A Cage Without a Key
“The Hive exists as an open sore upon the face of proud Sigil. And we, the better off residents of the Cage are like a bitter old woman, our years of glory beyond us now, but our vanity and pride still held high enough that we ignore the festering wound upon our countenance. We have none to blame for the very existence of the Hive but ourselves. Better off, we seem more apt to ignore it. Hide it from the light, seal it off and hope the problem, and the people trapped within its confines, simply vanish like so much cooking smoke. But like the smoke fires and belching pollution of the Great Foundry, it lingers in the air and permeates everything if ignored. It does not vanish, but spreads like acrid smog to blight us all, even in the high houses of the Golden Lords of The Lady’s Ward. Even as Sigil opens itself to every plane of existence, the Hive is secreted away, sealed off as if it weren’t truly a part of the City of Doors at all. Abandoned by all but a saintly few, it is cast aside with instruction to improve, yet with no way of bettering itself."
The Slags, even more so than the devastation surrounding the Shattered Temple within the Lower Ward, is a literal blighted wasteland within Sigil. “Don’t go there” is the advice of the Hive residents given to those who ask about it.
Perhaps the oldest of the faction halls, the Great Mortuary sits like a great bladed and spiked scarab between Blackshade Lane and the so-called Ragpickers Square within the heart of the Grey District in Sigil’s Hive. Appearing as a single great dome with several adjacent towers, it looks somber and uncaring just like the faction that operates it. It serves as the Dustmen faction headquarters.
Adjacent to the Mortuary, sprouting off of its main bulk are a number of mostly featureless mausoleums only accessible from within the Mortuary itself, as well as a large public memorial. This memorial sits within a half-walled courtyard, in the center of which stands a single spike of flat black stone. Upon the stone, scratched, etched, and carved in tiny print are the names of the dead who have passed through the gates of the Mortuary. A dead cutter’s relatives can pay a few coins to have the sod’s name inscribed for all eternity upon the face of the stone, though this requires writing over some other berk’s name at this point.
The Mortuary functions just as its name implies, taking in the corpses and remains of Sigil’s dead, prepared them for claim by relatives of the deceased, and cremated the dead of the city’s unclaimed. Most bodies arrive at the Mortuary, ferried there by the Collectors.
The Gatehouse, faction hall of the Bleak Cabal, sits atop a slight hill in the Hive, rising above the reek and filth of the slums that sprawl out around it along the edges of Bedlam Run. This massive structure sits just at the edge of the Hive, on one side nearly overlooking the urban wasteland of the Slags, in range of the stink carried on the wind, if not actual sight. On the opposite side it sits adjacent the Marble District of the Hive, and within actual sight of the Ditch, the filth-strewn canal that separates the Hive from the Lower Ward.
The Gatehouse serves as the city’s asylum and unfortunately, the nature of the city leaves many folk barmy enough to be put there.
More BARMIES cackle here than in a House of Gates, insane, insect wings FLUTTER in
gutters. Bark, bark, bark. Xaositects home here, or there as the case may be. chaoS, Xaos, are buildings, dancing into the streets. Rubble, rags, RICHES hide within. Twisting streets curl like lips in a GRIN, ending in walls or DOWN the holes. Change, always change. One, two, ten. Build a kip and burn it down, paint WITH the ashes. A slaad, stab, slab.
A cutter comes here, a cutter leaves changed.
The Ooze Portals
One of the more notable, and dangerous, features of the Hive are the preponderance of a certain types of portals leading to the Paraelemental Plane of Ooze. These Ooze oddly shaped portals take the appearance of puddles in the winding streets of the ward from the shantytowns of the Gatehouse District to the monuments of the Gray District. Most take the appearance of puddles of the mildly acidic rainwater common to Sigil, others the appearance of pools of slime or sludge, and still others at the hours of antipeak have been seen to give a faint phosphor glow.
Unlike most portals within Sigil, the Ooze portals within the Hive are perpetually open to some extent. Stepping into one of them will result in falling bodily into the paraelemental plane itself, typically to one’s death by drowning, if the victims are unable to catch themselves before falling fully through.
- Ragpicker’s Square (Poorest place in Sigil)
- The Smoldering Corpse (Bar)
- The Bleary Rest (Fophouse)