Map of the Borlunth, Prvest and Trastrab basins

The Borlunth, Prvest and Trastrab Basins

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These three basins are grouped onto one map because of their proximity and size. This map covers only a bit more than thirteen million square miles, about 4200x3200 miles. These basins are not really related either geologically or culturally. In fact they each have more commerce with the neighboring basin outside this region than they do with each other. They are discussed in order by age, but there are links to each.

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The Borlunth Basin

Borlunth was made famous by an archeologist who excavated the ruins of a penis cult that once existed there about the time the Roman Empire was young. There were many penis cults in Borlunth, but only one raided the countryside in longboats and helped give the city its reputation.


History

That cult was one of the last things to occur in Borlunth's history. As long ago as 8000bc. great cave cities were already being built by a people called the Dalthites. The Dalthites were a Megnor people, and the source of the population in the Tduun and far western Trenst basins today.

The Dalthites had several generations of civilizations from then, all the way to the Energy Age. They ventured as far as the Trenst basin, the Knidola basin and the Trastrab. They documented the ruins of a civilization in the Knidola basin that flourished from about 12,500bc. to 11,000bc.

It is not known how the Dalthites arrived in Borlunth. Their remains first showed up around 17,000bc. The leading theory is that the polar seas were once linked by a pass south of Orinak. The water level was once much higher in those seas and the beaches of 17,000bc. are at the same height on both sides. The Megnors were already using skin and stick kayaks in 17,000bc. Even at that time those people could not survive the altitudes to get from the Lumpral to the Borlunth basins over any route that is open today. There is no evidence that they had the technology to compress air at that time.

Early in the Dalthite age the pass, if it existed, must have closed, because the waters rose to a height well above the waters in the Lumpral basin. In the Lumpral basin the sea continued to recede. In the Borlunth Basin, cities rose and fell as the waters moved upwards. There were nearly as many different kingdoms and languages as in the Western Deeps, and a full account of the period would undoubtedly take volumes, but much of it is yet to be excavated. Borlunth has not been an advanced center of learning since the Energy Age, so the study of Dalthite history is relatively neglected.

By 8000bc. the polar sea was above the level of the current docks in the city of Borlunth. By that time there were three separate nations in what is the present day city of Borlunth, each carving cave systems in the rock, or working over small keda conclaves. Some of their structures are still in use today. No inscriptions from that time have been decoded.

Over the next four thousand years, the polar sea retreated to Lake Blixak, then rose 131 feet, back to the level of 8000bc. When it was at its lowest point, about 5000bc., the whole Borlunth plain was exposed and it became almost as densely populated as it is today. The city that gave it's name to their whole branch of the Megnor races, Dallia, was at the waist of the basin and was said to have had a strong resemblance to modern day Dos, but had only one percent the drop in water level.

The technology of the time developed the same floating gate lock that is still in use today over much of the planet. There is some evidence that even the autocycle lock was in use in the city and kingdom named Dallia as early as 5000bc., but that has not been confirmed thru scientific study. The earliest archeological evidence of auto-cycle locks dates from the Energy Age.

Dallia united the whole basin floor, and soon all Dalthite peoples, into a single nation-state or empire by 4500bc. The splendor of the chieftainry of Dallia's halls was equal to anything in Hb'nah or Delthassa up until the Energy Age. The cultural and stylistic similarities of the two peoples are striking, even though they were 6000 miles apart directly across the south pole and there had been no contact between them for ten thousand years. Very little survives from that time but what does is splendor like the new kingdom of Egypt.

The Dalthites were the first people of Kassidor to cultivate lon. At the time lon was purple, and purple is still used to denote lon on maps made in the Borlunth Basin. Much of the basin floor was covered with lon paddies like today. A few paddies of various breeds of purple lon can still be found here today. Those breeds all date from Dalthite times.

