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Tifijimi - Location
Written By: Elizabeth Barrette (Writer), Deirdre / Wyld_Dandelyon (Artwork)
An island town in Duurludirj territory on Tooth Island.

Name: Tifijimi ("Sharptown") #120 on Dorersh Dirj Atya ("Tooth Island").

Population Size: 5,500. Tifijimi is the biggest town on Tooth Island. The biggest in Duurludirj territory is Tifibirv ("Mouthtown," City #126) on Dorersh Duurl Atya ("Stone Island") with a population approaching 10,000.

The island towns are scattered around the coasts wherever good bays or other attractions concentrate people near the water. However, much of the population lives in smaller villages or family holdings. It's not uncommon to find a small shack on the beach housing a lone fisherman, or a hut in the jungle belonging to a fruit-picker. While there are no Purists as such among the Duurludirj, this is still a place where a citizen can live quietly without being pestered much by neighbors or bureaucracy.

Major Industries & Trade: A majority of Tifijimi's interests focus on the sea. Fishing and other seafood-gathering enterprises provide much of the island's food. Prime targets include nirt (hand-sized fish that are smoked and dried), arogorn (large fish that are sliced into steaks), and drubirn (a cone-shelled critter with long legs like a crab). Inshore boats typically use purse nets for fish, while shellfish are hand-picked in shallows or captured with slatted traps farther out. A few outshore fishermen brave the deeper waters, hunting large fish with harpoons; but sea monsters make this hazardous work. Line fishing is popular from the docks and small boats, but is more often for supper or sport than commercial purposes.

Most trade involves shipping, especially sending island products to the continental Empire and receiving goods in return. Shipping companies are powerful in Tifijimi. However, there are also land-based traders who use the coastal beltways to carry goods. Inland trade is by foot trails only. Horses and Yasiluu dogs fare poorly in the tropical climate, and nobody wants to use goats as pack animals due to the risk of environmental damage. Land traders are always on the lookout for possible pack animals.

Both fishing and shipping necessitate Tifijimi's third specialty, sea monster hunting. Tifijimi is the home of the warsailors. While Duurludirj sailors have always tried to avoid getting capsized and eaten, it was the settlers of Tifijimi who first took the fight to the sea monsters. Part sailor, part soldier, and all lunatic, these crewmembers use weapons and knowledge to fend off or kill sea monsters that attack ships. Most vessels have at least some in the crew, but there are also warships crewed entirely by warsailors, whose job is to protect fleets of fishing vessels, trade convoys, or the floating villages during storm season. Tifijimi boasts the only drydock capable of building ramships; other ship types are also built locally. The warsailor training facility in Tifibirv is bigger, but the one in Tifijimi is older and better.

Inland, there is the mining and working of metal, a Duurludirj specialty. Tooth Island has a small iron mine just northwest of Tifijimi, but the main ones are on Stone Island. Tooth Island also has a few gem mines; its best "mine" is actually a massive deposit of seabird guano on the coast northeast of Tifijimi. They export goods more than raw metal or stones, because they rarely have surplus -- but the guano they export in bulk.

Tifijimi is a main fashion center for the tropical region and as such does a lot of dyeing. Blank cloth is imported from the mainland; a few dyes are produced locally, augmented with imported dyes, dye-resist substances, and other supplies. Artisans produce glorious renditions of tropical flowers, foliage, birds, fish, seascapes, and other attractions. Tifijimi renders patterns in both the pastel "beach" colors favored on Tooth Island and the vivid "tropical" colors preferred on Stone Island. Robes, scarves, skirts, and shawls are the most popular garments although shirts and other items are also made. Some bolts are even sold whole.

The town also houses a substantial number of other artisans. Many work with local materials (seashells, coral, sea monster parts, tropical wood, etc.) to produce furniture, statuettes, jewelry, and other products. Some use imported metals, jewels, paints, etc. but that gets expensive and it's not what tourists want, so they have a hard time competing.

Brewers make wines and distilled liquors from various tropical fruits. These are famously sweet and surprisingly potent; some are almost as thick as syrup. Fruit compotes, flambéed roasts and desserts, and other alcolated foods are also popular since alcohol helps keep things from spoiling in the hot weather. Some are packaged and shipped to the mainland, but most are consumed locally; they are quite popular with tourists.

