Explore the Wiki and discover the World of Anchor
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Explore the Wiki and discover the World of Anchor
Find more Anchor flavour outside this site
Learn about our next event
Anchor is divided into seven administrative districts, each with its own place of worship and Bureaucracy office.
You can click on each of the maps for the larger versions, or see HERE for a map of the island.
At the northernmost tip of Anchor is Port Cardinal. The Port Cardinal district covers several square miles and contains warehouses, chandlers, and numerous small manufacturing industries related to skyships, as well as some of the more popular taverns and the Church of St Walter, patron saint of pneumonauts. Port Cardinal itself is the great arsenal of the island, and weapons manufacturing is carried out here under the watchful eye of the Bureaucracy from the tower of Squall House. It is also where Anchor's Department of Military Precision operates from, flying its distinctive blue flag and the Barracks occupies one great fortified wall, where the port rubs shoulders with the walled district of Hold.
Withers Lane: This cramped, tidy little establishment is a haven for DoMP officers trying to get a brew in before they leave on the next skyship, or dock-workers taking tea before their shift starts. No fights ever break out here’ and the debate is famously good natured and polite.
Whittler's Walk: Often frequented by members of The Whittler's Guild and off-duty Knights trying to get away from the shop-talk of the drinking establishments in Cradle district. People sip tea here in silence; and there are a number of rooms above where private meetings can be had.
At the highest point on the terrain of Anchor, slightly to the North East of the centre of the island stands The Cradle - the cathedral to The Anchorer, whose mighty bell tower rings out the hours. The Cradle is the main place of worship, but it is also the heart of a tiny, walled city-within-a-city - the Enclave. This is the preserve of the Church of the Anchorer and all three branches have their headquarters in the shadow of the Cradle.
Outside the Enclave, the Cradle district is well-to-do and respectable, with a large number of ecclesiastics and prosperous citizens. The Bureaucracy maintains a small office here, known as Frederick House.
None. An edict from the previous Mouthpiece in YJ98 banned the establishment of Tea Houses within the district, claiming that they were “dens of vice and denigration”.
Word is the new Mouthpiece, Michelle Otranto, could be convinced otherwise - certainly the first person to open a Tea House here would turn a tidy profit from all the off-duty law-folk.
Furybone is a low-lying area between the Cradle and Ranklock. The northern part is an ancient, tumbledown slum known as the Barrens. Dire poverty and crime are the hallmarks of the district, and it's a brave citizen who walks these alleys at night. The area is overshadowed by the Baden's Bridge, and Furybone House sits on the northern edge, a squat and unwelcome Bureaucracy presence, next to St Badenban's Church, believed by some to be the oldest on the island.
The southern end of the Barrens was formerly a pleasant collection of fine houses and gardens, occupied by the four noble families, with a decorative pool known as Maiden's Lake at the centre. Following the fall of the nobility and the Judgement, the estates were largely abandoned and citizens from North Barrens moved in, squatting the crumbling mansions or building hovels until a shanty-town occupied the land. As a practical gesture to symbolize the benefit of the poor citizens from the fall of the nobles, the Bureaucracy systematically razed and rebuilt the area into four symmetrically laid out developments of humble but practical dwellings, centred round the pool. These estates are named for the four noble families whose land this once was:
Interestingly, the Irisetti Gatehouse fell just outside the neat square of the new development, on the southernmost border of Furybone, and is still inhabited by members of that noble family. They maintained a view of their former demesne, and were able to watch as the new estates degenerated quickly into sinks of crime and impoverishment, while the pool became an unofficial rubbish dump known as Middenlake. Until recently, there was little difference between life there and in the Barrens, but the Maiden's Lake Redevelopment Project of YJ101 has begun regeneration in the area.
There are no major Teahouses in Furybone, but a number of stalls and barrows walk the wide streets around Maiden’s Lake, particularly around Lamp-lighting and First Bells. Many residents are wondering if the new Redevelopment Project will draw someone to open a business in the district.
The walled District of Hold is where the powerful live - the top Bureaucrats, those who can afford the biggest bribes, and the highly favoured. It has always been a pleasant place to live - it catches the balmy south-easterly wind and the first light of the morning - but is now walled off to retain its elegance and character, and prevent its citizens being offended by the proximity of the busy Port Cardinal or the wretched Barrens.
Hold contains St Formosa's church, an elaborately-spired edifice, and the tiny sinecure base of the Bureaucracy, Scarrit Place. The Bureaucracy bosses do not need a large presence here - it's where they live.
The Arboretum - a great glass-roofed botanical garden, warm even in winter - is also in Hold, and makes a pleasant place to visit. The Arboretum houses a specimen of every plant that grows in Anchor, and a small area of lawn where the very privileged may sit and enjoy the fragile heat of the greenhouse.
