Courtesan's carriage, whore's ride, prostitute's parade, madame's mobile... It's almost more fun to come up with other names for the bleedin' wagons!A courtesan's carriage, often referred to by many other names of varying vulgarity, is a false-bottomed wagon, coach, or carriage employed by nobles, merchants, and other well-off folk who might seek the products offered by a courtesan. These carriages are largely used to transport courtesans and their associates around, particularly in larger cities, and otherwise blend in with much of the street traffic. They draw little attention, and have no discerning external features to differentiate them from a passing carriage containing other well-off members of society or those who they employ. It is the perfect cover for the carriage's true purpose. Courtesan carriages are methods of transporting secret goods or messages surreptitiously between individuals when more open communication is too great a risk. The items and messages transported must be small, due to how the secret compartments are engineered, for the courtesans employed are also the ones to bring the goods both to and from the carriage. Most frequently, they deal in poisons, drugs, and secrets - all things that would have their lives cut short should they be found out by the watchful eyes of the law, or indeed, the lingering eyes of their employer's enemies. They are used in many areas, but are most commonly found through Valathe, where carriage travel is most common. Nations on other continents typically adapt the traditional design to standards more in alignment with what their inhabitants use for transport, instead, but the fundamental principles remain the same.
Appearance & Propulsion
Were we to come under attack, it would be the horses that fell first - but such is the risk we take to blend in!
Whilst courtesan carriages have been constructed in many fashions to blend into varying societies, the most common form to this day remains the horse-drawn coach. A coach is an enclosed carriage drawn by two or more horses that is usually driven by a coachman or postilion. Unlike more standard carriages that are open to the elements, coaches have a roof above and doors either side for entry, and seats for the persons inside. They are preferred by the employers of courtesans as, unlike non-enclosed carriages, they offer some measure of privacy to their inhabitants and are regularly used by the upper-class to ferry themselves around between cities on longer voyages. Middle-class individuals may instead prefer wagon trips or stagecoaches, which are similarly enclosed; courtesan carriages can easily be created from any.
I do hope the ride isn't quite so rough this time, my prior client was quite enough of that. "Gentle lover", my arse.The crucial mechanism of a courtesan's carriage is the special compartment that the courtesan must use. It is a slim wooden box designed to be easily foldable, and reinforced internally with thin sheets of leather and metal. To protect from magical eyes, this metal is very frequently lead - the protection is not perfect due to how the compartmen must collapse, but it is certainly a fair defence against divination magic. Most commonly, the courtesan is hired with the compartment already in-hand, and their employer fills it during their time for more standard courtesan activities to prevent the courtesan themselves from being aware of the compartment's contents.
When it is time for the delivery, the courtesan straps the compartment to their inner thigh. Depending on their chosen gender presentations, any signs of its presence are concealed underneath bulky skirts and layers of petticoat or with more fanciful pantaloons and trousers that give the impression of something more related to their career. If at any point the courtesan must leave the carriage for inspection or to perform their duties, perhaps for another client, then they detach the compartment and slip it into a very small hidden slit within the carriage's boot space or underneath the seat. To an outside observer, this simply looks like the courtesan adjusted their lower garments; any sounds associated with the compartment's movement are easily masked with that of fabric, or by coughing or otherwise producing noise. These hidden sections are unique to each carriage and are typically impossible to find without an understanding of how the carriage in question was constructed.