Tifijimi is the official "vacation" spot for Tooth Island, as is Tifibirv for Stone Island. The Empire prefers to route tourists to designated areas rather than letting them spread all over, so it's much easier to get a license to visit Tifijimi than the other towns on Tooth Island. (It's also cheaper and easier if you're visiting with a local friend than alone.) A more expensive package will get you a visit to both towns; a Local Belt cruise line runs one ship around the islands with multiple stops, but is exorbitant and difficult to get a license to use. Many of the tourists are biologists, historians, archaeologists, etc. on a trip mixing business and pleasure; but some are just ordinary citizens treating themselves to an exotic vacation. People on Tooth Island who want to work with tourists typically live in or near Tifijimi.

Most Duurludirj trade with the continent goes through Tifiqudamim ("Farpoint Town," City #17) on the southwest tip of the northern part of the continent. Some connects with City #24, where the upper coastal rail line intersects with a highway; with City #84, on the western tip of the southern part of the continent; and with Affanumuur (City #81) at the head of the lower coastal rail line. A major continental trade route runs from Tifijimi to City #119, City #84, Affanumuur, City #43, City #24, Tifiqudamim, #122, #121, and back to Tifijimi. Smiley's Shipping, an old dwarven company, dominates this route. A major island route runs from Tifibirv to #127, Tifijimi, #119, #122, #123, #124, #125. Until recently its leading company was Tall Ships, founded by giants; but Tall Ships has since lost ground to Necklace of Jewels, a broadly multi-ethnic startup that's making waves throughout the Duurludirj economy. They're bringing more diverse faces into Tifijimi these days, which some people like and others don't.

Exports include salt, seaweed, fish, other seafood, building sand, lava rock, coral, seashells, seabird guano, houseplants, exotic hardwoods, tropical fruit, alcohol, dyed cloth, sunboxes, machines and machine parts.

Necessary Imports: Although Tifijimi mines some of its own iron, there isn't always enough, so sometimes they import more from Stone Island. They also import other metals for jewelry and practical uses. Gemstones that they can't get locally are also imported.

Tooth island is mostly jungle, rocks, and beach; since there is not much farmland, people import some foods from the mainland, especially grains and cool-climate vegetables. Time-preserved red meats and cow milk are also popular.

One reason the Duurludirj were enthusiastic about joining the Empire was its more developed medical system. Today medicines, medical equipment, scientific supplies and equipment remain major imports.

Important Landmarks & Features: Of the Pre-Imperial buildings, three are notable landmarks. The Temple of the Sea is believed to be the oldest, an open structure of four unconnected walls and thirteen pillars supporting the roof. Situated on low ground near the sea, it floods during the storm season in most years. The temple was designed so that it could simply be rinsed off, and it is tended in that fashion to this day. Like the tiny shrines scattered throughout the islands, it is a remnant of the traditional Duurludirj religion which revered the sea as the source of life and death. Although modern society tends to take a more secular approach, the Empire does not mind people quietly practicing a chosen faith. There are no public rites anymore, but many islanders leave offerings of flowers, food, or seashells in hopes of a good catch or a safe trip. Rumors suggest that the warsailors conduct secret rites at the Temple of the Sea, but the warsailors are consistently tight-lipped on the topic.

The second Pre-Imperial landmark is the Old License Office, near the center of town. It was originally built to hold the headman's quarters, a council meeting room, and a courtroom as the seat of local government. It's not much bigger than an ordinary house. After joining the Empire, the people of Tifijimi offered it to their new friends as a place to put all those license things and a clerk. That worked for a while, but the staff and records eventually outgrew it. A new license office was built, and the Old License Office became a museum. Today it houses artifacts of Ancient history, Duurludirj history, and early Empire history with an emphasis on unification. There is also a tiny gift shop.

The third Pre-Imperial landmark is the Miser's House, about twice the size of an average house -- and it's a normal-scale house, not a giant-scale house. Much of its front is decorated with elaborate nautical carvings, while the inside features wood paneling and parquet floors. The islanders do not feel comfortable with extreme gaps in wealth; almost everyone falls in the range of "lower-class" to "well-to-do," with few destitute and only a handful of even moderately rich people in the islands. All that is remembered of the Miser is that he collected an unreasonable amount of the town's wealth, kept it largely to himself, and spent it on absurd personal luxuries. His name is long forgotten. The Miser's House is now open to the public as a historical site, and furnished in the fashion of its period with items gathered from various sources.