By 3800bc., the rising waters were at Dallia's doorstep. By that time the thick forests that carpeted the escarpments around the basin were felled and burned, and it is likely that may have contributed to the melting of the ice and the rising of the seas. For centuries the city retreated up the Karedarzin as the waters rose until it was once again back to the site of present-day Borlunth. For centuries the ruins of it's palaces were dangerous reefs for sailors of that shallow sea. In the centuries it was under water the tidal currents removed most traces of what was once the planet's largest and most splendid city from the casual eye.

It had been the Trolls that felled the forests and sold them to the Dalthites. They planted highland crops and traded with the Dalthites for onions. During this whole age, 8000bc., to 4000bc., there had been a lot less conflict between the races than the Lumpral basin at the time. But as the sea covered the densely populated basin floor, the Dalthites had nowhere to go but the escarpments of the basin. The situation was serious because the basin floor is relatively flat and the escarpments relatively narrow and steep, especially on the eastern side where the city is today.

Centuries of warfare ensued and for many generations the hatred between the races became more important than life itself for many. The superior technology of the Dalthites drove the Trolls back to heights where Dalthites couldn't breathe. The nation state split in two as the polar sea rose between them. East Dallia attempted to starve the Trolls out with an onion blockade. For survival the Trolls sent near suicide missions to fetch onions, leading to what is now called the Onion War. The video game of savage ax-swinging Trolls against little white men with high tech weapons is based on that war.

After 3280bc., the waters began to recede again and the Dalthites were quick to reclaim the territory. At a site just south of the northern docks of modern Borlunth, East Dallia built a great city that was the largest on this site until modern times. In that year the onion blockade ended and a tense peace was restored, but the hatred would live on for many generations.

When the forces of Illewe III reached the basin in 3121bc., East and West Dallia were quick to re-unite to face this common enemy. They were not intimidated by his telegraph and airforce because their people had artillery that could bring down his air force and commando teams hardened by seven hundred years of war that could bring down his telegraph. They were not seduced by diplomatic overtures of learning and cooperation either. They viewed Elves as barbarians little better than Trolls and dismissed them as unworthy of contact.

Over such long supply lines and against numerous and technological opposition, Illewe's armies faltered for the first time in centuries. By now the Empire was accustomed to adding basin after basin with little or no resistance. Yondure and Lumpral were the only other basins where they found civilizations capable of resisting them and neither of those really tried.

In a decision made without a thorough understanding of the dynamics, the Elves chose to arm the Trolls in the basin to fight as their proxies. The pent-up hatred released a bloodbath that is probably the worst Kassidor has ever seen. The populations of the Dalthite nations at the time was on the order of 100 million in the east and 200 million in the west. With a single voice, all the Troll chieftains vowed to exterminate every last one.

That is not what happened, but it is likely one hundred million Dalthites lost their lives in what THEY call The Extermination. Some were able to escape to the Trenst Basin, and some somehow made it to the Tduun. Dalthites held the city of Elarippa thruout the Energy Age and Troubled Times and are still found there in large numbers today.

The Elves' records of the time were destroyed and the general of the campaign was found guilty of a cover-up. Because of the magnitude of the loss his stupidity had caused, his life was taken by order of Dempalan Emperor Illewe III in 3077bc. Dempala was never comfortable having further contact with the Trolls who now held that bloody ground, and the basin was neglected from that day forward. No glideway reached the area, it seemed like Dempala took a few samples of lon and abandoned the basin entirely.

The Trolls that had taken over the basin were quite barbaric at the time, and soon turned their new-found weaponry on each other. They did not have the technology to maintain it however, and in a few generations most of the firearms and laser weapons were no longer operable. Their dead hulks became ceremonial objects. The sea fell rapidly over the flat basin floor as the population fell rapidly. The Borlunth basin lost most of it's population DURING the Energy Age, and lost none in The Fall.

