I’d like to do another nice little essay on some part of Xiyatu, but currently there’s only a few topics left, all of fairly short length. So, we’ll do those.
• Punching Your Ticket, Dragon Style: California is the most popular retirement destination for wealthy Guns, but Xiyatu is a close second. You can’t buy citizenship, but you can apply for it. It’s a difficult and lengthy process.
Getting permanent residency, however, is fairly easy, especially if you speak Standard Chinese. If you’ve made enough money, the city can be quite comfortable, and former Guns can find permanent employment in their government, their police, or their military (especially their vortex-jumpers). (Employment grants citizenship.)
• Xiyatu Cuisine: Xiyatu is a primarily agricultural economy, and the mix of native food-stuffs and Chinese cuisine is a strange one. The chefs of Xiyatu make extensive use of mock rice (“Puget Rice”), made from wheat. Other substitutions are equally bizarre. (Puget rice remained popular, even after California began producing rice crops again. Even real rice, imported from the mainland, is prized only by the older population, who actually lived in China.)
• Sole Supplier: Before the rotting plague, there were four main ports for the West Coast transoceanic trade: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver. After the Collapse, only two were viable.
Los Angeles was a desert, filled with millions of corpses. Seattle was abandoned, a ghost city.
San Francisco had held on to a functioning government (based out of the suburbs south of the city), and even had a military presence. Vancouver was the main refugee center for Canadians, and the locus of their political recovery in the west.
None of this mattered at the time, as there was no foreign country to trade with. Later, of course, there was Xiyatu, the Chi-Com diaspora, and a trickle of trade that grew and grew.
Nowadays, contracts with the governments of coastal China (the first Republic of China) and Taiwan (the other Republic of China) specify that Xiyatu is the only North American port city authorized for export — all Chinese commercial traffic unloads at Xiyatu. Some smugglers may unload in Alaska or Vancouver, as they can make far more money there, but they risk revocation of their import license. China makes a lot of money from America, one of their most reliable foreign markets.
• Dragon’s Lair: To create their lair, the dragons have burrowed deep into Mt. Rainier. The first magicians and shadow warriors went to the mountain to train. Most trained with the Blind Master, a blind dragon who sleeps in the deepest part of the caverns. The Blind Master is the one who developed the syncretist philosophies and techniques that Sinocized the magic principles of the Beyond.
Unbeknownst to the Chinese (and everybody else except you and me), the Blind Master is scarred and crippled, and can no longer fly. (This was the wounded dragon who emerged from the vortex.) It never leaves the lair, but is still a vital component of the clutch. It is a powerful magician, and among its other duties, it is the last line of defense for the hoard.
• Dragon Politics: The dragons are responsible for the overthrow of Communism in the city. Their serfs, eventually encompassing the entire Central Committee, liberalized the economy, dismantled the police state, and began allowing immigration of non-Chinese.
(They also encouraged, or at least allowed, the spread of the dragon cult among the people. Dragons have a prominent place in Chinese mythology and mysticism, and the real-life dragons have used that to cement their leadership role in the city-state.)
There are two schools of thought on the situation. The first holds that the dragons allow a free market, because it is inherently more efficient, and so enriches the city and the dragons. The other holds that dragons are cruel and rapacious, so of course they’re capitalists. Saner theories hold that dragons are big and unkillable and can eat you, so it’s probably better not to speculate on their motives and character, especially in their own city.
• …And They Have a Plan: A lot of the information given in the various Xiyatu posts hint at deeper issues underlying the whole phenomenon of vortexes and Emergence. Without giving away the hints, there is a reason for what the dragons do. They have a plan, and their administration of Xiyatu is aimed at more than just garnering stature for their clutch. (That is a reason, but there’s more to it than that.)
I will get to those issues at some point. (I hope.)
Just not right now.
That’s it on Xiyatu. Tomorrow, some other part of the Outlaw. Thanks for reading!