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Cair Paradisa is a fortress, though most of its inhabitants refer to it simply as "Paradisa." lt is nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains on three sides. The fortress is comprised of a castle surrounded by dense city, with sparser buildings around the edges, all surrounded by a significant defensive wall. Farmland and a considerable amount of forest stretches for some ways beyond the wall. A single river flows through the fortress, each side passing under gates in the wall, but curiously, this body of water flows into the mountains on each end and vanishes into impassable caves. Beyond these mountains, there's little life for miles and miles and miles, yet armored knights patrol the wall as if an attack could come at any moment, and the city's industries do not seem to hurt for trade or material. The general aesthetic and culture of the whole place is some sort of quasi-Medieval Europe, as if it were pulled from a fairytale idea of history instead of any actual time or place.
If anything seems off about this, the people don't seem to acknowledge it. They don't care for answers, because they have a watchmaker looking over them all: Paradisa itself is not only sentient, but all-powerful and all-seeing. They don't look upon Paradisa as a deity or even as a supernatural being –– Paradisa simply is, and because Paradisa is, everything else is, too.
As a result, the curiosities of the place go unquestioned by the city people, and as thriving and bustling as the people can be, they don't want for depth. After all, they exist only to make the city more "realistic" to the Castle's inhabitants.
Ah, yes, the Castle's inhabitants –– while most castles might house kings and queens, the Castle itself is home to a population of people called "Residents". The Residents are individuals of great importance, borrowed from around time and space for purposes only vaguely known.
"We're here as a power source," a few Residents suggested, some years ago. "It runs on souls."
They were right.
You see, upon arrival, Paradisa takes something from people. It could be an item, or an ability, or a memory, but whatever it is, it is precious. It is something irreplaceable, something that leaves a void impossible to fill with anything else, no matter how one might try. Even the next best thing could never measure up to what is gone.
Some paradise, huh?
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