Esterberg (City) — Wikipedia
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This article uses outdated nomenclature (such as "anomalous", "paranormal", etc.) to refer to phenomena considered such by the Foundation and associated normalcy organizations prior to November 2021 for ease of access. All readers are advised to take into consideration the fact it reflects only an outdated view during their read of the below. (November 2032)

"Tysiąclecie Górne", "SCP-5373", "VNP-5373", and "FP-120" redirect here. For other uses, see Esterberg (SCP Foundation operation under Project Neverland); Kristin Esterberg (American sociologist); and Esterberg (disambiguation).

Esterberg
Pocket Universe / City-State

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Location within Poland.

Basic information

Country: poland.png Poland
Voivodeship: silesia.png Silesian
Founded: 1228
Free Port status: 1916
Area: 3 658 km2 (Pocket dimension)
294 km2 (City)
Population: 104 341 (2022) (Total)
41 736 (Fae)
31 302 (Yeren)
21 068 (Humans)
10 235 (Other)
Density: 355/km2
Official languages: Polish
English
Fae
Yeren
Currency: Złoty (PLN)
Euro (€) (EUR)

Detailed information

Timezone: UTC+1 (CET)
Summer (DST): UTC+2 (CEST)
Legislature power: City council
Executive power: Council of Three
Judiciary power: various
Website: https://www.esterberg.pl

Esterberg (Fae for City of the East), often called Tysiąclecie Górne in Polish, FP-120 or VNP-5373 by Vanguard, and previously SCP-5373 by the SCP Foundation is a Free Port city located in a pocket dimension parallel to the city of Częstochowa, Poland. With a permanent population of 104 341 (2022) and an area of 3 658 km2, it acted as the main hub for anomalous activity in Central Europe before the Impasse and is currently the third-largest Free Port and fifth-largest Nexus on the planet. As the only anomalous region within which Fae (Homo sapiens sidhe), humans (homo sapiens sapiens), and Yeren (Homo sapiens noctis) have ever peacefully interacted for prolonged amounts of time, it possesses the second-largest stable population of the former1 and the largest stable population of the latter.

Most known for its age, Esterberg is the oldest active Nexus in baseline reality2 and one of the most thaumaturgically-active areas around the globe, actively attracting magic in all forms to itself. Although the laws behind this phenomenon are yet to be explained, they are mostly attributed to the whereabouts of the city's founding and exact properties.3 Numerous objective scientific studies carried out prior to and following the global collapse of the Veil protocol are yet to support such a claim.

Despite the pocket dimension's de facto location within the boundaries of Poland, Esterberg does not adhere to the laws and authorities of the country. It instead acts as an almost entirely independent state disconnected from Poland. This has been the case since the signing of its agreements with the government of the People's Republic of Poland, formed following the conclusion of World War II and the Seventh Occult War in 1945. Prior to that event during the interwar period, the city was partially dependent on the Second Polish Republic's government and the Polish Ministry of Occult Affairs.4 Despite its further state of independence, the Free Port has remained mostly good relations with government officials and ZM "Witch Slayer" Division as well as Joint Occult Venture of Europe,5 representatives for years, cooperating with them for the purpose of the maintenance of country security and local Veil integrity (prior to 2021).

For all pages associated with Esterberg, see See Also.

History

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The Milky Way, circa 1203, author unknown.6 Recovered from a journal full of similar drawings, it is believed to be a representation of Fae interactions with human societies prior to the Fourth Occult War.

Early History

According to both written Fae records and later archeological studies, Esterberg was founded sometime in early 1228, one year following the conclusion of the Fourth Occult War, which was the direct inciting incident for the city's forming.

The conflict mainly consisted of a war between the final remnants of the dying Daevite Empire allied with Asian and European thaumaturges and a temporarily resurgent Fae Empire (often referred to as the Second Fae Empire), made up of Mongol forces and Fae leadership, led by a sidhe individual previously known as Genghis Khan (VNP-PL-259; previously classified as SCP-PL-259 by the SCP Foundation / KTE-1206-Blue-Gray-Cottingley by the GOC) to those outside the Veil. Beginning in 1220 with Khan's attack on the nearly-extinct Daevites, it persisted until his death in 1227, caused by one final attack by the allied occult forces of the two continents. This defeat spawned massive chaos within the remaining Second Empire forces, eventually leading to its total disbanding and division between the remaining sons of Khan in 1228.

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A representation of one of the forms the Inventor entity revealed herself in to her followers, as drawn by one of Esterberg's founders, Saoi'rse Ciara, in 1230.

The war's fallout in the years to come mainly consisted of the Catholic Church severely tightening its tolerance for any anomalous activity within Europe, fearing a similar conflict inside the continent would lead to its total destabilization. This update in policy has mainly shown itself in en-masse Fae and Yeren hunts, resulting in the lowering of the population of both around Europe by approximately 23% in just a decade. Additionally, the practice of thaumaturgy and weaponized theology in any way by non-Church individuals had become officially forbidden under the threat of immediate execution.

As a response to this quickly-rising danger which threatened the integrity of not only their thaumaturgy-dependent culture but also the species as a whole, Esterberg was formed by the united Fae and Yeren survivors as a save haven from the attacks. The exact way in which this happened remains unconfirmed to this date. However, local city legends all seem to point in one direction, suggesting the physical parts of the pocket dimension that stabilize it and give it a physical plane are all derived from the dead body of an entity referred to as the Inventor. Pre-First Diaspora records explain this being as being a sister of Queen Mab, directly responsible for her death and later fall of the First Fae Empire, caused by her realization of its immorality and support of the Diasporians.

The aforementioned legends claim that despite the Inventor's name being stolen and her dying, similarly to Mab, she was able to retain some parts of her consciousness outside of baseline reality, guiding and protecting the remaining folk that escaped from under Mab's tyrannical rule for generations. When the survivors thaumaturgically opened an entry into a different plane of existence outside of baseline reality in an attempt at finding some sort of haven for themselves, the Inventor is said to have sacrificed the remaining shards of her soul and form them into what would eventually become Esterberg, essentially killing herself and becoming one with the city in the process. The only event to ever come to even slightly similar conclusions has been the SCP Foundation's January 2003 operations in Esterberg, during which one of its personnel was supposedly temporarily possessed by the spirit of the Inventor and given a vision of the true nature of the city, which more or less aligned with the local legends.

Whether any of this is true largely remains unknown. However, if it were truly the case, it would explain the nature of the city's name, which, when translated from its original 12th Century Fae form ("Estærbyerkh") means literally "City of the East". Why it was given such a title rather than an official name like the rest of Fae establishments is never explained in any text relating to the city. However, one hypothesis that accepts the Inventor founding the city as true claims it is caused by the fact the diety had no name, as it was stolen from her by Mab during their duel. "The Inventor," similarly to "The City of the East" are supposed to be nothing but pure descriptions, used in an attempt to overcome a potential nomenclative hazard caused by an individual bearing no name. However, as with Esterberg's founding, the Inventor became essentially dead, all such hazards no longer existed, permanently rendering those titles as official and fully safe names for both the entity and the city. Whether this in any form reflects reality is unconfirmed.

The Fifth Occult War

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Gustavus Adolphus, as depicted by Jacob Hoefnagel. Considered a father of modern warfare tactics, the strategies the king of Sweden and his counselors created were heavily inspired by that of the early Fae folk, as described by the materials contained in the Great Temple of Esterberg.

Esterberg had little to no involvement with the Fifth Occult War itself which coincided with the Thirty Years' War, due to its highly political nature. The conflict lasted from 1618 to 1648 and consisted of a series of minor scale battles between battalions of protestant and catholic mages, interwoven with other non-anomalous battles between the two sides. As, similarly to the war it coincided with, the conflict was extremely long and did not have a clear winner, it eventually concluded in the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück and Münster. Whilst throughout the entirety of the event, extremely small groups of Esterbergian mages did indeed participate in some of the battles, they didn't have any major effects on any of them.

Whilst the Fifth War itself did not cause any political power shifts, its aftermath spawned the golden era for the anomalous in many centuries. The now-weakened Church severely relaxed its grip, and the more powerful than before French and Protestant powers have realized the full extent to which thaumaturgy can be utilized. Because of this, all around Europe, increasingly more and more people became interested in the usage and study of magic; and, Esterberg, being the one of few places with a sizable collection of such information,7 naturally registered a staggering and never-before-seen growth in population and size for the next two centuries to come. This resulted in tens of thaumaturgy schools, libraries, and general establishments popularizing the usage of magic to form in large numbers over the next years. From all around Europe, people were traveling to Esterberg to learn its approach, eventually spreading the art beyond the borders of the city. Around this period, Esterberg has noted an approximate citizen growth of 350% and city size growth of 230%, furthering the knowledge about its existence to tens of thousands of individuals. During this time, most of the magical seals that previously protected the city from the violence of the outside world were lifted, allowing for easy and general access.

From the scholars and students that left the city experiencing its magic, numerous organizations were later formed around the entire world. At this time, the foundations of what would later become the first normalcy-guarding organizations — such as Her Majesty's Foundation for the Secure Containment of the Paranormal or American Secure Containment Initiative — had also been created. This proliferation lasted until 18668 and formed thousands of smaller and larger groups pertaining to the anomalous. Anartism has grown exponentially throughout Europe; military usage of magic and anomalies by all European powers became common; the trade and exchange of anomalous goods and information from each corner of the world had never been more popular. But the world did not only take from Esterberg; some of the groups it aided did indeed provide something in return for its prolonged help. A notable example of this is the creation of the memetic password that would act as one of the main phrases that allowed entry into the city by the members of the Schriftsteller — organization of thaumaturges-memeticists destroyed during the Fifth Oculstic War. Though they expired shortly after due to their injuries and the slaughter of their people during the Fifth Occult War, their legacy would continue on as a major part of Esterberg for more than three centuries, until the total removal of the password entries by 2021.

The Sixth Occult War and the Veil

Though Esterberg's long-term peace and prosperity lasted over two centuries, it ended with the initiation of the Sixth Occult War on the 12th of September, 1867, during which time all of its spread of anomalous backlashed in a global and nearly irreversible way.

The exact details of the war — such as its major battles, exact players and their balances of power, and its exact timeline — remain fully unknown as they were destroyed by the global and extremely brutal chaos that engulfed most of the anomalous world during the conflict. However, despite this, the beginning and ending dates, the motivation for most parties participating in it, Esterberg's involvement, and its consequences have not been lost. Although prior to the 12th of September, 1864, the tensions within the magical communities were at an all-time high due to the sheer volume of anomalous organizations, the inciting incident occurred on the aforementioned date with an exactly unspecified battle between two opposing mage organizations. Over the next couple of years, a majority of all existing groups dealing with thaumaturgy would join one of the fractions, eventually forming a two-sided secret war over reasons presumed to be control of the anomalous field taking place mostly in Europe and the Middle East. As no single group could alone gain absolute power over the others due to their number, a spiral of recruitment caused by not wanting to be on the losing side formed itself, culminating in the appointment of over 92% of all organizations to one of the alliances.

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Eliphas Lévi, French thaumaturge and author of literature portraying magic. One of the few surviving major players of the Sixth Occult War.

This first phase of the war was extremely brutal and destructive for everything, everyone, and everywhere involved with magic. From Nexuses through Free Ports to other locations considered magical, the conflict raged on for nearly 5 years, highly damaging and, in some cases, outright destroying some Free Ports and Nexuses around the globe. Unconfirmed records point to a total of 5 such places — the largest one being Avalon, one of the three main Fae enclaves, whose residents were evacuated to Three Portlands prior to city's complete deconceptualization in 1905 — being entirely wiped from the Earth. Though Esterberg protected itself quite well, avoiding major damage, over 10% of its entire population fell victim to the ongoing war. The conflict was destructive and, more importantly, didn't seem to have an end — for every victory one side earned, it was almost immediately taken away by the other, as the ouroboros of carnage was let loose, changing the landscape of the magical world entirely. However, this "balance" ended on the 5th of July, 1869.

