⏳ Melissandre ⏳
(compound name based on melody & sand)
⏳ Background ⏳
Melissandre emerged from a time of chaos.
When meteors began to fall from the sky all across the world, when all hell broke loose on the planet,
Annies and humans were forced to work together to overcome the catastrophe.
And while they tried to be friendly, it wasn't long before conflict arose again.
Humans and Annies had gotten closer, but prejudice and hate still existed in their hearts.
Finally, a priestess who had been keeping watch over both groups declared:
"This has gone on long enough! The conflicts that plague both of our cultures hinders us instead of helping us. Unless we learn to live together in harmony, who knows what kind of horror we will have to face next?
Today, I am leaving to create a place where we can live peacefully together until the rest of the world is ready.
If you believe, just like me, that Annies and humans both deserve to be treated as equals, follow me,
and let's make this dream a reality!"
On that day, a handful of humans and Annies chose to follow the priestess;
some of them disgusted by how their fellow species treated the other,
others just wanted to have a place where they no longer have to worry about the species of their neighbor.
It took weeks to find the ideal place, but the priestess had a plan.
Once a large enough oasis was found in the desert, she established the hidden town called Melissandre.
⏳ Temp & Climate ⏳
Extremely hot during the day and very cold at night.
⏳ Flora & Fauna ⏳
Thanks to the Oasis and the Annies' magic, they are able to grow most kind of crops like potatoes, carrots and the like. The caves below the town allow for the growth of mushrooms and moss. Beetle and scorpions are the most common kind of animals found within the town, but there are not many other species there.
⏳ Location ⏳
Located southeast of the continent. Around an oasis hidden in the desert. Rumors tell of the town being built on the ruins of a long gone nation.
⏳ Special Occasions ⏳
The Mirage festival, a once per year event with the intent of
showing the world how Humans and Annies can live peacefully together.
This event has a bit of an odd way to gather people.
As the randomly chosen date approaches, all the messengers and chosen ones of the town
are tasked to give clues to the outside world about a mysterious and magical feast found in the desert.
Those curious enough to follow the instructions will find a large oasis
with tables of foods, drinks and many citizen of Melissandre preparing for the festivities.
Dances, songs and magic shows will last for the whole day until the next morning.
During that time, everyone is welcome to partake, travelers are encouraged to tell their own stories
and the more observant people will soon notice that Humans are also part of the magic show.
Little do the outsiders know, however, of what is happening while the festivities are ongoing.
most of the food and drinks are laced with a tasteless and scentless sleeping agent
which will knock most people out a few hours after ingestion.
In case some of the participants do not partake in drinking or eating,
some elite agents of Melissandre are in charge of using small darts
to put anyone who is still awake by sunrise to sleep.
Once all the outsiders are slumbering, the inhabitants of the town will start packing things up
and leave the location of the party, only leaving behind supplies for the party goers return home.
Among them, a few citizens will be hidden to help and ensure they all stay safe until they wake up.
If questioned about it, the citizen will feign ignorance and pretend
they simply found all these people sleeping in the desert and offer to help them return home.
None of them will be completely sure of what actually happened the night before,
but they will remember the songs, the dances and the fact that Annies and humans were having a good time together, even if not convinced any of it was real anymore, thus the name: “Mirage Festival”.
⏳ Architecture & Buildings of Interest ⏳
The town has been built in a way that allows storage and the guard house
to be easily accessible by anyone if needed.
The central piece of the town is the oasis that is located at its heart.
The large body of water is able to supply hydration to all of the residents and crops without any problem.
In the middle of it lies the temple of the priestess, where she oversees the well being of the villagers.
On the east side of the oasis is the warehouse, and on the opposite side the guard house.
As for the living quarters, they are located on the south side of the oasis.
The area where crops are cultivated is up north.
Finally, in between the warehouse and the fields, the entrance of a cave can be found;
within it lies the secrets to the town's well being in the desert.
When the travelling settlers found the oasis that would eventually become their new homes,
they put their teamwork to practice immediately. The main raw material around was sand and they needed to make structures with the nearest resources as they wouldn't be able to trade with other cities for a while.
