Gifts of the Great Tree
Always thankful for what we fell from The Great Tree. Its shade will ever protect us, its bark will hold us up.The War of the Fracture broke the people of the Fifth Floor. Memories gone, reduced to fractions of what they used to be, the people fled from Stone Castle Invictus and the Clockwork Horde within. The people had two choices; move into the underground labyrinth of The Down Deep, or climb the great boughs of The Great Tree. Choosing heights over the ringing sounds of metal in the deep, the majority of the broken souls climbed up the great tree. Initially they lived upon the branches, sleeping in the open air. As the years passed, they began to construct buildings, beginning the long journey of getting back to the way things once were.
Sleeping QuartersThe modern version of tree houses is built by laying a foundation of stone, followed by a smooth wood flooring. Walls are constructed on top of this, and the entire thing is capped off with a low sloping roof. The residents of these tree houses generally forgo doors; choosing instead to hang large interwoven sheets of dried leaves as a slight barrier between rooms. While not a perfect shield of privacy, it works well enough. It's often easy to tell where the sleeping quarters are within a tree house, merely at a glance from the outside. With larger tree houses, they generally have two, sometimes three, chimneys; these chimneys are connected to the in-floor heating system. Generally one of the two chimneys will be on the outside wall of the sleeping quarters, so as that the in-floor heating runs directly under the sleeping area.
Ah.. collllddd... burn more gifts, please. Lots of scary fire! Make the hotroot hotter!
HeatingKnown colloquially by the residents of The Great Tree as a Hotroot. This system of heating is built into the cobblestone foundation of nearly all tree houses. During the initial construction of a new house, a large flat stone foundation is assembled. It's often held together using Shadow-paste, as the paste is a wonderful thermal insulator. A location is chosen for the "Trunk", where the future occupant will have the fire burning. From the "Trunk", "Roots" are extended outward, underneath where the sleeping quarters are planned to go. The "Roots" are constructed by placing small, flat stones, creating walls. The walls section off a narrow path, all the way from the "Trunk" to the outside of the foundation. The rest of the foundation is filled in, and then large flat stones are placed over top, sealing the top of the "Roots". The wood flooring is laid, walls constructed, and then the entire building is capped off with it's roof. When a fire is burned within the "Trunk", cold air is drawn downwards. The hot air from the fire gets sucked into the "Roots", spreading heat on it's journey, eventually exhausting out the top of the chimney.
CookingCooking is directly tied into a Tree House's "Hotroot" system. More often than not, this is done by simply setting up a system of stones, bricks, or metal along side the "Trunk" of the fire. Using that, residents of the house can place pots, pans, or other devices over the fire, cooking their food while simultaneously heating their house. Barring that, residents often times merely shove their food on the pointy end of a stick, and roast it above the open flame. Some especially large houses might have a two-Trunk Hotroot system. One main "Trunk" near the center of the building, and one smaller secondary "Trunk" in the cooking and eating area. This secondary "Trunk" is used exclusively for cooking food. It's significantly smaller, and generally on the outer wall of a tree house, so as to allow fresh air to be pulled into the fire, funneling the heat and smoke through the "roots".
Wood, stone, paste and labourThe tree houses of the fifth floor have gone through a few revisions over the years. It wasn't until the last 500 years or so that they've began including stone in the build.
WoodSourced directly from the great tree its self. Gathered either as smaller branches from the upper boughs, or thick roots from below, in The Down Deep . Wood is carried to and stacked next to planned locations of future buildings.
StoneComes directly from The Down Deep , or the slopes of The Daybreaks. Occasionally brave people will make their way directly to the walls of Stone Castle Invictus , collecting the debris left over from the Castle's tunneling operations.
PasteFinally, Dark Root paste, also collected in the The Down Deep. It is exceptionally bright in the canopy of The Great Tree, and residents use a paste made from Dark Root to help dim the light. The paste is liberally spread on the interior walls, generally within sleeping rooms, darkening the room considerably.
Smoke?The wood burned within the Hotroot systems is taken directly from The Great Tree. That wood has a special quality to it -- it produces very minimal smoke. The wood burns hot, and clean, and any smoke it does produce is mostly funneled straight down into the "roots" of the Hotroot system.
Other DesignsNo other design of homes has become popularized for the residents of The Great Tree. The Great Tree its self is too much of a symbol of peace, life, and safety to the souls that live within it -- to build any other style of home would be an insult to the tree, in their minds. Instead, slight variations occur within the same design of the Tree House. Larger Tree Houses are often built as meeting areas, and as taverns. These larger buildings will often contain much larger hotroot systems, with multiple "Trunk" fires, and disconnected "roots", allowing different areas of the building to have more or less heat, depending on occupant desire. But what about...
The bathroom? People living in tree houses generally need a good space to dispose of their waste, somewhere that wont contaminate sources of drinking water, nor facilitate disease outbreak. They needed to find a convenient place to dispose of it. Thus, the residents found the largest, safest branch, that extend far out from the main trunk of the tree. This branch was directly over head of... Stone Castle Invictus. It was decided no houses would be built on this branch, but instead it would be left clear, allowing residents to go about their business in peace. Then, simply toss the waste over the side of the branch, and have it become the Castle's problem.