The Enclave > Known Roads > Port > People and Places > Dockside Market

The Lost Merchant

Each sunrise, Abey'aben sets up his stall in the dockside market, just as he has for many seasons. He sates himself on raw glowfish bought from returning fisherfolk - delicately, with sharp teeth and fingers jointed in too many places - before waiting for trade as the market fills. Throughout the day, the strange, dark-skinned merchant compulsively rearranges his wares: knives, oddities from the Farthest, carved driftwood, dried plants and fruit.

Abey'aben is friendly enough for one of the Lost. He has mastered neither the Ammander tongue nor the customs of Port, but can make himself understood and seems content with his lot in life. The dockside thugs leave Abey'aben alone and he is popular with his customers, his odd mannerisms almost charming in a way. Stranger creatures are certainly seen from time to time in the streets of Port - Abey'aben in his patchwork robe could almost be mistaken for a Vanished Islander in the right light.

At dusk, Abey'aben packs his wares to return to a dwelling in one of the Landsmen villages outside the city. In the eyes of of most cityfolk, the trader may as well have vanished back into the Farthest Market for the night.

[ Posted by Reason on February 11, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Eel

A suspicious, scrawny old man of mixed blood tends a shaded stall of curios and strange fish in the Dockside Market. He calls himself The Eel in the fashion of Ammander sages and spends each day in frantic scribbling of islemarks and illegible text on parchment. The Eel hides his work, frowning and grumbling, whenever anyone comes near, deeply resentful while dockfolk peruse his wares or fishers try to sell him an unusual catch from the Unending Sea.

The Eel is the object of many a cruel story and jest; he is not well liked by his fellow traders and has little to do with them in any case.

[ Posted by Reason on March 6, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Coin and Folk of All Stripes

Each new day sees the cobbles of the dockside market packed by stalls, traders and common folk. Summer rain and winter snow may thin the numbers, but the market carries on regardless. The paved corner bounded by sea and river is reserved by tradition for sellers of eel, glowfish, crawcrab and seaweed; these worthies ply their trade in the early morning under the gaze of the Fisher in Darkness atop his pedestal.

In past generations, public drownings were held on the stone jetty beside the river corner. Now the worst criminals are merely thrown into the Prison Hulks to rot. The old heavy iron drowning cages, rusted to uselessness, still stand atop the far end of the jetty - a reminder for the throngs crossing the Fisher's Bridge from the Temple Plaza to the market.

Common goods and curios of all varieties are laid carefully on cloth and tables by lesser merchants, fisherfolk and representatives of wealthier traders elsewhere in the market. Rare or costly items - books, weapons and armor, glass or jewelry - can be found in the shops and craftrooms that face the market cobbles. Amidst the crowds of commonfolk and noble retainers, Visitors from the Farthest Market are not uncommon. Strange folk with strange manners peer at arrayed offerings, talking to one another in unknown languages. Visitors sometimes bring their own goods to sell or trade, an event that brings merchants from across the city in search of rarities or wizardry.

As the fisherfolk pack and leave in the middle of the day, their catch sold, troubadors and their followers claim the slippery flagstones of the river corner. Performances of all sorts are staged here; traditional Ammander plays, disrespectful songs, mock battles, juggling and much more. It is the rare day that no entertainer is working for coin in the dockside market.

The passing of morning brings thieves and thugs from the dockside as well as troubadors, a fact well known to militia and Seafarers' Guildsmen assigned to the market on any given day - although patrols are not always effective, especially if bribes have been placed. Traders and shopkeepers have learned to look after their own, hire assistants or spearmen, and keep careful watch on their goods.

Hard-faced Taxmen also lurk in the market, a far greater threat to thieves than any number of militia, always ready to pounce on large transactions to claim taxes on the spot.

As day passes into evening, stalls are shut up or pulled down and packaged away. The shops close up and are boarded or barred. Bored militia spearmen and Seafarers' Guildsmen watch the traders and their customers depart for the evening. Later, shopkeepers throw seawater over the cobbles and flagstones of the river corner to wash away the filth of the day.

[ Posted by Reason on March 14, 2005 | Permanent Link ]