Streets covered in blood, they walk this path, seeking shelter before the dark envelops the sky
As when Mother Night arrives, that’s when the demons arise.”
- "The Butchering" by Innocente De Sario, Amyrian poet and philanthropist
Formed from the ruins of Allory at the bottom level of Pallomaire, Butcher’s Block has exploded, thanks to the expulsion of Dah’jin to the district, into a tightly-packed enclave with a tarnished reputation due to its gang violence, widespread disease, and debauchery. At this point in time, none live there willingly, and often, most of the citizens kept to this district can only aspire to one day escape the unfortunate lifestyle they find themselves riddled with. Despite this extremely cutthroat culture, colorful graffiti decorates nearly every other wall, some obscene, whereas some are even artistic, bringing life to the otherwise drab district.
Once a simple few houses built atop and around the ruins of Allory at the bottom-most layer of Pallomaire, The beginnings of Butcher’s Block started to take hold into a district of its own after the pushing of Dah’jin away from closer to the center of the city by the Church of Crystalline Radiance’s hand in 239-E3. This led to the commonplace belief that, in what soon titled Butcher’s Block, Dah’jin were even welcome, instead of confined. A large influx of immigrants flooded into the neighborhood, expanding it. The original Amyrian citizens grew discontent over time, and eventually, in an explosion of anger and violence, Dah’jin were beaten, their homes burned down, and were even murdered in great numbers. Racial tensions were understandably at an all time high after these three days of violence, the event thematically dubbed ‘the Butchering.’
The population of the district took a hit from the fighting that ensued and much of Butcher’s Block remained in rubble, some of which lingering to this day, the deterioration of relations only continued. Gang violence rose even further than it’d already been present, the birth of warring all-nonhuman and all-Amyrian gangs contributing to a level of danger that the district had not seen before. However, as of 483-E5, many of these semi-possessed individuals fled as to avoid facing the purge Amyrians began to war against non-Amyrians, quelling these particular, primarily Dah’jin gangs, though this only led to the growth of Amyrian ones. As of today, Butcher’s Block remains tense, packed full of untrustworthy individuals, and its reputation dirtied by evergrowing muggings, robberies, and acts of discriminatory violence to those discovered as being non-Amyrian.
Formed of stacked shacks and shanties formed of shoddy wood as well as mud brick, Butcher’s Block is evidently downtrodden from the moment one steps foot into the district. Typically, these shacks are built about a courtyard with three stories, with the first floor being used for shops, and the rest rented off by business owners for residential purposes. Squalid and rat-ridden, these apartment blocks, called Insulae, are highly dangerous to live in, not only because of the amount of crime that plagues the area, but from unsanitary practices. Often, toilets aren’t even present in these shacks, or even an entire insula, and entire families are confined to one or two rooms, leading to the quick spread of disease across Butcher’s Block neighborhoods.
Thanks to the poor quality of the buildings, insulae are prone to collapsing frequently, leaving the district with the constant drone and knocking of construction. This often causes the residents to be plagued with insomnia, or gain a tolerance to loud or otherwise distracting noise. The residents of Butcher’s Block are known across the city of Pallomaire for their often erratic behavior, and tendency to conceal themselves with clothing, though this is largely the result of a relatively large Dah’jin population, which has supposedly dwindled over the years due to the purging of their race and non-Amyrians alike by the Amyrian Empire. With hopes to avoid death and discrimination, they take to covering up any features they may have gained as a result of their partial possession. Tinted spectacles, headscarves, gloves, and other clothing are common among them in particular, whereas the Amyrian human residents typically take up a more exposed, gender-neutral fashion, mainly in part to their lack of funds for specific clothing items desired.
Underneath the surface of Butcher’s Block lays the sewers, which is almost entirely populated, albeit very scarcely, by considerably notorious and wanted criminals as well as mages, the gravely ill who have been cast out from their homes, non-humans, and worse yet, massive rats that crawl deeper within. However, due to the relative scarcity of latrines and toilets, the sewers of Butcher’s Block are often forgone in favor of dumping trash and waste onto the streets. Only very rarely are these streets cleaned, usually by the very residents that live by these streets or punished convicts.
Points of Interest
- Balneum Balbinus: A small nearly-ruined bathhouse for the entirety of the people of Butcher’s Block, Balneum Balbinus is seen as the cleanest place in the district, and perhaps it is, though the rest of the district doesn’t give way to a good comparison. Although doctors often suggest the ill to bathe as treatment, this only leads to disease hastily infecting other bathers, who are typically there for the exact same reason. After all, the water is primarily stagnant, with little in the way of fresh water being provided aside from a small trickle of water given by a derelict aquaduct that siphons water away from more reputable areas.
- Forum Macello: Gathering place for the people and home of the most dense marketplace in Butcher’s Block, Forum Macello is nearly constantly bustling, even into the late hours of the night, though travellers are often warned of pickpockets and muggings commonplace to the forum, even in relatively open space. Tents and stalls are clumped together, leading to tight walkways, the area adorned with decaying foliage from a lack of tending to.
- Theatrum Otho: Although once a home for common plays and performances, the golden days of this theatre are long over, now converted to fulfilling some of the same purposes as a larger amphitheatre. Large dogs are pitted against each other on a stage surrounded in a cage-like fence with the objective being a fight to the death, or as close to it as possible, for the sake of mere entertainment. Betting is commonplace, and many are known to have lost what little life’s savings they had on these dog fights. On special occasions, the Theatrum is also used for the boxing matches that are so prevalent across the undercity, with individuals from all sorts of colourful backgrounds fighting to the death for the entertainment of the bloodthirsty crowds.
- Porcius’s Curios: This curiosity shop, located in the ground floor of what seems to be any common insula, has garnered quite the macabre reputation across Butcher’s Block. Rumors surround it, whispers on the street telling stories of Mad Porcius’s never-ending greed, causing him to seek out graves to dig up in the dead of night, selling the bones, clothing, and other items buried with the deceased to any who inquire. Taxidermied animals and bottled fetuses decorate the shop, as well as other particularly gruesome story-telling objects.
- Shrine to the Butcher: While being a practical hole in the wall, a small area has been designated by the people as a shrine to a supposed spirit representing Butcher’s Block as a whole. Depicted as a ghost-like figure with a gold laurel adorning his head, though wearing a raggedy dress, numerous symbols also represent the Butcher. Knives, coins, and wilting flowers are often left at this shrine in commemoration of this spirit and the district itself. Saturated graffiti adorns the walls surrounding this shrine, and it is often thought of as the most vibrant location in Butcher’s Block, despite its grim nature.
- Despite the existence of a shrine to the spirit of Butcher’s Block, aptly named ‘the Butcher’, few actually believe in his existence, and practically none actively worship him, instead following other faiths, if at all, namely being the Crystallis faith.
- Butcher’s Block takes its name from the various blood and scraps of food that is emptied into the district from the food market, a city layer above, just adjacent to it. Although there is the benefit of free food, this leads to competition and infighting amongst the citizenry of the district, along with an infestation of large monstrosities of rats.
- A common theme of graffiti, aside from various gang tags and markings, consists primarily of symbology for the suffering of individuals living within the district. Globs of tears, rivers, and lamenting angelic figures decorate the walls, though in contrast to these depictions of depression, vibrant colors are used, primarily due to the dust and grime that will fade them over time.
Affiliation: Amyrian Empire
Still in Use: Yes
Accessible To: Lower class of Pallomaire