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Cessnock is a thieves' den, a city built atop of a city, a piecemeal collection of dwellings and shacks created atop the uninhabited, decayed city of Lapidum. It exists in the shadow of the Turritella, with large cables dangling from above. Some are tethered to the rooftops of Lapidum, and others remain swinging overhead, orphaned and unattached. Since Cessnock is built on the shoulders of Lapidum, it is multi-tiered; rope bridges, bridges built of Actin and Chitin, and cables help link building to building. Most people live in the top stories of the existing buildings; the rooftops, since they catch sunlight are reserved almost exclusively for growing things. The buildings, both new and of old Lapidum, exist in a state of somewhat decadent decay — crumbling brick and concrete, exposed metal, and rough-hewn, lumpy Actin and Chitin; graffiti covers nearly all available surfaces and has become something of an art form, a way for the denizens of the city to communicate with one another quite literally under the nose of the Turritella.

Layout of Cessnock

Directly underneath the Spire is the main elevator up to the Turritella, which is guarded and surrounded by official-looking buildings that look somewhat newer than the rest of the city. They are, on average, kept cleaner and maintained better as well. Most of the near-constant activity in Cessnock goes on in the top five or six stories of old Lapidum. Spreading out from the elevator are the more legit business areas of Cessnock, committed to the import of Ommatidia crystals as well as any available goods that are needed. The farther out one roams from the elevator, the less legit the businesses get; in the center most brothels and moneylenders and drug dens are fronted by reputable-looking businesses. Towards the outskirts the fronts are dispensed with and one can find anything they so desire, from hard drugs to sex to stolen merchandise and medicine. Privately owned homes are scattered willy-nilly throughout Cessnock, wherever a free piece of roof or an existing home or building can be appropriated; there is really no true rhyme or reason to the city since it has grown simply by people being put out of the Turritella.

The rooftops have been devoted to growing things, since they are the only places that receive regular sunlight; almost every rooftop in Lapidum, and even structures built more recently, appear fuzzy with growth from a distance. Very few people ever have cause to walk around on the rooftops, except to maintain the crops and oversee their harvesting from time to time. While the crops aren't exactly legal, usually devoted almost totally to drugs, this is the main way Cessnock is able to maintain some sort of agriculture and commerce and so it usually is ignored by Frontiersmen.

Life in Cessnock

The average citizen of Cessnock has a hardscrabble life, but that isn't to say that they live their days in constant fear, with no fun or leisure time. Though the city is mostly run by criminals and crime is common, it's easy to make a living harvesting drugs, providing goods or services both legal and illegal, or generally being lucky enough to avoid the law and forge a life of crime. For a change, there are plenty of brothels, bordellos, burlesque houses, and music and theater to visit when the workday is over. People are largely free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, simply because that's the way life in Cessnock has always gone. As a city of thieves and criminals, attempting to force law or order on anyone is usually met with a hard push back, so most of the citizenry has adopted a mindset that is both laid back and paranoid.

The poorest people in Cessnock usually find themselves harvesting drug crops or working for the bigger crime syndicates as runners or petty thieves. They live wherever they can, most of the time in small apartments or even shacks and lean-tos built out of reclaimed Actin and scraps of metal and wood. The more adventurous among them are the ones who volunteer to go down to the Surface to harvest metals, materials, and whatever Ommatidia can be found, though these crystal harvesters are normally kept on excruciatingly tight leashes. There is little time for play, and the drug use among the city's poor is extremely high.

The richest people, by contrast, are the ones who control large portions of the city's crime, who grow the most valuable crops, and who display their wealth by their dress, their drug addiction, and the fact that they will own and inhabit whole floors of some of the ancient, decaying Lapidum-era buildings in some of the nicest portions of Cessnock. These rich are the ones who will constantly visit the theaters and the music halls, while publicly eschewing bordellos and brothels to make themselves look good and moral and ethical. What goes on behind their closed doors, though, is anyone's guess, but it is most assuredly decadent and extremely illegal.

Homes are mostly whatever you can find and appropriate, from the lean-tos and shacks of the poor to the vast penthouses and multi-level dwellings of the richest crime lords. Decoration and furnishings run the gamut from actual and extremely rare antiques to reclaimed furniture from the Turritella to mass-produced, somewhat shoddy furniture made out of low-grade Actin and Chitin.

Weather in Cessnock

Cessnock's weather is generally always somewhat hot, but it's usually always muggy, with high humidity. Whether this is from living with the Turritella above, or simply the natural climate of the Blight-ravaged planet underneath, cool days and rainy days in Cessnock are generally enjoyed. In the winter months, it does get a little bit cooler, but in the hot months, it is both hot and muggy and rains nearly every day, which can make the heat unbearable. In the hottest months of the year, it ceases to rain at all. Although Lapidum is built on the water, any and all precipitation and even the cloud cover dries out - and that is when the dust storms come, which leave the sky yellowish-brown and the air full of choking, scouring sand for hours at a time.

Every now and again, a Blightstorm? will roll through dangerously close to Cessnock, which shuts the city down for as long as it takes to pass. The people of Cessnock retreat deep into the buildings of old Lapidum and wait out the storm for as long as they must. Any materials left out in the storm are usually eroded and rusted and must be repaired and rebuilt. Anyone foolish enough to leave anything made out of a Great Material will invariably lose it. Any crops that are growing at the time of the storm are normally lost, or, if the storm wasn't bad, are eaten or harvested with a degree of caution.