The Free Market
Dortin’s main residential neighborhoods for Humans are arrayed on the fringes of the city’s core. On the west, ‘the Free Market’ is sometimes used to describe all the free neighborhoods west of The Stone Road; people in these rent-free areas are poor, often either squatters or the descendants of squatters, but more self-sufficient than most, with their own gardens and their own market.
The Free Market neighborhood contains the actual Free Market, located in a large plaza at the end of Vineyard Road, where Trades Road and Alaster Street flow into Vineyard. This is the city’s smaller second market, more convenient to the poor people west of The Stone Road and generally cheaper than Alaster Compound, for merchants and shoppers alike. Nonetheless, the Free Market has a different character; for starters, most ‘merchants’ here are townspeople marketing the produce of their own gardens or the livestock they raise in the pens near to their houses, or craftsmen who operate as cottage industries, making goods in their own homes. These people can set up their wares rent-free and sell to their friends and neighbors, instead of paying for space at Alaster Compound to haggle with strangers from the better part of town. This parochial atmosphere, as well as the lack of big spenders, does discourage the more up-market merchants of the city, especially those with high-dollar businesses like armorers and weaponsmiths, of whom there are few or none. The market is well paved with blocks, not rubble, and lit by torches all night.