Bowmark skipped up the steps carved into the basalt cliff and brushed aside vines spangled with red blossoms. Behind him servants carried bundles of fabric, poles, and equipment up the long winding path that cut across the massive cliff face that separated the harbor from the village above. Halfway up Bowmark stopped skipping. The climb was arduous, and he marveled at the local fishermen who hiked it every day. A cool breeze refreshed the party as it blew in the noon rain clouds. When Bowmark reached the top of the stairs, he stopped, panting. Bamboo houses raised waist-high on stilts filled a wide indentation on the mountainside as did fields of orange rice and sharp-leaved yellowfruit. The majority of the houses clustered around a cleared field close to the top of the cliff-side stairs. The stench of pig manure thickened the air. “Don’t wrinkle your nose like that,” Father said as he joined Bowmark on the field covered with the stubble of cut podvines and strewn rice straw. “Pig manure feeds the plants that feed us.” Pig manure fed the podvines? Maybe he wouldn’t ever eat pods again.
The village is situated on a plateau overlooking the Bay of StoneShell in the StoneGrove Archipelago. Besides the ocean view, the village is surrounded by jagged lush jungle mountains. A river runs through the middle of huts and fields, spilling over the cliff and into the bay. A steep path is cut in the rock face leading down to the harbor.
Fauna & Flora
The fields are dedicated to podvines, orange rice, and pigs. Other undomesticated animals include bigfa birds, monkeys and eight-legged snakes.
Historically the inhabitants of StoneGrove Archipelago practiced swidden agriculture. As the population grew the people found the most fertile valleys to farm, and High Harbor proved very fecund.