Snapshot from the World of Trent, one of the locations found in "Wanderer of Worlds: Axiom"
The city of Gredann is split into three distinct areas: Dockside, Portside and Hill End. This separation not only defines the physical composition, but is also a distinct partition of class.
Dockside is easily the oldest and largest part of the city. Its irregular and narrow streets are laid with cobbles; only the most commonly travelled have been hastily covered in tarmac in more recent times. Dockside was always troubled with lack of space, for Gredann had grown quickly. It is an unplanned framework that centres on the docks, with warehouses looming like vultures circling prey.
Shadows rule the narrow streets as sunlight is blocked by buildings that can only expand upward. It is not unusual to see six story warehouses with third and fourth stories built with different materials than its upper and lower floors. The streets are usually chilly and cursed with sudden and violent gusts of wind, enough to topple the very young and very old, but cannot displace the hardy sailors and fat merchants that move more frequently between the streets closest to the docks.
Twenty blocks away and protected from the windy passages and chill air, a family would still be considered living Dockside, even though there have been no sailors or merchants for many generations and the cry of gulls are indistinct. It is easy to define the edge of Dockside to Hill End, as a steep incline separates the two. Large pines grow on the mountainside, safe from the cutter’s axe. These trees were named Frontier Green by the most affluent families and deeply respected by the wealthier class, who were relieved by such a boldly drawn line. Docksiders know the long stretch of trees simply as the tree border.
The boundary that separates Dockside and Portside is not as straightforward. Hill Enders and most Portside residents classified the line of shops along White Fence Road as the boundary between them and the Docksiders. But as businesses expanded and shopping along White Fence Road grew increasingly popular, there was spillage of merchant retailers into the next street – Red Crescent – which began up the middle of White Fence Road, and true to its name, curved back to meet the Road a short way ahead. Red Crescent became a popular choice for eateries and small fashion boutiques, which also sold quality cloth, and was heartily accepted as an element of Portside. However, the eateries lost their customers as a new restaurant district opened up near the heart of the Port, and the boundary was once again believed to end at White Fence Road – to most.
Portside – the area – had taken the name from Port Cleary - the large newly built docks. They took over the necessity of the old docks at Dockside as theirs had been well planned, generously funded and managed by a regimented hand. Constructed by soldiers less than a century beforehand, it was so named after the visionary Superior General Tomas Cleary, who had come to Gredann and established a large Authority base in what was then a small and growing community of fishers and tradespeople. Now Gredann is a city, and the base – named Oceangate by the Superior General himself – takes almost a quarter of the city’s area, including the Port.
The position of Portside allowed much freer movement than the old Docks could attest to, despite the difficulty of placement. Oceangate had been built near the ocean itself, but there was nothing to be said of beaches or bays, merely a lengthy plunge which ended at rocks along the coastal waters. The Port was an exercise in the schematics of construction. Instead of building it upward, the Authorities tunnelled into the land, ferrying out tons upon tons of dirt and rock. They were fortunate to encounter mostly Sponge Rock, which could be easily pummelled into many pieces before being carried out.
Only the largest and most successful merchants could afford to dock at Port Cleary. The exorbitant docking fees – the Authorities declared – was to earn back the monumental amount of funds that had gone into building a much-needed structure that could only benefit the city. Promises were made to the fishers and smaller merchants of Gredann that fees would eventually drop to an insignificant charge – enough to pay for administrative costs alone. While the lesser merchants and fishers waited for the Port to pay for itself, they were forced to use the old Docks, which was a rambling trip from the mouth of the Ryn Sayriss River to the wide hairpin bend where the Docks were located.
Even though the Docks are much trouble in comparison to the wisely planned Port Cleary, the streets too narrow, and the space for ships and boats too few, most sailors, fishers and merchants enjoy the colour and character of the old Docks to the austerely designed Authority Port, despite their grumbles. They had lived in Dockside all their lives and recognised it as their own.
It was because of this faithfulness and understanding of traditional ways that most illegal activities were conducted around Dockside, closest to the Docks. None of the Docksiders spoke of movements after curfew, nor did they comment on the coming and going of ships at night beyond permissible hours, and they could not recall names or faces of people on the streets who could be seen from their homes after dark. Docksiders knew that whatever happened within their line of sight was due to plans of other Docksiders, and the sense of community in these people was strong.
The Authorities – they all knew – were less understanding. Despite the cash flow they had brought to the town, despite their wonderfully clever technology and beautifully built port, despite every good thing they had done since they had set foot in the world of Trent itself, they are openly despised by Docksiders.
Dockside had been the beginning of Gredann. As some fishers and merchants grew successful due to trade between the lands oversea and Bardon City (a much larger city than Gredann, but it was landlocked), they were the first to build large mansions made of stone or brick, not of the easily obtainable wood that was so favoured in the Gredann Province. It was only natural that they should select high ground, which overlooked both the ocean and their beloved docks. Soon enough they named their finest area Hill End, and as generations were born into the houses the roots of their financial success were forgotten. Children diversified their talents as they became adults – leaving behind the shipping trade that they knew nothing of – and investing their time and money in such things as horse breeding, construction and in a few cases, tourism. As they moved away from the interests of Dockside, a growing resentment nurtured itself between the two communities. And so the Authorities entered into this newly borne rift, only to divide the people further with the building of Oceangate – an Authority Base.
Merchants quickly learned to settle where the money flowed most freely, as close to Oceangate as possible. This tentative settling was soon to become Portside, where residents were mostly tradespeople and shopkeepers.
Laws were instigated as the Authorities made political allies, and soon enough a ban was placed on alcohol. The official reason for such a ban was due to the number of shipping mishaps caused by inebriated sailors. Some Docksiders bothered with the research of such disasters, only to find a small percentage were caused by alcohol – most simply by stubbornness and ignorance. When Dockside cried out that the ruling was unsound, the Authorities listened patiently, promised they would investigate further, only to make unannounced visits to warehouses Dockside, confiscating crates of goods that were of a ‘suspicious nature’ merely to be found legit and returned after many weeks, when businesses were struggling due to their stock being seized.
It did not win the hearts of the Docksiders, who rallied together in protest, only to find a new law passed, confining all citizens indoors before sunrise and after sunset, otherwise arrests would be made and penalties suffered. Initially Docksiders ignored this law, only to be overpowered and arrested, released either with a payable fine or a severe beating (or both), or after three arrests for the same crime - execution.
Defeated, they accepted the curfew and the alcohol ban, lest more privileges be taken from them.
Many hearts turned cold to the Authorities after that. It was a rare Docksider that turned apathetically from talk about such things, unheard of to find a Docksider that spoke in Authority defence. It appeared that all would be happy to separate a soldier from his team for a pounding or two, happier still to find some natural tragedy had struck at Oceangate or Portside – as though the Gods themselves agreed with Docksiders.