random selection of information about the city
from my series “I’d kill for you. I’d die for you, I’d live for you.”
I love worldbuilding, and so this is what I do when I’m procrastinating. Write up this crap.
None of this is “canon UMY” (because there isn’t really such a thing, in my opinion; there are just common ideas)- the City is different for everyone, even though we all share and collaborate to make it what it is. This is just my City. Everyone is encouraged to be as similar or as different as you’d like. There’s room for everything and anything.
A lot of my UMY world is the same as real life (the Urban parts of Urban Magic).
Therefore, I’m only explaining what makes my city magical (the Magic parts of Urban Magic) or what’s specifically part of my stories.
The City has the variety of people and food and culture that a big city has. There’s a river going through it. The ocean is to the East.
The City is divided into districts, mainly Sidhe Court Territory, the Jury District, Garbage Court Territory, and The Underground. Over the years, smaller courts tried to control pockets of the city, but the GC ran them out. If the Sidhe Lord didn’t take them under his wing first.
There is a firm enmeshment of magical and non-magical life.
Other than being a mix of the (admittedly few) places I’ve experienced, the City is mostly Chicago, Montreal, and Budapest. I’ve never been to any of these places listed except for Chicago and Orlando, but I’d love to go someday.
The City is very heavily Chicago-inspired, especially the neighborhoods and the L, which make up the Jury District and the home(s) of Xeph, Dew, Lalna, and Will, and Lom & Nilesy.
The city is also very heavily Montreal, Canada, especially the downtown, and the nightlife for those craaaazy Garbage Court parties. Also very heavily Budapest, Hungary, for downtown and Sidhe territory, especially the streets, and the nightlife once again.
Also there’s London, Ontario, Canada and a little bit of Kiev, Ukraine for downtown.
GTA V’s Los Santos and GTA IV’s Liberty City (based off of LA and NYC respectively) play their part visualizing Sips’ neighborhoods and backstory, and the subway/underground rail system. Miami, Florida’s streets are also for Sips’ neighborhoods/backstory, and the weird street that Nano’s shop is on.
Dublin, Ireland streets and some of Orlando, Florida’s streets for shopping areas.
A little bit of Norwich, England streets and little bit of London, England streets for GC territory.
Ross’ old church is a mix of:
Notre Dame Cathedral and Meaux Cathedral, in Paris, France
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City
St. Ailbe’s Church, in Emly, Ireland
as well as the churches I went to as a kid, so it doesn’t completely = a cathedral in my head. And when Smith finds Ross, it’s nowhere near as pretty as a nice restored cathedral would be.
People don’t tend to arrive in/leave the city. This is why Will is such an oddity when he arrives, and because he’s a powerful, untrained, rare-magic user.
Fae have more lee-way than humans, and can go to and leave the city as they choose. Over the ages, the presence of fae has increased the magical power of the city. The undercurrent of magic in the city is what keeps mortals there, whether they know they’re being kept or not…
Both the type of magic and the way magic is used varies. It can have verbal and/or physical elements, or neither. The more powerful the magic, the more things needed (could be in terms of sacrifice, concentration/focus, or items that boost power). Additionally, the less magical the being trying to do the magic thing, the more magic they’ll need. For example: it’s much harder for Xephos to make golems than it would be for Kirin.
The creation of golem-like beings takes a lot of magic, and because of such mostly fae are the ones who are capable of it. Ironically, the creation of golems is allowed in the city, whereas necromancy is not. Most golems are created for a single, simple-minded purpose…and normally do not make decisions for themselves or are raised as children. (The Lalnae have their own story.)
Ross is similar to a golem, in that he is a creation made of some material, imbued with magic for a purpose. But divine magic is very different than the creation magics more commonly used to create golems. (as for who decided to create Ross…I don’t know.)
Magic is known and accepted in the city. Those without it don’t know much about it, but they know it exists. Despite the benefits of magic, normal things are still needed.
Magical businesses were more hidden, and it was less common to sell to normal mortals when Trott and Smith arrived in the city together. The integration of magic into everyday life is one that has happened very quickly over the past several decades. A lot of fae own shops- it’s a good business venture to one-up mortals. Even the Sidhe Lord himself is in on it…
The city is home to a variety of magic-users, of varying tiers of power.
The highest, most powerful, are the otherworlders. These are higher up fae originally from other planes of existence *cough, Kirin & Angor, for example*.
Secondly are fae (the GC, Nano, Turps, the Gaijin Court, Rythian, Rail Bros, etc). Fae have inherent magic which is natural born, and can learn most magics (Trott). Some fae have objects by which their magic exists, or can be manipulated (dryads with their home-trees, genies/djinn with their lamp-like items, selkies with their skins, kelpies with their bridles, etc).
However, these objects are more complicated than they may first seem. How much power they entail/control is personal to each fae. Not all fae have something that acts as a conduit for their magic, but each fae is different in what that conduit does/how it works.
Both fae and otherworlders have glamours, which are…sort of like a magical disguise. It’s a thin veil of magic that allows a fae/otherworlder to pass as normal among a group. For example, if a fae would normally have wings and horns, they would appear without these to humans, but as their normal selves to fae. Certain fae have physical/human forms they can switch between, but glamours still apply to make them seem more “normal” and blend in with a human populace.
Otherworlders may have multiple forms, with multiple layers of glamour- one to appear as “human” and another to appear as “fae”. Otherworlder’s glamours are more close to forms than just a disguise. Because they are from other planes of existence, otherworlders have more manipulation over how they look- and their original body may not be anywhere close to looking like a human would.
