Cold Steel Hot Blood
Sanctuary represents the most prosperous deep-water port on the Southern coasts of Eastern Oessar. Though small in physical size it is home to nearly twenty thousand people, with outlying farms and villages adding another ten thousand people, though these numbers pale in comparison to Sanctuary at its height. Sanctuary’s population suffered a significant dip during the years after the Great Sundering, chaos plagues and other diseases brought by the Chaos priests reduced the population to under ten thousand. The fall of the chaos cults and the rise of Rathi dominance has brought a period of uncommon stability and the population has steadily swung upwards over the last two decades.
Sanctuary rises from the sea, gradually climbing into the hills. The eastern and western borders of the city are defined by the White Foal and Turrant Rivers. Villages of varying sizes dot the countryside to the south east and north west, lending direct support to Sanctuary’s overall economy. Sanctuary is a trading hub for these communities, and most (if not all) of these villages are represented at the city’s farmer’s market that occurs three times per week.
Construction in the city has always consisted predominantly of adobe, but with the climate’s increased propensity towards dampness (following the Great Sundering), the sun-dried bricks have fallen out of fashion. Stone is the preferred building material now, but there is precious little to be had locally. Most Sanctans make do with what they have, but those who can afford to renovate their homes and shops have already done so.
The city consists of several quarters, of neighborhoods, that vary dramatically in size. Nearly all of these districts contain both residential and commercial elements.
— The ’Tween Sanctuary’s newest district is the ‘Tween. Originally devised as a caravan terminus, it has since become more of a traveler’s district than a center of trade in the city.
— Pyrtanis In years past, Pyrtanis was one of Sanctuary’s most prestigious streets. The well-to-do merchants and crafters who made their homes there were only one step below the Nobility that resided along the Processional. These days, rumors of ghosts, foul sorcery, and legends that are best spoken of behind closed doors haunt this district.
— Old Jeweler’s Quarter Despite the fact that their are no longer any jewelers plying their trade within the Old Jeweler’s Quarter, the name has stuck. Once a large district encompassing much of Pyrtanis, the Old Jeweler’s Quarter shrank to nearly a quarter of its size when Sanctuary was under Anzish rule. the quarter is now bordered to the south and west by Pyrtanis, to the north by the Promise of Heaven, and to the east by the slums of the Hill. Most of the structures in the quarter are recent construction, as most of the original buildings were burned or destroyed in the Rathi purge of the Chaos cults. These newer buildings and homes are clustered close together, giving the district a claustrophobic air.
— Copper Corner Copper Corner was once the Central Merchant’s Quarter of Sanctuary, dominated by copper-smiths and other metalworkers. Since the days of Anzish occupation, it has included much of what was once the Eastern Merchant’s Quarter. The Path of Money, The count of Arms, and the Street of Goldsmiths have all been folded into Copper Corner as well. The quarter is defined by the Path of Money on its northern border, the Corridor of Steel to the east, the Wideway to the south, and the Processional to the west. For all its size and reputation, Copper Corner’s population is comparatively low. Though a handful of metalworkers still call the place home, there aren’t nearly as many as there were when Anz held sway.
— The Wideway Stretching from the Prince’s Gate at the eastern end of the city all the way to the banks of the White Foal River at its western edge, the Wideway is the longest and (at times) widest stretch of road in all of Sanctuary. Paved with cobblestones as it ranges from the ’Tween to the harbor, it transforms into a wide boardwalk as it passes the waterfront. The northern edge of the Wideway consists of salt-crusted homes near Pyrtanis, giving way to warehouses and waterfront shops and taverns when it nears the wharf.
— The Wharves There are two wharves in Sanctuary the Old Wharf and the Empire Wharf. The Old Wharf was built three hundred years ago when the Kingdom of Karsis first conquered the city. The sweat and blood of hundreds of Sanctans stains every foot of the Old Wharf, so much so that it is common practice for Sanctan fisherfolk and sailors to solemnly refer to the wharf itself as “grandfather.” in their minds, the blood of enough Sanctans was spilled in the wharf’s construction that it effectively unites all Sanctans ad defacto family. As sentimental as such proverbs are, stories of the atrocities committed by the city’s Karsi overlords are still told to this day.
— The Processional The Processional, Sanctuary’s main thoroughfare, is the city’s high-rent district. Beginning at the Wideway, it runs north at a gradual incline until it reaches the Processional Gate, and the city has taken great care to preserve the splendor of the Processional through the years. Though the purging of the Chaos Cults left a terrible mark on the quarter’s rich homes and affluent residents, the damage was not nearly as bad as it could have been, since many of the city’s wealthiest citizens collaborated with the Cultists in the earliest days.
— The Maze When people think of Sanctuary, the invariably think of the Maze. The Maze is a central component of the city’s west side, but though the seediest part of the city , it is far from being the slum that rumors and legends make it. The Maze is roughly defined by Stink Stree on the west, Shadow Street on the east, Tanner’s Row to the north, and Straight Street to the south. It is a roughshod part of town consisting of weathered buildings and shacks built above the leavings of previous generations.