Eventually some form of civilization rose among the Trolls. During another period of high water, when the site of present-day Borlunth was once again a seaport, there arose on this site a culture called the Klagg. They had only rudimentary writing, but built megalithic structures all thru their territory. Their inner kingdom more or less defines the extent of the present day city of Borlunth. Enough land to produce perishables indefinatetly, 31 sq. mi. along the Klagg Coast, was walled in. It was divided into sections by huge walls of mammoth stone blocks, pierced by numerous doorways. The tops of these walls form the backbone of the current city's street system in that part of the city.

The Klagg subjugated the surrounding peoples by force and exacted tribute. That was presented before a grossly fat king who was often in an alcoholic stupor. The king was overthrown by his generals frequently and few dynasties lasted more than three generations. The kingdom was attacked by forces from rebellious vassal states frequently. Nevertheless, the great walls held and the Klagg dominated the basin for fifteen hundred years, until about 800bc.

In the late troubled times after the Klagg empire disintegrated, there were dozens of petty Troll kingdoms in the basin. The sea continued to retreat and much of the basin floor became covered with lon paddies once again, but this time using the engineered green lon that is so much more productive.

The Pikosas cult of penis worshipers that made Borlunth famous was one of those petty states. They had an exceptionally violent culture. They raided the surrounding lon paddies, kidnaping women and murdering men. Their initiation required passing three duels to the death with other men in the cohort. Thus only one of eight male children could expect to become a 'Dominant Man'. A male's whole childhood was nothing but training for those duels. Reaching that status gave a man an automatic allotment of eight wives, but one could collect many more by raiding the surrounding countryside. This was happening while aging was being cured and the peace plague and yaag were transforming basins on the far side of the planet.

When governments in most other basins had already dissipated, another wave of Troll/Nordic people came out of the eastern upland forests and subjugated most of the basin, south to Lake Blixak, north to the Fronzhorps and west to Elarippa. These were the Borl. Their rule was much more enlightened than the Klagg, but they were similar in having fat drunken kings and in building their capital within the present day city of Borlunth. The city grew to be larger than Dallia had been at its height, and then larger than East Dallia. They were the first of the Troll states to establish a university. They established trade with the Trenst and Prvest basins, and with that trade, some accouterments of modern Kassidor, such as eternal youth, peace and yaag. The Borl imperial government was the last on the planet and continued to function in some fashion until the Instinct reached this basin in 991ad.


Culture

The Pikosas were really not a large part of Borlunth's culture, but the icon they made famous has been a large part of the basin's culture since the Trolls took it from the Dalthites. The penis is still an important totem in the culture of Borlunth. This seems to be the only basin where a male is more likely to expose his genitals than a female. They are an important motif in art and architecture.

Borlunth is the second poorest basin, after Lumpral, and probably the most primitive. There is modern grown housing now, and a lot of it. Away from the city, two thirds of the population harvests their own lon. Most of the rural population on the basin floor does own a kayak. For most it's little more than the pod with a hole cut in it to sit in. If there's more, they usually did it themselves. For many it is their biggest craftsmanship project.

Most people in rural Borlunth live in very little space, but they insist on a comfortable bed, even if it is their only enclosed space. More than half the kitchens in the basin are outdoors. Rope and bucket wells are the standard in the countryside, unless one lives on the lon plains and the rope and bucket is lowered from the porch. The malodorous outhouse is commonplace, most families have a set place to wash the ass rag.

On the positive side, the weather is never too cold or too hot, so enclosures are only needed to shelter from the frequent rains and mists. Most public taps are under tent or in open pavilions, often in the center of small villages on the lon plains, at crossroads on dry land. Not many of them have vid screens or other telecom even today, you'll have to find towns of several hundred for that. Even in the smallest village the yaag will be passable, the ale will be good, and it will be strong.

There are frequent small cities along the main rivers and canals and all of them have inns with indoor plumbing, data service, fine dining and companionship. Not all women in the basin are interested in big bare boners, many are very greatful for anyone who can buy them dinner. Be prepared for them to be very direct, even by Kassidorian standards.

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The Prvest Basin

This is one of the smallest basins on the planet, a bit smaller than Borlunth, but still larger than India.


