There is no street in the city of Ostiana that appeals to the senses more than any other. There is no respite for a traveler in search of some center or hub. The houses all look the same and the streets themselves are the voids between the squares, and those who congregate there are without association or pride.
Ostiana, like many cities, started as a military camp. The route of the old march drills charted the town’s expansion. As wars end and men are bound to settle, the soldiers traded their regiments for guilds and neighbors. Unlike other towns, with their main streets and alleys and squares, the city of Ostiana is a strict succession of squares and courtyards only. Patterned along the old regimental divisions, each block is guarded as if the threat of constant siege were not a fading memory. Those without purpose find themselves accosted and strangers are advised to keep to the back alleys between the squares. From time to time, old rivalries flare and the city becomes tense in these divisions. There are strained familial lines, and the regimental courts have some sense of class and rank, so that the homes in the southwesterly corner are often freshly painted and well kept, while those in the northwest can seem unkempt by comparison.
There are those who find Ostiana to be without diversity or spirit. It is true that there is little culture there, at least in a traditional sense. Nonetheless, for the guarded fathers and their children playing ball in their common courts, there is safety in their insulation, their paranoia. Each feels some stake it in, even if there is no common pride.