The Tower

The Tower
General Info Appears inTwelve Thousand Size28-32km wide, 24-28km tall PopulationAround 144,000 DevelopmentLimited agriculture, communal, magitech

The Tower is one of the main settings of Twelve Thousand, alongside the Modern World. It is home to daemons. The story of Twelve Thousand is focused on Inu waking up in this post-apocalyptic world in the year 12,000.

Overview

The Tower is, as its name states, a massive tower-like structure. It is shaped like a crystal growth, with a central trunk and several spines jutting out into smaller shapes. Beyond it, the world is surrounded in fog and overcast.

The Tower itself is made of landmass and forest, the spines coming out of the middle are large enough they could hold a small human town, but for daemons they hold several settlements, given their predilection for smaller family-bond type villages.

Different areas of the realm are run in drastically different ways. Travel between spines is difficult, as it requires either essentially trekking up a mountain, or having flying daemons with enough strength to carry others, with most daemons only able to carry one person at a time. This makes inter-spine travel very rare, and only done in dedicated groups.

Daemon settlements rarely have more than two dozen residents. Many daemons are migratory, wanting to find things to learn about the pre-war world, as well as to keep hunting grounds fresh. The most consistent thing about the spires is they all have centralised market areas, as it makes trading goods more convenient to have consistent meeting grounds.

History

The Red Oni and Blue Oni

The realm of the daemons wasn't always The Tower. It was originally a more standard landscape known as the Forest. Twelve years before the story was the "Red Oni/Blue Oni War". Two daemons known as the Red Oni and Blue Oni stirred up conflict across the realm, each side wanting to revolutionise the state of daemon society, but having opposing ideas about how to achieve it. The fighting lasted for about six months, until the sudden manifestation of The Tower twisted the Forest landscape up into the sky, tearing the daemon civilisation into fragments.

The daemons were scattered and demoralised, and no longer had the will to continue fighting. After 12 years, many of the daemons either no longer remember the Forest due to re-awakening, or are inclined against talking about it with others. Daemons pass down the "Red Oni and Blue Oni" parable as a lesson about the destruction the war caused. Those without memory of the war only have the oral tradition to go by.

The Four Families

Previously, there were four "families" that served as governing bodies for the daemons, comprised of groups of about 14 like-minded individuals. Depending on who you asked, daemons would consider them creatures to be followed and strictly adhered to like local government bodies, while for others they were more ideals to work towards for self-improvement without being laws.

These families would travel around between townships, instead of having a home location, often over time gaining or losing members between settlements as needs arose. The families would also change supposed boundaries between their domains as needs required.

  • Wands Family: In service of self-expression and research into magic. Due to daemon powers being sometimes as varied as their shapes, their research by the family's dissolution ended up inconclusive.
  • Cups Family: Helped with healthcare, needs of unique bodies, and contact between distant settlements. "Healthcare" is something of a misnomer due to daemons respawning from death, and served more as preventative care.
  • Coins Family: Supported trade and species that hoard precious gems/treasures. Of the families, respect of the Coins' ideals holds the most staying power in The Tower era.
  • Swords Family: In service of domain expansion/exploration, construction, and combat.

After The Tower came to exist, the reliance on the four families greatly diminished. With travel between spires being difficult outside of those with flight, the family leaders were divided fairly evenly between places and largely abandoned their services. Some dedicated followers of the families still exist, most often of the ideals-type, but are often considered nuisances.

Hunting/Food

Besides daemons, there also exist seemingly non-sapient animals that are hunted for food. It is generally accepted that animals are "born", but daemons are not. Consequently, some animals bear children, but daemons do not. Daemons instead manifest from the earth, digging themselves out of the forest floor — a process called an "awakening". It's through this difference that animals are considered distinct from daemons.

While daemon immortality means they will respawn, it is still considered taboo to "kill" other daemons for food. It is not a written law, but something mutually understood by the population. This isn't to say there haven't been cases of daemons eating other daemons, but stories tell they're not a pleasant taste, compared to animals.

When it comes to plants, agriculture basically doesn't exist. Gardens are allowed to naturally grow for fruit-bearing plants, but no Forest was ever cleared to develop farmland, as the Forest would react negatively to deforestation. In The Tower, some buildings have been re-purposed into greenhouses or the like to cultivate food, but not at any significant scale. Knowledge of the greenhouse effect was likely observed through finding plants growing in ruins.

Climate/Cosmology

The climate of the Forest was equivalent to subtropical or temperate, with weather cycles and roving storms. When The Tower manifested, the weather became more consistent and constrained to specific patterns depending on the altitude.

While the shape and structure of The Tower means the lower spines have much more land to build on, most of the civilisation exists on the middle and upper regions. The middle regions have a fairly comfortable climate, while the upper regions experience snow — something previously unseen in the Forest.

The lower-most regions of The Tower however have become even more chaotic and reactive than even the Forest once was, experiencing earthquake-like events and magical manifestations frequent enough to make it too dangerous for most to live on.

Amongst and beyond clouds are floating crystals that from a distance look like stars in the night sky, and the sun and moon are themselves powerful dragon-like daemons that fly around The Tower. Previous research has suggested the two daemons are intelligent, but extremely solitary and disinterested in communication.

Technology

The Tower doesn't have active technological development in the same way our present world does. "Electrical" power is entirely geothermal, and instead of having central stations to produce power, energy is often entirely drawn and stored by individual settlements or for each building. Some devices draw power directly by simply being placed on the forest floor.

Without any form of mass-production industry, all clothing, building and device construction is done by hand/paw. Many larger daemons are able to easily shape stones and metals into the required shapes with ease, but this means much of their technology and architecture have rounder shapes compared to human constructions.

Some old human inventions and buildings have been discovered by daemons, especially since the manifestation of The Tower. These buildings and items seemingly spawn by magic, but are much more quickly corroded back by nature. Despite this, discreet manufacturing left behind by humans like standardised lightbulbs, cabling, and silicon, have been harvested from human ruins and helped improve daemon technology and development.

Computers exist, but would be unrecognisable internally to humans. They may be best equated to a form of magical engraving embedded with gemstones. The discovery of silicon from human ruins has enabled some leaps in processing power for daemon computers however, especially for getting data across the long distances of The Tower.

A lot of other technology does not exist: vehicles, television, smartphones, and cameras as some notable examples. (Computers consequently don't have webcams.) Primitive variations on some food preparation tools do exist — metal can be heated by daemon powers for cooking meat, and ice is used readily in preservation in the colder elevations of The Tower.

Notes

  • Though The Tower is drastically taller than Mt. Everest, the atmosphere is not comparatively as thin up the top. (Or if it is, daemons are not bothered.) Around 24-26 spires jutting out from the central trunk serve as habitable zones.
  • The Forest taking back agricultural land is to evoke similar ideas to how human control over our world probably looks to animals — the world around them just happens to change seemingly on its own.
  • The structure of the Families with their head members roaming and having fluid territory is also supposed to be similar to animal behaviour, as well as broadly come off as an "alien" form of government.