Fae, on the other hand, have to “attune” or “connect” to their glamour in order to use it the first time, which basically is just a matter of visualization, and saying a mantra, to inact the spell. “you believe, thus you are”/”confidence”
In terms of fae, I’ve thrown out a lot of rules. There are things about fae not saying thank you or not being able to lie, and I’m too lazy to remember that, so that doesn’t really apply here.
Debts are something that will be discussed a little more in my series, so I won’t say much more, other than this:
Fae work in debts, generally, but not all hold so much importance over them. Most fae who live in the Jury District want nothing to do with the power in the city (Rythian) and make sure to remain neutral in all deals, helping only those they choose favor with and none else. Debts can be small or large, but the city always wants the balance to remain even.
Some fae tend to form loose groups, few alliances or families, sometimes courts. Most fae are wanderers, but with the rise of the city, Kirin has grown in power as the reigning Sidhe Lord.
There are benefits and negatives to joining a court, one of which is access (albeit limited) to a magical power pool.
The two most powerful courts are the Sidhe and the Garbage Court. The Sidhe have a lot of fae and human-pledged debts. The GC, however, have a lot of magical power, but their allegiance and allies fluctuate. They don’t have strict rules, unlike the Sidhe do.
In terms of mythology and lore that people use for ideas, fae are divided into two factions: good and bad. But this isn’t necessarily true. The world is not so simple, and characters motivations are often complex. In the UMY universe, you can make whoever you want as the good/bad guy, favor any side or any character. Or have everyone be true neutral. The courts created are just guidelines, really.
Most fae have their own language. In a modern society, most of these are dead languages, and are not often spoken, as to not give away the fact that you’re fae. There is a benefit to this, because if people don’t know your native language, they cannot speak your true name. But, this also means a lot of fae culture is lost because of it.
Language is divided into categories of fae, and then dialects. Smith and Trott both speak derivatives of water fae, but how and what they say could differ drastically. River fae is unpronounceable by human tongue, probably because if you’re speaking underwater it sounds a lot different than in air. Also Smith’s a horse.
I imagine the water fae language is very phonetic, using lots of sounds and tones and vibrations to mean feelings, emotions, and phrases. Thus, there isn’t an easy way to translate from that to English.
Fae age at a slower rate than humans, dependent upon fae type (water fae age at the same rate, for example. otherworlders age at a much, much slower rate than normal fae do), and the rate increases in slowness the older they get.
Humans in a fae court age at the rate of the court, but they aren’t offered any protections health-wise that fae would normally have (in terms of diseases, injury, etc) because fae are inherently magical in a different way than magical humans are.
Magical humans are third down the tier in city inhabitants, and have their own sub-categories.
Sorcerers (Will) are as close to fae power as you can get while still staying mortal. They’re rare nowadays with the popularity/variety/learnability of witchery. Technomancy is a relatively new magic.
Mages (Xephos) are more powerful witches who have control over multiple magics. Mostly spoken-word style spellcasting, studying, and rune-usage, with or without other items.
Witches (Lomadia) are anyone with some semblance of magic that can learn witchery. Witchery uses a lot of items, in divining, potion making, and spellcasting.
And then, lastly, we have non-magical mortals (Sips). Poor muggles. Most (but not all) are aware that magic exists, and take advantage of it’s uses like they do with modern day technology.
Belief in Fae
Not many normal mortals believe the stories about fae anymore. Magic users are much more wary, but not all believe fae are inherently evil. Hunters are heard of, but now, never seen. Kirin was the one who ran the hunters out of the city sometime around the industrial revolution. Ever since, fae have hidden themselves more. Fae remember being hunted, even if humans don’t. Fae are much less trusting of humans than humans are of them (which works in their favor).
Kirin and the Sidhe Court
Kirin is much, much older than anything else in the city. He looks to be 30 when he meets Smith and Trott in the early 1970s, but only 34 when he meets Will. (Smith and Trott follow similar ageing because they’re water fae, but beings with much greater magical power, like Kirin, have lower rates.)
Kirin’s roughly 17,000 yrs old. He came into being more than he was born, because he has a god-like demi-god thing going on. He’s more of a “being” than a fae creature. The physical essence of his twilight realm, basically.
(1700/34 = 50 human yrs per fae year)
Kirin’s been in power in the city/area since roughly 700 CE. But he’s probably existed since 300 CE- in this plane of existence. He’s from the Twilight Forest, so time does not work the same way, with his human vessel, in this realm.
The 1970s is when Kirin is the most actively acquiring people in the city. Unlike in other UMY versions, he doesn’t “collect” humans/fae in his mansion, but he does collect a network of debts around the city.
Kirin oversees fae in the city only on the same level a king would, if a problem is called to his attention by the magical law enforcement (MP). There are general rules that fae are not supposed to break, mostly involving their interactions with humans. These “laws” were enacted after the hunters were Hunted down, their books/implements destroyed, and their kind…erased. This was when the MP were founded (but Angor didn’t join until a few decades later- more info on how the MP works/Angor might be to come.)
Fae like to party and celebrate, and they coordinate collection of debts and magical rituals at certain times of the year. These generally occur during spring, summer (when the GC is normally the most active w/ parties), fall (biggest- Halloween/Samhain), winter, and at the turn of the year (New Years).
There’s one big university in the city, and several smaller community colleges/trade schools. It’s magic and normal education combined.
The campus is located in the heart of downtown, big and sprawling and full of a wide variety of interesting architectural buildings and open green area. This is where Dew teaches, where Xeph, Dew, and Sips got their degrees, and where one of the Lalnae currently go as a grad student.
I imagine Trott took some courses when he started Dirty Deeds. In business, accounting, marketing, that sort of thing.
Any questions? I’m always happy to chat headcanons ^^.