Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Day Five-Ninety-Seven: I Dream of Cheemy


"I thought you said we would go 'round settlements. You do know what 'round means, right, Ed?"

"'It is a much peculiar thing! / 'tis that stalk 'bout which bards sing!"

"... you didn't answer my question. Why are we approaching a settlement?"

"Its size! Its weight! Its mighty girth! All do dictate its solemn worth!"

"I get the feeling you just wanted to come here."

"I must confess a lifelong dream / To stand beneath the clouds of Cheem."

"You're lucky 'dream' rhymes with 'Cheem', bastard."

Translation: We've arrived at a town. Cheem. Ed assured me that we'd bypass any nearby settlements, aaaaand he lied. Because he's always wanted to visit Cheem. Guess I can't trust him for navigation tips anymore. Sigh...

We rolled up to Cheem 'round dinnertime. What we found was lightly-plowed rural sprawl, a dusting of houses half-buried in the snow. Most of them are dark, abandoned for the winter, though a few remain lit year-round. These belong to those few who dare live beside the Stalk of Cheem when it's coated in ice.

Ah, yes. The Stalk of Cheem. Guess I should talk about that. It's kinda the standout feature of this tourist's town.

I don't know if I've ever brought it up in conversation before, but the clouds in the Imperium are a little different than back home. They're, ah, thick. So thick, in fact, that you can walk on 'em. Travel along 'em. Live on 'em. There are plenty of stories of entire communities hunkering down on clouds and living above the world, only coming down to ground when they need supplies.

How do they descend, you ask? Simple: They climb. 

The Stalk of Cheem is an enormous vine, stretching near-vertically out of the earth and piercing the sky. Perhaps half a kilometer in circumference and ringed with green, natural walkways that wind to the top, the Stalk is big enough that you can... could... see it from Villeinville on a clear day. Clouds get stuck on the thing all the time, and if you're quick enough you can use it to climb to the sky. There are at least six other such stalks in the Imperium.

Why have I never mentioned them, you ask? Same reason as I never much mentioned the Grand Chasm, I guess. Never thought of it. Just a marvel of life that people take for granted and forget.

At the moment, of course, the Stalk of Cheem is not safe for travel. Though it happily survives each winter the Stalk is currently encased in a thick layer of ice and snow, and though you can try to get to the top you're likely to slip, fall to the ground, and kill yourself. There's a reason a cemetery encircles the base of the Stalk of Cheem.

We've stopped for the moment, at any rate. Though we ain't gonna climb the thing, the Stalk of Cheem - and Cheem itself - seems a good place to relax for a few days and prepare for our annual gift-giving tradition: the mighty Allofusmas! WOOOOO! 

Sincerely,


Dragomir the Wanderer

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