Table of Contents
The aqueduct system separates the City into six equal-sized regions called cantons. Each canton has its own unique characteristics that subtly distinguish it from the other cantons. These characteristics help to define each region and influence the activities and personalities that are attracted to them.
Usually considered the City's equivalent of South, the Sun Canton is so named because it recieves full sun exposure throughout the day. Regardless of how the City has aligned itself, the sun will rise near the Sun Canton in the morning and set near it at dusk. It is the only canton that is never touched by the shadow of the Tower.
The Sun Canton has a reputation for cheerful and helpful residents, and typically experiences warmer temperatures than the other cantons. The buildings tend to be clean and bright, with vibrant colours and plenty of green space and parkland.
Portals in the Sun Canton tend to lead to clean, safe, agrarian worlds, but this is by no means absolute or universal.
Most days the sun sets over the Wind Canton, which is named for typically experiencing higher winds and more powerful weather effects than the rest of the City. Weather usually approaches the City from the direction of the Wind Canton, and the canton bears the brunt of the City's storms. Strange localized weather effects sometimes appear in alleys and side streets, randomly dumping rain or snow on innocent bystanders.
Underside habitats - aeries for flying residents built on the crannies and nooks on the underside of the City's dish - are more heavily populated under the Wind Canton than anywhere else in the City. Flying creatures seem to have an affinity for the high winds and constantly changing air.
Portals in the Wind Canton most often lead to wilder, less developed worlds, where nature is dominant over any intelligent life present. This is not an absolute rule though, and there are many exceptions.
The Stone Canton is characterized by heavy buildings and squat stone edifices. The age of the City is felt more strongly in Stone than anywhere else. Colours seem muted and washed out and sounds seem strangely muffled, the entire canton taking on the atmosphere of a dusty library.
Stone is a remarkably stable canton, experiencing a lower rate of reconfigurations than any other canton, and it is very popular with those who prefer long-term settlement and gradual, predictable change. Residents of Stone are stereotyped as slow and patient, scholars, historians, and professors, and sometimes as stodgy and conservative.
Portals found in Stone tend to be stable and long-term, and there is little risk of walking through an unknown portal unexpectedly. There are more portals to graveworlds in Stone than in any other canton.
The Night Canton is opposite the Sun Canton. By accident of geography, it is literally the darkest of the cantons, recieving the least sun throughout the day, and almost perpetually resting in the shadow of the Tower. As a result, the canton is very popular with nocturnal residents, both natural and supernatural.
The streets of the Night Canton tend more towards the chaotic, with many twisting alleys and dead ends. Some people characterize the canton as sinister, but others feel a sense of magic and energy throughout the canton, of mysteries waiting to be discovered in the long shadows.
Portals in the Night Canton tend to lead to worlds that are darker or colder than average, and worlds with strong forces of magic and the supernatural.
Shielded behind the Tower and the bulk of the City, the Smoke Canton recieves little wind and only mild weather effects. While this makes it a warm and secure location, it also results in stagnant air and heavy fog and smog on bad days. Smoke tends to be the industrial sector of the City, home to several manufactories and industrial mills, and pollution tends to hang in the still air in a yellow-brown haze. Anyone venturing into the superstructure beneath Smoke needs to be extra careful of pockets of dead air and toxic gas.
The residents of Smoke are hard-working folks, but sometimes stereotyped as lower class and less intelligent. Certainly they tend to have less income. The people who actually own the factories can afford to live somewhere nicer than Smoke. The few parks in the Smoke Canton are generally home to sickly trees and brownish grass, and tend to be dedicated to sports fields and children's playgrounds rather than wild space.
Unsurprisingly, portals in Smoke often lead to heavily industrialized worlds.
No other canton is less predictable than Swift. The canton is named for the higher-than-average reconfiguration activity in the area, with entire large buildings regularly vanishing or appearing over night. Novelty is constant in Swift, and nothing should be considered permanent. Clubs, bars, and shops are constantly closing to be instantly replaced with new clubs, bars, and shops, even hipper and trendier than the last. Swift is a very popular canton with younger residents, especially the trendy and stylish, and almost everything in the canton is made to service the young, hip crowd. There's always a party somewhere in Swift, usually loud enough that it isn't difficult to find.
Swift's portals tend to be impermanent, appearing and vanishing at a higher rate than most of the City. They are less predictable, and far more likely to be discovered by accident. Portals to technologically advanced worlds are more common in Swift than in other cantons, but this is not an absolute rule.
The Cantons, along with the Tower and the Edge, make up a system of cardinal directions commonly used in the City. Technically speaking the City has no north or south, so directions are given in terms of cantons and relative position. Cantons are listed in terms of "-wise" (much as in "clockwise") and the Tower and Edge in terms of "-ward" (as in "forward")
For example, a set of directions to a given location might be:
Go Sunwise until you reach the large fountain, then continue Edgeward and you can't miss it.
This would mean you should move towards the Sun canton until you see a large fountain, and then follow the road leading away from the Tower and towards the City's outer edge. From context, we can also tell that the person in our example is currently located in a canton neighbouring the Sun Canton, either Wind or Swift.