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The broken city in the clouds [Group project]


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I had a dream a year ago or so.

I dreamt of a city in the clouds. I never knew where it was, and why it was there. I only knew it was.

The city was hanging in the air and it was built between the wings of giant angel statues. Each statue had a name after an Ideal and there were seven of them, in that order, clockwise if you look from above: Liberty, Love, Hope, Wisdom, Justice, Courage and Honor.

Two things were wrong with this city: first, it was broken in two parts. The statues of Wisdom and Justice were broken away, and the part of the city on their wings was hanging in the air some hundred meters away. This part was uninhabited. Second, the statue of Liberty was turned with its back to the city for some unknown reason (the others were looking at it) and now beared the name Anarchy.


This is all the dream told me (or else I have forgotten it). All I know is, that the angel statues had a heavy ifluence on the life in the city, but I have no idea how it manifestated. The dream was so vivid, that I am sure it would be a great setting for a story.


So let's make an experiment. Everybody can write anything about this setting below it. Ideas, rules, short storys, city laws and the Stormfather and Calamity alone know what else. Only rule: do not contradict directly anything written before by anybody; but everything could be discussed (and changed afterwards). We'll try to stay consistent.


Some inspiration questions:

- Why is this city there? Is there anything below/above/around?
- How and why was it broken and how and why was Liberty turned around?
- What is the name of the city?

- Who lives there?

- Is there anything like magic? (Somehow the city must hang in the clouds, but else?)

- How life is organized? (I have absolutely no idea where they get their food, for example)

Edited by Alfa
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The city, once unified and grown together, is now divided between two factions. The people from Love and Hope are unrestrained and do whatever they want in excess, even to their own harm. The groups in Honor and Courage boldly stand out for what they believe and will not diverge from their path that they hold was revealed as the original purpose of the city. The freewheelers, for the most part, cannot understand the restrictive resolve of the west, who in turn hold the east in spite over their lack of understanding of tradition. There are those who try assuage everyone, saying that Liberty reigns, and there is no right nor wrong, only the individual. Meanwhile, Wisdom and Justice drift further and further from everyone's view. Some might say the name of the city is America...

Edited by Curiosity
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  • 2 months later...

I think that the 7 statues represented virtues of the city, and reflect the state of the city, not the other way around.


Most likely. Also it's possible that both directions are the case.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You said short fan fiction could be around. So, I'm going to take a stab.

Arem walked down the street, towards the place where the statues of Wisdom and Justice used to be, wondering what could have happened.

*Help...us...* The thought came into his head.

"What do you mean?" Arem asked.

*We have been abandoned, for the hearts of men decided that wisdom and justice were contrary to their freedom.*

"How could they possibly think that?" Area asked.

*Justice punishes those that do wrong, providing restraint for those actions. Wisdom provides a knowledge of danger, discouraging them from harmful actions. Even now, Honor is in danger of falling.*

As the statues spoke, an rumble shook the ground, and the bridge connecting the place of Honor cracked.

"What can I do?"

*You must convince the people what it means to have Liberty. Liberty is when you are free to walk the path of life, while you are informed about the pitfalls and the opportunities, and are prevented from preventing others from walking the same road.*

"What is at the end of the road? And what's Anarchy?"

*That which is at the end of the road depends on which steps you take. That is where hope comes into play. Hope is the anticipation of that which is unseen can be better than that which is. Anarchy* the statues mentally spat, *Disregards the path altogether, wandering here and there all over, still reaching a final destination, which can only bring sorrow.*

"How do I do it?" Arem was overwhelmed.

*Wisdom and Justice. The teacher and the punisher. We give you the power of both, to speak words that pierce the soul and move the heart, and to pass judgement on the wicked. Do not abuse either, else the power will be lost, and Honor perish with us.*

The crumbling statues crumbled further, and their Islands drifted further away. Shaken, Arem got up. He walked away from the space where the statues used to sit

Later, as Arem was eating some berries, which could be found in the clouds that gave them support, given time. He was walking down a different street, and saw a large boy beating a smaller one.

Anger built within Arem. With a thought, the boy froze. Arem marched up.

"Why were you beating this boy?"

"He has a berry I want." The boy said.

"And why were you beating him?"

"Because I can." The larger boy said.

"You will do this no longer."

"Why not?" The boy said with a sneer.

"I will teach you wisdom." Arem grabbed the boy's still-frozen arm. Bruises and cuts appeared on the bully's body, exactly where the younger boy had been hurt.

"For a year, all injuries you do to others, or allow to be done to others, will be done to you as well as them." Arem decreed. He turned to the younger boy. "I can't heal your wounds, but I will help them heal by themselves, if you want." Arem reached out his hand. The young boy tentively grabbed it. They began walking towards Arem's home.

Unseen, the statues of Justice and Wisdom grew, repairing a small bit of the damage done. And Anarchy turned a small bit around, her new name fading the tiniest bit.

I'm not the best writer, but what does everyone think? I enjoy more philosophical plots.

Edited by Stormgate
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Well thought, and I like that story. I only have one question: If the statues of Wisdom and Justice are some hundred meters away from tha main Island, how did he manage to get there?

Edited by Alfa
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Very rough scetch. I would appreciate if somebody'll draw something better. I am horrible at creating city maps (continents, for some reason, are reasonably okay)

Edited by Alfa
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I think that without Wisdom, the more negative sides of the traits are accentuated. For example, the Sector(not sure if this is a good name, but I'll use it for now) of Hope might have a lot more gambling in it than before. The people there are excessively optimistic and always assume that things will go there way, which leads them to take a lot of risks, and hence the gambling.


The people of Honor might be so code-bound that they will do anything as long as it is a tradition codified in their laws, no matter how outdated it is. They see the world as black and white -- either you are following the code, or you aren't. If the code demands that you never cheat at cards, then you never do it. If the code demands that ladies are always first, then females are always the first ones into the building (if part of a group). If the code demands that if you wrong somebody you must dance a jig in front of them, then you dance a jig in front of them.


I'm not sure what the other virtues would be, though...

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Well... Freedom's dark side is basically Anarchy. For Love... there are a lot of ways for love to be more a curse than a virtue: think of obsessive and/or possessive love; and that is just the beginning. And for Courage - the back side is basically Recklessness. (For Justice and Wisdom, I think, the backsides would be Vengeance and probably Madness) I just hope that the back-sides of the other statues other than Liberty/Anarchy don't influence life as much as that one.

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Some ideas:

-all or most animals are our world animals with bird-like traits(wings, beaks, feathers, etc.)

-The clouds have zero gravity and can be turned into solids or liquids either through temperature changes or using cloud magic

-Cloud magic also allows one to decrease his weight and move clouds(only in gas state)

Edited by ChickenPlague
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An idea: all or most animals are our world animals with bird-like traits(wings, beaks, feathers, etc.)



Upvote for consequently following Sanderson's third law and having good ideas.

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Sanderson’s First Law of Magics: An author’s ability to solve conflict with magic is DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to how well the reader understands said magic.

Sanderson’s Second Law can be written very simply. It goes like this: Limitations > Powers.


Sanderson's Third Law: "Expand what you already have before you add something new." or, in other words "think first deep, then wide".


Is explained in wikipedia (here) or on brandonsanderson.com

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