The Banachian Docks

The Banachian Docks

Type: Transit

Entrance: Port Sulphur. One-way arrival at the Docks can be accomplished via a partially-submerged drainage grate which still leaks chemical waste into the mighty Mississippi River from a bankrupt sulfur processing plant in Port Sulphur, Louisiana, a dried-up company town. The crossing only works when approached under cover of darkness, smoke, or fog, floating in on a raft made of human corpses.

Ghost stories and pirate legends tell of special individuals mysteriously floating down to the Docks after being left for dead and adrift in dark waters, but no navigable cherries have ever been pinpointed from such tales.

Connections: The Factory and Mother are the two "closest" domains reachable via the damnable waterways which flow to and from the Docks. More arduous access to Blister-Twist, Tick Tock, and other water-adjoining domains is possible for those brave or foolish enough to set out onto the mysterious open "sea" of the underworld and navigate from there.

The Place: The Banachian Docks are a carrion-wrought sprawl of wharves, piers and boardwalks (more accurately, corpsewalks) which collectively serve as a central hub for waterborne travel in the lands Down Under. There is no foundational land mass to which the architecture of bodies are affixed - the confusing cluster of it all simply lurks in the fog in-between, a waypoint moreso than a destination itself. Spiraling outward from the Docks, a tangle of rivers, canals, and backwater creeks provide riparian access to and from multiple domains.

Eternally stinking like low tide at a seaside charnel pit, the berths, pilings and walkways of the Docks are composed entirely of sodden, bloated human corpses in varying states of decay, all lashed together with oily black rope and affixed with yellowed bone nails. Crashers theorize that the Docks were made out of the drifting remains of all the unceremonious dead ever lost at sea, each swallowed up by the Bad Place when the oceans, rivers, or lakes were slow to claim them. Referred to as "cordwood", these rigid carcass planks are usually so petrified and putrefied as to be unidentifiable, but a few amongst them are sometimes a little more lively.

Sloshing beneath the piles of the dead lies the ever-shifting "water" which offers the possibility of conveyance from the Docks to other realms of torment. In some places, the fluid most resembles luke-warm bathwater slick with snot and parasites, while in other areas the harsh waves are cold, brackish, and churning with ravenous bonefish. Regardless of the localized specifics, the waters beneath and stretching out from the Docks are dangerous. Crashers foolish or unlucky enough to submerge even a portion of themselves beneath the surface suffer awful consequences, if they don't die outright from being eaten, poisoned, or drowned.

Only human corpses float in the waters around the Docks. Normally buoyant materials sink quickly into the depths, much to the chagrin of The Gumper, who lost once lost his keys down there despite his floaty-foam keychain, and who almost lost his right hand (if not his entire immortal soul) when he tried to yoink them back. As such, life rafts and bass boats brought down from topside just don't work, requiring those who wish to navigate the waterways of the Underworld via the Docks to make passage on the backs of the drifting dead.

The Docks and the waters nearby are relatively stable and reliable compared to the undefined insanity that half-exists "in-between". During passage between one defined infernal domain and another, the mysterious shoreline is ever-shrouded, covered in suffocating grey fog or cloaked in restless darkness. Raft-riding crashers have half-glimpsed scenery including an ancient Parisian sewer tunnel, a jungle-choked Vietnamese riverbank, and a Wonka-esque forest of blood and cocaine-striped candy canes. Stepping foot onto the "land" which appears in-between is a big fucking mistake - crashers have been eaten by creatures that won't die because they don't exist, gotten permanently trapped in a hole in reality, or simply wiped away in an instant with nothing more to mark their disappearance than a puff of vapor and a soft farting sound. Smart crashers keep their hands and feet inside the ride at all times, and do their best to ignore the sights and sounds around them while they wait to get where they're going.

When using the waterways of the Docks, "safe" (or at least reliable) points to launch or disembark a watercraft are marked by the telltale piers constructed of the dead, commonly wrought in the local style of the domain. The dock at Mother is so covered with python-sized black leeches that it looks like it has dreadlocks. The dock at The Factory is formed out of processed severed hands, feet, and heads all pressed together like bricks of Spam, stacked up around several conveyor belts which dump a never-ending torrent of waste and scrap into the water.

Authority: There is no authoritative entity running the Docks as a whole, setting schedules or patrolling territory, though there are forces worth avoiding. Well-armed frigates of the Pale Merchants have been known to demand tariffs from weaker vessels. Powerful demons using the Docks as neutral territory may hold pirate court in galleon palaces. De facto power tends to rest with the biggest ship and most dangerous crew in port at a given time.

Citizens: Some of the bodies comprising the Docks are fresher than others. These damned, known as "floaters", are usually found drifting in the shallows at the edge of the Docks. Some are paralyzed from the neck down and don't move at all; the lucky ones can awkwardly paddle around using one not-so-bad limb. Those that stick around too long without moving or being moved are eventually absorbed by the Docks as structural material, where they remain affixed and trapped until pried loose (if ever). Floaters seem to realize with dread the possibility of becoming eternally trapped in such a fashion, and seize upon any opportunity to move themselves along. Floaters still blessed with at least one workable hand will grab on to whatever or whoever passes by, collecting on the bottoms of boats like barnacles.

Most floaters seem to come to the Docks from other domains, having drifted off on a body of water at some point, let slip by their shackles and momentarily forgotten by their screws. But these lost lost souls retain an affinity for their domain of origin, and that affinity can be exploited to make a floater a useful navigation tool. Crashers have found that floaters tend to float back towards where they've come from, if you can remind them where that was. This is usually done by speaking to the floater, describing the tortures inflicted in the domain and the terrible denizens and conditions there. The more graphic and blood-curdling the descriptions, the faster the floaters float, and better still if a substance from that domain can be rubbed on them as a focus. It isn't that the floaters want to go back - they usually don't. In fact, they usually scream in terror once they realize what is going on. But it does work, and the Docks are full of makeshift corpse-boats with one or more floaters wedged into the hull as motors of damnation, hollerin' bloody murder all the while.

Cost: Getting together a raft of human bodies usually isn't cheap, or easy. Neither is navigating the damn thing down the dangerous spillways which run in-between one awful place and another. And most don't find it fun, rigging up a poor wayward floater to act as a lodestone and whispering terrible descriptions of damnation into his ear to get him going. So, it would be wrong to call the use of the Docks "free". But on the other hand, it's not like there's a ferryman lurking around, hand outstretched for his two gold coins.

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