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The Khanduq of the Nightingale's Song

A khanduq is an Akhrani-style bazaar on two levels situated around a courtyard, typically with a few private guards to keep out the riff-raff. The Khanduq of the Nightingale’s Song is situated in the Aymara Sabban (neighbourhood) of the Maker’s Ward and is frequented by artists, musicians and their wealthy patrons. Four minarets topped with glazed blue domes adorn the corners of the building, and in the centre of the courtyard stands a beautiful fountain, depicting the winged figure of Aymara the Golden with a silver lyre under her arm, in the shade of several palm trees. During the day, the area around the fountain is crowded with the stalls and tents of local artists and craftsmen. Shoppers in the khanduq can buy icons, ceramics, carvings, pieces of sculpture and many other art objects from the stalls and from various shops situated along the sides of the courtyard. The khanduq is also home to two places of refreshment and relaxation:

The Golden Bean Tree is a coffee shop run by an attractive Akhrani woman named Yasmina and is frequented by painters, mosaicists and sculptors who gather here to drink coffee, smoke sheeshah and boast about their work, all the while on the look out for a patron to commission their next project. The Golden Bean Tree offers simple Akhrani dishes accompanied by fresh fruits and honeyed bread and has an excellent selection of coffee beans. Yasmina has a exquisite singing voice which she sometimes shows off on stage at the Blue Monkey. She ignores the doting attentions of the artists who hang out here, preferring the company of (usually older) rich merchants and nobles.

The Blue Monkey is a tavern where customers can hear some of the very best music in Parsantium, performed by local bards and singers, free of charge. The landlord, Hatim the Fat, is blind but has a great ear for music and knows a lot of interesting gossip. His pet monkey, Abu, does indeed have blue fur. The Blue Monkey has a fine wine cellar, and serves decent food as well as a wide variety of ales and lagers.

The streets surrounding the khanduq serve the needs of the local artists and musicians: the Street of Sitars is full of shops selling musical instruments; the Street of Tesserae is crammed with stalls and shops peddling artist’s materials – paints, brushes and scupltor’s tools as well as tesserae for mosaics.

An apartment near to the khanduq costs around 30 gold bezants per month.

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