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Kelerm is the second biggest human settlement in Felarya and the only city in Akaptor desert. Because it lies thousands of kilometers away from Negav and due to the extreme conditions of Felarya, both cities remain barely aware of each other. The surrounding desert is harsh and unforgiving, spanning its endless expanse south, east, and west of Kelerm. In the north is the Shimmering sea, and Kelerm stands back to a sharp cliff-face that meets it. The overwhelming presence of the Akaptor Desert has given rise to a powerful identity within Kelerm, which focuses primarily around the arts of geomancy. The geography and geology of Felarya remains a central idea to all Kelermites. It influences everything from their culture and customs to their art, religion, sciences, and even their military and security forces. Through that unique geology-based culture they boast, they claim to be just as much an obstinate and sturdy force as the land is. Despite those principles and their isolation, they are a rather open people who welcome visitors coming from other places.
Being surrounded to the south by a vast sea of quicksand, and shielded at the northern face by an ocean, Kelerm looks naturally very isolated. The sea side is a collection of small bays, twisted, rocky inlets and narrow gorges forming a treacherous maze, shielded on both sides by massive cliffs that shoot upward hundreds of feet. The cliffs are riddled with narrow tunnels leading to countless small rooms carved in the rock itself from where defenders can safely shot arrows through loopholes at any unwanted creature. Heavy chains may be raised at various points in the gorges, in order to bar the passage to the city by sea entirely. The cliff that cut Kelerm from the sea acts like a natural wall, save from a small and easily defendable gateway. An attack from an aquatic predator such as a giant mermaid would not only be very unlikely but also very ineffectual.
Above the sea and west of the city float three huge flying islands. They are accompanied by smaller rocks drifting around them, each of them containing varying amount of Eidoron, a substance that allows them to levitate. For the islands themselves, that amount is formidable and unheard of anywhere else in Felarya. Even the flying islands of the Toluwo cloud are smaller. Those islands and some of the largest rocks of the formation are anchored to the ground or between them by huge chains in order to maintain them in place and prevent them from drifting directly above the city. Some of them are linked between themselves by chain bridges as well. On top of the largest of the three island stands the capitol palace, serving both as a place of leisure for the high Kelermites society, and as a fantastic observation site, from which any potential threat can be spotted and identified from very far away in the desert.
On land the large, deep, changing field of quicksands surrounding the city cut it almost completely from the desert, providing a formidable natural defense. The inhabitants of Kelerm have mastered the art of navigating that treacherous sea of sand through the use of special ships or domesticated sand-faring creatures and consider it part of their territory. For most Kelermites, falling in the quicksands is not that much of a big deal. They are used at a young age to not panic and either get hold of safety strings hanging from the docks or use slow movements preventing them to get sucked in until someone rescue them. With regular patrols from geomancers guards scouring the area, it doesn’t take long.
Avian predators are rare in this part of the desert. There are very few giant harpies around, and fairies never venture this far in the west, finding the intense heat unbearable. This allowed the city to thrive over the years by focusing on land defenses alone and establish itself as a solid safe-haven for travelers.
Walls and Structure
Kelerm's walls are built far differently than one might think at first. Instead of digging large quarries and shipping stone to erect a vertical barrier, the geomancers of Kelerm created a structure that flows with the earth itself, using the hillside as the base for their city. The city grounds lie atop the hill and the walls built along with the slope of the hillside are actually the hill itself being raised through means of geomancy. Ideologically speaking it fits well the inhabitants of Kelerm who see themselves as people of the rocks and stones who should always work with them. The tactical advantages are many as well, as the city overlooks the plains of sand below, giving an excellent long distance view of the surrounding area. Furthermore, the walls of Kelerm are night unbreachable, since to destroy the walls would require the destruction of the hill that the city itself sits atop. Over the years, geomancers continued to add to this marvel of geomancy, using their traditional art to carve designs onto the wall itself. The wall has two main exterior gatehouses with one end leading to a large lake in the west and the Ivokan Savanna beyond it, and the other one going south to a "beach" before the sea of quicksands. The gatehouses themselves consist of a ramp that runs sideways along the wall and then reaches a landing, where the ramp makes an angle and heads up through the gatehouse proper. That impressive use of Geomancy as a mean of construction is a recurring pattern in Kelerm.
Many buildings are made from a mix of red wood coming form the nearby Ivokan Savanna, mud, stone of course, and more remarkably : bones. Bones can be found everywhere in Kelerm in decoration, construction material or the crafting of various objects such as utensils, vases or musical instruments. It’s found in abundance in the sand sea, from large sandfishes or the skeletons of some ancient behemoths that sunk into the sea ages ago. Many structures of Kelerm are submerged beneath ground level in order to keep the air cool and the most important rooms of a house are usually situated there. The proximity of solid stone is always comforting for Kelermites.
Agriculture and Food Sources
Feeding its population has always be one of the biggest challenges of Kelerm throughout its existence. Due to its position in the desert, its inhabitants have to utilize every strategy and resource they can think of in order to maintain a steady food supply for the city and unlike Negav, it doesn’t have a dimensional gate linking others worlds from where to ship food. Despite that harsh environment, the industrious and creative people of Kelerm discovered and developed several sources of food.
The first one comes from the swath of land surrounding the city, between the walls and the sea of sand. Kelermites farmers managed to grow large, typically vertical crops. These crops don’t take up a lot of width, and therefore can be grown in large amounts within small areas. This has spurred development of advanced irrigation techniques to make sure the plants are cared for correctly. The most popular plant is something that resembles the perennial version of an eggplant - enormous stalks that grow very tall and produce massive bulbous similar to an eggplant fruit. Several other warm drought tolerable plants crops are also used and many more crops are also grown on two of the large floating islands.
Fishing and other kinds of hunting are also popular. With the rocky embrace around the port, Kelermites have built a fishing navy of seasoned seamen, well trained to maneuver small, nimble ships that can adequately dodge the barrier around their port. They do not travel far, however, as it is very easy for aquatic predators to take advantage of sailing ships in the open waters. A series of small tropical islands lie just beyond the natural port-barrier. Sometimes small expeditions visit them to hunt birds and gather fruits which are found in abundance there.
The main fishing industry of Kelerm, however, is actually the sand one. Kelermites have mastered the art of navigating the treacherous sea of sand through the use of special ships or domesticated sand-faring creatures. They get most of their sustenance from this sea, and a surprisingly large variety of strange but tasty sandfishes can be found there. Ironically, the land-side port of Kelerm is large and busy, while its sea-side port is small and sees low traffic. Wares are often sold directly in the sand-port, sometimes many ships are bound together to become floating, makeshift extension of the city and serve as impromptu markets.
The last food source of Kelerm comes from the cave networks dug below the city and on the outskirts of the underground buildings and homes. Many plants enjoy the dark, and among those plants some even grow vegetables. The caves are sometimes expanded and built to support large amounts of crops wherever it’s safe and advisable.
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