The Drache Rumormill
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10.I.483, Vol. XV
The City's Matters
Racial Tension Erupts into Brawl In Market Square
A scuffle started in Market Square a couple weeks ago between a human shouting epithets at non-humans and various members of the crowd assembled around him. After incendiaries were thrown, Guards were called to the Market Square to break up the fray. Eyewitness accounts differ as to who threw the first punch. The Royal Guard has yet to reveal the identity of the responsible human is or what charges, if any, will be brought in the matter. Certain non-human members of the merchant community have expressed discontent with the irregularities surrounding the matter.
Newcomer Baudin Wins Tournament of Arms
Red Lantern District native Alderic Baudin defeated the Emshi Khial al-Amas'kyaa in a closely fought match. Baudin took initiative in the early stages of the fight, but al-Amas’kyaa rallied and fought back hard. Despite the setback, Baudin managed to regain his footing and finish the match, which was closely fought to the end. When asked about his intentions after the fight, he indicated he was working as a guardsman for one of the wealthy merchant families in town.
The Business of War
The mercenary trade is flourishing in Drache in recent years. While traditionally home to the likes of the Ebon Hammer, now smaller groups are making their way to the city, as it is conveniently close to several potential battlefields. The city, long known for the bounty of its trade, is proving to be a lucrative home for those who guard caravans and merchant ships, as well as those wealthy families that are inevitably the target of robbers, kidnappers and others trying to relieve them of their wealth. There is speculation that Southern Arangoth, in the wake of disbanding the Border Watch, is perhaps looking to integrate the presence of many varied and experienced troops into its plans for defense, though there is little in the way of direct military threats to Drache itself.
The influx of mercenaries has particularly benefited houses of ill repute and taverns, though the guard is finding itself under strain as more and more brawls erupt between mercenaries belonging to different groups. One legal expert, Bolk ul-Kenglith Arnak, warns that it is entirely possible that Arangothian law against guilds may be used against such groups if they continue to create a disruption, though local brothels in the Red Lantern District are stepping up their efforts to prevent violence, notably by hiring more bouncers.
Sithire Authorizes Hiring of Warriors to Defend Sewer Cleaners
Citing reports of the Office of the Honorable City Engineer of Drache that “the rats are now larger than ever and have mastered the use of weaponry” the Sithire has authorized the funding for the City Engineer to hire mercenary armsmen to protect sewer cleaners during the annual spring cleaning of the sewer system, which encompasses much of the city and predates it by centuries. While the occasional undead or monster has appeared during the past and attacked sewer cleaners, the city has, in the past, sent down BlkDragon District guardsmen to protect the workers, the intensity of attacks last year was much higher, and the BlkDragon District Guards are holding out for a bigger bonus for this year’s trek into the dark. The Royal Guard declined to officially comment, though several Wharf Patrol members of the Royal Guard have indicated their amusement at the refusal of their comrades to do ‘a little dirty work.’
Where Have the Birds Gone?
Naturalists looking for birds this year are wondering where the birds have gone, and the Royal University’s Zoology department have been tasked with investigating this particular phenomenon. No cause has yet been ascertained.
Rumormill Hires a New Editor-in-Chief
Brezertunuthch, or Brez, the Beholder has been appointed the new Editor-in-Chief of the Drache Rumormill. “I am so glad that a fellow of my species can find some sort of respectable work while still allowing me to utilize my unique talents in tyranny,” he gushed. Literally.
Royal Engagement Announced
The Royal Palace at Tagrana announced the betrothal of Crown Prince Emereth ul-Arlok Arangoth to Valka ul-Perlim Larkspin today, to much fanfare and acclaim. While few predicted the Crown Prince would be engaged so young, it nonetheless was greeted with great enthusiasm in the North.
Valka ul-Perlim Larkspin is the daughter of Palatine Perlim Larkspin, the man who was displaced from power during the return of King Arlok to his throne in 469 after 54 years of enchanted sleep. The Crown Prince Emereth is Arlok’s son by the Queen Melinxa, noted as a gentle and studious lad who has a strong grasp of matters fiscal and related to stewardship of the realm.
This marriage is expected to help secure the line of succession in the kingdom by providing another heir in line for the crown. While King Arlok ul-Dorn is yet young, experts agree that with only one son, the Arangothian Royal Family needs to hurry up and reproduce. One expert noted, however, "He'd have better luck with a Drachean girl; they're known to have faster pregnancies and the kids grow up sooner."