Mutehelm Lane: Known as “The Curtain Call” and despite the numerous independent tea and coffee stalls that tout their brews, thE is the only repeatedly licensed tea house in the prestigious district, owning a monopoly on the custom that pours from the Hencilla Theatre before and after every show. It once had a thriving casino, run by the gang boss Newborn Wynne, who was transported to Bolt in YJ100.
The southernmost district is Libertys, home of the Libertys Docks, presided over by the Bureaucracy's impressive Botcheridge Tower. Slightly smaller than Port Cardinal, Liberty Docks is devoted almost entirely to civilian trade, and the tangle of streets and stalls is the first taste many a new arrival gets of life on Anchor. North-West of the port lies the shopping district of Trampsbridge Markets, where anything that is exotic and new on Anchor can be bought. The markets blend into the Maze, a confusions of alleys, lanes, and bridges between this area and Ranklock. Many bridges simply lead to dead ends for most travellers and it is quite possible to find oneself lost, leading to the expression “lost in The Maze” referring to someone who has made a bad decision followed it through and has to deal with the consequences.
Between the Trampsbridge Markets and the area known as Gongtredding, stands the dome of St Balthazar. Well-known as the Merchants' Church, this can certainly claim to the be finest church in the city.
The tiny area known as Caskmere also lies here, where the heady fumes of distilled spirits and liquors rising from the area's stills and breweries fill the air.
Gongtredding is a confused area, lying as it does on the border between the comparative license of the Libertys and the more conservative district of Pinwheedle. Originally, Gongtredding was the windward corner of the city in which all the antisocial and smelly trades went on, and it is still redolent of the tanneries, paper-makers, poulterers, fishmongers, and breweries which are its main industries. The Department of Recycling has its main plant here, in the grounds of a Bureaucracy complex known as Bruntland, and in the surrounding streets the sour odour of Sicklegrubs mingles with the reek of composting and associated organic processes best not enquired into.
Gongtredding is also the home of the University, a recent and controversial foundation, standing at odds with both the Church and the Bureaucracy. In the northern streets on the verges of Pinwheedle lies a small illicit artist's community, where freedom of thought is expressed through the mediums of sculpture, paint, graffiti, and music, and seditious poetry is penned in icy attic rooms and debated in crowded coffee-houses. The duelling school of Y Capa Y Spada also has its headquarters in the grounds of the University.
The Lambcore Lane Opal: Named for the street sign that sits proudly over this street - one of perhaps a dozen that were found when Anchor was first explored, the Opal Teahouse is a haven for artists and musicians. It regularly treads a fine line with the DoNAE and it is said that many of the seditious types that used to drink in the Treadwater Terrace Tea House now frequent its bohemian halls.
Treadwater Terrace: Sitting close to the University as it does, this tea-houses was a home to seditionists and street musicians. The bluesman Robert Delano used to play here frequently, before he became a fugitive. It was closed down in YJ101, following the |new Libertys zoning laws - and hasn’t had its licenses renewed since,
Spinage Esplanade: Backing as it does on to the brewer’s district of Caskmere, this Tea House maintains a fine line between tea house and tavern, the latter operating in the night city only. It hosts many evenings dedicated to showcasing the latest outputs of the brewers’ fare as well as fresh new flavours of tea just in from the docks.
Sicklegrub Lane: This Tea House is famous for its snacks, as well as its collection of hot and cold beverages. It is also a few streets away from the Fleasprout Road water tower and, as such, is the social epicenter of much of the gambling and festivities that surround the Basin Run - the annual race of water ships from Basin, held on Audit Day. Joacquim Murray - the chief organiser of the race - tends to holds court here during the race.
Trampsbridge Markets: One of the largest buildings in the vast covered market that sprawls across this area, the Trampsbridge Teahouse is built into the arches of the bridge that spans the second floor of the market. Private booths higher up are accessed by a series of ladders, steps and ramps and a traditional pastime is the building of paper birds to throw at passers by in the market below.
Pinwheedle is where the middling citizens live - those who are 'too poor to paint, and too proud to whitewash'. Clerks and upwardly-mobile labourers leave the area daily to work in other parts of the city. It is shabby-genteel, poor but respectably poor, and culturally equally repelled by the illegal artists who inhabit the southern fringes, and the disreputable denizens of Furybone to the west. The Bureaucracy occupies Chalklings, a square block of a building set on Pinwheedle's long, sheer edge, close to the tiny spit of rock jutting out over the Edge, known as Lost Hope Point. Pinwheedle is possibly the most pious district, and the church of Saint Septimus is packed on holy days with crowds of well-scrubbed citizens, giving thanks for the little they have.