History

When this basin was first settled there was small sea here, and a region of fertile land to its west, but it was too high in the atmosphere to grow onions. During the Energy Age the fast onion was developed that could grow in as little as eight frost-free weeks. The Dwarves of the high south of Knidola were already experiencing pressure from some of the Borgoth tribes at the time and began to move down into the area. Enough Dwarves remained behind to effectively seal the pass, and those who settled the Prvest basin were left alone for nearly three thousand Earth years.

In that time the sea began to dry out, and a canal was maintained by damming across all the barrier islands. The new land created was some of the most fertile in the basin and it was quickly settled. Many little states developed rather than one big one. Most were city-states, some were a little larger but Vermont would have been the largest.

While most basins in the Troubled Times were waging one form of war or another, the states in this basin hardly ever went to war. They had the troops and the training, but it was mainly used as deterrent. The few wars were gentlemanly, and serve as backdrops for genres of fiction today. Shifting alliances maintained a balance of power and prosperity was the order of the day. Central planning on the scale of a small city worked well for them.

They discovered an important additive to the brick making process that would give them the erosion resistance of ceramic. The towns and cities of this land are built with a couple trillion of them. They are laid in beautiful patterns and in colors from yellow thru red and brown to grey.

The sea retreated a second time and a new series of barrier islands were dammed in on the north and south. The west was too steep. Today the sea is nothing but a small salt lake just low enough to stay frost free on a small patch of it's western shore.

The area adapted easily to modern times. Youth came early, hundreds of Earth years before it spread to the neighboring Borlunth basin. There was little contact at the time and no canals and locks into the depths of Borlunth. In fact the passes were guarded. Few who had gone down there came out alive for the last couple thousand years, so few went. Governments evolved quickly and quietly into volunteer organizations or private businesses. The sewer worker's union got stuck with that but did well enough that no one competed with them until after first contact.

In the Starship Age many photovoltaic manufacturers were started in Prvest and today most public taps have vid screens, most homes have some kind of sound system and everyone in a city or town has access to data service, those in the countryside might have to walk a day.


Culture

The easy-going homebody with home cooking aspect of Dwarven culture is most evident in this basin. Every Dwarven culture has it in spots, at times. In this basin it took over. eMostee, the god of beer, is portrayed as a giant of a man in brown knickers and suspenders and a bright flannel shirt. He's got a long orange beard that covers most of his chest and generous belly, and has some hair of the same color sticking out from under his visored cap. His image is everywhere, like cupid on Valentine's day or the penis in Borlunth.

Every town has an outdoor café and they are full on Afternoondays. They are the social hot-spots in the culture as they are in Bordzvek. They also have networked music and beer (and yaag) by pipeline. There is a whole industry trading ice, and both beer and yaag are served quite cold. Winter Morningdays can be a bit bracing in this climate at an outdoor café, especially if there's no sun, but many of them have ceramic stoves under the tables.

Music in the Prvest basin is available in many styles, but you'll hear a lot of what can only be described as Mexican Polka. This is the only basin where a pedaled keyboard that sounds like an accordion or trumpet is common. That is not the only music, there are also major concert halls and groups doing arena rock and ballads. You'll hear lots of power chords and synths, amazing tenors who can hold high notes long and coordinated spotlights.

There is a quirky cinema scene. No one expects to understand the plot, it's all about the mood conveyed by the scenes. It is rarely exported and poorly attended even here. Imports from Zhlindu and Trenst are available as data but are rarely shown in public. Some suspect some shadowy organization is secretly controlling everyone who owns a public vid screen in Prvest. Sports, news and other culture from outside the basin is broadcast.

Sexuality is very much under the woman's control in this basin. She'll pick you, males just sit and look pretty. Rates of seeking variety are lower than average, the number of serially monogamous relationships is higher. There are a lot of singles, and enough seeking variety to fill clubs in fairly small towns. Prvest seems to be the center of Dwarven large breastedness and women are proud of what they carry.