On that date, through the recovery of ancient Solomon scrolls and rites, a German cabal known only as "The Godless" discovered a method of destroying Demiurge, an extremely powerful, man-made, and ancient deity representing thaumaturgy within the physical world, capable of altering its basic rules. It was originally artificially formed by King Solomon in order to limit the number of active mages to balance the world in ancient times and limit the influence of hostile ontokinetic beings, including Queen Mab. On the 13th of October, 1869, the group used the chaos of war to perform a powerful occult ritual which resulted in the destruction of the ancient deity in an unsuccessful attempt to harness its power.

The powerful thaumaturgical backlash caused by this has led to the second-most bloody and brutal magic series of thaumaturgical battles that ever occured, rivaled only by the chaos of the First Diaspora. The battles took over 1/3 of the casualties of the entire conflict and significantly weakened both sides to such an extent that they were no longer able to continue fighting. This fact as well as the intervention of national governments led to the final end of the conflict.

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The logo of the SCP Foundation.

The aforementioned backlash caused by the destruction of the deity event was gigantic and had global, irreversible consequences for centuries to come. The first and most widespread of them was the global scattering of the magical energy that made the Demiurge up, which embued itself in numerous objects and individuals, granting them thaumaturgical capabilities and psychic backlash, leading to the sudden development of magical skills and temporary feelings of nihilism in many psi-sensitive persons, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, due to the awareness of the demiurge's fate. Due to this, the population of those capable of harnessing magic increased by approximately 23%. This, paired with the rampant destabilization of baseline reality caused by the backlash, formed a major and global renaissance of anomalous behavior, creating major numbers of anomalies around the globe which the SCP Foundation would later come to contain. Similarly to the reality shifts caused by the First and Second Diasporas, this event caused the degradation of the dimensional walls anchoring baseline reality and all associated reality stacks that are still yet to heal.

The more drastic consequence of the Demiurge's death, however, occurred on the same date as its destruction. Awaken by the god-shaped hole now formed in the fabric of reality, the barely-alive shards of Queen Mab's soul outside of normal reality have gained the attention of baseline's reality continued existence.

In response to backlash unleashed by Demiurge's death, national governments decided to formally intervene to bring an end to the conflict and called an international summit of the most powerful governments at the time in 1868. Unanimously, the gathered rectified The Convention on Preternatural Phenomena, forming the official worldwide Veil policy and consensus reality (in force until 2021) that severely limited the tolerance for anomalies in the process. Over the next year, all anomalous activity would become heavily regulated by all governments and became limited to almost exclusively to Nexuses and Free Ports. To ensure this, many normalcy-guarding international and national organizations and agencies would form, including the British Occult Service, the Organization for the Reclamation of Islamic Artifacts, and the Foundation for the Anomalous which was then quickly renamed to the SCP Foundation, officially established on the 29th of December, 1870 after the discovery that Mab was still alive from thirteen groups researching thaumaturgy, theology, and the history of the Two Great Diasporas — including some pre-normalcy organizations like ASCI, Abnormality Institute and HMFSCP — previously gathered under the name of the General Assembly of Thaumaturgists and Theologists Against Queen Mab, concluding its artificialization with the following words:

Humanity in its present state has been around for a little more than a quarter of a million years. And yet, only a small fraction of that has been of any significance.

So, what did we do for those 300 000 years? We huddled in caves and around small fires, fearful of beings we forced ourselves to forget out of fear of meeting a fate similar to theirs. Our confusion was more than just trying to explain why the sun came up; it was the mystery of enormous night-dwelling monsters and magic-wielding rulers of the forest, forever stalking us in our rest. And so, afraid to admit what they really were, we called them "gods" and "demons," begging for them to spare us and praying for salvation.

However, in time, their numbers dwindled and ours rose as we expanded across the globe. The world began to make more sense when there were fewer things to fear and fewer of them to murder our children. And yet, the unexplained could never truly go away, as if the universe demanded the absurd and impossible to forever exist.

But today, we say: mankind must not go back to hiding in fear. No one else will protect us, and we must stand up for ourselves, wielding the universe itself to combat the unexplainable.

While the rest of mankind dwells in the light, we must stand in the darkness to fight it, contain it, and shield it from the eyes of the public, so that others may live in a sane and normal world. Because if we don't, there might soon be no more world to guide forward.

We secure. We contain. We protect.

— The SCP Foundation Administrator, preamble of "About Extradimensional Beings and Their Queen" (1870)

Over the next couple of years, due to the transfer of anomalous activity to Free Ports, Esterberg experienced another drastic growth in size and citizens due to the limitations siphoning all such activity around Central and Eastern Europe almost exclusively to it, bringing about almost fifty years of peace. However, at the same time, many Fae decided to leave Esterberg to live among humans and in other anomalous enclaves.

The Third Great Diaspora

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James Joseph Rollander, 1905.

The post-Sixth Occult War period was one of relative — albeit tentative — peace. Esterberg, alongside the rest of the anomalous world, quickly though carefully grew to tolerate the newly-established Veil policy, and mostly separated itself from the rest of the world in hopes of developing a peaceful co-existence without much — if any — interaction between the two. For more than two decades, this has successfully been the case, with a majority of Częstochowian citizens either forgetting or simply learning to ignore the Free Port's existence. This — paired with the increasingly tight supervision of normalcy organizations — helped further cement the new status quo and worldwide anomalous peace, essentially causing Esterberg to become an isolated haven that was finally able to flourish.

This, however, changed with James Rollander's9 arrival to Poland in 1898 and subsequent construction of the Factory shortly after. Focusing near Kraków, Poland, his newly-formed industrial plant was the biggest of the time, utilized numerous thaumaturgic — and highly unethical — methods to increase production, and was built above buried Fae palaces dating back to the period prior to the First Diaspora. Designed as the "ultimate factory", it offered practically every product required at the time — anomalous and non-anomalous — and naturally gathered giant interest in those searching for a job, which included large numbers of Esterberg citizens due to the widespread unemployment caused by the destruction of magic organizations during the Sixth Occult War. Although highly questionable ethically, even during its times, Rollander's Factory was not deemed a threat to the Veil's integrity and international security by any means due to its highly localized area of anomalous operation and the effect it had on the recovering economy.

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The logo of Rollander Steel Industries.

However, the situation changed in 1908, when one of the biggest thaumaturgic blasts ever recorded was intercepted, coming from within the Factory. This, paired with the fact it did not seem to dissipate over time, instead steadily increasing in density and remaining as an active aura around the facility, immediately changed the world's approach towards Rollander's industry. The SCP Foundation, dominant in the region as the primary normalcy organization, immediately classified it as SCP-001,10 within its databases and commenced further investigation into the phenomenon. Uncovering the existence of both the aforementioned ruins below it and an extremely powerful deity within, the suspicion of both them and Esterberg citizens rose to high levels, potentially suspecting the being to be some sort of manifestation of either the Inventor or Queen Mab in baseline reality, formed following her awakening during the Sixth Occult War.

When neither official warnings nor active protests calling for the limitation of thaumaturgy used within to not breach the Veil helped, James Rollander doubled down on his breaches of the policy, actively beginning to ritually sacrifice individuals within the Factory, eliminating outside political groups11 and disallowing for unauthorized entry into the buildng, and beginning the shipment of unknown occult materials into it. This, paired with the highly suspicious circumstances surrounding Rollander as a whole, effectively prompted the Foundation to intervene, seizing control of the Factory with force and accidentally murdering Rollander in the process, who was revealed to possess unusual and highly dubious abilities he had not previously possessed. Following the next months, the Factory would become Foundation Site-01, focused on containing the entity within and expanding into Polish soil.

As the Foundation — and the now-dead James Rollander — came to think the deity inside the Factory was the Inventor, protecting baseline reality from Queen Mab by continued sacrifice, the group maintained human sacrifice for its time within the structure to postpone the potentially catastrophic event they believed would occur otherwise. Despite major and continuous communication attempts being made by sidhe communities, including the nearby Esterberg citizens, trying to relate the information it was in fact Queen Mab, feeding off their magic in an attempt to come back to reality, all of such letters and other media were lost due to the activities of both the entity and the groups supporting her. This situation was maintained for a couple of years, during which the information about the event and its context was related to almost all Fae communities worldwide. Faced with no choice but to intervene with force, on the 12th of August, 1911, over 100 000 Fae from all corners of the world gathered, forming a military group that hoped to somehow stop the empowering of Queen Mab within the Factory. In the evening hours of the same day, the group materialized itself before the building via the utilization of a gigantic apportation spell, officially commencing the attack.

Outnumbering the defendants more than ten to one, the Fae forces quickly gained control of the Factory, murdering over 2 000 Foundation personnel in Site-01 — including first cycle O5-6, O5-7, O5-9, O5-10, and O5-12 — in the process. However, despite their overwhelming forces, they were unable to locate neither the Administrator12 nor the exact room within which the spirit of Mab was located. The former, utterly devastated by the attack and the loss of most of his life's work, became an easy target for the Queen, which utilized his state of weakness to lure him into her lair and offer him a deal. If he was to give her a part of his body and access into baseline reality, she would in turn offer him the power to thoroughly destroy the Fae forces below, effectively granting her the elimination of both her political enemies and a severe advantage in her future plans. Still believing the being to be the Inventor and the attackers to be aligned with the Queen, the Administrator accepted, wishing to postpone Mab's return into reality.

Effectively utilizing the Administrator's body as a vessel, Mab cast the biggest thaumaturgic spell known to date on the same day as the deal was sealed. Rippling worldwide, it effectively took the names of the entire Fae population that was not protected by their existence outside of baseline reality — such as in Nexuses, Free Ports, and pocket dimensions. Names, acting as the de facto souls for the Fae species, entirely define the personality and stability of a sidhe individual. As the majority of non-hidden Fae have lost their integrity, the Queen utilized this point of weakness to banish their remaining, soulless bodies to a pocket dimension beyond baseline reality with no way out, referred to by the Foundation as SCP-4000, and killing tens of thousands in the process.13 With this, she affected over 2 500 000 individuals worldwide, sentencing them to more than one century of agonizing existence and erasing all records of the life of their prior personalities, heavily corrupting all information and data that pertained to it.

Although the Foundation, now controlled by the Mab-Administrator, did not immediately react to what it had done, the majority of the O5 Council was appalled by his actions. Over the next months, the Administrator became fully disillusioned and controlled by the Queen, effectively becoming possessed. However, on the 30th of December, 1913, he realized the truth about the situation and attempted to confront the entity within her containment cell. This caused him to meet a similar fate as the killed Fae, leaving the Foundation without a leader. However, soon, a new leader — O5-1 — would emerge, authorizing Directive Alpha/1911, a project aimed at the Foundation's retribution for the actions it committed under Mab's influence. It was focused mainly on helping rebuild societies the Factory Genocide destroyed and lessening the grip on the anomalous as part of the Veil protocol. Over the next couple of years, the Foundation would maintain sacrifices to Mab, still believing her to be the Inventor in form of one of the most ethically questionable Foundation procedures, 001-Corpus thinking it was the only way to stop her.

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A 1911 photo depicting a group of humans and Fae, taken prior to the Third Diaspora, with its identity-expunging effects heavily visible.

