The Swamp City. Possibly the largest collection of human beings on Kassidor. So endless and so exotic that it cannot be measured. A land of clawleaves and dactyls, plankways and lazy torches, glowing water and addresses that cannot be deciphered. This is a city that never had the period in it's history when it was a small city. It is an area that gradually became more urban without many people moving, at the same time it became more hunter-gatherer, even on the sixth floor.
This map is a little more arbitrary than the others because of the unmeasureability of the city. The area colored white for 'urban' is somewhat arbitrary because there is no real way to tell how a person makes their living. Much of the white areas are actually multistory homes in the trees, three to six floors, but they are grouped along plankways that may be separated by a hundred feet or more of water, making the population density similar to that which is colored white in normal city maps, on the order of ten thousand per square mile.
The isolated crystal towers do not show in this map, they are usually smaller in area than a single pixel and most of them are quite isolated. Pixels are four acres on this map, most of those towers are less than a hundred feet square. There are on the order of a thousand of them outside the major high rise regions. For the same reason the tubeway routes and the old causeways cannot be shown on this scale.
From above the city doesn't look like this at all. (see aerial view) From above it is not easy to tell where the Myassa ends and the city begins. On the eastern fringe that can be true while you are on the ground. There are plenty of homes reachable only by water that are too crowded for normal land to support them. In the southwest the city straggles out into tell marsh and lon ponds, again with no clear boundary and plankways extending for miles along rows of trees.
Most of what is shown as open water is actually covered with lon. Most of the small isolated ponds are lon ponds. Those are only the ones big enough to show on this scale. There are thousands more that can't be seen. They provide over 30% of the city's food supply.
The channels thru the swamp are shown only if they are large enough to take large ships. There are canals big enough for kayaks everywhere, and over much of the city everything is up in the trees over water deep enough for kayaks, so no canals are needed.
Only the central parts of the city are shown. Extensions of urban land extend along the Karedardin to Orestarra and Helia, and Orestarra is on the city's tube system and there are plans to extend a line to Helia. The southwest shore of the Myassa might be considered urban for a hundred miles beyond this map along the shore of the Karedarzin beyond the South Wash. Along the North Karedarzin and the Zil High Road there is at least sixty more miles of contiguous urban territory. The map is just about 100 x 110 miles.
Most people on this map live in a tree growing out of water. We've shown it as urban land, but from above it looks like a flooded forest. In spite of this generalization, there are enough people in this city living on dry land (about thirty five million) that if they were the only ones counted, it would still be on the list of the planet's 50 largest cities. A quarter of the residents do not have anything better than a chamber pot for facilities, a tenth don't even have that and hang it out a window over green water. Ten percent have hot water, but the cold water is nearly 80F (27C). Very little of the city's street system is on land, just a system of great causeways built between the fall of Rome and the rise of America. The city has a tube system. It's cheap and low on amenities, but it's price is a third of what it is in the Yakhan and it is used by a third of the population, unlike the Yakhan. This city has more public tubeway cars than the entire Centorin system. Even so, most of the land transportation here is human feet on plankwalk or rope bridge slung between the inhabited trees growing out of this swamp. There is far less keda-drawn cargo or passenger traffic in this city than any other big city on Kassidor.
Almost as many people have kayaks as in the Yakhan, but here it is often the raw pod with just a hole cut in it and a couple cushions strapped in. The price is at most one sixth of what people pay in the Yakhan. If you're a little up-scale, there's floatation in case you roll over. Most everything is high enough to paddle under, so the kayak traffic is not as bad as the Yakhan. The population density is not as high as the Yakhan, except in the rings themselves, and there are no canals at all in the ring islands.
Culturally, this is the second most important city on the planet. There are many who don't believe in it, but they know of it and can tell you about it. Gossip about it's video and film stars finds it's way to the pages of glossy magazines in the Yakhan. The greatest portion of the money economy, 61%, is spent on culture and entertainment of any city on the planet. In fairly-converted credits, it is the largest entertainment economy in the Empire, larger than the entertainment economy of the Empire. Just about the only other economy in this city is food, and at least 50% of that is outside the money economy.
The city has a very good video industry. The storytelling, photography and acting are superb. Unfortunately women never wear tops in the city of Trenst and caressing is part of most greetings, so that none of it is accepted in the Centorin mainstream. A few have been released with clothing edited-in by Centorin artists (usually badly) and a few are available in the underground. There are some trying to make deals to have some stories re-shot with tops on, but Centorin is such a small part of the video drama market for them, that little interest has been shown.
