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A cold wind blows across the quiet streets - the high houses cast their long shadows over the ward's few travellers. Three women walk past - gray blue skin, black eyeliner, fur and silk worth enough to buy several blocks of the Hive. They sneer, and continue on down the lonely streets, their spurred heels clicking against the perfect cobbles. The few squares and open areas are there for the purpose of public executions. To make an example, to show the lower class sods that they'd better stay in their places, or pay the music. The lone caw of an executioner's raven trails from such a sqaure, as it pecks viciously at a day old corpse, hanging from the leafless tree.
Lived in by Sigil's very rich upper class, the Lady's Ward is the vicious playground of the Cage's most powerful players. Some of the City's greatest forces, from Titans to Yugoloths, play their massive games of living chess across the Lady's Ward - and most don't know whether or not they're the kings or the pawns. Some don't even know they're involved. A great web of intriguing politics, balanced on the edge of a word - the Lady's Ward may not be the bubbling melting pot of planar life the rest of Sigil is, but it is far more unstable politically than perhaps the rest of Sigil. Ironically, the city's judiciary branch - the Fraternity of Order in the Courts, the Mercykillers in the Prison, and the Harmonium in the Barracks - all serve from the Lady's Ward, deep in Sigil's most dangerous and most beautiful den of vipers.
The Wheel of Justice, as the three law Factions are most frequently referred to, each call an equally imposing Lady's Ward building kip. The great ivory Doric columns of the Courts, beautifully carved with symbols of the balance, of justice, of the Lady of Pain, serve to support the rest of it's Greek-style architecture. A constant stream of criminals, clueless, lawyers, and couriors stream in and out, from between the columns - from and into the mouth of judgement.
The Harmonium patrols, Sigil's police, call the Lady's Ward kip - they stay in the great castle-like Barracks. A high walled, stone structure that reflects the order and harmony of the faction, most Cagers feel a bit uneasy next to the tumor of law and perfect order. Opposite the Barracks is the Prison, an equally imposing stone building, where those arrested by the Harmonium and tried by the Guvnors are sent to have their punishments given. Nearby to the Prison is the Tower of the Wyrm, where an ancient wyvern - the very wyvern that decorates the Red Death's faction symbol - lazily sleeps. Prisoners sentenced to death by the Wyrm are tied to a post just outside the tower, where crowds gather to watch the grizzly death. Sigilian law prevents harassment of the Wyrm - violators often become it's breakfast.
While the streets of the Lady's Ward are dark, clean, and forboding, the Ward's inns are the most elegant and expensive in all of Sigil. Such eateries as Fortune's Wheel cater to the tastes of the posh bloods who live and play in the highup political games of the city - the more abundant lower classes much prefer the more friendly and affordable eateries of the neighboring Market Ward.
Market and Guildhall Wards
The cool wind that blows over the smooth, perfect, empty streets of the Lady's Ward is broken by the gigantic, tidal crowds of the Market. A great cacophony of merchants shouting the value and rarity of their wares, street performers dancing nonsensically about, and Harmonium patrols standing uneasily at the edge of the crowd, just within the Lady's Ward, are common. The wooden bowls of said performers pass constantly from hand to hand, sometimes full of coins, usually not. The white tents, stands, carts, warehouses, carpets, and all manner of other places from which things to be bought could be displayed take up all of the space the Ward has to offer, that isn't already occupied by one of the millions of cutters looking to buy said wares everyday.
The Market Ward's streets are alive with people day and night - as some of it's shops are open at any hour of the dismal Sigilian day. The air in the ward is particularly thin, and dust hangs perpetually in the air, as it never has much of a chance to settle under the constantly trampling herds of feet.
The Market Ward is the smallest - though most densely populated - of Sigil's wards, and hasn't much to see along the lines of Factional buildings, or anything unrelated to Sigil's economy. It's lack of Factional buildings doesn't mean it lacks Factions, though. See, the Market Ward is home to one of Sigil's three unrepresented Factions, the Indeps - a loosely connected web of free thinkers. The Indeps run quite a bit of the Ward's business, and keep the place a haven for the city's free thinkers and Factionally independent cutters. Of coarse, the Indep cage is small, and the Harmonium dog stands baying just outside - waiting for the opportunity to bite.
Places of note and interest in the Market Ward include it's various eateries, which cater to tastes from all over the planes - namely Chirper's, a lovely little building featuring exhibits of exotic birds and animals from all over the multiverse. Famed advertiser Harys Hatchis, who 'could sell a megaphone to a dabus' calls a small building on the edge of the Ward kip, though he isn't often in. While he is rather elusive, his barmy advertisements can be seen winging, crawling, exploding, and shouting themselves out all across the Cage.
Next to the Market Ward is the Guildhall Ward, former home of the myriad of Pre-Faction Guilds that called Sigil kip. While the Guilds have all gone extinct or left the Cage, several Factions have moved in to take their places. The Guildhall Ward buzzes with Factional and business activity. In the Guildhall Ward, Sigilian businessmen scratch out their lives in ledgers and bankbooks - home to the bookkeepers of the Market, the Guildhall is a busy place where the Market's traffic goes when it's done spending it's jink. Some of the more fragile businesses of the Cage, including chemists, inventors, and doctors, have their kips set up in the Guildhall Ward. The famous Sigilian inventor Xanist, who designs odd and complex ways to manipulate gears and clockwork, has said on several occasions that her lovely shop would come crashing down around her feet if it was located in the boiling sea of people that is the Market Ward.
