Negav's Lower Tier
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The Lower Tier of Negav can be considered Negavs' outer ring. It spans between the Great Wall and the inner walls, which separates this tier from the Middle Tier region. In times of crisis, it may even somewhat serve as part of Negav's defenses for the better situated people living deeper inside the city, as the tight streets and alleyways form mazes that will confuse anyone unfamiliar with them, as well as natural choke-points that would make it impossible for large groups or creatures to traverse them safely.
As the name suggests, the Lower Tier consists mostly of people of a low to medium class standing, although in Felaryan terms, that is still a relatively good life. The outer walls and heavy defenses, not to mention the presence of the Isolon eye, covering Negav and a large area around its walls, provide excellent protection against the dangers of the jungle, and grant what one would consider a relatively regimented life. For the Negavian citizens, life quality is simple but sufficient. Most citizens live in houses built from clay and Takrit, a stone that is being mined deep underneath in the Negavian quarries, and serves as Negav's main building material. Cheap and readily available, the dense sedimentary stone features a quality and properties mostly resembling that of sandstone. Even though brick buildings can frequently be seen, especially close to the inner walls, many homes are made of less durable materials, such as wood, or even woven cloth for the poorest ones.
Most buildings are squeezed in-between two others, and are typically tall and streets narrow as space has always been a major problem in Negav. The price of a home is relatively expensive, forcing many less fortunate people to live on the streets, or underground. Some of the Negavian Middle Tier merchants make a small fortune by buying houses and renting them to the poorer afterwards, leading to a sharp separation of luxury and income even in the outer ring. Parts of the city are nearly falling apart with crime and neglect while on others, hired guards patrol clean and tranquil streets, checking on anyone that doesn't look like they belong to there.
The Lower Tier is frequently visited by virtually anyone who dares to set foot on Felarya via the Dimensional Gate just outside the city gates. Traveling merchants seeking to peddle their wares and adventurers who caught wind of Felarya's rumored treasures and wonders all find temporary residence in this Tier. In some districts, it is believed that the number of outsiders actually often surpasses the number of actual Negavian citizens. As Negav's Lower Tier stands open to anyone who is able to endure the Isolon Eyes warding powers, it is notoriously overcrowded.
The Lower Tier can be divided into four general sections, each of them having their own districts, population type and functionality within the city.
- The northern quarter is pretty much built around the Victory main gate and Avenue of Heroes, which leads to the Middle and Higher tiers of Negav. Being the largest district, it stretches all the way from Ascarlin Gate in the west to Mumansi Gate in the east and takes up close to a third of the Lower Tier's space all by itself while barely housing a 13th of its population. It is focused on economy and military, with both the largest amount of military barracks, as well as guilds, taverns, inns and even a tourism center. It is relatively safe and peaceful, with most of its crime being tavern brawls and occasional theft, but nothing city guards can't get under control. Most buildings have some sort of function revolving around travel or trade, with their owners usually living either in the floor above or in the basement underneath.
People living in the northern quarter rely on the large community of adventurers and explorers who meet and congregate here for their livelihood, and most shops are being designed to capitalize on them. During daytime, one may experience the thriving pulse of the city, merchants selling and buying everyday items alongside adventuring gear, survival packages and even some magical artifacts here and there. Small talk, laughter and appraising of wares is heard throughout the city landscape, an ever-noisy place the likes of nekos have to get used to first. During nighttime, the outer ring lies in darkness with only the major streets being illuminated by magitech lamp posts, and light that shines through the windows of the many taverns and Inns that are still open during the late hours. The streets are mostly silent, even though a constant noise of blabbering can still be heard around the main roads.
- The western quarter, stretching from the Ascarlin Gate in the north to Red tail Gate in the west, is notable for being the poorest surface area to live in. A single military barrack was once built to keep the district and its many alleyways under control, but nowadays it is mostly guarded off and isolated from the rest of the town as constant attacks and harassment by local gangs and organizations have led to a de-facto loss of control over this part of the city. Being close to the traffic-heavy northern district, there are literally checkpoints one has to pass through to enter or leave this part of Negav, something that is otherwise only seen when moving one whole Tier up or down. In a way, the western district is a Tier in itself, where disorder and lawlessness cannot be fought anymore, but merely contained. For instance, the traveling gate of the district was disabled long ago as the rest of Negav was becoming wary of having so many criminals potentially at their doorsteps. The structure now stands derelict and covered in graffiti, a monument to the authorities' powerlessness to bring the area under control. The district is heavily connected to the underground of Negav, and it’s probably not a coincidence that the Pit, arguably the poorest area of all Negav, is situated roughly underneath its center.
