The city is a walk-able city. People get around by bicycle, electric car, and most usually by walking. On major streets outdoor moving sidewalks have been installed, perpetually rolling through magic. But while walking about in the daytime is for the living, the night is handed over to the ghosts.
Ghosts do their business at night; they rarely act during the day, just as people rarely act during the night. Some districts of town (“night districts”) are home almost exclusively to ghosts. When a person dies, they usually move into these communities. Even ghosts eventually pass on though, fading away; many believe they reincarnate with no memory of any of their past lives, but no one knows for sure.
This is despite the existence of magic, which although it is taught in school like Latin or engineering classes are, does not allow for knowledge of the unknowable, nor is it simple enough for everyone to pick up. Less than 1% of people are mages, but throughout the city on a typical day or night it’s not uncommon to see them out and about doing magic. Mages have free reign to practice magic anywhere for nearly anything and sometimes find themselves feuding against each other and communities of ghosts – except in one spot in the city.
None of those conflicts are allowed in the Neutral Ground cafe: a coffee shop and restaurant where people cannot use magic, both by social courtesy and enforced by suppressive anti-magic wards. As such it is literally neutral ground for many mage factions that might otherwise war with each other. The waiters and waitresses who work there could tell you all sorts of interesting stories about customers they’ve served (mundane human, mage, or ghost) and the deals they’ve overheard. Appropriately, the cafe lies at the heart of the city.
(I do not own the images in the above collage, and all copyrights belong to their respective owners.)
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