by Lucian Barasu
Just south of the City graveyard in Gold ward, if you take Dark Path road, you’ll begin to see the buildings slowly becoming more one story and less maintained. The roofs of all the buildings have mismatched colored wooden slats on them, or worn out into holes on others. Some of the buildings are using the building next to it to stand up. The stones used in the creation of some of the homes and shops in the Downs are crumbling and worn to a smooth, dull yellow tone and mortar. Many people in the down, run out of room within their home and begin to build upwards. The second stories on a lot of the buildings in the Downs were obviously not originally built when the first floor was. The cobblestones in this part of the city, if not covered in grime and refuse, are dull brown or grey. Most places in the downs, the scent of rotting fish in the sun, or the burning smoke of a meat smoker’s hut hangs low in the air. Regular patrols through the Downs keep the peace well enough, but there are places within the Down even the Watch will not tread.
The Downs is what you’d expect of a slum from a city the Size of Fellaren Krae. The word slum usually brings images of lazy, ne’er-do-wells sitting on their porches, watching for a unsuspecting “mark” to walk by with a fat purse of gold. The Downs is farthest from that. Being within Fellaren Krae, and also, Fellaren Krae being within Sembia, trade runs the Downs. The difference between the Downs and the rest of Fellaren Krae, is that things do not always get inspected that flow through the dark streets of the Downs. Most caravans found in the Downs are usually ones that were able to sneak a few things through the main gates and need a place to unload it without “suspicious eyes”. Anything from banned poisons to slaves and body parts can be bought in the Downs. A well used motto in the Downs is, “Trading is trading, and there is no separating that from ethics.” There are cutpurses and sappers within the streets of the Downs, but commerce keeps the city running, from the richest to the poorest.
The Dark Market
One of the major features that can be found in the Downs is the “Dark Market.” It is a free black market that sets up at sundown and closes at dawn. It moves from place to place every night, and only those who were there last night, or know the places to look can find it. If you are new to Fellaren Krae, and are looking for someplace to buy that basilisk eye, or that Toe from a female Halfling, you’ll need to ask around. It takes a lot of gold to loosen a Kraean’s tongue about the market’s next locale, so expect to pay out the nose for information. But once you get there, it is worth every copper. Most people know to go to Phumbil Knockledigits, A gnomish rogue (Rg15) who is in charge of the Dark Market and its Nightly Locations. He can usually be found hanging out in the Boar & Rabbit Tavern, or around Knockledigits Locksmithy, as owner and proprietor.
Green Gem Road runs North and South, the Southern Tip touching the Bay of Fellaren Krae, running along the East wall up to the southern edge of the Graveyard.
It is intersected by Red Velvet Road, Gray Boar Street, Dragon Street and also, by way of around the Pond, Serpent Street.
Temple of the Repentant
On the corner of Green gem Road and Velvet Coat Road is the Temple of The Broken Holme. The temple is a strange Hexagonal shaped building, with it’s smallest side facing south as it’s main entry. The clerics of Illmater control two buildings behind the church along Warsong alley. They are both used to house those who are down on their luck, and other dignitaries from visiting churches. The sick and the lame are put up in the one building as a hospital and ward for repentance.
Anyone who is in need of shelter, whether they be worshipers of Ilmater or not, may enter the church or either of its rear buildings and take healing and food and shelter for the night. At any time, five clerics of Illmater, along with a High priest are living and working within the temple. A total of 15 worshipping clerics of Ilmater call Fellaren Krae home and most live in the Downs.
Velvet Coat road and Green Gem Road are both intersected at their northern most point by the “Yellowstone Alley”. ON the corner of Velvet Coat and Redstone on the East corner is a small shop for those interested in the larcenous arts. The front of the store Promotes a General Goods shop, Maintained and ran by Devlin Wearfell, A human Rogue (RG 10) The small cramped shop is actually not badly priced for the level of quality of merchandise. “The Trusty Shield” Goods shop owner, Devil, actually works with and for Knockledigits, manager of the Dark Market. They run a small rogues shop in the back of their shop, dealing in stolen goods and fencing illegal items. These include, but are definitely not limited to; Poisons (lethal and non lethal), Poison rings, Weapon black, Housebreaker Harnesses, Lock picks of varying quality, Scrolls of Spider climb, Smoke Powder, Arrows of Paralysis, and many other nasty items.
This part of the Shop is not well known and could get the wrong person killed by mentioning it. Once Devlin sees the type of person shopping, and the items they are looking for and not finding, he will test most patrons by leaving out a particular rogue specific item, and see if it catches their fancy. If the shopper asks for more, he will then offer the back room. Devlin pays the guards their weekly dues, and makes sure the constabulary gets their equal share of profits, so he has no fear of being caught. Again, commerce is commerce.
Red Swan Way is the outer road that most define the edge of the Downs by. Along the street, are large, 4’ diameter flat, yellow stones buried flat in the ground. Upon times of chaos, or a riot, the stone are raised and used to create a barrier via magic to keep the chaos or riot from spilling into Fellaren Krae proper. Most people do not know of the barrier but it has been used in the past when a strange disease of black spots ran rampant through the Downs one winter.
At the southern end of Red Swan Way are six docks that are not used except for the businesses and home owners within the Downs. Sometimes people will dock their boats or ships there and live in them instead. It is obviously safer and easier to reach the city from. It is not unusual to see dozens of oats, moored to each other in some strange daisy-chain as space on the docks is limited and valued. It is also no unheard of to see or hear off illegal happenings off the docks in personal ships, since Fellaren Krae law states that no ship is subject to search unless it is docked ON ONE OF THE DOCKS, all most people do who prefer to deal their darkness is to pay a neighbor to tie to their moorings and then pay a passage fee through their boat to the docks.
The Gloomwhite Ghost
In the southernmost block of the Downs, in the rear of the building is Whitecloak alley. Every new moon, when it is the darkest, in the gloom of night, you can hear and see the apparition of a long dead half elf running through the alley, with looks of terror on his face. He runs to the back of a non descript house and cowers until a shadow of an unseen axe crosses over his form, He screams a bone chilling scream that will make most guardsmen wet themselves, then the Ghost will disappear.
He has been coined the Gloomwhite Ghost and some city sages say he is a ghost of a long dead rogue, that stole from the old thief’s guild and was hunted down and killed. He hid his treasure somewhere in the very same alley he met his fate. You will see some of the buildings in the alley have had their rear walls replaced or repaired due to unscrupulous treasure hunters digging away at their walls and foundation looking for the Gloomwhite ghost’s treasure. Some adventurers have gone down into the well in the alley but no one has come forth claiming they’ve found the treasure. Fifteen summers ago, a Halfling adventurer found a map in the alley and claimed it led to the treasure. The Halfling promptly disappeared and the map was seen floating around the Dark market. Whether it is the original map, or a copy, or even if the map really leads to the Gloomwhite ghost’s treasure, I could not say.
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