The western district is the home of the poor and the destitute, as well as many criminals and unsavory people looking to escape the law. It also houses a higher density of non-human beings than in other parts of the city. The streets are very dangerous, and constant fights between gangs and law enforcers are a daily fact of life that has claimed countless victims on both sides, and even more caught in the crossfire. Pretty much every block of the western district is under the control of a different cartel or gang, from small bands of several street thugs to large, organized crime syndicates. There are secret pacts and invisible moving lines between them, often the only thing standing between a tense peace and a bloody street war. Many of the smaller gangs have some kind of connections to bigger ones, and often operate with at least their tacit permission. A thriving black market for all kinds of goods has taken roots throughout the district and can be seen as its main economy. If you know the right person or the right door to knock on and you have the money, you can acquire virtually anything you need there.
- The southern quarter is located between Red Tail Gate in the west and Mercenary Gate in the east. It houses the pumping heart of Negav's basic society, the common workers and townsfolk. It’s an industrious and busy district, where one can find everything a thriving city needs to exist in a moderate state of luxury, from common barbers, to shoemakers, clothiers and other manufacturers. Lot of small scale industries can be found here, especially when you move east, toward the Great Foundry. Located at and around Mercenary Lane, the industrial complex of Negav is relatively small compared to the town’s overall size. Magitech and thriving off-world trade, as well as the necessity of safe living space caused Negav to have most of its goods coming from outside, and the industries that are present in the city are cramped into rather small fabrication halls or underground. Still, the buildings however small, house all necessary gears, machines and personnel with remarkable efficiency. There is simply no wasted space there and every square inch has its use to ensure production of goods, mostly machinery and magitech furniture.
The industrial complex of Negav is the most well protected area in the Lower Tier. Because of the Watchers’ Gate proximity and in order to prevent sabotage of the city’s defenses, an entire military complex and numerous city guard stations were set up along the walls. They now serve mainly to protect the Great Foundry and the buildings nearby and to keep any unauthorized person away. The government enforces a tight net of control to ensure a minimal amount of corruption and to prevent workers from trying to make a living by supplying the western district's black markets. The entire area can be set on lock-down very fast in case someone important is missing. In order to ensure a swift and efficient circulation of goods, the entire industrial complex was conveniently built around one of the traveling gate.
Other than that, there are simple worker barracks built around, especially near the edges of the district. Living quarters are affordable for those with a reasonable employment and crime rates are kept in check, although slightly above average for the Lower Tier, mostly because of the Cremona Maze. This zone is a network of many narrow alleys, weathered buildings, twisted passages and tunnels. It's considered a dangerous and violent place where rival gangs frequently engage each others for the control of a street or a block. The city’s authorities are making a lot of efforts to cleanse the place of its crime, but it remains persistent, and coming across the gruesome discovery of a corpse lying in the street in the morning, the result of two rival gangs settling scores during the night, is sadly not uncommon. Most Negavians know better than to take a stroll in those dangerous alleys.
Life, however, is generally not too bad in the southern district. Many hard-working citizens manage to build prosperous lives and, outside of Cremona Maze, security is considered good. Entertainment to the common citizen is given in the form of small theaters and libraries featuring novels and fantasy literature from Felarya and other worlds. But the biggest place to entertain the masses is without a doubt the Jaslow arena. Located in the district with the most citizen of its Tier, the arena is a magnet of everyday life entertainment and a lot of merchandise can be bought in or around the arena. Having enough bread and games, the people around the arena are for the most part satisfied, and are looked at with jealousy and ill-will by those who are fated to live in the misery of the neighboring western district.
- The eastern sector of Negav, set in-between Mumansi Gate in the north and the Great Foundry in the south, is almost a pure housing district where the better off citizens live in. It looks very similar to the Middle Tier, even though it naturally isn't as well protected nor as spacious. Many of the people living here tend to have good chances of eventually moving into the next Tier. This section mostly contains everyday shops such as bakeries and clothiers, with little to no other industries. People living here can be considered lower middle class, who can afford their own homes, even though some shacks can be seen here and there. Guards regularly patrol the tranquil streets, especially on the southern end that borders poorest districts. They are comparatively highly paid and usually live in this district as well, causing them to be motivated enough to keep their streets clean. To most realistically thinking long-term citizen, the eastern sector is what they want to call home eventually, and many of those who work in the southern industrial complex sooner or later save up enough money to move to this place.
