Part 9 begins with… THE ZOM RIVERSIDE
The Zom river dock at harvest time.
The Zom river is the largest river discovered on this planet so far. Get is the end of the line as no ship can get past the fifty foot high escarpment falls.
Four times a year, the dock area in front of the village center, is awash with community activity. Each of the four harvests are in full swing when the trade ship arrives at the dock. The ship stays for a full week as the shipments from Port Atune and beyond are unloaded for the village, thus making room for the loading of the Get village harvest and products.
The rest of the time between harvests the dock is used for mooring the netting and crabbing boats and for Emma to sit and pole fish in the Zom River.
THE SAND HILL
In this picture you see the dragon slayer memorial pagoda on the lower knoll of Sand Hill. On the upper knoll is the The horn tower and at it’s base is the village cannon that is kept in good condition, but is no longer needed. The upper river tribes, once considered hostile, are now friendly trading partners.
Behind the Sand Hill, you see the red and black roof of the Hogsmead Inn, the Get Mellon patch in front of the horn tower, part of the Get fruit orchard. On Get hill Get, (the 4th), is Meeting with some invisibals.
Behind the mellon patch we see the Palm oil orchard, it’s production site, the Get tobacco patch and the Escarpment river. Finally we see the Geologist’s camp, the RED Tent at the base of the volcano. If you look close enough, the invisibals are shooting the Escarpment rapids to behind the RED Tent.
Thousands of years ago during the great flood that only the dragons witnessed and remember, a massive amount of water flowed over the Zom river escarpment. While carving out the Get valley below the falls, the floods deposited a bunch of huge boulders into a pile on the Get valley side of the river shore.
During the annual settling floods, the river has deposited sand in between, around and on top of the pile of rocks to form a solid sand bar on that side of the river.
Because of it’s rock pile base the villagers call this sand bar the Sand Hill.
By building the Get dock a little ways down river from the sand hill, that outcropping became the perfect protective barrier from the rushing torrent of water that tumbles over the falls during the annual settling floods.
The horn tower was erected on the upper knoll of the hill. At the same time, the village acquired and installed a cannon at the base of the horn tower. The cannon was once used to protect the village from the upper river natives living just outside of the Dragon’s realm, not from the Zom Jungle invisibals that lived around the village.
Annendale once used the lower flat spot of Sand Hill as a class room for the dragon riders initiates who were coming to study with her.
In the early days during the formation of the order of the dragon riders, Annindale would meet with her initiates on the river sand bar next to the get dock. Other than the grandmother stump meadow in the jungle, and horse pasture, the Sand Hill was the only place clear enough for Uths, the dragon, to land and converse with Annindale and the Goddess Temple initiates.
The horses would be spooked if a dragon would land among them in the pasture, and the Grandmother stump meadow was to deep into the jungle to be safe for the new untested initiate witches who came to study with Annindale. The sand dune was the only flat place in the valley not occupied by houses, fields or animals. This is where Uths the dragon could land and instruct Annindale’s initiate students.
In those early days during the formation of the Dragon Riders order, it was strange to Annindale that, while she was meeting with a group of people who were learning to communicate and engage with an intelligent dragon species, on the Zom river dock, only yards away, dragon slayers were disembarking from river boats with the intention of finding and slaying that same species.
It was obvious to Annindale that a protective force had to be incorporated into the dragon riders mission. When the Dragon Riders Goddess Temple was built, a marshal arts Dojo was incorporated into the temple design and the budoka warrior school was formed. The Budoka Warriors became known throughout the known world as the fierce protectors of the Get Dragon. It was enough that the dragon slayers had to contend with the fierce protective magic of the Zom Dragon’s lear just to get to the dragon. Now they also had to get past a dedicated force of jungle warriors.
As a result, less and less dragon slayers ventured up the Zom river on a dragon quest until finally, none came at all.
The village elders erected a shaded pagoda over Annindale’s sand hill meeting site. It was used as their study area regularly until the Red Tent in the village was completed and they moved as they began the construction of the Dragon Riders Goddess Temple. When the Goddess Temple was finally built, the initiates moved into their Temple home near the dragons lear mountain.
For many years after that, the pagoda stood empty and idle except as a great spot for secret romantic night reinvades or to view the great Zom falls during the day.
Now the pagoda is a memorial to the last dragon slayer who ever came to Get Village.
THE LAST DRAGON SLAYER
The statue of Onsen the last dragon slayer.
Built under the sand hill pagoda is a memorial to the last dragon slayer.
In this picture you see the statue of Onsen dressed in all his armor. This oriental warrior arrived in Get villages years after the dragon slayers stopped coming. He lived amongst the villagers for three full cycles of seasons before by passing the Boken temple warriors and the spitter frogs in the jungle and confronting Uths, the local dragon, in his lair and loosing his life in the fight.
Onsen fought bravely and well. It was the first and last time that Uths had been truly challenged in a fight for his life. After the confrontation Uths carried Onsen’s body back to Get, requesting to the village council that the warrior be buried on Sand Hill under the pagoda. Uths also requested that a memorial be erected in his honor, and dedicated to all dragon slayers.
Placed on the statue of Onsen is his helmet and all of his armor. On a pillar to his right is the traditional head stone that he carried with him from his home land. On either side of the warrior statue is Onsen’s Spear and his clan banner. Placed in front of the statue is a copy of his sword.
Onsen’s real sword was kept in the village council house and eventually it will be given to Chai, his daughter by Sha. Chai will grow up and be excepted into the Goddess Temple’s Order of the Budoka Warriors. Chai is the only daughter of Onsen and Sharias.
