|The Back Alley|
|Geographical Features:||Crime, Drugs, Gambling|
Located in the eastern section of Drache, beyond the Iron Gate which separates the BlkDragon District from the Wharf District, the Back Alley is one of Drache's most notorious and infamous sections. A home to cat burglars, cut purses, muggers, street rats, and crackpots, the Alley is probably the most dangerous zone in the entire city. The twisting alleyways, dead-end streets, and run down buildings make the Back Alley a perfect place for its rabble of inhabitants to continue doing their deeds within the city.
Most Notable Features
An ever-changing and spontaneous environment, the Alley has evolved into a living mockery of the city of Drache; its people scorn normalcy and have their own views of honor and morality. They abide by them and will rob blind any fool with other ideas who walks into their domain. From its people to the run down buildings, to the mockery of the Merchants' Square that contains a row of fences who pawn stolen goods, the Alley is a corrupted city within a city. It even sports its own inn, named the Cutpurse, and not a night goes by where some poor fool is not relieved of not only all he owns, but his life to boot.
Though chaotic by nature, the Back Alley has some semblance of structure and organization. Any soul within it would speak of the mysterious 'owner' of the Alley, called 'No Man.' Whether or not he truly exists is unknown to any guardsman, noble, or even to half of the population of the Alley itself. This shadowy figure may only be a myth, or a ghost, or perhaps a wry concoction by the inhabitants of the Alley, a further act of defiance towards nobility, created by those who scorn rank and authority.
Legend or spirit, the power of his name is apparent, and it is more than able to strike a nerve within any subject of the Back Alley. From the very beginnings of its existence, the Back Alley has had its own law, segregated from the laws of Drache, and based upon the skewed morals shared by its inhabitants.
The Rules of Five are the core of the loose trust that exists between the inhabitants of the Back Alley. They are said to have been forged by No Man as a way to ensure that the Back Alley did not explode into all-out anarchy and thus bring down the wrath of mercenaries, Civic Guard, or any other law enforcement. One rule is no more important than any of the others; as far as the alley-folk are concerned, they simply have been, are, and will be:
- The Back Alley is No Man's;
- Don't steal from other Alley Folk;
- Always pay your debts;
- Don't rat out your sources; and
- Everything has its worth.
Due to the none-too-suprising low level of literacy in the Alley, the folk there have created rhymes and symbolic languages both to aid them in getting around and to keep their own verbal history. The origins of the Back Alley, No Man's ownership, and the Rules of Five together comprise one of the most well-known of these history verses:
From flames of change, the Back Alley forms,
No man's hands shape order amongst storms;
All weary wharf rats, they fled from the docks,
And took to the Alley, to become no man's flock.
Come to the Alley, all ye low in spirit,
For all have some worth, a value to merit;
But stride no man's path, obey the set plans,
For no man is the Alley, the Alley is no man's.
To each man his own, an eye for an eye,
All things shall have value, to sell and to buy;
Be it stones, food, or rumor, all can be sold,
For money or favors, save when barred by safehold.
Be you shadow or pocket, the Alley takes thieves,
But you be on your own, 'gainst law's many sieves.
Should you fall to the vices of another man's law,
Speak not of your sources, forget what you saw.
Take what you need, use whatever you obtain,
But once in the Alley, wandering hands you restrain;
For Alley folk are as one, joined under no man's cue,
So don't steal from hands that may one day feed you.
The Alley is wild, that everyone knows,
But honor exists, among thieves, cheats, and rogues;
A debt is a debt, binding far worse than fetters,
Lose life, limb, or income, you shall repay your debtors.
This be the Alley, it be no man's prize,
A place to live, for all those despised;
Obey the good chant, and follow the true path,
Else find a quick road right to no man's harsh wrath!
There are many more such verses, told with various words by various people in the Back Alley. The Rules of Five are the most important however, since they alone govern the behavior of people who live in this menacing section of Drache.