Asianas Bridge, which connects the gate to the northern shore of Motamo river, is a huge and stable construction spanning over 60 meters in width and several hundred meters in length. Capable of withstanding the weight of even the largest amounts of people, animals and even some vehicles crossing it on a daily basis, it is most likely the most traversed structure made by human hands that's still in use. In fact, rumors say that the bridge has and would be able to endure even cannon fire from Negav's walls, although there are no visible traces of that. While the northern end leads to the dimensional gate, the Negav's surrounding area#Motamo Docks, and the Negav's surrounding area#Inn of Heroes, the southern end connects directly to the Victory Gate. It's a very busy place buzzing with life, with some merchants even placing their wares on the bridge, trying to take advantage and a quick buck out of anyone too impatient or too suspicious to actually enter Negav itself.
The Victory Gate is the main entrance to Negav. Towering high above Motamo river, those massive gates are a symbol of Negav being the save-haven of humans across Felarya and a bastion of security against the perilous surrounding jungle. It is also fortified like a bastion, with tremendous walls bearing massive cannons and ballistas to deal with anything that tries to enter Negav without permission. Should the Isolon Eye ever fail in its function, the Victory Gate would have enough firepower and resupply to defend the northern part of the city on its own for quite a few months. Even an army miraculously managing to reach Negav through the jungle would struggle in vain against its fortifications. Each of the massive towers contains an entire battalion of soldiers that are trained to fight a vast amount of different foes and scenarios alike, capable of defending the gate with their lives, if necessary, with Asianas Bridge creating a natural choke-point against any force that would rely on a numerical advantage. The Gates usually stand open, to allow for quick entering and exiting the city, although a massive amount of soldiers and magic protections ensure safety. The control is essentially in place to make sure nothing unwelcome sneak in the city under the guise of a human. The massive gates can be sealed off in an emergency, with massive reinforced doors able to close very quickly.
The Watchers' Gate is the only other entrance to the Lower Tier of Negav, connecting the southern quarter with the farmlands bordering the intimidating Dridder forest further south. The gate is much smaller than its big northern equivalent, yet it is just as well secured, with a large array of trenches, fortifications and turrets, as well as huge cannons pointed toward the jungle, should the Isolon Eye fail in preventing some giant predators to approach the city walls. Watchers' Gate is largely a defensive structure, specialized in keeping the local wildlife at bay rather than regulating traffic which is only a fraction of what one can find at the northern entrance. Just like at Victory Gate, a whole battalion of troops is at arms and on the ready at all times, ensuring the city's safety. The Watchers'Gate plays a big part in Negav's logistics, as most goods produced around Negav need to pass through it before being transported to various point of the city.
Unified Worlds Bank
The Unified Worlds bank is one of a few bank organizations that have settled down in many worlds throughout the multiverse, all of which are connected via dimensional- or space travel and share frequently used connections revolving around trade or travel. Thus the Unified Worlds Bank has several installations in Negav. The most frequently used one is located pretty much right at the main entrance plaza, that leads from Victory Gate into the city, so that anyone who enter the city may lay their eyes upon this building. The Unified Worlds Bank uses complex (and for the most part, secret) methods to evaluate the worth of currencies and is capable to exchange any currency they are aware of to a different one. Obviously, the exchange works best with currencies from worlds the organization already have installations in, which is the overall point of its existence, however, they are famous for being able to identify both heritage and value of currency unknown to them as well and to calculate exchange rates accordingly. For Negav, this means that travelers or adventurers that reach the city with any kind of money they brought will be able to turn them into skevols of roughly the same value - and if there something the bank wont accept as currency, they will be directed towards merchants that might be interested in that good. Of course, this process doesn't come without flaws though. Due to the sheer number of worlds and currencies, the organization cannot possibly know every currency that exist, let alone people trying to fake money of any kind in order to enrich themselves. Evaluating the worth of a currency is a slow and careful process, as any numbers printed on those currencies don't matter to the evaluators, knowing fully well that most people would try to cheat on them if simply asked what the currencies imprint meant. So instead, the currency is first and foremost be given the worth of its inherent materials. Thus coins made of rare materials such as gold are the most easy to evaluate, while money printed on paper or virtual currencies are, at first, worth next to nothing. However, this isn't the only process used to evaluate the worth of a currency, as different factors play into its worth as well, such as the effort that was seemingly put into the production of a currency item and exchange rates of the unknown currency with a currency known to them. Even without a direct connection to a currencies homeworld, slowly, over time, the currencies recognized worth will come closer towards what it was meant to be. Naturally, the possible discrepancy between intended and locally recognized worth of a currency attracts a lot of disagreement between the bank and some of its customers but the organization is well respected in general and its assessment trusted.
