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The city of Negav is undoubtedly the largest and most impressive structure built by humans in Felarya that managed to persist through time. Being famous and well known across the land, even among giant predators, it's no surprise that humanoids from all over the world are drawn to this place, to and beyond its limits of capacity. This led to the building of an entire city in its shadow, or more precisely, underneath. Slowly but surely, the city of Negav expanded underneath the grounds it rests on, like a plant taking root.
Negav's underground is huge and covers most of the expanse of the city over several vertical layers. Most sections are bundled together with long tunnels leading to others areas in order to keep the rest of the surface city on stable grounds. Technically, there are specific areas where people are allowed to excavate more room but those regulations are seldom regarded. The deeper one goes, the more chaotic the tunnels, rooms and structures become, as less accurate maps for orientation exist and less people care to follow rules from above. According to official statistics, the underground population is about three quarters of that living within Negav's lower tier. However, this only take into account the legal citizens of the city, and most commonly refers to inhabitants of the upper commons. The real number of people inhabiting the underground of Negav, both legally and illegally, is probably two to three times larger, making the underground a very significant area of Negav's living space. That's why underground folks often call the surface area of Negav merely the tip of the iceberg. The underground is known to harbor the poorest of the poor. It's not entirely true however, as the population is extremely diverse and range from everyday citizens, who live and work above ground, to people who have lost everything but their lives and seek refuge in places nobody else would want to live. To some, the underground is a hive of scum and villainy that's best be sealed off from the world entirely, to others it's a fascinating place full of different cultures and people, where one could spend their entire lives and yet not see everything it has to offer. However, in most cases those who can afford it try to move above ground at the first opportunity. Indeed living in the underground is widely seen as a social stigma because of the bad reputation of the area. Crime rate is extremely high there and even in the upper commons, those who do not look out for their possessions or watch their backs regularly will find themselves robbed or worse. Mercy and Morality tend to become luxuries in a world where most people have so little to spare and, more often than not, the law of the surface is barely worth the paper it is printed on.
Negav's underground is separated into several layers, each serving specific purposes to those who live there, and the ones above. Even though not as precisely separated in reality, they can be roughly be divided into two main levels: The Hive and the Depths. The hive is considered as an official part of Negav. It is kept relatively intact, connected to Negav's multiple networks of water and sewage. The Depths, on the other hand, is an unofficial area, whose existence is unknown by most of the surface population. It's a complex network of hidden caverns, derelict tunnels and shafts. To live here is a harsh and brutal existence and for many of the unfortunate souls who were born there, seeing the light of the day one time in their life is nothing but a distant dream.
- 1 Surface Connections
- 2 The Hive
- 3 The Depths
The Upper commons are the highest layer of the hive, and connect to many different staircases leading to the surface, which end in various locations of both the lower tier and the middle tier of Negav, the latter being gated by heavy iron doors and guards, allowing to seal the entrances in case of emergencies. However, the connections between the lower tier and the upper commons are, for the most part, completely open, and rarely guarded, both for the convenience of travel and because they are too numerous. Moreover it gives the citizen below a relative sense of freedom, as there are always some way up that cannot be closed off - serving an important role to prevent panics and keeping the underground population peaceful. It is worth noting, that there are no known connections between the upper commons and the high district, as official building regulations did prevent the underground area to spread underneath the area for stability reasons. It's almost certain however that some secret passageways to and from important places such as the Nexus or the Isolon university exist.
Negavians, who can't or don't want to rent a place in the poor districts of Negav often move down to the upper commons. The place is a large network of subterranean streets, plazas, houses and shops. Several of its richer areas actually look fancier and much more pleasant than some of the poor districts of the surface. Most walls, ceiling and floor are made of Takrit, although some more valuable materials are sometimes used as well. It's interesting to note that some underground houses are just a few feet below the surface street, and sometimes even have windows that lead to small shafts in the ground, allowing some amount of sunlight to flow into their rooms. However, most of the light underground is artificial, and a very large amount of magic torches and lamps are scattered throughout the streets and homes of the Upper commons. Some areas are surprisingly spacious, allowing for impressively shaped arches that hold the city above, fancy looking hallways, and houses with actual roofs instead of being carved directly from the walls. Most areas however are simple tunnels and housing districts made with efficiency in mind. A typical underground house consists of three to four rooms carved into the stone, usually including a kitchen and bathroom with running water supply. For economic reasons, smaller aqueducts are used to allocate water between the households, using gravity rather than pumps to get the water to its destination. Since a new home can easily be connected by carving another branch into the side of an aqueduct, water supply is usually a much lesser issue than getting rid of the used waters. For that reason, there are many public waste-holes around, which allow for easy disposal of dirty water and other wastes, which are directly led into the sewage system, for those who don't have the luxury of a drainage system.
