Allright, perhaps it’s time to speak of my own a little.
The Gripdjur clan isn’t a particularly big one. There’s two small towns, cities, whatever you wish to call them that are ‘ours’ and the majority of our clan tends to be very insular. This is due to some peculiarities that I haven’t really seen too much of outside of the Gripdjur, even though I’m sure some clans or people outside of the Tribes share them. The clan is built up around a few core principles, which forms the social structure of the clan. Imagine three circles, one inside the other, with three lines meeting in the middle, reaching out to the outermost circle.
These three circles represent the three layers of the society. The innermost and most precious are the Innocent. Those everyone else seek to preserve and protect. Their lives should never have to be touched by war, violence, crime and horrors. The bakers and the childkeepers and so on. The most civilian of civilians, as it were. The second circle, the middle one, is where you’ll find those who choose to lose some of their innocence in the name of serving the innermost circle. The justices. The emergency services. The traders and diplomats in foreign lands, and the politicians dealing with the other clans and tribes. The enforcers and medical professionals. They walk among and serve the first circle, while sacrificing a little of their innocence in order to do so. And then there’s the third circle, the outermost one. This one faces outwards, rather than looking in to the first. The fighters. The soldiers. The intelligence workers. The spies. The ones who sacrifice all innocence to protect the first circle from all outside threats. Those who punish those who would do them harm. Those who wander this far outwards do not return, except for one day of the year when they visit family for a day of remembering why they do what they do, and why they give it all up, and who for. As it turns out, that day just passed. Midwinter’s day.
I won’t get into the three lines and what they represent, but understanding the three (in reality, several hundred circles but that sort of granularity isn’t necessary for this post) circles is required to understand how our two main homes have become this way.
One of the towns is at the base of a mountain in the far north of Mikramurka, and for an outsider it’ll look incredibly primitive. It is in fact a cultural experiment, modeled from what archeological remains we have found as well as the remnants of historical records of our clan and tribe’s earliest history. Small wooden buildings and facilities, where a few live permanently in what we believe was the way of the past. Some do this to preserve our past and history, some do it to try and connect to the spirits of our clan and land, and some simply do it because they like it. The majority however live where no outsider will ever see, in the real city. The one underneath.
A few of the buildings and terrain features hide entrance points, most usually elevators that will let you descend into the underground facilities that constitute the largest clan city we have. Bright corridors, comfortable temperatures and every modern amenity is available. Research centers, medical facilities, hydroponics and gardens, educational institutions, all manner of working and living quarters and so on. A few long-distance vacuum tunnels will allow you to be shuttled to spaceports within minutes, and while there are some fusion generators standing by in case of emergencies, the entire underground city is powered primarily by geothermals. It is a testament to what modern Sebiestor can build from scratch, without having to deal with outdated and aged societies holding things back. And barring catastrophic failure of security, it’ll never be seen by an outsider’s eyes. All they get to see is the tourist display piece on the surface.
This is what the third circle protects. Those who live in peace, happy and content, not having to worry for a moment about the terrors of New Eden or the horrors inflicted upon our kin under far-away stars. It is what we serve, without fail. Most importantly, they must not know that we sacrifice for them.
… I digress, I think. Where was I? The second city.
This one is a bit of an oddity though, as it’s technically more of a vehicle. A truly massive one. As the seasons pass, this gargantuan village - well, reasonably small by population count but as vehicles go it’s one of the biggest I’ve ever seen - on countless tracks travel a route planned many many years in advance based on climate models and advanced simulations of wildlife developments spanning pretty much the entirety of the Gripdjur’s lands. This one too operates under the three circles’ model, but more literally than the main city. The outer sections are armed and contains shuttle bays and airdecks, while the inner sections house the general population. It is designed to exploit the natural resources of our reasonably large amounts of land, in the prime seasons, while maintaining and supplying the various outposts and facilities that aren’t mobile once or twice a year. Farmland, frozen-waste research facilities, harbors unfrozen in the summers and so on all get to see this colossus halt for a few weeks near them.
Why this came into being is not something for outsiders to know, nor its primary purpose or capabilities, but it’s unique enough that I feel it should be known beyond our borders.
All in all, I have never known such beauty as in the cold north. Vast snow blasted wastes, gorgeous green valleys and fjords, wildlife of all kinds, including predators that still occasionally try to see if humans are edible. In my dreams, I see a future where the first circle contains all our people and the third gets to rest easy, knowing their sacrifices have been worth it.
Until then though… there is nothing more important to the Gripdjur than holding the Third Circle at all costs.