Metamor City Geography:
Here are some of the most noteworthy places in Metamor City.
The defining landmark of Metamor City is Kyia's Citadel, the latest form of the ever-shifting structure that was once called Metamor Keep. The Citadel is a mind-bogglingly huge structure, an arcology that towers over 1500 meters above the valley floor and whose base covers more than a quarter of a square mile of real estate. Nobody's quite sure just how many people live and/or work in the Citadel, but it is certainly upwards of a million (remember that the Citadel, like previous versions of the Keep, has variable geometry and is bigger on the inside than the outside).
The Citadel is composed of four main stylistic elements: a broad, low base with sloping sides, a huge central spire whose "head" resembles a cobra lily, and two slightly shorter minarets (1200 meters tall apiece) that stand to either side of the spire. All three towers are joined together by smooth, broad curves, so that the overall structure looks a little like a person in cape and cowl holding a thick, tall staff in each hand. The citadel's outer shell is made of light grey stone, which is light enough in tone that it shines brightly during the day, but the surface is non-reflective to cut down on glare.
Near the top of the spire, under the Citadel's "cowl" (where the face would be in the aforementioned analogy), is a huge oval-shaped dome made of tinted glass (or something similar -- Kyia doesn't often divulge the actual construction materials that she uses in the Citadel). This dome is reflective, and shines brilliantly on clear days -- but then, it's almost a mile up, so it doesn't interfere with people on the streets below. Behind the dome is a beautiful nature preserve, a microcosm containing many acres of forest, grasslands, foothills, even a large lake. There is also a large and elaborate garden on this level. The microcosm serves much the same purpose for the people of Metamor City that Central Park serves for the people of New York -- a place to go to relax reflect, and escape the insanity of big-city life. The microcosm is much smaller than Central Park, though, even with the Citadel's variable geometry, and there are other parks throughout Metamor City that serve a similar purpose -- but none is quite as remarkable as this one, with its mile-high view of the world outside.
The top floor of the Citadel is home to Majestrix Kyia's office. Her desk sits in front of a large set of windows facing south. The office also has bookshelves, potted plants, a large globe, and a few chairs for guests. A conference room and a private study flank the office on either side.
The minarets are topped with faceted glass observation decks, which look like enormous glittering jewels. The one on the east side houses a revolving restaurant that is a popular tourist attraction, rotating completely every 53 minutes to give diners a view of the entire valley. The western minaret is home to Nocturna and several other high-ranking members of Kyia's administration.
The Citadel sits in the middle of a square-mile quadrangle called, appropriately enough, the Square. It's a mixture of park, open lawn, and manicured gardens, a little bit like the Mall in the District of Columbia. People come here to relax, socialize, picnic, and rally for social and political causes. At the southern end of the Square is a large fountain with a statue of Duke Thomas V on horseback, commemorating the exploits of the man widely considered Metamor's greatest leader of all time. Horse-King, Fulfiller of Prophecies, Liberator of the Giantdowns -- the passage of time has made him a legendary figure, far larger than life.
Faced with limited real estate in the confines of the valley, Metamor City
has been forced to build up -- and build up it has, to an extent that would
be impossible without the use of magic. Most of the residential and commercial
zones of the city now sit dozens or hundreds of stories away from ground level.
To make it easier to move among this sea of skyscrapers, floating sky-ways crisscross
all over the City, providing pathways for skimmers, swoops and pedestrians alike.
(Skimmers and swoops can fly freely, but traffic laws restrict them to the skyways
and other well-defined flight lanes within the confines of the city.)
There are four main levels of skyways, which roughly correspond to the affluence of the individuals found at those levels of the city. People who live on the Street (i.e., ground level) refer to those from the higher levels as "skywalkers".
As the buildings got higher and higher in Metamor City and it got harder and
harder to see anything but urban jungle out your window, those who could afford
to naturally migrated to the upper levels just to get a decent view. The commercial
districts followed the residences, and what was left on the Street was exactly
what you'd expect: heavy industry, warehouses galore, and all of the less fortunate
folks who couldn't afford to "move up in the world". To say that the
Street took a downhill turn would be an understatement.
These days, the Street is the rough part of town, home to gang-bangers, swoopies, homeless folks and the lower-class. While it's still better than some cities in the Southlands, it's no place you'd want to take your girlfriend -- unless she's loaded up with spells and/or weaponry. People from higher up in the City don't come down here unless they work in the factories, move shipments to or from the warehouses, or are looking for trouble or illicit goods and services. There are good people who live down here -- quite a lot of them, actually -- but they live their lives in the shadows of crime and industry, and most of them escape the Street as soon as they can.
Technically an independent municipality located within Metamor City's limits, Glen Avery is a strange sight for many visitors: five square kilometers of thick forest nestled among a sea of skyscrapers. The trees here are the oldest and largest in the entire valley, home to powerful nymphs over a thousand years old. The inhabitants of the Glen live in houses built in and among the trees, following many of the design cues of Elven architecture. Heavy emphasis is placed on eco-friendly technology and living in harmony with nature.
The Glen's politics are dominated by the Avery family -- a line of squirrel-morphs that goes back to the days of the Battle of Three Gates -- and by the Matthias family, whose clan leaders still make their home here. The Glen houses the largest concentration of theriomorphs in the Valley -- fully 75% of the population are animal-morphs of one type or another. It is also a major haven for Elves and Silvaan, who make up 5% and 15% of the populace, respectively -- the largest single community of Elf-blooded people in the Valley.