Strabane is known as the City of the Shapeshifters because that is where they are based. The first part, the part the traders see, is underground, where the Great Market is.There they trade jewels for everything they cannot make themselves. One perfectly cut diamond will buy a lot of food and many items. Underground is also where the people would go in the event of an invading army. Underground is full of the chatter of the people and the clinking of pickaxes.
There is a well guarded entrance to a plateau where the people have their homes, all made of the local stone and furnished inside with the best rugs,furniture and curtains. There are silken curtains,pico-wood and mahogany furniture...all of the people of Strabane live a life of luxury within their homes. However, they are expected to pay for it. Most of them,after the age of eighteen, spend up to seven hours a day in the mines quarrying for jewels or making new tunnels. Even those with other jobs,even officers,spend a certain amount of time per month at hard labour with a pickaxe.This means that there is little or no hatred directed at the Strabane police and council officals.
Despite the rumours, the people do not live underground. It would be too dangerous to live there and would damage their health long term.
A gallows stands in the Great Market outside the town prison.The laws are strict...murderers,rapists and traitors are hanged, but in fact crime is quite low as there is no rich/poor divide.The rulers of Strabane think that poverty and idleness are the main cause of crime,and suppress both.
There are many schools with well-qualified teachers, and for the best students there is the University of Strabane where the Shapeshifters learn their secret trade.Whilst they don't have to quarry stone, they do have to practise at being their targets for eight hours a day,and learning their mannerisms so that they can take over their target's places when their mission begins.
Traders are welcome.Would-be immigrants are carefully screened to weed out both the lazy, and any spies. Tourists are banned. Those citizens who leave the city may not take jewels with them, and must leave their families behind as hostages.Shapeshifters can only leave if they are on a mission-if they defect, their families are hanged.
The Shapeshifters have in effect taken over all but one of the nearby countries from within,and use them to benifit their own city with good trade deals and military alliances.