Top Floor Souls

We're on the front lines up here. We're the only ones capable of punching through the hoards around the final stairs. We're the strongest, the smartest, and the most accomplished of this entire accursed tower. If anyone's going to make it up to whatever is above this final floor, it's us. If anyone is going to unite the rest of the floors, it's us.
— General of Castle Town, Seventh Floor
The Seventh Floor exists in a state of dichotomy. In one corner of the floor: Castle Town. It's large, white stone walls stand tall, protecting it from the harsh environment around it. Within the town exists hundreds of thousands of souls, a large majority of which are ready for combat at any time. The wilds outside are full of large and dangerous beasts.   On the other corner of the floor exists the "Final Tower". It's the last known staircase of Synthacrosia, taking souls upwards from what's known as the Final Floor, the Seventh Floor. What awaits atop the staircase is unknown -- none have ever been able to pass the army of defenses spread about the base of the tower.

Culture

Shared customary codes and values

Soul Superiority

Residents of Castle Town, and therefor residents of the Seventh Floor in general, have taken the quirks of the tower to their core. Synthacrosia slowly returns parts of peoples souls to them as they climb; memories, thirst, and hunger aren't felt again until a soul climbs high enough. This lead the Top Floor Souls to believe that they alone are complete souls, and thus they are superior to all else below them.   The core of this belief lends them the strength they need to live in the harsh conditions of the Seventh Floor. The cold, the ice, and the beasts mean nothing when the souls within the Castle Walls have a strong camaraderie.

Ready for war

A second belief ties the Top Floor souls together, almost as strongly as the feeling of Soul Superiority does. The belief that they must be ready for war at all times, and remain in peak physical and mental training at all times.   Many years ago, the heads of the Castle Town army decided to wage a massive war against the defenses surrounding the Final Tower. Before the Clockwork Tank tank was even developed, the Castle Town army was besieging the tower. However, the campaign failed, and may souls were lost. Castle Town halted the attack, finding the defenses of the Final Tower too much for them to handle in their current state.

Art & Architecture

If ice weren't so soul-damning cold, I'd want to build this place outta ice. Something about the way it sparkles just sets me off. It's fantastic. But... I guess this whitestone we got in droves will have to do. By the way, did you hear they had to increase the tank patrols on the way to the quarry? Some big heard 'o beasts been seen round those parts. Almost killed a few miners.
— Castle Town Resident
The walls, and the majority of houses within Castle Town are built from a dense, white stone, quarried from the mountains surrounding the floor. The mountains are covered in a clear-blue ice -- the sparkling cold must be first quarried away before the white stone underneath can be reached.

Coming of Age Rites

Tagging the Tower

There exists a hierarchy within the ranks of the Castle Town Guard; those who have been brave enough to touch the cold stone of the Final Tower, and those who haven't. It's become a mark of distinction among warriors and strategists of the army -- if someone has made it all the way through the defenses surrounding the tower, they're seen as a level above the common soldier. Officially, the army frowns upon the so called "Tagging of the Tower". However, when looking for ideal candidates to promote to planning and strategy positions, the heads of the army pick a so called "Tagger" 3 times out of 4.

Don't go... please, don't do this. This is stupid, it's idiotic, it has to be one of the worst ideas you've ever had! Seriously! The last fifteen soldiers who tried to tag the tower died. Fifteen, Jayen. What makes you think you're any different?
— Concerned Top Floor Soul

Funerary and Memorial customs

We lost more good souls this year than we have in a long time. The beasts are more active, and the area of defense surrounding the tower grows ever larger. It's getting harder year after year.
— Top Floor Soul

Coins to the Abyss

Within the Seventh Floor exists a large chasm, known as the Crack of Silence. It's steep and icy edges prohibit nearly any exploration; in fact, only a single safe spot has been excavated around the chasm. This large, flat area has been reinforced with the stone favoured in Castle Town's construction, and a sturdy road has been built to connect the two.   In Synthacrosia, when a soul dies, their entire life essence is reduced to a single physical object -- a Soul Coin.

When a soul of the top floor dies, the nearest friends, companions, or comrades will risk their own second life to retrieve their lost friends soul coin. It's considered highly disrespectful to lose the coin. The soul coin is held onto for some time, until the yearly Festival of Second Death occurs. Here, those who have lost friends make the trek to the Crack of Silence. They solemnly stand at the edge of it, in the one safe place, and toss the soul coin of their friend over the edge.

Parent ethnicities

War Games

clockwork tanks rolling out.png
The Top Floor Soul's army wages war games on a near constant basis, to keep themselves fit of mind and body. They replace their crossbow bolts with bolts of soft and fragile wood that splinter on impact. Their swords are covered in soft padding. The ballista no longer fire sharp bolts, but instead dull and rounded wooden stakes wrapped again with soft cloth. The lethality of all of their weaponry is nearly negated, so as to have as safe as possible war games.

Mock Battle

Two heads of strategy will be chosen at random from the planning and intelligence department of the army. They'll have a day to choose units, and format a plan, fitting whatever random requirements and templates were decided upon for the mock battle. The battlegrounds are generally randomly chosen from areas near the city, and far from the Final Tower, so as to not accidentally trigger the defenses and monsters surrounding the tower. There's also always a platoon of non-mock war machines accompanying the mock armies, so as to defend them should beasts attack.  

Siege

Mock sieges take considerably more effort to set up, and therefore happen with much less frequency. A mock siege is generally held once every 5-7 months. Two of those months are often used to build, or rebuild, the new defenses for the besiegers to attack. A castle, tower, or battlefield is built to simulate the ground surrounding the Final Tower. It's almost always constructed out of the ice found covering the white stone the castle likes to quarry. The ice is taken away, and stored for use in later Mock Sieges.   Similarly to Mock Battles, the Heads of Strategy are chosen at random. However, with Sieges, they are given significantly more time to plan and prepare. Sieges can often last as long as 2 weeks, though sometimes they're over in mere hours when one Head of Strategy has a particularly cunning plan, or the other is a buffoon.  

The Next Steps

Unite the Floors

Rumour has been spreading like wildfire that the Mayor of Castle Town, Mayor Bramford, has been secretly working on restarting The Ancient Elevator. The shaft of the elevator, as well as the openings to it, remain a carefully guarded secret.   This information comes as no surprise however; Mayor Bramford has always been very outspoken regarding the Top Floor's need to re-unite the entire tower. It's his belief that they'll never be able to overcome the defenses surrounding the Final Tower, without the aid and knowledge of those from below.  

A Second Attack

Many high ranking strategists within the Castle Town army have reported that those above them appear to be drafting plans for attacking the Final Tower again. The plans are in their very early stages; merely talking points at this time. However, it shows the plans are there to begin with.
Do you think we'll ever be able to see what's above us? Is it even worth it? I'm afraid to lose more friends to this stupid idea that we have to climb that final tower... I'm afraid to lose you.
— Conversation between two Top Floor Souls

Comments

Author's Notes

Header image via Unsplash   Sidebar image by Stormbril.


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