I first visited the Rismel Tower with my father when I was about 10. It wasn’t my first time out of the country, but it was the first time I’d visited the Risilon Archipelago. It’s a beautiful place, warm all year round, with incredible beaches, and the night sky with the Eye of Rusella directly above your head is one of the most amazing sights you can see. It’s easy to understand why the Risiloni thought of themselves as the destined rulers of the world for so long, with the Eye gazing down directly on them like that. And why they tended to be religious to the point of superstition long after most of the rest of the world had rejected the idea of theocracy. Even today, the Risiloni worship of Rusella is… well, let’s just say they have more temples per square hundredbody than anywhere else in the world, and there are serious political discussions undertaken from time to time as to what Rusella truly wants of them.
It’s also easy to understand why they thought of themselves as the political center of the world, when they are in fact at the geologic center of the world. The Risilon Archipelago sits in the bottom of the Bowl, the lowest point on Rusella-side. However, it’s not actually true that the Rismel Tower is literally at the lowest point in the world; if it was, we’d lose the entire ocean to Sister-side, because the lowest point in the world, by definition, has to be below sea level. It’s not even at the lowest point of the land; there are places in Risilon that are actually below sea level, and they use dams, dykes and pumps to keep those places from flooding. Risilon is an underwater mountain range, like most archipelagos, and some of the mountains are taller than others. The hub island of Pelagi is actually about twenty bodies above sea level in most places, and the rampart they built around the Rismel Tower is another twenty bodies. So even in the case of a tsunami, it’s unlikely that significant amounts of water could flood into the Rismel Cavern.
From the outside, the Rismel Tower doesn’t actually look all that impressive. It’s about twenty stories high, standing over the ramparts of the Rismel Cavern, but from the outside of course the cavern doesn’t look impressive either. My dad and I came in through the side that isn’t covered by the rampart, the main entrance. The atrium is beautiful, a soaring ceiling five stories up over a polished, reflective obsidian floor, with the forward walls made entirely of glass. Of course, the back and side walls have no windows because they’re buried in the rampart.
The elevator we took to the roof was entirely mundane, a traditional high-speed elevator like you’d find in any skyscraper, but I was so excited, it felt to me like something new and magical. When we reached the roof, the sun was already setting, and I could see the Eye of Rusella glowing down at us. My father had always told me it was only a nebula, but I felt sure I could feel some kind of presence looking down at me. After all, I’d always been told someone had built the world, so why not Rusella?
When I went to the edge of the roof, and looked down, I could see the Rizmel Cavern below us, a deep cavernous pit, and the faint glow of light at the bottom, so far away. I shivered, imagining what would happen if I fell. Which I couldn’t do, there were nets, but as a child I’m not sure I knew that. I thought I’d fall forever, that I’d go out the bottom and all the way out into space. I learned later in school that gravity doesn’t work that way; I might fall out the bottom from the momentum, but gravity would pull me right back in, and eventually I’d end up stabilizing at the center, after falling forward and backward multiple times.
#storytime #this probably deserves some warning tag but I am not sure what