Kites d'Jeaux

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The incredible Kites d'Jeaux of Iganefta-on-the-Sea are both an engineering marvel and a source of tasty snacks, and were originally constructed in order to aid with research about the colors of clouds by Prof. "Mizo" Mononoke (b. -181 EC d. -110 EC). Mononoke came to Iganefta-on-the-Sea in -140 EC and set up a complex of tents and fielding huts on the shores of d'Jeaux Beach and was soon after seen collecting burnflies and other flying creatures along the rocky shore.

Although Prof. Mononoke is credited with the construction of the Kites d'Jeaux, there is some doubt about how they came into being. The exact method of construction and structural support are a complete mystery. No records of engineering or even materials invoices have been found from Mononoke's time in any of the archives of Bute University or in any of his personal files. Summer visitors simply left Iganefta-on-the-Sea late in -131 EC, and when they returned the following summer, there were 16 Kites around d'Jeaux Beach. Mononoke himself was never willing to discuss the construction of the Kites, leading some to conclude that other means, or other parties entirely, may have been responsible. However, since Mononoke used the Kites in his research for approximately the next 20 years, his name has become completely wrapped up with their construction.

Originally, there were 16 Kites. The well known lumogram of the vista of the Kites d'Jeaux by Belsperg was not created until 30 years or so after their construction. Some of the kites (including one that was supposedly almost 10 kunanits tall) were lost in the first few years after their original appearance. Two collapsed into Marty that first summer. Another collapsed the following winter (presumably, as it was not there the following year). Two more were lost in -112 EC. The remaining eleven Kites d'Jeaux have withstood the years and the elements in their present configuration.

Access to the Kites d'Jeaux is precarious, as the spindly structures have neither ramps nor scuttleways, and, of course, an elevator would be impractical, even if such a device could one day be constructed. In order to reach the platform at the top, the daring ceilonaut is forced to affix lighter-than-air gasbags to his carapace and be drawn upwards. Only a few very brave adventurers have ever dared this, and even fewer have successfully reached the top. The kites range from 4 to 8 kunanits in height, as has been determined by triangulation. An attempt at direct measurment by Gonmolfier in -91 EC lead to the death of three ground assistants when his measuring rods collapsed down upon them.

Due to the juxtaposition of these structures at the seashore, a dynamic specialty environment has developed on the underside of the Kites d'Jeaux, and is populated with special plants found nowhere else. Constant, rich winds blow across the Shallow Gulf and then collide with the undersides of the Kites. This creates a unique, combined marine/ceilistic environment, in which plants that normally grow underwater instead grow in the air. The crispy vornalts which fall from the Kites are actually ourge pods. (This was conclusively demonstrated by Dr. Buddy-Mortimer Antwal at Bute University in -54 EC.) Because they are not soaked in seawater, the flavorful nature of the vornalt avoids the slimy character of uncooked (or cooked, for that matter) ourge.

Although Bute University has granted more than three dozen doctorates over the last 130 years for atmospheric research to students who claim to be using the Kites, the dissertations of these scientists are notoriously thin - several contain no research data whatsoever. Only two of these students actually reached the platforms of the Kites d'Jeaux (though another eight or nine died in the attempt). Perhaps it is significant that a full dozen of these doctorates were awarded to the spouses of faculty members. While Bute University is undoubtedly the greatest learning institution in Ghyll, this one aspect of their program shows that even the greatest among us have faults we need to remedy.

Citations: Iganefta-on-the-Sea, Elevators, Vornalt.

--Brother Arfrus 16:18, 5 Aug 2005 (EDT)

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