I've mentioned before that my Truth haunts me. Not like a ghost, but images of it are always in my mind, and sometimes they become too much for me to ignore. That's how I know what it looks like from a third person point of view.
But, sometimes I can see what I've dubbed The Dark City.
It's a city that exists where the material meets information and thought. The realm of data, dreams, and stories. Electronic magicks, digital souls, fully alive machinery, techno fae, information demons, and stranger things aside.
Black towers and skyscrapers made of black glass, gleaming metals, and dark stone.
The sky is eternally night, the only natural light from the overwhelmingly large moon hanging overhead, the glittering stars and celestial phenomenon. The light is never bright enough to dispel the darkness of the Dark City. The city itself is lit by the neon lights of businesses, abodes, and advertisements, the streetlamps all works of art. The most common colors are blue, gold, and silvery white. Yet for all the lights, the darkness only grows deeper should it not be banished by the lights. The light is bright and invigorating, contrasting the deep, inky, blackness of the long shadows.
Storms are always coming and going, but the rain always stays, giving everything a silver gloss as the neon gleams off of it. People rush about on their business, living their lives as they see fit, their energies, their passions burning inside of them, and feeding the City. Think of it as a city that never sleeps, where the people are given the opportunity to become who they want, and do what they want with their lives. If they have the drive, then they can work on becoming more powerful, wealthy, or influential. Because of the occasional incursions from Outside, creatures often called Outsiders for simplicity sake, break into the City. So many people are taught how to fight, and being a mercenary, warrior, soldier, or other trade of war isn't uncommon, nor is it looked down on. Many of the most influential people in the city were either one of those trades, adventurers from the Dungeon, Acolytes who have earned their Mastery, powerful Wild Ones, and even successful merchants and business leaders. The most influential earn the title Lords and Ladies of the Dark City.
The City is powered by, feeds into, and is enlivened by the Akashic Grid. When one learns to tap into it, usually at a young age, they can see the second level of the city, flowing data streams through the air, information as it flows into the Dark Shrines. In some ways, the Akashic Grid is a wireless energy field that permeates the City, even the outer limits of the City. One is able to use it to access information, communications, purchases, and such, for it is similar to a omnipresent internet-like communications grid. If you know of Shadowrun, it is similar to the 4E-5E Matrix in that regard. It is also a powerful tool to alter reality. Anyone can learn to use the Akashic Grid to perform magicks, but very few are actually born with the skill active at birth, and are able to learn to use it much more easily, and more powerfully than others. Many of these beings become Acolytes, learning to manipulate information, and perform magicks. The Acolytes aren't a religious organization, as much as it may appear to be so. It is more a private training program, many who wish to learn the secrets of the Akashic Grid begin to work to enhance their skills and become much more stronger. The begin to communicate with Sprites, Daemons, Agents, and other types of Inforgs as they grow in power.
The city is built on the Bay Of Dreams that leads to the east the Electric Seas. The waters are black as ink, and conceal all manner of things including the Deep District. (Which is essentially the City Proper but just underwater, which extends just as far as the City Proper does on land.)
Two good visuals that can be used to give a hint at what they Dark City (Proper) looks like would be The City That Never Was from Kingdom Hearts (The World That Never Was,) The Grid from Tron (Specifically Tron Legacy), and Rapture from Bioshock for the Deep District.
The Dark Shrines are scattered throughout the Dark City, The Dark Shrines appear slightly differently from the outside, though they all lead to the same place, to what appears to be a cross between a server farm, a library and temple that appears to stretch on infinitely, though the Acolytes are able to navigate through the Shrines with ease. Here Acolytes perform their duties, cataloging new information, updating data, and tending to locked up Vestiges. One is always within sight of the statues that give the Shrines their name. A wolf-like god who empowers the City and the Akashic Grid.
The Dark Shrines on, and under, the Electric Sea appear as dark, and ominous lighthouses. The Shrines in the City Proper appear as cathedrals, though some appear as nightclubs or libraries. In the Black Forest they appear as small castles, towers, that lead to the Shrines. The Mountains have gateways carved into the stone that lead to their version of the Shrines. Only the Old City doesn't seem to have any entrances to the Dark Shrines.