The people of Prvest have more animals in their homes than any other basin on the planet. Just about anything that can be housebroken (most of the cellulose kingdom) may be found in the home. They are there doing anything from seeking borer worms in the wood to forming a warm and furry shoulder wrap on a chilly Nightday, to providing eggs for the breakfast table. Mindunes and some scamps like to be petted, and will investigate unfamiliar people in the house.

Prvest City

During most of the Troubled Times, the thirties in Kassidorian history, (1800bc. - 400bc.) Prvest was actually the largest city on the planet and has grown relatively little in modern times. The site is a maze of large canals. When they were laid out they were at sea level, but became part of the second group of barrier islands to be made into dams holding back the lakes that ring the valley floor.

The city was at it's height when it was the capital of three different states with peaceful but formal borders at the canals that separated them. Prvest remains remarkably like the city of those days with only a relatively thin ring of suburbs of grown housing around it, and a sparse layer above it. Most of the canals are on the same sites they were and many of the brick bridges spanning the smaller ones are thousands of years old so that only the limestone deposited by the limewort vines that cover them is holding them up today.

It is the only contiguous urban area in the basin with more than 375,000 residents, so in a very real sense, it is the only city in the basin. It is the media, finance, manufacturing, learning and cultural center of the basin. The basin is small, but it takes the locals the better part of a year to get from the city to the edges of the basin.

The city is famous for it's beer and deservedly so. Ample snow falls in the autumn to be stored for the whole year. Any glaciers that show up in East Itigon are immediately mined. Ice is traded all the way from Trastrab. Many beers are cold brewed, the growing of leet, the closest thing to hops on the planet, is steeped in thousands of years of tradition, as are the grains and yeasts (a few million species of bacteria in this biosphere). Beer tastings were as much a matter of national pride in the 30's as the Olympics were to 20th century Americans.

Like the remainder of the basin, there are thousands of canal-side cafes. They are reminiscent of Bordzvek except for the decor. Here there are split-log benches, trophy heads hanging over the taps, usually horn-scamp or some form of theropsoid. The structure is brick and lime wort. It is the neighborhood social scene and you may make conjugal arrangements here, but public sex is very rare in Prvest. If there's entertainment it's acoustic bands leading the crowd in drinking songs. This aspect of the city is most like life in the countryside of the basin.

Yaag is as common as beer, even in Prvest and most places serve both. Golds and greens are common, but augmented yaag, what is called 'scientific' in the Highlands, is not common. Stronger drugs are less common here than most big cities of Kassidor, in fact less common than in the countryside of this basin.

There is an arts and music scene. The music is rhythmic most of the time. The arts are representational. Dance is folk, street theater is common. Street music a lot like blues is common. The Polka-like sound that is common in the countryside is not so common in the city. Imported music is common, as are news and sports. Imported cinema is not shown on public screens.

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The Trastrab Basin

Currently this is listed as one of the smaller basins, based on the land that was habitable at first contact. Trastrab possesses the potential to grow into one of the major basins of the planet. The fertile boundary of the land is advancing into the Polywunk waste at the rate of a few hundred square miles per year. That is going on a half million square miles since first contact. Humans have occupied about sixty thousand of that in that time. The climate is challenging, like the extreme north of the Highlands, but another two million square miles could potentially be made fertile, and the melting polar cap makes it likely that it will.


History

This is one of the newest basins, with little settlement before modern times, and no prehistoric remains found to date. By 1000ad. there were lots of Nordic tribes moving in armed with onions so hardy they could live well into the mountains, and the Instinct allowed them to leave their warlike nature behind (for the most part). This basin was founded by people who had never known what it was like to grow old. In some sense they came out into the woods at the extreme edge of the world to let loose and party. They were lead by a pair of land developers from Knidola who are now two of the richest men in the basin.

