The people of Andath have faired well since the Shambling. A number of factors have influenced this. Andath is a 1 mile diameter mountain golem with a rich, fertile soil. This make it easy for people to grow some of their food on Andath itself, which is uncommon. The druidic community has taken care to teach people the best ways of maintaining their limited green area, so Andath's back has a verdant grove as well as some vibrant parks in the city proper.
The monarch of Andath, Queen Vesyn III, is the only currently reigning ruler in known Vernlarum to lay claim to an unbroken line of kings and queens predating the Shambling. The Ranoc line has ruled with an even hand and is beloved by the people of Andath, even if Vesyn III is more dour than her father. The nobles and bureaucrats of the city government run the city well under Vesyn's leadership. There is some graft, and merchants all think their taxes are higher than they ought be. But, in general, the government of Andath is benign. Andath himself wanders about in a wide, central region, where he comes in contact with a number of other Shambles, making Andath a major trade center.
Acolytes of the Ark and Golem-pact warlocks agree, Andath exudes a simple calm and peace. Andath is male, though some Arkers or warlocks disagree. While other Shambles have, at times, shaken the cities from their backs. Andath has never given anyone a reason to believe he will perform such an act. Indeed, on a number of occasions, he has stopped in his tracks for days to let a massive storm sweep by just ahead of him. Some call those stoppages coincidence, citing the times Andath stops with no apparent reason. Faithful Acolytes believe the stoppages to be a clear sign of intent and benevolence, and Andath may be the most beloved of the Arks beside Bratta, the Ark home of the Acolytes.
The City of Andath
The government of Andath is a constitutional monarchy. The Sanctum, a body of elected nobles, oversees the majority of the city's governing responsibilities. The sanctors make and enforce the laws of the city. They are elected by the other nobles once every four years, though it has been many elections since a seat has changed hands. The lesser Andathian nobles fail to gather enough support for any one new candidate to gain a seat. Some of these lesser nobles have started to suspect the sanctors might be manipulating them into supporting candidates who can't oust a currently sitting sanctor.
The queen presides over meetings of the Sanctum, has a vote in case of any tie, and has the defense of the city as her mandate, but she has little say in day to day affairs. The Queen's father, Dian X, was much beloved, and he held much sway over the sanctors. Vesyn III, however, has let much of that sway erode over the years. She doesn't curry favor with the various popular sanctors, so they consult her less and less.
The Queen is not without power. She may act unilaterally to defend Andath or those who live below in the those parts of the Wastes Andath still claims. The Queen also has a small body of guards, the Interfectors, who are under her command and answer only to her. The commander of the Interfectors is Dar'wor, a dark elf, who left the Empire and joined the city guard. He gained notoriety for his constant heroism during raids, and soon earned the attention of the Queen. Some sanctors don't trust him as a foreigner and dark elf, and some rumors make him the queen's consort as well as the captain of her guard.
When Andath was built atop the golem, the people had a deep faith in the Old Gods. The city has a large domed temple in its center, with three broad streets all intersecting at the temple like spokes of a wheel. Another series of streets circles the city of Andath creating rings. These rings are how the city is broken into various districts.
The city has limited space, and so most people work and live in the same place or at least in the same ring. And living spaces are quite small and cramped. People build upwards as much as they can, but four or five stories is the highest buildings get on Andath's back without magical help.
Though not a traditional port at all, of course, the outermost ring of Andath is referred to as Port Ring. This is where one embarks and disembarks from the back of Andath. Some trade happens here, and some people, no longer able to afford lodging the in city proper, have built a shanty town in this ring. Towns like this have built up and been cleaned out numerous times over the years, and rumor says the time for another cleansing is coming.
A freed dwarf by the name of Sed lives in Port Ring, and he has another idea. He is gathering people to the cause of Port Ring being established as a permanent residential area where people can live freely under the protection of the Sanctum. Some sanctors oppose this idea, while others have trouble with the idea of callously tossing so many people to the Wastes below.
Once one has moved past Port Ring, one enters the crafting ring. This is where smiths, tanners, weavers, potters, and all manner of craftsmen work and make their living. The craftspeople of Andath are some of the best in the known world, and people from all over seek the pottery made here.
