Once, we lived and walked on Shackle - the Land-upon-the-Sea. More than rain fell from the sky, more than grey shone in the distance. That is when the mist came. It rose from the waves like ice cold breath. Fog-born sky merged with the waters. When the sun rose again, the sea was the dreadful dark far, far below, drenched in mists. They say we worshipped beasts thought to live there, or worshipped the birds that flew from rock to rock around us.
The cloud-deck was dark and high above, the fog all about. On clearer days it is said you could glimpse a great shadow sat therein.
One saw clearer than the rest, a vision of towers and buildings. One became many and together they prayed for a way to reach it. The Anchorer heard those prayers. From the egg of a swallow, a golden bird was born, which grew and grew until it could carry all upon its back. Flinging themselves into the mist, those first fliers renounced Shackle - the land they had known - and found Anchor. They gave praise at what they found - streets and houses, all deserted - and brought life to the ruins. They spread into the sky to claim the Rockery.
A thousand years passed.
Despite the Anchorer's gift many kept their false deities and ruled by false means, blind to their heresy. One hundred years ago, the Noble houses of Anchor built a tower, one whose high minarets reached higher than the belltower of the Pynchon's Cradle. In punishment, lightning struck its peak and Anchor soared, casting the unready into the waters. The mists all around became the glaring light of sky.
Those were the days of the Judgement, when those who had not seen the light finally joined the repentant, cradling us as we rise and fall. We remember those days.
There are a host of creation myths, but all agree that human life began on the island of Shackle; and that in the beginning, it was surrounded by water, not sky. In all variant tales, a great fog rolled in overnight and when the tribes woke they found themselves floating high above the sea, chained by a mighty stone chain, surrounded on all sides by fog, with the hazy shapes of other, smaller rocks and chains beyond.
It is YJ100, exactly a century since The Judgement. Present day in The Rockery is a sum of its past, a sum of its people. Various bodies vye and compete for influence, for the chance to have their voice heard and their goods sold. And it all comes to life on Audit Day, in the Plaza of Sands. What influence will you have in a world where nobody knows what the price of water will be tomorrow, or where the next fashion trend will come from? Are new technological innovations to be found on some undiscovered floating island? Which bodies will rise and which will fall?
The Pynchon dies just before Audit. With the church coffers nearly empty, the Mouthpiece flees rather than face Audit. A new Pynchon is found in the person of the infant Vanessa Mae Otranto, with her mother Michelle Otranto becoming the new Mouthpiece. With the arrest of gambling boss Newborn Wynne on kidnap charges and the subsequent seizure of his assets, the Church coffers are overflowing and the Church enters a new era of prosperity and power. Relations with the Bureaucracy deteriorate.
The Bureaucracy faces trouble from all corners. A fatal accident at Libertys docks leads to a dockers' strike which only ends after the Bureaucracy promise a review of dockers' working hours and conditions. Meanwhile, rioting breaks out in Furybone and leaves many parts of that district devastated. Senior Bureaucrats visiting the area deny the residents any funds for rebuilding, which sparks further riots and fires which reach as far north as the Hold walls and as far south as the Irisetti gatehouse.
These events and their consequences are captured in the Student paper The Brayer, which undergoes a sudden transformation to an underground newspaper with the editor Daniel Laudman assuming full control. Holding out in the Bureaucracy's Botcheridge Tower in Libertys which students and Furybone residents have occupied, the editor has fled by the time Knights arrive to arrest him. He takes with him a printing press, and continues his work from a secret location.
The Brayer also publishes an interview with wanted criminal and notorious Sky Pirate Bloody Violet, claiming that she has been present on Anchor during the entirety of Audit but leaves questions unanswered as to how she has managed this.
Popular streetmusic singer Roberto Dilano leaves Libertys docks for Link, but promises his many fans that he will return.
The Irisetti Gatehouse needs a lot of repair, and the family is forced to scatter across Anchor while their ancient home is rebuilt. Funds for rebuilding are made available by charging visitors to the new Irisetti Museum of Art a nominal fee.
The Gong announces that a source of water has been discovered on Rivet, under the control of the Dalvicci family. It is not yet clear how large a source it is and what threat it might pose to the monopoly held by the Water Barons of Basin.
In addition, the Locusts have returned to Shackle with a vengeance, though the Weatherlights are nowhere to be seen. With few funds available for assistance, it will be a difficult year ahead for the citizens of that island.
For more information on these and further events, we encourage you to read the centennial copies of the Gong, the Brayer and the Lantern.