On the north the City is bordered by large, dangerous looking mountains, the peaks shrouded by darkness and storms. No one has gone over the mountains, and many avoid getting to high, as creatures do invade from over the mountains. Things that should not exist, and seem to corrupt the very reality around them, which many warriors spend their lives fighting back the invaders. The City continues partially up the mountains, though after a certain point the buildings begin to grow more and more built into the mountains itself, eventually becoming just stone. Here the tunnels grow deeper into the earth, leading to the doors to the Dungeon, which is where those who seek adventure travel. Incidentally, the stairs inside the Doors go both ways, though no one knows where the stairs up lead, and other entrances to the Dungeon have been found in other parts of the Dark City, thought the Mountain Doors are the most well known of such entrances. The Dungeon is both a source of adventure, as well as a source of power for those who seek it. One can learn to fight and become very powerful inside the Dungeon, as well as bring back magickal items for use, sale, or reverse engineering for products and research. One can also, very rarely find Vestiges, items and beings of such great power that those who obtain them grow to become legends. Some though, are either cursed, or have massive drawbacks, or dangers associated with them that render them incredibly dangerous to use. Such Vestiges, unable to be restrained, are brought to the Dark Shrines for containment, or purification.
To the west the City proper tapers off until it fades into countryside. These towns (still part of the City however) border the Wyldwoods, or the Black Forest. The trees are towering, only barely letting a little moonlight through their canopy. The forest extends through hills and mountains. The paths are lit with flames though, in contrast to the City's propensity for liquid lighting. The paths lead from the border towns to the towns that are in the forest itself. The towns are very rarely attacked, though all manner of beasts stalk through the forest, and occasionally creatures much like the creatures from the mountains will enter, attacking everything in their path, including the beasts of the forest. The paths are safe as well, protections placed upon them help keep the ways safe for travelers, though as soon as one leaves the path, the protections no longer apply to them. Many of the creatures in the forest are very good at luring people off the path, though natives should know better, and many are hired as escorts and bodyguards. Deep in the forest, when the paths become small, rough, and as if they haven't been used in a long time, the path to the Dark Court is found. Here beings of raw, dangerous nature are at play, dreams and nightmares become reality where the Wild Ones hold court.
To the south of the city proper is what is simply known as the Old City. The Dark City gives way to rocky hills and ravines, before eventually becoming a rocky, and sand-blasted wasteland. After what would feel like days of travel, one is able to see the Old City in the distance. No one has ever lived in the Old City, but its always been there, for as long as the Dark City has been around. The dark, crumbling, yet clearly originally well-crafted ruins are always surrounded by storms, with sandstorms kicking up occasionally. Many researchers and acolytes from the City come out to study the ruins, hoping to find clues to its origins, and even to the origins of the Dark City itself.
Very few have made it in far enough, many who traverse far enough in are either done in by the traps, beasts who live there, or the constructs who patrol the ruins. Those who aren't taken out by ruins, and don't make it back out, are simply lost in the maze of corridors, tunnels, and stairways that lead deeper into the ruins. Some theorize that the corridors beneath the Old City are linked to the Dungeons, but no one is entirely sure of that.
As one moves further into the labyrinth that is the Old City, the walls and buildings start getting taller, even though the ruins seemed a lot smaller from the outside. The incredibly rare few who make it to the center of the Old City, and survive, find what appears to be a gigantic set of doors, as tall as a skyscraper, that didn't appear when viewing the city outside. Engraved upon the doors is the likeliness of the same figure that the Dark Shrines have statues of. The doors are cracked open, though no one has been able to get in, seemingly repelled by the entrance of the door, a feeling of existential dread washing over them. The few who have been to this place and returned have taken to calling it the Necropolis.
That's all I can think of at this time, but I'll be sure to either add to this entry with more details as they are revealed to me, or make new entries for specific information.