This, however, changed on the 12th of August, 1918, during which an ontokinetically-skilled Site-01 janitor fell into the room containing Mab soul, being the first one to ever leave largely unaffected due to his properties. Having remembered the experience, he revealed the true identity of the being to the O5 Council, which immediately stopped their empowering endeavors and sealed the doors shut on the entity for more than a century to come, resorting to highly-specific and extremely powerful rituals to maintain the deity within the room. This situation was maintained until the heist that resulted in the theft of the being's soul by the Triumviraté on the 11th of January, 2004.14 Later realizing what a horrible mistake Procedure 001-Corpus was, the Foundation proceeded to devote numerous resources across the globe in attempt to personally fund the repairs of some of the places and people it caused damage to as a result of it, under the protocols of early Directive Alpha/1911 phases.

In the meantime, however, the Foundation — alongside the newly independent Polish government and its Ministry of Occult Affairs — would eventually discover Esterberg's existence and confirm the rumors that lead to their knowledge of it. Fully expanding into Poland over the next couple of years via the Polish Containment Project, they concluded with the discovery of the Library of Babel (VNP-5292; previously classified as SCP-5292 by the Foundation) and establishment of Site-120 atop it, which would become focused on studying the library below and the Free Port above as its specialties. Although the Foundation was unable to contain Esterberg due to the 1923 "Free Port Protection" League of Nations Act, due to an existing loophole it was able to conduct unarmed research exploration of the city. To combat this expanse and the anti-Mab actions of humanity in general, however, some of the still-Mab-aligned Fae survivors would form Triumviraté,15 (GoI-120 by Vanguard / the Foundation) continuing its operation for more than a century until its dissolution following the Impasse.16

The anomalous world was left utterly and thoroughly decimated by the Third Great Diaspora. Taking over 85% of the Fae population as its victims, the event — often referred to as the Factory Genocide — was the single biggest Fae species massacre ever since the Yeren massacre during the Second Great Diaspora that occurred over 210 000 years prior. Although the biggest Fae Nexus, the Kingdom of Hy-Brasil, was mostly unaffected due to its location inside a pocket dimension and lack of lack of much interest in the Factory raid, Esterberg became hollow as over 10 000 sidhe individuals native to it mobilized and were murdered during the attack. This paralyzed the city, making its economy and inter-Nexus relations nearly collapse. Now robbed of their close ones, some memories of them, and all mementos relating to them, countless families were left alone and broken. Esterberg became scarred like it had never been, entirely isolating itself from the outside world for over 10 years during which it attempted to mourn the fallen and somehow attempt to come back to reality. Memorials were built, funerals were held, and speeches were said. For the first time ever since its funding, Esterberg noted a total of zero crimes being committed for over 3 months as its hollowed schools, shops, clubs, restaurants, streets, and houses desperately tried to grieve over the murdered and attempt somehow try to build itself futurefor the few now forever-scarred remaining survivors it still had. The event would forever become a part of the Fae — and Esterberg — culture, sparking the single biggest peak of depression, suicide rates, and art creation ever recorded in the species' existence, rivaling and beating all prior tragedies that have ever occurred to it.

World War II and the Seventh Occult War

Although Esterberg would never fully recover from the Third Diaspora, in the decades following it, the city noted a visible spike in cooperation between its citizens, genuinely wishing to rebuild its broken legacy and putting aside its differences for the second time since its founding. Partially growing past the all-encompassing grief of the century's beginning, Esterbergians created a plethora of public utility buildings and organizations, improving the quality of life of the general population by a large margin. From this movement, new educational establishments would be formed and old ones would gain new monetary support, hoping to once again make Esterberg into the capital of Europe's magic it had once been. Inspired by the newfound spark in the city's denizens, many magic-propagating organizations would once again form, bringing their count to numbers rivaling that of the Fifth Occult War. The main difference between them was however the existence of the Veil and Esterbergian law limiting their operations, in hopes of never causing another conflict like the aforementioned war. However, despite the heavy regulation of the now once again spreading magic in Europe, a new occult campaign would begin soon regardless.

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The logo of Ahnenerbe Obskurakorps prior to its transformation into OBSKURA following the conclusion of the Seventh Occult War.

With Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933, his newly formed government would officially sign the creation of Ahnenerbe Obskurakorps, the occult branch of Studiengesellschaft für Geistesurgeschichte‚ Deutsches Ahnenerbe (Ahnenerbe) in 1935. Specializing in weaponizing magic for the benefit of the Nazi regime and its propaganda machine, it brought terror to the anomalous communities of Germany, such as the Outer Lichtenberg Free Port and the Mages Academy alongside other Groups of Interest, such as anomalous religions like the Nälkä, Mekhanism and Chopinism. Eventually expanding its reach into the rest of Europe as Hitler's armies gained control of it, Obskurakorps' brought its terror upon most anomalies and mage practitioners under its power. The group would organize mass murders of anomalous individuals, rob communities of their culture and achievements and utilize them to spread its brutality, and destroy all non-protected anomalous areas. In response to this attack on all of its principles, Esterberg would offer shelter to those escaping from the organization and mainly isolated itself from the baseline reality.

With the start of World War II in 1939, Obskura would fully commit to its destruction and thefts as the Nazi armies took control of one country after the other. Fearing the thaumaturgic power this could bring to the organizations, by direct order of the Allied Countries the same year, the Order of the Templar Knights and the British Occult Service (also known as MI666) formed the Allied Occult Initiative, hoping to oppose Obskurakorps' increasing potential. Quickly spreading its membership to many anomalous organizations throughout the continent, the AOI began to openly attack Nazi occult members, eventually resulting in the Battle of Prague. The Allied forces, aided by the city's magical and age-old defender, the Golem of Prague, quickly overpowered Obskurakorps and decimated their forces. This event directly led to the beginning of the Seventh Occult War.

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The Dragon Brooch of Xia,17 one of the artifacts necessary for the activation of the Rite of Solomon on display in the GOC Museum of the Occult in London, which was transformed from the previously secret Shadow British Museum in 2022.

Spanning for the next 6 years, the Seventh Occult War mainly consisted of two phases. The first one, referred to as the German Phase, lasted from 1939 to 1944 and mainly consisted of AOI gaining more members and organizing planned attacks on Obskura's and Thule Society's18 outposts and high-ranking officers in hopes of aiding the non-anomalous military campaign of the Allies and liberating the anomalous community. These operations eventually broadened worldwide and turned into an official war against the Axis' occult societies. Although the German Phase lasted for over 5 years, it didn't have much importance to the overall conflict due to the true nature of Obskura's operations that would become revealed soon. However, the second phase — the Global Phase — was much larger in scale and consequences. It began on the 1st of September, 1944, and lasted until the war's conclusion on the 12th of January, 1945.

The Global Phase began with the Foundation's capture of Kord Weiss, the Director of Obskurakorps' archeological and research arm. During his long interrogation, Weiss revealed Obskura's true plan, the usage of the extremely complex thaumaturgic ritual known as the Rite of Solomon to artificially recreate and resummon the Demiurge in baseline reality, in an attempt to manipulate it to limit the usage of magic only to German individuals to not only fuel Hitler's propaganda machine, but also allow them to win the Seventh Occult War and World War II without any further resistance. To achieve this, they hoped to utilize the original rites discovered by the Godless during the Sixth War and enhance them with newly-developed techniques and artifacts stolen from across Europe, among which they hoped to find the Seven Keys of Solomon, the only magical catalyzers powerful enough to be capable of creating the Demiurge. Although the Foundation was previously neutral amidst the conflict, following this revelation being made, per unanimous decision of the O5 Council, it dropped its policy and officially joined the war on AOI's side.

In the following months, this information would spread worldwide, gaining AOI the support of many new and increasing from already supporting occult organizations and all Allied governments — including Ancient Noble Order of the Gormogons, Pentagram,19 Universalist Order of the Æsir, Silver Key Society, SAPPHIRE,20 Polish Ministry of Occult Affairs and the Esterberg-formed Sidhe Lounge and Sons of Phomet. Now launching attacks against Obskura and its allies like never before, the coalition recovered more and more artifacts — such as even the legendary sword Tyrfing — and liberated more and more land, eventually pushing German forces to the brink of desperation following its mass attack on Norway. Although Obskura had been working towards its goal for more than a decade, it was still unable to achieve it due to the elusive Golem of Prague and AOI possessing some of the Keys necessary for the ritual. In a final desperate attempt to make their plan succeed and blinded by their hubris, the remaining Nazi occult forces attempted to artificially recreate the Keys they lacked using recovered scrolls pertaining to their original creation. With the Foundation now fully on its side, the coalition officially launched Operation Aeon Dawn, in hopes of fully defeating the few surviving Obskura and Thule members that attempted to frantically finish the rite.

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The logo of the Global Occult Coalition.

Raiding the ritual site on the 11th of January, 1945, the AOI alongside Foundation forces found itself to be too late, as the Nazi mages have already been successful in their recreation of the Demiurge. Weaving the essence of thaumaturgy itself to create an essophysical embodiment of it, the Obskura forces were entirely unable to control the deity with their fake keys, which made the proper employment of the binding second part of Rite of Solomon impossible. Over the course of the night, the now-enraged god entirely destroyed all remaining occultists that tried to imprison it, and was aided by coalition forces neutralizing those that were successful in escaping the ritual site. Concluding with the dawn of a new day, the battle that ensured — and alongside it, the entirety of the Seventh Occult War — finally finished on the dawn of the 12th of January, 1945, ending more than half a century of terror for the anomalous communities as the coalition neutralized the entire site with a thaumaturgy-enhanced nuclear missile to fully destroy the summoned Demiurge.

In the meantime, Esterberg remained a safe haven for persecuted polish anomalous communities throughout the whole conflict. The city was also used as a base by the Polish Underground State — although for most of its existence, the organization remained strongly against the use of anomalies, this approach changed only at the end of the war following the failure of the Warsaw Uprising, during which its base of operation was moved to Częstochowa and Esterberg. Obskura attempted to take the city by force several times, but all their attacks were successfully repelled by the citizens and the password system, which made it difficult for the enemy to infiltrate the city. In addition, with the crossing of the former Polish borders by the Red Army in 1944, GRU Division "P" began attempts at cooperating with the local Fae and Yeren populations in Esterberg — particularly the more radical groups like Triumviraté — promising liberation of the anomalous races from the "capitalistic and imperialistic" veil policy in return for their help. Of course, none of these promises have been actually fulfilled.

With World War II itself concluding shortly after the end of the Seventh Occult War, the United Nations was formed, and, alongside it, the Allied Occult Initiative officially turned into the United Nations Global Occult Coalition (UNGOC or GOC), led by its newly-appointed Under-Secretary-General, D.C. al Fine. Spanning the entire world and 108 occult organizations — most of whom were former AOI members — the GOC swore to protect the anomalous and nonanomalous worlds in their entirety from conflict, injustice, and further discrimination, whilst still operating under the Veil policy and for the interest of the anomalous itself. Over the next couple of years, it — with the Foundation's help — arrested all remaining Obskura and Thule members and put it against its court of justice, judging and imprisoning all as appropriate, and neutralized and contained the remaining Nazi anomalies and eigenweapons. Although it caught over 85% of all associates, some of them were able to hide and defect, eventually forming splinter groups, such as OBSKURA and the Fourth Reich (4R), which carried the legacy of Obskura's ideology into the art, literature, and societies of the post-war world.

Today, almost a century following the conflict's conclusion, some of these organizations still exist; however, they are actively hunted by GOC, Vanguard (formerly Foundation) and many other organizations around the globe, with international law actively declaring their activities illegal. Additionally, to ensure nobody else would ever attempt the Rite of Solomon, the GOC divided the Keys, scrolls describing it, and information regarding Operation Aeon Dawn it possessed between itself and the Foundation (now Vanguard), so that no group could ever alone achieve this goal. All of this was done under the now-signed Köln Agreement between the two groups, which detailed the exact division of information regarding the Seventh Occult War between the two groups. Noteworthy is its Article 13, which clearly underlines that if the containment of both organizations would fail and another conflict or situation of similar size would happen, they are to abandon their ideological differences and join forces in attempts to stop the incident.

