Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Trenches of Silverbrook

The trenches of Silverbrook were a mass of activity before the sun even peaked its first rays above the hilltops to the east.   Named for the access to the sewers, the trenches were an area below ground level, although they were open to the air above.   This wide cut around the base of Silverbrook had a trench running through the center of it where bridges crossed back and forth.  The trench held stagnant water, sewage and was flushed by the city’s runoff whenever it rained hard.  And additional main sewage tunnel opened from behind the trenches for the upper levels and fell away into the sea where a small silver stream from the top cascaded down to the sea.  It was this small stream that the city was named after due to the crystals beneath it that made the water shimmer.
Caves had been cut into the hard rock so that shops and houses were underground with only their tented fronts visible from the first tier of the city.  It was a den of destitution, criminal activity and survival.  It housed all those of Silverbrook who had not been able to coax forth a spark of any magic.  It held outlanders who came to trade or were running from their own authority.  It held Daezun outcasts and half breeds.  It did not house kindness, mercy or honesty.  The trenches were a place one did not walk alone and one that was necessary.  Here the pulse of the city’s luxuries began.  Blacksmiths, silversmiths and jewelers sold their wares to upper level merchants and craftsmen. Many women worked in the upper levels as servants but still spent their nights in the trenches.  Others took in laundry and mending for those who could not be bothered by such things.  Each tier fed the next tier but the trenches fed them all. 
With such destitution came crime and with crime a form of structure.  The trenches were overseen by the Trench Lord.  The Trench Lord was not voted upon or appointed, he was the strongest and most influential of the criminal element.  His men muscled those trying to live for protections.  He took a cut of all trade coming in without the High Minister’s approval.  The secret market held many treasures from the outlands that were frowned upon or coveted by the high tiers.  One could find herbals that induced euphoria, buy slaves and even an occasional service of violence.   The Trench Lord lived in almost as grand of style as the High Minister, though to look at him, one knew that to cross this man was to earn death.    The Trench Lord had only two mandates from the council.  Keep the sewage tunnels behind the walls of the trench households flowing, and to insure that basic goods were available to the upper tiers for the craftsmen.  Other than these two purposes, the council did not interfere with who was the Trench lord or what business he was involved within.

copyrighted December 2013