— The Shambles The Shambles is a place of strong odors, where several tanners and dyers do business. Once one gets used to the smell, the few charms of this ramshackle quarter become clear to anyone willing to look close enough. West of the Maze, south of the Bazaar, and east of the Turrant River, poverty and squalor define The Shambles. though not the poorest part of town (that dubious honor belongs to The Hill), signs of people living a hand-to-mouth existence can be seen everywhere. Beggars congregate at Shambles Cross searching for a handout from passersby, children play in the gutters, and rat-catchers sell rodents two for a copper.
— Fisherman’s Row In the wake of the Great Sundering the shift in climate caused the flooding of both the Turrant and White Foal Rivers. The catastrophic deluge literally washed away old Fisherman’s Row along with the district known as Downwind. While the Down-winders fled to the Hill or left to eke a life from the mud of newly-expanded Swamp of Night Secrets, the fishermen took their families, boats, and nets, and rebuilt their homes in what was once the southern portion of the caravan square, northwest of the Shambles. Though the storms devastated their community, their intimate familiarity with such disasters allowed them to bounce back with surprising speed.
— Farmer’s Market and Caravan Depot Sanctuary’s largest open-air market lies due west of the Bazaar, and just inside the Gate of Triumph. Local farmers and herders come to the market on Toilday, Oathsday and Starday to sell their wares. Most produce is locally grown, with more exotic fare available in the Bazaar seven days a week. As far as price is concerned, however, the farmer’s market can’t be beat. Local vegetables and grains, much of which come in from the Land’s End and neighboring farms, are fresh and of good quality.
— The Bazaar Like the ‘Tween, Sanctuary’s Bazaar is walled off from the rest of the city, but while the ‘Tween is far from autonomous, the Bazaar is very nearly a small city in its own right. The four walls surrounding it date back to the Anzish occupation. Residents of the Bazaar often jokingly refer to the walls as theirs, built to keep the rest of the city out. This is hardly true, yet it presents a valid point: the folk who live in the Bazaar do not easily identify with those who live in the surrounding city. Theirs is not precisely a siege mentality, however, as the rest of Sanctuary’s population provides the Bazaar with a welcome source of income.
— The Cemetery Outside the city wall, near the gate of Triumph, the crumbling monuments within Sanctuary’s cemetery grow thick with lichens and weeds. In the three centuries since Sanctuary’s founding, the Sanctan population buried their honored dead in the Karsis tradition within the cemetery’s walls. Today, holes and pits pock the grounds, as the cemetery is unguarded and grave robbing is rampant. Few people bury their dead with any sort of valuables, knowing that fresh graves will only remain undisturbed for a few scant hours before thieves defile them. Grave robbing is a capital offense in Sanctuary, but violators are rarely caught. Even if they were, it is doubtful whether the ruling Irrune would deign to prosecute such crimes, given their own beliefs.
— The Rumors of Heaven The Rathi forbid open worship of gods within the city, forcing all religious practices outside the Gate of Triumph. Their makeshift temples, fanes, and altars stand on the edge of the General’s Road and the Street of Red Lanterns, between the city walls and the two ords crossing the slow flowing inland creek that swells with the occasional rains. Ironically, many of the brothels and gambling dens that once operated on the northern side of the Street of Red Lanterns have been co-opted by priests and their followers. This motley place of worship has been dubbed the “Rumor of Heaven” by more cynical Sanctans, yet the faithful of many cultures continue to congregate here to pray ot their gods on holy days.
— The Street of Red Lanterns The General’s Road forks beyond the Gate of Triumph, with one path heading north and the other east. The eastern fork becomes the Street of Red Lanterns, once-famed home of Sanctuary’s brothels and bordellos. Though it encompassed both sides of the street during the Anzish occupation of the city, the Red Lantern district has since been split in half. What remains of the district is restricted to the southern half of the street, just north of the Palace wall, though even this is shrinking as brothels migrate to the Maze. With the establishment of the Rumors of Heaven, a strange dichotomy arose along the Street of Red Lanterns, as gamblers, drunks, and prostitutes rub shoulders daily with priest and laity.
— The Palace The Governor’s Palace has changed hands many times since Anz held Sanctuary. Once home to Prince Kadakithis, it also housed the Beysa and her entourage, as well as providing a safe haven for the leaders of the Chaos Cultists during the Convulsions. When Rathi raiders swept into Sanctuary their siege of the Palace left cultists holding it in disarray, unable to mount an effective defense. In the ensuing battle, the Palace burned, destroying nearly a third of the structures.
— The Promise of Heaven The Promise of Heaven and the adjoining Avenue of Temples stand upon the highest land in all of Sanctuary, higher even than the Governor’s Palace. In Sanctuary’s past, the Promise of Heaven and the avenue of Temples housed the city’s many altars. Today the Rathi have outlawed the practice of worshiping the gods within the city and the district is largely abandoned.
— The Hill The most dangerous of Sanctuary’s environs is the expanse of slums known as the Hill quarter. Since Downwind’s destruction, the Hill sprang into existence as a sprawling shantytown dominating much of the city’s northeastern corner. The complex of slums and ghettos stand on what used to be the elite quarter of the city, between the Promise of Heaven and the city’s northern wall. Several estates, including the original Land’s End, once occupied the Hill’s high ground. The foundation of these manors and villas now lie in ruins, providing some shelter to the beggars and miscreants that call the Hill home.