Blackfen Roads and Lighting
Although many of the roads in Blackfen are cobbled, especially the main thoroughfares and the roads in Old Palisade Town, many still remain nothing more than rutted, compacted mud which turns to treacherous sludge when it rains. The pedestrian footpaths are extremely narrow, where they exist at all, so the roads tend to be rather chaotic affairs where people, animals and carts all compete with one another to make their way along.
Although the City Council have cobbled many of the main roads and thoroughfares of Blackfen, where they remain uncobbled, rain can cause serious difficulties for pedestrians, horses and wagons alike. After heavy rainfall, the mud turns to sludge through which the carts cut deep ridges with their wheels, making it difficult going for everyone. This problem is compounded, however, when it dries solid, frozen in the winter and baked in the summer, with the uneven surfaces treacherous, especially for people and horses, and sprained and broken bones are common enough.
As well as the constant barrage of noise and bustle of the busier streets, street entertainers, peddlers, beggars and pick pockets all jostle with the horses, carriages, pedestrians and animals that otherwise fill it on a daily basis. The back streets and alleys - that also tend to be little more than compacted mud - are generally much quieter, though can become quite treacherous when the rain softens the mud, which is soon turned into something of a quagmire.
Due to the rather inadequate sewers that serve much of Blackfen, the majority of the streets are also covered in the filth of urban living, with household, human and animal waste all found along the roads, filling the air with its heavy stench. Although the City Council employ street cleaners and take the cleaning of the waste seriously, especially with the threat of plague ever present, it nonetheless remains a constant menace, attracting rats and other vermin, as well as being the source of disease and other illnesses.
Not many of the streets are lit at night, so linkboys provide illumination during the hours of darkness, carrying torches for those that pay them. Those streets that do have lamps tend to be in the wealthier parts of the city and are generally both lit and looked after by City Council employees.
The streets of the wealthier parts of Blackfen are always cobbled and reasonably clean, as these areas tend to be connected to the sewer and, of course, are where the City Council members themselves live. Some of the roads with the wealthiest citizens also come with lamps with a contsant magical arcane flame cast upon them, which are covered by day and uncovered at night by privately employed linkboys, whose job it is to maintain the lamps.