Thoughts From a Dwarf VI: Life in the City

Character Background by Arxaggus Add comments

Winter is upon us again.  I have been diligent about me health this time, and am happy to report that me feet are dry and me hands are clean.  I find meself with some time alone, a rarity given the frenzied pace of me second life.  So, I have sat meself down by a warm fire with a cup of hot, spiced buttermilk and the intention to write.

The first snows of the season have coated Westhaven in a blanket of white, driving most folk indoors.  Unlike last winter, however, adventuring activity has not abated.  Westhaven’s adventurers now number in the hundreds, if not thousands, and many of them are still working as we approach the end of the year.

The Hob & Goblin is no longer the sole rest spot for adventurers.  It is the most successful by far, but sadly its meager rooms and common hall could not accommodate the number of men needing to rest their battle-weary bones.  Fortunately, the city has opened its doors to these immigrants, and if you’re new in town ye can find welcome anywhere.  The Bloated Anvil, a tavern located just off of Smithy Row, has welcomed the newcomers.  The various ale tents in Mudbottom Flats, a slum along the southside that sprung up this summer, are frequented almost exclusively by down-on-their-luck adventurers, but I don’t consider that area safe for honest folk.  Even the Golden Lion, which I currently call home, has rented out rooms to adventurers.  It’s more expensive than the other inns, for sure, but it’s cleaner in more ways than one.  Since the Lion is situated on a hill, I also have a pretty good view of the farmland along the river to the west, which reminds me a little of home.

Each of the city’s various taverns and inns are alike in many ways, but only the Hob & Goblin has an ongoing contest among the guilds.  It seems that Dogan and Buddy are running a tally on the number of goblin ears the adventuring guilds bring back from the wild.  Part of me wishes that the Band of Blades still existed.  I know me mates and I would be winning that contest.  A group of elf women calling themselves the Sisterhood of Shadows is currently leading the tally, with 53 goblin ears returned intact.

This year’s harvest was substantial.  After last year’s lean winter, Princess Annabella ordered the planting of some five thousand acres of new farmland, over half of which produced a first crop this season.  Although Westhaven is still importing foodstuffs to feed its growing population, there is less of a worry about starvation and fighting on the streets for bread, and with the continuing price freeze on food and other basic goods, even the poorest immigrants still have a chance at survival.  I hear the Baker’s Guild isn’t entirely pleased with the price controls, but they make a profit just fine.

Were I a farmer and not a soldier, I’d have put in a claim to some of that land and turned a tidy profit.  Land ownership in Westhaven is an interesting thing, though.  Legally, everything inside the Edge of the World belongs to the crown.  If ye wish to start a farm or mine for silver, you’re required to get a permit from the Assessor’s Office.  There is an annual property tax, which is surprisingly fair, and another tax when goods are sold.  The hand of the crown is a noticeable but reasonable presence in everyone’s affairs.  Overall, life in Westhaven is a pleasant experience.

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