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Realistic or Modern Behind the Veil - Lore



Witch in the Ice
This is the lorebook for Behind the Veil [Working Title], an Urban Fantasy set in approximately contemporary time.

As we go I'll probably try to get some threadmarks and categories set up for ease of navigation but for now we probably don't need to worry about that. However, to keep things clean let's try to make this thread a place for specifically longform lore descriptions, explanations, ideas, or maybe even posts from the perspectives of characters in the world to highlight lore elements. For conversations about the lore, we can post in the OOC or in Discord.
Canter - City Guide New


Witch in the Ice
To be quite frank, the city of Canter has never once been the kind to garner any sort of attention. At a population of only around two hundred thousand people, It is hardly large enough to be well known outside of its general area, and while the nightlife is... vibrant in its own way, the scene isn't one that would draw anybody interested. The city isn't beautiful by any means, not a marvel of engineering nor does it have any particularly reputable architects, or even a unified aesthetic. The angular roads run into one another and shatter any attempts at a neat grid by the well meaning but not entirely competent city planners. And yet there's nothing so egregious as to warn visitors away. It's the sort of place to never make it into a travel guide. The rocky and frigid coast of the northern Atlantic does little to draw visitors, and the pebbly approximate of beaches are an acquired taste. All the same, it is easy to say that the port city has its own sort of eclectic charm. The close press of woodland separates it on most sides from any other settlements, not that any of the nearby fishing towns need any more incentive to keep to themselves. The docks bring in a constantly rotating crowd of those shipworkers, importing goods, stories, and identity from all across the world, a much needed benefit to the city which otherwise would have little in the way of support to the hopitality industry.

The people of Canter are surprisingly diverse, built as a synthesis of old local families who lived there before the city truly built up, the influx of sailors and immigrants who landed there and decided to stay, and more recently a crowd coming to staff the growing industries being built, the corporate offices. Rapid development has accompanied this shift, the relatively small town exploding into a dense downtown cluster with some small mix of suburbs over the last hundred years or so. This development, however, was not the simplest of things. The city of Canter is divided neatly along the banks of the Graceford river, a natural river which flows from the northwest, through the city, and into the Atlantic. South of the tributary, along the coast lie the Docks where the majority of early growth in the city was centered, much of the older development brackets the docks and lines the south banks of the river, while to the north the more recent downtown core has been built up.

The district lining the south side of the rive, aptly named riverside, is often considered prime real estate, recently gentrified and drawing in the young and the 'bohemian' with the appeal of proximity to the river, the view of downtown, and the promise of overpriced brownstones, exposed brick, and townhouses. Further south from the river, butting against the Docks lies Oldtown, what was once the heart of the city but has since become somewhat run down. While it is hardly shabby, it certainly has felt the wear of a few decades since development, and it is where the streets hold that telltale chaos of those built after the fact of the settlement, as opposed to the downtown core where they conform to a neater grid, even if it holds some oddities still. Oldtown and it's western neighbour Shale Street are widely considered the less appealing parts of town. South of the Docks, a modest trainyard operates, shipping goods inland, and even a few passenger trains.

North of the Graceford river, along the coast lies Gastown, a similarly gentrified district to riverside, though with a better preserved historical style and a coastal boardwalk. West of Gastown is, of course Downtown which occupies the greatest portion of the northern side of the Graceford. The downtown area operates much as you would expect of a city Canter's size, although with surprisingly active scene after dark. Many places remain open and thriving well into the night, casting bright lights and neon into the streets along the main drive of Lotus Avenue runing parallel to the river. Tall corporate offices intermingle with apartments, with a healthy mix of expensive restaurants and crowded clubs sprinkled in between. Further northwest, the city thins into the pleasant suburbs of Vod Grove and Haven Creek, neighbourhoods of soccer moms and wealthy commuters, interspersed with parks and eventually fading into the denser, and wilder woods which wraps around the city.

The weather in Canter is particularly seasonal, though the most appropriate descriptor at any time would likely be 'drab.' The humidity is often high, with heavy cloudcover or dense fog rolling in from the sea more often than not, leaving the entire city covered in a drizzling sheen of rainwater for days at a time. In the winter, the residents are used to the occasional heavy snow, refusing to let it interrupt their business. During the summer, the air can often turn hot with middling humidity, the otherwise harsh coastal breeze providing a much needed respite of cool if salty air.
A Faebound's Guide to Canter - Introduction New


