Bridge of Ethena Building / Landmark in Oniran | World Anvil
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Bridge of Ethena


Vokuma read through the sign with a mixture of confusion and curiosity. The fact the sign was here at all meant the woman in the apothecary was truthful with her warning, but why did such a simple bridge about a ten second long walk across need a warning?   "Let's see here. If you're someone who: describes themself a swordsman or vagabond, is a bounty hunter or has a bounty on themselves, has unfinished business, has notable enemies or know anyone who would describe you as theirs, noticed anything strange in the village, or anything similar, either proceed with caution or avoid this bridge entirely. Hm. That's...thorough." he sighed, turning towards Tank, "Well, buddy, I meet pretty much all of these. You?"

Travelers who've been to the quaint village of Tanso are familiar with the rather peculiar landmark known to the locals as the Bridge of Ethena. Adventurers who've been to the village moreso; they're often either warned against crossing it by well-meaning folk, or encouraged by those seeking entertainment or a quick buck.

To most, the name probably evokes an image of some ornate and grand bridge made of precious stone and leading directly into the gates of an equally grandiose castle. But in reality, the Bridge of Ethena is an old wooden structure stretched over a river that barely reaches above the knees in depth. More for travelling convenience than any legitimate need.
See, the name is literal rather than symbolic. "Ethena" is the Elven word for Fate. Its etymology is probably easy to grasp for those familiar with Elves. For reasons no one can explain, this bridge and the surrounding area has a splash of that strange Oniran charm, the powers that be always wanting to tell stories and setting up the pieces to do so. This bridge being a place where that will is stronger than usual.

The Bridge of Ethena is notorious for being the set piece of a disproportionate number of duels. No one really knows why it's this bridge specifically, but after a while the target demographic for these duels became pretty obvious to the locals. The village isn't very decided one way or the other on how to handle this quirk. Some will go out of their way to warn anyone who looks like they fit the archetype and avoid going near the bridge themselves, but others see it as free entertainment. For the latter, betting is a popular pastime. A few businesses have opened up in the area, but it's become clear to most that getting to spectate isn't something that can be forced. You can only just happen to be there at the right time. But for those who find themselves lucky (or unlucky) to witness the event, getting to be the one that breaks the silence (thus starting the duel) is considered to be really funny.

Strange Quirks

Magic is about the best guess anyone can make for why this bridge is so weird. It's at least backed up by evidence of strong ambient magic given the runic embers floating around it, and since they're Elves they can already feel the distinct change in vibe. For this reason, it also seems to have a stronger effect on them.

The conditions always seem to remain ideal for a dramatic duel. Never too crowded, time seems to slow down along with an unnatural silence just before the fight, sudden strong feelings and heightened senses, and outside factors rather symbolic for the people involved. (For example, whether or not its raining seems to depend on what's symbolically appropriate for the combatants)

Oddly enough it never seems to be a final confrontation, per say. Like, sometimes the combatants don't even know each other. The duels that happen on this bridge have the vibes of a midpoint at most.

It's believed that whatever this bridge's deal is, it's not just summoning combatants outright. It's merely speeding up the process of fate for those who choose to cross it.
All the art is made by me unless labled otherwise!

Cover image: by Myself


Author's Notes

Okay so you're gonna laugh, this idea came to me on a whim while watching this scene in my comfort movie. Upon thinking "Man, imagine if duels were a regular occurence in this village" I immediately paused the movie and began writing all the lore that spawned in my brain in the span of like 3 seconds.   For the time being this will also serve as the best example for one of the quirks of this world. Oniran isn't alive, it doesn't have gods, but it does have a "will". That will is to tell cool stories. And to tell those cool stories it will go out of its way to set up the pieces and see what happens. To those living here it comes across as fate, a sort of "art mimics life and life mimics art" thing, that most don't really think about. But in a more meta sense Oniran's will is a lot like that of a writer who rarely plans ahead, only making characters and set pieces to see what happens in the future. (And in an even meta-er sense, this is how I actually go about worldbuilding. Just making pieces, a toolbox if you will, that I can draw from in the future)   Also oh my god I AM capable of writing short entries! Pretty wild if you ask me. Anyway that's all for now, have a good one!

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May 1, 2024 21:13 by Myth Cross

I'm reminded of the scene in Robin Hood: Men in Tights when they duel over the Bridge! LOL! Duels are interesting as a cultural phenomenon- there used to be laws and regulations about legal duels. Is there anything like that in Oniran- rules for engaging in Duels?   The Bridge of Ethena sounds like an awesome place to visit- when you have no mortal enemies! But I'd love to be there for a Duel!


Tell me stories! Here's your Ticket to the World of Arc Sagas!

May 1, 2024 23:25 by Jon

Thank you! I'd assume if you were in a place like Stonewood with actual law enforcement participating in a duel might be frowned upon since it's a public disturbance with the added potential of murder. But in a world full of adventurers it's safe to assume they happen relatively often, as long as there's at least two people on the planet someone is gonna want someone dead and they might as well do it with a cool sword fight lmao

While I would love to go on an adventure, writing them is enough for me.