THE EX-PIRATE SHIP
The ex-pirate trade ship at the Zom river dock.
Before this ship appeared on the river, each village was responsible for getting their goods down to Port Atune to sell or trade on their own.
The further any village was from the river mouth port city of Atune, the more they would depend on their intertribal local trade. Back then, because many of the upper river tribal groups domain’s were not within the Dragon’s realm, they were struggling to feed them selves in the dense jungle region. The Village of Get grew plenty of food for itself and the local up river tribal groups. They had long ago established trade with the upper river natives, but with out a trade ship on the river they could not get their goods to the port 350 miles down the river.
The arrival of the trade ship on the Zom allowed the river villages to plan their crops and harvests. That fostered inter-village traveling and trading, thus unifying the villages up and down the river. Other than the village of Get, no other village lies within the dragons realm, so those “Off Realm” villages only had one major harvest a year. The four Get harvests a year made it profitable for the ship to operate, allowing the ship to go up and down the river on a regular basis thus helping to create a viable economic system on the Zom.
Unloading the village’s harvest cart at the dock.
The communal harvest cart is in heavy use for about two weeks at a time, four times a year, The rest of the time it sits at the edge of the pasture near the “Back” Jungle, providing shade for scorpions and snakes.
MEAT FOR THE VILLAGE
The Village meat cows being lead from the ship to the stable.
The people of the Get Village eat about eight cattle a year. The two cows that have been brought up from Port Atune are the first to be unloaded off the trade ship when it arrives. The cattle are then escorted to the stables to be housed, out of sight of the dragons, until their needed by the Mansion hotel and the Hogsmead Inn.
When it is time to move the fields and farm buildings over to the East Valley the original stable built by Djona Reddish will be dismantled, moved over to the East Valley and will be converted to raise and house cattle for the village. The cows won’t be allowed to go outside to the pasture. They would be to tempting a treat for the dragons that fly over the village.
The Reddish family will also build a new and larger stable for breading and raising horses on the East Valley side, as the demand for these dragon realm raised beast are in high demand in the Northren continents.
Emma and Chai fishing off of the dock. Here red headed Emma is teaching, Sharias’s only Daughter, Chai, how to sing a fish to her hook. Chai has a beautiful voice and is learning quickly.
Being a fish, swimming in the Zom river has to be a scary situation. With all of the freshwater sharks, saw toothed sharks, crocodiles and predator fish in the river, there seems to be more predators than prey. As the river weed gatherers and the crab gabbers can tell you, going near the water is a dangerous proposition. As a fish living in the water, it must be more so.
Every one who has tried to fish with a line and pole in the Zom has been unsuccessful. The only successful way to fish this part of the Zom is to use nets. A small net fishing industry survives in Get.
Emma is the exception. Emma goes down to the docks every day and fishes with a pole while she sings songs. She catches just enough fish to feed the number of guests that are staying at the Mansion and at Hogsmead Inn at the time.
Every one thinks that she sings the fish to her hook. They are correct.
NET FISHING FLEET
The net fishing fleet beached on shore while the fishermen help with the harvest.
The Get fishing fleet is beached for the last harvest of the year.
The net boats are small but sturdy wooden rowboat dories with sails. The tremendous amount of water falling over the escarpment falls creates a constant wind current on the river moving from West to East. By adding sails to their dories, along with their oars, the net fishermen are easily able to maneuver their fish laden nets away from the fresh water sharks.
The fishing fleet is beached down river from the dock by the cotton fields while the trade ship is in dock. The fishermen are in the fields, helping the farmers with the harvest or at the dock helping to load the harvest onto the ship.
The fleet will stay beached during the settling floods. The dock and the sand hill will protect them during the torrential flood flows during the settling.
Except during the settling when the Zom River is a massive torrent of rapids, the net boats can safely be moored to the the dock as they sit shallow in the water. when the new fisherman’s dock is built a little further down river next to the planed Farmers-fishing village, the dock by the city center will be quieter that ever.
You can’t net fish during the settling floods, but Emma can still sing the fish to her pole.
Reando catching fish in his net.
Reando is taking advantage of the Get Net fishing fleet being docked for harvest. Renaldo does not live in Get but down river and on the north side of the Zom. He does not consider himself as part of the Get community and does not help with the harvest. His family compound is just outside the dragons realm where the Jungle danger is almost “normal”. His compound is half way in between Get and the up river native Village. He trades with the up river natives who do not fish. He is one of the few net fishers who is able to maneuver and fish in the rapids at the very bottom of the falls.
Although there is always a large population of fish to catch at the falls, the population of fresh water sharks and crocodiles are also high.
Add to that, maneuvering a boat in the unpredictable and dangerous falls rapids, and only the best boatmen attempt to fish at the bottom of the falls. Reando is one of them.
Joshen pulling in a crab before the fresh water shark can get it.
Joshen lost the other two of his triplet brothers to the fresh water sharks while crab grabbing, so it is obviously a very dangerous occupation. The crabs caught in the Zom River that flows through the Dragon’s Realm, are so enormous that one crab can feed a family of 6. The upper river crabs fetch a high price downstream, so Joshen works a lot less than the net fishermen but his work is twice as dangerous.
At first the Get fishermen and crab grabbers put warding lanterns on their boats in hopes that the wardings would keep the aquatic beasties away from them while they worked on the river. But alas, the predator fish, like the crocodiles, are not effected by warding spells. The Get witch could not help make their fishing any safer. So competing with the predator fish in the Zom for their chatch is now considered an “occupational hazard”.