Rushing, roaring, gurgling: The sound of water never completely escapes the hearing of a citizen of Waterfall City. Three broad canals are named after the marine reptiles who assist the tour boats and ferry visitors from the Mosasaur Harbor to outlying neighborhoods. A network of subterranean waterways built into the basement of the city once provided a sophisticated water taxi service on seashell gondolas, but it fell into disuse after some difficulty with cave-ins.
Hatchlings and toddlers frolic in the Wading Pool near the Booraza Café or splash in the spray of the waterworks on Fountain Avenue. Every evening the Aqua Stadium features a show performed by sea creatures and their riders, who often make spectacular entrances to the Water Arena on the Big-Snake Water Slide. Elaborate waterwheels in many households operate whimsical dishwashing mechanisms, designed more with the intent of impressing dinner guests than cleaning plates.
Even the city’s slang has evolved along a watery course: a dull fellow is said to have “silted up”; an artist receiving inspiration has “hit the green geysers”; and a self-taught student has “filled his own basin.”Arts and Letters
Praised as the “jewel of the polongo,” Waterfall City is Dinotopia’s western center of learning and the arts, with ample provision for visiting students and masters. It is the home of the immense central library, whose scroll-shaped books are written in the ancient dinosaur footprint alphabet. Most writing is not even copied onto the scrolls, but rather jotted in sandboxes by high-stepping ornithomimid scribes.
In the midst of lighthearted homes of puppeteers and toymakers stands a sober temple that houses the Guest Registry, a scroll where newcomers record their names and special gifts. Students in training to become habitat partners study the Demisaurian Epics, larger-than-life tales of half-human, half-saurian heros. Deeds of the demisaurians adorn the Uzgol Tapestries, removed to Sauropolis in 1713 to protect them from mildew. Renowned musicians, from the great Oombajeeva stylist Gizelda Pepper to the Turfwallow Tubamen of Gammawamma, got their start at the informal Musicians’ Inn on Steep Street, and later performed under Cornelius Mazurka in Ruhmsburg. Though the Toy Museum contains several working phonographs from as early as 1654, the inhabitants of Waterfall City have little use for recorded music, instead enjoying live performances from a harper’s barge or a dragon horn boat. At the Concert Hall alongside the Mosasaur Harbor, the seats and stage can be lowered below the level of the water, where visible through thick glass windows, plesiosaur ballets accompany specially composed aquatic suites.
Human and saurian dancers from all across Dinotopia practice their art in a spacious palazzo overlooking Pliosaur Canal. So lively are the Jamborini Jigs that the ground-shaking vibrations kick up waves in the Hot Baths next door. Quieter pose dancing has evolved into a rich vocabulary of gestures performed by a human/saurian pair to express the many moods of nature.
At the end of the day, citizens may gather at the Dining Commons, where tables are set at three different levels above the floor—the highest at 25 feet—and where musical belching is encouraged as a compliment to the chef.
Gray heads gather at the Round Table Hall, where matters of official business are taken up for debate. Believing that the power of suggestion is more enduring than the force of law, members of the esteemed assembly often say that a fool can manage his own affairs better than a sage can manage the affairs of others. But the management of the city itself requires unending vigilance. The force of the water undercutting the limestone foundation layer leads to frequent collapses, most recently in 1744, when the well-known Blue Mist Ballroom slumped into Cloudbottom Gorge, fortunately without loss of life.