At a perfumed arcade known as the Emporium, Governor-Mayor Lanod Neff rubs shoulders with common labourers awaiting an appointment in the Veiled Corridor. In an adjoining antechamber, snakes and exotic dancers gyre to a sonorous weave of cymbals and seductive pipes. A floor below, a gaggle of grasping miners presses against the windowed door of a darkened cell, impatient for a glimpse of a two-headed calf.
Out in the street, a gang of rowdies screams obscenities at a crumpled halfling, kicking it as if scrambling for a ball. Their drunken laughter echoes off shuttered windows and bolted doors.
In a tower-flanked fortress across the shadowy square, filthy men with nothing to lose shout hymns to St. Cuthbert, clutching to their idealism and principles like cornered animals. Their wild-eyed chief minister smiles as he draws a cat-o-nine tails across his bare back, awash in their adulation and the spirit of his god.
But it's just another night in Diamond Lake.