The Drache Rumormill
"Drache's Premier News Source." (now only 10q!)
27.I.483, Vol. XV
The City's Matters
Rumormill Hiring Freelance Correspondents
One of the latest innovations of the Rumormill's newest editor, Brezertunuthch, or Brez, the Beholder, is the hiring of freelance correspondents to help drive down the overhead costs of running Drache's premier news publication.
"We are expecting that many an individual will find their ego validated by having their name show up in a byline," the Beholder confided in an interview, "and the salaries of the staff reporter positions I just cut are a nice little garnish for my bank account," slavered the disgusting Orb of Editorial Tyranny with much-apparent glee.
(OOC: We're accepting submissions for news stories. Please contact geth for more info via PM or get me on IRC!)
Exploration Party Disappears into the Gray Fangs
The survey party of Ares Calgrix has disappeared entirely into a series of ruins that was recently discovered in the Gray Fang Mountains; another party is being assembled to ascertain the fate of Ares Calgrix. The initial discovery was heralded as a huge find, and there were many a volunteer for the first expedition. All that remains now is a ruined camp and a few supplies, some bloodstains and a mystery.
Independent parties are said to be assembling with the intention of exploring the ruins that Calgrix discovered in hopes of striking a rich find; the journey is perilous, but the lure of riches is often music to the ears of many an adventurer.
(OOC: For further information about this plot, please contact metalslime.)
Local Graves Disturbed
Observers have recently noticed activity occurring around Drache's various graveyards, such as disturbed soil and other minor alterations. This particular trend, found across several graveyards, prompted concerns that another necromancer may well be menacing the city among long-time residents. In particular, Drache's clerics are on high alert, and others are joining them in impromptu nighttime patrols of the graveyards to ensure that no one is digging up and re-animating Drache's dead. Those who wish to volunteer should present themselves with the blunt weapon of their choice at the Royal Church. Shovels and torches will be provided.
Morality League, "Lathria Sinkonnat," Make Themselves Heard in Red Lantern District
A group claiming to represent the interests of purity in Drache assembled in the Red Lantern District today to voice their displeasure with the local Intimate Service Professionals trade in the city. This group, calling themselves the "Lathria Sinkonnat" (Arangothek: Morality League), lay many of the city's ills on the toleration and even veneration of establishments like Dasmia's, the Cat's Pajamas and the Silver Swan (though the latter is not in the Red Lantern) and the legality of the trade within the city.
"The city profits off the wages of sin and immorality, it doesn't merely subsidize lust, it grants that lust respectability! How many husbands have been lured away from their wives? How many families broken by this insidious temptation?" called out Mern Rixpanak, the leader of the group, while being supported by his adoring wife, Sibinxa, at a rally outside of the Cat's Pajamas, one of Drache's more well-known establishments.
So far, there seems to be little support for the league from within the Red Lantern, though residents of other districts inside the Iron Gate are donating generously to the cause, citing the Red Lantern as a mark against Drache's reputation with the rest of Arangoth. "Others hear you're from Drache and they all assume your father was a paladin, your mother was some sort of witch and you grew to maturity in six months!" one longtime resident grumbled.
Taxation Proposal Stricken Down by Crown
King Arlok ul-Dorn moved today to halt any proceedings on motions to tax trade flowing into and out of Drache today in the Northern Estates with the following statement, "It is absolutely forbidden by Our treaty, which We intend to abide by the terms of absolutely."
Detractors of the treaty note that the terms essentially leave the North little to profit from from the commerce that travels over their roads and through their lands to reach their destinations. Others in the North also are ill at ease with the economic rise of the South; one Northern noble grumbled, "My son admires these so-called merchant princes like Resque Maessen, and is down there right now, apprenticing himself in some counting house and dreaming of piracy and riches."
Drache's Society Reacts to Royal Bethrothal Snub with Market Warfare
Meanwhiile, the South is nursing a few grudges of its own; largely left uninvited by the recent betrothal of Prince Emereth ul-Arlok to Valka Larkspin, daughter of Palatine Perlim Larkspin, Drache's elite have been considering how to repay the slight in kind, though there is currently little they can do. While King Arlok is technically supposed to hold court half the year in Southern Arangoth, particularly in Drache, which was established as a capitol in the reign of Alysia, this particular law is often overlooked in recent years, owing to a concern in the palace for the safety of the Royal Family.
"Perlim Larkspin doesn't like us and never has," one of Drache's wealthiest merchants opined in a private interview, "And the Northerners want to tax us. This is their way of trying to hold out against us. That's fine, they can keep us out of their parties, but we're already making sure that our doors are closed to those stewards and agents of Northern houses trying to acquire delicacies for their fetes. They'll have to make do with what they can grow up there; we can always sell what we have to appreciative customers."
The market activity, particularly the buyout of certain luxury goods has caused a bit of a stir in the market district, though much of the consternation is felt among factors representing the House of Larkspin and other notable anti-Drache members of the Estates, who are recieving the cold shoulder as they try to assemble goods for their fetes up north at markedly surcharged prices.
"That's the market supply right now. If they don't like it, perhaps they should have not put noses out of joint down here," one local merchant said, "The big merchants here are buying up our stock and sitting on it when they can, or they're undercutting the prices to encourage sellouts. Either way, they're making sure what goes to Hornath ul-Marfed costs dearly."
