I have been thinking a bit about a Fallen Edinburgh - it’s one of my favourite cities and is pleasingly gothic already, so I wondered how it would lend itself to being a possible Sixth City. And so I ran with it and this is what I came up with. It fits surprisingly well!
It is easy to see why the Masters might take Edinburgh. The Old Town is a maze of streets and closes - some where two people can only pass by flattening themselves against the walls. Flights of steps so long and steep that you cannot see the bottom from the top. Such places are perfect for moving unseen and trading in secrets. A Castle, perched high on its hill, with a view over the whole city, and an esplanade below and shops lining a mile-long street to a Palace? (Holyrood would make a great Shuttered Palace). What could be more perfect? The Cathedral of St Giles lies between the Castle and the Palace. The Grassmarket would be a bit of a Veilgarden, and the Cowgate below the bridges would probably be the rookery and the haunt of the less reputable. In Edinburgh, the people who wanted to keep themselves a bit apart would probably go down, rather than up, and instead of the Flit, would populate the maze of streets and vaults under the city.
The New Town’s elegant squares and wide, straight streets would probably be the preferred milieu of Society types. As for gardens, the Nor’ Loch would have been drained and made into the Gardens before the Fall - and probably would have a different name as I doubt the Masters would retain ‘Princes Street’. It would probably be a good setting for the Carnival, being the pleasure garden - and situated between the old and new towns.
And there are the Meadows near the University. (Yes, the University - I admit some bias! There is, of course, the School of Arts, which will later become Heriot-Watt University, but for now, I shall concentrate on the University). How might that turn out? There are the New and Old Colleges, which might form a bit of rivalry (although as New College is the Divinity School it wouldn’t work as a Benthic analogue quite as well!) But perhaps in the Fallen City, the university might not shove all the scientists out on the edge of town, leaving the centre as the preserve of the arts and humanities (as it does in the present day). That might make things interesting.
And of course there is a river, the Water of Leith, and there is Leith, where there are docks, and there is the sea…
As to the Masters, Mr Pages would probably find plenty to occupy itself in Edinburgh. Mr Apples would probably trade in oats, or tatties (although that rather lacks dignity). Mr Veils might have to move over to slightly warmer fabrics, given the northerly latitudes, especially if Edinburgh is still plagued by the haar (the sea mist, which is bloody freezing) when it comes underground. Mr Wines would probably move over to ale - ‘Mr 80 shilling’ has something of a ring to it (although I’m not certain of the shilling to Echo exchange rate)…
Thank you for the writing prompt, Deanscig - I’ve had a lot of fun with it!