The Upper commons is home to many regular citizens, who go to work, eat and live above ground, just as any Negavian of the surface and might even pay taxes to the city if their income is high enough. Families often live together in one single home, and form tight knit communities with their neighbors within the same street or the same block, as districts are called. The security underground is poor and scarce, forcing many citizen to organize themselves and form militias to watch over their street or block. If you attack or rob one citizen and get noticed, it is very likely that you will have a whole bunch of armed people after you relatively quickly. The lines between a militia and a gang are often blurred and can shift rapidly. Many gangs started as civic defense groups that wanted to work to secure a better life in the underground for their people, before becoming hardened and violent themselves and ending up oppressing the people they were meant to protect, with protection fees and other mafia practices. Many of those groups looks suspiciously at outsiders and perceive security forces as threats, leading to frequent outbreak of violence and flash-points. Some of those gangs are so adamant about their self defense, that their blocks resemble more military complexes than residential areas, with few and very well defended entry points. Other blocks take advantage of being near a corridor leading to the surface to demand tolls from everyone who wishes to pass through. From there it's just a small step towards organized crime, and many block gangs quickly seek to control, and partake in everything that is going on in their area of influence, up to the point of taking over other blocks. In a way, it is an invisible war about alliances and control, and many skevols are being made through having the manpower or strategic locations needed to put pressure on others citizen.
The power of the gangs is a fact of life though, and many citizen point that they are necessary for survival as they provide some amount of security. Indeed some tunnels are very dangerous to trespass on one's own, as abductions do happen every few days. When a person disappears, their family will usually soon find a letter, demanding a ransom for the captives' release. In other cases they find them wounded and naked somewhere in a dim lit tunnel, robbed to their last piece of clothing, but at least alive if they are lucky. Some people disappear and are never seen again, usually taken down into the depths below, where they suffer a much worse fate, being forced to work, get killed right away, or sold as slaves.
Sapphire Plaza is a comparatively large cavern underneath Negav's middle tier, relatively close to the cities center. It is an impressively spacious area that spans over a total of three floors and is filled with a small landscape, complete with grass, trees and a small blue lake, giving the place its name. The area is so wide that globes of magic light underneath the ceiling resemble suns or stars, and the chirping of real birds can be heard throughout the plaza. The most remarkable about the Plaza however is its ceiling, which has been painted blue, to give the feeling of being under an open sky. The fine painting along with the subtle lighting will give pause to a person seeing it for the first time. A finely crafted walkway leads to the Upper commons administrative tract, where most legal business is taken care of, while a variety of tunnels leads to other sections of the zone.
The Ayutayas Bazaar is an array of three streets fanning out from a spacious cross-section, right underneath the lower tier's northern district. The distinctive shape of this array, similar to an Ayutayas leaf gave it its name with smaller streets spreading from the three main ones like the veins of the leaf. They house a variety of small buildings that are carved into the stone, sporting shops and storage rooms for all kinds of simple everyday-life wares. Food and clothes can be obtained for a relatively cheap price in the Bazaar, as do lower quality magic artifacts commonly needed in a household. Prices vary, but are usually roughly around the same as their lower Tier surface equivalents, though one is able to get a steal just as often as one may get ripped off, if they don't compare the prices and if they don't attempt to negotiate and barter. Even though the place is well lit by bright daylight torches and guarded throughout day and night, shoplifting and pickpocketing are such common crimes, that the local police guards rarely even attempt to pursue the culprit. Even if one had been recognized by the victim, it would be nearly impossible to catch the thief before they merged with the masses, or left the place undetected. Many stores, for that reason, hire private bodyguards, who usually bear well visible gang tattoos in order to make very clear that committing a crime in this estate would cost a thief dearly.
