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Even during the day, Cowgate was wreathed in half-light. Now it was pitch dark. Pantheon runners had earlier ensured the main streetlights were knocked out and CCTV dismantled. The Horde would progress east towards Holyrood, but Punnr glanced the other way as he emerged and thought he saw dark figures standing further up the road ensuring no unwanted traffic or pedestrians would get through.

A gloom pervades Cowgate. They say that in the 16th century the city's most handsome residences were lined along it - but it's hard to believe. 

Winding down a deep natural defile, it was named because of the custom of driving cattle to market along this route. In an effort to link the Royal Mile with the University quarter, South Bridge and George IV Bridge were built high overhead and these structures still block the sky today. 

As one would expect, these shadows were no place for people with money and Cowgate was home to Edinburgh's poor for two centuries - a dank, forlorn,  overcrowded slum. Until a fire in 2002, it was also home to the Edinburgh Fringe's Underbelly. How fitting. For Cowgate is the city's underbelly made physical.

A place for illicit meetings, For fights. And for the passing of mysterious figures.

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