Way of the Wicked
The Fifteen Quarters of Ghastenhall
I. Lord’s Quarter
Lord’s Quarter is a small city unto itself and the nobles, upper class and wealthy population who dwell here need never leave if they so choose. It is the only part of town that is walled and it has but a single gate — The Duke’s Gate (often simply the Gate since its the only gatehouse most city dwellers every encounter). Beyond the gate is King’s Hook Row which leads straight to the Castle Ghasten where the Duke lives and garrisons his personal guard. Technically the Duke’s Gate is supposed to be open to all citizens but in reality the guards there often turn back the obviously poor or vagrant.
The Lord’s Quarter has grown organically over the years and there is absolutely no order to its arrangement. Manor houses are right next to merchants and often a long row of businesses will have a few homes scattered amongst it. In fact, the larger, richer estates are ringed with luxury shops.
In every other part of the city, Lord’s Quarter is simply called “The Lorker” (sometimes spelled Lorquar). “He’s gone Lorkers” is a local saying that means “he struck it rich, probably through some dishonest means.”
The single largest portion of the city, this crescent-shaped quarter surrounds the Lord’s Quarter from the Cambrian Bay to Faithful Way. This is where the artisans work. In many ways when people speak broadly of Ghastenhall, they are actually talking about Whitequarter.
Whitequarter is the most representative part of the city and almost half the population lives in this one quarter.
III. Priest’s Quarter
Somewhat misnamed, actually only a small percentage of this quarter is occupied by priests. However it is the location of the single largest church in Ghastenhall – the Cathedral of Mitra the Fire Undying (often simply called ‘the Cathy’ by less reverent locals) and is the seat of the Cardinal of Ghastenhall.
A better description of the Priest’s Quarter would be the Scholar’s Quarter as this one area houses almost all of Talingarde’s centers of higher learning. Besides a handful of academies in Matharyn and the Daveryn Conservatory, if you are going to university in Talingarde, you are going here. The Universities of Ghaster, Heldynhall, Tynebrucks, Fairchester, Canterly and True Ghaster all crowd this quarter. The Library of Ghaster serves them all and collects books from across the world.
The Universities of Ghastr and True Ghaster are famous rivals and compete in everything from track, rowing contests on the Wellspring River, and in acquiring the best researchers. Their names arose because two centuries ago when they were founded, the Barcan king ordered the building of Ghaster University without notifying the duke. The duke, incensed at being cut out of the loop, commissioned his own university calling it True Ghaster. The two universities have been rivals ever since.
The priests and scholars who rub elbows also famously dislike each other. The priests wear blue robes and the scholar wear black so when there is a disagreement there is a famous saying “blue beats lack.” In other words, the Church remains more politically powerful than scholars.
Saltsquarter is where the fisherman who cast their nets into the salt water of the Cambrian bay dock their boats. They have a stern rivalry with the freshwater fisherman of Scarpers.
This is also where ocean-going vessels dock and is the busiest port in Talingarde. As a result, you can encounter peoples from all across the world here. It is not uncommon to see lizardfolk, minotaurs, ogres and even stranger creatures in this quarter. They are tolerated as long as they keep the peace but also seen with suspicion.
Goldquarter is the banking and financial quarter of Ghastenhall. It is also home to a vast network of speculators in jewels and precious metals making it one of the finest places in all of Talingarde to sell treasure. Even better, the merchants of Goldquarter are as a rule completely unconcerned with where the precious metals they broker came from. These merchants will happily hawk a holy symbol or a church treasure.
Greedily Lane runs right through the middle of Goldquarter. Local legend has it that the road got this name after a bank tried to overcharge the then Duke for a loan. Regardless, virtually no one actually lives in Goldquarter. It almost entirely consists of businesses and trading houses. In many ways, the Goldquarter is wildly ahead of its time. This is a place where modern attitudes about money and wealth are common place and greed rules all.
