The Night of the Gangs
It all started almost by accident. A group of members of the Caryats who claim the Easthill area in the south of Akorros heard about a ship which had recently docked in the Spice Quarter containing a load of, among other things, giant scorpion carapaces, and one of them said "wouldn't it be cool to have breastplates made out of scorpion?" The guindametlla was flowing, and it wasn't long before the group talked themselves into a raid and, deciding there was no time like the present, headed off through the streets of Akorros to the northern docks. Being half-cut, they weren't as careful as they otherwise might have been heading through the streets, and since they were in full gang regalia the gangs claiming the areas they passed through were alerted to their presence and started preparing to oust the intruders. Fortunately for the group at this point, they were moving sufficiently fast that by the time the rival gangs had mobilised, the Caryats had already passed on through. They made their way to the Spice gate without incident and passed through into the Spice Quarter, and they managed to get all the way to the docks without trouble. By this point they were starting to sober up and realise quite what they had let themselves in for, but they couldn't back down in front of their comrades so they warily started to scout looking for the ship in question. All was quiet when they came upon it - the crew on shore leave out carousing and only a tired skeleton crew left on guard - so they were able to sneak on board, and their luck held long enough for them to reach the hold - the sailor supposed to be guarding it was dead drunk and passed out snoring in front of the door. They carefully lifted the hatch and slipped inside using a rope which was lying nearby, then began searching for the carapaces. It was at this point that things started to go wrong.
DiscoveryWhile they were searching, the ship's mate returned and found the sailor on watch sleeping. He also saw the open hatch and heard the rustling and murmurs of the gang members searching. He kicked the sailor awake and called out a challenge - "who's there?" The gang members realised they had been spotted. They had found a pile of the carapaces, but they were large and unwieldy - roughly 6 feet across, bulging out 2 feet in the middle - and they had been trying to work out how best to transport them, but they decided to cut their losses and just carry the top one whole between them. A lucky knife throw from one of the gang struck the ship's mate on the side of the head, knocking him unconscious and leaving a large gash. Half the gang swarmed up the rope then those still below passed up the carapace to those above and followed. They jumped down onto the docks, passing the carapace down,
ReturnNow safely off the ship, they picked up the carapace between them, each taking a hold of part of the edge, and ran. As they retraced their steps through the Spice Quarter, the Jade Flowers who claimed that area gave chase. The pursuers were gaining, but the Caryats weren't going to abandon their prize that easily, so they hoisted the carapace over their heads and sprinted along the most direct route home. This took them into the territory of the Red Lotus gang, who objected to the Jade Flowers invading, so some of them engaging the chasing Jade Flowers while others tried to catch the Caryats and their carapace.
ExplosionThe Jade Flowers weren't going to give up that easily to the insult the Caryats had inflicted on them, so they continued to give chase while doing battle with the Red Lotuses. This pattern continued through each of the territories the Caryats passed through on their way home - each gang objecting to the invasion from the pursuers more than to the Caryats, and so amazingly the Caryats actually made it home, but by then they had dragged so many gangs into so many other territories there were running battles everywhere behind them. Other neighbouring gangs noticed their rivals being occupied and started to try to take advantage and invade, and so the city exploded into full-out gang battles eveywhere, even in territories the Caryats hadn't been near.
The arrival of the Storm TroopsThe battles raged through the night, and left many dead including innocent bystanders who had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, until the governer had to react and brought out the Storm Troops - the magic-using standing guard employed by the city. As the sun came up, these worked their way methodically through the streets of the Old Quarter from Toney Plaza out, stunning the combatants indiscriminately and leaving them for the standard city guard to mop up and arrest while the Storm Troops moved on to the next knot of fighters. Eventually the gangs broke and ran, returning to their homes. Many territories got redrawn that night as gangs lost members to the battle and to the arrests and conscription that resulted, and the next few nights saw further minor flare-ups as the more powerful (or luckier) gangs tried to consolidate their new territory, but there has never been a repeat as wide-scale since. The group of Caryats who triggered it all made it home and now proudbly sport their scorpion-carapace breastplates wherever they go.