Here’s another spot where we hope to have the kind of encyclopedic information that will be the alpha and omega for visitors as well as schoolchildren assigned “Nagspeake” as a topic.
On the other hand, Willie Cobblebridge is nominally in charge of writing this page, and we started this project three years ago* and he still hasn’t submitted his content. So we shall proceed without the census, imports and exports and how many acres of beets are farmed and whatnot. Call Willie at home if you need to know that sort of thing. I’ll post his number.
Seven districts make up the city of Nagspeake.
This is the waterfront crescent fronting the Magothy Bay. It includes the old, beautiful vacation homes along the Bay Byway, as well as the shopping district between mileposts four and eight and meanders inland to approximately Spanner Street, which most of us consider the base of the Slope.
Just what it sounds like: the upward, eastward facing side of Whilforber Hill, from Spanner Street up to the terraced overlook where the Shutter Club Mansion sits. Upward of that there’s nothing much in the way of buildings (or roads) until you get to the path to Ferrous Sanctus (see Hilltop). The Slope is where most of working Nagspeake lives. Its most notable features are the funicular railway that runs from a platform on Spanner up to the Shutter Club Mansion, the three iron suspension bridges that cross the Whilforber Gorges, and the series of old iron stairs set into the hill. Some link streets that would seem, on a map, impossible to connect; others end in stone walls or the sides of houses. This is partly due to the nature of old iron, and partly due to the difficulty of building on the steeper parts of the Slope, which has resulted in the staircases being used as structural supports for certain things.
The Printer’s Quarter…
The chunk of the city stuck northwards between Bayside and the Slope, so called because this is the center of Nagspeake publishing. Brilliant parties.**
The inland harbors on Skidwrack Inlet, which cuts northward from the lower Magothy up to the southwestern side of Whilforber Hill. In Nagspeake’s pirate-sheltering days, shallow-draught ships sailed up the Skidwrack to the Quayside Harbors, completely hidden from Nagspeake proper. The district called Shantytown sprang up as a sort of midpoint between the eastern, legitimate city and its inland dark side.
Southwest of Bayside and east of the Quays, Shantytown is made up of cheap apartment buildings, dive saloons and restaurants and a number of warehouses that date from the smuggling days, many of which were built with elaborate trompe de l’oleil facades meant to look like apartments or saloons or restaurants but which are actually empty boxes on the inside. It has not gentrified much since those days, despite the fact that Shantytown has the highest distribution of old iron in Nagspeake and was the focus of the recent City Gallery project documenting some of the more elaborate pieces of ironmongery. The neighborhood of Creve Coeur was famously the site of the Ilford-Mapp riots of the last century, and remains a destination for poets and so-called revolutionaries to this day.
Popularly known as the Magothy Veneto, this most southeasterly district is a floating island of small and medium sizes of boats lashed together with old ropes and small rope bridges connected at one end to Shantytown by a single narrow suspension bridge. Many have been bolstered, like Venice itself, with large wooden pilings sunk in the Magothy floor under the boat hulls as larger and more elaborate buildings were constructed on the boats.
Everything upwards and westwards of the Shutter Club Mansion is referred to as the Hilltop, including Ferrous Sanctus Monastery, St. Whit Gammerbund’s Rest Home for the Mentally Chaotic, what remains of the now-closed FantasyTowne Amusement Park and the antique Nagspeake terminus of the Magothy and Whilforber railway line.
The Magothy Bay and Environs
Ah, the Magothy! Beautiful bay of so many buccaneer tales and native poems! The Puelax People appear to have referred to the Magothy as Ippen Magan’Othen Tree, the “wide, sweet and salty basin”–a reference to the brackish mingling of the waters of the ocean and the Skidwrack River.*** To the buccaneers, the Magothy was a natural home, with only one shallow spit to navigate (Thaddeus Point, where the lighthouse now sits) and of course the Skidwrack, whose inlet to the Bay provided shallows and shelter for a hundred years and more.
The surrounding coast is made up of scrub and windblown coastal shrubbery which gives way to deciduous forests further in. The hills, of which the Whilforber is the largest, are cut with ravines and gorges spanned by narrow bridges, many of which are Old Iron. Except, of course, Henna Plains, which is rocky and flat but where no one goes.
Henna Plains is the steaming land above the (now abandoned) brimstone mine to the north of Nagspeake. A mere two years after the brimstone vein was discovered, an unfortunate incident with a careless smoker, a duck, and a bucket of fiery chili ignited one of the tunnels. By the time the fire department could get to the scene (it being a simpler age without much in the way of roads), the fire was out of control. It smolders underground to this day, sending up stinking yellow jets here and there and causing all manner of troublesome sinkholes. Through the offices of what can only be called a miracle, the gaseous miasma is always blown inland, leaving Nagspeake untroubled by its odor.
*This post was originally written seven years ago. Willie Cobblebridge hasn’t been heard from in Nagspeake since 2009. Hallie won’t talk about it. -KM
**She would know. You should hear some of the stories I’ve heard. But you won’t, because I like this job. -KM
***This is total crap, as far as I can tell. Hallie’s source appears to be the sole extant copy of a Nagspeake history text from 1962, Our Seaside Jewel, which, in turn, doesn’t even bother to give a source for this little nugget of made-up goodness. (OSJ is also the only book that claims there was a “Puelax People,” with a similar lack of sourcing.) Hallie, however, treats OSJ as gospel when talking about city history, which I suspect has something to do with the fact that the author was a “family friend” of her mom’s that I further suspect Hallie suspects might secretly have been her dad. Literally no city historians have anything but contempt for OSJ. Hallie and Willie used to have epic fights over her insistence on citing OSJ. Come to think of it, they had one the last time I saw him in the offices back in ‘aught-nine. Anyway, my best guess as to how the Magothy got its name? Some incredibly poor navigator shooting for the Chesapeake thought this was that Magothy and the name stuck. Just a guess. -KM