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[Lore] Coralline


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Coralline - The City of Life Beneath the Waves

 

Hippocamps can be found in a great many of the clement parts of the vast oceans surrounding Equestria, many as curious and as cheery as dolphins, and some a great deal more clever. But, where there are ponies, there must be homes for them, surely. Although a good number of the hippocamps are nomadic and wander the seas as they wish, hiding away in reefs or large shells when the seas turn dark and tumultuous, there is one great city that many call home - Coralline, an underwater city that stands just off the coast of Unyasi.


Architecture

As it’s name suggests, the city is built largely of carefully-crafted and shaped corals of many varieties, leaving the city vivid and distinct amidst the cool, sandy depths that surround it. It is not a city built with much in the way of commerce or defense in mind, but rather, much of it is for living and raising young in. As such, many of the buildings are coral apartments, with almost nopony owning their own home. Those buildings which are not for habitation are either for education, for sport, or for civil services.

As for actual design, many of the buildings of Coralline are clustered together, often sharing strong, interwoven walls and supports between multiple structures. Though this does somewhat encroach on privacy and personal decorative choices, it's necessitated due to the time-intensive process of growing and shaping the coral involved. Living-spaces are usually somewhat utilitarian in shape, though the vivacious colors involved do a lot to keep any one room from being drab or oppressive.


Commerce and Economy

Much of the city is fueled by coral-workers and seafarmers, providing the hippocamps with nutritious algae, seaweed and a variety of sea-vegetables for sustenance. Due to the distance between Coralline and any of the coastal cities of Equestria, very little of their toil is put towards trade and commerce - pearls and carefully-cultivated shells are sometimes brought to various ports or traded with wayward ships, but often it is an exchange of trinkets or valuables, as the sea-city has little use for bits. The currency of Coralline is that of the sand dollar, though the ones used in trade are first engraved and coined before being accepted as currency.

Internally, trade is largely done in three of the large, slightly crowded city squares, which bustle with life and activity for as long as the sun shimmers down upon them. Often, the markets awaken with the sun, and close up as the sun begins to set, leaving shopping hours somewhat busy and a touch troublesome. However, the somewhat scant light deeper into the water makes things difficult earlier in the evening, and so the bother persists.


History

It is generally accepted that Coralline was not the first hippocamp city in the Sparkling Sea, but it was the sturdiest, the largest, and the most conveniently placed amidst the ocean's crevices and shoals. So, it grew the largest, and became the most important. As such, the crown jewel of the hippocamps also houses the majority of their stone tabletures, their historic scrolls and records, and their censure.

Initially, however, Coralline was little more than a rather promising coral bed for a hippocamp and his family - the Sealines, to be precise - to live their lives, one quickly settled and taken by the family of wayward swimmers. However, it so happened that the father - Salty Sealine - had a knack for working with coral, for bending it and shaping it into a proper shelter, an ability that he had passed on to his children. The coral reef grew quickly and precisely with endless care and attention, affording them colorful, comfortable shelters in which to live. As the reef grew, however, so too did interest in passing ponies range from 'mild curiosity' to proper desire to help the home grow into a small colony, the sons and daughters of Satly Sealine courted some of the passers-by, bringing them into their coral home to rear their children in relative safety and security. With even more ponies with some of Salty's gift, the colony was further cultured and constructed, more and more coral filling the comfortable sea floor, sprawling and growing in size.

But, from home to colony, and from colony to city Coralline grew, other families and gathered in the swelling reef. The coral reef began to bustle with life, teeming with activity. It was then, some five generations after Satly Sealine had made his home, that Coralline began to start looking as it does today. The dozens upon dozens of Sealine ponies continued to shape and help the city grow, while other ponies filled the homes they made with their own families, bringing in food and trade and many things of value to help turn the city into a shining center of seaward civilization. It was not a journey of hardship of difficulty, nor one where turmoil or drama were much involved - but rather, it was simply a story of a lucky hippocamp with a special talent and a love for making things grow.

- Richard Canterborough, Blue Planet

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