The Spire of Bestra
Table of Contents
Places of Interest
1. Calladora gate
2. Isola's Gate
3. Gallomo's Gate
4. The Spire of Bestra
5. North and South Markets
6. Pellagraci College of Science
7. Main University Administration
8. Jastosomio Chapel and Religious Studies
9. Lulotto Mas'itario Hall (Foreign and Native Language)
10. Mellotto Hall (Race relations)
11. B'ellandroso College of Engineering
12. Mosantu Hall of Politics
13. Patisio Mel'ancola School of Medicine
14. Sackota's School of Entertainment and Sports
15. Beltondo Calladora School of the Arcane Arts
16. Isola Mellotto College of Teaching (and The Spire Lower School)
17. Demerveaux College of Mathematics
18. S'angrecia school of the Physical Arts (Crafts, wood, smithing, etc.)
19. Hemmolona School of War
20. K'ellandroso College of Art
21. Bentalonio School of Astronomy
22. Typical City Guards (3 ea.)
23. Typical Settun Renguvae Headquarters (3 ea.)
Background and History
After arriving on the west coast of Forntol, and having escaped sure death at the hands of the Dweller in the Vale, the Teregnaven saw the need for a way to patrol the new land, to assure that no forces of evil would follow. They also needed a place of worship to thank the goddess Bestra for their birth and emergence. They decided to build a tower worthy of the Goddess, one that would provide a lasting testimony to her greatness and allow the Teregnaven's pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.
Since their world was in disarray when they arrived at Forntol, it took seventy-six years to establish their colony and create the tools necessary to build the tower. The next eleven years were spent laying the foundation and raising the inner core of the tower to the second level. The construction of the University of Beladanall then began, which took another two hundred eleven years, during which the Spire was widened and extended to its final four hundred foot summit.
Construction of the Spire
The design of the spire fell into the hands of an aspiring young engineer and architect, one Tallamah B'Ellandroso. He assembled a team of foremen, who organized the populace (now numbering in the thousands) into teams. The support team consisted of farmers and hunters, providing the food necessary to make up for the workers who would no longer be producing it. The second team consisted of miners whose responsibility it would be to cut and load the stone slabs and blocks needed to establish the foundation and walls. The third team was that of transport of the rock to the site, and the fourth team had the task of actually building it. The fifth team, that of B'Ellandroso and two other engineers, directed the placement and mortaring of the blocks.
The site was chosen to be on a gentle slope rising from the beaches to the foothills, placing the city, or finished compound, with its back to the base of Mount Garakesh.
During the half-century of life proceeding the construction, blacksmiths set up their shops, woodworkers built carts and wagons, and others tamed the wild animals necessary to cut, shape, and transport the stone. The community was ready to step in to the new project at the onset. Some could almost feel the vile force that emanated from the blustery Wintervale, that cold and dark evil that had driven the Teregnaven to unfamiliar shores. Thus, the Teregnaven began their monumental task, with a wary eye to the sea to the west.
The foundation of the spire was very important. Even though the Teregnaven had not experienced any earthquakes in their brief tenure on the continent, they were well aware of the consequence of ignoring such a possibility. As no drilling techniques were available to them to do a complete geotechnical investigation of the substrata, they had to design "on the fly." Deep trenches were dug, using animal-drawn plows specially designed to cut narrow exploratory excavations, deeply and cleanly. With a minimum of disturbance, the bedrock was located at between fifteen and twenty feet below the surface, and was found to be very substantial non-weathered massive metamorphic rock. The trenches were cleared and footings were begun. Huge rocks were brought in using magic, trimmed to match the lay of the founding beds, and mortared into place. The foundation was then bricked in a standard lay to the surface, then the earth was painstakingly tamped into place, both inside and outside of the building lines.
At this time, a central portion of the building plan was dug to bedrock, and several very large rocks were used to bring this interior "caisson" to the surface. This would be a very important member for support, as B'ellandroso realized the possibility of the spire being continuously extended over the years.
The mining of the stone was a very arduous task, performed by over a hundred of the Teregnaven's strongest workers and aided by magic. Blacksmiths magically produced hardened tools capable of breaking the rock. Several foremen exhibited the knowledge of working with the stone's natural bedding planes and cross-planes, enabling them to free the slabs with a minimum of energy. The slabs, at first, had to be massive, and as such, they were not hard to find. Deeper digging was required to produce smaller stones, but the designers used as much of the large stone as possible, utilizing their size to bridge and arch areas of high stress.
The mining area was, thankfully, situated within several hundred yards of the spire. The rock was removed in layers, with an eye to the final lay of the finished slope, so as not to create an ugly scar in the landscape. The finished borrow area would result in a natural-looking series of ledges that would blend in aesthetically with the surrounding terrain.
