Tuesday, April 26, 2011


V is for Vaults in our twenty first installment of the Deepest Sea, A-Z.

The Vaults are a unique geographic feature of the Deepest Sea setting.  Towering cliffs wall in a channel which runs roughly north east through the Rim from the Deepest Sea to the Shallow Sea.  They are commonly believed to have been created when the City was founded over 2000 years ago, some great magic of the Gods to protect the City from the rest of the world.  One story has Sol the All Father harnessing a great blue oxen to a giant plow, and plowing the channel.  Some sages advance the ridiculous theory that the channel of the Vaults was formed when the Shallow Sea flowed suddenly into the Deepest Sea, although why such a flow would exist, they are unable to explain.

Formerly the Vaults were bridged at the end nearest to the Deepest Sea, where the mountains were lower, and the gap was not much wider than a single galley.  These bridges were used to march the Empire's armies around the Rim, as well as for trade purposes.  Over time, erosion worked away at the cliff side foundations of these bridges, ruining many, and the hostilities with the Turqs have caused the rest to be pulled down, so that no bridge currently spans the Vaults.

Currently the Vaults are heavily fortified along their Deepest Sea shores, and again where the channel reaches the Shallow Sea.  The Empire maintains large fortresses on either end, and a low wall runs along the edge of the cliffs until the Rim mountains begin. The Malikate of Turqs controls most of the Turq side of the Vaults, and it too has a fortress on the Deepest Sea side of the Channel.  Near the Rim mountains, where the power of the Malikate is weaker, there is a place where people can gather on either side of the channel and shout messages to one another.  In this way, news travels swiftly from kingdom to Empire, even when they are at war.

Despite the current hostility between the Turq kingdoms and the Empire, a great deal of traffic uses the channel between the Vaults to move from the Deepest Sea, and the City, to the Shallow Sea.  Great fishing fleets harvest the Shallow Sea's bounty, and processed and fresh fish are sent on swift galleys through to the Deepest Sea. Those Turq kingdoms on the Shallow Sea, and the Beha, also send a great deal of trade between the Vaults to the kingdoms of the Deepest Sea, and occasionally a laden ship comes from far off Ehiandi, carrying exotic goods.

The portion of the Vaults that passes through the Rim characterized by towering cliffs, and in ancient times, before the Elves were liberated, they were the hideouts of escaped slaves.  Working with Dwarves, the Elves made whole secret towns in the soft cliff faces.  Many of these caves and tunnels have fallen to ruin in the time since those dark days, but every now and again, explorers find a new entrance to the catacombs and descend to look for treasure.

Tomorrow, more Deepest Sea A-Z with Walking.

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