Flintlocks & Fireballs
To describe the Imperial capital is to describe a city within a city, within a city. The mighty fortress, the industrial ring around it, and the endless slums sprawling outwards are all completely different, but utterly intertwined.
Seflheim itself was originally a fortress, built atop a single spike-like mountain; as time has gone on, the Imperial Spire, as it is now known, has become a small city in it’s own right: the administrative and cultural capital of the whole Empire. Fortified accordingly, the castle, the entire mountain (mansions clinging like limpets to the sides, and carved deep into the rock), is the diamond in the Imperial crown; beautiful, cold, and utterly hard, rising above a sea of smog from the dross below.
Below the cloud, you could almost forget the fortress existed. A dense mass of factories, workshops, and all the other necessities of industrialisation crowd together, a forest of chimneys conspiring to perpetually hide the mountain above in choking clouds of smog. A network of railways serve to bring in raw supplies and export finished products. Being so close to the Imperial Spire, the area is subject to ruthless military control, and even the workers at the factories are not allowed to linger in the streets without becoming suspects.
Of course, such a hive of production needs workers, and these people all live in the slums circling the industrial zone. The poorest live closer in, crammed into tenements, while the more well-off live as far out as is practicable in a futile attempt to escape the smog. In Selfheim, the fastest way to tell someone’s wealth is by how often they cough. With the centre of Selfheim so utterly secure, military presence is vastly lower here – the slums still have Imperial patrols of course, but the soldiers have little interest in much other than demonstrating their superiority and extracting ‘perks’. Of course, if trouble does occur, it’ll be stamped out instantly, but the slum-dwellers have a hard enough life without looking for extra trouble, and the soldiers know it.