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Oct 24, 2021 9:07 PM
Thorn in Isekai
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"...I'll stick close to you when we get there. For now, I'd better get back to work. Thanks for reassuring me."

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"It's no problem."

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They see an impressive looking dark-colored wall on the horizon soon enough, as start going past small settlements with what appear to be farms and ranches in the surrounding area.

The city of Helsburg looks impressive enough over the waves. A blocky, fortified city, built into a hill so that the buildings closer to the center have a commanding view of the buildings further out. The streets are wide and the buildings are all at least four or five stories tall, many larger. There's a palace and a cathedral of some kind further in, and a few hints of trees that may signify parks, from this view.

Abyssia looks rather overawed when they pull up to a dockyard in a wide bay, under a bridge patrolled by guards. The stonework of the channel is neat and well maintained, and while they see a few dingy alleys and the back sides of many buildings the city looks fairly nice even from this 'industrial' position. A customs official-type person comes up and starts haggling with the Captain when the ship docks, and a pair of cutters are lingering inconspicuously near the obvious exit to the dock area.

"...I'll follow your lead," Bys tells Thorn, after collecting her belongings.

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"Notice the cutters by the entrance? Lookouts maybe, might be in league with pickpockets. I'm going to put on my shiny guild badge as a deterrent. We should be fine anyway, but never too careful right?" 

She stretches. "Accommodations first, I think; we can explore the rest of the city once we have somewhere to sleep."

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"Criminals." Her voice has an edge to it. "I'll put my badge on too. And yeah, accommodations first sounds right."

She smiles at Thorn and en-badges.

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"Let's go!" 

And she's off into the city.

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The cutters give them a good look at they boldly march pass, but don't make any moves.

And the city is open to them. Abyssia looks rather overwhelmed by the crowds, even in this low-income area where they're mostly blue-collar. The street is fairly narrow, there are dark and twisty alleys. There are butcheries leaking blood into drains by the front door, blacksmiths banging away right in the open, crumbling foundations, beggars on corners, a communal laundry watched over by some sort of bat-person hanging from a post attached to the ceiling, a weaving workshop where dozens of men and women are industriously working on clothes with simple machines, various seedy-looking inns and wayhouses, pubs and homey looking residences, a 'tool' shop with barred windows and other security features that is probably actually selling something illegal, and-

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"Look, a tattoo parlor! Uh, I'm very lost, but can you remember that for later?"

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"Yeah. Stick close, obviously. A little more here than I expected, I didn't expect weaving machines. Gives me some hope. Let's see if we can find an inn in a nicer area and whether we can afford it."

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"I mean, of course people will make things that make their work easier. Weaving machines seem like the kind of thing that only works in a city, like you said, right?"

 

They gradually come out of the poor area. The balance of rooms for rent and renters seeking room favors the renters reasonably well. A basic inn room is cheap.

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"Yeah. Weaving machines are one of the first machines you build, but having them matters. Means we might find more complex things in the wealthier areas." 

She picks out an inn using her years of traveling experience and pays for the night. Two rooms, of course. She asks at the desk where they can find a map of the city. 

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"There's a public map on Roku and Indigo, in front of the gatehouse to the Indigo Jewel Market. The lower gatehouse, near where the tunnel canal lets out, not the upper one. If you want one you can carry, try Kirche's bookshop past Ziggy's. That's the big alchemy lab straight down this street, just turn right when you see the big brick building with way too many chimneys."

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"And if I want to get to Roku and Indigo the way'll be obvious?"

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She gives three sentences of directions including both a main road and back alleys path. She wants the main road, probably.

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She tips a copper for the information and turns to Bys. "I figure we should head over there right now. It'll be interesting to see the market, much less the map."

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"A big market sounds like it'll be quite the spectacle. Let's stick together, though, right?"

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"Yeah, the crowds'll be no joke."

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"I had another reason, but yes." She squeezes Thorn's hand. "Just, we can leave if it gets overwhelming, right?"

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"Definitely."

She squeezes back. "Let's go?"

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They go.

 

The market lives up to the hype, a packed courtyard positively thronging with colorful stalls, banners, and streamers. Deep blue tiles and stones decorate the floor, with ocean-based mosaics on the surrounding walls. Surprisingly, few people are shouting, and the pushing is at a minimum. Merchants still hawk their wares - "Every adventurer should have a damn good backpack, you two!" - But at a reasonable volume, apparently enforced via fines.

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"Well organized. I'm getting a healthy respect for the local authorities. Now where's that map?"

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The map is ten feet tall and twenty across, showing an artfully isometric view of the city with every street labelled and many prominent buildings sketched out in detail - the market and the alchemy lab mentioned earlier both make appearances, as well as two different sets of docks. Other landmarks include a cathedral, a castle, a fairgrounds, a big adventurer's guild office and the nearby dungeon, a famous drinking house made from a beached ship, and a big statue of a batperson standing watch over the northern gate. Little figures run here and there on it, though there's a notable lack of criminals or homeless depicted on the map, when they do exist in real life.

"...That is a seriously impressive map. How expensive must it be to keep up to date?"

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"Nice. I get the message. Think we should go introduce ourselves at the local adventurer's guild?"

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"We're nobodies, E-rankers, we won't be - a big deal to them. But yeah."

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"I wasn't planning to make a big splash."

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