Shut Out: Only a Few Southern Notables Invited to Royal Engagement Ceremony
Drache’s notables who were expecting more than a few deliveries of invitations to the Royal Engagement Ceremony were generally disappointed when the messengers failed to appear. While every old blooded family up North seemed to manage to get their hands on invitations to the grand celebration in Hornath ul-Marfed, thrown by the Palatine Perlim Larkspin himself, the Southern presence at the affair was limited to representatives of the Sithire and Marcion ul-Fenduth Tagran Aldenbar, a second cousin of King Arlok, and the Sithire’s representatives were reportedly seated along a wall and close to the privies. This has only exacerbated tensions between the Sithire and Crown; despite the treaty in 471, it has been some time since King Arlok has held court in Drache, preferring solitude in the royal hunting estates outside of the city itself.
The feast was reportedly quite lavish and many gifts were given to the future Royal Couple by the diplomats and other notables in attendance. While there was a bit of embarrassment that the the Sresar Vale was notably excluded – it was noted that someone nonetheless a pair of fine capes made from Dire Sheep wool, though the package was not attributed to anyone in attendance.
Northern Estates Call for Drache Taxation
A rancorous opening session of this year’s Northern Estates in Hornath ul-Marfed has caused a stir as a number of nobles, decrying the precarious finances of the Northern part of the kingdom, have proposed taxation of trade coming in through the North and bound toward Drache. While such a move would be illegal per the 471 treaty signed with King Arlok by the Regency Council in the South, a vocal minority of the Northern Estates argue that the terms were deceptive.
Drache-bound caravan traffic is lucrative, though the markets in Hornath ul-Marfed and other parts of the North are not so much so. While caravans often buy supplies in the North, they do not generally buy much else. As lawyers in Drache have noted, ‘the agreement is very clear on this, and these particular members of the estate are completely mistaken if they think this can be done. This is not a periphery matter, such as holding court half the year here in the South, this is the lifeblood of the city.’
While this faction were shouted down by the majority of Estate holders in attendance, the idea wasn’t entirely unpopular, “If the King weren’t slyly manipulated into this onerous agreement and we were forced to honor it, I’d happily support this course of action. Of course, we have to abide by our agreements with the merchants, however disingenuously written, if only because it is the honor of the crown at stake,” one northern noble observed when interviewed.
New Captain of Palace Guards Named
Sir Alion Sethek was promoted to Captain of King Arlok’s personal retinue of Guardsmen today. Noted as a puissant warrior with a great instinct for leadership in war, the young man has made a name for himself suppressing bandits while serving under Vorfon Sivrian ul-Kukarek Daclod. Captain Sethek’s duties include the defense of the Royal Palace of Tagrana. Owing to a number of assassination attempts against the life of King Arlok, seventy years ago and more recently, Arlok’s personal guards have undergone a transformation into a strong force numbering in the hundreds that garrison the Royal Palace very securely.
Back Alley Informer
Marnath Nesepix’s Body Found
Reported missing weeks ago, announcer Marnath Nesepix was confirmed dead today upon the discovery of his body in an abandoned wagon in the so-called “Canvas Roof District,” north of the Market where caravaners often keep their horses and wagons corralled while visiting the city. The Royal Guard assert that he was tortured considerably before his death, though none of the caravaners report having heard a thing. Marnath Nesepix was known to be in heavy debt to several different parties, and at this time the Royal Guard have no solid leads on who might have killed him.
Joust Cancelled Due to Corruption
The jousting tournament for last month’s tournament was cancelled, according to a source inside the Royal Guard, because it had been discovered that some of the contenders and officials were attempting to throw the jousts in order to benefit financially from gambling. It is thought that Marnath Nesepix was perhaps involved, though the Royal Guard deny any connection between the cancellation of the joust and the cancellation of Marnath Nesepix’s life at this time.
Orcish Death Toll on the Rise in Drache
A recent trend of Orcish and mixed-race deaths in the City have created a fear among orcs and orc-blooded in the city that they are the favored prey of a group or individual with a racial grudge. While they have pressed the Royal Guard to investigate further, there has been little evidence of the deaths being linked, while there is strong evidence that the individuals in question were involved in various sorts of altercations. The Zul Kiran ambassador, Vrugar Ghostwalker, said the following, “The Royal Guard of Drache are expected to protect all its charges and uphold all its laws. I expect those of our kind to be treated the same as, for example, elvenkind would be under the law. I look forward to hearing more about progress on investigating these killings soon.”
Disappearance of Kidnapping Suspect
Kylos ul-Kenglith Folvik, a merchant that was recently acquitted of involvement in the disappearance of the Nege Twins, Lixa and Alix, aged six winters, left the city recently. The subject of some degree of anger and controversy, despite his acquittal, he was last seen selling off his wares at a discount and leaving the city northbound. No sign was found of the Nege Twins by the guard as of yet, though the family has, according to a close friend, ‘given up hope of seeing them again and can only hope for justice instead.’