The sunken District
Below the Motamo river, there was once a district of the upper commons that thrived with life. It was one of the richest areas underground, with well crafted architecture and even a ceiling made of enchanted glass that was supposed to endure millennia and allowed the citizen to look through the ceiling into the river above them. A mysterious earthquake however caused the ceiling to breach, and the district to be instantly flooded. Many people drowned when the section was quickly cut off and sealed from the rest of the city, saving the other districts at the cost of hundreds lives. Very few managed to survive by swimming up to the surface after the initial torrent of water subsided. Today, the place is inhabited by amphibian species and merfolks who found shelter in those sunken homes. It's not considered part of Negav anymore but stands today as a ghastly reminder of why it's a bad idea to dig under a river.
The Underground Network
If Negav's Higher Tier is the heart of the city, then the underground network is its arteries. Some of the staircases leading down towards the upper commons lead even further underground. However these passages are sealed by several thick closed doors as well as magically warded ones. Those doors lead to the Underground Network, a large maze of maintenance tunnels and pipes spread throughout the entire city, like a spider's net. The Network layer is comparatively narrow, most tunnels being barely large enough for a ducking man to pass through. Wards and other magical and non-magical security devices are installed to hinder anyone from tampering with the supply lines that are so important to the cities survival and civil peace. intrusions or even sabotage are not unheard of though. They remain low-key however, often the result of some individuals tapping the lines for water, in order to sell it later in the lower regions of the underground or any other section that is poorly served by the system. The remarkable organization of the network allow reserve paths to be used in an emergency and security teams to be quickly dispatched to the place where an anomaly has been detected.
In the past, there has been gangs foolhardy enough to try and take over sections of the Network in order to blackmail a district of the surface by threatening to cut off its supplies. The response was swift and devastating. Negav's army was immediately deployed and proceeded to completely destroy the gang and capture its leaders and their families. Some of them were publicly executed to make an example. For the others, their fate is still unknown to this day. Nobody ever saw them again and some shudders at the ruthlessness displayed during the operation.
The Sewers follow the same pattern as the underground network and are located slightly below it. However, access to them is much easier and more common. Various shafts within the city lead to them, with only the ones in the higher tier being properly sealed off. They form the lowest layer of the Hive-section of Negav and are well mapped and regularly accessed for cleaning and maintenance duties.
Once down there, one find themselves in large, round tunnels, which usually are large enough to have a walkway on both sides of the canal in its center. Tubes made of low quality Takrit connect the different canals with each others, arranged in a sophisticated network that leads all the wastes towards the southeastern cliff beyond Negav's city walls, expelling the used water into Motamo river- largely unfiltered. The main canals are lit by green, sickly looking everglow stones embedded into the ceiling, allowing for a minimal visibility within the tunnels. They produce a dim and rather gloomy light, but the stones are able to glow for several centuries, making for a cheap and very low maintenance lighting. Other areas are left completely in the darkness though, and many creatures -as well as some people- live and lurk in the shadows. To a surface dweller's nose, the stench is hard to bear, as air filtration is scarce. The damp air seeps deeply into cloth and skin, making the sewers a very unpleasant place to end up in. Nonetheless, those who have nothing but their body and the clothes they wear, may find themselves being forced to live here. Various cults and gangs use the sewers as their hideout as well, as do criminals and debtors alike who prefer to not be found, yet want a way back to the surface if they need to run.
Interestingly, the sewers are also home to whole colonies of (partially toxic) oozes and even some slimoid species, seemingly unaffected by the Isolon Eye's effect. Theories to explain it vary between their lack of inner organs and regular nerves leaving no target for the Isolon eye to actually trigger, others claim -wrongfully- that slimoids are not sentient enough to be affected. Regardless, both oozes and slimoids pose a real danger to humans and one would be advised to stay as far away from them as possible. However, this can be difficult as most oozes happen to look very similar to the water around, and any small puddle could turn out to be an ooze. Slimoids are even more dangerous, as they lurk in corners, on the ceiling or inside small tubes, waiting for anything edible to pass by. Others actively hunt within the canals and tunnels. Luminescent slimoids do provide their own light source, to seek and find prey or to lure them, and its best to run away, once you see a strange glow in the distance, sliding soundlessly around the corner of your view.