They came up with an idea to use the sand, full of silica, to create glass.
The first houses were all made of shaped glass and once they were cooled down,
the settlers would start using the surrounding sand to polish the glass and increase its opacity.
This retained some privacy for the residents.
Once enough buildings were put up, the settlers started working on a temple for their priestess; a haven made of stone and other material that would ensure her safety if something were to happen. Currently, only four buildings are made out of stone: The temple, the guards' house, the library, and the warehouse. The means of regulating the heat and cold in the house will be covered in a different section of this page.
⏳ Government & Laws ⏳
While all laws within Melissandre are taken seriously,
there are a few rules that the hidden town enforces more heavily than others.
Hatred based on species is heavily discouraged. If someone is proven guilty of racial bias, they will likely be punished or even banished from the town. Melissandre is meant to be a haven where both humans and Annies can live together without fear of being a target of prejudice based on their species.
It is forbidden for anyone who leaves the town to mention that Melissandre breaks usual Annie taboos. Things like teaching magic to humans and avoiding to separate inter-species couples is just a few of the violations. Until the priestess feels the outside world is ready to accept coexistence on an equal footing, it is too risky to let anyone be aware of what happens there. What the priestess fears most is a potential attack by purists who would deem the town dangerous to Annies' future. The town's defenses are enough to ward off most attack forces, but they would not be able to survive the assault of a full army.
Revealing the town's location or how to find it amidst the desert is only allowed for the chosen ones. Inhabitants of the town should not tell a visitor how they can find their way back once they return to the outside world. While the common sandstorms should prove an efficient method to prevent entry, a well prepared force could find ways to bypass it. The only people allowed to learn how to find the town are people who choose to live in Melissandre or were born in it. If someone decides to move outside of the town, they must swear an oath to never reveal any of the town's secrets.
Residents are however, allowed to mention to the outside world that there is, somewhere, a place where Annies and humans can live in harmony without bias. As long as the violated taboos are not mentioned, saying that much is fine. Only chosen ones, as they are the only ones trusted with finding like minded people, are allowed to show the way of Melissandre to an outsider.
⏳ Trade & Specialties ⏳
The main source of income in Melissandre's economy comes from its merchants selling the rare products that are found within the town. The crops cultivated in Melissandre offer a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, and rare spices. However, none of them compare to the crystal mushrooms found in the caves located under the town. Water from the oasis often leaks through the ground and into the caves, creating a humid environment ideal for the growth of mushrooms. The mushroom's color is a dark blue with teal hues. On the cap, many little crystal facets form, reflecting ambient light. The mushroom's valuable properties allows it to regulate the ambient temperature and to facilitate its growth and reproduction. It absorbs the heat when it reaches a certain temperature, and releases when it drops too low. This process allows the mushroom colonies to ensure all of the clusters are always an optimum warmth.
Their growth is fairly fast and can be safely harvested about 4 times a year. At first, the mushrooms were gathered to regulate the temperature of housings. But now that the town rarely builds new habitations or makes expansions, the mushrooms are sold for economic growth. To make it harder to trace back and understand the growth conditions of the mushroom, they are never sold as is to the outside world. Merchants undergo a lengthy process of drying the mushrooms and grinding them to a fine powder, which is then sold as a rare spice. The taste of the crystal mushroom is akin to a spiced shiitake, making it popular with those who favor shiitake's rich taste. The mushroom powder can also be used in temperature regulation potions. With the correct recipe, one can create a potion that will allow them to tolerate hot and cold climates much easier. This is very beneficial to those living in other extremely arid or cold towns!
Another business that has flourished within the town is the art of glass blowing. Those who originally helped build the glass house established a part of the marketplace to a glass blower store. Glass sculptures of all kind and shapes can be found there and the export of these sculptures has been quite profitable. A lot of them are filled up with dried desert flowers or other exotic plants. One of the most interesting ones are the small ecosystem sculptures. Enclosed glass with dirt, flowers, grass and enough water to have a self sustaining ecosystem.
⏳ Population ⏳
About 700-800 (humans and Annies mixed).