The Night Market

 
northern entrance, night market
  The Grey and Stone Streets and the Docks are Jiy districts where the residents do not have much leisure time or extra funds. Whether laborer, merchant or guttershank, they make the most of what they have by purchasing cheaper meals and indulging in free entertainment at the night market.   Officially, the night market is called the Food and Drink Galley. Everyone else refers to this Grey Streets establishment as the night market. The building earned its moniker by remaining open through the night, providing cheap meals, shopping opportunities and entertainment for night shift workers and night owls. In recent years, it has become known as the hot spot for a romantic meal for poor lovers, as a place friends of different means can meet and enjoy a night together without worrying about cost, and the primary market for foreign foods.
all images by Shanda Nelson unless otherwise stated
 
  100 years ago, a man named Jersen spruced up a black brick, warehouse building. He constructed permanent stalls against the walls on the ground floor and sold contracts for space rental, focusing on food sellers. He filled the empty middle space with tables for customers, and put up awnings outside for those who wished a quieter dining experience. He expanded the second-story walkways and created market stalls that catered to immigrants who wished to purchase native foods but could not afford the eastern Jiy markets.   The modern night market is smokey and dimly lit by fruit-oil ceiling lamps hanging down from the second story, through the center opening, and to the ground floor. It is bustling, loud, and filled with luscious scents that mostly cover the stench of unwashed bodies.  
 
 

The Ground Floor

  The eateries are on the ground floor. Booths and stalls built against the brick walls serve the public cheap but tasty food, while tables and chairs, stools, and counters fill up the center and spill over into the eastern sidewalk, where a quieter, less smoky evening can be had under wide awnings. Popular local dishes such as steak slathered in a cheese sauce and topped with peppers, bread poppins with creamy nut dipping sauce, spicy meat and rice plates, and tarts filled with berries and sprinkled with honey sugar are found there.   Beer, wines and spirits are sold at great volume, and many a beau has purchased a special cocktail called 'the lovers' hands', a wine mixed with sugary citrus fruit and a heft dose of a clear Dentherion fizzy drink, for their special one. The sophisticated have mulled wine, the workers tend to favor beer and the cheapest hard alcohol.   Buskers move through the crowds, playing loud and joyful music to match the laughter of the customers. A table can pay a performer a few bits for a personal song, though oftentimes surrounding eaters join in the fun by clapping and singing along. Grey and Stone Street musicians vie for a place at the night market; the owner provides a base pay for the entertainment, so it is a steady source of work.   The street rats and beggars can be found in abundance on the ground floor, huddled against scant empty walls, begging for food. Others pickpocket for bits to buy food. The owner allows them to stay if they beg, but tosses them out if caught thieving.
by Jess Ho at Pexels
 
by Gonzalo Guzman at Pexels
 
by Peter H at Pixabay
by falco at Pixabay

The Second Floor

  The second floor has some eating establishments and stalls that sell clothing, necessities and knick-knacks. One booth, called Cheap Lights, is the go-to place for candles and other lighting. Its popularity comes from the scented candles and incense it sells.   The draw for the second floor, however, is the markets.   The night markets sell all manner of foodstuffs, foreign and domestic. Immigrants shop there for hard-to-find spices and foods from their native lands, and purchase them at prices that attract the bit-conscious who might otherwise spend their earnings at the Blossom markets or Candycakes. The individual markets are situated by Theyndora region, so foods from the same culture are found in the same place. These markets, due to their late hours, are extremely popular among laborers yearning for tastes of home.   Other draws:
  • cheap charms for lovers, purchased for a half-bit, making them the most popular items found at the night market
  • locally-sourced clothing, and the merchants take pride in not selling anything from Dentheria
  • The Stage
    a theater stage set three stairs higher than the audience. The entertainment is free for those who stand, but a half-bit per chair for those who want to sit. During the day, the entertainment is family-oriented, but a distinct change happens after the evening meal, when the docks workers begin to arrive. Salacious song and dance, rude one-act plays and the like fill the hours to dawn.   On Wraithis, Jovalthis and Amelithis evenings, between the evening meal and the more vulgar entertainments, bands and loose-knit musician collectives perform. The night market ropes off the area for these performances, and charges a half-bit to enter the area. While those outside the designated space can sometimes still hear the music, oftentimes the crowd is loud enough the performance is drowned out.
 

The Third Floor

  The third floor is for those with the means to pay for entertainment, which restricts its customers to the wealthier Docks and Grey and Stone Streets merchants, establishment owners, and skilled craftsmen, though well-off guttershanks account for most of the business. For a couple of bits, a quieter meal with servers and music is available. A small dancefloor in front of the stage gives couples a chance to show their moves to a variety of folk tunes. Alcohol-tasting events happen, though what the proud 'rich' people of the poorer sections of Jiy and the truly 'rich' people of the eastern city consider fine spirits and wine is vastly different.   Stores with fancier clothing and more expensive knick-knacks provide mementos for the evening.   Gambling takes place in the Crown, though stakes are set very low. Lucky players can recoup the cost of their meal and drink.   On Delthis and Menthis evenings, the stage is given over to The Tolley Troop who performs more serious theater as well as sleuthing acts. The audience votes for who they think the villain is at the end.   Basically, the third floor allows the not-rich to pretend they are, and selling that fantasy is lucrative.
 
by Hong Son at Pexels

Comments

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Thicc Shrek
Thicc Shrek
31 Aug, 2021 23:27

You can't just describe the food like that to me bruh now I'm infinitely hungry.

1 Sep, 2021 02:38

hahah :) I got so hungry trying to find those pics. So much good food...

4 Mar, 2022 08:06

A very nice and well-done description of an activity of rather poorer parts of the population. I think it is nice how detailed and diverse it has been elaborated. Especially the 3rd floor I find very good with the attempts of the richer poor users to stand out.

4 Mar, 2022 20:48

Thank you :) I'm happy you enjoyed it!

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