Emit is arguably Dakai’s greatest city and without question its oddest. It was built in response to the discovery of a spreading tear in the fabric of spacetime. It is, metaphorically, the masking tape that holds our fraying reality together. It prevents the disturbance from warping all of history and sending Dakai into chaos. Its position over a hole in spacetime makes its location impossible to map; its very existence is sporadic at best. Luckily the people of Emit, constantly surrounded by inexplicable phenomena, are the most imperturbable and competent in the world. They run the Emission, an organization dedicated to the preservation of reality. They send agents into the world to perform Reality Checks, ensuring that the crucial details of history fall into place. Many Dakians have never heard of Emit and many more consider it a meaningless fiction. The Emitans do nothing to correct this assumption. They enjoy and make use of the doubt shed upon their existence. The evidence of said existence is, however, irrefutable. They have made appearances throughout history and traded with other Dakian nations, and many Dakian travellers have been to the miraculous city and returned with stories so fantastically unbelievable that they must be true.
Emit was—or rather will be—founded in -123 DC. It was anchored following instructions from the book Do It Yourself: How to Patch up a Hole in Space Time (a book which, incidentally, has no author and appeared in the Library of the Great University of Cyrim with nobody remembering how it got there). Its year of creation is completely irrelevant, however, for the simple reason that as soon as the city existed at one point in time it existed throughout all of time. Within the city itself, multiple times seem to happen at once. Indeed, as soon as the Clock in the city center was used to anchor Emit to the rip in space-time, the city’s buildings popped into existence around it. All the citizens had to do was remember to rebuild them occasionally so as to have them in good repair for earlier.
The original population of Emit consisted of 1000 men and women who were selected from among the volunteers for their intelligence and adaptability. Despite their talents, they most likely would not have survived had they not been helped by their descendants, who had been raised in Emit, were used to living there, and, most importantly, knew how to run the Emission. To clarify: the population of Emit is at every moment 1000, but those 1000 consist of a random selection of everyone who has ever lived in the city. To further complicate things, the selection shuffles itself, as far as anyone can tell, whenever it feels like it—in other words, totally at random. To the inhabitants it seems that they are experiencing the city’s history like scholars reading a book by flipping repeatedly to random pages. To a temporally stationary observer it seems that the inhabitants are flowing back and forth like water through an exceptionally complex pipe system. Both of these metaphors are completely inaccurate, but they are as close as one can get to understanding Emit without being there. The Emitans deal with the frequent paradoxes this temporal chaos causes by simply ignoring them.
The buildings of Emit behave much as the people do. At any one moment the city contains a random selection of all the buildings it has ever held. The only stationary landmarks are the Clock, the Wall, and the Emission Building. The rest of the buildings cycle in and out of existence at random, often in ways that, technically, should not be possible. In Emit, it is not unusual to find multiple buildings occupying the same plot of land at the same time, or to see a building go from construction site to crumbling ruin in the blink of an eye. Less common are instances in which buildings will build themselves backwards, beginning with the furniture, followed by the paint and wallpaper, then the flooring, etc., until finally the foundation appears under everything else.
The constant time-shifting of the buildings makes it impossible for Emitans to live in one house for any length of time. Rather, they keep their most important belongings about their person at all times and simply sleep in the first available room they find. There are occasionally accidents which occur when, for example, a multi-story building vanishes while the people in it remain in the air several stories above the ground. Luckily, on the edges of spacetime a strong belief can, at least temporarily, supplant what little reality there is. Emitans, trained in believing from a young age, are almost always capable of ignoring the building’s disappearance long enough to make it safely to the ground.
The Clock is the center of Emit. Its location, existence, and physicality are constant everywhen in Emit. It consists of a large round stone base, with seventeen small statues evenly spaced around the edge and five metal rods of varying heights and widths rising from the center. These rods cast shadows on the base entirely independently of the direction of the light. The shadows indicate to an Emitan where and when the city is in respect to the real world. Agents of the Emission check it on their way out of the city so as to know what to expect from the outside world. And all Emitans head to the clock after a time shift for the simple comfort of knowing when and where they are. Besides being central to the successful running of the city, the Clock is literally crucial to the city’s existence. It is the anchor that holds Emit to the rip in spacetime. Without it, the city would doubtless disintegrate into nothingness.
The Wall is, apart from the Clock, the only constant landmark in Emit. It hardly deserves its imposing name, as it is merely a line of fist-sized rocks around the perimeter of the city. But what it lacks in impressiveness it gains back in significance. The Wall is the line of separation between Emit and the outside world. When the city moves, everything inside the Wall moves with it, while everything outside remains. Emission agents are occasionally left behind when the city moves and forced to wander until they find it again. While many have been left behind, a surprisingly small number of these have failed to return to the city. Emitans seem to have a sense for locating their city and an inability to settle down contentedly outside of it. One Emitan woman was left behind at age 18. Over 90 years later she returned to the city. She had spent her entire life trying to find her way back home. It is interesting to note that, despite the small size of the rocks that form the Wall, they seem to be infinitely heavy and impossible to move.
