Rob Does Words
Treating fiction poorly since 2019


There were two things everyone knew about the City of Palaquin. Firstly, it was actually many cities all grouped under the title Palaquin, which literally meant umbrella in the native language. Secondly, everyone eventually ends up in one or another of the individual cities.

The list of things no one knows about Palaquin is much, much longer.

For example, the four statues, the Sentinels of Palaquin. No one knew where they came from, who built them or who they represented, but they were an everyday part of life in the cities. They stood at the cardinal points of the compass, which gave them their very creative individual names: North, South, East and West.

For eons these immensely tall gods stood at Palaquin and the four of them plus the island they held aloft between them was labelled one of the wonders of the world, even if the only creation story is mythical and involves dragons.

We built Palaquin under the protection of the statues many generations ago and over time our influence started to overtake that of those who built, or carved, our guardians: more than a few of the many cities were now built into the statues themselves.

The central island, called Cline, was the largest in area, and second in population. It was also the most famous of the Palaquin cities. The bulk of its population were those who had too much money and knew they did; they were very proud of it, and this led to some interesting stories. This was the city of hedonism and excess and was where a lot of people who would never get there wanted to go.

Directly under the island, in perpetual shade, was the city full of people who were trying to work their way into a life in Cline. This was the city of perpetual delusion, also known by its proper name: Pesea.

These people were determined to earn their way into the extravagant yet comfortable life those above them had paid their way into. Some of them would get there eventually, too old to be able to enjoy the delights that had led them to Palaquin in the first place.

Pesea, even without the goal of ‘moving up’ to Cline, was a decent place to live if you wanted to work. There were always jobs and the atmosphere was one of ‘get what you give’ which sorted out those who were there to work from those who were there to cruise off the work of others.

Each of the sentinel statues also had at least one city built into it as well. These cities served a civic function for the entirety of Palaquin. The biggest of these, the city of Ramdiff, the most populated in all of Palaquin, was built on the hip of the North Sentinel. It was where the council had its quarters and where all the administration for the various cities happened. Only 40% of the city was visible on the outside of the statue, with the rest tunnelled into the behemoth itself.

The other statue cities, by and large attempted to mirror Ramdiff which did lead to some factional conflict, but almost all the time Ramdiff ended up ‘winning’ these due to already having 90% of the facilities that were being contested.

The southern statue in particular had a long history of challenging the authority of various things in Palaquin and, not coincidentally, had a larger number of abandoned areas within its city.

Palaquin as a whole was built on a long coastline which was dotted with rivers exiting into the ocean. If you considered Cline to be lifted out of the ground below, then Pesea was settled around, and in, the hole it had left. Further out from Pesea, in the sun but still at sea level, a number of smaller cities, almost towns, really, had been built to allow those who wanted to share in the glory of living in Palaquin without needing the money to live in Cline or the motivation or ambition to live in Pesea. These towns, while they didn't come with the same glory as living in any of the Palaquin cities, and a lot of people looked down on people who chose to move there, served a distinct purpose. These coastal towns were the customs for Palaquin. People came here first. If they ‘survived’ the immigration process, they could aim to move to another city, should they desire.

Currently, across the entire City, there was a single issue that had caught the attention of almost everyone. On the other side of the country, in the actual capital of the nation, an election was due to take place which could potentially alter the course of history for each of the Palaquin cities.

For almost two decades politics in the nation had been ruled over by two major factions and a handful of minor ones who didn't really do anything except muddle some issues just for the sake of being contrary.

Now, however, a few of those minor groups had come to an agreement on various things and were running a very well funded campaign against the major factions. This alliance was not a fan of how little scrutiny Palaquin got because of its historical curiosities.

If the alliance won this election, Palaquin would be subject to the mother of all audits.

The alliance wasn't popular within any of the cities, with the possible exception of Cline, but no one really knew what was popular up there from day to day.

So with only the two major factions doing any campaigning in Palaquin, it was fairly obvious that one of those two would take the city. Across the rest of the nation, it wasn't so clear cut as the rhetoric about Palaquin garnered a lot of support.

A lot of Palaquians were discussing how they could vote strategically to prevent the alliance from winning power, even if it meant the faction they didn't necessarily agree with winning in the end.

Only time would tell.