The First House is the only official historic monument from the Friendship Period. It actually began as a barracks for Imperial workers brought in for major construction projects; they started by building themselves a place to live. Part of the building serves as a historical display, decorated according to its period; the rest serves as the most popular hotel in the Giants' Quarter. The First House also marks the beginning of the walking tour that covers other period buildings of historic interest (mostly based on famous people who stayed there, some carving their names into the walls).

The Duurludirj islands rely on the sea for transportation, so all the major settlements are coastal ones, which means that the roads tend to be coastal beltways also. The only exception is "The Inland Road" between Tifijimi and City #119. Its nicknames include (in approximate order of invention) "The Imperial Folly," "The Lonely Road," "The Lost Road," and "The Jungle Road." Now defunct, segments of it remain visible through the undergrowth, and regular tours are available from Tifijimi. It tops the "must-see" list of attractions on Tooth Island, and in the whole island chain it's second only to the Ruined Port outside of City #124.

The Salt Fountain stands in Tifijimi's main market square. What used to be a natural salt spring has been capped and directed into a large ceramic fountain. People are allowed to gather the pure salt water -- which has various uses for cooking and other projects -- but the main appeal is the beautiful encrustations of salt that form as water evaporates. These are removed periodically during fountain maintenance, then allowed to regrow. The Salt Fountain is one of several locations favored by the quick-sketch artists who cater to Tifijimi's tourists.

The White Ribbon is a high, narrow waterfall descending from a rocky peak above Tifijimi. On a clear day, the top portion of the fall can be glimpsed from the town. Hiking tours go past it on a well-marked trail.

Dominant Groups: Tifijimi is a Duurludirj town, so despite the influx of Imperial settlers -- and tourists -- that ethnic group remains a strong force here. The population was originally 3/4 normal-sized and 1/4 giant-sized, based on Duurludirj genetics; the addition of outsiders has increased the proportion of giants so that now the numbers are about equal.

Those working with the sea draw great respect, especially the warsailors. Eln Baq Aryem ("The School of Death") is prominent, but so are certain famous individuals. Few will argue with the warsailors when they want something. Ordinary sailors, fishers, and ship captains comprise a substantial number of the residents. That gives them political clout.

The Mercantile Guild and the Hospitality Guild are closely allied locally, although sometimes they compete on the mainland. Here they see themselves as two halves of the tourist industry, assisted by the Wayfaring Guild. They often collaborate to create "package tours" that include transportation, lodging, shopping opportunities, and visits to local landmarks.

Basic History: The boundary between Time Shard #11 (Dorersh Duurl Atya = Stone Island) and #12 (Dorersh Dirj Atya = Tooth Island) dissolved early in Duurludirj history, so that the island chain was united at the time the barrier between TS #12 and TS #10 collapsed to allow Imperial access. The Duurludirj had thought that the very tip of the continent was just another island like the several small outlying islands they had colonized near the continent. In fact Tifiqudamim ("Farpoint Town," City #17) was founded by the Duurludirj, although in modern times it has become a mainland settlement with a Duurludirj presence.

The Duurludirj originated on Stone Island; the largest Ancient settlement was destroyed in the Upheaval (the Ruined Port outside of City #124) so they had to spread out. They colonized other islands in their shard. When the first barrier went down, they quickly moved east and founded Tifijimi on Tooth Island.

The temporal distortions wreaked havoc with the weather, creating strange storms and tidal waves that swept the islands, mainly at certain times of the year. The Duurludirj decided that it was more practical to ride out the wild season on the water, so they dismantled their homes to create floating villages that could move with the storm surges and not break. Plenty of people in Tifijimi still do this, although most settlers from the mainland prefer to stay on land and attempt to brace their buildings against the weather.

