You'll never find a more wretched hive of rabble and depravityNow when I arrived at the outskirts of swamp, the marshlands, I discovered a most interesting mode of transportation. It seems that some of those that reside within this region have taken to taming and hence using as mounts, these strange long legged creatures. They call them Marsh Amblers, most seem to just shorten that to Amblers. I was told that they were the best way of making your way deeper into the swamplands, of course you could always take one of the boats in but they were restricted to the waterways that were deep enough to carry them. This made their routes much more predictable and thus they were easier prey for anything that might be lurking beyond the hazy mist. Well I was much more captivated by these alien like creatures anyway and wasn't about to pass up the chance to study them up close. I paid my somewhat expensive due and we set off towards the heart of the swamp, Murkley itself. I was accompanied by a rather talkative older fellow who was our guide and two others wearing dark hoods. They seemed to be travelling together although they mostly kept quite and rarely spoke except to one another. Well it bothered me not if they weren't going to say anything, the crotchety gentlemen leading the Ambler through the thick trees did enough talking for the four of us. It was hard to keep him on topic for more than a minute at a time but since the journey would take the better part of an entire day, I managed to get plenty of interesting information out of him. He explained that the Marsh Amblers were native creatures to the swamp lands, they had lived here longer than anyone could remember and no one was really sure who managed to domesticate the first of them for mounts. They weren't quick creatures by any means but in comparison to trying to make your way through the various waterways, deep undergrowth and mud on foot; they were luxury. I was so captivated by these strange docile creatures that I didn't even notice how dark it had gotten under the thick canopy of trees above. Daylight never really penetrates into the swamp below but it's still easy enough to tell when the sun has set, and indeed it had. We were close to our destination at this point and the older gentleman had been rambling about it's history for quite some time. And as he was going on at length about the old, now sunkern tavern, he used to own in the lower district; the township itself came into view. There are most certainly some darker powers at play, working behind the scenes to ensure their own continued survival and prosperity. But they seem to mostly leave anyone who chooses to settle or reside here alone, perhaps to give the outside appearance of normality to the township; but I do not know for sure. Along with the natural protection from the outside world, the boats and Marsh Amblers that take travellers into and out of the swamp lands seem to be controlled or at least overseen by an underworld faction that resides within the township; giving them direct knowledge on anyone who might not have the townships best interests at heart. This level of intelligence combined with the townships reclusive nature gives the settlement a defence that would be almost akin to having a keep surrounded by vast stone walls. As well as this small but prosperous lumber industry, the township is known to house those who might be looking to do a bit of trading on the shady side of the law. This was once just a rumor I believe but rumors can sometimes spread into truths and this would be once such case. The settlement now attracts all manor of people who may wish to hide away from the prying eyes of the world for a while. The highest district in town is not in fact that which can be found on the small patch of dry land, but a small scattering of homes and buildings that have been precariously constructed upon the large trunk of a nearby Clad Sypress tree. They offer the best escape from the marshy swamp lands below and only those with the wealth to afford such a place have made their way up there. Along with the small but profitable wood dredging industry, there is also a small conglomerate of hunters and fishers that often work together to bring in larger and more valuable goods. They have found that banding together allows them to take down some of the larger and more valuable prey in the area, such as the large ancient reptilian beasties that have been known to take down unweary travellers. When you come to a town like Murkley, you're not going to expect grand homes nor aesthetically pleasing structures. You expect hovels covered in moss and vines, and while this is steeped in truth as I discovered; Murkley might just surprise you. The township is built in the heart of the swamplands, here there is some respite from the wetlands that surround it and you can even walk on some solid land without getting your feet wet. Most of the town is situated just above the waterline, however there is a small district that is built atop a large semi-fallen tree. This provides the district with a view over the rest of the settlement as well as providing much needed and desired escape from the murk below. About a third of the township resides atop a patch of uncommon dry land, while another third sits just above the waterline trying to make the most of what natural roots and trees they can for support. The portion of the township that sits atop the large fallen tree houses those which can afford to live above the rest of the ravel. Most of the homes and abodes here are built from reclaimed wood. Apparently the township used to be much bigger but in the last decade a vast portion of it sank into the murky water; well the residents weren't just going to let all that good material go to waste. This gives the township a very ad-hoc feel to it, many homes have been bolstered or expanded by simply tieing and nailing wooden boards where desired. The walkways themselves slowly sink into the mud over the months and years, therefore the townsfolk have constantly built atop the old structures to ensure the settlements continued existence. There is a very unique aesthetic to this township that I am yet to find anywhere else. If you were to inspect any of the homes, buildings, walkways or really any single part of the town on its own; you would find a very messy and hastily constructed thing. But if you are to view the settlement as a whole, you start to see its true beauty. It is a concofiny of culture and design, parts of the old town can still be seen jutting out of the mud while those that still live here continue to build atop the fallen mess. The various lights from burning oil lanterns and small fires within these abodes are always trying to cut through the heavy mist, and from a distance the flickering lights reflecting off the still waters below provide a view almost as pretty as staring up at a clear nights sky.