Sunday, January 23, 2011

On Lyonesse, The Gleaming City - Part Two

Salter Court
Salter Court is Lyonesse's equivalent of a central business district – mostly tall buildings, some brick, most timber-frame, used by merchants, factors and guilds. Merchants are common in this area, as are clarks hustling from one place to another. Nobles are notoriously absent from this area, unwelcome by the busy merchants. Most of the buildings on Salter Court are four or five stories tall and have multiple people living in the flats therein.

Feather Merchant: Fionath is a flighty, fancy woman who loves money and showing it off. She is an importer of feathers and down, selling the more common materials to stuff cushions and mattresses for the wealthy and retaining the rarer and more exotic feather that come into her possession – couatl, pegasus, cockatrice – are usually sold to magic-users and alchemists. Fionath has peach-colored eyes and silky, buff brown hair. She is quite compact, with intelligent, quick features and a ready wit. Success has made her lazy, and her connections to the counts of Iver has made her rather cold-blooded.

Gallery of Trades: This narrow building of four stories provides booths for all sorts of tradesmen, who must pay a small fee and turn over 10% of their profits to the mercantile guild. One can find cobblers, ropemakers, etc in this building, which is quite cramped and rife with pick pockets, beggars and trollops, not to mention bakers' boys with trays of hot buns and small meat pies for sale. The top floor contains the office of Breth, a spice merchant from Antigoon with a closet full of family skeletons.

Flagon and Swan: The Flagon and Swan occupies the ground floor (and its loft) of this building. The tavern is run by Valexine, a fragile looking woman with furtive, willow green eyes, silky, shoulder-length sooty black hair and a bland face. Allied with Guson, Valexine is an agitator for more control in the city-state by the merchant class. The Flagon and Swan serves wines and ales as well as coffee and a selection of snuff and pipe tobacco in addition to revolution. She allows the Princess Juliada and Geris the stable boy to use her backroom as an abditory.

Counting House: This building houses many mercantile offices, functioning much as a counting house. The most prominent tenant is Combanna, a plump woman, fit as a lass, brown as a nut, with long, wavy brown hair. A diffident art patron, she imports spices from Mu-Pan and Kirikersa, and is unhappily married to a sniveling aristocrat named Ysmay, a Kaspar. Combanne dreams of leaving Lyonesse for Antigoon, but is not yet wealthy enough to make the move. The building also houses the offices of Duhir, an obnoxious silk merchant who is suspiciously free with money for a man who has lost several barges to river pirates on the Danu.

Playhouse: Maggi (2 hp), an old woman from Ultima Thule, runs a very popular puppet theater. The theater holds about 30 people, with a small stage. Two women walk through down the aisles selling grapes and claret even after the house lights are down. The players, including Maggi, usually stage historical pageants and stories about the wild gods and goddesses from Maggi's native Ultima Thule. Maggi is a secretive woman who puts her heart and soul into her work. She does not deal well with criticism, flying into a bit of a rage when challenged. Maggi has skin the color of driven snow, sandy brown hair and eyes the color of winter wheat. A widower, she is devoted to the worship of Law. She wears a platinum ring worth 2,500 gp, a gift from her father who led a band of raiders.

Locksmith: Nevias is the finest locksmith in Lyonesse. He is an old man with tanned skin, chocolate brown hair and eyes like burning embers. Nevias is built close to the ground and he's shadow thin, the result of a large, psionic tape worm who dwells in his innards and whispers secrets to him in the night. Secretive and aesthetic, he has a weird obsession with vermin, especially snakes. Nevias is a stargazer, and can often be found on the roof of his building. He believes the key to understanding all things lies beyond the stars, and when he has a chance to speak with adventurers will immediately ask if they have ventured into the night.

The Blue Fairy: The Blue Fairy is a social club for the aristocracy. Admittance is by invitation (or membership) only. The Blue Fairy occupies the entirety of this four story building, having smoking rooms, an upscale tavern, guest rooms, a private gambling den and a trophy room. The club is overseen by Sanguria, a hauntingly attractive woman with a luminous pallor, goldenrod hair and misty gray eyes that betray an inner fire. Opinionated and demanding, she works the staff of the Blue Fairy quite hard, but they never seem to complain, probably because they, like she, are vampires. The social club provides a good base of operations as they slowly conquer the catacombs of Lyonesse. The next stage of their conquest involves conquering the city's nobility.

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