The clockwork city
Lidaidi is far more mixed than most Veshiri cities. A bare majority of the population is made up of native elves, at 51%, with immigrants forming the rest of the populace. Humans from all over, elves from other worlds, halflings, gnomes, dwarves, tieflings, dragonborn, centaurs, fey, and many, many more have come to Lidaidi to carve out a life in its promised prosperity. Lidaidi has a greater income disparity than the rest of Veshiri, but that couples with higher social mobility than the often rigid Veshiri society.
The city is governed by a mayor and a city council. The mayor is elected anew every six years, but only naturalized citizens may vote - and it is very difficult to become naturalized in Veshiri. Taxes are high, and are not graded with income, creating a disproportionate burden on Lidaidi's poor. Laws are strict, with punishments frequently involving forced labor in the mines that keep Lidaidi alive.
Lidaidi is a city on the edge of eternity, leading the way in multiple industries - arts and entertainment, manufacturing (primarily of machines and textiles), research and development, tourism, commerce and finance, and healthcare. The greater city has the largest metropolitan GDP in the Council of Worlds. The largest industry by raw employment is manufacturing. Lidaidi primarily exports textiles and a tremendous variety of machines, from grand airships to humble measuring instruments. It also handles exports from the greater plains and mountains around it, with coal, oil, and crops passing through its port.
TransportationLidaidi's main roads and bridges are marvels of engineering, though the older, smaller roads that run through the poorer parts of the city are frequently ill-maintained. Recently, Lidaidi has started installing streetcar lines, so far only connecting the outskirts of the city to outlying towns and suburbs, but with ambitious plans to bring affordable public transportation to the masses. Within the city, horse-drawn carriages have given way to steam-powered omnibuses that carry anywhere from six to sixteen passengers, with talk of bringing larger models in. A series of shipyards and docks run along the river, serving the many ships that pass through with goods and passengers alike. There is a small airship port on the outskirts of the city, and many places for personal craft to dock within the city itself.
UtilitiesLidaidi is noted for having the most advanced sewer and water treatment system in all the worlds, making water-borne illnesses an unheard of occurrence. The ground and river water is frequently contaminated, and Lidaidi has out of necessity developed advanced centralized filtration systems to combat this threat. Enormous water mills also dip into the river, powering the numerous machines of the fledgling factories.
EducationLidaidi doesn't have the best primary education system, with the children of factory workers often leaving school for work long before their education is complete. Schoolrooms are overcrowded and teachers overtaxed. In contrast, Lidaidi's prestigious private schools are among the best on the planet, if not in the multiverse, preparing their students for a lifetime at the cutting edge. While Lidaidi's universities lack the grand history of the University of Nustei, the colleges that call the city their home are nothing to scoff at. Many institutes of science, technology, and engineering have sprung up over the last century, offering courses to a tremendous variety of people - and with some specializing in different languages, an acknowledgement of Lidaidi's increasing multiversal position.
AttractionsLidaidi is home to many grand buildings, from palaces to universities to museums and statues. One attraction is the Grand Library of Lidaidi, the largest library in all the known worlds.
Lidaidi is older than united Veshiri, having been first inhabited temporarily some twelve thousand years ago. Lidaidi first served as a seasonal gathering-place for the bands of the area, hosting thousands of people from a multitude of clans and cultures for feasting and trade. The first permanent structures were religious in nature, early temples decorated in homage to nature and ancestral spirits. One still remains in part, actually buried underneath a major temple in the Old City and only recently unearthed. A few early farmers settled permanently along the river as the surrounding lands dried up and became less suitable for the nomadic lifestyle of their ancestors, ten and a half thousand years ago. The settlement has been continually inhabited ever since, though the number of people who call it home has fluctuated dramatically over the millennia. Lidaidi has often been a capital of empires, or at the very least a major trading hub. It was established as the capital of the fledgling Veshiri empire four thousand, seven hundred and sixty one years ago. Veshiri rapidly conquered the surrounding peoples, bringing in rich tribute to its capital and leading to a renaissance of grand architecture. Veshiri eventually stopped its war-like ways, instead forging political and diplomatic unions, until it agreed to form a world-spanning empire together with the other major polities three thousand, eight hundred and fifty one years ago. Lidaidi was named the capital of the new empire after twelve years of diplomatic back-and-forth, including an attempt at forming an entirely new city as a potential capital.
The vast majority of people live in high-rise apartments, with only a handful of the wealthiest living in brick or stone rowhouses, or, rarely, in detached units. The Old City is made almost entirely of stone and brick, after several successive fires wiped out the early wooden buildings. Most rowhouses rise only three or four stories, and have one-by-three, two-by-two, or one-by-two floorplans (one-by-three meaning one room wide and three rooms deep) and small yards. Most have a bay window in the front rooms. The kitchen is usually in the back of the house. The buildings are mostly grey in color. The New City surrounds the Old City, and consists of metal and stone buildings many stories high. The buildings grow successively taller the farther from the Old City you get, and contain a higher proportion of metal. Walkways cross between the upper reaches of the tallest buildings, and several have docks for airships near their tops. Ornamentation mostly consists of geometric shapes, with the organic, flowing lines of the Old City giving way to the modern precision of the New City.
The city is in a wide plain, stretching out on both sides of a broad and gentle river. Mountains not too far upstream supply coal to the city's furnaces, and the river itself is dotted with steamboats and other, lower-tech river boats.