NEW Story: Drip
⚠️ This article is archived, and should be considered non-canon.
The subcontinent of Zen on the Pachinki pangea is so weathered by enormous gem deserts that there is scarcely enough space to grow wheat for bread. In places where the soil is too thin for heavy wheats, sparrowgrass is grown. This grass has large heads that can be eaten raw and taste citrusy and acidic as they only grow in toxic soils.
Battered by gem storms, where holy winds pick up stones from the deserts and scatter them, the people of Zen live a hard and honest life. They have forsaken Palace Gods, and have consequently lost a lot of their fertility. Since marriage is dissolved upon failure of a child, Zen has many lonely and desperate spinsters. Driven nearly mad by their childlessness, it is possible to give birth to ‘gem children’ by crushing certain magic gemstones and consuming that powder with normal edible fruit gems. After a short labour of about a month, an extraordinarily painful pregnancy precedes a dangerous birth that kills about half of gem-pregnant women.
The child is undeniably beautiful — with a perfect colour and a glitter like no other, gem children are otherwise just like you or me. They usually find themselves popular among other village children as objects of wonder. In poorer Zen regions beyond the large wheat kingdoms, they are targets for pirates who whisk them away in airships and sell them to slavers on mainland Pachinki, since gem children are prized as well-groomed, beautiful servants of the aristocracy. This is somewhat misguided, as the majority of gem children that live in Zen live an unglamorous, happy life in agriculture.
They are extremely strong — with nearly no limit to their ability to push and crush — but are easily threatened by frequencies that shatter gems. One can easily hold themselves up with a single finger. They move gracefully though and have universally fine motor skills, so they have never harmed a fleshed human unintentionally. Grace here is caught mid-leap to a single handstand. With her fine balance and limitless energy, she could stay there forever if she chooses.
Gem children are kept alive by love, and as long as they are loved by someone — their mother, the community, friends — they will live forever. They also grow up, and stop physically ageing in their early twenties. Tragically, many gem children that are kidnapped die soon after as they are thrust into unloving environments.
Married gem children often move abroad with their partners, since their appearance makes them popular fortune-tellers, spell-casters or oath-breakers.
Gem deserts are mesmerising and a joy to wander, but you must only walk with a low sun or at night. Even in a bright moonlight, the brilliance of the gems can easily blind you for days, sometimes forever. They symbolise Zen as a people and as a landscape, and are one of the oldest shifting monuments on Pachinki.
Pachinki isn’t a normal constructed world. It has its own canon. It is a creation of Tzipora, who is the character utopia of my worldbuilding project. Soon after she moves to Vekllei, she’s pretty friendless and surrounded by pulpy paperback novels. Pachinki is sort of a worldbuilding project within a worldbuilding project, and it belongs to her.
you can check my reddit profile (and there’s a follow button there now, because reddit is Facebook) for more posts about Vekllei and Tzipora. This isn’t the last you’ll see of Pachinki, not by a long shot!
www.vekllei.city fer more. I love questions. tahnk