The Turtle

From ThornsWiki

The Turtle: Once, the imbali of Thul Ka were forced to spend their lived within the walls of this island enclave. It was at one their prison and their protection and it was here that much their distinct culture was born. Though they are no longer forced into either exile or segregation, the Turtle is still the home of Thul Ka’s traditional imbali. Here can be fond the Liars Market, the Way of the Books Sellers, and, if one has the right connections, various underworld contacts.

Nestled comfortably within the central walls of Thul Ka where the three rivers come together sits the Turtle, the small bustling enclave of imbali culture. The island is a tiny city in itself, both a place of refuge and of repression. While the purposeful exile of the imbali has been over since the 2500s, the walls of the little island are some of the highest in the inner city, dotted with now-abandoned guard towers and still equipped with gates that once closed promptly at sunset and opened only at sunrise.

The Three Bridges

There are three bridges that allow entrance into the Turtle and a very impressive, busy port:

Arch of Abandonment

The oldest bridge, colloquially known as the Arch of Abandonment, connects from the Stillwater District. The bridge is a constant attraction for vandalism, as it’s decorated with many carvings of the “peaceful migration of the imbali to their own refuge.” What once was where the first Mugrobi passives found themselves exiles is now the sprawling caravanserai known as the Liar’s Market, a surprisingly busy market thriving solely on the ingenious imbali decision to profit on their supposed soulless birthright and mythological inability to be truthful. It is here that imbali scribes, witnesses, and vendors can be hired to provide false alibis, to compose letters of apology where in the client wishes to save face by covering up some secret shame, or any of a thousand other services wherein a dedication to truthfulness would be a handicap.

The Liar’s Market Places of Note:

  • Sweet Nothings - Need to turn down a suitor and save face? Looking for words to let someone know you’d rather just be friends? Absolving an engagement? Got a few stray lovers too many? Don’t worry, Lai’la Mahalet Uk Ume will happily assist you in composing that perfect message for a saucy price.
  • The Flat - A tiny (tiny) permanent bakery nudged against one of the old gatehouses in the Liar’s Market. Ye’enna, the imbala bakerwoman, makes fresh flat bread (ben’na) in stone ovens every morning before the Market opens, topping them with various goodies and rolling them up for delicious portability.

Bridge of Discernment

The bridge from Deja Point is called the Bridge of Discernment and it’s the newest construction. There is a cableway stop at Deja Point, and so this bridge is most often used by Turtle residents who live and work in the city and who don’t commute by boat or foot. Post-exile imbali have made their own residences/port/tiny market on the bridge itself since inside the Turtle is a more traditionalist stronghold in terms of thought and custom. This little addition is often called the Nest among the post-exile imbali. It’s simply called the Midpoint by everyone else. There is a great deal of mixing of culture here, some of it full of conflict as the post-exile imbali struggle to find their place in Thul Ka and Mugroba society. These intellectual and cultural disagreements have not always been tame, either, and so the Nest is often looked upon as a den of trouble.

The northern section of the Turtle beyond the Discernment Gate is the most industrious section of town complete with gardens for food, some small artisan manufacturers, forms of education. Many of the schools on the Turtle are more like boarding schools, given that most imbali children coming from elsewhere in Thul Ka are over the age of ten. All schools on the Turtle seek to give imbali children plenty of opportunities, whether it be apprenticing to learn a skill or becoming another active participant in the lucrative spice trade.

Bridge of Solidarity

The bridge from the Gathering Dust Neighborhood is called the Bridge of Solidarity. It leads to most of the residences of the imbali, divided into colorful neighborhoods with shared communal areas between them. Creating their own culture and adopting into larger families within their exile, a major part of imbali culture includes sharing meals and celebrating with each other, often in gatherings encompassing an entire block. They have their own calendar of events very different from the rest of the Mugrobi galdori (arati) culture that abandoned them, mostly centered around the harvest and planting times of the spices that have become a big part of their economic and social success. The center of this southern area is definitely the highest point on the Turtle, and it’s here where the imbali rich from their spice trade and lie peddling make their impressive homes.

The Porthouse Gate

As one leaves the caravanserai of the Liar’s Market toward the Porthouse Gate, the old tenement buildings that once housed orphans and exiles have been turned into the impressive and illicitly busy Way of the Book: one of the most extensive markets for works of fiction, unauthorized biographies, scandalous publications, and even censored works illegal elsewhere in Mugroba. Several different booksellers have turned housing into veritable libraries for sale. Bookbinders, printers, paper-makers, artists, and the writers themselves also live along the Way of the Book from the Arch to the port. Off the main Way are of course darker, less well-known alleys where one with the right connections may find less savory banned works, even spells … but only should the seeker know where they’re going. Not every underground bookseller appreciates an unknowing stranger wandering into their shop. While the selling of such publications to non-imbali is illegal, business is thriving nonetheless.

The Way of the Book ends in the Porthouse Gate, which opens into one of the busiest ports in all of Thul Ka, thanks to the thriving spice trade from the Muluku Islands. Only the finest, most expensive, most sought-after spices travel up the rivers and end up first in the Turtle before being distributed and sold elsewhere.

The old Porthouse Gate has been turned into the headquarters for the Turtle’s own neighborhood watch, known colloquially to everyone on the Turtle as the Saffron Street Runners.