Back Alley Informer
Street Walkers Murdered in the Red Lantern District
Last week, corpses were found in the in the Red Latern District. Each of the bodies have had their throats slashed and a red ribbon tied around their ring fingers. Experts have indicated that it is entirely possible that this is some sort of ritual murder, though they also acknowledge that the ribbon may simply be some pimp's way of showing his displeasure with badly counted coin. The Royal Guard has not assigned a priority to this particular investigation. District locals claim that both women were well-known prostitutes. Despite the tepid guard response, some brothels are becoming increasingly worried about their own security, perhaps recalling past spree killers like the Spine Ripper and other dangerous, often possessed individuals that found Drache's intimate service professionals easy targets. We prefer to view these whores as canaries in the mines; when prostitutes start dying in this city, it's usually a sign of worse to come.
Foreign Affairs Watch
Ruthmarnan Trade Flourishes Due To Tariffs in Rashnad and Taranor
Prices for Rashnaditz goods have been on the increase lately due to heavy trade tariffs and strong enforcement of these tariffs. Rashnad and Taranor are known for imposing heavy trade tariffs under penalty of death (Taranor) or enslavement (Rashnad), which means that by the time goods from those lands come to Mashriq in Najjir or Kazamki in Rashnad, the prices are increased considerably by the time they reach Hornath ul-Marfed.
Meanwhile, goods coming along the Ruthmarnan routes that also bypass Northern Arangoth are coming in at roughly half the price of comparable goods coming in through the Rashnaditz routes, causing further strain on the economy of the North while bolstering the financial fortunes of the South.
Gadding About Town
Royal Betrothal Ball at the Silver Swan
While the Royal Betrothal is a sensitive subject in the North, Drache is not about to be outdone in this regard; already plans are afoot for a celebration of the betrothal among southern notables at the Silver Swan; the menu is currently a secret, though speculation is rife that the banquet kitchen there has brought in outside expertise to ensure that the feast surpasses anything the North can create with local resources.
"While we are obviously grieved by the social treatment our Northern brethren have seen fit to deliver us, we are still loyal subjects of the crown and the bethrothal is a cause for celebration," explained Dennon "Four Hands" Ulathee, retired master thief and head of the House of the Silver Swan. "This will be the true beginning of Drache's social season."
Royal Family member Marcion ul-Fenduth Tagran Aldenbar's own comments contradicted Ulathee's own narrative, in claiming that the reasoning behind throwing separate parties is because it was deemed impractical for so many Southern notables to travel north to Tagrana in the middle of winter.
Entertainment at the Royal Betrothal celebration at the House of the Silver Swan is rumored to include an array of entertainments ranging from the best illusionists gold can hire to the dance performances as well as a nine-course feast. Several people involved in the planning have all stated, openly, the intent of this celebration, "To prove that Drache can celebrate its loyalty to the crown splendidly; we're going to show Larkspin that we can do it better."
One northern noble mocked the sentiment by pantomining, "Our tea party shall be so much nicer than yours, and you shan't be invited," while laughing.
In The Eyes of the Beholder
Editorial: One Kingdom?
There has always been tension between the North and South, but the ill-considered means of organizing the Royal Betrothal has reignited old arguments. In the South, a vibrant, trade-oriented, bustling Drache is the model of a thriving marketplace and a rich and well-fed kingdom. In the North, others question the amorality of Drache and its fast-paced lifestyle, which does, regrettably, leave behind debris in its wake -- fortunes are made and ruined in Drache, gold rules and those who don't have it are often left to fend as they might.
The Northerners, of course, would happily make much of the disadvantages of the system and minimize that they are a feudal nobility that depends on the labor of those below them; they would claim that there is less wanton deprivation and a degree of noblesse oblige in their stewardship of the Northern Kingdom. And yet, there are criticisms that can be leveled at their management of their realm as well.
I am not here to validate one side or the other in this, though of course I am a Drachean first, and I keenly feel the slight as well -- for every eye, I had a hat with a feather picked out and I was so looking forward to my invitation, which never came. I am among those Dracheans that keenly feel the insult.
This latest rift between North and South, however, marks a more troubling and fundamental problem -- has Southern Arangoth outgrown the North? It is a troubling question wherein we have to wonder if our Northern neighbors are helping or hurting the city's thriving progress. And what, perhaps, if our monarch were more attentive to our needs? The regrettable reality is that Arlok is not an adroit politician -- though his cousin, Marcion ul-Fenduth Tagran Aldenbar does his best to smooth over most slights and presents an intriguing possibility of what may have been if Southern Arangoth had crowned a king in 470 -- and he has done little to work to address these divisions. No, I am not quite yet ready to proclaim support for a new king in the South, though others certainly have gone so far. But I am saying that the King needs to act, and soon, or he will find, if he ever pokes his nose out of the palace in Tagrana, that his realm is starting to boil over.
For now, we are one nation throwing two different competing parties in celebration of the Prince's betrothal; this event should unite Arangothians, but instead, it highlights the differences.
This beholder sees a difficult year ahead; inertia seems to have gripped the minds of most of those that have the power to fix these problems, because they are fixible, and yet here we are.
Your obt svt,
Bez the Beholder.
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