Kingspeace has a reputation for being the most boring place in the city. This small quarter, largely populated by traders, artisans and farmers deserves that reputation.
This is Ghastenhall’s industrial heart. The sound of smithing and manufacturing never ceases here. This also means that Wrightsbridge is famous for something else — its legendary terrible smell. “He smells Wrighty” is another way of saying “he smells indescribably awful.”
Local lore states that Tuebelow got its name from a magistrate who pronounced of the quarter “For every one that goes to heaven, two below.” The name stuck and a duchy mapmaker couldn’t spell. Hence Tuebelow.
This is rather unfair. Tuebelow is not a bad part of the city. Instead this young quarter is the heart of Ghastenhall’s newly emergent middle class. Wide and spread out compared to most of the city, this is a comfortable place to live.
Once Weatherby was a small farming community on the city’s outskirts. Now it has been thoroughly absorbed into the city itself. Still at its heart, this remains a quiet farming community. The townspeople of Weatherby take pride in being rural even though their quarter is completely surrounded by city. The worse thing they can say about a local is that “he’s gone Ghastly” – Ghastly being their pet name for Ghastenhall.
Still, Ghastenhall is eating Weatherby whether the old guard like it or not. Virtually the entire western part of Weatherby has been bought up by artists and theater owners. With the building of the new Barrington-in-the-Round Theater near the quarter’s edge, it seems certain that Weatherby’s days as a farming community are numbered. This dire state of affairs is discussed endlessly by old Weatherbians on their porches.
Scarpers takes its name from the old city slang for those who fish the Godscar River. ‘Scarpers’ and ‘Salties’ (those who fish the salt water Cambrian Bay) have long had a serious rivalry. Usually, this rivalry manifests only as quiet grumbling. But every once in a while, there is some isolated incident of violence.
Locals know that, despite the terrible smell near the river, that the absolute best places to eat in Ghastenhall (other than perhaps the rich and unafforable dining halls in the Lord’s Quarter) are the restaurants along Sothsby Way. Fresh river fish from Scarpers and farmer’s produce from Weatherby combine to create culinary delights.
XI. The Red Quarter
The Red Quarter is the bad part of town. Hardly a week goes by that the duke does not have the Cardinal urging him to raid this place and shut down its pits of depravity. And each week the duke promises that yes it will be done as soon as there are resources to do so. But that day never seems to come. Why? Why is such a pit tolerated?
The Red Quarter is Ghastenhall’s dirty secret. There is no reason that foreign ships shouldn’t stop at Matharyn instead of proceeding up the Cambrian Bay to do their business at Ghastenhall. But the truth is that most give Talingarde’s capitol a pass. Why?
After the great danger of crossing the open sea, where would rather take your liberty? Would you stop at the very religious and orthodox port of Matharyn or would you rather continue up the bay to Ghastenhall with its Red Quarter full of bars, brothels and betting parlors? The answer to that question for most sailors is obvious. And so the duke discovers once again that he has better things to do, the Church fumes and the city coffers swell.
Downerly used to be a farming community but when the port trade got too busy in Saltsquarter, traders came through and bought nearly the whole quarter. Now Downerly is almost nothing but warehouses. The Old Lighthouse is just inside this quarter and still operates helping ships to navigate the Cambrian Bay into Ghastenhall’s thriving ports.
Once this quarter was known by the rather bland name of Farmington. But no one calls it that anymore. Instead, with most of the farmers gone, this rough badland of farmed-out fields between Wrightsway and the three hills is universally called Wrongside. If you can’t afford to live anywhere else in Ghastenhall, you can afford to live here.
The exact borders of the farming towns of Barleybell and Turnsborough are uncertain. They are both claimed by two rural barons. Anything north of Ghastenhall that has farmland on it is either Barleybell if its to the west or Turnsborough if its more easterly. Exactly where the dividing line lies is uncertain. Regardless these two farming
communities are Ghastenhall’s bread basket.