Akoro- to those who have been there, the name evokes a multitude of images: Back street brawls, Slave markets, Inns run by demons and much more. It is only due to the power and intervention of the stronger of the resident demons that it hasn’t already torn itself apart, the almost total lack of law and acceptance of nearly anything are not stabilizing factors to say the least. Located on a cruel parody of a jungle seashore, the climate of Akoro is undeniably harsh. When a storm strikes, waves often crash over the stone walls surrounding the city. There is an almost constant plague of insects of various sizes, and the entire city, inhabited though it is, is eternally on the verge of being completely overwhelmed by the already everpresent blanket of creeping vines and other plant life.
It is fitting then that such a city should be a destination among demons and their kin. The majority of the permanent establishments are run by such beings, selling various things but never charging paltry cash. The currency in Akoro is something that is both more common yet harder to come by-
Souls, regardless of who or what they once belonged to, are valuable for what they represent. The soul of someone truly good and righteous is quite valuable, as is the soul of a being who was vile to the core of their being.
The other thing that some demons accept as payment is the taint of evil, finding such essences useful in constructing objects or spells that require such primal darkness.
Despite the majority of the population being demons, there is also a large number of mortals living in Akoro. Many are there by choice, as a demon city is the perfect location for any activities that would be considered ‘illegal’ by mortal standards. Among this population, drug use and recreational combat are commonplace. Unlike demons, the mortal races here will gladly accept coin as payment. Many of them don’t intend to remain in hell forever, but when all is said and done the majority of them do.
Following is some of the more notable places:
The Great Wall
The city is ringed by an immense stone wall, many meters thick. It is covered in thick ropey vines, as well as ancient carvings. The brunt of its work is done shielding the city from the crushing might of the waves, the water that makes it past thoroughly drenching those caught by it but doing no lasting damage.
The Blood Ring
Less a place and more an event, the Blood Ring is a series of back alley fights set up by a handful of influential mortals. Because most of the mortals who make it to Akoro have traveled a good amount in their lives, many of them have ‘found’ a number of valuable items. The way a match works is that each contestant puts forward an item, generally one of value, and the winner/survivor takes both. The remainder of the now-deceased losers belongings go to those who run the ring. This is one of the few illegal activities in the city, for if an evil person dies then they can’t do more evil. It’s not strongly enforced though, since at the end of a battle murder has inevitably been committed, and that counts for something.
Alshazael’s Extraction Center
The equivalent of a demonic mint. Alshazael, the proprietor, has the necessary equipment here to extract souls from living beings and the taint of evil from whatever form it currently takes. Though draining an object or being of its evil taint rarely harms it, draining a being of its soul leaves it with the mental capacity of a teacup. It is generally done to slaves, newborns and invalids, people who are generally unable to resist. Alshazael takes a large percentage of anything extracted, for a fragment of a soul still holds value.
The premier mortal merchant district. Because mortals generally can’t pay the rent on buildings in Akoro (none of them have that many souls) most of them just set up mats and merchant stalls. Almost anything can be found here, though whether or not it does what they say it does or is even worth it at that price is questionable.
The Murdered Infant
With a colorful name like that, it has to be a pub. Here, the discerning alcoholic can find forms of booze not seen anywhere else outside of hell. Most are quite good, the grade which drives men to waste their income on getting drunk and failing to pay rent or buy food. On that note, they also serve food here, but a mouthful of what they serve needs a lot of alcohol to wash down. Don’t forget to pay your bill though, or else you might wind up getting a tour of the workings of a meat grinder. Those greasy sausages don’t make themselves, you know.
Nasrazima’s Infusion Emporium
It is here that extracted taint is refined and shaped into useful implements. The beauty of working with taint is that it takes on the essence of whatever it was harvested from. For example, if enough taint was harvested from weapons used in unprovoked murder, it could be refined to a solid form and molded into a weapon. Such a weapon would be literally made from pain and fear, and would be an extremely useful tool in combat. On the other end of the spectrum, if taint was harvested from a hairdresser (perhaps she used the clippings of hair to make voodoo dolls) it could be formed into a comb that would greatly increase the users skill at styling hair. Almost any effect can be created, it all depends on having the proper tone of taint.