Tuesday, November 22, 2016

City of Exiles, the Mayor and the Four Ministries, Street Food

Umberwell is an unthinkably large metropolis of tall spires and underground warrens that has spread like a virus of modernity across five neighboring islands—Enclave, Eelton, Cirqus, Gristle, and Styg—as well as to a number of smaller satellite isles, domed undersea settlements, and exclusive skyward islets hovering above the clouds. Umberwell is the most populated city-state in the known world, and it is unique in that it welcomes the most disreputable and cast-off vagabonds to become its citizenry; a remarkably varied array of people call the city home.


Natasha Valk, a powerful tiefling sorceress, is the democratically elected Lord Mayor. She receives council from the Ministries of Shields, Coins, Altars, and Wands. (They oversee military, economic, religious, and magical affairs in the city-state, respectively.) Valk's governance has been controversial due to her infernal connections, yet she has proved canny enough to keep the city from descending into utter discord. The assassin responsible for the previous Lord Mayor's death was never apprehended.

To walk down the streets of Umberwell is to encounter a rich palimpsest of aromas; the scent of curries, saveloys, vinegar-soaked chips, spicy tacos, falafel, oysters and peas, kebabs, strong-brewed coffees and teas, and roasted chestnuts all compete for attention. The spicy frites prepared by franchises of Touchberry's Hot Pies are renowned throughout the city.