To Reach Old Newgate

so I have this… Thing, where I have to understand the functional topography of fictional spaces, or I can’t enjoy them properly. Had it with Mass Effect 1 where I felt compelled to suss out exactly how far above ground the forcefield that would ostensibly keep breathable air in were located, had it with Dwarven Ruins in Elder Scrolls games and their enigmatic purposes, and I’ve had it with Fallen London. Specifically, with the cellars of Old Newgate - how is my character supposed to reach a lodging that ought to be located smack dab in the center of the city, but that would also count as a remote address? So I started checking maps of london before the Fall would have taken place, compared the routes of subway tunnels and sewage canals, and marked the locations of local business. And once I figured it all out, I wrote it down in-fiction so it could make sense to me. And now I can enjoy it again.

And so I figured I’d share it with all of you, because I’m admittedly vain and not a little proud of this, and because it might just help someone else who’s also trying to understand how getting to Old Newgate is supposed to work.

[quote=]Oldcastle’s Decollation was a terrible name for an inn, showing that one: the proprietor was far too enamoured with their own wit, and two: that they were a poor business owner. The second point is made all the more obvious by the dilapidated state of the building in front of you - leaning on uneven ground, the windows smashed and the doors ajar. Not even the vagabonds or urchins that frequent Spite would inhabit this rickety structure. And yet, it’s the first stop on your way.

Past a yawning entryway and down a corridor you go, below a flight of stairs in a forsaken kitchen and across a sturdy door to the storage room beyond. Here there’s a hole, between empty crates long ago robbed of their contents. A light is now needed, as the false-stars above no longer reach you. Beyond the hole, a small slope of half collapsed masonry leads through the broken floor to a wide tunnel - a clear explanation for the dangerous lean of the building above. Filled with debris and workmen’s tools long abandoned, it stretches for a good few minutes walk south towards the Stolen River before the path diverges in the strangest way. It ends abruptly in a wall of smooth brick, continuing into a wide tunnel of clearly different make and age which leads in another direction entirely; as if a frustrated child tried jamming together two pieces of a puzzle that didn’t truly fit. This is one of Bazalgette’s Follys, dry and purposeless without the rivers it was meant to contain and reroute, intersected with the tunnel by the Fall and the manipulations of the Bazaar. What is there to do but proceed?

Onwards and downwards through the round empty passages until they too lead to puzzle pieces clearly out of place - entrances to undercellars buried and blocked decades before London was sold, hallways of masonry so alien they could only be from one of the previous cities, smooth flowing channels where some unknown liquid used to run, still leading down in twisting, confusing ways. Until one reaches another door. The final door. London made, without a doubt, all iron and rivets and a sense of dread impassibility. This is where the long road terminates, surely, for this door would be sealed from the other side with bolts and its lock is secured with a key you would have no access to. You’d have to blast the thing open to get past it, and who would be enough of a fool to carry explosives all the way down here? This, then, is the end.


Unless you would have paid a price during a certain time of year, a price of knowledge and fame. Unless you would have known the right person, who’d send you even deeper than you are now, into the pools of a sundered sea where a sacrifice could be made. Unless that sacrifice was accepted, and you were directed, through passageways that weren’t there before and aren’t there now, to the space that lies on the other side of that door. Where you could unfasten the bolts and take the key off its hook and enter it in the old but rust-free lock. Unless this isn’t the first time you’ve been here.

You take the key you already have out of its sackcloth wrappings and insert it. The mechanism clicks, not as loudly as you’d expect. And the door swings open, into the darkness beyond. You’re truly glad for your light now, for even though before the darkness was ever present, it wasn’t as oppressively enveloping. These are the lower levels of Old Newgate, crushed down and buried when London came to the Neath. As deep as Flute Street, no doubt, but beyond its embery reaches. You can’t help but become aware of what lies beyond the bars of the cells you illuminate as you walk: some still as confining as the day they were built, others filled with stone or earth, and others still with their walls broken, the blackness beyond them stretching into unfathomable, cavernous spaces. And through it all, the eyes of the creatures hanging above you, watching your tread. Not filled with malice or hate, but disquieting nonetheless, as if saying: “We shall not be the ones that start any hostilities here, but we will certainly be the ones to finish them”.

At last, your destination - the office of the old chief warden. You set your light down on the solid wooden desk and take a look around you, at the few trinkets and creature comforts you couldn’t do without, at the thick blankets you’ve brought down to sleep on (using the old prisoners’ cots was unthinkable), at the stain on the wall where the Memory was made. Finally, you can do what you’ve come here to do.

And all manner of things shall be well.[/quote]
edited by IHNIWTR on 12/28/2015

I actually think this is really cool. Well done. I, too, like to figure it out in my brain where I actually am haha