The city of Mawali is nestled in the southern curve of Mawali Bay. Both are named for the man who discovered the bay and then founded the city as a haven for his people. Legends state he was a very powerful magician and a highly skilled statesman who ruled with iron in one fist and water in the other (a reference to his benevolence).
The majority of the streets are paved with a pale brick. The city employs some four hundred street pavers to maintain the brickwork. Most of the buildings are made with the same brick and then covered in a brilliant white plaster. Buildings are one or two stories tall, with flat roofs. Often the roofs will have a low wall, creating an outdoor living space which is accessed by a narrow stair and is available to any who live in the building.
Plants thrive in the abundant sun and sultry air. Palms and other tropical trees line the major avenues. Creepers, flowers, and bushes are everywhere. It’s not unusual for homes and shops to have entire walls engulfed by flowering creepers. The plants give relief from the heat, and bring vibrant color to an otherwise monochrome city. Many of the plants are fruit-bearing. The city’s gardeners maintain the public areas, collecting fruit for the shah’s table and civic agencies such as the pavers and the gardeners themselves. Any excess is given to the temples for distribution to the poor and needy.
Seven tall, slender towers dominate the cityscape. The towers sit at the points of a seven-pointed star, the lines of which form the city’s major thoroughfares. They are fifteen stories tall, of which the bottom two stories are public access and administrative offices. The next eleven stories are given to the residents – the shah and his (or her) six councilors, their families and servants. The fourteenth floor belongs to the resident magician, and the top floor is the magician’s workshop. Mawali has no walls, but she is well defended from these seven towers. Using the power invested in the star, the seven magicians work from circles of power inlaid into the rooftop terraces. They can raise walls of power that protect the city from sandstorms, floods, cyclones, or invading armies.
In all, Mawali is a sprawling city of bright white and verdant green, welcoming visitors with open arms. She may appear vulnerable but, as many have learned to their dismay, she is well protected by her shah, his councilors, and the Circle of the Star Magi.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.