Now fully liberated from more than half a century of oppression and violent discrimination, Esterberg — and, by extension, all anomalous communities — was finally able to flourish. However, now, actively having members of the city at GOC's table of decisions and cooperating with the Foundation, it was able to once again enter into a new golden era. Carefully abiding by the Veil policy, the Free Port gained much support from around the planet, noting the biggest increase in both permanent and visiting population since the post-Fifth Occult War period. For more than a century, Esterberg finally came to know long-term peace again.

The Cold War and its Consequences

The initial collaboration of the Fae and Yeren population with the Soviets that began back during the Seventh Occult War quickly ended with the rise of the People's Republic of Poland and the start of the Cold War which had a massive impact on both non-anomalous and anomalous worlds. The new socialist Polish government started actively persecuting the remaining anomalous societies and communities after the war in fear that they might be a threat to the new government. This was done through the newly formed ZM "Witch Slayer" Division which forced most of them with help from the GRU Division "P" to hide out in the Free Ports. During the global Foundation Panopticon Crisis21 that resulted in the Foundation forming its new SCP-001, a memetic glamour hiding its operations under front companies, the city only acted as a temporary hiding spot for Site-120 personnel during the Soviet occupation of it until it once again continued operation later the same year. This led to some conflicts over the real neutrality of the city with the Polish Government which quickly ended but further deepened Esterberg's resentment against the communist government.

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The Vienna Summit, 4th of June, 1961. Photo taken following the Triumviraté attack, Foundation amnestization, and the continuation of non-anomalous political negotiations.

One noteworthy time where this neutrality policy was broken however was the Vienna Incident that occurred during the non-anomalous meeting between President John F. Kennedy of the United States and Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union in Vienna on the 4th of June, 1961. Although not officially supported by any citizens or officials within Esterberg due to its terroristic nature, Triumviraté interfered with the event in hopes of kidnapping Khrushchev to exchange his freedom for an eigenweapon which utilized the brain of a long-dead Queen Mab descendent the Soviet Union at the time possessed. Quickly neutralized by Foundation forces and the formation of a deific entity that ensued onsite due to a combination of mostly probabilistic factors during the summit, in the end, they had almost no impact on the summit, which continued successfully following the amnestization of all attending parties.

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The logo of Prometheus Laboratories.

Like during every period of relative peace following a large occult conflict — this time aided by the fact the Veil was guarded like never before — Esterberg once again became the hub for anomalous activity in Europe, allowing it to significantly grow in size and advancement. Due to its liberty for practicing magic and paratechnology, it became a large hub for many paratech organizations and anomalous schools. A noteworthy example of such groups was Prometheus Laboratories, of whom Esteberg acted as one of the main hubs. The organization, now funded by almost every government worldwide due to the ongoing eigenweapon arms race, experienced a severe and never-before-seen growth, which allowed it to make generous donations towards Esterberg's education, research, and the city as a whole. As a sign of appreciation for the help, the city would fund the Promethean, a monument to Prometheus Labs, located before the entry to its parliament building. This positive state and relations with Prometheus maintained themselves throughout the entire Cold War and even during the Neverland Incident,22 although it quickly ended during the firm's rapid collapse in the 1990s caused by the infamous Multiversal Train Fiasco of 1994 and the following string of incidents and drop off governments interest in paratech and paraweapons industry following the end of the Cold War.

All of this growth allowed Esterberg to prosper as a city for nearly 40 years. However, this would soon once again change, bringing Esterberg to the brink of collapse for the third time during its existence.

Although the openness the city offered to the anomalous during the Cold War has mostly brought benefits to it and its population, it also helped the location gain the interest of illegal groups and wanted individuals. One such person was Damien Nowak, a thaumaturgist, cult leader, and radical activist, attempting to help Fae and Yeren populations regain the terrains supposedly stolen from them by humanity during the first two Diasporas. His plan involved the activation of five extremely powerful ritual sites around Poland — referred to by him and his people as "Seals" — that would ultimately lead to the release of a deific entity known as "the Beast". This would allow Nowak to use its immense strength to drive back human society and allow the aforementioned groups to prosper without oppression. However, the chance of him succeeding to capture the entity was very slim and each of his rituals necessary for the activation of a Seal required heavy human sacrifice.

Using Esterberg's freedom, Nowak sought haven inside the city, hoping to escape from the Foundation, which had orchestrated a country-wide search for him following his public assault on Poland's Podlasian Vovoidenship and infiltration of their database in the April of 1985. Understanding the success of his plan to be equal with the destruction of baseline reality by the damage a rampant Beast would inevitably cause, per nearly-unanimous decision of its O4 Council, which was manipulated by O5-9,23 the Foundation decided to intervene militarily within Esterberg. Ignoring international law and the GOC's rules for engagement with Free Ports, the group attempted to choose the "greater good", in hopes of catching Nowak and bringing him to justice for his crimes without causing any damage to the city. However, these hopes would soon prove to be entirely futile.

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Part of Esterberg's Living District.

Commencing its Operation Esterberg under Project Neverland on the 1st of May, 1985, the Foundation sent out a total of five of its Mobile Task Forces inside Esterberg. Despite their attempts at quietly capturing or assassinating Nowak without the involvement of any citizens, they arrived too late. A couple of hours prior to their arrival, Nowak proceeded to spawn a rally inside the city's Market District, calling all Fae and Yeren denizens to stand up against the oppression of normalcy organizations and humanity in general. Manipulating the population with thaumaturgic sigils and harnessing their hate to power the activation of his Seal, he gathered over 2000 protesters, eventually spawning one of the largest rallies Esterberg has ever seen. The Foundation squads eventually made their way towards his location, pinpointing the exact plan that would result in his capture. This plan involved the usage of brute force through the crowd in hopes of containing Nowak. Tentatively pitching the operation to mission command, eventually, the task forces received greenlight from O5-9 directly, who very much hoped for the destruction this could bring to further her personal goals. And so, abiding by orders from higher-ups, the groups commenced according to the plan

Over the course of the next couple of minutes, the Foundation would deploy numerous additional MTF units onsite, equipped with heavy weaponry. Utilizing their arsenal — aided by thaumaturgy — they commenced with attacking the crowd in hopes of capturing Nowak. However, their target once again escaped shortly after without being as much as seen by the operatives — this did not stop them from inflicting further damage on the city and its citizens due to a total lack of communication between the groups due to O5-9's manipulations. This state maintained itself for a couple of hours until an emergency O4 Council summit overrode all communication channels and informed all involved that Nowak was no longer on-site, calling for an immediate cessation of all Esterberg activity. Within the time it took the Foundation to realize the truth, however, over 1/5th of the city became destroyed, caused by the Foundation MTFs, O5-9's magic, the rallies the event spawned, and Nowak himself.

The fallout from the event was massive, yielding over 1500 deaths and approximately 20 000 000 PLN in damage done. Although due to O5-9's further manipulations and corruption, the SCP Foundation did not immediately react to its actions, following her removal from power in September of 1985 the now once-again operating Overwatch Command alongside the O4 Council came forward, in an attempt to amend for the organization's actions. Proposing a plan upon which Foundation assets would help the Esterbergian government in rebuilding the city and offer monetary resources for doing so, it was tentatively accepted. This has spawned a very mixed public reaction, a majority of which has now totally lost its belief in the Foundation's ideals, which proceeded to lead to numerous protests and attacks throughout the city. Thankfully, however, the taking of this policy has proven to be a good choice in the long run.

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Pope John Paul II alongside Polish priests and GOC agents during his Third Pastoral Visit in Poland, during which he visited Esterberg.

Aided by the Foundation's support alongside insurance coverage received from Goldbaker-Reinz Ltd. and humanitarian aid offered by the Manna Charitable Foundation, over the next couple of years, Esterberg would lift itself back from its knees. With more and more new faces visiting the city due to the fall of the Soviet Union and the approaching end of the Cold War, the city was capable of changing its landscape almost entirely from the previously outdated architecture left over from the city's funding to a new, more modern look. With groups such as Natalia Estle's Real Estate Agency and Marshall, Carter and Dark investing in numerous tram lines in an attempt to the transport issues spawned by Esterberg's lack of support for cars. The newly-constructed buildings — paired with the global attention the incident spawned — lured many new investors and companies to exploit the ongoing situation to permanently settle down within the city. This — paired with the Foundation's help — has resulted in the rapid improvement of the economy and a quick rebuilding of the approximate 1/5th of the buildings Esterberg has lost.

However, this period did not go without major instability — a large portion of Esterberg's denizens organized numerous rallies, protesting against the maintenance of relations with the Foundation by the city council. The lack of homes and loss of close ones a majority of citizens suffered from did not help, either. As a result of both, during the 1985-1989 period, Esterberg has noted the single biggest crime record since its founding, resulting in further 400 deaths and 1 000 000 PLN of damage, although the now GOC backed-up police force did not lay restless, quickly cracking down on all such incidents. However, the Coalition's radars were not aimed only at one side of the conflict. In 1987, it officially put the Foundation against the International Court for the Paranormal for breaking international law and causing severe damage to a strickly protected anomalous area. The battle lasted for two years and ended with the signing of the 1989/Neverland Mandate, document explaining in-depth the further approach towards Esterberg by the GOC, the Foundation, and the city's government itself and granting additional rights and privileges to sapient anomalous beings passing at least 8 of the 10 Redmond tests and living in Esterberg. Additionally, the Foundation agreed to pay a total of 100 000 000 PLN to the city to amend its crimes. The entire situation officially culminated at the event's tenth anniversary, during which John Paul II (formerly classified by the Foundation as SCP-PL-213-7-EX), the at-the-time pope, visited the city, and gave a long speech that officially apologized to the anomalous communities for their oppression during the Medieval times and asked all gathered to pray for Foundation personnel responsible for Project Neverland. The Pope later visited Esterberg again in 1999.

With the end of the Cold War and the fall of socialism in Poland, Esterberg passed mostly peacefully — only broken temporarily with minor protests and incidents, such as the 1998 Broken Rally spawned by the WAN entity escaping into the internet. The paranormal crisis caused by loss of government interest in the paraweapons and paratech industries that followed was caused by the decline of the Cold War political paranoia paired with a series of catastrophic research accidents and the bankruptcy of the largest paranormal manufacturers — Prometheus Labs — in 1998. What followed was a flood on the black market with illegal post-Soviet paraweapons from the Scarlet Hammer, a paranormal crime syndicate formed from the remnants of the former KGB Division of Special Circumstances, responsible for maintaining the Soviet Union's stockpile of paraweaponry, and was eventually dissolved in 1991. Despite this, Esterberg with a lot of outside investments and attention from the peaceful communities outside its boundaries, officially opened its gates once again. And so, motivated by this newly-formed invitation and the collapse of regimes around the world, the world flocked towards the city en-masse. Slowly but surely developing forward with the acceptance and support of both the Foundation and the GOC, it could finally become a true and significant member of the anomalous community, changing the landscape of paranormal Europe forever

The 21st Century and Relations with the SCP Foundation

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The post-1985 Site-120 logo.

For Esterberg, the entirety of the second millenium was defined by its utter chaos and almost sinusoidal growth tendencies, oftentimes entirely turning the state of being of its citizens on its head within a single lifetime. However, with the end of the Cold War and almost thorough stabilization of the anomalous world in relation to its non-paranormal counterpart that occurred with the turn of the new century, things seemed to permanently cool off for the first time in almost a thousand years.

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A section of Esterberg's Living District, where the houses of several city council members involved in the scandal were located.

