Ruby District in Echoes of Blood | World Anvil
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Ruby District

In the midst of the sprawling metropolis of Vallaki beneath the towering expanse of the Central District and Newbridge District stands a testament to the city's renaissance. The district stands as a beacon of opulence and grandeur, a resplendent spectacle that weaves a tale of the city's illustrious growth, reflected in the daunting spires reaching for the heavens, magnificent edifices bearing centuries of stories, and labyrinthine cobblestone paths. The realm of the nobility of Vallaki, ensconced with their luxurious abodes and hidden, verdant enclaves of beauty and regality; veiled from the chaotic bustle of the city. Each street within the Ruby district is lined with row upon row of elegant villas and magnificent mansions, with lush gardens and flourishing arrays of flora cradling many of the private homes, crafting a sanctuary-like visage that starkly contrasts the teeming decadence and corruption that crawls within its walls.
  Like caterpillars hiding within their cocoons, so too do the nobles of Vallaki encase themselves in their displays of wealth and self-proclaimed importance. They hide themselves behind their meticulously designed, architecturally grand, marvels; behind their elaborate ironwork, from on-top of their ornate balconies. The facades of these majestic residences shimmer in the pale moonlight, reflecting the elusive allure of the privileged few who call this district home. From behind the ornate stained-glass windows they peer out at the world around them, sneering and chiding those underneath their social class. Despite the lockdown and the external threats, the nobility continue their lives of luxury and decadence. Goods continue to be smuggled in and out of the district, and city, via private ships and caravans. They entertain themselves with museums and art galleries, brunches, luncheons, tea parties, dinners, and grand performances; especially that of balls and masquerades, which are held in the highest regards among those living in the district.
  The extravagance conceals dark secrets and truths however. Some who partake in certain celebrations soon develop an insatiable thirst for blood, exhibiting symptoms ominously akin to The Scourge. While these outbreaks happen everywhere, the Ruby district manifests these outbreaks the most; only tied with the Shrouded District. Unlike in the other districts, these outbreaks are quickly dispatched by the ruling elite, but one can't help but wonder: what is the cause of this Scourge, and what will become of the city if these outbreaks are not stopped once and for all.
 

The Mask


The Ruby district is famed for its extravagance, steeped in its rich history and social customs. The socialites have taken this to the extreme, however, as even now, with the growing concerns of the people, the ever expanding tide of monsters and darkness, the people of the Ruby District cling tight to their old ways. They choose to block out the world by clinging tight to what distinguished them from the commoners, choosing to imprison themselves within a gilded cage of their own making. Even now, as people fall to the numerous plagues that fester within Barovia, even when monsters continue to propagate themselves all throughout the cities walls.
  Within the Ruby district social politics rule supreme and unchallenged. Among the nobility is a penchant for high fashion, with both men and woman wearing cosmetics of various kinds, with subtle differences that indicate social standing. In public they are also prone to wearing lavish and elaborate mask, for a bare face in the Ruby district is considered gauche, especially in the presence of a foreigner or a commoner. Makeup is also another popular tradition for both men and woman. Outsiders will have trouble discerning the difference, but there is both masculine and feminine makeup, and can be a strong indicator of social standing. The quality and rarity of one's makeup- uncommon hues and consistencies are prized- speak volumes of one's status.
  The clothing of the nobility is made up of rich dyes, complex patterns, and fine fabrics. Rare colors and materials are used to imply wealth and stature, and often leans towards flowing, layered garbs.
  Yet do not let all the peacocking fool you. For underneath their rich attires, gilded smiles, and their charm and wit lie something just at terrifying and dark as the deadly beasts of the Scourge. Scrub away their lavish spendings and move behind the curtain of pomp and circumstances and you will find a equally dark and terrifying world. Just as the those within the Shrouded District turn to less savory ways to escape the harsh reality they find themselves stuck within, the aristocrats themselves also revel in their dark desires. Despite the influence of the Blood Church and its miraculous Blood, nobles of the Ruby district
 

The Game

A moniker given to perpetual competition for influence and esteem participated in by nearly every single noble in Vallaki. The goals of the game are personal prestige, reputation, and patronage, and its "rules" are as simple as "anything goes". It is a endless contest of influence, wealth, seduction, and sometimes force between the aristocrats of Vallaki. It is said that more blood is spilled in the game than in any war Barovia has ever fought.
  Among the nobility status and appearance are of paramount importance. To get the better of ones fellow aristocrats and amass more prestige for oneself or one's family, any action or scheme is acceptable as long as one is not caught and the security of Vallaki is not threatened. This includes murder. To facilitate these constant plots and schemes, a peculiar profession has risen within the Rub District. They go by man names. "The Shadows", "The Knives", "The Whispers"; their most popular name, however, is Bards. Elsewhere in the world a Bard may be a simple entertainer or someone capable of producing magical effects through the use of their magic. However, within the Ruby district, the term implies much more. They sing and dance, they seduce and steal, they spy and murder. A bard is a mercenary actor of The Game; used as an agent to further the ambitions of their employer. Despite knowing this, however, many aristocrats welcome and even invite bards into their homes. For attempting to thwart them is viewed as apart of the game. It is not unheard of for nobles to take up training themselves in the bardic arts.
     

The Grand Masquerade

Everyone who is anyone attends the Grand Masquerade held once a year, and everyone who longs to be someone tries to wrangle an invitation or sneak in uninvited. For the aristocrats of the Ruby district this is the ultimate stage upon which to play The Game, and for those attending signals a victory in their ceaseless quest for status.    

Important Locations


 
Camilla's Greenhouse The home, study, and business of Camilla; dedicated to a special type of botany.
Chateau Dumin The hereditary estate of Jacqueline Dumin
College of Secrets A college dedicated to the art of being a Bard.
Conservatory of Hematology A museum and institution dedicated to the studying of Blood.
Crimson Manor A long abandoned manor that once belonged to the devil.
Crystal Delight Lounge A hidden parlor that is seemingly impossible to track down unless you know the right person.
House of Lament An old and abandoned chateau famous for its mysteries and vanishing owners.
Obsidian Ballroom The lavish location of the Grand Masquerade hosted by a different noble every year.
Red Widow Theater The Red Widow is a cabaret known for lively music, provocative dancing, and shady dealings.
Watcherhaus The chateau of Lady Fiona Watcher.
 

Interesting People


Alicio An individual one does not wish to meet down a dark alley. Seemingly has connections to everywhere.
Camilla A studious woman dedicated to the endless labor of saving Vallaki.
Ivana Boritsi A remarkably gifted mind dedicated to the studying of Blood.
Lady Fiona Wachter A avid player of the game and staunch opposer of the burgomaster.
Lord Edgar Vanerthorn An enigmatic figure, known to be a collector of the weird and the occult.
Jacqueline Dumin An eccentric fashion designer that is responsible for several fashion trends over the years.
Lady Seraphina A patron of the arts and host of spirited debates.
Madame Genevieve Leclair A lowborn courtesan who has risen through the ranks of the Ruby district.
Vargas Vallokovich The burgomaster who rules Vallaki with an iron fist.
Trofim Brukhonenko An eccentric scientists studying the Scourge.
   

Factions


Crimson Court A faction whispered about in the darkest circles. The only way in is through an invitation, but no one knows how to get one.
Kargat The secret police of the Burgomaster. While they operate everywhere, their main headquarters is rumored to exist here.
League of Shadows A shadowy network of Bards that connect wealthy clientel with opportunistic bards.
"The scents, the lavish parties, the decadence, the masks. Don't be fooled by any of it. Underneath their polish lies the same monsters you see everywhere else in the city."

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