Vale of Tears

Carved into the face of a massive waterfall, the Vale of Tears is an organised hive of scum and villainy. Run by the Guild, it is a place where everything and anything has a price; and, as long as you can meet the price, life in the Vale can be very pleasant indeed.

Every “building” in the Vale opens out onto the waterfall, with its “balcony” serving as both entry platform and street landing. A complex system of horse-drawn elevators, pulleys and carved staircases allow one to traverse the city, and there are often a half-dozen different ways for one to get from one building to another, depending on how much one is willing to pay.

Most formal streets in the city are carved into the cliff-face deeply enough for two horses to ride by each other without fear of falling off the cliff. More importantly, however, they are also often carved with a stone awning over them, that one might walk through them without getting (too) wet.

This is of course not true of the smaller amateur streets, which are typically crudely and shallowly carved into the cliff-face by the inhabitants themselves. As a result, most inhabitants of the Vale either get used to being wet or very quickly invent ways to keep themselves dry.

New Buildings

Nearly 92% of the waterfall’s cliff-face has already been worked, with the remainder taken up by streets or elevator shafts. As such, it is impossible for anyone to construct a new building that opens out to the waterfall. However, it is extremely common for existing landlords to start carving out more rooms into the mountain itself, that they may rent out more of their buildings.

As might be expected, such careless excavations often end up criss-crossing each other, causing what was meant to be a new bedroom to suddenly open out into an adjacent building’s kitchen. To prevent this from continuing to happen, the Guild has forbidden any further excavations on pain of exile.

However, since there is no way to permanently seal up what has already been knocked down, these informal passageways are often used by thieves and other ne’er-do-wells to gain easy access to a building. This series of tunnels and passageways is commonly known as the Thief’s Highway, and the exact details of the connections can often fetch a very high price on the black market.

Vale of Tears

Quartet Tales thanthos