Friday, May 17, 2013

N is for Neighborhoods of Porto Liure

Like most cities of sufficient size, Porto Liure is frequently broken up into informal chunks for easy reference.  The Watch has formalized these to some extent; each of these neighborhoods has a Watch barracks, and most Watchmen have a regular patrol that is limited to just one neighborhood.  These are the districts of Porto Liure.
  • Academy: Named for the Academy which takes up most of this area; a rather staid (for Porto Liure) university district, which strives to be taken as seriously as the Universitat in Razina, or the Grand Academie in Terrasa, but which has a long way to go still in terms of gaining prestige, longevity and funding.  Still, the Academy at Porto Liure is a popular one for wealthier students around the Mezzovian area who are more interested in the experience than necessarily their education--it's widely seen as a "party school" compared to its competitors.  Young sons of minor nobles and merchants make up the majority of the student body.  In addition to the halls of the Academy itself, this district has the dormitories of the students, staff and faculty, and a number of small shops that cater to the students, staff and faculty, and other hangers-on.
  • Castello: Named for the large "castles" that fill the district, this is a wealthy one, where the summer homes of nobility from around the area, as well as the local nobility and wealthier merchants, are found.  With private docks, opera houses, and high class accomodations and services, this is a fairly quiet and peaceful neighborhood, and the Watch's relationship with various private security forces is sometimes somewhat tense.
  • Cherskii Quarter: More broadly a middle class neighborhood, but Rue des Hamazins, which is renowned for its hamazi restaurants and small ethnic neighborhood is responsible for the name of the entire district.  Infamous as a hold-out of the Cherskii Mafia--the Watch here is suspected of being thoroughly corrupt.
  • Ciutat Veixa: Jacobo Bernat's original keep, and a great deal of the old money and old power of Porto Liure make their homes here.  In reality, few people actually "live" here, though--this is a busy quarter during the day, with the running of the business and administration of the city-state's government, but goes very quiet at night.  The Watch presence is strong and implacable, by reputation.
  • Foghorn Park: A lower-class neighborhood far from the waterfront and nestled in the arms of the foothills at the edge of town, many of the people who live here are laborers in the farms outside of town, or hunters in the mountains, or otherwise have occupations that keep them busy away from the commerce of the city.  Overland smugglers are said to thrive here, and people walk relatively carefully due to suspicion of gang activity.  Much of the changeling population of the city lives here; even so-called "urban changelings" are consumed with enough wanderlust that they feel more comfortable being able to leave the city quietly, unobtrusively, and relatively frequently.
  • Little North: Little North is actually on the south end of town, but because it gained character as a balshatoi ethnic neighborhood, it became known as Little North.  Curiously, it's not particularly settled by Northerners anymore--it's a low class laborer neighborhood, and a hotbed of gang warfare; a crossroads of various gang's territory, as it were.  The Union of the Snake headquarters are located here, near the docks.
  • Los Corts: The origin of the name is lost to history, but no Courts hold sway in this neighborhood anymore.  Both the Watch and private security don't wait for sentencing to mete out punishment to anyone who violates the peace here, as Los Corts is primarily a warehouse district, and goods worth a king's ransom move through this district almost routinely.
  • Qazmir Park: The last neighborhood named for an ethnic component, this one lives up to its name, and Rue des Sultains is famous for its al-Qazmiri architecture, signage, cuisine and more.  The neighborhood in general, though, has become a slum for all kinds of expatriates living in Porto Liure, and it could as easily be named for any of them.  Gang violence (and other violence, for that matter) is not unusual here, and the Watch seargents who work this beat are reputed to be unflappable and highly used to all kinds of terrible things.  Kaz's Crew, a gang of northerners, curiously, has much of the district in its grip, but other gangs work the area as well.
  • Sént-Vincenç: An almost "anti-ethnic" neighborhood, the residents here are proud of their Terrasan heritage and have little patience for immigrants and the troubles that seem to follow them.  The Watch is firmly in the pocket of the Castiadas crime family here, who maintain a respectable façade.
  • Soddens: The poorest slum in the city, Soddens is supposed to be nearly lawless.  In truth, the Watch keeps a strong presence here, but no matter what they do, it's insufficient.  Firmly in the grip of crime families, all of the industry of this district is illicit--smuggling, drug dens, prostitution, slave markets--if it's illegal, or even frowned upon, it happens here.  Life is cheap, and dead bodies in the street are hardly enough to spur the Watch to become concerned.  Named for the thick fogs that roll off the hills and blanket this district, it's also notorious among those who tell these kinds of tales, as a haunted district, and much of the supernatural activity that rumors and ghost-stories love to regale are centered around Black Maria's Square, where old Jacobo Bernat's daughter-in-law was supposedly executed in the early days of the city.
  • White Stones: Infamous as the headquarters of the Fuzeta da Ponte crime family, this neighborhood is named for the pale granite flagstones that make up much of its streets.  Boats slip in and out of this neighborhood at all hours, and nobody asks too many questions of their neighbors, which keeps this a relatively peaceful neighborhood most of the time; although one infamous for things happening which are not supposed to.

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