Holding together an island nation in a sea full of increasingly aggressive megafauna posed a serious challenge. The Duurludirj drew on their knowledge of technology, some of which had survived the Upheaval, and their tough worldview. The warsailors developed as some seafarers took the fight to the monsters with armor-plated hulls, spiked prows, nets, repellants, and many fierce weapons. Other people quickly came to admire them for their contributions to everyone's safety and livelihood. The School of Death was founded to provide training for new warsailors. In cooperation with the Medical Guild, it also provides health care and pension support for warsailors injured or crippled in the line of duty.

The Southern Empire made contact in 1310; both sides quickly saw the advantage of cooperation, as they each had things the other wanted. This led to a relatively peaceful assimilation. Tifijimi enjoyed an influx of new people, supplies, and ideas.

Begun in 1312 as a good-faith gesture by the Empire, the Inland Road was also intended to demonstrate the Empire's power over nature and the desirability of Imperial infrastructure. The Duurludirj politely refrained from telling their enthusiastic new friends that this was a bad idea. It took two grueling years to hack, burn, and blast a path through the heart of Tooth Island's dense jungle. Dozens of guest workers died on the job, prey to tropical diseases, accidents, and other local hazards. The finished road saw moderate use for its first several decades, during which the jungle prepared to retake the lost territory. As the road began to require more and more repair -- at increasing expense -- funds were gradually diverted to more important infrastructure such as the coastal beltways and the docks. Traffic dwindled and then petered out, although determined travelers made it through as late as the 1380s. By the end of the century it had become largely impassable, and people forgot about it for a while. In the mid-1400s it emerged as a curiosity, and the tourist trips began. Visitors hastened the road's decay by pocketing small chunks as souvenirs.

As the Empire grew, its license system got more and more complex, which sometimes caused problems. Imperial clerks got upset that prostitutes in Tifijimi (and elsewhere in the islands) would not always charge warsailors for sexual services. License masters complained about this. Prostitutes refused to stop the practice; madams told license masters that they could have an opinion after killing a monster of their own. The Empire levied fines, closing several Houses. Madams told the Tifijimi license master that he could stuff his rules and his genitals into a mawfish shell, and took their staff onto the docks. A crew of warsailors responded to the closing of Houses by taking the Tifijimi license master and several of his clerks to sea and chucking them into the water to fight monsters. (There were no survivors.) This was the closest that the Duurludirj and the Empire came to a serious conflict. What threatened to become a major incident was smoothed over with copious bribes in various directions. Bribery remained the rule for some years, until someone thought of making a "freebie" license allowing prostitutes to waive pay. The House pays for this license; the Empire is satisfied. It is a crime to impersonate a warsailor for the purpose of gaining sexual favors, and the punishment places the offender in warsailor training; if he doesn't survive the shakedown voyage, too bad.

A similar situation arose with surprise pregnancies, as prostitutes aren't the only ones giving sexual favors to warsailors. However, this one resolved peacefully. The extra fees for a surprise pregnancy are lower if a warsailor presents himself as the father, and the School of Death often covers the fees. It's an effective way of maintaining genes that otherwise might not get reproduced before the bearer gets himself killed in the line of duty. Again, lying about the father being a warsailor to take advantage of this is a crime. Previous punishments included being put to work in a brothel catering to warsailors, or being obliged to marry one. The gender reforms stamped out the last of that; the current penalty involves heavy fines and working in a warsailor orphanage.

In 1328, the slave races were freed. This caused some inconvenience to several companies that had been experimenting with slave crews on ships (cheaper than hiring free sailors at hazard pay). Most of those went out of business.

By 1350, combined efforts of the Duurludirj and the Empire produced a working rail for urban and long-distance travel. It was somewhat inspired by the very rudimentary rails used for hauling ore carts out of mines. Although the main work was not done in Tifijimi, one of the leading engineers came from there, a dwarf named Kolban.

Around 1400, the nautical traffic settled into consistent routes as people figured out which ways were less dangerous and more profitable. A major continental trade route developed; the Foreign Belt runs from Tifijimi to City #119, City #84, Affanumuur, City #43, City #24, Tifiqudamim, #122, #121, and back to Tifijimi. Smiley's Shipping, an old dwarven company, helped establish this route and still dominates it today. Another, the Long Belt, developed a little later and runs from Tifijimi to #118, #117, #115, #114, #112, and then back to Tifijimi. This one has never been held by a single company for long; it's too risky, so it only gets a ship or two from different owners over time.

