To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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“What marks the Market Ward, and separates it from the Guildhall Ward? Simple. The Market Ward is filled with my type of people, and the Guildhall Ward a little less so. Here in the Market Ward we make our way as much on our own labor as we do on our intellect. I like that.
“I’ve been seeing less of the Ward lately though. And with that I’ve been seeing less of the bustle of the traders, merchants and vendors, half of them paying me to hawk their own products for them. I’ve been cooped up in the Clerk’s Ward, penned in with eight other cutters and berks. There only to speak my mind and to make sure that those berks in the same ward get less chance to speak theirs with a bully pulpit under them. Some say it suits me, but I still look forward to going back to my own kip down from the Great Bazaar at the end of the day.” – Harys Hatchis
Two things dominate the Market Ward: money and the actions that make it flow between and grace the palms of those making it. Buying, selling, and bargaining. Such is the language of the Market Ward.
The ward itself is less diverse than the other wards of the city, in terms of districts, anyways. Really only two distinct districts exist in the Market Ward, which is sometimes grouped together with the Guildhall Ward, despite the rising prominence of the latter.
The Market Ward, while smaller in size itself than other wards, is of such financial importance to the city it has remained separate. Since the Tempest of Doors, however, much of the interplanar trading, especially that handled by Estavan of the Planar Trading Consortium, has moved out of Sigil to the Outlands and other routes free from the potential for the Lady’s disruption.
Copperman Way, cutting its way through the Market Ward from the Lady’s Ward, is the home of most of the wealthier merchants and shopkeepers operating out of the Great Bazaar. In reality, it’s an imitation of the Noble’s District one ward over, and most of the merchants along the street would dearly love to one day be able to call the Noble’s District, or even another of the districts within the Lady’s Ward, home.
Dominating the ward itself is the Great Bazaar, sometimes erroneously called the Grand Bazaar. This sprawling, open-air market serves as the heart of the ward and of most commerce in Sigil itself. Previously the bazaar was the center of activity of the Free League. Many of the members of the league left Sigil following the Tempest of Doors, but a large enough amount yet remain in the city that perhaps one in every three sellers in the bazaar has some tie to the League or was a former member themselves. Even without actual faction hierarchy, the loose network of the League yet exists and allows for the quick flow of information and favorable business deals among associates within the League. This has made it difficult for those not associated with the League from hedging their way into many contracts and trade agreements in the ward. Primarily this has complicated issues not for smaller and individually owned businesses and craftsmen, but for larger planar trade groups such as the Merkhant sect and the Planar Trade Consortium under Estavan the Ogre Mage. This is likely to lead to fiercer conflict both in and out of the city in the coming years. [Estavan still has ambition, fiercely so, despite his quite nature within Sigil of late, despite his goals within the City of Doors effectively mangled by the manipulations of Zadara and Shemeska – The Editor]
The Great Bazaar, despite the efforts of both the Harmonium and the Fraternity of Order in the past, remains a cluttered, sometimes confusing, ramshackle collection of merchants selling their wares and hawking their products from established buildings, tents, pushcarts, and even from their own hands at a street corner. This mercantile free-for-all sometimes may seem to be more than a bit chaotic, and if a cutter is searching for a particular merchant or item, the best option is to seek out one of the many touts that wander the district, many of them Free League members themselves. Even without a tout, with but a minimum of wandering through the huge expanse of the Bazaar, one can find most anything from across the planes for the right amount of jink. Everything can be found, from mundane foodstuffs from Bytopia, to the skull of a howler from the third layer of Pandemonium, or a shard of black ice from Ocanthus in Acheron. But with the amount of jink passing from palm to palm, and purse to purse, pickpockets from across the Cage are eager to help themselves to their own portion of it, and a large number of them prey upon unwary shoppers to the ward using either elaborate scams or simple pouch pilfering.
The Warehouse District lies downwards from the Great Bazaar and consists of a twenty block by six-block range, roughly speaking, of warehouses. Since the Tempest of Doors, the warehouses, once full to the brim with trade goods and merchandise from a thousand different planar locales, now sit barely half full, their holdings diverted to alternate trade routes in the Outlands and other planar trading burgs. With many of the warehouses no longer in use, some have been abandoned or demolished and the district has been slowly gaining in squatters and vagrants, holing themselves up in the empty buildings. The Free League has left well enough alone for the most part, but a number of independent merchants have begun to move their own hired thugs, including sizable contingents of those under the Aegis of the Minder’s Guild, into the area for the purpose of flushing the unwanted and undesired out. It seems likely that this issue will be brought before the Sigil Advisory Council in the near future, with the Minder’s Guild tasting blood on the water, and other mercantile interests in Sigil, including more than one Golden Lord, eager to use it to slander the former members of the Free League.