In the Saj-ur foothills if one knows where to look they can find the remnants of high wooden walls made of logs tied together with decaying rope and rusting nails. The wood itself has decayed in many places removing the security that was once provided by the walls of Fort Iredsta. The fort in its day was used as sanctuary by the people from the forest goblins. Constructed and run by the Knights of Kaddock , it served for about fifty years before the town of Saj-Graf was started. After that it was passed on to the merchant house Ixith. Ixith saw the necessity for the fort die off as Saj-graf and other cities grew. It was briefly home to various marauders and brigands over the years but eventually the lack of repair and upkeep saw the value of such a holding fade.
Fort Iredsta saw its last glimmer in a commoner’s memory as the line where the King Vincent IV held back the Ogre Armies of Khostone. At that time it was the forward camp for the Lords that saw combat. It was nothing grand in its service other than it was a better alternative to out in the open or under a random tree. The walls did hold back the best advances of the ogre onslaught, but was never in any real danger of falling.
Today Fort Iredsta is hosting Kaisu and Maeve as they are hunting for just the right herbs for Lyph. Maeve explained she does errands for the old lady in exchange for her wisdom. In turn Maeve was teaching Kaisu about the plants they were gathering so that she could work on her own services as a healer. Kaisu had worked a little in Lyph’s shop after Maeve had encouraged her to request it. Kaisu had noticed Maeve was never in Lyph’s place when she was, but had chalked it up to she was not needed by Lyph if she was there.
Kaisu’s reputation as a healer had been growing in Saj-graf. She was now faced with regular visits and business that she had turned to more reputable suppliers for her reagents. She could have afforded for herself to move out from Kadin’s house and up in the world. Instead she had donated her free time and money to operating in a space near the
Well of Karitas. Never asking what her clients there did or how they were injured, she was only concerned that they were receiving treatment for their injuries and ailments.
Kadin was with the ladies at his own invitation, and under the guise of concern for their safety. Kadin had taken the advice of Sudeman, and was keeping a closer eye on Maeve’s actions and words. Kadin was slightly more at ease having spent more time around Maeve, but still untrusting of her motives and her advances on him. Maeve was somewhere between his and Kasiu’s age, and while he did find her attractive, he was still uncertain of what to make of her.
An old man sits in his library pouring over numerous ledgers, through a dated pair of spectacles resting at the end of his nose. He has on a long grey robe and white gloves, to protect his hands. He is looking for something in all the pages and yet has no idea what it is for certain. He knows the reward will be huge if he finds the right bit of information. An idea occurs to him and he scribbles down a small note, “Gertrude to be protected at all costs,” then goes back to his skimming.
He is looking for at ledgers and records brought by one courier and sends his take away via another courier. His latest observations are that there is a buildup of foreign merchant ships at port, but they are all new names and crew. Also something is off from what was received from Ermore Inn, but he is uncertain as to what. The writing style is the same but the words are off somehow. He has looked back at the older volumes received and has not placed what is off.
The old man gets up from the desk and paces around a bit. The library is untidy with mounds of books sitting in various piles, organized like thoughts in the man’s brain. It is his room, bed and all, but the rest of the building is his employer’s. He never leaves the room as that is not what he paid to do. Rather he occasionally rests and looks out the window. From there he looks across Saj-graf and thinks of his sons and daughter receiving their monthly stipend. His servitude will be up in another year, and he wonders if they will recall his face when he returns to them. Have they forgotten his oath to them? They will miss the coin surely, but that was the deal.
He lets out a sigh and rubs at his eyes, the moon is rising and his candles are running short. He requested some lamp oil yesterday and had yet to receive it. Maybe it will arrive with supper.
Deirdre’s Field is where Saj-graf buries their dead. The field was originally used by a long forgotten goddess of the same name. As the city grew the goddess was forgotten, but the field’s use continued. The place is poorly maintained as most of the city has little use for the dead in their current state. The cemetery is bordered in bamboo like grass obscuring most of it from view with an occasional tree in the acreage. Burials were only done once a week, almost all during the day.
This evening Crevan lays to rest the body of a Captain Hernando. He was found on the docks near his ship by the longshoremen unloading his vessel. He died from a cut along the gut where he bled out. Volka had instructed him to do burials at night as it let the spirit know it was time to rest. Being a man of the sea, Crevan buried Hernando near the river that ran through the Deirdre’s Field. The presence of water would remind Hernando of happy memories.
Crevan had spent the afternoon preparing the body while the hired diggers had cleared out the hole. Tomorrow they would pile the dirt back on for him. Crevan was one of ten who were commissioned by the city to see that the dead were handled when there was no one else to handle the arrangements. It had come with the job from Volka. The others were volunteers of religious orders, one from the Ardent Order, another nominated among the noble houses, and one from the town guard.
The following morning, there would probably be someone who came by to morn, either a friend or associate delayed in learning of the passing. The grave itself would be marked with a wood sign, if Hernando had any wealth or connections it would receive a better marker. Crevan guessed it would end up like many of the graves and all there would be is a stump of a sign in a few weeks.
Theft was rampant in Deirdre’s field, with the size of the place. The town guard would not patrol the land as they saw it as a waste of resources and the nobles were inclined to agree. The nobles themselves usually were not buried in the field as they had their tombs elsewhere and better guarded. Occasionally families would post a guard over their newly deceased, but the thieves knew it was only a matter of time till the family lost interest and the grave was ripe for picking. The only graves untouched were those that were protected by wards of an enchanter. Few and far between, the veterans of the trade knew which graves not to touch. Those new to the craft sometimes learned quickly why the grave was left alone.
Yonnic’s Cove in Port Gertrude is a cozy place to drink at the end of a long day. The old oak walls are still nice and solid keeping the cold at bay on a cool day. The thatch roof was recently replaced after decades of wear. There are two fire places at either end of the building and a small stage along one of the front walls. It brings in a nice mix of sailors, farmers, and merchants who share the latest gossip of the lands. Frequently the discussion turns to who is the leader of Saj-graf.
First there is Ertle who without a doubt has an unofficial control of the city’s commerce. Many a merchant would agree that he is only lacking in name the control of the city. His connections will open many doors to a merchant, and seal off a lesser few. Yet if you were a farmer or noble you would scoff at such power as you know more that control your life.
Lord Gerard holds the rights to the land. The nobles would agree he was the leader of Saj-graf as there mobility and income were tied back to him. It is through his good graces their titles were maintained and it is he who had power over their own holdings. The lords pledge there fealty to him once a year. The farmers too owe the normal taxes to the lord whether it is paid in coin or crops. They too are indebted to him for lease of his lands.
A few of the less savory fellows would argue The Prince does control Saj-graf and the surrounding lands. He is known to have records of people’s movement in spite of the sstealth attempted. The Prince knows better than Ertle the types of good flowing through town, even if they should not be. He lacks a title from Lord Gerard, but if reaches out to you, you had best show him respect.
Then there is always Mayor Alvin. He is the weakest contender with the most power. He is charged by Gerard to run the place. There is no doubt he is on the take and can bend the law to his will when needed. The town guard reports to him, giving him a small army at his disposal. Yet the fool as he does it all so whimsically and with no plan further out than the day.
Despite all this, in Yonnic’s Cove, Yonnic Rules the house with prices just above fair and quality just below par. There is plenty of room and your safety is guaranteed. Beyond turning a profit he has no interest in your belongings and his bouncers will toss out the trouble maker at first go. He manages to get the best entertainment in the region but never says how. Yonnic never weighs in on any of this because his patrons wish him beholden to none. Yet he still pays his taxes with a smile.