Curio Court Resources
Watched over by the Gray Lady, the court is a hive of activity during the morning and evening, when barrowmen and hawkers ply trade next to the resident artisans and shop traders.
All manner of things can be found in the court, from the mundane to the exotic, locally made or having travelled half the known world or more to wind up here. In the afternoon, the Grey Lady Tavern offers good ale and fine food, in the pleasant shade of lilac and vinery, overlooking the place and well, where the servants gather to catch up on gossip or swap tales of understairs.
The court can be found near the dockside off the Tanners Lane, 15ft down a flight of wide steps between the the workshops of Pirok the cobbler and Rigig the Leather Engraver. A long tunnel leads to the dockside warehouses and loading bays where carts bring goods to the shops of Delock Araster the cloth merchant, Sirion the wine merchant Aldrow the weaver and others. There are exits to Black Court, via a narrow stepped tunnel, and to the maze of lanes behind the Grey Lady. As it is almost sunk into the rock of Solis itself, and surrounded by high buildings, the court sees little sunshine until well into the day, but the colourful stalls of the barrow traders, the exotic cloth of Delock Araster and the pleasant facade of the Grey Lady, overgrown as it is with lilac and vines, laden with grapes and festooned with riotous colour in the summer months makes this place warm and welcoming, not at all like the rest of the city is is part of.
The night watch start to open the gates as sunrise colours the sky above a pale azure, and the stars above the city wink out one by one, assuming the sea fogs are not obscuring all view above the second stories of these old stone facades. The milk seller arrives and sets up store near the well a little latter. The first of the serving girls comes to draw water just after dawn, and buy milk and cheese. Soon the barrowmen start to arrive, from the alleyways behind the Grey Lady, and open their stalls selling breakfasts of sweetmeats, fish and bread. By an hour after sunrise, the artisans and merchants have opened their doors and have their wares on display, enticing folk in to browse and buy all manner of things. As the sun climbs high enough to peer into the court, the Grey Lady opens her doors and the first ale of the day is served.
As the court empties toward noon, the traders retire to eat, and in the afternoon they see to stock, taking supplies brought through the dock tunnel, or crafting items in their workshops. Towards evening, the traders and hawkers are out again and the air is heavy with the smell of mouthwatering victuals. With nightlights and torches sending shadows dancing all around, the court takes on a life of its own, a pulsating heart in this body of humanity known as Solis.
As Evening draws to a close the last of the harlots leave for the maze as the hawkers pack away their wares and push carts home, the gates closed behind them and bolted by the night watch. Soon all is silent except for the occasional spill of laughter from the Grey Lady or the trundle of cartwheels from the docks as a late delivery is made. The night watch keep an ear open, listening out for anyone needing to gain legitimate entry, or for any more nefarious noises hinting at illicit activities best carried out in the dark of night. Soon dawn will break again, and the cycle will continue.