The City Inevitable
Gateheart is the name of an enormous city that exists in a planar space that is apparently beyond all other universal structures. Beyond the city’s limits is true nothingness, a space of endless white that consumes anything and anyone that spends more than a few hours adrift in it.
Gateheart itself is protected from the effects of the void by a complex network of interlacing webs, called The Grim Web and The Gossamer Web. These webs create a localized field of reality that allow Gateheart to exist. These also generate an atmosphere that is primarily composed of oxygen and nitrogen, and allow a variety of lifeforms to live within the city limits.
The City is structured around a central vortex that connects into a series of portals leading into an endless number of other realities. This vortex is sealed within a synthetic crystalline bubble, and can only be safely accessed through contained terminals. However, with such access it is possible to transport oneself anywhere in reality, to any world or place.
Around this crystal bubble, the bulk of the city is built. From the very top of the bubble rises the Spire of Gravitas, an enormous tower that reaches up to one extreme of the webs. Around the Spire are hundreds of lesser spires, which in turn rise from a series of beautifully crafted mithral chateaus and facilities that circle the base of the Spire. This area is known as Hightown. Hightown is primarily a high income residential area, but it also has many entertainment districts and has a great deal of administrative facilities, as well.
Further down the bubble, we reach a circle of attached structures that run along the equator of the vortex. This area is where the bulk of the residential and commercial areas in the city occupy, and it makes up a bulk of Gateheart’s available space. This area is known as the Station Wellskirt.
Below the Wellskirt is a large network of attached structures that balance and support the Wellskirt, known as Seedlight Lowtown. Seedlight Lowtown is a transitional district with a mix of low income residential and light industrial facilities.
Even lower than Seedlight Lowtown is a structure that is built directly along the bottom of the bubble, known as Nolight Lowtown. Nolight Lowtown is primarily an industrial district, but there are still many individuals that live there, either out of necessity or because of poor circumstances.
The city itself covers an area that is roughly 350 square miles, from one extremity of the Wellskirt to its pole. From the very lowest point in Nolight Lowtown to the highest point on the Spire of Gravitas, the city is roughly 4.75 miles in vertical space. The sphere is roughly 0.5 miles from top to bottom, and the Spire of Gravitas is a little over 2 miles high.
Gateheart is composed of tempered mithral alloys that are incredibly durable and corrosion-free. More expensive and aesthetically pleasing materials are used in the higher regions, but the basic skeleton is the from top to bottom.
Although there are no orbiting celestial bodies and very little atmosphere outside the webs’ perimeter, Gateheart has a beautiful sky that is slightly pleochroic, shifting in hue from violet to pink throughout the course of a day. The passage of time is measured by the rotation of the Great Seed atop the Spire. It takes roughly 27 hours of standardized time for the Great Seed to make a full revolution. Additionally, this time period is divided into daylight and night-time segments. During the time at which the Seed’s calyx closes, the level of ambient light diminishes, creating a night-like effect. The calyx closes for roughly 10 hours a day, reopening slowly over an hour period after this time.
Due to its nature, it is highly difficult to estimate the city’s population. However, current records show there are roughly 11.5 million living (or pseudo-living) legal citizens within the city limits. After factoring in individuals who have no legal standing (such as the Thesid Overmind’s thralls and the chattel-humans of the House of Forgotten Names), and leaving room for a number of transient inhabitants and illegal trespassers, it is probably safe to estimate the actual number of people in the city being closer to 14 million. Obviously, space is limited and living quarters are a commodity, which is why the Council has enacted such strict immigration policies. However, should need require it, it would be possible to build onto various areas. Nolight Lowtown can be expanded downward about a half a mile without leaving the Webs’ field of reality, and by doing so it would also be possible to expand Seedlight Lowtown and the Wellskirt to match it. Additional spires can be built in Hightown, although ancient tradition and Council mandate dictate that no spire can ever be taller than the six orbital spires surrounding the Spire of Gravitas (which reach nearly a mile and a quarter into the sky). Such expansions would be incredibly costly and require many more resources than are available in the city- thus, there would need to be an effort to obtain these resources from other worlds.
No one is quite certain who built Gateheart originally. Allegedly, it was found, fully operational in its present state aeons ago by the first primordial gods. This matter has never been confirmed- even the oldest immortal inhabitants seem unable to recall exactly how they came to find the city. It would seem that the longer one resides in Gateheart, the less one remembers their world of origin. This seems to be particularly true in the case of immortals. Although total memory loss is rare, the details surrounding one’s arrival in Gateport get fuzzier and fuzzier over time, and events within native worlds become more and more story-like, feeling less like real memories and more like information one had acquired indirectly.
Time passes slower in Gateheart than in most natural worlds. Although it varies from world to world, the standardized average seems to suggest that time moves at a tenth the speed in Gateheart. Therefor, a single day spent in Gateheart would result in ten days passing in most other worlds- although there are always exceptions.