Ivaris - Chapter 4 by Jennifer Raney

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SUMMARY: The pair find themselves in very capable hands.

A city of sin. And booze. And well, you get the idea.

The Grand Tuiran Entryway is a sight to behold, let me tell you. Steps made of solid granite formed a huge stairway, at least a hundred feet wide, leading up to the carved archway marking the entrance of the main shaft. It was magnificent and aging; the city was a little over two hundred years old. The archway was also granite, decorated with carvings of beautiful women, gargoyles, and embellishments plated with silver.

On either side of the archway were flagpoles flying the Houvet flag and the flag of Tuiran City. To the right of the main archway was the wagon and carriage entrance, with a long winding paved ramp leading into the city. Dotting the hillside above were various other smaller entrances, some abandoned, some developed into attractive balconies with hanging ladders for quick access.

Booths with trinkets and baubles, feather boas and pinwheels lined the gigantic stairway, bustling with tourists and children. I could already tell that Tuiran City was going to be an impressive, wonderful experience, and the idea filled me with excitement. Seroan looked down at me, and smiled at the wonder in my face. I must have looked like a child, but I didn't care, it was breathtaking.

The old mine shafts were much larger than I had imagined. It was not at all stuffy or damp, but very neat and well lit. The main shaft was called Lytpole Street, and was home to the Tuiran City Library, Municipal Court, Security Department, and a few smaller city offices. Just past these was Tuiran Square, where the first cross shaft was built up to be City Street. The ceiling here had been raised and supported by beautifully carved arches, with a grand chandelier in the center. Lining the Square were the best pubs, shops, and various services.

To the right on City Street was the Residential Quarter, Seroan explained. There you could find the people's homes, schools, general stores, and hospitals.

We turned left on City Street, and then down a set of busy stairs to what Seroan called ‘Gambler's Row.' Here were the casinos, brothels, and rowdier pubs. Off of this main street were small alleys that were more like mine shafts – stuffy and dark and scary. We stayed on the well lit street, however, and before long came to a pub called ‘The War Cry.'

The face of the building stood out from the others on the street. Clearly this was a well-known and important establishment in this part of the city. Simple but distinct fountains guarded the doorway, along with a series potted evergreens shaped into spirals, orbs, and other abstract shapes, on each step of the staircase leading to a great door. There were windows, but they were mostly for show, being completely blocked out by deep brown curtains.

"This is our stop," Seroan informed me.

"Oh, okay. Do I look alright?"

He didn't answer, but his smirk made me paranoid. I ran my fingers through my hair and adjusted my cloak and we went in.

It was what I expected, and much more.

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