By tradition, if not law, the loudest and worst smelling of the crafts are the furthest out, while the less offense crafts are closer in. This is not exact. For example, Radem's Blades, run by the half-orc Radem, is one of the more popular weaponsmithies, and he staunchly refuses to move from his building that is across the way from the Trade Ring. He says he doesn't want to be next to a tanner more than anyone else, and he appreciates the silence of weavers on either side of him. They don't appreciate the noise his forging creates quite as much, but he has refused their every offer to help him move. Many believe the weavers are getting desperate.
A law established long ago makes it illegal for craftspeople to sell their own goods, so if one wants to purchase something in the city of Andath, the Trade Ring is the place to look. Not only is this the place to buy the high quality goods of Andath's local crafters, but it is also the place to get goods from all over known Vernlarum. Some merchants specialize in particular types of goods, and some pride themselves on having a bit of everything.
Tursk, the proprietor of Tursk's Goods, is a well-known and generally respected halfling merchant. He pays well, is affable to all who come to his shop, and sells with only a moderate mark-up. The halfling tells all who will listen that he is an heir to the dwarven throne, through his father's father. He has worked his way up from a refugee with the intent of being able to fund an expedition into the Deep Below to find documents to prove his lineage and a place to reestablish the dwarven kingdom. People like Tursk despite this oddity.
The Trade Ring is also home to the gnome messenger service, headed by Pek. Pek has run the business for years, and she has earned a name for being beyond reproach, even for a gnome. Pek likely knows all of the secrets of the city, but she wouldn't tell anyone for any price. She's also watched by representatives of a dozen noble houses at a time. Some are providing protection, some are watching for the slightest hint of betrayal, and some are monitoring her movements and her clients, hoping they can glean some insight. She knows this, and when she feels her watchers are too numerous, she lets it be known. Within a week or two, the number of people watching her will lessen. The one secret Pek doesn't know is where here daughter has been. Pek has been keeping her daughter's absence a secret, but she is quietly seeking aid from adventurers.
The innermost ring is the Noble Ring. All of the nobility lives here, as well as one or two druids who tend the small grove grown up around the temple. The streets are broader here, if not as broad as the nobles would like. The sway of Andath's steps is the least here, as well, allowing the building to be taller and grander here than elsewhere in the city. Magical aid makes the architecture pleasant, if not as grand as some of the other cities.
Worship of the Old Gods waned in the years after the Shambling. As such, the temple was eventually repurposed. The temple is where the Sanctum meets; some people call the temple the Sanctum, and the popularity of that is growing. The Sanctum meets in open sessions more often than not, but city guards can be called to prevent any not sanctors from attending, if the Sanctum so decrees.
Whispers abound about Duncan Emvor, a highly regarded sanctor, and his son, Kell. Kell has fallen ill recently, and the rumors about the cause range from a malady caught on his last excursion, to madness, and some even say he is a warlock/witch who sold himself to great powers and lost his mind in the trade.
As a center of trade, Andath works to be neutral in most disputes. The Ranoc line knows strength is important, so they have kept a strong military to deter someone from imposing on their neutrality.
Raiders attack the Shamble on occasion, but they find it easier to raid the small groups of nomadic people that trade food to Andath. As such, Vesyn III sends guards to patrol Andath's lands and provide as much stability as they can. Patrols have been known to disappear or turn rogue themselves, but those are few and far between. And the queen's just against traitors is swift and brutal enough to discourage those with similar thoughts.
Magic users in the city of Andath are, more or less, accepted. All users of magic are required to register with the city upon setting foot on Andath's back. Failure to do so is penalized by death. Once a magic-user is registered, however, he is left to his own devices. If a crime is committed with obvious, or seeming, magical ties, the guards will look for all of the registered mages, but that is the most harassment they receive.
Magic users are also required to inform any they do business with of their abilities. This, at first, had the effect of making people shun magic users. Over time, however, it has made people see how many magic users go through the day without blowing everything to the Nine Hells. While people are still wary of new magic users, they don't flee them.
Lorath, a mage of half-elven decent, is gathering some around him with the hopes of starting a school for instructing magic-users. Many sanctors oppose this idea and are interfering with his plans to get a building, but Lorath stays determined in the face of opposition.