Friday, August 7, 2015

City of Curses: The Blood Quarter, In-Depth (Fate Core)

A post of #Crux.  City of Curses, here is the Blood Quarter in depth.  Home of the vampyres, it has long been the dark hole they hide in.  The Clans rule here, like kings and queens of their own caverns.  

It became theirs during the Bloodfire Age, and ever since has been a part of the City of Curses.  Where lycanthropes earned the Prince's ire, the vampyres became loyal, for a price the city still pays for.  

Aspect: Home of Old Blood and Old Money
Connected To: Havershill (Above), Old Crux (Above), Sleeping Straits (Above), The Catacombs (To the West), Gruudl (To the South), Tinkertown (to the East)
Most Significant Icon: The Blood Barons
Well Known For? Vampyres, Undercity Access, Black Markets
Notable Sites and Locales: The Hall of Butterflies, The Blood Market, The Visconti Arcade, Bloodfire Tower, The Empty Throne Pub, Inculti's Obelisk

It is hard to see in the Blood Quarter, but one first smells it.  Copper tinges the air, the taste of blood.  In the dark, that smell is the first sign one has walked into a different place.

The caverns of the Blood Quarter stretch underneath the Sleeping Straits.  They are a long line of caves, tunnels and vast chambers, long ago created by lava and magic.  The darkness, too, permeates the Blood Quarter as well as the smell.  The dark shadows blanket everything.  There are torches here and there, but they are far apart.  

The stairs and corners make the living trip.  Vampyres lurk all over down here.  Even magic, wards blanket the Blood Quarter, snuffing lights or dimming them.  They've made it into a dark bolt hole, a place they dominate, protected.

But even in the Blood Quarter, one can find sites to see.  One can find places that overlook the caverns.  The blood red granite of Inculti's Obelisk can be seen gleaming in the dark.  The glowing white of the Hall of Butterflies.  The gothic, complex grotesques of the Bloodfire Tower.  The many candles of the unsorcerous of the Blood Quarter, long since charmed and enchanted to serve the clans down here.

Sometimes, in the darkest shadows, the Blood Quarter looks like gazing at the night sky.

History


The Blood Quarter hasn't always belonged to the Vampyres.  Before the Bloodfire Age, it belonged to the Forgotten.  The Forgotten were the misshapened and deformed of Crux.  Descendants of Ursyklon, Human, Tiefling and more, the Tomasi Empire had long persecuted and tortured them.  The Forgotten had escaped into the vast large caverns of the Blood Quarter, using trapdoors and secret coves to transverse to the surface as they needed to.

For centuries they existed in the Blood Quarter, worshipping their own version of the Summer Rose.  The Age of Bloodfire drove them out.

The Bloodfire Age saw the Darkness return to Orphos.  With the Tomasi Empire fallen, cities throughout the Maru Sea fell to the control of Dragons, Lycanthropes and Vampyres.  Where Ainesia dealt with the rise of Dragon Lords, Lycanthropes and Vampyres worked together throughout what later would be Ith to form their own petty kingdoms and princedoms.  Four Vampyre clans sought to take control of Crux from its Prince.

The elders of the Clan worked with lycanthropic warlords to beseiged Crux.  Infecting Crux's own City Watch with Lycanthropy, Vampyres used blood magic to break past Harun's Gate.  The Prince repelled them, decreeing all Lycanthropes that day forward to always die within his city.  The Prince caged them in silver, so that his enemies would forever remember, no lycanthrope would be allowed to do such to Crux ever again.

Baroness Inculti proved herself to be a traitor within the midst of the Vampyres.  Although she'd helped bring their four clans into alliance, Inculti led the Vampyric host into the Blood Quarter.  They took Forgotten, using them as part of a plot to enter Crux secretly from underneath.  That plan never materialized when Baroness Inculti incinerated the Elders of the Four Clans at the Burning Banquet.  She slew herself, her fire taking away the most aged, most powerful of the vampyre clans in one blow.  Her scion would kneel to the Prince.

For their new loyalty against the Lycanthrope Warlords south of Crux, the Prince granted them the Blood Quarter.  They became Barons, swearing fealty to the Prince.  They fought for Crux.

Even centuries later, this loyalty has kept the Blood Quarter unmolested by the Prince or his City Watch.  Although it also might because of their corrupt nature, no force has even succeeded at trying to drive the Vampyres out.  Not even the Inculti could manage to unroot them once they sunk into the Blood Quarter.  Even the Forgotten driven out by the Vampyres couldn't win back their old home.

