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Shopping, shopping, shopping galore! Or eating, eating, eating! Or drinking, drinking, drinking! Or lavish accommodations, or fine art, or legendary parties! The Market in the Castle Ward is the largest market square in the city, but the Trades Ward is like a market town in itself — and is easily thrice the Market’s size.

This ward bustles day and night with activity, both on the street and on balcony walkways that run the length of blocks and are sometimes layered five stories high. Shop signs appear to leap out from buildings, whose sides are plastered with advertisements all vying for the attention of the eye. Glove shops, shoe shops, jewelry stores, perfumeries, flower shops, cake shops, taverns, cafés, tea shops, inns, row houses, boarding schools, offices, dance academies, grocers, pottery stores, armor vendors — as long as it’s not illegal, you can find it in the Trades Ward. But if you are looking for something illegal, the Trades Ward is likely the place to get that too. Do not do so too loudly, though. The City Watch has a heavy presence in this ward, in the form of both open patrols and officers working out of uniform.

As befits a place of so much business, many guilds have their halls in this ward. Of particular note is the House of Light, the hall of the Guild of Chandlers and Lamplighters. Outside the building, a wagon-sized mound of wax with hundreds of wicks is kept lit day and night, while being continually built up with adhered candles. Inside, the best works of the guild are put on display and sold, including not just candles of various colors, lamps, and chandeliers, but elaborate waxwork constructions that depict all sorts of subjects from personages of note, to dragons, to complex and abstract lattices — all represented as fantastical candles.

Magic users should be wary in the Court of the White Bull. Long ago, this plaza was a grazing area for livestock, including an albino calf that was born here. The calf’s owner built the White Bull Tavern, which thrived on the spot for years and gave the area its name. You’ll not find the tavern now, though. It vanished, utterly destroyed during an infamous spell battle between the archmage Thongalar the Mighty and the evil mage Shile Rauretilar and his apprentices. In the storm of magic that touched down here, Shile and his apprentices all perished and the fabric of the Weave was rent, such that Azuth, god of wizards, was forced to appear and set things right. He is said to have stitched reality and the Weave back together, but a wrinkle in the fabric remains. To this day, magic brought to bear in the Court of the White Bull sometimes goes awry, and the use of magic items and spells is forbidden in the area.

The Trades Ward uses green and purple as its colors, and its mascot is the mimic. This tradition supposedly arose because when mascots were first chosen, the Trades Ward took a chest of gold as its own — and was roundly mocked by citizens of other wards for not picking a creature. Now, every four years, the ward reveals a new object for its mascot, declaring it to be the mimic. The nature of the object is subject to much speculation and rumor until its unveiling. For months afterward, the object becomes the source of practical jokes in Waterdeep. Rock gnomes and wizards cause illusory mouths to lunge from real versions of the object, artisans craft beautiful fakes out of cake or paper that are easily crushed when assumed to be real, and so on. As of the writing of this entry, the current mimic is a tankard.

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Page last modified on August 13, 2019, at 06:24 PM