The Guildhall Ward is filled with such professions that can't be physically sold - solicitors, doctors, schools of philosophy. In the center of the whole thing is the Great Gymnasium, the Ward's main attraction, a giant building built around three grand public baths. A soothing building of marble and gold, the Gymnasium is home of the Ward's only Faction, the Transcendant Order - who seek unity of mind and body. The Ciphers run about the Ward and the Gymnasium, training themselves to the vigors of balance between action and though, performing the duty of their Faction.
Neighboring the Guildhall Ward is the Clerk's Ward, the Cage's center of information and Factional interaction. The Clerks Ward is a bright, artistic place, which flourishes around the Civic Festhall, the city's artistic hub. The couriors from the Guildhall Ward and the Factioneers from the rest of Sigil quite frequently find themselves at the Hall of Speakers allong side the Signers who hale it as their headquarters. The Hall is Sigil's figurative congress, where the city's laws are passed at the discression of the represented Factions. The first of the Ward's three great Halls, the Hall of Speakers is a great dome in almost the exact center of the ward. Inside, great debates - public and private - rage at all hours of the day. A beautiful garden blooms beneath the great dome, quietly humming it's muted, natural music as the city's philosophers with clubs berate eachother, but several rooms away.
Outside of the Hall's dome, but a few streets away, is the equally large Hall of Information - a great archive of Sigil's past. Public financial documents, Faction history, and about anything else a cutter without access to the City Courts would like to search for. The Hall of Information's sprawling corridors of text are open to anyone who can pay the jink to browse them. Another Hall of Information, though much less public, is the Hall of Records - where tax money and private tax records of every Sigilian are stored. Home to the Fated, the city's tax collectors, the Hall of Records is a series of several pavilions built around the main storage facility. The Rowan Acadamy of Training, where Takers train themselves, sits adjacent to the main halls. Thus, records are more than well guarded.
Further down the crowded streets of the Clerks Ward is the Civic Festhall, home of the Society of Sensation - a place charged with the immense task of entertaining Sigil's masses. The Civic Festhall is a gloriously bright building, in front of which a myriad of performers dance, juggle, and sing. In the Festhall's crowded interior, the hoi poloi are permitted to entertain themselves at the vast sensoriums, magical rooms that store particular experiences, to be reexperienced as often as is wanted. Plays and lectures are given constantly on each of the Festhall's several stages, the largest of which, Ren Hall, often hosts fantastic performances by the multiverse's most famous orators and playwrites.
The city's industrial section, the Lower Ward is a dark part of town dominated by the glowing peaks of the Great Foundry's smoke stacks. The source of Sigil's smog, ash and cinders rain lightly down on the Ward's houses and businesses. Dark and forboding, the Lower Ward is a lower class section of the city. Wandering around may lead a sod down the wrong road, into the depths of the Hive.
At the source of the smog and cinders is the Great Foundry, home to the Believers of the Source. The sprawling foundry lights the city, and turns raw materials into useful products for manufacturing in the rest of the Ward's factories. Perhaps more notable is the Armoury, which supplies the cities weaponry. Run by the Doomguard, the Armoury forges and sells massive quantities of all manner of weapons to Sigil's inhabitants. Here, anything used to kill or maim can be bought, for the right price - and magical safeguards are prudently in place to safeguard against any sort of foul play that might happen on the premises.
The Lower Ward is most famous for it's massive number of alcohol dives - there are more pubs under the rain of ash than anywhere in the rest of the city. Numerous people come nightly to the Speckled Rat, the Styx Oarsmen, the Fat Candle, and others to drink their problems away. Drunken people wander aimlessly during the night hours, and are quite frequently lost in the Hive.
Dark, claustrophobic streets meander endlessly, mazelike, through the gloom. A muffled shout in the distance, the smell of death and refuse. Muddy hands grope at a sod's ankles from the sentient puddles. The corpselike inhabitants of this, darkest Sigil, begin to crowd, their faces shrouded in a dark, hungry gleam...
In the fog, in darkest Sigil, is the Hive. The poorest inhabitants of Sigil lead a daily fight to continue their existances, in the Hive, constantly plagued by disease, fire, and riot. Suitably, the Mortuary - an imposing, gothic structure off of Ragpicker's Square - is one of the two established businesses in the Hive, the Dustmen there collecting those corpses of the plagued and starved. The other is the Gatehouse where the Bleakers tend to barmies and innumberable homeless sods looking for a bit to fill their poor stomachs.
The mazelike streets are completely inhospitable to anyone who doesn't live on them - and they are too concerned with staying alive to leave. The Hive has thus developed it's own Sigilian subculture, that of a savage animal people who will go to any extreme to survive. Those who don't live in the Hive make all attempts not to enter, for fear of death or plague, and only do so if escorted.
There isn't anything to see or do, in the Hive. Obviously, criminal activity flourishes in the disease wrecked streets, so the city's Anarchists and Xaositects both have a foothold. Other than the Gatehouse and the Mortuary, there aren't any site to be seen - and most cutters hope they never have to see either, though life in Sigil often leads to death or barminess.
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