The Neera Heights
The Undergrounds Network is a place that is not meant to be inhabited. Except for the rare strayers living in some forgotten rooms who managed to circumvent the security system, most of the tunnels are desert, unless there is a major problem. This led the area to become quite interesting for tinies, to whom the narrow tunnels are vast halls, and their emptiness a welcome feeling of security. It is here that one can find the "Neera Heights", which is not really a specific location, but more of a loose network of villages and mouse-holes scattered all across the section. Many are arranged around and below the Sapphire plaza, but others can be found as far away as underneath the motamo river and beyond, having hidden access tunnels that lead all the way to the plains immediately before the jungle terrain.
The lower commons are a part of the depths way below Negav and the surface. Unlike the upper commons and other regions of the hive, the lower commons are a largely unorganized set of randomly dug tunnels, shafts and trenches, that span in chaotic patterns below the city. There are only few access-ways, few sign posts and even less trustworthy ones. Following a direction in lower commons can quickly put you in troubles and lead you into a trap or an ambush. Reliable signalization is not that scarce however, for those who know where to look and can read the cryptic language it’s written in. Any surface dweller without a guide is very likely to get quickly lost down here. Most areas are simply carved out of dark grey or brown stone, with little effort put into shaping corridors or homes. Usually, as long as at least one person can fit in a hole, it is considered good enough. Unlike in the hive, tunnels in the lower commons don't follow any plan or architecture, especially on the outer and lower levels. Efficiency and organization matter little to those desperately seeking the smallest crevice to cram their home into. This cause some tunnels to breach messily into each other, overlapping homes and, of course, numerous cave-ins. At times, entire sections are cut off from the rest of the network, causing people to get crushed under the rubble or simply starving to death in their stony crypts. The upper regions are slightly better to live in, with a few, well lit winding tunnels lined up with torches. Others have been raided for supplies though, leaving only empty torch sockets and plunging entire sections in darkness.
It is hard to imagine, but the place is teeming with life despite the harsh conditions. Only the poorest of the poor live down here though, unable to afford to rent a space in the upper commons. It is the place where dwell the destitute, the illiterate, the disabled, the mutated. It is a violent life devoid of reasons to hope. Many residents of the lower commons spend their lives ignorant to the fact a surface even exists. To them, sunlight is only a fascinating attraction of the pit displayed by the temple of Oth. Down there, a home costs nothing besides the muscle it takes you to either carve your own into the rock, or claim someone else’s as your own. Many people are willing to kill for little more than a corner with a flea-infested rug serving as a night-rest. Messing with the wrong guy will quickly get you killed though, as anyone who can, will organize themselves in some sort of armed group and gangs.
The law and rules of Negav aren't worth a skevol in this twisted maze of stone and the rare guards patrolling this area are either in constant fear of being ambushed, or involved in some shady business themselves. Corruption and a distinct lack of mercy turned the lower commons into some sort of underground city jungle, where only the quickest, wittiest and strongest survive. People in the lower commons are either part of a gang, or are fair game, ripe to be robbed by anyone stronger than them or with higher manpower. There is little in-between. Those who refuse to follow that path of violence often have no choice but to seek protection from a local gang and to pay what little they have in exchange. Money is scarce and valuable, and even a single skevol down here is worth a fortune. More often than not, the people from the lower commons use barter as trade, exchanging food, weapons, clothes, various illicit substances and the rare jewelry, both real and fake. Water is filthy and used, many public access-points offering little more than sewer water cleansed from pollution, although it can do little to weaken the disgusting taste. Some people make a living simply by climbing to the surface, to bring fresh water down into the depths and trade it to the locals. A meager blessing for the inhabitants of the lower commons is that, just like in the rest of Felarya, deadly diseases that would thrive in that kind of environment don’t exist
Real jobs are few and far in-between, often controlled by and distributed among the currently most influential gangs. Many inhabitants find themselves with little choice but to move up and try to steal from the upper commons population. Abduction of people for a ransom is a lucrative source of income. It is also the seed for many brutal gang wars, as groups from above might raid the lower commons to get back their hostages. Even those unrelated to those crimes often get caught in the crossfire, as gang members care little about casualties and would usually rather shoot and ask questions later than finding a dagger being struck into their backs by an enemy in disguise.