The riches of a bank that can trade several thousands of currencies in reasonable amount has led to legends of gigantic bank vaults full of any kind of money imaginable and, of course, a fantastic amount of skevols as well. This is why security in and around the bank is extreme, with the building literally pulsating with defensive magic. All valuable materials are in fact stored in entirely different dimensions, with only a few million skevols being actually located within the negavian banks, to ensure a fluid exchange of money during times where dimensional travel or storage is not possible or too dangerous to access the otherworldly main vaults.
The Adventurer Guild is a famous and large building in the northern section of Negav's outer ring. The rundown look with cracked walls, only two floors and a red peaked roof does fool the eye indeed, as the interior is surprisingly luxurious and speaks well of the glory and income of the guild's members. Several shops have settled here, selling the most expensive, yet most valuable survival gear. It is not uncommon to find tags telling of the former owner of a piece of gear, especially if that owner was once a famous or high ranking guild member. Dubious merchants from the poor district sometimes come here to look for the newest "inspirations" for copying and labeling their own cheap gear, complete with a list of so-called famous previous owners.
Adventurers who join the guild are able to get tasks via a bulletin-board, as well as profit from advices, some medical treatment, special protection and help from other guild members. Adventurers are categorized in ranks, the higher ones often being worn as status symbols inside and outside the guild halls. It grants the adventurer recognition and respect from fellow citizen and thugs alike, as well as friendly discounts in some taverns, as they tend to attract less seasoned adventurers in hope for some valuable advice or story. Some of the high-ranked adventurers are considered small celebrities around the city.
Once forbidden by the rulers of Negav, the Jaslow Arena's activity remained clandestine for years, under the command of the now defunct Amundis Jaslow, former head of one of the big criminal group in Negav. The arena started as a hidden underground fighting pit under a tavern and thrived, growing bigger and bigger. It became popular to the point where the authorities thought closing it would cause too much of a backlash and decided to legalize its existence. Now directed by Amundis' s daughter Faydea Jaslow, the arena is today one of the most popular venues in Negav. The arena itself comprises a wide open-air circular fighting ring, with walls all around. These "walls" are more series of arches, set in levels, stacked on top of each other, where the crowds sit to watch the spectacles. Aside from this, walkways connect to a smaller seating area with a glass floor that literally hangs over the arena - only the richest are able to get a seat in this observation deck. The arena also has an extensive underground area, with training rooms, a healing complex and a holding center for animals.
There are many scheduled fights, though the arena is open to booking in off hours. It's the scheduled fights that really bring in the crowds. These are usually either ranked fights between the best arena fighter teams, or "novelty" matches that usually involve monsters or beasts of some kind. Some duels are showcased as well, and when two people decide they want to publicly settle their score, they sometimes do it in the arena, protected by the law, a set of rules and the eyes of several hundred witnesses. The spectacles the Jaslow Arena provides aren't nearly as violent and cruel as they used to be in the past, but the fight are still brutal, merciless and dangerous. The arena's rules dictate that a battle between human opponents ends as soon as a fighter is no longer able to continue fighting or yields to their adversary. Despite these regulations, fighters do die during a fight from time to time, and these deaths are just as often the result of an accident or a spiteful rival. Shows involving beast fights are especially dangerous. During the novelty matches some inexperienced fighters occasionally get swallowed by the "beast of the day", and are only rescued by the beast handler if that doesn't mean bringing himself in danger of being eaten as well, or if the crowd think they deserved the rescue in the first place.
The mere existence of the arena causes frequent uproar of those who fight for human rights within the city, who don't want Negav to be a society in which people are getting eaten alive for the entertainment of the audience. Interestingly enough, the entrance to the arena is free. Magiocrats seem to believe the intense and sometimes gruesome spectacle provided is a good way to canalize the anger, agressivity and frustration of the Negavians people, and that the access to it should be encouraged, not hindered. More than the spectacle itself, Negavians are fond of all the characters involved, the personal drama, and challenges. Some famous names such as Vyand Nagaslayer, Stethros, Halig the bold etc.. make the heart of many Negavians resonate with passion.
As Negav grew in size, so did the danger of various hazards such as fires. Firefighters were, at first, a loosely assembled group, made up of volunteers. It was led by the now defunct Hortlin Fisk who, interestingly enough, was also a mob boss. Under his control, the firefighter guild progressively turned into a shady and thriving group, suspected of actually starting more fires than it extinguished them and blackmailing the population. The group was dissolved in 1970 A.U. by the Ps'isol magiocrats, who wanted to "modernize" it. They took advantage of the unpopularity of the organization to create their own, comprised of certified hydromancers coming directly from the Isolon University of Magic. At first, their Vishmital rivals challenged the notion that mages should be in charge of firefighting but, after a few years of its activity, they had to reluctantly recognize the hydromancers guild was extremely efficient at extinguishing fires in record time.
