Descent of Darkness
Aldritch is a mostly human city in the Harken Hills. It is starkly divided into two vastly different sections and has been for many generations. The first section is fairly normal and is known as the “good” side of Aldritch. It is what one would expect in a city. There are various shops, inns, and homes and pretty much everyone who lives in this section is well enough off to afford food and decent clothing for all in their family. At night, the more brazen denizens of the bad side of Aldritch venture here. People and things have vanished in the night without a trace and most of the long-term residents will not go out at night unless they are an extremely skilled fighter or with a large group. There is a large willow tree in the town square which has stood there for many years. It is in this place where punishment is handed out and executions occur, if necessary. The preferred method of execution is hanging. There is a raised platform underneath the tree as well, where less deadly methods of punishment occur, such as people being placed in stocks for a time. Announcements by the mayor occur here as well.
The other side of town is known as the “bad” side. It is run by the Streets and the law of the good side never reaches here. The guards that have occasionally been sent to this side to try and clean it up are never heard from again. Eventually, the mayor stopped sending them. There are three main gangs, each run by a different person. The largest group, with the cruelest and most vicious leader is run by Farl. The second group is run by a woman known as Cat while the third group’s leader is unknown. There are no orphanages in Aldritch and so any children who lose their parents and are unlucky enough to not have any other family to care for them end up here. Some of the gangs have been known to kidnap a child or two from the good side to swell their ranks as well. Occasionally some of the older and better fed teen Streets will couple and have a child, though most of those children do not survive long, even for a Street. Each child is given a new name upon becoming part of the Streets, usually something fairly simple. It is a vicious and cruel place. Most children do not survive into their teenage years, let alone adulthood. The ones that do tend to either be extremely cunning or extremely ruthless and often both. There are few teenage Streets and no one older than their mid-twenties, save one – an elf with the Street name of Ears, though she has left Aldritch recently and no longer considers herself a full Street. The Streets have been a force unto themselves for so long that they have developed their own form of speech, a hodgepodge of made-up words and mangled Common. It is known as Gutterspeak. They also use a form of sign language to communicate with each other when raiding on the good side of Aldritch or sneaking into another Street’s territory. The buildings here are very old and run down. Most are rotting and falling apart and almost none have roofs or windows left. They offer little shelter from the elements, save for a slight break in the wind in some of them.