The Blood Quarter became a center for the wealthy in Crux.  The Patrizo turned the Blood Quarter into a trade post for their piracy, creating black markets.  The Visconti created banks and used Patrizo stolen gold to help grow Crux into the dominant free port of the Maru Sea.  The Medama pursued their studies, learning knowledge that allowed them to lay down the many wards and defenses that secures the Blood Quarter against outsiders.

It has endured as such ever since.  When the Walridr vampyre clan arrived from Ainesia, they joined the other four clans to form a five-pointed star within the Blood Quarter.  Othebea's Crusades failed to drive them out.  The Ithic Revolution failed to drive out the Vampyres- instead, the Sorcerous Republic gave them rights as Citizens.  If anything, Vampyres look at a future filled with possiblities, chances for alchemy, science and magic to provide them with means to bypass their own curses for chances at true immortality.


The Tomasi, Rosac, Jarn and other humans within the Blood Quarter rarely, if ever have seen the sun.  They outnumber the vampyres and even their dhampyr children.  For every vampyre, there are over two dozen unsorcerous that live in the Blood Quarter.  

Pale-skinned, these unsorcerous each are bloodslaves to their respective Vampyre Clans.  Even the Inculti maintain thralls of this kind, even though theirs are granted free rein and protection as if they were full citizens.  There are so many, so many bound by the blood magic of the vampyres.

This blood magic binds their loyalty.  Some have been addicted to it for generations.  These generations-long bloodthralls often are treated more like animals, branded and collared.  Most think nothing of the surface.  Even those, such as the Publisher, find it hard to bend them, to make them embrace the fervor of the Revolution.  But there are a few strong souls among the unsorcerous of the Blood Quarter, working in little ways to do something.


Locales
The Hall of Butterflies: Once an marble temple to the Summer Rose, the Walridr clan took control of the structure when they moved to Crux during the Revolution in Ainesia.  They converted it into a place of amusements, where their dream magicks could create whatever they wanted.  Many establishments are housed within the Hall, each controlled by a particular Walridr Vampyre and their particular tastes.  It is one of the most vibrant, visible sites to see in the shadows of the Blood Quarter.  Even those from the surface come down to partake in the amusements.  The Walridrs always invite visitors to the Hall.  Sometimes they even add them permanently to their entertainments.

Incult's Obelisk: At the site of the Burning Banquet, Baron Inculti erected a monument.  The blood-red massive stone obelisk towers over most of the Blood Quarter, a gleaming red slash that can always be seen in the distance.  Crafted with raw fire magic, most Inculti feel drawn to the obelisk.  Glyphs cover it, each the name of a Inculti Vampyre remembered for the price they paid to better the world.  It also marks the center of the Inculti part of the Blood Quarter, their own turf.

Bloodfire Tower: Headquarters of the Blood Barons, the Bloodfire Tower is a gothic edifice that stretches from the cavern floor clear to its ceiling.  Carvings, statues and grotesques of the five vampyre clans cover it.  Traditionally the home of Baron Inculti, it also is where the five Blood Barons meet to discuss matters.  Here they conduct bludtrials, negotiate deals with other icons and perform ceremonies the clans observe from time to time.  The symbolic heart of their power in the Blood Quarter.

The Vampyre Clans
Each Vampyre clan controls their own part of the Blood Quarter.  These are their Baronies, their part of the City of Curses.  In accordance, tradition has granted them the right to enforce laws as they see fit.  For the authorities of Ith, this has been a remaining problem, a logistical nightmare to sort out.  For the Prince, it means each Clan has their own City Watch, their own precincts loyal to them alone.

The archaic nature of the Blood Quarter means that centuries old laws and decrees remain enforced.  Inertia prevents any meaningful change.  And the City Watch that clans command are servants to their blood magic.  This blood magic binds them.

Worse, monster hunters and would-be vampyre slayers are as often enslaved.  Most don't survive entering the Blood Quarter.  Magic keeps them at bay.  Blood reprograms their minds, making them unable to even attempt slaying their targets.  The clans do hire and send agents against one another, though.  Sometimes a slayer who manages to kill a vampyre, has been hired and helped by a another vampyre.  Such manipulations are expected, all part of the bloody duels vampyres enact against one another.