Hydromancer vigiles, as they are called, are mages specialized into manipulating and controlling water, using the nearby Motamo river to draw moisture from it that they turn into water above the fire. The process is quick and require no more than a small team of well trained professionals. They are often completed by a Telekinesis adept in order to sweep away debris or prevent a structure from collapsing. They form today a very effective and solid force, well respected by the citizens for their courage.
Felaryan tourism Guild
When the Felaryan Tourism Guild was first founded, people considered the entire idea completely crazy. However, it developed surprisingly quickly into a comparatively successful business, which has its mainstay in Negav's Middle Tier, but also a smaller installation in the Lower Tier, due to the access restrictions that come to those foreign to the city.
The guild offers sightseeing tours to several Felaryan locations, that are deemed both spectacular to see and relatively safe to access, within the Isolon eye radius. The paths to those sites are typically well prepared, with subtly placed carnivorous plants and impressive but mostly harmless animals as attractions. The guild offers more dangerous tours outside of the Eye range as well, although the prices climb dramatically and customers are asked to sign carefully worded and long contracts, in case something happens to them. Guards are hired to protect those courageous enough to book a more dangerous tour, and the contract ask the customers to obey blindly to their instructions and safety rules.
Accidents and deadly attacks do happens on those dangerous tours though, especially when customers underestimate the dangerous nature of Felarya even in the "safer" regions, or if some unexpected things happen and some predators were not where the guides anticipated them to be. Despite those accidents though, the guild has always managed to stay afloat, in part thanks to its leader, Malki Greenbeard. The man is well known in Negav both for his extravagant outfits and his outrageously cheerful and positive spin on things. he is a born salesman and a genius with words. His collaborators and friends say affectionately in private that he could convince a fairy to sell her own wings. With his loud, powerful voice, he is very adept at captivating an audience and appealing to one's curiosity or thirst for adventures, ensuring a steady flow of new customers. Plus in the end, the fact remains that most of the people who take the guild's tours are happy customers, speaking of an unforgettable experience.
The Eat & Defeat
A twin-business consisting of a tavern and an enchanting smithery of decent quality, that are both known to be run by a single person. Being smartly located right at the Victory Gate and next to the Unified Worlds Bank in a side alley, it can easily be considered the first opportunity for newly arrived adventurers to spend their money on food or improving their equipment. However, the Eat & Defeat's owner Dalia is more memorable among tinies, as she is known to shelter an entire small village of them inside her basement, providing a safe haven as well as a comparatively decent food supply in exchange for occasional small favors, at least as long as they obey the rules.
Pileuda's Fried Glouteux
Rather than a single establishment, this name refers to a whole chain of restaurants, commonly found in the Lower Tier of Negav and some upper levels of the underground. Who Pileuda is exactly is uncertain. However in her name the restaurant chain made it a business to take advantage of the incredibly stupid nature of Glouteux. Employees man spiked pit traps close to the outer edge of the Isolon eyes protective range, tasked to lure in glouteux by presenting themselves as easy meals, before running off to jump across the spike traps. This way, Glouteux are supposed to run straight into the pits, and thus into their doom, although accidents do tend to happen to employees in training who weren't fast or nimble enough and get eaten. This mass hunting technique has led to a profitable industry as Glouteux is fried up and served speedily to hungry customers, even though eating at Pileuda's is known to not be the healthiest diet.
The Neko's Tail
A small bar located right between the Lower and Middle Tiers. Seemingly only memorable for the rather lewd sign and the frequent shows by neko dancers. However, the bar is known in the underworld as a meeting place of various neko gangs, who plot crimes here for profit or to strike back at their human oppressors. It's also rumored that the barkeep can get nekos in touch with the illegal tinies market... for a hefty price.
Citroise Smoothie Stands
Small and very common shops selling Citroise based-drinks. They are very popular across the city. Citroise smoothies are ever so refreshing and delicious!
- credits to Jaette-troll for the Adventurer Guild idea, the Neko's tail, Citroise Smoothie Stands, and Pileuda's Fried Glouteux, and for helping with the description of the Jaslow arena, to Amaroq for the Unified worlds bank and Eat&defeat, and to Shady Knight and Amaroq for helping develop and rewrite the whole entry.