Thursday, 4 February 2010

ruins of shalemark

Shalemark was once a mining community nestled between two hills.  It cut from the dark clay and shale tiles of slate for roofing and writing.  Now there are no trees or hedges, only broken walls.  The hills are scarred by quarries, ruined roads and punctured by treacherous placer tunnels.  Many are flooded, any may collapse. The valley is now a bog.  Shalemark is half sunken, amid moss beds and pools strewn with pale lotus blooms.

Yet secretive gangs posing as masons visit the ruins.  The pale lotus can be made into a milky tincture, a potent euphoric that is addictive when abused.  The gangs harvest the flowers, fearful of discovery by other gangs and worse.  Some ruins are haunted by vengeful spirits of former town council members lynched by howling addicts.  Their bodies are preserved in the mire, awaiting consecrated burial.

At the centre of the ruins is a chapel dedicated to those who watched over Shalemark, the catacombs under the chapel hold grave goods.  Those who habitually rob the dead will find rich pickings but risk disease doing so.  The combination of dank, brackish water and pestilential air provide no problems for rats or other bone gnawing scavengers.

There is hidden wealth in Shalemark.  Caches were hidden by miners and tincture dealers in case of need and lie still unfound.  Caskets filled with coin or pots of tincture await discovery.  If the undead and gangs were cleared, an enterprising individual could find the remaining slate beds.  Doing so will sacrifice what remains of Shalemark to the bog.  Also these would not last more than a year, leaving only lotus blooms and swamp.

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