The Emission BuildingEdit
The Emission Building is the third ever-present landmark in Emit. Unlike the Clock and the Wall, it is not constant because of any tie to the spacetime rip. It has simply been rebuilt in the same spot over and over, and consequently exists there, in multiple versions, throughout Emit’s history. The versions have some architectural differences, but all are impressive. They all feature the Emission’s motto “Emit ehte vah syawl aew,” in large letters above the door. But the most important feature of the Building is not only inside, but underground. It is the History Room, the most complete and accurate record of Dakian history in existence. Its accuracy is not surprising, seeing as the Emission can simply go and see what happened, rather than merely speculating as most historians are forced to do. It is said to contain in depth information not just on kingdoms and wars, but on the genealogies of Remamni families and craahfe farmers. These multitudes of information are meticulously recorded in millions of notebooks organized by year. The notebooks line the walls and shelves of the History Room. Any average Emitan is capable of navigating this dizzying array of information in order to find that which is relevant to their current Emission job. Even more amazingly, every single Emitan returns each notebook to the exact place they found it when they have finished reviewing its contents.
Since the city contains no farming land, it relies heavily on trade with the outside world. Emit has discreetly conducted trade relations with Dakian countries for many thousands of years. While it has little to offer by way of necessities, it is a peerless supplier of luxury goods. It deals in novelty items from other times, but its main commodity is information. In exchange for a couple of oofites one could learn about the lives of one’s grandchildren or an upcoming drought. There are heavy restrictions imposed on Emitan trade. If the wrong object or piece of information found its way into the wrong hands, large tracts of history could be distorted: an eventuality that Emit exists to prevent. However, trade with Emit is substantial enough to be responsible for much of our historical knowledge.
Emit’s chaotic nature makes it impossible to govern. It operates quite smoothly, however, on the principle that everyone has a job to do and everyone knows what that job is. Leadership is seldom required. On the rare occasions when it is necessary (e.g. Reality Checks which require more than one agent), one Emitan will step forward to lead for a while, and then return to being a citizen as usual. If one leads well, he or she is respected and congratulated by the other Emitans, but not honored in any special way. Leading is, to the Emitans, just another job.
A rigid public education system is, like any other rigid system, impossible in Emit. Emitan children are educated informally by whatever adults happen to be around. Some Emitans, as adults, get the chance to meet their childhood selves. This is considered wonderfully good luck. After all, who better to tell you what you need to know then yourself? At approximately fifteen years of age (age in Emit is largely guesswork), Emitans officially become adults. There is a brief, informal ceremony to mark this transition, after which they begin working in the Emission. They perform Reality Checks with the guidance of more experienced agents until they are thought ready to work alone.
Visitors to EmitEdit
Several Dakians have been to Emit and returned safely to their own times. Others have been caught in the city’s time-shifting and stranded far from their temporal and spatial homes. It is impossible to determine how many people have been stranded this way. The highest estimates exceed the number of recorded disappearances, in some cases attributing double or triple that number to Emit. Most scholars, however, give more moderate estimates. The most widely accepted estimate holds Emit responsible for about 60% of otherwise inexplicable disappearances.
The earliest evidence of Emit’s presence is found in cave paintings dating to about 64,000 DC. These paintings are unclear, but seem to depict the city. The most identifiable shows the Clock and the seventeen statues around it. Some followers of the artist Quillen Zllox, citing at length his unique style, claim that these paintings could only be his. Zllox did indeed disappear in 181 DC, but beyond this there is absolutely no evidence to support their claims. Another figure rumored to have made contact with Emit is the great Urktoo Quiggs. One rumor goes so far as the claim that the brilliant inventor was born Emitan, but rebelled against the Emission’s strict non-interference policy, dedicating is life to the improvement of Dakian culture, knowledge and lifestyles. While a connection with Emit would explain Quiggs’s many mysterious disappearances, there is—again—no proof. Emit could, in fact, be the cause of nearly every unexplained occurrence ever, but the probability of this is low. To trace all the mysteries of the universe to a single source is taking an over-simplified view of life.
Of the known visitors to Emit, Innit Garanje has contributed most to our knowledge of the city. His trip there lasted only a day (or at least, he came out of the city one day after he entered it), but his record of the city and its people is enlightening. He found the people very welcoming and easy-going. They were quite willing to answer all his questions about the wonders of the city. He found himself quite overwhelmed with the wealth of information he acquired and the awe-inspiring sights he saw. “However,” he recounts, “it was only after leaving the city that I realized how little I actually learned.” It seems that, while seemingly eager to display their marvelous city, the Emitans are actually quite secretive in their own discreet and tactful way.
Kostrzewa 21:27, October 11, 2010 (UTC)