In 1475, the Inland Road was declared a monument. Tampering with its ruins was prohibited. Only licensed souvenir producers were allowed to collect pieces of the road, which could only be taken from sections too damaged to be readily visible, and each of which had to be separately certified as to origin and authenticity. Tours of the few mostly-intact sections, particularly those closest to Tifijimi (where the road was begun) and City #119 (where it ended), could only be led by specially trained and licensed tour guides. The guides also had to be certified as historians or archaeologists, an effective Imperial tactic for reducing damage to historic sites.

With the development of time crystal technology in 1470, several Duurludirj scientists expressed interest in this field. One from Tifijimi, a giant woman named Glofara, went to the mainland and studied at the universities there. She focused on food preservation, always a challenge in tropical climes. In 1486, she died in a lab accident involving time crystals, but some of her theoretical work contributed to the eventual development of home appliances using time crystals.

In 1516, a rare anomaly struck the docks in Tifijimi. It sheared off several of the tall cranes used for loading and unloading heavy cargo. Pieces fell, shattering part of the docks and several warehouses. Warsailors suspected the work of thunder-whales or other sea monsters; they embarked on investigations of this theory.

The oldest major island route, the Local Belt, runs from Tifibirv to #127, Tifijimi, #119, #122, #123, #124, #125. Until recently its leading company was Tall Ships, founded by giants; their holdings took serious damage in the 1516 anomaly. Tall Ships has since lost ground to Necklace of Jewels, a broadly multi-ethnic startup that's making waves throughout the Duurludirj economy. They're bringing more diverse faces into Tifijimi these days, which some people like and others don't.

General Climate Notes: Duurludirj territory is tropical, with warm temperatures all year and abundant rain. The volcanic islands support lush jungles; small farm plots can be hacked out and maintained with difficulty. The climate is better suited to growing tropical fruits and a few local vegetables than grains or other large-field crops. Since it faces the open sea, Tifijimi gets a lot of storm action, only somewhat lessened by its protective reefs.

The islands face some problems with tidal waves and storms caused by temporal shifts. Although residents don't know the exact cause, they do know the seasonal patterns. Duurludirj respond by moving to floating villages for part of the year. This has contributed to the rise of the warsailors, as the floating villages require protection from sea monsters. In Tifijimi, the tradition of going afloat remains strong, although some other towns do it less these days and instead try to batten down on land.

Arts & Culture: Tifijimi cuisine features mostly seafood and tropical fruits. Pigs are kept only on Dorersh Akorg Atya ("Pig Island") between Stone Island and Tooth Island, to keep them from damaging the ecosystems on other islands. Goats are more widespread, providing meat and some milk, but they are strictly confined. Grains, red meats, cow milk, and some other foods preserved with time crystals are imported from the mainland.

Among Tifijimi's signature dishes are "double rolls" made by stuffing one ball of dough with salted pork and another with fruit compote, then sticking them together and baking them. A very salty goat cheese called shleir is made only in Tifijimi; this soft white cheese is used mainly as a condiment, but sometimes for cooking. Throughout Duurludirj territory, seaweed is stuffed with various mixtures and folded into packets called erelk ("pockets"), with each town having its own version. Tifijimi makes Erelk Urarilk ("Purple Pockets") from a purple seaweed that grows east of Tooth Island, stuffed with a blend of doughfruit, chopped pork, and spices; they are often eaten with shleir.

The metalworkers of Tifijimi also invented the sunbox, a simple metal device that heats itself using solar power. In the hot tropical sun, it quickly gets hot enough to cook food. Various designs exist. People often set them up on the beaches to cook freshly gathered seafood for a family outing. Some food vendors set up a row of them to cook for customers.

As there are no railways in the islands, some Duurludirj are fascinated by this exotic (to them) conveyance. Tifijimi hosts an annual Rail Appreciation Convention. It includes lectures, presentations, mechanical workshops, a project showroom, and a dealer's room. In addition to the scientists and machinists who are interested for professional reasons, there is also a thriving hobby contingent of people who build model railways. The hobbyists take up about two-thirds of the showroom space with their layouts, since the professional displays are usually more concise -- and everybody enjoys looking at them, even the pros.

