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Thendara (Exile's Song reading notes)

by Thomas Edsall

The area outside of the gate to the Spaceporton the Darkover side is paved in cobblestones and lighted by torches at night. (ES12)

There is a group of "fortress like" terran style buildings near this gate. One of them is a rest house for transients. (ES14)

Near the gate is the John Reade Orphanage for the Children of Spacemen, which is a squat gray building whose windows are screened from the street. (ES17) Just beyond this building is a low wall that separates this section of the city from the older portion of the city. There is a guard at the archway in this wall. (ES18)

Entry to the city from the direction of Armida is through a wide gate. (ES382) [Presumably Thendara is a walled city. It should be noted that city gates function not only as a break in the defensive walls of the city (which can be closed in an emergency) for passage in and out of the city but are also checkpoints at which this traffic can be regulated.]

Thendara street names: Music Street (ES14), Threadneedle Street (ES20), Cloth Street (ES23), Tanner Street (ES37).

Thendara streets are too narrow for terran vehicles and are paved with cobblestones. The streets intersect at crazy angles. The houses are of stone [at least in the part of the city between the Spaceport and Music Street]. (ES19) The streets around Music street are wider than those nearer the spaceport. (ES22) The streets from the Armida gate [ my name for it] to the Comyn Castle are narrow and crooked.(ES383,397) At night the streets are lit by torches. (ES25) The doors of shops are colorfully painted, often with a symbol to indicate what goods are sold or what services are available within. (ES25) Signs with images painted on them also hang out over the street indicating what is for sale in the shop. (ES24) Shops are on the ground floor with dwellings above. The sales area is covered at night with wooden shutters. With the shutters closed they then resemble shuttered windows. (ES25,54) Streets are of rough cobbles and there is a smell of garbage and animal droppings (ES22)

There is a cemetery at the edge of the Terran sector. This cemetery has a wall around it with an arched entrance. There are tombstones and trees in the cemetery. (ES75)

Near the cemetery on the edge of the Terran sector is an eating place staffed by Darkoverans but patronized by Terrans (ES78). A street near this eating place has a curb high enough to sit on (ES87). [This implies that there are sidewalks at a higher level than the street, at least in this area. Curbs are not otherwise mentioned in descriptions of the city.]

Shops display goods on and presumably do business over counters opening directly onto the street. The shops advertise by painted signs indicating what is for sale. Both finished garments and cloth and tailoring services are available for purchase. Among the other items offered for sale are poor imitations of Terran cloth.(ES56)

The shop of Aaron MacEwan, a master tailor, is entered through a door from the street into the workroom which is at the front of the shop. The shop has a backroom for fitting clothing on customers as well as a loft for storage. (ES58) The ceiling of the workroom has beams painted in intricate patterns. (ES63)

Wineshops exist and are open after dark. (ES19) Houses to buy and eat meals at also exist and are also open after dark. (ES21)

There is a Horse Market in Thendara at which the Renunciates among others have a stall. (ES119) The Horse Market is a broad square smelling of horse manure, leather, and damp straw. The Market is busy even at an easy hour. (ES125) There is an open air kitchen in the center of the market at which a woman cooks crullers in a cauldron of boiling oil. This woman uses wooden tongs to remove the crullers from the oil and she places them on a cloth. These crullers are available for sale. (ES125) Also in the market square was a booth with a public scribe. The scribe uses a pen dipped in ink to write on paper some of which is kept in a wooden box. Fine sand is used to blot the ink. A short note on fine paper costs three sekals. (ES131-132)

News travels in Thendara more like in a small town than in a city. (ES123)

It is a long walk from the eating place near the cemetery to the Comyn Castle. (ES90)

There is a Dyers Guild which takes apprentices. (ES21)

There is a Music Guild in Thendara. The current head of the Music Guild is Everard MacArdais. His son Erald is not expected to succeed his father as Master as he prefers traveling in the countryside collecting songs. (ES26) Master Everard has his own house in Thendara on Music Street. His household consists of a housekeeper and at least three servants. (ES28,31) One guest room in his house has a large bed and a small window. (ES29)There is a second guest room across the hall which also has a large bed and a window. (ES67) The house also has at least one large bathtub (or equivalent) which can be filled with steaming hot water. (ES31) [It is not clear where all the hot water comes from both here and at all the other houses Margaret Alton visits. If not from thermal springs, is someone heating water over a fire and then transporting it to the tub? Is there indoor plumbing? If so are the pipes made of clay, wood, or some other presumably non-metalic substance (metal being scarce and valuable)? If the water is being heated over wood fires and then transported in buckets there must be a large number of servants involved, or else someone is working extremely hard. It also implies a large supply of wood to be burned with all that means in terms of woodcutters and hauling of wood into the city (down those narrow streets) plus wood storage either inside or outside. Houses seem to be heated by wood burning fireplaces so presumably there are chimney sweeps as well. Also, where does the water come from? Is there in the city a communal water system, or does it comes from wells and does each house have its own well or are there communal wheels dotted around the old city? Or is there is a local stream or river from which water is fetched? Does each house have a rain barrel or cistern to collect rainwater for household use? A cistern in the attic could provide unheated water to a gravity flow plumbing system.] Master Everardís house has a large room off the main hall downstairs that is wood paneled with a wooden floor. The room contains a collection of musical instruments. (ES35) Lamps and candles light the interior of his house. (ES49) [Perhaps there are candle and lamp makers in the city, although candles could conceivably be made on the premises.] It is a long walk from his house in Music Street to the Horse Market. (ES125)

There are a number of shops that make instruments located along Music Street. (ES54) Also along this street is the house of Master Rodrigo who conducts choral singing, the practice of which at least in one case was done after dark. (ES26)

copyright 96-99 Thomas Edsall
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