The music scene here centers on space. Many composers work in sound-fields and do not use the concept of 'note' in their music. Some of it is used by the cheap horror film Houses in Navorkensville so you may have heard it and not know it. The swamp bubbles and rocks and sways and grows with music. The music of the city blends so well with the lumins that live in all the trees that most are not sure which is which.
Many are too stoned to care. Like Zhlindu, during the larorlie bloom in many neighborhoods of Trenst you don't have a choice about whether or not you're going to get high. Unless you brought in bottled air, you're going to get high. The thousands of little open lon ponds seem to collect the vapors and if you ever sit thru a still, grey dawn reflected off one of those ponds, with some overnighter music playing with the dawn lumins across the way, you'll see exactly what we mean.
However, we've warned you before, the drug scene in Trenst can be dangerous, especially with predators around. If you've somehow managed to work your way across the surface of Kassidor as far as Trenst, you are familiar with the effects of yaag and larorlie vapors already. If someone offers you something else, you would be wise to look it up before ingesting. If you get invited to parties, watch what you take and don't take people's word for it.
People party a lot. Rich people spend a lot of their money putting on parties. People are vain about their bodies and keep themselves well tuned and very young looking, high school age. People like to party by fires and in the houses on the tops of the trees. People like parties that are hard to find and that is very easy to achieve in Trenst.
The notorious tracklessness of the city is true. People are clumped along plankways and rope bridges. Swamp, tell marsh, open water, lon pond, or even little scraps of jungle land fill the space between them. Distances are great. It is city plankway all the way for many days if one walks. It is days if one paddles, but it is usually only minutes if one paddles away from the plankway, to get to wild swamp, lon, tell, etc. Thru most of the city there are occasional needles of elevator buildings. Many of them over old markets. All of them have tubeway stations today. About a third of the city's population lives in a high-rise, but most of that third lies in the rings. The scattered needles across the remainder of the city total less than a million people.
Thruout most of the city, most of the water is actually safe. That means safe to stick your hand in without fear of losing it. (Don't drink the water untreated, even at penthouse restaurants.) There are some neighborhoods however, where predator control is somewhat lax, parts of the South Wash and deep in the interior, the centers of the bigger islands on the south but in pockets of the north side also and especially in the East Wash. Because you're already lost and don't know where you are, go by this general rule, just to be on the safe side. Stay out of the water unless you see mothers putting their children in it. The dangers include spheelunge, several species of millitenticloids, various spiker bushes and too many different species of sharp-toothed fish to go thru.
The climate of the city is tropical rain forest. The weekly variation is somewhat greater than the yearly, but the summer is rainier, with Afternoonday thunder storms wandering the city (the city is ten times as wide as a thunderstorm is tall) the weeks of Imnotn thru Kyebenwae. The winter still has the Nightday and Dawnsleep rains. There is no danger of frost in Trenst, the coldest winter Dawnsleeps will dip below 60F. The damp makes it feel colder and people have stylish fur-collared shoulder jackets (which carefully avoid covering the breast) and leggings for Nightday.
The heat of Afternoonday can get a bit oppressive in the summer, but might never reach 80F in winter weeks of Kenduul thru Chezhervizhod. The air feels a little cooler than it really is because it's mass allows it to carry more heat. When it gets above 98F, which happens at least once a year, it feels hotter than it actually is.
One keeps their mats closed in the dark not just for the cold in this climate, but for the droppers. There are blood sucking species in the city that crawl into houses and climb above you as you sleep. They take careful aim on a vein and they are big enough to leave you a pint short when you wake up. Many of the better places have separate nets that can be tied that allow the breeze to come thru. The poor have only those nets and a quilt and companion to keep them warm thru Dawnsleep. The poorest have neither net nor companion and are the second or third owner of their quilt.
But with no more than that one can usually survive in the climate of Trenst. And while Trenst can be one of the harshest cities on the planet, it can be one of the easiest also. One with nothing can find places to fish. A hundred credit boat is all that is needed to find an endless supply of food in Trenst. The cheapest homes cost a shift of piecework at the nearest factory, and once you have that, you have all a human body needs for survival. Many find that the scenery that looks so haunted and spooky to us, to be a garden of Eden, and over a hundred million have chosen to live at the mouth of this great swamp on the Karedarzin.
One final warning about the environs of Trenst. There is the Myassa swamp to the west. Much of that swamp is now wildhull. It is small compared to the great wildhull swamps that now cover the oceans, but it is still trackless floating dactyl country to the horizon in all directions. As we have warned you before, entering the wildhull swamp is nearly certain death. No one will hear your screams, and if any did, they may have problems of their own.