The majority of the 21st century consisted of Esterberg's attempts at becoming a peaceful society and maintaining its relationships with other anomalous and normalcy groups. However, as the former goal could not be truly achieved without the latter becoming complete as well, the Esterbergian government turned its sights towards establishing a healthy relationship with the primary group operating near it, mostly the Foundation. Following Project Neverland and the involuntary cooperation that ensued following it due to the GOC verdict, the city's government and the Foundation were practically permanently in touch with each other. So, a true and really permanent collaboration was the only truly logical step to undertake. Over the next decades, this goal would become achieved thanks to Site-120 and its personnel, which were stationed in Częstochowa, just outside Esterberg's bubble reality boundaries.

In just a couple of years, Foundation staff stationed at Site-120 would create the Inter-species Communications Team, led by Dr. Anna Szulc, which became the first step on the road to true collaboration. Said team's existence allowed for safe and efficient communication, which helped resolve numerous issues Esterbergians would not be able to face alone. One such incident was the 2001 anomalous murder spree resurgence (VNP-643; previously classified as SCP-643 by the Foundation), during which Foundation agents were able to quickly resolve the case and stop the homicides before they brought on wide panic. Another noteworthy event was the help offered by Mobile Task Forces during the entirety of the 2014 political scandals caused by the "Headless Hunter" (VNP-6772; previously classified as SCP-6772 by the Foundation) leaking government secrets and assassinating political figures, which brought on city-wide rallies, resulting in major local damage and temporary political instability. Due to the intervention of the aforementioned assets, the threat was contained relatively quickly, allowing for the governing bodies to reassume work.

Additional positive cooperation brought on by Esterberg's positive relations with Site-120 worth mentioning were the information and evacuation help offered during the Jarilo (VNP-5659; previously classified as SCP-5659 by the Foundation) fiasco of 2019. Without the prior intel given by the Foundation, if the entity were to truly manifest in baseline reality — which, due to a thoroughly incidental event permanently rendering it neutralized during its emergence, it did not — the deity would obliterate the entirety of Esterberg, which was able to temporarily disconnect itself from the aforementioned place of existence for the duration of the crisis. In general, the Foundation's primary scope of help beyond financial and structural support was the elimination of entities too powerful for Esterberg to handle alone. This was perfectly illustrated by the January 2003 operations, which, with the help of some of Esterberg citizens, allowed the aforementioned group to banish the specter of Queen Mab that haunted the city for good, ridding the location of its presence permanently.

However, the Foundation wasn't only a harbinger of positive change — be it accidentally, the group did in fact almost affect Esterberg with some negativity. One example of such was their research inadvertently granting one of their staff, Agent Marrie Surratt, post-mortem imortality, which in turn made her pursue organized crime within the city. In just a year following her resurrection, she was able to control a majority of Esterberg's illegal trade and trafficking, essentially becoming its primary boss. However, during her "reign", the Mad Queen (as referred to by her subjects) would heavily restrict Triumviraté activity, actively hunting its cells and eliminating as many as she was capable of finding. This has gone to such an extent that one of her subjects (referred to as "Nobody" or "Hunter") became a worldwide hunter of Mab activity, bringing an unexpected recession of terrorist in Esterberg and, eventually, becoming its sole hero that saved the location from the inevitable Impasse and protected countless lives and places from its magic-murdering entropy effect.

The Impasse

Geography and Climate

Esterberg’s climate and weather patterns are artificially simulated inside its pocket dimension by an ancient spell initially cast by the city’s founders in the 13th century. It is maintained by a giant ritual circle in a secret location known only to the members of the Council of Three and a select few thaumaturges and personnel chosen for the mission. These measures are put in place to protect the incredibly powerful incantation, as its maintained operation is imperative to the stability of the local reality. Should it ever malfunction – be it through sabotage, allowing its energy to break loose, or a simple lack of meeting its requirements on a regular basis – its consequences would be highly unpredictable and could result in a potential weather catastrophe, which would most likely wipe out a majority of non-anomalous buildings making up the aboveground of Esterberg. Thankfully, however, due to highly kept secrecy measures, protection wards, and other methods of defense no outside organization is really aware of, no such event has ever even come close to occurring. These measures were further enhanced by modern paratechnology provided by the GOC and Foundations during the Impasse to avoid complete destruction of the city.

The aforementioned spell attempts to imitate weather patterns native to Poland from the period it was cast in. Although initially, the climate within the reality and in baseline was almost entirely identical, over time, they drifted apart due to the increasing polution of nature in Poland and the thaumaturgic backlash from Esterbergian spells with the centuries that were to come. Currently, however, active attempts are being made to bring the two together once again to ensure that the process of forming New Częstochowa24 will be as smooth and damage-less as possible. From across the world, over 30 meteourges and battlemages have so far been gathered under the banner of the project and will over the next couple of months gently and slowly attempt to drastically alter the course of Esterberg’s climate and weather.

Despite these changes, however, most of Esterberg’s weather present in a majority of its landmass is still very similar to that of Poland, approximating itself at an average yearly temperature of 6-8°C and rainfall of 700 mm. However, these conditions exist only within the area the city itself is located in and the immediate surroundings, which makes up over 60% of the total pocket dimension area. Further up north, close to the location of Silverrock Mountains25 and the snowy plains surrounding them, temperatures average at around -12°C, with no rainfall occurring, instead replaced by an almost non-stopping fall of snow. The situation is drastically different in the field areas located south of the plane of reality, wherein the temperature is visibly higher and marks approximately 24°C, accompanied by 150 mm of rainfall. Both of these features have been heavily utilized by the Esterbergian government and other groups operating within the city, as they allow for the creation of hotels and resorts in areas that have constant weather conditions, appropriate for the mostly recreational purposes of those buildings. Noteworthy is also the thick fog, which covers the very borders of the Esterberg pocket dimension, and ignores any other weather condiction normally present in those areas. Embued with memetic triggers, which upon inhalation cause an individual to wander away from their source, they were initially created as means of protecting citizens from the certain grave injury and / or death that would await them should they venture into the heavily reality unstable areas beyond the borders of the pocket universe.

City Infrastructure

Due to its size and ease of administration, Esterberg is divided into five distinct districts, referred to by internal administrative documentation and its citizens as the Living District, the Market District, the Ruling District, the Sewer District, and the Port District. All of their English names — which are the ones that are used within documentation due to English being one of Esterberg's official languages — derive from original, Fae words initially used during the city's founding in the 13th century and do not possess full corresponding words within the former speech. Due to this, their formal names have over time come to be perceived as not fully grammatically accurate with the English speech. However, due to the proliferation of their usage, by official decision of the city council, no amendments to their titles have ever been made.

The Living District

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The Rhia'nhon Street, as seen during the day.

Housing 65% of Esterberg's population, the Living District is the largest of the five by a wide margin. It primarily acts as the central unit within which most houses are located and where a majority of the city's public life happens. To assist the latter goal, over time, it has become not only home to houses and buildings intended for similar purposes — such as hotels and motels — but also includes other establishments commonly found within city areas, such as shops, restaurants, and small businesses. Due to this, many non-business-oriented and gain-focused paranormal groups alike from around the world have found the Living District to be the perfect spot for development within the city. Examples of such organizations include Wilson's Wildlife Solution with its Wilson's Esterberg Center, Ambrose Restaurants, which prior to its eviction from the city in 2012 possessed a wide series of restaurants throughout the area,26 and the Manna Charitable Foundation alongside its Esterberg Center, created in 1985 due to the ongoing crisis, wherein it accepts donations and distributes them to the city as necessary

However, the large population housed within such a densely-packed area also has its significant downsides, the biggest one being the proliferation of crime among the District's citizens. Although Esterberg's police forces attempt to combat this issue and largely succeed a majority of times, they are incapable of controlling everything. This has resulted in several terrorist organizations — such as Triumviraté, the Miracle Liberation Front,27 and a few Chaos Insurgency activists — being based within the area. A noteworthy example of this is the Rhia'nhon Street, which borders the Sewer District and is the single most crime-noted place within the entirety of the city. Thankfully, however, over time, this tendency has been noted to drastically decrease. Be it through the collapse of the Veil, the post-2014 drastic reduction of corruption within the Esterbergian government, or simply due to the increase of police force and their efficiency due to their high usage of precise thaumaturgy — over the last few years, crime has been notably exiting the Living District.

For ease of access, the Living District is heavily directly connected with the outside world mostly via the usage of ancient Ways, and portals created during the city's early days. Even during the Veil period, a large portion of them was connected directly to the non-anomalous, public locations across Poland. Examples of this include Yeren habitats within the Podlasian Voivodeship, an auto-thaumic cavern system underneath Stargard, Poland used by the Fae prior to the Third Diaspora, antimemetic Fae palaces in the Wielkopolska areas, and Finfolk-inhabited areas near the Baltic Sea.

The Market District

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One of streets of the Market District, located around its outer suburbs.

The Market District is the center of all trade within Esterberg. Mainly consisting of markets, shops, and other commercial constructions, it houses one of the biggest and most diverse anomalous markets worldwide. Its primary landmark and center is the Grand Market, a giant plaza directly in the District's center, where a majority of the aforementioned buildings lie, with some of the most prestigious occult companies, trade houses, and shops finding their central point and clientele within. Such organizations include the dream-gardens and primary sleeping units of Oneiroi Incorporated, numerous Doctor Wondertainment toy centers, Lurking Treatment stores which were closed in 2023 due to the EU and GOC changes to paranormal drug law, baseline reality Greazeburger Incorporated trade establishments, GpExpress Logistics Ltd., logistic and transport hubs, a PZGA Esterberg cooperation center, and Eastern European Anderson Robotics Headquarters, prior to its fall and splintering caused by the joint UIU/Foundation raid of 2024. However, other less anomalous-based companies still find their way inside the Market District, and did so even prior to the collapse of the Veil. Examples of such groups include large fast-food chains such as McDonald's prior to its purchase by MC&D in 2029, [ENTRY PENDING REMOVAL], and Starbucks, expensive clothing brands like Gucci, Dior, and Versace, and general stores such as Lidl, Biedronka, Żabka, Aldi, and Amazon, although following Jeffrey Bezos' consumption and Amazon's purchase by numerous other corporations in 2023, its influence in the area has been increasingly declining.

However, the Market District is also home to — albeit relatively few — houses and other buildings dedicated to being lived in. Although for a majority of such cases, they are constructed above or near establishments, for ease of owner access, a few standalone examples entirely disconnected from any business exist as well, and are primarily the possession of rich Esterbergians and parahumans. To prevent any further undesired construction of just housing buildings in the District, the city has heavily mandated the necessary requirements for such an operation to be approved, and, even in those cases, the taxation of a successfully completed house within the Market District is still extremely high when compared to the rest of the city. Despite — and perhaps because of — this, the money derived from the Market District's trade is among the biggest monetary sources for the entire Esterberg. Noteworthy is also the fact that with each passing year, the Market District does not follow the general action of most other Districts and instead forms itself a stronger and stronger identity, refusing to mix in with the remaining parts of the city. Although it is estimated that by 2034, with New Częstochowa's officialization,28 all other Districts will fuse into one unified Esterberg and Częstochowa, it is fully unknown what fate will await the Market District. Whether it will bend down its knee and join its brethren or remain as a beacon of anti-conformity is still heavily debated by experts.

The Ruling District

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The House of Marshall.

Oftentimes regarded as the "rich district" due to its high taxation and density of wealthy individuals living within, the Ruling District is the primary location of the majority of Esterberg's administrative buildings and religious temples. As a result of this, it additionally houses the living quarters of a large portion of the city's politicians, priests, and other rich individuals associated with the structures located within. The District's primary landmark is the Parliament of Esterberg, located near the banks of River Arlande, from where the city council and Council of Three operate. Inside the building, most of the organs' meetings, votes, and interviews happen, which allow it to actively gain by far the biggest public and journalist attention out of any other place in the city. Accompanied by a plethora of other, smaller, and supportive administrative buildings, the entire political structure and integrity of Esterberg relies on the Ruling District's existence to operate.