Traditional dances are popular. Tifijimi is the birthplace of the famous Sea Monster Dance, an ethnic dance performed by the Duurludirj. In this vigorous and representative style, the dancers costume themselves as sea monsters, sailors, ships -- sometimes even the ocean! -- and re-enact famous battles between man and beast. The Flower Dance is also performed here, although it originated on Stone Island. It involves tossing large tropical flowers among tall and short dancers, and is believed to have evolved from a "keep-away" type game.

Hunting sea monsters can be a sport or a profession (or a survival technique). Tifijimi crafters make many things from their parts. Depending on the type of monster the goods may include leather, bones and ivory for scrimshaw, edible flesh, etc.

Surfing is a widespread but risky sport, due to the rocks and reefs in Duurludirj territory (and of course the wildlife). People do it anyway, but it's said you can always identify a surfer by the scars! Tifijimi has some of the best balance between "good" and "safe" beaches for surfing. The Duurludirj style of surf gear is more like a tiny boat than a plain flat board: a surfboat. They are not often fancifully decorated or meticulously crafted, as Terran surfboards are, because they rarely last long before getting smashed by waves or rocks. The Duurludirj philosophy of building is either "build light and rebuild" or "use rocks and build to last" -- and rocks generally don't float. (Every once in a while some nutcase tries to make a surfboat out of pumice, but so far nobody's made one that actually works.)

Architecture divides into three basic periods: Pre-Imperial, Friendship, and Modern Imperial. Houses and other buildings constructed before 1310 used only local materials, usually wood but occasionally stone. Most were small and simple, often built to normal rather than giant scale, and not many remain. Only three are large and fancy enough to be noteworthy: the Old License Office, the Temple of the Sea, and the Miser's House, all built from local stone. Buildings constructed between 1310 and 1400 belong to the Friendship Period. Shortly after contact, the Empire launched an enthusiastic campaign to improve the Duurludirj infrastructure. This included about twenty years of vigorous construction in Tifijimi. The Giants' Quarter dates from the early 1300s, as the guest workers needed lodging built to their size. After the first swell of interest, many of the Imperials left the islands and some of the giant-scale buildings were dismantled. However, some survived, and the Giants' Quarter now contains most of the town's tourist hotels. Several dozen buildings from this era have historical interest, and are featured on a walking tour, although only one -- the First House -- is an official monument. The Modern Period started in the 1470s when more Duurludirj began going to the mainland and a fair number of outsiders were coming to the islands. A dwarven merchant named Threin grew rich and influential in Tifiqudamim, whereupon he began funneling money back to Tifijimi. He invested a lot into building projects, which eventually attracted interest from other people, even after he moved to Faajaffug. Tifijimi is still in a growth phase because of this activity.

Certain materials and motifs characterize Tifijimi arts and crafts. Jewelry includes carved shell, coral, pearl, and scrimshaw. Fine tropical woods are sometimes inlaid with colorful shells. Naval/marine themes prevail in art and architecture. Pastel "beach" colors dominate on Tooth Island: aquamarine, sea green, sky blue, peach, coral, butter yellow, cream, sand, tan, light and dark shades of gray. Brilliant "tropical" colors dominate on Stone Island: fuchsia, scarlet, mango orange, lemon yellow, lime green, ultramarine blue, and violet plus neutral colors such as white, ivory, or beige.

Related Art:

Characters currently at this location:

  • Ashrein (born: )
  • Draberil (born: )
  • Dlugaar (born: 1450)
  • Edirava (born: 1452)
  • Neteilyu (born: 1478.07.30)
  • Turanela (born: 1479)
  • Taryo (born: 1480)
  • Anya (Dulilm) (born: 1481.05.03)
  • Inakami (born: 1493)
  • Gluve (born: 1493)
  • Tagliim (born: 1495)
  • Glariim (born: 1496)
  • Megruu (born: 1498.07.23)
  • Ariloish (born: 1505)
  • Yorloish (born: 1505)
  • Kirim (born: 1511)
  • Laaji (born: 1514)
  • Meniir (born: 1517)
  • Druula (born: TBD)
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