Wednesday, 5 November 2014

What If? Metropolis: Travelogue, Sylvain

Sylvain is the city in the trees. Found at the very edge of an exceedingly dense forest it’s almost invisible to the world. The city itself is often ignored due to the body of water close to the city’s borders; sometimes you can even see the travellers taking a refreshing dip before returning back into the forest. The city is best to visit in the summer when the children come from above to enjoy playing in the water; their eagle eyed parents watch as they fish on the sand for the evening’s meal. This is the kind of setting where you get a feel for the way the inhabitants live.
When leisure time is over the climb into the city begins! There are two ways of reaching the city. The first way is via a lift and intricate pulley systems. 7pm sharp the lift is pulled by the people still inside the city, the ascent takes about an hour and is strenuous work for the people involved. The other way inside the city is using the old ladders that still remain. Those desperate to get back into the city use this method however the climb is long and dangerous; many have died this way.
Enclosed mainly by the trees the city is structured around, Sylvain is often a dark inescapable place during the day. During the evening however Sylvain is a dreamlike city lit by its many streetlights. It’s only then that you can see its brightly coloured buildings and fantastical sculptures. You realise how wonderful this city is when you notice every object in the city is made from its natural surroundings. The wood for example is gathered by large groups in the forest, it’s then that a building can begin to be assembled. The builders of the city do most of the work but the finer details are left to the carpenters. It’s then up to the occupants to choose a colour and paint their home.
A Temple to the Gods lies in the centre of the city, it’s rumoured that it took two hundred years to be constructed. Made from the precious stones that have been mined over the years it stands almost alone with only a few buildings surrounding it. It’s these facts that make the building almost surreal in comparison to the rest of the city. Every week the inhabitants visit the temple in order to pray to the gods. This is an important part of their routine, each citizen shares an appreciation of nature and the beautiful ‘rainbow’ trees that hold their city together. The walk to the temple is always a pleasurable one. The leaves from the trees crunch under your feet and small stone statues of animals guide you along your path. As you venture further to the inside the temple the floor glistens beneath your feet and your eye catches the flowing drapes that hang from the tall ceiling. The most impressive objects that the temple contains are the enormous statues of the gods which are much more glamourous than their counterparts outside. The most important God to the people is Moineau, the god in the body of a bird, the representative of home and freedom. You can often find his symbolism around the city.
After praying at the temple the quaint bakery close by is a good place to stop and get a treat. As you walk in the door you’re hit by the sweet smell of their homemade apple pie. Made from the apples that fall from the trees- once you’ve tasted it you can only describe it as celestial.
On the walk back you may notice a system of pipes weaving their way through the city. This intricate system of pipes is the city’s main water source, it collects rainwater and then distributes it evenly between the many buildings there. In desperate times the water can also be collected from down below. 
Sylvain is also the place to shop if you want to find something rare to take back home. A popular place to set up the market stalls is in front of the greenhouses that produce most of the city’s food resource. The vendors choose sell here because this is the only large area in which natural light comes through. This technique is often effective, with the sunlight hitting the objects they instantly become desirable.
If you want to pick something that little bit more special there are many professionals living within the city. The ceramicist makes vases in all different shapes and sizes, it’s a guarantee that you’ll find what you’re looking for. The Jewellers sells the most beautiful stones you’ll find in those parts. The blacksmith is there for all your metal needs but there’s always whispers about the Glass artist. Working on her skills for many years her business is always blooming. Every year she makes hundreds of glass birds which you can find in many people’s homes.
It’s safe to say that Sylvain’s citizens are busy people. It’s interesting to know that during the day some of the citizens dare brave the forest in hopes of finding some nice game. The locals’ favourite season to hunt in is the deer season when the most skilled of the archers often bring back deer and hold a celebration at their homes. The dining room will be prepared to perfection. Brightly coloured silk is draped along the table and it’s then decorated with glistening silver cutlery and plates made of glass. The deer is the centrepiece. The arrow that killed it is still left inside its body while it cooks. Before the meal the arrow is offered to Moineau before it becomes a trophy for the archer.
The Inn is also famous for its celebrations; of course these celebrations include many variations of cider and lager being served. The Inn is also home to those travellers that were inquisitive enough to adventure inside.

But as the lone traveller leaves Sylvain and glances back at the trees that twist around they wonder what would happen to the people if the trees were no longer there. 


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