The Millora: A Vocational Setting

A District of the City of Piorenza

In the northwestern quarter of the city of Piorenza is the Millora, a maze-like gathering of narrow streets, narrower alleys, and long flights of stairs going both up and down. Called the Old Quarter by foreign visitors, and the Labyrinth by country folk, itis known as the Millo' by most residents. Some even refer to it as home.

The streets of the Millora wander all over Milor Hill, often rock-cut steps more than street. The houses of the extremely wealthy crouch side by side with the hovels of the poor, and intimate walled gardens hang from many terraces. Blacksmiths and bankers rub shoulders in its narrow alleys, and an overheard conversation is as likely to be about horse-breeding as philosophy, about finance and trade as about growing olives. The port is visible from many of the houses, and some dwellings are little more than finished caves cut into the side of the rock. Dark Street, the straightest way in the whole district, cuts a path twenty feet high and thirty wide right through the center of the hill, lit by torches and lined with shops, with homes above. Despite the lack of light, it is among the most exclusive residential addresses in the city.

Atop Milor Hill sits the Abbey of St. Johannan, supposedly marking the place where the wonderworking saint had his last vision of the Throne of God. The shrine was defiled during Tocaran rule, but has been restored in the intervening years, and now it is accounted one of the finest churches to the One God in Piorenza. In addition, the abbey operates a fine school for young boys and girls, especially those who may be inclined to vocation in the monolatrous Church of the One God. In addition, three congregations of the Followers of Wisdom maintain Gathering Halls in the Millora; one of them is on Dark Street.

Many of the oldest guilds of the city also have their halls here. The Weaver's Hall, located to the north, is an ancient building of limestone, adorned with gargoyles and portrait sculptures of previous Masters. Three stories tall, it houses the Master of the Weavers and his household, the records of the Guild going back a hundred fifty years, and the Hall for social functions. The Persa, the formal name of the Merchants' Guild, also has its Old Hall here, near the quarter's eastern boundary. Very similar to the Weavers' Hall, it is attached to the Old Market, a quadrilateral court of shops, taverns, and offices.

Specialization Level: High

Many urban professions cluster within the Millora. The district teems with life and livelihoods to the point of bursting. Mercantile, commercial, and service oriented businesses crowd its streets, while thousands more live in close proximity. Almost any conceivable occupation can be found in some form within its walls, and many who work here possess a high level of skill in their chosen craft.

Location: the City of Piorenza

The Millora is bounded to the north, west and northwest by the city walls. To the southwest is the Street of the Barrans and the Street of the Knights; to the south is the Navalese Marketplace, and the Street of the Tinkers. Along the eastern flank of the Millora is the Street of Splendors, and the Park of Temevio almost directly south-east. At the Millora's main eastern entrance, the Street of the Persa, is the Old Market, the Persa's Old Hall, and two blocks away, the Old Charter House, where the law courts used to assemble during the days of the kingdom.

Purpose: Combination

The Millora contains a variety of shops, providing all manner of goods and services, ranging from exotic spices to legal representation in the courts at the Old Charter House, just outside the district. In some of the underground areas, less legitimate services are available, although not along Dark Street, which is well patrolled. A number of people turn up dead in the quarter each year. The district is not only for the wealthy, despite his high-class reputation; beggars and bankers are both resident in the Millora.

Prominence: 4

The Millora is well-known to many in superficial ways: foreigners are often to be found along the main thoroughfares, especially Dark Street, which has its own attractions to visitors. The Old Persa Hall and the Old Market are similarly well known, and many pilgrims make the ascent to St. Johannan's Abbey atop the hill. Despite this, many do not know the district at all well. As the Piorenzans say, "Only one of the Millo' knows the Millo'". Many foreigners never stray from the most common routes; the bulk of the labyrinthine district is unknown to them. Many may even be unaware of the broader character of the Millora.

Potential: 4 Internal, 3 External

The Millo' seems to conspire to keep its children. It has its own dialectical habits of speech which are instantly recognizable to any Piorenzan, and even some foreigners. Nearly anything one might need can be found in the district, and some claim to have lived their whole lives in the Millo' without setting footanywhere else in the city, much less outside the city walls. The fierce loyalty of the district appears at Fair Time, when the Millora may sponsor as many as three teams in the citywide competitions for fencing, horse-racing, and archery. So far, it has not yet competed in the sailing competitions, but it may be only a matter of time. As a result of this close-knit community, however, many opportunities in Piorenza may be closed to Millo' residents.

Development Notes:

The Millora obviously represents a wide range of opportunities in any number of different vocational paths. It might be especially well-suited for early background development, especially since it includes so many classes of people and so many potential opportunities. Such a persona would have to be a native Piorenzan, of course, but that is not so much trouble. as it might seem. In addition, the District may be subdivided into a number of unusual settings, including the Persa and the Old Market, the Abbey, one of the Gathering Halls of the Wisdomites, the Weavers' Guild, or the underground environment of Dark Street.

Possible Vocational Paths:

Fringe: many possibilities; Marginal, also many possibilities; Labor: domestic help, guards, apprentices, visitors, cooks; Professional: Doctors, lawyers, teachers, professional geniuses, mages, artists and artisans; Privileged: senior artists, merchants, priests, others; Ruling: a number of possibilities like Assembly members, Counsellors.

© Copyright 1995, Andrew B. Watt (
HTML source modified slightly 30 April 1995 by Sixten Otto (