Vilas entered the common room and pulled the black veil covering his face aside. Most of the patrons were local Naranese, pale and somber, so the ranger had no hard work spotting the man he was looking for. The tawny, golden-eyed Southerner stood out as much as Vilas himself did with his green eyes and red hair. He wore the same black clothes as everyone in the room, which made the inside of the alehouse look like a funeral feast. For all Vilas knew, it easily could be one.
He approached the sand-rider trader, bowed and whispered, for the atmosphere of the place made everyone whisper.
“I come from lord Ors. He stays in a rented home behind the Great Tomb. I am to take you to him now.”
The golden-eyed man nodded, finished his drink and put a hectagonal stone coin on the table. They both put their veils over their faces and together they walked out of the door, into the Grim Alley.
Lud-Naran is also called the Necropolis and the City of Tomb. The reason for this is apparent to anyone who enters it, after they have left their horses at the gate and put on the black robes and funeral veil as required by the tradition. A long time ago, the graves spilled from Naranese necropolis into the streets and turned the city into one huge graveyard. The main street is lined with gravestones and overgrown by moss. Every fourth entrance leads into a tomb. And citizens of the city meander through its alleys and avenues like dark shadows.
It is considered bad luck to wear other color than black and everyone covers their faces in the streets so as not to anger the dead. The people of Lud-Naran are pale, dark-eyed and solemn. They are considered the best stone-masons in the world (even their coins are made of stone) and experts on burial rites.
The city is ruled by a council of priests, one for every major deity of death or afterlife. Naranese reverence for (or fear of) the dead goes so far, that they even teach their children a strange artificial language they call Deadish, which their sages created with the decomposition of lungs and vocal chords in mind, cobbling its vocabulary together from all the dead languages they knew.
In Lud-Naran the dead rule, it is said. And it may well be true, considering the stories of night disappearances of those who broke the traditions or stole from the graves. It is not unusual for a wealthy merchant or infuential noble to wish to be buried in the Necropolis in hope of living some secret life after death.