Shrouded District Building / Landmark in Echoes of Blood | World Anvil
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Shrouded District

Forever cloaked in darkness by the massive cathedral stretching across the waters and the suffocating smog from the nearby mine workings, the Shrouded District is the home to many a soul. It provides alternatives to those seeking spirituality away from the light, giving way to establishments of debauchery and carnal desires, such as brothels and narcotic dens, where the city's laborers seek solace in hedonistic pursuits and escape from their harsh realities. However, this hidden haven is not without its dangers, as man-made monsters and virulent diseases lurk unseen in the shadows.

Mineral Mines

The coal mines of the Shrouded District burrow deep beneath the city's foundations, extending well beyond its walls, disappearing deep into the bowels of the earth. The mines are the lifeblood of the district, providing not only employment for the impoverished residents but also a vital resource for the city above. The coal extracted from these darkened depths is the primary fuel used for the city's myriad industries and households, holding within it the energy necessary to power the steam devices housed within Vallaki. In these underground systems, workers harvest bat guano and crystallized saltpeter, loading them onto carts bound for the other districts via rail systems. Different materials are shipped to specific districts depending on the customers and the needs. Much of the bat guano, for example, is shipped to the Grand Cathedral, which they combine with the aforementioned coal and the church’s reserves of brimstone to fashion the gunpowder necessary for hunters.

Blessing and Curse

The coal, despite its importance to the city, also contributes to the ever-present smog that cloaks the Shrouded District. The dense, choking clouds of soot and ash, released by the constant burning of this mineral, lend the district its oppressive atmosphere and perpetual darkness. This pervasive pollution permanently assault the district's inhabitants, causing them to oftentimes suffer from respiratory diseases, further exacerbating the hardships of their daily lives. This has forced many individuals to dawn masks to help mitigate the horrific pollution and air quality surrounding the district. In th large deposits of bat guano and crystallized saltpeter found deep underground, they harvest and load unto separate carts, before being directly sent off to their final destinations.

Working the Depths

The miners who toil in these subterranean passages are a hardy and resilient lot, forged by necessity and the constant struggle against the darkness. They labor tirelessly in the depths, their faces smeared with soot, sweat, and grime, as they extract the precious black rock that sustains their city and families. Their work is dangerous and unforgiving, with the ever-present threats of cave-ins, suffocating dust, and toxic fumes lurking around every corner. Many of the miners deep have forged an unbreakable bond, kindled by the trials they face in the bowels of the earth. Yet, in this subterranean realm, a bitter contempt for those of the above world has festered. This contempt is easily ignored by those outside the district, but it is boiling and raging below. Those unfortunate enough to have to traverse the Shrouded district are met with scorn and ridicule at best; and outright hostile behavior at worse.
  advancement of Manikin technology. These tireless constructs possess the capacity to labor with few pauses, and are unhindered by the threat of sickness that plague their living counterparts, hence their integration promised respite to the weary miners, a solace long sought after by many. Yet, amidst this hope, a gnawing fear takes root: the specter of poverty that looms over those whose work may be replaced by these mechanical beings. Fate, however, had other designs, as servitudeas laborers left unrealized.

Coal Refineries and Steam Engines

The coal, wrested from the dark depths of the earth, is transported via an extensive network of rail systems to nearby refineries that meticulously purge it of all impurities. Once purified, a portion of the coal is ferried to other districts on massive barges, while the lion's share remains within the district for further processing. Monolithic refineries consume the coal, their fiery maws igniting it to heat vast reservoirs of water. The resultant steam is harnessed and used as power that courses through the veins of the city.

Narcotic Business

The lack of fertile lands in the Shrouded District has sustenanceBloodBlood Churchsunlight that manages to pierce through the toxic smog has given rise to a unique flora of potent psychoactive plants, and in these shadows alchemists who delve into the creation of mind-altering substances prosper, catering to the desperate and the broken. Nestled near the torrential river that fragments Vallaki, the Shrouded District's prime location provides dealers with facile access to the city's far reaches. Through the winding canals they can stealthily transport vast quantities of mind-altering substances, skirting the iron grasp of the religious laws.  

Escaping Reality

Countless souls, trapped in the hazy streets, seek solace in the numbing embrace of these drugs, surrendering their very essence to the false refuge it provides. The streets teem with the lost, the hopeless, and the damned, as they wander through life, their minds adrift in a sea of altered consciousness. This abuse of substances mired with the toxic cloud of airborne substances, mingled with the rampant diseases that plague the district, weaves a lethal tapestry of decaying flesh. Even holy paladins find themselves challenged in their attempts to cleanse these diseases, their divine power strained against this relentless tide    

Top Down Corruption

Though the Blood Church scorns the use of substances, and has outlawed their use, the narcotic trade thrives within this district, as the clergy’s powers are stretched too thin to maintain any form of control, barely capable of curing a few fortunate souls. The ones truly fueling this demand aren’t the many lost and tormented that surrender themselves to the oblivion of narcotics —plebeians seeking solace in the fleeting respite it offers, as they abandon all hope of salvation— but rather the aristocracy that has grown so intoxicated by the allure of these mind-altering drugs, spending fortunes to acquire them, driving enormous revenue into this business venture, making it so profitable, therefore so prolific. Many decadent nobles, ensconced within their opulent dwellings in the Ruby District, indulge in the finest and purest of these substances, sating their hedonistic desires, oblivious to the wretched consequences that befall the impoverished masses. Their insatiable cravings fuel the demand for these narcotics, perpetuating the trade that pervades both districts. Meanwhile, the downtrodden within the Shrouded District are left with the toxic remnants, the cast-off scraps that further poison their already blighted existence.

Important Factions

Malach’s Angels A rumored faction comprised of the Manakins.
Crime Lords An unofficial faction comprised of loose nit groups vying for power in the black market.

Noteworthy Locations

Mines Vast mines burrowing into valley surrounding Vallaki, featuring railways for coal transportation.
Coal Processing Plants Industries responsible for refining coal and producing the district's pervasive smog.
Steam Engines Near the Grand Cathedral, massive turbines transform coal into electricity for the city's infrastructures
Tar River The fraction of polluted river beneath the Newbridge District
Shadow Square A secluded park for narcotic users to experience their highs undisturbed.
Dreamer's Den A notorious and high profile narcotic den within the Black Market
Spire of Salvation A small edifice of the Blood Church offering free healing services in the district, always overburdened by the abundance of diseased patients.
Sloered Abattoir A meat processing facility handling unwanted meat from hunted beasts.
The Ebon Embrace A reputable tavern known for its exquisite entertainment and companionship.
The Bloated Bounty A rundown tavern off the beaten path that houses one of the notorious crime lords within Vallaki
Poor Larry's A rundown tavern and inn squashed between buildings on the main throughway
"Oh its not so bad once you get to know it here. Just uh- don't say or do anything to anyone and you'll be okay!" -Larry

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