By Kassidorian standards, the area has undergone explosive growth in the past three thousand years, most of it in the first thousand of those three when the average couple had a child or two in the house at all times. Enormous energy was expended on building canals and locks in this relatively rugged land. Per capita, more effort was spent on the canals and lakes in this basin than in the Highlands. A good deal of it was labor invested by young men (and a fair percentage of women) who were paid in land that the project would irrigate.

Just before the Angels established first contact between Earth and Kassidor the Tduunzhorp passage was opened, opening a nearly direct route between Trastrab and Zhindu. There has been a strong connection between the two cultures since and many high-tech companies from Zhlindu have established branches in Trastrab. The music and cinema of Zhlindu are still followed in Trastrab today, though the local arts have become respectable.


Culture

The basin is still roomy, there are estimated to be 223 million residents of the basin today. They occupy almost 400 thousand square miles, about a quarter of the available land. Rural themes are important to them and nearly everyone has a crop in the ground, or will have if they live where it's currently winter. The people are quite independent, but friendly and open.

The basin and city have more water power available per person than Dos, but a lot of their machinery is less refined so the net water power available to the residents of Trastrab is less than Dos. They don't care, most residents are energetic and athletic. Blond girls lift buckets from wells with ropes in the hilly countryside. Farms are big with lots of livestock. Moss-like reeds grow in dense tufts in the fields and only the scamps can successfully feed on them. In the southern parts of the basin there are thick forests of week-trees, those that lose their leaves every week, and a rough and tumble logging industry harvesting them. Glaciers are mined for ice that is shipped to cool beer all over the basin and into the Prvest Basin beyond.

Sporting events are the big deal in this basin. There are matches against dangerous carnivores, muscleball, wrestling, pointstone, lifting, rodeo. There are village video screens here, they are loaded with advertising for the events and broadcasts of events. The quantities of beer that are sold at the events is prodigious.

You won't have to sleep alone in this basin, but be prepared to get little sleep and be prepared for her girlfriends coming in during the sleep and giggling over who did what to whom. Over half the population is 'single' meaning they don't share a home bed with a steady partner. People seem to have sex on dusksleeps here and they try and make the most of it. There is little really hard core in the basin, but nudity is very common, as is dry petting. The women are especially direct in the Trastrab basin, her opening line may be 'Got anyone lined up for Dusksleep?'

For many of this basin, home is still two wagons and the poles they were carrying, tied together and holding up a tent that covers both wagons. One wagon holds the kitchen, the other holds the bedroom, the ground between them is the living room floor. They roam the prairies in the north of the basin following herds of lentosaur that they drive to a stockyard and sell. There is something of the Mongols about them and something of the airstream caravans of the American heyday. About 150 tribes are active and they hold huge powwows that don't allow outsiders and leave participants incoherent for days.

The basin has quite a range of climates, but they do tend to be rugged. In the upper tier, winter darks are seriously cold and simple wall mats are not going to keep one comfortable. Summer Afternoondays can reach 90F (33C). As one goes north in the basin, the yearly temperature range gets less important and the weekly more but the total range stays about the same. In the outer parts of the basin, rainfall is light and variable, but in the central parts of the basin the weather coming off the polar sea creates plentiful rainfall and the lower altitude keeps temperatures between 60 and 80 over most of the year and week. Down on the tundra, the freeze lasts the better part of a month and different types of flora live there. Most of them are purple with rhodopsins. Week leaves become year-leaves on the tundra and grow up to seven feet tall.

When used, the clothing in the Trastrab basin is usually rather plain, shirts and pants, sometimes wrapskirts for women. Most of the basin needs one or more additional layers as the dark advances. There are some who do not have heated homes. They wear jackets and leggings and even elbow-length mittens in the dark, especially the nomads of the prairies where there's hardly enough fuel for cooking. Almost everyone has a 'good shirt'. It will be decorated with extensive embroidery, sewn of many different materials and very well fitted. People wear them to important business meetings and ceremonies, but not to party.