Not everything is as dark and hopeless as it seems though. Some gangs actually manage to run flourishing and tight-knit communities which, while acting cruelly and ruthlessly towards outsiders, almost function like a family on the inside, forming a bulwark against the outer threats. Some people genuinely try to make the lower commons a better place to live in and sometimes manage to create small islands of calm and happiness in the midst of an ocean of misery. They tend to not last very long though but they shine a faint hope on a population craving for it and sometimes inspire others to try the same. There are rumors that the Negav government is discreetly helping some of them. Indeed the High council of Negav is well aware of the dismal situation of the lower districts, but is reluctant to do much about it. Most of its members have already given up on the lower regions, assuming that the benefits of pacifying the area and keeping it safe would be nowhere worth the enormous costs and loss of soldiers lives they'd have to endure to achieve it. Others simply claim that the people below are technically not even citizens of the city and thus, not their problem. Generally, the Negav authorities tries to stay clear of the lower commons, and there is some sort of tacit agreement with the major gangs here to maintain that status quo as long as they limit their business to that area.
Lord Trebiz, a council member, is the exception though. For some reasons he shows a keen interest in the region, keeping an eye on the major gangs, playing one group against another, or even hire them for shady deals. There are rumors that he managed to gain the trust and goodwill of all of the major gangs, and could have them serve as his private army to overthrow the Negavian government and set himself as the leader. No proof of these outlandish accusation have ever surfaced though, and most people generally find unlikely that one man could gather such a bunch of quarreling ruffians behind him, too busy as they are fighting each others, to even care about Negavian nobility. Less malevolent tongues assume that Lord Trebiz actually is the reason for Negav's relative peace, manipulating the gangs to keep them busy with each other, and thus, keeping the rest of the city as safe as it can get in that regard. Whichever reason it is, Lord Trebiz is currently the only one to really know.
The Lower Market
The Lower Market is located in the uppermost region of the lower commons, near the boundary with the upper commons and close to the connection tunnels leading towards the surface. The Lower Market stands as a sort of shady reflection of the bustling Grand Market District or the Ayutayas Bazaar. Set in a long and vast tunnel lighted by blue and purple magic torches, its edges are crammed with stalls selling all sort of wares. The walls are pierced by a myriad of holes and small pathways leading to many shops and back caves filled with varied -and often illegal- goods. The Lower Market is known as having some of the best prices on Felarya for those who know where to look. The most famous shop is the Selodonna Antique Store. Owned by an elderly neko, this place looks like a junk shop on first glance, housing lots of wares that were discarded or used. However, those who know what they are looking for will find many rare pieces coming from ancient times, some of them imbued with amazing powers. Overall, while the Lower Market may not have the quality of the others merchant districts, it is teeming with opportunities and good bargains and it has a slightly eerie and bizarre charm of its own. Smart shoppers looking for a deal tend to peruse it at regular intervals.
The Meat-Grinder, or "Rage Cage" is a wide and open arena deep underneath the city. Carved into the stone, it loosely resembles an amphitheater, with a circular arena and many stone benches above it to allow people to watch the fights taking place in the pit. Underneath the benches is a collection of corridors and cages, filled with fighters waiting for their turn or even wild animals and, more rarely, predators. Everything is secured with thick, rusty steel bars, even the arena itself is sealed off inside a cage. Due to the Isolon Eye effect being weakened through all the layers of stone, all manners of predators are only slightly affected by it; enough to create a very stressful and unpleasant environment for them but not enough to prevent them for devouring humans and fill their stomachs if they get the chance.
The atmosphere inside the Meat-Grinder is extremely tense and intimidating. Beasts are purposely kept in a state of hunger and aggression, their roars echoing along the grim halls. It's not uncommon to see, amid the ranks of impassible, steeel-faced fighters, men with a lesser resolve crack and sob at the prospect of impending and violent doom. Indeed, many fighters "chosen" for the fights have been captured by slavers, to make a quick buck, others try to pay off a debt by winning occasional tournaments. Unlike the Jaslow Arena of Negav however, what is taking place in the aptly-named Meat-grinder is a real, brutal, merciless blood-sport. It's displayed in all it's morbid glory to the blood-thirsty audience who cherish the principle of "two go in, one comes out". The fights usually don't end until one of the fighters is either dead, or got eaten whole and alive. Aside from the entertainment value, the fights offers gangs and individuals alike the opportunity to settle disputes, or gain respect, in order to prevent others from seeing them as easy prey. A fight in the arena is also a common ritual and joining requirement for some gangs, forcing one to kill and survive to prove their worth to the community.
