Been a while.
Anyway, been working on the Free City of Rotogawa, City of the Seven Lakes, Eastern outpost of the Empire (in name if not in practice), and the centre of alchemical and herbal research in the known lands.
There is a small block of buildings between the Firewater Stream that drains into the Lake the city borders and the main street, near the Jetties, but not close enough to be bothered by the morning or evening markets at the plaza near the water's edge.
Five shops and overhead (or underneath) residences populate the buildings.
The most normal, and southernmost, is a fruit and vegetable store run by a young family from the Tattooed Lands, far to the South-East. Kam and Keeal both have smooth and dark skin and slanted grey eyes, and are slim for their reasonably normal height. They take deliveries of both common and rare fruit and vegetables from various farms and greenhouses on the edges of the city, and split their takings with the growers. They also raise several herbs of their people inside the shop, heated by the geothermal water taken from the Firewater Stream. Some of these are used in the mystical tattooing arts of their people, and on rare occasions Kam can be convinced to perform the ritual magical tattooing rites required by many schools of magic, if given appropriate levels of coin and flattery. Keeal mans the shop and tames a small flock of children they have raised - in the Tattooed Lands, only those who have achieved certain levels of craft are permitted to raise children, so they are technically rebelling. They are honest and friendly, but will go into siege mode if another of their Countrymen wander into town.
Next, northwards and towards the lapping water of the Lake, is the two-storied pagoda-like residence and shop of Thalias Jewelstaff, mage, explorer and unofficial magical advisor to the Alchemist's Guild. Again, an immigrant to the Free City, Thalias shifted from the heart of the Empire far to the West around 8 years ago after a disagreement of a political nature. On the ground floor of his shop he brews and sells potions, usually minor health, disease prevention or poison cures to local citizens. More complex potions can be ordered, but obtaining the ingredients and securing the time required may make them rather expensive and the Alchemist's Guild usually deals with those requests. On the second floor, rumoured to be guarded by an elemental, he spends evenings crafting silver and setting gemstones in rings and other jewellery pieces. Aside from some simple practice pieces, these are all for orders from nobles and other mages.
Thalias is also one of the experts (such as they are), along with Blenhous, on the Los Mehno ruins in the forests to the east of the City, and will, for a price, advise, or lead, those wishing to explore certain ruins.
A few normal residences then Blenhous's Cartographic Emporium, as the brightly written sign says. It's on an upper floor, reached by a dubious walkway. Inside, it is a wondrous collection of maps, parchments, relics and items collected from the Los Mehno ruins. Despite the untidiness, Blenhous, an aging ranger and archer who spent several decades roaming the wilderness surrounding the City, knows where all items are, and can provide maps and guidance to most areas and landmarks. He also collates information from caravan guards and travellers about changes to areas and tracks.
The basement floor houses Plagius and Serophon, a married couple (so one assumes) from the north-western coastline of the Empire, where rumours of ghosts and wights keep all indoors at night. They are tall, pale skinned and rather humourless, and organise the majority of caravan guards for the various convoys that set out daily to the north, west and south with great efficiency. There's a few prospective guards hanging around on the street most afternoons in case a late opportunity the next morning comes up, who usually also drop into the upstairs shop to discuss travel conditions, and the potion shop for protection from certain diseases.
The last shop in this block is Gallian's Blades, an open roofed area where Gallian's sons sharpen blades, repair leatherwork and rethread chainmail - all quieter smithing work. The louder forging, armour repair and anvil work takes place at the main forge at the mouth of the Firewater Stream, opposite the morning markets, which finish before the forges fire up most mornings.
Opposite Gallian's Blades, across a footbridge over the Firewater, is the main building of the Alchemist's Guild. Slightly vulgar and oversized, and surrounded by comatose goblins, it's one of the main industries and points of interest in the City.