Keralita

Ah, the place where the “better sort” of humans retreat to at the start of the wet season on Shikhari’s southern continent. There are some practical reasons for the relocation, or were when humans first began living on Shikhari, but as with many things, fashion and the desire for vacations eventually surpassed practicality.

The original reason was simple: Sogdia flooded, and then was trampled by the wombeast migration. The first human settlement past the spaceport was in a lush, peaceful area away from Staré communities, with a small stream running through it. The plan was based on a few assumptions, including the eventual installation of a climate-limitation system (aka dome-like protective barrier) that would ameliorate the worst of un-tamed meteorology.

I can hear the groans and giggles from those familiar with Shikhari’s “famous” way with technology.

Yes, the idea for the barriers got scrapped, in part because of the combination of the arrival of the cool Wet and the wombeasts. The administrators, happily ensconced in offices on LimWorld or even in one case Eta Toliman, assumed that the reports of drownings, walls of water from the sky, and enormous beasts tromping over everything up to (and in some cases including) houses were works of fiction caused by excessive intake of controlled substances. Things like that never happened on colony worlds, because nothing like that made it past terraforming.

It was not until the first administrators from the Company settled on quaint but valuable Shikhari that the problems of Sogdia became soggily apparent. The site of the original location is in a drainage basin that collects every drop of water that plummets to the surface when the wet begins. And it begins with a deluge that would cause Noah to nod sagely and say, “Yep, it’s a bit damp around here.” Ah, the circulation patterns of southeastern Southland get the credit, and blame, for that.

So the administrators decided the best thing to do was flee to the high ground, and moved the “right sorts” of people to a site they called Nov Merv, after a legendary lost capital city from Home. Which just happened to be in the path of the wombeast migration – eastern branch. Sogdia was only on the edge in most years, but the main flow of giant, enormous, determined, large, persistent monotremes happened to be straight through the wonderful new capital city. Which could not be relocated, for administrative Reasons.

So the bosses decamped to even higher ground, to the north of the atmospheric flow that caused the annual inundation of Sogdia and soaking of Nov Merv. Keralita gets wet, but not as drenched, and has longer rain-free spells during the wet. It is also warmer. Keralita stays moister during the dry, so it seems as lush as elsewhere. The “better sorts” found a very lovely site without Staré residents, and with a spectacular view of the lands rolling away from the end of a small, old, mountain chain.  One result of this site’s topography was that flat space had to be cut (read blasted) out of the slope, making real estate very expensive. This only added to Keralita’s cachet and exclusivity.

Now, 140 years since founding, give or take, Keralita is the place to go during the wet if a family can afford it, and if people need to be seen with the “better sorts” during the social season. Everything is more concentrated in Keralita, so spats become fights, courtships often turn, ahem, warm, and so on. People like Rigi’s parents, who are inside and outside of the Company—and later colonial governmental—hierarchy, rent or lease homes a little distance away from the main district. It is still Keralita, and drier than Sogdia, but lacks the status of the oldest area. Houses and properties are larger, and that is where Rigi and Tomás discovered what became known as Stela Site, the first of the Spirit Villages, later called First World settlements.

Since her marriage, Rigi has not made the annual pilgrimage save for twice. She and Tomás don’t have the social status to need to relocate, and their financial resources have always been a touch strained. In those fifteen years, not much has changed. Now, however, they have been loaned use of one of the fanciest properties in old Keralita, and so Rigi ventures into the (social) lions’ den.

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6 thoughts on “Keralita

  1. Social Lion’s Den–Survival of the Silliest and Most Serious–both at the same time, in the same stride and breath. What a miserable trial (or fate) for so sensible and useful a woman as our Auriga. At least, that’s what I think Aunt Kay would say.

    Oops, did I just give your story away?

  2. I was making rough equivalency to Delhi, Bombay, and the hot season retreats up in the foothills. I figured on two, but couldn’t quite resolve the need for the third location. This is good clarification; thank you!

    Aunt Kay is finishing Rigi’s last needed lessons, IIRC from snippets. She probably huffed something concerning the mighty wanting a close look at a carnifex leaper egg. The following grin undoubtedly made poor Lexi run for the nearest bomb shelter.

    Administrators … sometimes, they DO get just what they asked for. Good and hard, like a well-appointed forefoot. Looking forward to the books.

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