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Officially, Vriestad doesn't exist. Older maps proclaim the district as the "Wilniet Housing Project", while the latest maps published by the Hogenrood city government show nothing at all - just a grayed-out area that has been built on, but which is implied not to have anything of interest to any visitor.

A mixture of drab, newly build apartment houses for the masses which developed problems as soon as their construction had been finished, run-down factory buildings, and smaller buildings from earlier times, the area housed factory workers, their families, and many others who couldn't live elsewhere but were not quite poor enough to be homeless. Naturally, the district became a rallying point for the Secondaries, who protested the high rents, poor living conditions and the treatment of the workers. Eventually, they started to occupy some of the buildings, refusing to pay rent to anyone as well as preventing the authorities from entering, proclaiming the district to be "Vriestadt", a free city where the oppressed people would make their stand and live in freedom. Sometimes they were forcibly evicted and arrested, but as the district became a rallying cry for the cause, more and more protesters arrived. Two years ago it seemed to all observers that a major confrontation would be inevitable, with the military being called in to evict the Secondaries by all means necessary as the situation grew out of hand… but for some reason, this never happened. Instead, the government simply has walled off the major thoroughfares and rerouted all public transportation around the district. The government now effectively pretends that Vriestadt doesn't exist, and its censors remove all mention of Vriestadt from any newspapers and other official publications.

In the meantime, Vriestadt has become free of any government authority - instead, it is "ruled" in the loosest terms by various Secondary committees who decide on what must be done to fix the district's problems, whether that means repairing and maintaining buildings, getting enough food, water, and heating for everyone, or punishing those who harm others living there. Many of the inhabitants still work elsewhere and bring back necessary supplies, for while the main routes out of it are sealed, the less visible side streets still allow passage to the rest of the city.

The question that preys on the inhabitants' minds is why the government just let Vriestadt slip from their control without a fight. While some Secondaries believe that the government was afraid of their power, most doubt that they could have stood against the military and won. Some of the more cynical speculate that the government just waits until the various committees fall apart from squabbling - a process that already seems to be well underway with some of them - while others worry about a more sinister reason, such as planned experiments on the population. After all, if the people living here reject being part of Hogenrood, then the Hogenrood government no longer has any responsibility for what happens to them…

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