3. JEWELS, PROSPERITY AND TECHNOLOGICAL DARKNESS
Since the times of the early settlers, the population of Jemstone has grown a hundredfold, the entire island has been explored, and three cities have been erected: Opal (in the south-east), Quartz (in the centre) and the capital city of Ivory (on the west coast). Ivory is where the country’s government is based, but Quartz and Opal are the island’s bases of industry.
Jemstone’s cities glitter with wealth and prosperity; the country’s fortune was amassed following the discovery of the immense mineral mines in the centre of the island. It’s said that the man who discovered these mines was secretly looking for a place to bury the body of his wife, but that’s probably just a legend. Rubies, diamonds, sapphires, quartz and even gold nuggets have been excavated by the bucketload from these mines, and the excavation process provides jobs and money for the citizens. The majority of the gemstones are sold to buyers overseas, which is why, essentially, the majority of the island’s wealth has been collected from greedy foreign capitalists. Of course, that’s not what they tell the citizens. They like to word it a little differently.
The government of Jemstone is not as rigidly controlled as the governments of many of the world’s other countries. Due to the fact that everybody follows seven goddesses whose powers consist of being really, really nice, the golden rule of Jemstone is BE NICE. It’s not exactly rocket science. However, Ivory is home to the Pearl Castle, which is where the governing bodies of the nation meet; there are seven main ministers, to represent the seven goddesses, and an election takes place every seven years. There are very few laws in this country; this is mostly due to the fact that the population is so sparsely strewn across the island that rallying them together and keeping track of them is very difficult. The last minister that tried to collect a census supposedly ended up on the wrong end of a spit, as a sacrifice to the Shadow Knight.
At the root of all industrial, social and political values in Jemstone are the teachings of the seven goddesses; after more than four centuries, the people still swear allegiance to the rainbow religion. In fact, it is widely believed that the mineral mines that have brought prosperity to the people of the island were a gift from the gods. Whilst the religion’s rule about being a kind person has allowed Jemstone to become the most peaceful nation in all the world’s history, the religion’s other rule about taking care of nature has made it one of the least technologically advanced. Despite the fact that followers of the Path of Shadows still exist, it is actually the Way of Seven that has kept Jemstone trapped in the Dark Ages.