Draft horses were common enough in the new land that they could supply a dependable source of power to bring the rocks to the site. The mining area was located above and behind the site, enabling easier transport of rock. A crew of workers was employed solely to repair and maintain the huge carts that were used, a job which demanded two shifts per day of rebuilding equipment that sometimes fell into disrepair in use. The saved trolls found that they had no magic suitable to this task, and thus the rock had to be moved by manual labor.
The basic design of the spire began with a series of arches. These arches spanned the distance from the central core to the outer mid-sides and corners of the preceding layer, and were compounded by a "knee" block that served as a joint to support the one above it. The inside leg of each arch met, side-to-side, touching to form a central tube of rock that would house the core. This core was formed of massive stones placed in a column, and between the core and central tube, a set of stone stairs was built. At each level, stone was placed to allow a minor arch to be built between the large major arches, to form a doorway for that floor.
On top of each arch was placed shimstone cut to make a flat surface. The gaps between the arches were spanned with heavy lumber subflooring, then fine wood flooring was placed perpendicular to these to produce a floor. Exterior walls were stoned in between the arches with flat, thinner stone standing soldier (vertically) to the normal lay. These were arched over windows to direct support to the main arches. This thinner construction lent to lighter walls, relieving some of the immense stresses inherent in the design.
This method of construction continued until the spire reached a height of two hundred feet. At this point, it was deemed to be complete, at least for a while. The intensive work was beginning to tell on the Teregnaven. Their resources were being sapped and the remainder of their society and life was beginning to stagnate. As they closed off the temporary roof, they began plans to build their University.
The University of Beladanall
The design of the university below the spire was initiated by B'ellandroso, who, by this time, had developed into quite a capable planner. Under the tutelage of a dozen superintendents and with the help of two design apprentices, he began a new phase of his professional life - that of city planner. The campus design was unenlightened at first, consisting of a dozen two-story buildings, squarish and simple, aligned in orthogonal rows. They were designed as sturdy, well appointed spacious classrooms but were lacking in architectural beauty.
He remedied his shortcomings in the second phase. Several additional buildings were needed, and he positioned these in such a fashion as to mimic the chamfered corners of the Spire structure and positioned them in a radial fashion, to accentuate the importance of the Spire. In addition, he added a set of two modest two-story walls around the campus as a final touch, more for aesthetics than for security. The thirty-foot wide annulus between the walls were reserved for kiosks and trading markets.
The roads and pathways in the campus were made of a subbase of large, heavy gravel from the quarry. This layer was tamped and compacted, then overlain with a fine rounded metamorphic gravel from the shore. The rounded top layer gleamed in the sun with such radiance that even the late-day rays made it sparkle.
The walkways and roads met the buildings at finely sculptured lawns and gardens. These green spaces were designed to complement the shape of the buildings and were all based on the ellipse, which the Teregnaven believed to be the most beautiful of all geometric shapes. Partial ellipses were even designed against the walls of the University. These places were planted with shade trees set against the walls. As they grew, they billowed out from the walls and provided even more shade than they would if planted in the open. These groves were excellent places for independent studies.
By overwhelming agreement, the individual buildings and halls of the University were named after the storied individuals who brought them to Forntol's shores. Later, others showed their unique abilities in their studies and were so honored.
The more appealing design was extended into the city itself. As the Teregnaven worked on these projects, their own homes were often neglected, being made of simple post-and-beam wooden construction. As these homes fell into disrepair, the community began rebuilding them for the occupants. The newer homes were made of stone, only this time, much smaller and lighter materials and less aggressive techniques were employed. The roads were planned to accentuate and work with the lay of the existing land. Streets were designed to wind along in broad curves, making the finished city appear to be growing as low-lying plants grow in a rock garden. Large areas of natural ground and rock outcrops were left in place and plantings gave the area more natural look.
After the completion of the university, B'ellandroso returned to the spire. It was felt that there was a need for more height, to enable sentries to see further into the horizon. In addition, the increased height enabled some professors to study the stars and constellations more efficiently, as it was not uncommon for a thick fog to envelop the shore and work its way inland.
The spire was continued to a height of three hundred fifty feet, then capped off with forty feet of ingenious stone construction which consisted of a rotunda with lookout ledges and an observatory at the very apex. This construction was the most difficult, as it had to be built out in a cantilevered manner, resembling the embattlatures of a castle tower. The actual construction had to be accomplished while leaning out over thin air, with the use of gin poles and winches. Stone pieces were carefully cut to interlock and were moved inch-by-inch into place.
The Spire, University and surrounding city today are beautiful and impressive pieces of architecture, standing starkly out of the foothills of the great Forntol mountains as mute symbols of a proud race's ingenuity and tireless devotion.