Lagash, the Prime Spire
Lagash is one of the primary spines that connect the surface world to the Cage. An titan of iron concrete, girders, and toiling flesh, it reaches all the way from deep within the core of the planet to touch the face of space. As one of the oldest and most established city-states in the world, the Wardens rule here with a heavy hand - but the nobles who manage their state and the cattleherds of humanity beneath are richly rewarded in turn. Beyond the tower itself, the city-scape of Lagash sprawls in all directions in broken waves. Slums, factories, railroad lines, canyon-like strip-mines all tumble over each other in an mess of ad-hoc living. People crawl like rats and inhabit every nook and cranny they can, sulking in the shadows of the Spire or making dens in the great, underground warrens beneath the city. Nobles inhabit the spire, and their servants, their man-at-arms, and those for whatever reason favored by either nobles or families. Beyond the finery and silk, the banquet halls and grand displays, there is a war as vicious here as any in the rot and trash-strewn streets. Noble families war among themselves with dagger-like words and careful manipulation, punctuated by occasional, bloody rows that spill out to consume entire levels of the Spire. They cease again when the blood-lust is sated, seeding the ground for a thousand new feuds - or whenever the Wardens deem the productivity of Lagash and it's surrounding hives are being neglected. Such purges are legendary, and often told with delight in the city of Lagash, beyond the ears of nobles. The Spire of Lagash consists of countless floors, reaching all the way to the Heavens. The lower part of the Spire has sprawled out, modified and expanded countless times by the people around it. Entire anciliary buildings have been formed and attached to the base of the Spire, from factories to railroad hubs, either to make life easier for those who live there, or ease the use of the Spire for its Warden rulers. It is not only goods and raw material that flow up the spire into the world-cage, but also flesh. Lagash is home to some of the largest and most vicious warrior cults in the world, each one seeking to prove their worth to the Wardens with unspeakable brutality and acts of martial bravery. When the Wardens muster Lagash, they sometimes claim hundreds of thousands. Of such forced conscription, only a handful are ever elevated to join the ranks of the Wardens, with the rest being reduced to slave-labor or thrall warriors. The lucky ones serve on the Spire, either with Warden envoys or to some of the Noble families... The unlucky ones serve in the frontlines of the Warden's own war, beyond the hardened fortress shell of the World-Cage As the Spire ascends into the air, its surface becomes less matted with additional artifice. The balconies, platforms, the griders and ad-hoc armor-plating, old battle scars and fresh repair work strip away as it goes further and further into the hostile atmosphere. Close to the World-Cage, the Spire is as it was at the beginning - a smooth, umbilical-cord like tower of shining metal and technology, connecting the world to its masters. Lagash is home to at least a few billions - no real consensus has ever been made, nor do its rulers truly care. For the Wardens, what matters is that each delivery is made on time and its proper amount. For the nobles, they want more than that, so they can set it aside for their own use. Four enormous tracks of rail connect to the spire from each cardinal direction, always busy with coming and going freight. Some come as far away as the Quicksilver Swamp, carrying barrels and crates of chemicals and mercury. Others are closer by, with shipments of algae and kelp from the great ocean a near constant necessity. Even a few shipments delayed can spark waves of starvation through out the city. These tracks connect to a number of hubs clustered around the Spire, where workers and lobotomized things toil endlessly to unload and cart the necessary materials away to the great elevators inside the spire. In return, the Wardens bestow their technology on the city, maintaining the kelp-harvesting titans of the algae ocean, or the bio-stuff farms littered throughout the city.