The Seven Strands of Survival
"Each of the seven Strands was linked to one of the elements; a part of the world around them that was in turn, vital for human survival. Anya liked the connection. It seemed fitting that the elements were connected to the raw qualities that humans needed to survive them."
The seven founders wanted to inspire purpose in the lives of each and every Gem. They wished to encourage a lifetime of improvement, as well as ensuring that the inhabitants of The City continued to flourish and thrive. Continued improvement and evolution were the concepts that formed the initial basis of the Strands.
The founders wanted to inspire every City dweller to aspire to new heights in these seven key attributes. Each founder selected an attribute he or she thought was most valuable.
Respectful of the environment around them, the founders linked each Strand to an element. This was, according to the history books, a symbolic acknowledgement that life in The City would not be possible at all without nature's essential gifts.
The link between the two was strengthened still further by the creation of symbols; images that represented the element from which the Strand drew its inspiration. The founders intended that the symbols would serve as a constant reminder of the gift and challenge that each element provides. For example, fire is vital for warmth and fuel, but unchecked it can cause death and devastation.
***Click on the elements below to discover more about its corresponding Strand.***
Founder Sylla was renowned for her great beauty. She was also resourceful and used her appearance to increase her influence and social standing. Together, she and founder Cirrus were powerful driving forces of The City’s hierarchical Tiered system.
Sylla chose fire as her element. She writes in her journals that fire, in her opinion, is the only accurate representation of the passionate and all-consuming nature of love; an emotion that only true beauty can inspire. Whether Sylla included inner beauty in this assessment remains uncertain. Time has certainly encouraged a focus on external appearance, as opposed to any inner virtues.
Founder Cirrus was a brilliant soldier. Both an excellent strategist and fearsome warrior, he commanded the armies in the Great War which took place several years before The City's founding.
Cirrus valued Strength above all else, and credits his surviving the Great War to his physical and mental prowess. It therefore came as no surprise when he selected Strength as his chosen Strand, connecting it to the element of metal. Perhaps a homage to his skill with the sword, metal is strong and capable of withstanding high pressures, making it a good choice for weapons and armour.
Founder Yarva was both clever and resourceful. She could solve any problem, no matter how impossible, and devise ingenious schemes to achieve virtually anything she set her mind to. Her achievements came through her ability to make sense of any situation, be it political or personal.
Though wood was not Yarva's choice of craft material, she felt that wood represented creativity. Its uses over the years have been both broad and ingenious, ranging from fuel and fire, to houses, to furniture and utensils. Founder Yarva was also the most gentle of the seven founders, and managed to convey great respect for the natural environment in her written work. She valued the calming influence of nature in a world increasingly ruled by human technology, hence her choice of symbol.
Initially born to a low-ranking house in the old world, Founder Kyrion’s Ambition catapulted him to greater heights. He rose up the ranks, gaining in both wealth and social stature. He started out as a junior advisor, before his guile and determination led to a strong friendship with Cirrus. The two were particularly instrumental in The City’s founding. Sadly, Kyrion’s jealousy of Cirrus’ relationship with Sylla would eventually tear the Founders apart.
Kyrion credited his success to his Ambition. This was the Strand he selected, and with it the element of air. To Kyrion, air was a boundless commodity, much like Ambition should be. As Kyrion often said, “Only those who refuse to see the boundaries of the sky will have the power to move it.”
Founder Adreana was considered brave by everyone who knew her. Serving with founder Cirrus in the Great War, Adreana led an assault against the northern invaders. Heavily outnumbered, she rallied her forces to victory.
Both durable and steadfast, Adreana chose Stone to represent her own most valued attribute of Courage. Even in the face of deception and death, Adreana showed valour to the very end.
Founder Valery was the wisest and most knowledgeable of the seven Founders. She poured her Knowledge into creating the Archives and education system, with a particular focus on the Genetics Quarter. Valery is perhaps the only one of the Founders who had true reservations about some aspects of The City’s development, in particular with the development of the Trials. Valery chronicled much in the Archives, and we owe much of our understanding of The City’s founding to her record-keeping.
Valery chose the Strand of Knowledge, and linked it to earth. She argued that the earth was the birthplace of life itself, and that all of our Knowledge originates from its sacred roots. She drew inspiration for the symbol from ancient cultures, where the four corners of the square symbolises the four seasons and compass directions, alluding to earth’s great variety.
Oreon joined the Founders after striking up a friendship with Founder Valery. Like Kyrion, Oreon's start in life was far from easy. Born blind, he was an outcast for most of his childhood and found himself fighting for survival on the streets. However, he later found solace and comfort with Valery following a chance meeting. While the two were never romantically involved, Oreon’s and Valery’s partnership is perhaps the most genuine of all of the founders. Valery persisted in searching for a cure for Oreon’s blindness, and eventually succeeded.
Oreon was a brilliant academic in his own right, and flourished under Valery’s guidance. However, careful not to abandon his roots, he selected Resilience as his chosen Strand, alluding to his ability to survive the earlier years of his life. He linked Resilience to the element of water, drawing on water’s eternal presence, and ability to erode and change the landscape around it.