A lot of readers have noted that our towns possess as much character as our people. Jile is a seedy, remote swamp town located in the heart of the Ice Marshes. The men of Doljinaar have always stuck to the roads that wind far around the marshes, which transformed Jile into a breeding ground for criminals, night mortals, half-breeds and others in hiding. Of course this makes Jile a very dangerous and undesirable place to visit. That said, if you can get past the thug filled taverns, the back alley thieves and the powerful drug cartels you would find one of the most rare cultures in all Doljinaar.
If you were lucky enough to go unaccosted down Jile’s dark streets, you would have quite the eye-opening experience. Jile is the only town in all of Doljinaar where night mortals live among men (well if you don’t count the stinky sewers of Kurn that have been converted into an underground black market). Perhaps, we should rephrase: Jile is the only town in all Doljinaar where men and night mortals live side by side, house next to house, under the sun.
Under the moon might be a more befitting description. Jile has a thriving night life. Drunkards and thugs fill its streets; too much frosty ale burning in their bellies. Harlots acquire quite a lot of business by making catcalls off porches and balconies. Night mortals who cannot stand the burning glare of the sun creep out of their homes late at night. They make useful bodyguards and debt collectors, which hound the frivolous throngs of drunken ruffians.
But wait! Before I move on let me give you what everyone came here for today…tourist information!
Jile offers a wide array of tourist attractions! For happy hour, don’t miss out on The Dragon’s Den Inn & Tavern! It’s the safest place to drink, provided you don’t stare too long at the hooded Dark Elven assassin in the back of the room. The Pig’s Trough Eathouse is the best place to eat in town, and don’t miss out on their infamous Mudcrab Medley! Drazel’s Goods and Wares is a great place to find souvenirs; especially recrafted trinkets made of trash and scrap metal that prove surprisingly useful. Oh, and if you want fireworks, get some scrolls from Mizban’s Tower of Magic, but you’ll have to sign a release form just in case a spell blows up in your face. Just don’t break any of the local customs or you’ll end up in the barracks or cartel dungeons where prisoners have been known to drown or freeze to death in the far too frequent backups of subsurface water.
As you can see, Jile is an old city. Jile is slowly sinking back into the Ice Marshes. Its walls and buildings are retreating into the mud. Many of the long winding roads to Jile have been swallowed by the marshes long ago. The sunken remains of wagons and the skeletons harness animals are at times the best indicators of an Ice Marsh road. The south edge of the city is being inundated with floodwaters. Poor families have been pushed to the uncomfortable mosquitoe-infested edges of town, and although many of them work reputable trades, they lock their doors come nightfall. Every window in Jile is heavily barred and every door is bolted with a minimum of four locks.
Now Jile isn’t all bad. The town has many diamonds buried in the rough. Jile has the strongest tolerance of all the great cities of Doljinaar. Here night mortals and half-breeds can live and work freely among humans. Many men and night mortals who seek refuge in Jile are runaway slaves. Slaves who can earn a large enough living to bribe the corrupt city guards, might even have a chance of staying if a bounty hunter ever bothers to come looking for them. Doelm runts who take asylum in Jile live better here than anywhere else in the world, as long as they don’t cross the rough and tumble Doelm Drug Cartel.
The Shamite Drug Cartel is the worst of the cartels and is backed by the powerful resources of the Merchant Guild. All of Jile’s drug cartels deal mainly in Stardust, which is a strong hallucinogen that can be harvested from the Ice Marshes. Stardust drug addicts are called Dustheads. They lean over steaming bowls of water mixed with Stardust, with towels over their heads, and inhale the fumes for a good high. Many Dustheads have been known to wander out of town under the influence of powerful hallucinations and suffer horrible deaths in the Ice Marshes.
Jile’s most unwanted population is the Dragols. Dragols are short hunched little rat-men with nearly bald scraggly heads and rat shaped snouts. They move quickly through alleys and sewers, making themselves immensely elusive and a general pain the neck. They are worse than raccoons and dig through garbage cans leaving behind piles of spilled trash. Dragols were once hunted down until the Shamite Drug Cartel discovered that Dragol agility enabled them to retrieve Stardust with ease. The drug is collected from the pollen of Starlilies that grow in the warmer months in the Ice Marshes. This has made some Dragols very rich, but of course, Dragols never lost their unquenchable taste for garbage. They can be found in the original Dragol overflow housing in the city outskirts or even paddling among the flooded south searching for fish and stashing treasure troves of garbage.
The Ice Marshes don’t live up to their wintry name in the warmer seasons. They become brown marshlands that bloom with ugly and thorny plants, but plant life nonetheless. This also awakens even more dangerous wildlife that hibernates through the long and harsh winters. I originally got the idea for the Ice Marshes from Illinois, which is my home state, after I found out much of Illinois had once been marshland before it had been converted into farmland.
Shade, the infamous Dark Elven Assassin of Jui-Sae, has also come to call Jile home. Jile is the only town in all Doljinaar which permits him to walk its streets. Shade’s fearsome reputation in Jile is so well known by the locals that they often call it, “Shade’s Town”. He has a permanent room at The Dragon’s Den Inn & Tavern. Many of the locals come to drink at The Dragon’s Den since the fear of Shade’s presence delivers a sliver of law and order. The locals have grown smart enough not to cross Shade, so they can often drink unmolested at The Dragon’s Den. You can read about The Dragon’s Den in Chapter One of the brand new sample section of this blog, which is an excerpt from Shade’s first book: Waiting Game.
Below is a picture of Shade walking through the streets of Jile. You can see the air of dominance he projects over all the locals. Two supposedly fearless drunken Braznian warriors grovel at his feet, begging forgiveness for blocking his way. A harlot and a witch still to quiet whispers as he passes by. Men stop at the doorways and thieves shrink back into the alleys. Corrupt Doljinaarian soldiers let him pass without a word. This is one of the killer black and white illustrations our artist put together for Shade 1 as a bonus for those who buy the book.
I will be posting chapter samples from Shade 2, which includes new scenes from Jile and the Ice Marshes as we get closer to launch. For now feel free to explore many other great locales of Covent.