by Max Barry

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by The Community of Meadina. . 150 reads.

The Shanty Town of O'Hana

Whoever once started the Shanty Town of O'Hana has since been lost to time, but what is known is that it happened generations ago during the time of troubles that once plagued the Isle of Gaia. There are some folktales and fireside epics that talk about the founder, and though their true identity has been lost, drunken storytellers will refer to him by the name Hina. They say the Hina was a survivor of the time of troubles, one of the people who fled the conflict in search for some peace, eventually finding solace in the forest near the gates of Gaia, a place relatively away from all the chaos and madness. At first, he was but on his own, gathering food mercifully provided by the then-unknown patron, the Sage Sequoia, and building the very first and the oldest building in O'Hana around the revered tree.

Eventually, chance brought more of the people who were sick of the fighting, fleeing from the battlefields to the Sage Sequoia. Hina, of course, happily let them stay and set up their own roof next to his own. It was told that as more and more deserters and exiles heard of this seemingly paradisical 'safe land', Hina and the first waves of settlers decided to make a small knit community built on trust, acceptance, and communionship, with reverence to the now revealed patron of the lost and forgotten, the Sage Sequoia. In time, the first leader of O'Hana would be assassinated by a jealous newcomer, breaking the unspoken norm of hospitality and politeness, prompting their banishment from the Shanty Town.

Since then, O'Hana has remained relatively peaceful, disturbed only the by occasional drunken infighting, continuing to grow its culture based on trust, acceptance, and cummunionship, with violation of these tenents continuing to result in banishment, with some, albeit extremely rare, exceptions. The society of O'Hana has grown to be rather classist, tending to favor those who have been around long or are more involved in the community, as well as their roles and occupations, indicated by the type of gem their medallions have, ranging from newcomers, to the town's current leader, Amber.

These medallions and their gems act as a conduit in which the townsfolk can use the Sage Sequoia's special branch of element; Life, which is quite diversified into aspects of positive life, such as plantlife. The higher the gem tier is, the stronger or more 'unique' the borrowed magic is. But because it is borrowed, the strength of it is dependant on the amount of people using it, and by how much of it is being used, although complete shutdown of one person's part of the pool is surprisingly rare. Theoretically, one could attain full control of all of the Sage Sequoia's magic by killing everybody else, and becoming the only one to borrow it.

It is these same medallions that allow for people to return to O'Hana, thus being acknowledged by the Sage Sequoia as one of theirs, or having filled a vague condition of "being lost, forgotten, or discarded", the same way the founder(s) of O'Hana stumbled upon the Sage Sequoia in the first place. Together, the people of O'Hana live under the motto, "One Family".

The Shanty Town of O'Hana

The Shanty Town of O'Hana, a place of outcasts and their acquaintances, which lies within the forest to the northeast of the central plaza,
a place that mundane travellers would never find their way to, unless they have been taken there before, and where outsiders are a rare sight.

Beyond the perimeters of O'Hana, there is nothing discernible that can out the position of the town itself, but once inside the boundaries of the town,
a large conglomeration of simple huts, shacks, and kiosk are built into the trees and interconnected in the higher levels through an intricate web of rope bridges,
all encircling the main tree that protects them all, the Sage Sequoia, which is located at the main plaza of O'Hana, which is unnaturally clear, and used as a hub for communal activities.

Entering O'Hana is like moving through a sea of trees, unveiling a bit more open space between the trees the further you go, with no man-made roads to be seen,
but many pathways to be found through the natural growths of the land, yet from a quick glance, they would look no different than the mundane forest floor around them.

In the morning, things in O'Hana are slow and calm, with a cool, misty morning air blowing between the trees.
The bottom level shops open, and the townsfolk pass by as they do every morning. This quiet, serene scene betrays the rowdy and wild night life of O'Hana,
for at night, one is greeted not by the sight, but the atmosphere, the temperature, the warmth of a nice bonfire and the hearty laughter conjoined by the folk music of the town.
Warm lights flicker against the calm trees, as if dancing to this fun rhythm vaguely heard from the center of the commune, and the usually silent upper levels come to life with light,
as debauchery and gambling fill the night, whilst dances and mead dominate in the lower levels.

The Community of Meadina