Harbat - the town centre

The town centre is where all the roads lead, mostly a densely packed area of residential houses with cute chimneys and drainpipes; and large, boring offices; and here and there some cosy quiet corners with cobbled roads with iron grates and houses that have an enclosed garden - like the scientist's laboratory. Carriages go about their business.

Around the central town square is an immensely busy network of streets and alleys: going up and down and up and down, and in them, a clamour of clerks and workers (and carriages) going up and down and up and down, row upon row of them, carrying crates, barrels, bundles of parchment, packages of mail; stern faced - their mission blazing in their eyes: "Wares to deliver! Forms to fill! Laws to decree! Up and down to go!" (nobody pays any attention to the beggar sprayed on the ground), or the puppy whimpering in the middle of the street. The beautiful collonaded urban planning department is the only building here that stands out of the dull grey collection of offices and workshops (like the bakery, the mason's guild, the cart company, or the tax collector), looking down upon the burgers in the streets, and silently pleasing itself with the fact that all is well - perfectly sane, perfectly safe. And all around and in-between are the tiny houses of the townspeople - smashed up against each other in coiling alleyways that eventually end up in the market, the harbour or the upper town.

Far away from the hustle and bustle, near the town commons and the theatre, is another district in the town centre called Crickety, a kind of worn down and quiet place. You enter it once you pass the blacksmith's.

At night, the town centre becomes a haunt of shadows. People lock their doors and bolt their windows, clutching old amulets their priest says they ought to throw away. Howling from the asylum echoes throughout the misty streets under the pale moonlight. A lone lanternman on stilts dousing the lights. In the distance, footsteps. Marching. The militia going about its way.