Witch in the Ice
"This is probably very strange for you. To emerge, blinking against the bright and shining darkness of a world utterly unknown to you until you shattered the grand illusion and pulled the curtains aside. I know that feeling,, that stare which is just as likely to blind you as it is to teach you anything. That strange and stumbling sense that there is so much more to the world that you never saw, and the warring desires to run and hide or to drink it all in. Unfortunately for you, neither is an option. You cannot turn away, not anymore. You took a step too far and the roots have their hold and all that is left is to go further, deeper. There is so very much that willful ignorance can hide, it's so easy to overlook the little inklings that something not right. Sure that friend of a cousin saw something strange, but he was drunk and he's always had that habit of telling stories for attention. If you hear tales of a silhouette in the dark looming over someone's bed, well... night terrors and sleep paralysis are a hell of a thing. And the stories were never frequent enough, real enough, or close enough that you really believed them, and why should you? But you just had to dig. You had to know. Something sparked that treacherous little curiosity with sent you stumbling blindly down a path without a clue where it would lead. And here you are. Through whatever machinations you've seen too much now, felt too much. And that ignorance is gone, now you see the sharpness at the shadow's edge. You notice how deep some of the dark alleys are, how clingingly cold the fog drifting across your skin has become. And you know. It's too late to look away.

But for all the dangers you have stumbled into, there is much to be grateful for. As much as being aware sharpens some of the dangers you now face, you no longer face them in solitude and fear, you can learn, and grow. Learn to avoid them or even stand against them, in some way or another. For one thing, you may feel it now, if you are lucky that is. That spark. The warmth of kindling in your heart that only needed the strength of your belief, your Faith, your absolute certainty as to what you are seeing. Perhaps your discovery has roused within you what has always slumbered, and now has opened an eye. I speak, of course, of magic. Indeed you understood me well enough, it isn't all that complicated a concept. Through the knowledge of what truly exists in this world you may have awakened a truth within you, one utterly individual to your own identity. I can not tell you what it is, what power you may feel stir within you. It is a deeply personal thing, and though you may find yourself under tutelage of one more experienced, that must be your own decision and path. However, I can offer you a few words of advice.

First and foremost, protect the Veil. It is strong, and the collective will of those within it to maintain secrecy helps to maintain that strength. Helps to encourage those who might otherwise peer too keenly into the depths to slide their gaze elsewhere. But that secrecy must not be jeopardized. If for no other reason, for your own safety. Both against those who may react aversely to the truth of the world, and those within the Veil, those with a vested interest in maintaining it. I will not mince words. If they discover that you have infringed upon their agenda, and make no mistake they will discover it, they will hunt you down and destroy you.

Secondly, you are young to this world, and you may find it terribly lonely and hostile a place. You must find allies. There are many factions who hold influence, many of which might be amenable to you, but whether you join with one or not, find friends. Find people you may trust and join together because alone you are nothing, but when banded with others you may find power.

Favours are the way of this world, you will find that mortal currency holds far less influence among your new compatriots. It is not worthless of course, you likely still need to eat, drink, find places to live. But far more important now than what you have is what you can do for others, what services you may provide for their own services in turn. Cultivate this, build your network and never forget a favour owed or earned. It could well mean your life."

- Excerpt from A Faebound's Guide to Canter
The City of Canter - Little Hebrides New


the once and future twink
The Little Hebrides is perhaps Canter’s strangest neighborhood. Located approximately a mile and a half from Canter’s southern coast, the Little Hebrides are a collection of small, rocky islands. The largest island, Skarbay, has a population of just under 100 people, and boasts a post office, a convenience store with attached boat fueling station, a small elementary school, and a pub, and little else. The next largest island, Corry, is primarily residential, as is the third largest, Mingulay, despite traditionally being wharves and docks and fish processing stations. There are several smaller, uninhabited islands, which are primarily of interest for sea bird and seal watching. Altogether, the islands have a population of roughly 250 people, not counting the summer influx of birders and whale watchers.

As the name suggests, the Little Hebrides is the historic home of Canter’s thriving Scottish community. The islands boast one of the largest Scottish Gaelic speaking population outside of Scotland (the elementary school is partially a Gàidhlig medium school), and host a small Scottish cultural festival every year. Though they do not have space for games proper, it’s regarded as having an excellent array of traditional folk musicians, and the bagpipes can be heard through the rest of the city throughout the weekend. Most of the residents still work in the cod or lobster fishing industries, though the fishing industry has suffered in the Little Hebrides just as it has throughout the rest of Canada’s east coast. The neighborhood has been in slow decline since the 90s, with the collapse of the Atlantic northwest cod fishery.

The Little Hebrides have so far escaped gentrification by virtue of isolation. Though the city maintains a small water taxi line to service the islands it is notoriously unreliable and most islanders rely on their personal boats to get to and from the city. Due to this the neighborhood retains much of its original charm, with old wooden buildings in bright colors. However, many of the younger generation is abandoning the Little Hebrides as fishing becomes an increasingly uncertain profession. As the younger generation leaves for homes in more convenient areas of the city for work, or abandons Canter entirely, the thinning and aging population of the little Hebrides faces an uncertain future—will the Little Hebrides become abandoned, or will it finally face gentrification, and perhaps become a trendy location for wealthy summer homes?

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