The security and almost nonexistence of crime inside the Ruling District's boundaries its purpose has inadvertently caused has allowed it to become a safe spot for the operation of other vital Esterbergian services. Examples of such groups include the Grand Bank of Esterberg, which is the only banking structure inside the entire city, the Global Occult Coalition Esterberg Headquarters , from which the group cooperates with the city's police forces to ensure peace and safety across Esterberg, Goldbaker and Reinz insurance offices, and the House of Marshall, a gigantic Skitter Marshall29-owned Esterberg MC&D operation hub, trade house, and office center. Similarly to the politicians', among said buildings located in the non-administrative and non-temple parts of the District, the apartments and villas of the wealthiest Esterbergians — such as Jarosław Zimorodek, Cad'hla Nessa, and the Critic — are located alongside services commonly associated with wealth, such as the Esterberg operahouse. However, due to the average size and purposes of the aforementioned buildings, the Ruling District is not home to many citizens.

However, as previously mentioned, the District doesn't only contain structures necessary for Esterberg's administration and companies. In fact, an equally large portion of its space is taken by a plethora of temples, shrines, and sanctuaries of religious significance, the biggest of them being the oldest building in the entire city, the Grand Temple, which is dedicated to the fulfillment of the religious needs of over 35 anomalous and non-anomalous faiths from across the globe. Outside it, however, a significant amount of buildings housing diverse single faiths due to Esterberg's freedom of faith have also located. Examples of major religions that found the city to be a save haven for their practice are Christianity, Mekhanism, Islam, Nälkä, Hinduism, Ortothans, Judaism, Chopinism, Buddhism, the unofficial worship of the Inventor entity, and a small but dedicated group of believers worshipping entities known as the Beast and Father, prior to their dissolution in 1985.

The Sewer District

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The Starless Street. Visible are the various tall warehouses, now transfomred into usable infastructure.

Historically a site of waste and sewer disposal and industrial plants, the Sewer District has, over the years, developed itself an unearned reputation. Widely considered to be the center of crime and illegal activity inside Esterberg, the area primarily concerns itself with housing the city's poorest citizens and various industries which are considered "too dirty" to be located anywhere else, such as the aforementioned disposal sites, factories, power plants, and tramway depots. Due to this, the Sewer District has become an irreplaceable pillar upon which Esterberg's infrastructure and industries operate and without which the city would simply not be able to function. However, despite this reliance and continued public campaigns calling against social prejudice, the general consensus of the areas's violence and crime was not able to be so far majorly altered. The aforementioned rumors, however, aren't entirely devoid of substance. For a significant part of its existence, the Sewer District was home to many paracriminal organizations, such as Scarlet Hammer, many groups claiming to be continuations of the original Chicago Spirit formed after collapse of Prometheus Labs in 1998, when a vast amount of paratech flooded into the black market — such as the Chicago Specter, the Chicago Geist, and the Mercy Corporation — and currently the largest organization, Bone Battalion, led by Marie Surratt. This — paired with one of the unfortunate consequences of localized rampant poverty being crime — are the primary reasons for the area's reputation, which, due to worldwide post-Veil anti-anomalous poverty and anti-paracrime campaigns, has been recently recovering at an increasing rate. Despite this, however, a large aboveground portion of the District still unfortunately consists of many ruined, broken down, or simply destroyed buildings, though more and more new programs proposed by the city council have been attempting to combat this issue, with varying rates of success.

It is noteworthy to point out the Sewer District is also home to quite the large population. With its aboveground structures housing as many as 21 837 citizens, it additionally offers an even larger underground area to over 14 103 individuals that require it to survive. The civilized cavern system — mainly focused around relatively shallow grottos, artificial underground tunnels, connected basements, and sewer systems — forms a giant underground community for species and individuals that prefer the environment such a place spawns. In fact, a majority of Yeren living in Esterberg are housed inside the giant underground metropolis located directly below the District. From vampires, Molefolk, and Under-Frogians, to various cavern-dwelling subspecies of humans and Fae, the place offers houses and other industries found in standard cities, tailored specifically to the needs of its unique citizens.

The Port District

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Lake Arlande, as seen from the banks of the Port District.

Although no longer fully serving as its titular purpose, the Port District is still the part of Esterberg that utilizes the city's connection to River and Lake Arlande the most. As the district with most access to the aforementioned water, prior to the second half of the 17th century, it acted as Esterberg's primary trade center, allowing for the docking of ships coming from the outside world. Many baseline reality organizations — such the Commission on Unusual Cargo, which, prior to it becoming a part of the Foundation during its funding in 1870, maintained close relations with Esterberg and traded occult shipments it was unable to securely deal with with the city's denizens to ensure their proper containment inside the reality bubble — exploited these connections to heavily establish their presence inside Esterberg, selling and buying all sorts of paranormal assets over the years. Although in modern-day, Lake Arlande is still connected to Warta River through small temporarily and artificially created Ways and maintains naval transport by this, it no longer concerns itself with trade of that category and has shifted more to contact relating to touristic and transport matters.

In the modern day, the Port District has three main functions it still fulfills. The first one is by far the most popular and profitable one and relates to the transport of tourists and visitors around the foggy Lake Arlande, towards the numerous small islands located on it, which serves as the district's main tourist attraction due to the location of luxury resorts on these islands. The District's secondary function focuses on the usage of the now unused, abandoned, and extremely large storage warehouses and silos left over from its era of naval trade. Mostly owned by the city council and the MC&D-owned Liminal Storage company, the gigantic number of them that still exist has now been transformed into several rivers and lakeside residences, hotels, and standard warehouses, rented to a large number of wealthy citizens and tourists and companies operating from the Market District respectively. The third function however is one of purely political nature. Many organizations use the Port District's unused port space to store their reserve vessels transported to it by the usage of portal technology — popularized in the 2030s — or apportation. Examples of such groups mostly include major paranormal field players, such as Vanguard with its ships from its Marine Research and Preservation Site-184, Global Occult Coalition's PHYSICS Division Navy, and the Marshall, Carter and Dark Pepsi Fleet, which all possess naval units docked the area.

Government, Law, and Relations

The Governing Bodies

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Adrian Skowyjski, one of the members of Esteberg's parliament, as seen during his speech in front of the city council and behind one member of the Council of Three, 2007.

Esterberg operates on the basis of separation of power into the legislature, executive, and judiciary powers, the organizations of whom are all based in the Ruling District.

The legislative power is represented by the city council, an organ of 303 democratically chosen individuals sitting in the Esterbergian parliament. Elected every 4 years by a general vote of all city denizens, they are primarily concerned with making and amending new and already existing city law. The process of election works similarly to the one used in the neighboring country of Poland, wherein citizens cast their votes for parties rather than individuals. The percent of votes achieved in the final count directly correlates to the percent of total seats in the parliament a party gets, and it is able to fill those spots with any politicians from its ranks it chooses. All individuals that are part of the city council are able to propose the creation of new law acts and / or edits and amendments to already existing ones. In such a scenario, a proposal is put forward to the city council, and all its available members are allowed to cast their votes on it. If the absolute majority of the voters vote in favor, the act passes up for the approval of the Council of Three.30 Otherwise, it is rejected, but might be proposed again under the right circumstances, such as further edits to the proposal being made.

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The entry to the Supreme Summer Court.

The executive power lies in the hands of the aforementioned Council of Three, a special three-manned organ operating above the city council. Following the conclusion of every city council election, a vote exclusive to its members is held, aimed on choosing one human, one Fae, and one Yeren from its ranks to populate the Council of Three for a 4-year position, representing needs of their respective species. All parties present in the parliament can propose a single individual from their ranks for all three positions. Following the acceptance of three people by the absolute majority, they are promoted and officially made Councilmen. Their primary duty lies in the further acceptance of laws and amendments approved by the city council, the acceptance of the yearly budgets and other monetary spendings by the leading parliament party, the representation of Esterberg on official outside events, and making proposals and and amendments relating to new and already existing law. All of these are decided by an internal vote within the Council of Three; if a non-absolute majority of its members votes in favor, the motion passes. Otherwise, it becomes rejected.

Finally, the judiciary power is represented by various courts located throughout the Ruling District, all of which are supervised by the Supreme Summer Court. Their memberships are chosen by their internal members and are entirely unaffiliated with any city council and Council of Three votes to ensure unbiased courts with fair decisions and trials. Although the decisions of any standard court are fully legally binding, any convict is allowed to refer their case to the Supreme Summer Court, which is the highest judiciary power in Esterberg. However, its decisions — influenced by various ancient and extremely complex thaumaturgical workings and geas used to ensure only truth is spoken in its halls — are always final and unchangeable. Additionally, Esterberg signed numerous agreements regarding the transfer of wanted paracriminals to the GOC and the ZM "Witch Slayer" Division located in the city area, but with the additional right to refuse to do so in certain cases.

The Esterbergian Law

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The official flag of Esterberg.

Esterberg's political system is dictated by the Constitution of Esterberg, a supreme legal document that describes the city's status, laws, and relationships. Prior to 2034,31 Esterberg was classified as a sovereign and independent free state of the Free Port class, operating entirely on its own and being a part of no other country or state ensured by international agreements, such as the 1923 "Free Port Protection" League of Nations Act or the 1989/Neverland Mandate. Officially recognized by its flag and coat of arms,32 it itself dictates its own fate and decision and is not controlled by major paranormal governing bodies, such as the Global Occult Coalition or Vanguard. Although it would be impossible to summarize the entirety of the Constitution and other associated important legal documents within this page, it is noteworthy to point out it is similar to the one currently dictating the system or Poland. Despite this, there still exist numerous differences between them, mainly relating to the nature of existence of thaumaturgy and other paranormal phenomena within Esterberg as well as the fact the city is visibly more progressive and left-oriented than its baseline reality counterpart.

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The official coat of arms of Esterberg.

Esterberg operates on the principles of democracy and moderate socialism. This status quo was initially developed as a system during the city's founding, in hopes of the area becoming an antithesis to the racism, exploitation, and hate of the Fae Empire caused by its authoritarianism and feudalism. Although, of course, it isn't flawless and has caused a few periods of scarcity throughout the years, for an overwhelming majority of its existence, the system allowed Esterberg to peacefully prosper without much problems and corruption. The city is heavily bureaucratic and depends on its charter almost entirely. Due to this, anarchy and lack of order has never had a place inside the Free Port. Whether this allowed for the aforementioned prosperous existence or held the city back in its true potential is heavily debated by numerous organizations and individuals around the globe to this day.

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Council of Three member, Jerzy Karol (left), as seen during the Esterbergian World Parahealth Organization Summit of 2010, standing next to the WPhO's general director, Gustaw Fingiel (center).

Relations With Non-Esterberg Groups

Due to its position, Esterberg has maintained outside political neutrality for as long as it has existed. To this day, its relations with other paranormal enclaves are only that of either indifference or cooperation, and never war. Although in the past, certain Esterbergians and organizations based inside the city have been part of anomalous and nonanomalous conflicts, the city itself has never declared war or open hostility or any outside individual, nation, or group that didn't amount to simple protection of itself. The only exceptions to this are terrorist organizations — such as the Chaos Insurgency, Triumviraté, certain more radical members of the Serpent's Hand, and the Black Queen collective prior to its permanent escape from baseline reality in 2012. This have allowed it to be a relatively wealthy center of trade, neutral ground for outside negotiations, and tourism without any significant problems.

