With wood worn smooth but hundred of passing feet a plain central stage is surrounded on all sides by regal pubs and glittering restaurants. Here in the centre of the Muses quarter is it’s anchor, the Buskers Theater. Converted from an old crossroads it hosts performances from the cities greatest artists. The pubs are lavish multi-storied affairs, each have open balconies for those that visit, the restaurants have large windows and seats set up to watch the shows. If you’ve heard nothing more of Caspi you will know of this place from stories and song. As part of an old tradition of giving to fingers to the oppressive artist’s guild, all forms of performers who wish to avoid the guilds grasp must by law regularly busk. Putting on free shows on the street. While the Buskers Theater stretches the intent of that law, no one has to pay to watch. The streets all around are often clogged by those who cannot afford the expensive drinks and food of Circle, the name given to the surrounding establishments.

Stretching out across six irregularly placed arms are long streets that are filled with show houses, music halls, theatres and illusion rooms. From above they glitter and glow like the walls have been blasted with gold and silver. These establishments are not free to enter but offer all sorts of entertainment at prices that range from a penny ahead to peasants yearly wage. These areas draw in the rich of Caspi and even the arrogant kings of Rasht. All who appreciate the great focusing of art, drink and food. Not to mention that only a few streets removed are the cities finest fleshpots and drug dens.

The Terrace of Muses exists in conflict between its two sides, founded on rebellion against the doctrine of guilds and religion it has grown fat on the wealth of those who wish to indulge. The whore houses, opium dens, moko shops and mind benders didn’t leave so much as move to the edges. Buildings in gaudy colours, draped in ragged silk and with perverse signs glowing on the sides sit separated by only a few dozen yards from the polished centre. This has given to rise to problems for those who wander from one side to the other. The key dealers of these problems are the Sobs and Tramps. The Sobs gain their name from their sober nature, abstaining of all the fun the terrace has to offer. Dressed in poorly fitting black clothes which seem to lack even the noble style of functionality they stand so clearly apart from the joys of the crowds to be beacons of moderation. These squads of unwanted moral police patrol the edges of ‘decent’ parts of the terrace watching for those who might stray, and pointing them back to the marginally more acceptable centre. Generally, five or more sturdy men and women work together, always accompanied by twisted old women, nicknamed Corbies, they watch remembering faces and taking names where possible, waiting to let families and friends know what sins are commited. A far worse punishment than any cudgel blow.

These groups are opposed by the Tramps. A collection of locals who recognized that to gain the patronage of visiting customers, known as wallets, someone had to make sure that they didn’t all end up getting shivved. The only police force tolerated in the area this group is generally out of work ‘performers’ or heavies that are paid through their vices. Dressed in garish and often revealing clothing they work to distract, frustrate and on occasion assault the Sobs. They also hunt down those people who don’t follow the three rules of conduct. It’s a simple creed. Don’t be an arsehole. Don’t spook the wallets. Don’t hurt your neighbours. While the system is anarchy it has achieved a great deal of security in the area. The only wallets who get kicked down the street tend to have failed to follow rule one. Outside of the constant flow of patrons, the terrace is both metaphorically and literally a step up from the Stacked Terrace. Looking down on the cramped streets below those who’ve made it out are keen to not return. Its streets are wider and the buildings sometimes have gaps between them. The edges of the terrace hold all forms of traders and small industries, allowing visitors to shop before their entertainment. While not as pleasant as the River Terrace, it still offers to finer things and fuels the more noble and pleasant home in the northside of the Terrace. 

The Terrace of Muses is a place of much wonder and pleasure. However, it does not hesitate to rip apart those who push it to far or seek to impinge on it’s power. Hidden behind gaudy facades are powerful people fuelled by money and piped into networks of great renown. It’s an unwise man who tries to bring unwanted change to the terrace.

 

 

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