The Black Alleys
A dense rat’s nest of tenements, smoking ruins, and shacks, the ward known as The Black Alleys is home to Vesks’ desperate and despairing. There is no hope in this forsaken slum, only the chance to exploit those around you. Most of The Black Alleys citizenry go their entire life without ever venturing beyond its fetid borders.
The Black Alleys is characterized by the age of its buildings. Antique stonework gargoyles and heavy stone walls, sullied by centuries of soot and grime, can be found throughout the ward, dating back to the founding of Vesk. Equally common are the tall, dilapidated workhouses and asylums, built in a failed experiment to house Vesk’s poor. In equal measure are the blackened, burned out ruins, once fine structures that fell victim to fire, and now offer shelter to bitter squatters. Finally there is the seemingly endless sea of shacks, tents, and hovels. These temporary structures can spring up overnight, making navigating The Black Alleys frustrating at best, and deadly at worst. What was an empty alley can turn into a camp of tents overnight, and many are souls that – fleeing one of The Black Alleys predators – discovered a dead-end sealing what they thought was an open street.
The Black Alleys is ruled by an endless throng of ambitious thugs and pretentious tyrants, each pitted against the other in an effort to garner the most might. Every pimp, extorter, and thug imagines himself a boss, and every boss, an emperor. The greater a man’s power, the crueler his license, a fact that is not lost on The Black Alleys ’s youth, as they seek to outdo one another in depravity and savagery. The few ward bosses who manage to rule for an extended period of time attract scores of sycophants, resulting in a parody of a royal court, complete with foppish officials, tyrannical generals, and court fools.