However, there of course exist groups Esterberg isn't indifferent towards. Examples of this include its three major cooperators. The first one, Vanguard, regularly helps in normalizing the city's existence and supports it in times of need during which it is unable to function properly by itself. Although the Global Occult Coalition offers similar services, its primary contact with Esterberg is different. Similarly to the remaining sidhe enclaves, the city officially operates with the GOC under the non-hostility rules of the Arthurian Charter, created to ensure a peaceful coexistence of the two groups. Over the years and following the collapse of the Veil however, this has also extended to the GOC offering its military and peacekeeping assistance to the city council, which is able to in return ensure that the area remains free of conflict and that its law abides the global paranormal regulations. All of this can be mostly done thanks to two Esterberg-based organizations being members of the Council of 108 —- the Sidhe Lounge and the Sons of Phomet — which were able to allow for the devotion of resources towards the Free Port. The third partner is by far the most controversial one. Having spawned massive corruption in the government prior to 2014 through its actions in the past, Marshall, Carter and Dark still remain a significant "friend" of Esterberg. Although the intentions and motives of Iris Dark in supporting the city when it required aid are not fully understood, one of the theories attributes these actions to a simple need for Esterberg's maintained existence for a significant part of MC&D's market to exist inside Central Europe. Whether this — or any other theory — are fully true remains unknown.

Additionally, it is noteworthy to point out that although Esterberg maintains peaceful relations with Eurtec, the nearest and the biggest Free Port in Europe, due to their extreme ideological and infrastructural differences, their cooperation is limited to occasional trade and transport.

Culture, Notable People, Education, and Tourism

Esterbergian Culture

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The cover of the only album ever released by Blue Stars.

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Angelika Swamp, as captured during one of her concerts in 2025.

Esterberg's culture primarily consists of what had once occurred and never forgetting the city's history. Similarly to its Polish counterpart, it is primarily focused on depicting and remembering major events of the past with increasingly more modern methods. Although, of course, there exist major derogations from this rule — such as works created during the periods of Enlightenment and Positivism — it is still dominated by pieces crafted during the Young Poland and Romanticism periods. Examples of such works include "The Queen", a play written by an anonymous author in 1821 that depicted the fall of the Fae Empire, and "Where Tideless Seas Loudly Roar", a collection of poems telling the story of an aimless Yeren wanderer, traveling the world following the Day of the Flowers, from under the hand of Kha'ii Yh-moni. An interesting trend that has, for a short period of time, become a major part of Esterbergian literature is the mixing of both Romantic and Positivistic trends towards the late end of the former period. This has produced what is widely considered to be Esterberg's biggest literary masterpiece. "The Doll", written by Aleksander Głowacki who had studied the occult in Esterberg, is a short story depicting the failing attempts at romance of a poor Yerenian merchant from the Sewer District, attempting to win the heart of a fractious and egoistic yet beautiful Fae aristocrat that inhabited the Ruling District. The story gained such attention and critical acclaim that it was eventually published — upon heavy censure — for the non-anomalous world. Of course, in the final product, neither Esterberg nor the Yeren or the Fae remained true to their original forms.

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The cover of Ballad of Surratt.

Due to its prolific scientific communities, Esterberg has, throughout the years, produced many noteworthy pieces of scientific literature. Noteworthy examples include "Industrial Society and Its Future" by Theo'dorre Katz-ynski, "A Detailed Study of Crocoteuthis Gigantis And Its Possible Connection With The Reptiles of The Mesozoic" a scientific publication by Fred P. Redator, Dean of Parazoology Section in ICSUT Esterberg and "A 1000 Questions About Normalcy And the World Beyond the Veil", an expansive list of clashes between the anomalous and nonanomalous worlds with their exhaustive explanation, crafted by Maximilian Setnik, one of the most respected and known modern Esterbergian philosophers. Curiously, Setnik's biggest ideological opponent, Rerweniusz Hekswiński, a highly controversial figure known for his support of the Third Great Diaspora, the Chaos Insurgency, and general segregation of parahumans and other anomalous species, released a response to Setnik's previously mentioned work in the form of "Beginner Century", an extremely disputed political manifesto, which called forward for further genocide (referred to the author as the "Final Diaspora") as means of economic growth. Due to the hub for science it is, Esterberg has also been a heavy topic of papers written in other parts of the world, such as "Hammer of War", within Mark Ericsen explains — among other topics — Esterberg's involvement in the Occult Wars and the history of anomalous conflicts — including the Three Great Diasporas — in general and "The Veil That Haunts Europe", an exploration of the consequences of the Veil protocol on the continent by Antoni Wierzbicki.

Esterberg shouldn't only be mentioned for its past work, however. In the modern, post-Veil world, its literature has been gaining more and more worldwide attraction, with the public being lured by the juxtaposition of the public and secret worlds of the past and future alike. Noteworthy pieces of this era include "Hanged on the Lantern" and "A Bathtub Friend" detective novels by Jakub Chlorek and "You Turn My Gears" a romance play from the hands of Arianette Faust. The written word is not the only piece of culture that underwent this treatment, however — both music and movie industries also experienced heavy growth following the post-Impasse collapse of secrecy. Examples developed thanks to these causes are "Our Little Vietnam", a documentary by Hashira Nobukazu, a Vietnam immigrant, "Council Of Three And A Half" a comedy criticising the city's governing bodies by Jarosław Kędzierski, "The Necromancer" a short horror film by Anna Fitz, and "Reincarnated As A Fae Aristrocrat In The Fae Empire", a manga and anime series mentioning Esterberg developed by Konuma Masaharu after the Impasse.

The city can also pride itself with an increasingly diverse offer of music pieces it created. Whilst the both widely popular "The Queen of Death" and "Eat The Aristocracy" by antiestablishmentarism are more folk-focused, its style is heavily contrasted by the popular "Ballad of Surratt", a narcocorrido by Hadas y Esqueletos, Angelika Swamp's "Four Hundred And Thirteen Death Angels" heavy metal, and "Nälkä's Paradise", originally rapped by Fryderyk Wierzba. Similarly, a widely popular band that went against this trend is the jazz group Blue Stars which operated during the middle of the twentieth century. Their most popular work includes "We Will Fly Into Sun At The Night", "Blue Moon Over Paradise", "Love You Babe Like Nothing Else", "Goodnight To The Universe", and "Farewell To a Friend", the last of which was recorded following the death of one of its members during the Warsaw Uprising and directly preceded the band's dissolution in 1945. Their connections — if any — towards Fifthism remains heavily debated amongst scholars to this day.

Notable People

For further information, see Notable Esterbergians.

Esterberg's mainly known for its rich anartistic scene, which has been steadily developing for a couple of centuries due to the freedom the city has always offered. The artistic market it has created is therefore very diverse, featuring many formats and groups to such an extent that a majority of all European anartists have at some point in their lives interacted with it, be it through living within Esterberg or simply creating for this scene. This has led to it being a cornerstone of European Are We Cool Yet? activity, acting as the home ground for Phillip Willis (born 1978) and Lloyd Willis (born 1980), two brothers and AWCY? members, mainly known for their "Art Is A Getaway Drug" and "How We Pissed God Off" exhibitions.

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Douzouth Horath (left), as seen during the multi-group global post-Impasse Manna Charitable Foundation Geneva Summit of 2022.

One of the most famous native Esterbergian artists is Jarosław Kędzierski (born 1963), a thaumaturgist and movie director. Known mainly for his movies "The Great Tsar Dimitri Has Returned" and "How I Unleashed the 7th Occult War", he has been awarded by the Anartistic Movie Academy numerous times, even earning a Golden Rune for his work. Famous musicians include Lathai Mag'toris (1649-1699), Fryderyk Wierzba (1955-2001), and the members of the interwar period jazz band Blue Stars — Władysław Grajek (1913-1984), Stanisław Leszcz (1912-1944), and Theoden Nortoris (1905-1994), which disbanded following Leszcz's death in the Warsaw Uprising. Esterberg's music scene also features excellent singers, such as the world-famous Fae opera singer, Ydernee Indri (1961-2014). The city — or, more specifically, the Great Magic Opera of Esterberg — is where she began her career before taking it abroad following her win in the fourth edition of Nexus' Got Talent.

Other noteworthy Esterbergian anartists include Lawrence Czarnoziemska (1869-1911), a famous poet, Michał Sowizdrzał (1910-1956), a comedian, actor, and Jakub Chlorek, a city council politician and author, known for his numerous pieces documenting the complex political scene of Nexuses and Free Ports, as well as his crime novels, such as "Hanged on the Lantern" or "A Bathtub Friend". Born in 1954, he has served in the Esterbergian parliament for 10 years until his death on March 23, 2024, which was caused by an explosion of gas in his apartment. Despite her popularity, the true identity of Inaroo Nosna (1913-1945), a Fae painter known for her highly provocative and dangerous art that has eventually caused her to die of starvation, still remains unknown. Her real name has never been discovered, as the title she used in public was only an artistic pseudonym with which she signed her exhibitions.

However, it is important to remember that Esterberg is not only popular among the artists, but also has acted as the main hub for anomalous sciences for many hundred years. This has allowed many to develop breakthrough inventions during their stay within. Examples of such individuals include Ganamede Origeiros (1832-1890), Nuvlasi Fivu (1900-1940), the father of the modern nomenclative danger theory, Wyn'vosea Leziaro (1918-1970), and Shanahan R'yann (1878-1911) a Prometheus Laboratories scientist that discovered a way to permanently cure the curse that made numerous groups within the Fae communities allergic to iron prior to the 20th century who was later killed during the Third Diaspora. One of the most notable individuals of modern-day is Olivié Gwyneth (born 1998), a parahistorian specializing in the history of the Fae Empire and the Three Great Diasporas, that has singlehandedly formed the modern understanding of ancient history.

Other famous people from Esterberg include Douzouth Horath (born 1951), the current Manna Charitable Foundation Continental Secretary of Europe and a professor of ecology and English philology, awarded many times for his involvement in helping those affected by anomalous cataclysms, Maximilian Setnik (born 1960), modern philosophist and author of the book "A 1000 Questions About Normalcy And the World Beyond the Veil", Natalia Estle (born 1959), an entrepreneur and owner of the multi-Nexus Natalia Estle's Real Estate Agency, responsible for many of the city's post-Neverland rebuilding projects, and Marie Surratt (1980-2003, resurrected the same year), the biggest Esterbergian crime boss, currently controlling a majority of the city's underworld.

Education

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A part of the ICSUT Esterberg campus, as seen from River Arlande.

Esterberg is home to a number of lauded anomalous academic institutions, the largest and most prestigious being Esterberg University, established in 1812 by Bartłomiej Zając (born 1610), a prolific Fae scholar and its eventual headmaster. Zając was notable for his policy of providing free tuition to all Esterberg citizens, claiming that progress can only be made when knowledge is provided to everyone equally. Zajac went missing shortly after the beginning of the Impasse and is believed to be one of its first victims.33 The current headmaster, Konstancja Lis (born 1937) has promised to keep this policy in place. Esterberg’s famed art scene is closely tied to the Jagoda Academy of Lower Arts (established 1956), its campus being the meeting ground for many notable members of Are We Cool Yet? and the 1980s-1710s Post-Temporalist art movement. Esterberg is also home to the Esterberg School of Engineering and Metallurgy, which was established in 1910 in response to a massive upsurge in demand for metallic structures and products, caused by the newly-created cure for the Fae iron allergy. Non-native universities have also found a place in Esterberg, with the International Center for the Study of Unified Thaumatology (ICSUT) and Mages Academy both having campuses there (established 1926 and 1989, respectively).

Tourism

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The front of the Esterberg University.