A New Chance
"A New Chance" is a slave market situated inside a large cavernous system near the southern end of the lower commons. As the name suggests, slaves of all kinds can be bought here for a low price. Despite having every appearances of a shady business, technically it is not, as legal contracts are written and signed with the valid -albeit not necessarily voluntary- signatures of the slaves. Even though, down there, nobody really asks for paperwork, the owner of the market insist on that point. Most slaves are citizen who lost everything and owed someone money, thus being sold to pay off the last debts they have. Others have been abducted or were made prisoners during a raid. Those usually score a much lower price as they have yet to be subdued. On rare occasions, someone may offer themselves for sale, seeking the protection of both the market and their future owner because their life is on the line after messing with the wrong people.
The Tiny Goodies
Right next to the slave market, is a smaller bazaar called the Tiny Goodies. As the name suggests, it is an illegal market selling tinies. It is run by the bloodhand claws a large, well known and feared neko mafia. Neeras, Tomthumbs and other tinies can be found and acquired for a relatively cheap price, discreetly, and without any paperwork or contract. Unlike the official slave business, the trading of tinies in Negav is nothing you can brush off as being legal in some way or another, as everybody know sold tinies have a good chance to end up as food for nekos or others. Local city guards turn a blind eye to this trade though, for fear of reprisal by the mafia or even for fear of ending up inside. Indeed there are persistent rumors that the market has connections to some fairies living deep underground and that some tinies inside the jars are actually people who got in the way of the organization. Even more chilling, some people are absolutely certain that some of the recently added tinies look exactly like slaves from the adjacent "A New Chance" who didn't manage to gain any buyers interest...
The Pit is a very deep chasm underneath Negav. It is easily a few hundred feet deep, with houses being built and carved along its walls. It is generally accepted to be the area where the poorest of the poor live and is often nicknamed the "Skyless city". The Pit is located very close to the center of the underground city and thus serves as a connection point between several sectors of the lower commons. It leads towards both the mines below and deeper underground regions as well, causing the pit to be a highly contested point for all groups and organizations that strive for power. It is said that whoever control the pit, control the lower commons and everything underneath. The lowest parts of the pit are so deep that they are out of reach of theIsolon Eye's effects, causing rumors of human-sized predators such as pale subterranean nagas to have set up their lairs there, and even tales of much more dangerous creatures lurking at its bottom.
The pit is not entirely a place of despair and violence though. In its center, on a huge platform stand a large shrine to Oth, the Sun God. It's a white building with a series of large golden mirrors adorning it. In an act of charity, the temple radiates daylight collected during the day through an ingenious and long system of shafts and mirrors, in an attempt to light up the pit. The priests give donations of food and blankets to the needy, usually along with free scriptures of Oth in an attempt to pacify what their religion sees as a bastion of darkness. Thus, the temple serves as a literal beacon of light in the dark. Those who have little else to loose other than their sanity cling to that light and the shrine gained many followers over the years. While many come for the goods, just to trade them around the very next corner, the uplifting effect on the population is undeniable and made the influence of the Cult of Oth without equal this deep underground.
The pit is constantly dug deeper to make more room, as many people want to settle in this crossroad location, thinking that the presence of the shrine grants them protection. On multiple occasions the Negavian government has tried to stop development of the pit, worried that the expansion of the cavern could destabilize the buildings above it even further. Others worry that something very dangerous sleeping in the subterranean darkness might be freed if the Pit goes too far deep. Already, the area has the highest rate of unsolved disappearances in the city. Most assume this is just regular murders or people leaving without telling anyone. Others claim that something nasty and hungry has already been awakened and when the temple of Oth turns off the light, it comes out, creeping to feed on those who won't be missed.
New Chargate Prison
New Chargate is the main prison of the city. Besides smaller holding prisons operated by various governmental groups, most prisoners will end up here, below Felarya. The prison is known as "New" Chargate as the original prison was taken down. This was simply due to the fact that, as Negav expanded, there was less room for buildings, and people thought it ridiculous that the valuable above-ground property be spent on something as unpleasant as a prison. Thus the prison was demolished and relocated underground . To prevent it from taking up too much space underground and becoming too close to other areas, the prison was built vertically - many estimate that the deepest point in the Negav underground is the lowest areas of New Chargate, and thus, on the same layer as Rock Bottom. The prison is essentially a giant open shaft that stretches down into the darkness. The sides are lined with the cells and walkways for the guards and wardens. It is a dark, damp and dismal place. Typically, the only people ending here are criminal that are too dangerous to be left in liberty as blinded ones, and too important to be simply expelled from the city. The lower the level of the prisoner, the more dangerous they are. The very lowest levels also have powerful magical wards on them - this is where rogue and criminal mages are kept. Rumors tell of fallen Magiocrats being held there. Perhaps due to the inmates, or pure magical residue, this lowest area is assumed by all the guards to be haunted. In fact, there is the occasional strange disappearance down here. But whatever the cause, the magical wards keep whatever it is securely below.