Foreign Affairs Watch
Fighting in the Alesian Imperium
After a long period of biding his time in Tollor, Etaudus Paralor, the heir to the Granite Throne in Charnath, launched an offensive against the forces of Gharvol Jornothen, who usurped the throne in 476. While it was thought that the Paralor heir would be content to stay where he was relatively safe and count himself lucky, he surprised experts by launching an offensive against his enemy after so much time had elapsed.
“There were negotiations underway for a settlement of some sort and it looked like it was about to happen when the landings happened,” claims one diplomat familiar with the situation, on the condition of anonymity. According to sources in the Isle of Myst, Corvarath Paralor, the brother of Etaudus, has not become involved in the fighting, though it is widely suspected that the formidable mage is at least privy to his brother's plans.
Using naval assets hired from the Bahijans and the Korthai and led by Larold Vertonthen, the Paralor faction managed to land significant forces north of Terlind, the capitol of the province, and rapidly overrun the School of Arms at Prine, where Paralor forces were able to capture significant numbers of men and materiel intact; several Falvarniok have declared for the Paralors but fighting has been fierce. There is little expected mercenary hiring on the Paralor side, which is composed of units that fought in the Aslarian war, though Jornothen hiring agents have been seen in Drache. With the Bahijan government apparently in at least tacit support of Etaudus Paralor, it is unknown if Jornothen supporters can reach the Alesian mainland or if they are cut off.
Unfortunately, the same uncertainty applies also to Alesian exports, particularly the much-sought after Terlindian whiskey – prices have soared as merchants have started to stockpile supplies of the popular distillate.
Elvendeepish Tensions with Zul Kiras Continue
Despite entry into the kingdom of Arangoth, the Elvendeepish public is deeply concerned about Zul Kiran activities in Outer Arangoth, going so far as to begin mobilization and drills for select units of the Second Column of the Elvendeepish Army, whose purpose is to fight comnventional land battles that the First Column, the Sorani, are not necessarily equipped for.
Meanwhile, the Lord Marshall of the Fourth Column, former Lord Protector Jaonos Mistwinter, consented to be interviewed and said the following, “War is coming. Even to the human sense of time that counts decades as a long stretch, war is coming soon. We’ve seen increased expansion by the Zul Kirans and mostly indifference from the Court at Tagrana or even the Sithire in Drache. Elvendeep knows that it may have joined Arangoth but it is still alone in this war. Elvendeep isn’t going to ignore an existential threat.”
Meanwhile, Vrugar Ghostwalker replied, "The Lord Marshall treads a fine line between vigilance and provocation. I await indication from His Majesty's court in Tagrana whether this hostile footing is to be understood as official policy or mere overzealousness."
Thontaranar Mount Raid against Aslarian Black Marketeers
Citing the need to recover certain artifacts removed from Thon lands, Thon forces, mounted Unrolnar accompanied by seven witches, mounted a raid across the border into Aslar in pursuit of a group of black marketeers. Using a forceful but ultimately harmless display of magic, they managed to force Aslarian forces attempting to block them into a full retreat and were able to retrieve what they came for as well as the men they held responsible.
A Thon representative, a so-called ‘Witch’ by the name of Ranela, who is the defacto spokeswoman for Lonrath in Drache, defended the action in an interview by saying, “Our laws are no secret. The Aslarian soldiers at the border allowed them through in the first place and we were obligated to retrieve the artifacts in question, some of which were very dangerous, before they could make it into the hands of those that might misuse it. Drache itself has several examples of those sorts of hands in the recent past.”
The Aslarian crown issued a stern warning, but sources in the Aslarian embassy say that they are aghast that they were so easily taken by the battle magic. “We’ve fought Alesian Kovarniok, but the magics employed here were deceptive and disruptive rather than destructive. We are currently investigating wrongdoing and or corruption on the part of our soldiers at the Thon border. We, of course, respect the laws of our neighbors.”
Despite these assurances, there is a long history of Aslarian/Thontaranar tension arising from the attempt of black marketeers to plunder Thon ruins, of which there are many, and then escape into Aslar.
Gadding About Town
Another King Served at the Silver Swan
Chabo, the so called king of snakes and a delicacy among the Berjeron of Mwayambi, is now on the menu at the House of the Silver Swan. The snake, which grows to lengths of roughly ten to fourteen feet long and is highly venomus, is marinated in wine and grilled with butter and herbs, crusted over to look like a snakeskin. Initial reports from those brave enough to attempt the food have been uniformly full of praise. Since Mwayambi apparently has a surplus of the beasts there is some activity among traders at the wharves to prepare for the importation of this allegedly delicious, though highly dangerous, animal in greater numbers.