The duelling school of Spada Libera has its headquarters here.
Image: Bureaucrat by Linette Withers
Sidle Street: This Tea House comes with a proud historical legacy: it is open on what used to be the residence of Loretta Falk, one of the founders of the Bureaucracy and champion of recycling and reusing materials. Popular with bureaucrats and their families during off hours, the tea house also houses the Loretta Falk museum in a series of underground rooms which lead through to its second entrance on Loretta Falk street.
Gammich House Road: Only one road separates the Gammich Tea House from Saint Septimus, and it shows in its retired suburbanite clientele. Maintaining as it does several regular gossips, this is the place to be for the latest information and scandals surrounding Pinwheedle families and their goings-on. This Tea House is regularly frequented by Marie Blanche-Casa, the head of the DoNAE.
Klapperhorn Road: Klapperhorn Tea House serves more coffee than tea these days, especially early in the morning to bureaucrats on their way to their respective offices across Anchor. It does have an excellent range of fine pastries to tempt its clientele with though and is known as a quiet place for business discussions. Due to its proximity, it also has a steady influx of Libertys workers who cross into Pinwheedle for their breaks. As such, it maintains a steady rivalry with the nearby Lambcore Lane Tea House in Libertys
From the Cradle, the unfinished Baden's Bridge extends over the Barrens towards Ranklock, the centre of government and finance. Most of the major guilds have their headquarters in this area, and typically each Guild has an impressive office-tower, topped with a weathercock reflecting their trade, which together dominate the Ranklock skyline.
In the centre of Ranklock stands the Plaza of Sands itself, the open space so familiar to every citizen as the site of the great gathering of Audit Day. Looming over the Plaza, Tower 7-31A (colloquially known to citizens as “the Shaft”) houses the central offices of the Bureaucracy. In the side-streets off the Plaza stands St Handless, a small church outgrown by the secular buildings around it.
Much of the waiting of Audit Day happens in the various Perches - buildings surrounding the Plaza of Sands that operate as hostels and apartments for the rest of the year, opening their doors to the general public on the week surrounding Audit Day itself, in order to make the most of the foot-traffic and the generous funding opportunities made available by the Bureaucracy. Some Perches are famous for their gardens - some of the only green space on Anchor, outside of private roof gardens and the Arboretums in Hold.
Image : Photograph by Linette Withers
Glasmayne Street: Tower 7-31A has a number of quite serviceable canteens and tea-rooms, but for those wanting to get away from the office for a short while, the tea house on Glasmayne street is a welcoming sight. It is known for it’s strict ban on shop-talk, and boasts the finest pancakes on Anchor.
The Plaza of Sands: Even outside of Audit Day, the Plaza of Sands is a thriving hub of commerce. Semi-permanent stalls are set up in the square and holding a license for one of these is a difficult and lucrative prospect.
Beneath the city is a network of tunnels. These tunnels are occupied by the misfits of society escaping from the Bureaucracy and often used to smuggle contraband. The Bureaucracy has little tolerance for these people though does little about them. In Bureaucracy slang they are referred to as 'the Unlicensed', the ultimate derogatory term. Even the Church seems to have given up preaching to these people, though there are occasional purges prompted by acts of criminality.
There are no tea houses in the bowels of the island. What a ridiculous notion.
Space is at a premium on Anchor. As a result, the city has expanded upwards, with a variety of different architectural styles seemingly thrown together at random - minarets, soaring spires and twisted cupolas lean against heavy arches and carved stone, the highly decorated next to the cleanly geometric.
By tradition, the highest point on the island is the top of one of the spires of The Cradle (None may be put above The Anchorer), leading to the spires being periodically rebuilt before permission is granted to build any building that might be taller. At 1400 feet, this is also one of the tallest buildings.
The second tallest building, as measured from ground level, is in fact “the Shaft” - officially named Tower 7-31A in accordance with Bureaucracy naming conventions - which is the main location for the major offices in the Bureaucracy. The tower stands 1200 feet from the ground.
Because of the slowness and general unreliability of elevators (few people are concerned about safety since there are only a few dozen lift-related fatalities per year), it is common for tall buildings to have bridges built between them. Often these bridges themselves contain dwellings. In the commercial sector, bridges criss-cross over and under each other, sometimes curving to avoid passing over church or bureaucracy buildings.
In poorer areas, buildings are not so tall and bridges are simply means to allow foot traffic to cross on busy streets. Buildings are still packed very tightly together.
While law and legislation are decided by the Department of Legal Observation, justice and policing is typically dealt with directly by the Knights Anchorer. All names of those charged are collected by the Inquisition, who may decide to have a person sent up for a full trial.
Crime and Punishment has more information on the Legal system in Anchor.