Hive Tarsus

Hive Tarsus is the second largest hive on Scintilla, and is the seat of the planet's trade and commerce. It maintains an aggressive independence from Tarsus, though it relies on the export produced by the manufactories of Tarsus.

Hive Tarsus is located in the center of Scintilla's most inhospitable desert, baking in the relentless sun and battered by sandstorms. The hive's construction is based on a foundation of immense vertical bars, between which stretch the great conglomerations of buildings that make up the body of the hive. As a result, Hive Tarsus is more vertical than horizontal, with more middle hivers climbing to work than walking.

Hive Tarsus's unusual structure and hostile location mean that darkness and cold are valued commodities and, as such, very unusually for a hive city, the richest areas are those at the bottom of the hive instead of at the top. Hive Tarsus's nobility enjoy the shade afforded by having a whole city strung in a dizzying web above them, while they are far enough from the merciless sun to live in cool comfort. The very wealthiest live in pitch-black subterranean mansions where inhabitants and visitors carry dim lanterns to see by, while the air is cooled to sub-zero temperatures that require everyone to wear lavish furs. The nobility here demonstrate their superiority by controlling their environment at immense cost, even to the extent of making their handsome estates as dangerous to the ill-prepared as the worst summer droughts. Hive scum that stray too close to the base of the city are often found frozen to death, caught out by the dramatic deops in temperature the closer they get to the wealthiest districts.

The closer to the surfact of Hive Tarsus, the poorer and more dangerous the hive becomes. Middle hivers labor in swelering workshops bathed in the heat filtering down from the sun, plagued by sunbeams that sweep throught the hive during the day and burn exposed skin. The outermost layers (known as the Hiveskin) are hellish; it is almost too hot to breathe and hivers are bathed in sunlight so potent it can make those caught in it blacken and shrivel up in a few minutes. Layers of hovels clng to the top and sides of the hive, too flimsy to completely block out the deadly sun or frequent local sandstorms. Worst of all, the heat is relentless, easily hot enough to kill those not adapted to it. The hiveskinners scrabble like scarabs across the outermost layers to avoid the worst of the sun as it moves overhead during the day. They are sunburned, sand-scarred lot who survive by hunting the hardy fauna that dwells here, including the dangerous scaldbats and mildly poisonous fingerburner beetles.

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