Esterberg's primary touristic appeal derives from its wide proliferation of magic. As the biggest legal and stable hub for the practice of thaumaturgy inside baseline reality, following the collapse of the Veil, it gained massive public following from both previously hiding mages wishing to enhance their craft and non-anomalous civilians that wanted to explore the newly-revealed, strange world of magic before them. The city's infrastructure is thankfully one that was indeed able to answer that wish. With establishments such as the Esterberg University devoting massive resources to opening museums and funding public expositions in city squares for the newly-arriving to experience, soon, the word of Esterberg's hospitality spread worldwide, causing an even further growth and spawning a snowball effect that helped further return these investments.

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"Maeve, Unshackled", located in front of the Esterberg School of Engineering and Metallurgy.

However, it would be unfair to say that Esterberg has only been a popular touristic spot following the events of 2021. For the entirety of its secretive existence, it has more than enough displayed a large outside following from both its Nexus and Free Port brethren and rich non-anomalous civilians alike. Due to its cultural tendency to remember the past in its architecture and relics, its wide range of landmarks was essentially able to, over the centuries, create a vibrant history of the otherwise thought to be lost past, engraved in its streets and buildings. Mixing both the factual and legends together, Esterberg's touristic attractions eventually turned into a "world stranger than fiction", even when compared to its already unique self. A noteworthy example of this is the "Maeve, Unshackled" statue, one of the city's biggest points of pride. Constructed from an alloy of irrilite and steel, it depicts the fictional character of Maeve, a legendary figure, scoundrel, and thief that took wealth from the sidhe aristocracy and gave it to the poor and the oppressed. Although at first glance, it may only appear as a memorial for the legendary character, its true meaning is revealed when an observer realizes it was constructed in 1912, following heavy protests in the anomalous communities of the United States of America, which called for the liberation of the Fae population, and were colloquially referred to as Maeve's March. In reality, the statue is meant as a depiction of both of these events, juxtaposed to empower the meaning of the two pieces of culture, emancipated in its message by its magical properties, which allow it to, once in a while, ectoentropically generate a small number of coins in order to give it to any individual it deems as living in poverty. How the statue decides its targets and whether it is sapient or sentient or not remains unknown.

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"The Yerenian Worker".

It shouldn't only be assumed that Esterbergian tourist attractions are only those that refer to legend. The biggest antithesis to such a claim would be and is "The Yerenian Worker", the single most known Esterbergian memorial among the Yeren communities worldwide. Depicting a single naked and poor Homo sapiens noctis, it is a series of approximately 382 figures scattered around the city, which were constructed in 1961, following persecution and killing of many Yeren, Fae and other beings considered anomalous by ZM "Witch Slayer" Division and GRU Division "P" living on Polish territory in the 1950s. The entire piece is dedicated to a cause its anonymous author loudly supported in his equally anonymous manifestos released during the period — the opposition against the exploitation of the Yeren population by the Soviet Union. Although even today, the exact author of the piece remains unknown, they have recorded themselves as one of the most notable Esterbergian activists in its entire existence. To this day, their work is one of the major lures for abroad tourists and has been adapted by the city government and various other institutions in many forms. Examples of these interpretations include two feature-length films, one book, and an addendum included in the city's official map, which shows the exact location of each of the figures for ease of access.

Another noteworthy major tourist hotspot is Orcadian Orchard, a giant botanical garden located in the Port District near River Arlande's delta and one of the few memory places of the Finnfolk Civilization and its achievements on land. Within its 800 m2, an abundance of Orcadian flora and Fauna can be found, accompanied by numerous displays describing the historical interactions and friendship between the Fae, Yeren, and Esterberg and the remaining Orcadians. The entire building acts as the final destination of the nearly 3-kilometer-long Plaza of Freedom, an alleyway located directly next to the banks of the aforementioned river. In its confines, an extreme amount of gift shops, restaurants, stores, hotels, minor monuments, parks, and benches are located, attracting all kinds of visiting: from the old and attraction-hungry to the young and wanting to collect local souvenirs, it is able to satisfy practically every tourist type possible. Due to this — and its significant length and beauty — it is constantly filled to the brim by both citizens and visitors.

A much more unusual point of interest the city has to offer is its unique architecture. Encapsulating inspiration from a wide array of human epochs and styles — such as neoclassicism, the Gothic, and Victorian and medieval techniques — it additionally includes methods developed over the years by the Fae and Yeren populations. Due to this, the actual style it can offer around its streets varies widely and utilizes methods very rarely used in outside communities. Examples of them include dependence on actual thaumaturgy for some structures to not collapse, the inclusion of heavy natural elements and plant life,34 and miles of underground buildings, rivaling the size of the aboveground Esterberg.

The Impasse and Further Plans

For further information, see The Impasse.

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Global EVE level fluctuations during the Impasse that led to their significant reduction.

Although the origins of the Impasse and its initial effects date at least a decade prior to 2021 — the possibility of such an occurring has long been predicted by various religious and occult groups and individuals as well as by more modern methods like global overtime EVE analysis, data-analyzing supercomputers,35 and extra-universal data recovered from other worlds across the Multiversal Compass — its full anti-magic entropy began to take the biggest toll on reality and became unignorable only on the aforementioned date. The event, spawned by the destruction of the anomalous "ecosystem" caused by noospheric perception of some part of reality as "anomalous" and "paranormal" by the general public and active containment of it by normalcy organizations trying to preserve their own artificially created "status quo", rippled worldwide, eventually becoming a full-on calamity as of 2021 due to the diminishment of the state of the paranormal reaching an all-time, apparent low. The destruction this brought on found its way also inside Esterberg, bringing the city and its denizens a fate similar to that of the remainder of the anomalous world. In just a few months, its population was decimated, marking a 15% loss in population and 10% in city building and infrastructure disintegration due to a part of Esterberg's architecture relying on thaumaturgy to function.

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The Living District during the Impasse. Notice the unnaturally faded sky caused by the degradation of pocket dimension reality stability.

Although the normalcy groups that were now no longer capable of ignoring the problem the Impasse was causing did indeed try to amend it in some regards, their actions were, in a majority of cases, barely enough to save a single small area. The Foundation, still officially bound by a collaboration agreement with Esterberg, sent as many humanitarian help personnel and resources as it could at the time afford, but they weren't enough and didn't actually address the core problem of the issue. Even with the many missions its personnel were sent on in an attempt to retrieve magical objects capable of holding VNP-6500 back, there simply weren't enough of them to afford using them on Esterberg. And so, be it intentionally or not, from within the ashes of the city, a local hero — "Nobody"— took up the torch and himself went out on a mission, in hopes of finding a remedy to the wound that broke Esterberg apart.

Initially spawning from his quest to hunt down Queen Mab — who was, at the time, severely weakened due to the Impasse — the journey eventually turned its goals towards the aforementioned objective. Following the individual's de-facto neutralization of Mab due to a fully unspecified interaction between his essence and her soul36 and the neutralization of SCP-4000-ARC that occurred because of it, "Nobody" came to possess parts of her immense thaumaturgic abilities. Persuaded by the hollowing of Esterberg and the death of those he considered close that truly brought the importance of the event to his attention, he utilized the newfound skills to protect Esterberg, bringing a breath of magic into the area for a couple of months longer. However, in the process of emptying himself of all magic, he sacrificed his own life. For this, the city would later found the Monument to Nobody dedicated to his sacrifice, a large statue located in the Grand Market that, through the utilization of magic, possesses no true form and shows a different appearance to everyone looking, in hopes of capturing the true lack of personality "Nobody" seemingly possessed during his life.

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The logo of Vanguard.

Eventually, following numerous months of the Impasse wreaking havoc across practically the entire world, the Foundation — and the remaining normalcy organizations — realized it was their actions and their maintenance of the so-called "status quo" that were the cause of the entire incident. Terrified any further damage to the anomalous ecosystem would not only cause its collapse but also spawn another Occult War — the "Final Occult War", according to some sources which prophesied the coming of the Impasse — the Foundation called a summit of its O5 Council. By a vote of 7-6-0 and following voting during an emergency session of GOC's Council of 108 (52-49-7) both organizations officially decided to fully drop the entirety of the Veil and come public to the entirety of society. Forcefully making the existence of the anomalous — alongside the rest of organizations it classified as Groups of Interest — known to civilians, the ex-Foundation put forward a proposition to remaining anomalous fractions. Calling for the creation of Vanguard, a multi-group worldwide group focused on sheltering, normalizing, and informing regarding the anomalous, SCP Foundation decided to gradually make itself undone until Vanguard could take its spot and properly and safely deal with the anomalous. Expressing a will to participate in this new order, many groups — such as the Serpent's Hand, numerous Nälkä cults, and Mekhanite sects — eventually came forward, together creating what would soon become the new primary — although this time, much more focused on actually helping the world it was protecting — anomalous authority.

Deciding the public cannot be allowed to be aware of everything anomalous at once, Vanguard created a policy, according to which it would release data in waves to not overwhelm the population. With Nexuses and Free Ports being among the first packages, Esterberg was fully made public to Częstochowa, Poland, and the world at large. Although this — alongside the revelation of the existence of the Yeren and Fae — initially spawned massive confusion and protests, over time, the city came to be accepted. With further help of Vanguard and some of the organizations making up the Global Occult Coalition, Esterberg eventually became a sister city to Częstochowa and was treated no differently than a neighboring non-anomalous city would, with frequent visits, cooperations, and trade from both sides to the other occurring regularly. In just a decade, Esterberg and its citizens became an actual part of the wider country of Poland, though it was still able to retain its unique identity in the process.

Perhaps some out there will see this as an acceptance of defeat. As a sign of surrender, a white flag displayed above the battlefield when the fight got too heated. They will tell you our entrance into the light is nothing more than a sign of cowardice, an escape meant for the most horrible among our old world into the new status quo. Those people are wrong.

More than one and a half a century ago when SCP Foundation formed, we had one single goal: to protect the world. To protect everything and everyone from evils beyond our understanding, no matter what form our actions had to take. And, for over a hundred years, we paid our bill well, acting as the sentries against the shadows lurking beyond the nightlight of science. We protected, as we'd sworn, until 2021, when said horrors changed form. They were no longer tyrannical god-queens. They were our own sins, finally catching up to us. And so, we did what had to be done — we continued to Secure, Contain, and Protect the world, just like we always had.

We broke apart, only to come back anew like a phoenix rising from its ashes. The world needed change, so we gave it the only thing we could. We fulfilled our promise to the entire world, once and for all.

We did not fade, no. We've merely gone gentle into that good night.

— Dr. Tilda D. Moose, Director of Vanguard Research and Preservation Site-19 (2028)

With the Foundation fully dissolving and leaving its place to Vanguard in 2030, nothing truly stopping Esterberg from integrating itself into Poland — and, by extension, integrating Poland into itself — remained. With every day, more and more Yeren and Fae came out to society and became a part of it, eventually making the population of both explode in size. From every corner of the Earth, thaumaturgists and non-magic users simply interested in the topic were finally able to come to visit the city without problems, spawning a massive uproar in occult popularity around the globe. This — paired with the fact that inter-Free Port and inter-Nexus trade was at its all-time peak — Esterberg expanded outwards beyond its now-full pocket of reality, constructing buildings directly inside Częstochowa. Realizing that, over time, the two cities were essentially going to inevitably become one, in 2033 the governments of both cities wrote a shared policy. It proposed the formation of a new city — New Częstochowa (Polish: Nowa Częstochowa) — which would encapsulate both Esterberg and Częstochowa, and would merge the existent populations, infrastructures, and governments of the two areas involved. This would not only allow for more efficient cooperation between two states that were inevitably going to clash soon, but would also help protect the anomalous population and ensure a permanent and unbreakable peace for Esterberg. On 04/05/2033, by a voter agreement of 89% in Częstochowa and 82% in Esterberg, the policy officially passed.

As of June of 2034, New Częstochowa's existence has officially been approved by both the GOC, Vanguard, and the Polish Government.

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Esterberg, 2034.

See Also

All currently available pages pertaining to Esterberg


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