Quariton Settlement in SanZera | World Anvil


The drifting town.

"It's a challenge, keeping that lighthouse. The further it drifts, the bigger the thrill. We all know that one day it'll be beyond our reach, but not this year. And not the next, either."
— A chalk miner, who turned to look at the distant tower with a great fondness.

Quariton is a small chalk-mining town nestled on top of a seaside cliff. The cliffs are rich in not only chalk, but also kaalite-infused limestone. This renders the cliffs easily erodable and especially reactive to Celestial Aura: the perfect combination for the creation of floating islands. As a result, entire chunks of the town have cleaved off from the cliffside and begun drifting down the coast, creeping further and further downwind every year.


Quariton's biggest asset is its chalk quarry, located down a twisting path at the base of the cliffs. The quarry carves out hundreds of blocks of chalk every day and ships them by both land and sea to whoever in Auzera needs chalk!

Quariton's chalk in particular has trace amounts of kaalite in it. It isn't rich enough to hover, but it does carry a nice sparkle. The quarry also gathers luminous limestone. It's of lesser demand than the chalk, but plentiful in the cliffs.

Mining the cliffs weakens them, and it is very likely that the quarry is at fault for the floating island phenomenon. The townspeople are aware of this, but don't see it as a big enough issue to stop. After the first few buildings drifted away, though, they have since stopped building so close to the edge.

"The quarry? Breaking the town apart? Eh, probably. But by the time everything's floated too far to reach, there won't be any chalk left anyway. Besides, how many towns do you know that look like a chain of beads on a string?"
— Chalk miner


The town is often described to look like "beads on a string", in reference to the way pieces of it are being carried away downwind, connected by nothing but handmade rope bridges. At the leading end of this chain is the town's lighthouse, which used to stand proudly at the top of the cliff. Now it floats several hundred yards east, suspended more than 100 feet above the waterline.

Behind the lighthouse floats the original town hall. It has since been replaced by a much larger building more securely inland. It has been stripped of most of its valuables, but is still kept in decent repair so it's not an eyesore.

"Oh, we didn't replace the town hall 'til we grew too big for it. We just climbed out to it every month or so for nearly ten--what? Why would we waste a perfectly good building just cause it's floating?"
— Town Elder

Behind the town hall is a handful of smaller islands, nicknamed the "stepping stones" by the townspeople. The bigger ones are linked by rope bridges, but an exceptionally brave (or long-legged) individual could possibly manage to leap between them without assistance.

Behind the stepping stones is another building: a small windmill. The mill was ripped from the cliff much more violently than the other islands, damaging it beyond repair in the process. Its turbine has since fallen off, leaving nothing but a dilapidated cone of mudbrick. The townspeople are adamant that it's structurally sound enough to pass under, but it tends to make an ominous groaning sound if the wind hits it just right.

The last building on the chain is the mayor's house--still being used by the current mayor! It is only 20 yards or so from the cliff's edge, anchored there by a bridge. All of the bridges linking the islands require frequent maintenance, as they are constantly tugged and pulled by the wind. The townspeople are meticulous in this task, though, and it is likely their efforts alone that have kept the buildings from drifting even further apart.

"Scary? Are you kidding? That house has the best view in the country! It's beautiful inside and out, too. Real wooden framing, reinforced glass windows, a huge master bedroom. Anyone here would kill to live in that house, just ask.
— Chalk miner

The bridge connected to the lighthouse is the oldest, longest, and most flimsy. The townspeople consider it a noble trial to keep their lighthouse operational, and so spend considerable time and effort keeping the bridge leading to it functional. Near-daily the bridge is checked for weak points, which are then adequately strengthened.

The Keeper of the lighthouse spends the majority of their nights in it, only crossing the chain of islands back into town every handful of days to gather supplies. The task of Lighthouse Keeper is a revered one, and the Keeper takes great pride in their job. If they fear the precarious journey, they don't show it.

"There's a lifeboat on the lighthouse, of course. We're not idiots. If the bridge gets torn off in a storm, the Keeper can lower themselves right down to safety, once they run out of supplies. Someone will usually boat out there under the islands whenever the Keeper is crossing too, just to be safe."
— Town Elder

The inevitable day that the bridge finally collapses and the lighthouse is lost to the wind will certainly be a day of great mourning. Until then, though, the townspeople will continue to fight tooth and nail to keep it anchored.

This settlement was built with the help of the Nerdbuilding generator, and as an entry to the February Flash Challenge: "A Settlement on the Edge".

Location under
Natural Resources
(Luminous) chalk
Luminous limestone
Mostly Lilthian


The town's seaward side is naturally defended by the cliffs and the water. The mainland edge is defined by a low, mudbrick wall. It doesn't act as a particularly strong deterrent and is more decoration than anything. The townspeople aren't worried about invasion. The times are peaceful, and who would raid a drifting town full of nothing but chalk, anyway?


Quariton has a scattered, homemade feel to it. The majority of its buildings are crafted of clay-lined fiber. The rest are made of sun-dried bricks. There aren't many trees nearby, so wood is a scarcity. Most of the roads are simple dirt paths. The main road that leads to the quarry is the most well maintained and is paved with cobblestones.

It isn't the cleanest, but it was built with love. Each building has its own unique charm. The townspeople love to plant flowers along the streets and near their doorways, adding pops of color to space out the earthy tones.

Climate and Weather

It rains often, and it is always windy. From time to time, a thunderstorm will blaze in, sending the islands bobbing madly as it yanks at their bridges. Each storm threatens to tear them all apart, but the good craftsmanship of the bridges has held fast so far.

Material | Nov 18, 2023

Rock that contains large amounts of kaalite, allowing it to float


Please Login in order to comment!
Feb 21, 2022 23:02 by Scott Stokes

Really cool, it also gave me some creative ideas as well. Thanks.

Happiness is "the exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope,"
Feb 21, 2022 23:30 by Aster Blackwell

Thank you, and I'm glad!

Feb 23, 2022 21:11 by Michael Chandra

Hilarious stubborn fools. XD I'd probably consider stealing one of these islands, just tying it to my ship and taking it home with me. o,o Always wanted to have a lighthouse.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
Feb 24, 2022 02:45 by Aster Blackwell

Hahaha yep! You'd probably need a pretty powerful ship to achieve that, it IS still an entire building attached to a massive chunk of rock, even if it's floating ;D

Feb 28, 2022 22:24 by Bart Weergang

OH I love this settlement article, well done!

Mar 2, 2022 00:21 by Aster Blackwell

Thank you so much!!

Apr 3, 2022 16:49 by Secere Laetes

Amazing. Apart from the really original city, I find it astonishing that you even managed to create your own header image for the article in the two weeks. Simply great. The style is also beautiful and since the highlight of the city is the flying buildings, it's really okay if they are described the most. Even though I would have appreciated a bit of history anyway. But yes, 1,500 words are quickly reached ^^". Anyway, great.

Apr 3, 2022 19:01 by Aster Blackwell

Thank you so much! And yeah, most of SanZera is lacking in history, since I don't have a great grasp on it just yet aha ^^;; hopefully this year I'll be able to tackle more of that.

Apr 4, 2022 15:26

I love this whole village, especially the lighthouse. Awesome idea!