Sky itself - well, that, and because I think non-euclidean geometries are really rad :D
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
I love the idea of a city in an area with only so much land, which has made them tend towards much taller buildings. Really interesting. I liked reading about your inspirations for it too. :D
Thanks! I'm trying to explore my own motivations more in these blurbs partially as a self-development exercise and partially to help make sure that all the themes of the world remain internally consistent.