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"Friends advised a visit to the Minister for Silence. He knew everything about Ex, they said. He would unravel its mysteries. But at his house, a young woman with a crooked leg shook her head and closed the door. In one of the nameless enclosed streets at the bottom of the tower, a man selling medicines and poisons said the Minister for Silence was dead. He dried up one morning the young man whispered. He wanted the wind to carry him away."

(From Exiled in Ex by Stanley Godribbon)

Ex is a difficult city to pin down, even if you live there. Its tangle of nameless alleyways, running like canyons between the huge, dark towers which point upward from the earth like burnt and twisted fingers, are infused with an air of secretive, breathless mystery.

The city was founded by band of adventurers who had rebelled against the Golooian authorities and decided to establish new homes far away from Gum Gooloo Gum Jublet. They built their city in secret, contradicting everything that the Goolooians who had rejected them found architecturally admirable. Where Gum Gooloo's houses are single-storied, squat and flat, Exians live in wiry, elegant towers; and where Gum Gooloo is a famously open city, the city of Ex sits at the centre of a vast hedge maze. The maze is only accessible by boat, or via a long, twisted path through the Forest of Ex. Their streets, and even their parks are narrow and convoluted.

Most of Umbagollah's professional people live here, as does Umbagollah's government. The government meets in the The Tower of Interosseus which lies in the western part of the city. The famous Exian Tower of Foot houses an entire colony of doctors. Ex also has a thriving theatre scene. You might like to visit the famous Gibli Theatre Troupe, or the unusual Perpetual Theatre. If you are planning to see a play, it is a good idea to start by reading the Ex theatre guide. Ex is also a good place to eat

If you are going to arrive on The Day of First Infatuations, bring a mask for the Exian Masquerade, our most colourful festival. Anyone who wants to buy or commission a map would be wise to visit the Chambers of Cartography and Revealed Menace, the workplace of our most esteemed mapmakers. Their rough map of Ex will come in handy as you travel around the city. Those of you who are thinking of taking up study may like to visit the University of Ex. The last remnants of the country's aristocracy may be seen thriving in the Aristocratic District which lies in the city's south-west. The fish market is worth visiting.

"What miracles of architecture keep such spindly towers upright? The Exian obsession with narrow spaces is a taste I find hard to aquire. The lanes are so small that one comes to think of them as hallways, and the whole city as a vast rambling mansion, full of convoluted turnings and concealed secrets. The people have the intensitity and indirectness of a family with a mad uncle hidden in the attic. They let the ivy grow wild over their walls and the passageways are redolent with the spiced smell of ivy dust."

"Perhaps their odd reputation amuses them."

(From Ex, again by Stanley Godribbon)