Table of Contents
"Who rules the Tower rules the City"
The Tower is one of the City's defining structures, a permanent part of the superstructure not affected by reconfigurations. The Tower stands at the center of the City, a white stone edifice reaching hundreds of meters into the sky, dwarfing all other City buildings.
The Tower is the center of the City's governing faction, the Crown, and contains the residences of the Royal Family. Rumours persist that the Tower is the source of a powerful mystical force harnessed by the Royal Family, and a common proverb says that whoever control the Tower controls the City.
The Tower is a massive edifice made from white stone. It stands in the very center of the City, dwarfing all other structures. Efforts to measure the absolute height of the Tower inevitably return inconsistent answers, but it is estimated to be well over a thousand meters tall. The Tower is circular, tapering gradually towards the top, with dozens of balconies, outcroppings, and less explicable features interrupting its otherwise smooth surface.
A massive set of stone doors exits onto a wide concourse that surrounds the Tower. All year the concourse is crowded with merchants, tourists, and faction dignitaries going to and from the Tower, very lively and busy. The concourse is surrounded by a deep stone moat. Water flows from a series of "dragon-head" spouts just below the concourse level, filling the moat and creating clouds of steam in cooler weather. The water from the moat then feeds into the City's aqueducts. The moat can be crossed over six wide stone bridges, each of which rests in a deep groove along the lip of the concourse side, to allow the City to turn freely around the unmoving tower.
The thick stone walls and the wide moat make the Tower an unassailable fortress. The bridges cannot be raised, but while they are wide enough to admit normal traffic, an invasion force with siege equipment would have a much harder time traversing them quickly enough to be effective. Taking the Tower by force would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
The very top of the Tower splits into six gracefully curved branches, forming a cradle for the Enigma Stone.
The concouse level of the Tower is mostly open to the public, and a great draw for tourists. The massive double doors lead into a high-vaulted lobby, where a well-staffed information desk can direct visitors to the appropriate offices or attractions they are looking for. There are several fancy restaurants and shops around the lobby, used mostly by wealthy tourists or Crown employees and officers who don't mind the risk of running into members of the public. Some tourists will linger in the lobby, hoping to catch sight of members of the Royal Family coming or going. They are almost always disappointed, as despite appearances the big double doors are not the only exit from the Tower, and Royals more often use secret subterranean passages to come and go.
The most interesting tourist attraction on the concourse level is the Tower Museum, a collection of priceless gems, treasures and artifacts owned by the Royal Family. A complete collection of portraits cateloguing every monarch of the Tahoma dynasty hangs along one wall, and interpretive tour guides are happy to explain the history of the City and the Royal Family.
The lower floors of the Tower are mostly occupied by the working offices of the Crown faction. The lowest offices are dedicated mostly to public service, offering record-keeping and licensing services to private residents of the City. There are always large groups and long lines of people waiting patiently to file property rights or update birth records with the Crown bureaucracy.
Above these first levels are faction offices, where specialists and diplomats trained in negotiating between the City's many factions keep offices, and large conference rooms offer neutral ground for feuding factions to meet and come to terms. The entities responsible for taxing factions and handling the Crown's accounts are also found at this level. A few prominent factions, such as the Wardens, keep liason offices of their own here, to better monitor and influence the policies of the Crown.
The highest levels of the government offices are reserved for analysts, strategists, diplomats trained in negotiating with other worlds and intelligence services which directly serve the Crown. The most loyal and influential of the Crown's members keep their official offices here, next to the heart of the monarchy. These are the people who really run the City, at least as much as anyone does.
Below concourse level, there are several levels of archive rooms. Endless stacks where the Crown stores records and documentation going back hundreds of years. Starkly decorated, poorly lit, with stale air and no windows, the Crown archives are one of the most depressing places in the City to work.
Crown offices are richly but tastefully decorated, with dark wood panelling and muted tapestries for the walls. The decorations grow more extravagant and expensive as one reaches higher levels, though there are always exceptions, high-level bureaucrats who prefer stark stone walls to any aesthetically-pleasing touches.
Above the Crown offices are the Royal Residences, where the Queen and her family live. The lowest levels of the residences are offices much like those of the Crown, where the monarch and her advisors work. There are many documents, deals, and statements the Queen must append her signature to in order to validate them, and counter to common belief she is quite a busy woman. The Queen's personal bodyguard patrol these levels of the Tower, fiercely defending their monarch from any threat. Other royal family members often keep offices here, sometimes for work for the Crown, sometimes for their own personal business ventures.
Just above the offices are the residences for a small army of live-in servants, responsible for tending to the royal family's every need. These levels also house the residences and training facilities for the Queen's personal bodyguard.
The proper royal residence begins above the servant's quarters, with several lavishly decorated floors. These are known as the "Lower Residence" and includes extravagant dining rooms, parlours, and a gorgeous ballroom. The Queen and other royals meet with visiting dignitaries here, as well as rare members of the public.
The "Upper Residence" actually contains the Queen's sleeping quarters and a collection of rooms for the Royal Family's private use. It is rare indeed for anyone but the Royal Family or their servants to be granted admission to the Upper Residence, but not entirely unheard of.
The entirety of the Royal Residences levels are heavily fortified and closely monitored by the Queen's loyal bodyguard, though a casual observer would likely never notice it. The bodyguard take great pride in being both secure and discreet.
Far up at the top of the Tower, the structure splits into six long, gracefully curved branches, forming a delicate cradle. Inside the cradle, floating on a cushion of air, is the Enigma Stone, an artifact as ancient and mysterious as the City itself. The Engima Stone can only be reached by flight or by scaling the Tower, and it is rarely allowed to be studied, as there is some fear of what might happen to the City if the Enigma were damaged or disturbed.
The Enigma Stone is a sphere, ten meters in diameter, made of the same white stone as the Tower. The surface is made up of thousands of small pieces no larger than a person's thumb, each covered in runes and designs, some familiar and others totally alien. The individual pieces make up a huge and enormously complex puzzle box, constantly shifting and re-arranging itself like some infinitely complex Rubik's cube.
Scientific sensors reveal that the Enigma Stone is hollow, but are unable to determine anything about what is inside. In fact sensors don't even detect the opposite side of the sphere. They simply register the near edge of the sphere, and then report as if there was nothing behind it but infinite empty space. Investigations using magic fare no better, either fizzling out entirely or returning completely nonsense results. Psychic investigation either fails or results in immediate acute amnesia. The scrying knows that they saw inside the Enigma, but have can't recall even the slightes detail about what they saw. Those who press their scrying too hard risk permanent and total insanity.