Triple Mesa Settlement in Manifold Sky | World Anvil

Triple Mesa

The arid environment of Medial C lends itself to erosion from flowing wind or water, leading to deep canyons which crisscross the deep desert crust. Sometimes, these canyons intersect and widen, creating vast mesas and dissected plateaus inbetween. At the intersection of three narrow canyons like these, just a few miles from the Medial C4/Medial B2 Commissure, lies the appropriately-named city of Triple Mesa - the capital of the Free Faces League.


While the original residents of the Triple Mesa area were Elovisian exiles from the Old Voxelian empire, these were vastly outnumbered by New Voxelian explorers and their foreign controllers during the Age of Exploration. This demographic shift persists to this day, with 75% of all Triple Mesa residents being humans of New Voxelian extraction. Despite their differences with the Voxelia, both in terms of local interest and political ethos, the majority of Triple Mesa residents still worship the House of the Unexpected.


The League Senate meets in the League Senate House suspended in the middle of the central billabong. This keep-like structure is the seat of government for the nation itself, but municipal affairs are devolved to a city council which, though beholden to the needs of the League Senate, is free to pursue local interests which do not interfere with state interests. This city council meets in a separate chamber of the League Senate house and is elected by the residents of each district. There are nine districts - one for each arm of the canyon floors and one for each canyon wall bounding these floors - and each district democratically elects three members to the city council for a single four-year term. Otherwise, this city council functions much like the League Senate itself, albeit with a smaller scope of influence.


The high mesa tops and steep canyon walls surrounding the core of Triple Mesa provide excellent natural defenses against direct attack.   The city is not directly over the commissure (as the municipality of Craterhold is), preventing direct aerial assault. Heavy anti-air emplacements ring the surfaces of the three eponymous mesas, and League civil engineers have reinforced these edges with rings of retaining walls to prevent landslides from surface bombardment. Garrisons of Leauge Army armored infantry are stationed on the surface as well to harrass low-flying 'barnstormer' attacks.   In the event of ground invasion, attackers would be forced to either hop across mesa surfaces (a strategy vulnerable to sapping efforts) or move along the canyon floors (the lowest possible ground against League Army garrisons on the tops and walls of the mesas). The city features rings of military checkpoints which, while not serving as an impediment to civilian traffic, are always on the alert for suspicious activity heading in the direction of the city core. If the unthinkable happens, the city can enter siege mode, raising the causeways that feed into the city such that they become tall, canyon-spanning walls. Many of the played-out mines beneath the city have been converted into survival bunkers, with the lowermost reaches being filled with concrete to impede sappers trying to dig into them from Medial B.

Industry & Trade

Iron, silver, gold, copper, beef, dairy, wheat, corn, and finished industrial machinery are the primary industrial outputs of Triple Mesa. Major local companies include the League Dieseltech Armory (the preeminent manufacturer of auto-armor and other dieseltech vehicles in the Manifold), and Medial Works Equipment Co. (a producer of commercial construction equipment such as the JH-AA "Lance" Heavy Jackhammer).


In Triple Mesa, funiculars, pedestrian paths and bridges, and autogyro taxi services help get people from place to place. Roads and rail lines lead out from the city to other canyon-based cities in the region, with large trunks serving Register, the municipality of Craterhold, and Vivaldi Peak.   Large pumping stations bring fresh groundwater from the many underground aquifers to homes and businesses on the mesa walls. Aquacultural centers in the central billabong produce seafood and biodiesel for local use. A trunk of the Liberty Leyline provides peak power to supplement the city's wind and solar-thermal arrays. The mineshaft system in one of the mesas has been expanded into a massive underground reservoir; water is pumped into this reservoir during low demand and released through hydroelectric turbines during high demand; this prevents brownouts due to unfavorable weather conditions.

Guilds and Factions

The Navigator's Guild maintains one of their largest guild halls in Triple Mesa. The Triple Mesa Guild Hall's Cube Conquest team currently holds the highest ranking among all teams in the Manifold.


From a distance, most of the Free Faces Leagues' holdings appear to be nothing more than vast, dusty plains interlaced with canyons and scattered with farms and pastures. This is because most of the city centers - Triple Mesa included - are carved out of the floors and walls of the canyons, replacing urban sprawl with half-subterranean skyscrapers and housing complexes.   Older structures tend to be low to the canyon floors and constructed of large, khaki-brown bricks. Crevices in the canyon walls provide convenient backlots or neighborhood cul-de-sacs. As metallurgy advanced in The Human Arc, these structures were gradually supplanted by those constructed of concrete and wrought iron with windowed plaster facades. Later still, when the War of Reunification began, glass-fronted, iron-framed structures came about which incorporated an inner skeleton of brick or concrete firewalls to prevent bomb blasts and shrapnel from penetrating too deeply into their inhabited cores.   With each step of architectural development, structures in Triple Mesa rose higher and higher against the canyon walls, with some of the newest structures leading almost all the way to the surface level itself. Pedestrian and small vehicle bridges were built across the gaps to facilitate traffic. Camouflage netting has been stretched over the canyon tops along steel trellis-frames, providing improved protection from the scorching summer heat and obscuring the exact layout of the city below from Voxelian air scouts. Far in the future, the City Council hopes to replace the camouflage netting with a fully-enclosing glass top to allow the floor of the city to enjoy a controlled climate year-round.


The cube crust of Medial C is unusually thick (around 6200' versus the usual mile) due to an odd quirk of circumvection wokring over geological time. The geography of Medial C4 can roughly be subdivided into two layers: the 'tabletops' are the desert floor formed by the top of the cube crust where erosion has not lowered the terrain, and the 'floor' is the network of canyon floors that subdivide the terrain. These canyons can be almost one thousand feet deep in places.   Some floor areas become box canyons, such as the face-spanning one that defines Craterhold proper, while others become interconnected pathways which separate the tabletops into mesas. The density of these canyons increases near the commissures, with most commissures in the region occupying floor-level funnels, and decreases near the edge and vertex mountains (where they become tributary valleys). The grassy, relatively flat surface regions of the mesas, while as dry as the rest of the region, provide farmland, pastures, and staging areas for aircraft.   The Triple Mesa environs are notable for the fact that it is comprised of three mesas roughly equal in size, with the canyons all around being just slightly bigger than the ones which separate the mesas from one another. Several naturally-occuring caverns and cenotes which lead beneath these mesas provide amble potable water for inhabitants, while the arrangement of the terrain provides natural defensive benefits - no canyon leads to the Triple Mesa city center by a direct route. A slightly deeper region at the intersection of the three canyons creates a naturally-occuring billabong which provides fish and yet more fresh drinking water.
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Articles under Triple Mesa

Cover image: by Josh Appel


Author's Notes

The geography of Triple Mesa was inspired by places like Pueblo, Antelope Canyon, and Meteora. The city is decidedly not an ideal place to lose a game of bridge.

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