It is an adventure to go the polar route down the Trastrab River till it joins the Karedarzin, and then up the Karedarzin into the Borlunth basin. Unless your guide is in the water, don't go in the water, and it will be cold. You're passing thru the taiga near the tundra line. This diversion was opened in 2012ad. by Earth's calendar. The men of Trastrab dug a lot of wilderness sand to build this passage, and thus most of the polar plain is now considered to be in the Trastrab basin. In a depression surrounded by the polar sea, the actual lowest point on the planet is found. In 4100 the polar sea is only 18 feet above the Toumba in Lumpral.

The forests in the south and west are full of many species of chuff, the longest and fullest hair of all the four nucleotide life is found on them. Hunting them are the Purpletail and the Ringed Hyadunes, considered the most dangerous species of hyadune on the planet. Men prove themselves hunting them, and a hyadune-claw belt buckle is a status symbol in these regions. Also here are those who work what is probably Kassidor's most dangerous job, capturing the fierce carnivores that are used in matches all over the basin. Most are bred, but there is a continuing need for wild stock to keep the gene pool clean.

On the prairies of the north, darks are bitter, Afternoondays blistering. Hakken, theirops and lek prey on the vast herds of grazers, and hunters patrol this area also. Most of them are the nomadic lentosaur herders. These people will be glad to let you take any carnivore you come across out there, but they consider the herds of herbivores to be their property, so you won't win friends if you bring one down out there. You will win friends if you join a carnivore hunt and follow their direction. Your reward will be a rowdy feast with all the drink, women and song you can handle.


The City of Trastrab

The city covers a huge amount of area for it's population. There is a contiguous connection of properties that grow less than they eat, thin strands of it along the rivers and major roads over a hundred miles. Many still live in detached one to three story plank homes and grow 80% of what they eat. The residents perceive a lot of small towns close together with a lot of businesses between them along the roads and rivers in the countryside between. They may grow only 80% of what they eat, but they perceive of themselves as rural, but walking to a town job now and then. Even if they run a business along a main road and live in the trees above it, they don't necessarily perceive they are living in a city. They perceive it as thickly settled country. The neighborhoods are remarkably similar, but residents almost never make the trip from one end of the urban area to the other. It you ask them to find the city of thirty million named Trastrab, most of them can't do it.

Arenas where music or sports are held are away from things out on the high roads or even between the fields out back. Many of the spectators have spent over a week getting to the event on foot. Tent cities are permanent around them, though most individual camps last only for the current event.

The arenas where men fight dangerous beasts are most often on islands in the river, often little bigger than sandbars. Spectators wade across carrying a cooler and maybe some clothes if the event lasts till after dark. The snorting roars of Lek lend a savageness to the pounding music, which is often live. Players and even spectators have been killed at these events.

Muscleball matches have much of the same atmosphere, but the beer is sold there and it's house cups only, they are a pretty generous imperial pint, but the penny beer is pretty thin, the good stuff can be three pennies. Most drink the penny stuff in quantity. People get rowdy and naked no matter what the event and this area is second only to Borlunth (a distant second) in your likelihood of seeing someone flaunting his erection. Similar displays by the women are just as common in this basin.

The smaller cities of the basin are smaller versions of a Trastrab suburb. The city given the name Hyereka was only recently discovered by analysis of the data from Almon's Crossing for other areas of contiguous urban settlement. It's five and a half million residents have no idea of its existence.

Even though Trastrab is the southernmost major city on the planet, the city itself rarely gets below freezing, and gets to 75F (24C) on a summer Afternoonday. The Trastrab (Rushing Rush) River drops a mile thru the central city, giving up it's potential energy in dozens of locks at each level on it's way thru town. The slope is so steep that ships have to go from lock to lock sideways in places. There is lush rainfall from the polar sea in this basin and plenty of water to keep the locks moving.

There's a group of factories at every lock, and sometimes a tall tower, but very little of the city's population lives above the sixth floor. There is no system of sharing compressed air from lock to lock. The things that link the city together are entertainment, sporting and brewing networks.

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