“It is said that the Chabo,” Dennon "Four Hands" Ulathee related, “Is the king of snakes. So this would merely make it one more king served at the House of the Silver Swan.”
Ulathee did not take any further questions regarding kings, though he did assure us that future menus at the House of the Silver Swan would never include the Dire Sheep, despite the reputation the Silver Swan has for serving exotic meals. "That would not be in our best interests; the attempt would merely devastate our bottom line," Ulathee asserted.
Zul Kiran Vinters Export “Elven-Style” Wine to Drache
In a time of uncertainty in relations between the Zul Kirans and the Elvendeepish, Zul Kiran vinyards have produced a wine that is claimed to be ‘the match of elven-styled wines produced in elven lands’ but at a drastically cheaper price in comparison. While details were not forthcoming, there were rumors of secrets traded between the nether realms and the Plucked Eye tribe in order to acquire the necessary information on techniques for growing and producing the wine.
A taste test was held at the behest of Vrugar Ghostwalker involving Drache’s experts; Orwell the Watchman, a pair of Dire Sheep and a master sommelier from Castle Black, all of whom expressed their approval of the vintage; Vorfon Orwell did not notice a difference, the Dire Sheep belched in approval and Master Sommelier Bralk said, “Excellent, particularly when paired with a light lunch of fruit and cheeses,” though he was patting his pocket in great satisfaction as he did so.
Vrugar Ghostwalker seemed pleased with the results, “This is proof that Zul Kiras has a culture that is equal to that of the elves. And our wine is priced better. Soon, we hope to see a bottle of our wine on tables all over Drache.”
Innolesse Calipor of the Elvendeepish embassy in Drache only had one thing to say to that, “Carathok!” (Translator’s note - Alesian: Cocksucker.)
New Najji Coffee Threatens Bahijan Dominance of Drachean Market
Now you too can enjoy the Sh’hazrid Sunrise, in a cup no less. The new coffee blend has arrived from Najjir by Shushan Traveler caravan, but despite the mode of transport there is only one thing suspicious about the coffee – how good it is. Local eateries catering to the wealthy and those with a taste for the exotic have started to pick up on the new coffee blend in preference over the Bahijan blends that have been the staple of Drachean coffee consumption for some years.
The coffee is described as rich and dark, and it is said that it mixes quite well with Terlindian whiskey, though it certainly stands on its own.
Nothing deters fashion among the mighty and the wealthy, not even the weather or the climate. This winter, the dominant trend in high fashion is imported from Bahija, where bird feathers, particularly colorful ones, are favored as an ornament. While natural colors are best, dyed colors are acceptable so long as the dye does not run. The trend started as ornaments in one’s hair, but has expanded to plumage around the collar or even at the cuff.
It isn’t the best fashion for wet and cold weather, but Drachean fashion is a harsh mistress, and Drachean fashionistas are harsh critics.
In The Eyes of the Beholder
Editorial: Stop Trying to Shear the Sheep
The Dire Sheep is a demonstrably formidable beast when aroused; sharp teeth, hard horns, steel wool and a cunning well above that of the average Drachean. It evolves to fight its chosen prey of the moment; eyewitnesses have seen the Dire Sheep sprout heads like a hydra and take flight against a dragon in 472. Dire Sheep have hunted some of the most powerful denizens of Drache since their first sighting in 469 and are undoubtedly the apex predator of this realm. The Dire Sheep has been witnessed many times hunting and consuming beings of untold power, denizens of this city that were secure in their assurance that nothing existed that could harm them.
They are not here anymore and the Dire Sheep is the reason for that.
So why then, are fools trying to shear them?
Let me back up. A few weeks ago, some fools, no doubt newcomers to our fair city, attempted to break into the BlkDragon Inn’s pen and shear Woolly, a longtime fixture at the place.
Are you worried for Woolly’s safety? Worry not, dear reader, the sheep still has fangs – a lot of them. Worry instead for the shears; those were broken against the wool the wielders of the shears sought to remove. The assailants are alright as well – apparently mere mortal drunkards are not appetizing enough to bother a Dire Sheep to go through the effort of hunting, though we remember what happened to the angelic or demonic (who really knows?) entity known as Angelix; he chased people into the Royal Church's courtyard, hurling balls of energy at them, only to find a large number of Dire Sheep in aprons waiting for the meat to be delivered to their cooking contest. Angelix, a being of incalculable power, was never seen again.
While it is more likely that the Dire Sheep will laugh off attempts at shearing them for their steely wool, it is entirely possible that such hubris might be given a more stern lesson. All that will be left of you then is the satisfied belch of a well-fed Dire Sheep.
Your obt svt,
Bez the Beholder.
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