Speculative Fiction: The Core City

Updated: Feb 6

by Bryanna Gary

NYC skyscrapers
Photo by Wix

For the uninitiated reader:

I wrote this for a class, but I basically used it as a world building assignment for a book I had once considered writing (and will now use the idea to post short stories from that universe to the site). The main civilization, The Core City is the biggest city in the world and is the home to the most powerful entrepreneurs, politicians, and royalty/aristocrats. It’s also home to some of the most downtrodden outsiders. Think New York, but with magic and stuff. :)

Instead of humans, the dominant species in Genesis are the Crux, a species of human-like magical beings who are made of and exist solely for magic and power. The kind of magic or “Gift” that one is born with is typically determined by genetics.

Here are the separate districts that make up The Core City, in the style of Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities” (great read, by the way).

The Districts of the Core City, Home to the Illustrious Cruxian Omni

No two classes are alike, so no two classes can agree. The Geos and Aeros cannot agree on location. The Imaginates and Psionics cannot agree on architecture. The Pyros and Hydros cannot agree on temperature. The Alleviates and Shockmancers cannot agree on transportation. No one can agree on who should be unfortunate enough to live closest to the Hexxers.

dj at a party

Split the city into districts. To the southeat, a burst of color. An endless festival complete with music, dancing, and drinking. A wonderful but nonetheless ruthless assault on the nostrils as the scent of dozens--no, hundreds--of market stalls sprinkled throughout every street corner waft towards every passerby. Illusions, or perhaps real creations (who’s to say when an Imaginate is around?) waddling or crawling, floating or hopping, soaring or burrowing. Towering buildings littered with flashy, colorful advertisements--buildings that should not stand, but do stand, because an Imaginate wanted it to.

business conference

To the south, the lights shut off. It is quiet, always. The Psionic does not like the noise, with so much already crowded into his head. His abode, his “Silent District” is simplistic: a sector of towering, imposing structures of plain black and white marble, organized with surgical precision, and never with a color brighter than grey. Shops as straightforward as straightforward can be (“Book Store”, “Men’s Clothing Store”, “Buy Food Here”), and a carefully maintained street devoid of vehicles when the Psionic’s preferred mode of transportation is that of the portal: quick, small, and--if done right--quiet and seamless. A community of men and women in neatly pressed blazers, suits, and leather briefcases, rarely speaking aloud when they much preferred the conversation of shared thought.

man in front of touchscreen

To the southwest, a technological marvel far beyond what even Brance--a city inhabited entirely by Shockmancers--could devise. A chaotic marriage of recklessness and innovation, practicality and intrepidity, security and audacity. Sleek blue glass skyscrapers carefully split at the center, giving way to a seemingly mindless tangle of smooth, narrow roads, looping and zigzagging as high up as a thousand feet in the air. Holograms dictating everything, from directories assisting lost tourists to signs beckoning the wandering outsider inside--usually to witness some new technological marvel. There is never a moment of peace, as the Shockmancer is constantly innovating, and with innovation comes reconstruction and reconstruction, and more reconstruction, until the district is plunged into the future so thoroughly that the sidewalks become automatic at the traveler’s behest and the streets themselves thrum with a constant electrical pulse--a requirement for a district that runs almost entirely on the power of its population.

skyscraper covered in greenery

To the north and northeast, a merging of shared ideals. Two districts brimming with life spilling into one another, the Geomancer, Aeromancer, Pyromancer, and Hydromancer protecting the life of the earth while the Alleviate protects the life of her inhabitants. The closest district to nature the highly advanced and magically-immersed city will ever get, connected with roads of lush greenery, fruits, and flowers lovingly tended to by the city’s most conservationist civil engineers. Buildings sprouted from the ground, always wrapped in vines like a gift from mother nature herself. The city’s agricultural center, where animals trod, gallop, flutter, and skitter alongside the Cruxes who share their home; a natural harmony. Yet also a clashing. A singular brick building, wrapped not in healthseed or grayrose vines but thorny needlefeed vines, wreathed in poison. A tiny pocket of life-givers trained instead as life-takers--choking, poisoning, crushing, impaling. The living incarnations of the brutality of nature.

abandoned city street

To the northwest, a hole where a district should be. An empty lot of dilapidated bungalows, flickering street lights, and trash peppered throughout the dusty, cracked streets. A cursed red light district in which--aside from the Hexxers relegated to it--only the most depravedly lustful and sexually masochistic Cruxes ever set foot. A place in which sleeping in the streets is no different from sleeping in the small, roofless huts of rotting wood, infested with all manner of five-to-eight-legged creatures. Bodies wrapped in tattered cloaks huddle for warmth, some moving on occasion, some as stiff and as pale as the death that had claimed them. Spine-chilling shrieks pierce the air, a sound as common as the song of a bird or the chirp of a grasshopper, for a desperate Hexxer is a Hexxer who uses his unholy ability in defiance of the society who has shunned him as much as he uses it for his own survival.

utopian city in the clouds

At the center, the beating heart of the Core City. The coalescence of every district, save that of the Hexxers (hateful undesirables that they are) and the Hollowed (Giftless wastes that they are) and the Gifts they represent. It is here that the emperor makes his home, where his uniquely versatile capabilities are all equally represented. A merging of the best of every class, from the highest Alleviate physicians to the greatest psionic investigators. A center of wealth and prestige, where the focus and ambition of the shockmancer collides with the energy and creativity of the Imaginate. Where the patience and erudition of the psionics combines with the compassion and poise of the Alleviate.

Get a Taste of The Magic Classes of The Core City:

Alleviation: the healing class

Aeromancy: the whispering class

Geomancy: the forging class

Hexxers: the forgotten class

Hollowed: the non-class

Hydromancy: the flowing class

Imagination: the dreaming class

Psionics: the watching class

Pyromancy: the raging class

Shockmancy: the innovating class

#city #sciencefiction #fantasy #scifi #speculative #flashprose

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