The Takrit Mines
The Takrit Mines are located deep underground, several hundred feet below the surface. It's a forbidden area, sealed of by the authorities for reasons unknown. Despite the entrance being hermetically closed though, it's not a secret there are several hidden ways around to get in for those foolish enough to try. The derelict mines are nothing but a vast maze spanning over a very wide area. While its tunnels are larger and more straight than in the lower commons, the almost non-existent lighting and the absence of official maps of the mines make navigation almost impossible.
The tunnels of the mines are, for the most part, empty, surrounded on all sides by Takrit stone, the leftover of the large excavations from way back when Negav was still in construction. Metal ores have been dug out and removed, creating bizarre structures that break up the regular, monotonous network of tunnels. Some parts of the mines have been flooded, forming underground lakes and rivers. They are filed by a strange Eco-system, formed by creatures that somehow managed to get all the way down here from Motamo river or the sewers. Some shafts are leading to extremely long and uncharted cave systems, forming mazes of their own. At such depths, the Isolon Eye's influence is very faint and many predatory creatures lurk and hunt in the darkness, making the area very dangerous to explore. The main danger in this place are the gigantic worms that colonized parts of the mine. they dig through the grounds or slither slowly in the dark tunnels. Their eyeless bodies react to vibration and sound alone, mindlessly swallowing any creature they encounter whole, to process them completely along with dirt and rocks within their efficient digestive system. Some of the deeper sections of the mines have become a nest for these creature.
Even in such a hellhole of darkness and emptiness, there are still humans living down here. Most stay close to the rare sources of light one can find here, from magical torches to patches of luminescent mold growing on the walls. They built themselves makeshift homes that are little more than small shafts closed by wooden or cloth walls and doors. It's a miserable and maddening life of isolation and deprivation, that could turn anyone insane. Water or food can't be found naturally down here without taking huge risks. Getting down to the flooded caves is incredibly dangerous with all the creatures roaming around and survival become a day by day question. Moreover even in such a dismal place , some humans manage to adapt or... evolve. Indeed, deep in the most remote tunnels, live creatures barely identifiable as humans anymore. They lost their eyesight over the centuries, but gained acute senses and reflexes sharps as a razorblade. They are cannibals, preying and feasting on anything they can take down.
The Takrit mines is a perilous place most of those who enter are never heard of again. Most will die, either simply starving or getting swallowed by worms or others creatures, or they could fall prey to others survivors or mutating humans. Murder and cannibalism are a common occurrence for those who struggle to just keep on going, mumbling to themselves in madness, still believing they will someday find a way back to the surface, or believing they have to protect what's theirs against any intruder. Screams of lunacy and pain echo through the tunnels, attracting those who share their fate of being lost deep within Felaryas soil, an invitation to the deadly dance of the forgotten, a chance to feast and survive another day.
Rock bottom is the name of the deepest region of Negav's underground. Very little is known about this place, besides the fact that, shortly after the cave system was dug out, the entrance got sealed off. The following days, the mine got struck by a whole chain of disasters, leading to the disappearance of entire groups of miners. After having lost about a third of their workers, and having most other miners quit their job in fear of suffering the same fate, all mining activities were suspended and the Takrit mine were closed down altogether shortly after. It is rumored that powerful magic barriers have been erected since that time and are being maintained even today. Likewise a battalion of golems and others magical constructs have been dispatched to guard the entrance, preventing anyone or anything to venture down into Rock Bottom - or from coming up. When the mine got closed, Negavian officials were publicly asked about the happenings inside the Takrit mines, but they were unable -or unwilling- to give any comments on that matter, enabling the wildest theories to pop out and thrive.
- credits to Jaette-troll for the Pit, New Chargate Prison, and Lower market idea and to Amaroq for his revision and rewriting of the entire article.