The Chronicle

of the month of Ternost in the year 143

The vigorous pre-election campaigns of our councillors were rudely interrupted by a number of crises last month. The various faction leaders managed to hide their irritation, and didn't embarrass themselves too much in the scramble to gain publicity from the various problems. Probably the least put out has been Harry Truestaff who, despite precipitating a full scale emergency by being kidnapped, seems to have had a fairy relaxed month. Harry's kidnapping was announced to the Witanmoot by Sheriff Matthew Dixon, who explained that he had received a letter from Barondolpho demanding that the city pay a ransom or Truestaff would be killed. Uproar ensued as various councillors loudly insisted that the City could not give in to terrorism while other councillors, mainly in Harry's faction, demanded his safe return with the City's full co-operation. Although the council session was secret the Chronicle has been able to determine that during the heated and noisy debate three resolutions were put forward. The first called for the city to pay the ransom and was spoken against by Councillors Drumm and Avery; "It would only lead to further incidents, I'm sure if Harry were here he would tell us not to pay it.... ". This was voted down overwhelmingly with only the Perignon and Mowbray factions abstaining. The second called upon the councillors to pay the ransom, despite support from Adam Avery and Sheriff Perignon this was similarly defeated. The final motion was proposed by Sheriff Perignon who suggested that the city pretend to pay the ransom whist attempting to rescue Harry. This was also lost with the councillors being unwilling to even appear to be paying a ransom.

With no chance of a ransom it looked like Truestaff would be killed. For some unknown reason our councillors appear to have become convinced that he was to be sacrificed at the barrows on the edge of Botmoor. Bravely, a Witanmoot Guard contingent lead by Sheriff Dixon and accompanied by Aralan Derwent (there to deal with any inconvenient witnesses one presumes) set out on a rescue mission. Officially they didn't find anything, however rumour suggests that they disturbed yet another necromantic ceremony and prevented the summoning of a demon. Certainly at least one guard member was so shocked by the experience that she has had to retire from the guard. Meanwhile Cllr Truestaff emerged from his captivity none the worse for his experience, having been wined and dined by his captors and released unharmed on Ternost Firstday.

The other major problem to face our Councillors this month was the Welfare and Education budget. With citizens still calling for more money for the orphanage, rumours of a big overspend and a threatened veto from Lady Cox it looked like Chairman Ann Tasker might well stand up and make a resignation speech rather than attempting to put forward a budget. However some impressive backstage manoeuvring by her colleague Adam Avery led to an unlikely compromise under which Lady Cox has loaned the city the money to make up the deficit. The Councillors leapt upon this way out of a sticky situation and it received overwhelming backing. There is no more money for the orphanage, however plans are afoot for a Hahnite backed replacement to be run, it is suggested, by Lilith Lansdowne.

Following the Truestaff kidnapping a number of councillors have strengthened their security, providing an unexpected bonus for the mercenaries over-wintering in the city. A number of councillors have also had official guards allocated to them following rumours of another kidnap attempt against Adam Avery. One person who won't be looking for Witanmoot Guards is Richard Saunders. During the Truestaff debate Richard Saunders and Sheriff Dixon got into a heated argument when Saunders accused the Sheriff of using the Guard for his own political ends. This led inevitably led to them duelling the next morning. Both are accomplished duellists and a large crowd gathered to watch the contest. It looked like it would all be over when Saunders opened with a lightening thrust which penetrated Dixon's defence and drew blood. However Sheriff Dixon was unwilling to end the contest there and insisted on the fight continuing. An angry Saunders renewed his attack with deadly precision and both contestants appeared to be doing their best to kill each other. Dixon's skill looked to be giving him the upper hand, but Saunders held out long enough that Dixon's earlier wound began to tell, and with blood now streaming down his arm the Crimson ex-Councillor was forced to concede defeat.

Our sources at the Citadel suggest that, as a result of the Gelt offensive, His Majesty is considering a large increase in the tax paid to him by the city and it will be interesting to see which of the many pet schemes survive: the guard increases, the water project, the orphanage, the expansion of the guild training system, or the removal of the floating market.

Alison Shefford's new budgeting proposals look set to provide a good debate for the new councillors to cut their teeth on next year. Under the scheme each committee would propose its budget in Jasmarill, a vote on the level of tax and split of money between committees would take place in Setheran, and each committee would then bring forward a budget to that amount in Arvinoth. The most controversial part of the proposal is to require the committee to come back to the full council for extra money and to make the committee responsible for any overspend.

The opening night of the play 'Please Yourself' was disrupted by a rowdy (and probably drunk) contingent from the Citadel, who continually interrupted the performance, and who at one stage took over the stage. There were also reports of a werewolf roaming the backstage area. Despite this the actors performed well and the large, and notable, audience were treated to a marvellous entertainment.

Guildmaster of the Poulterers, Alice Fytton, has announced that an unknown disease has lead to a serious shortages. The disease does not seem to harm the birds, but anyone eating their eggs becomes violently ill. A number of deaths have been reported. The Temple of Daleth is investigating the problem and has ordered the destruction of a number of affected flocks. Guildmaster Fytton assured the people that all the affected birds had been killed and that it was still safe to buy eggs. However she warned that a number of infected birds had been stolen and stressed the importance of only purchasing from Guildmembers.

Cllr Firethorn has dispelled much of the confusion surrounding the recent coinage and kidnapping crises. At the last council meeting he explained that most of the Witanmoot knew that the forgeries and the kidnapping had both been perpetrated by Barondolpho, that Barondolpho had attempted to kill a number of councillors, was a known Necromancer who had infiltrated the Bards College and who had connections in the floating market. He demanded to know what measures, beyond Sheriff Dixon's pitiful reward, were being taken to capture this arch criminal. Sheriff Dixon refused to confirm the accusations and suggested that if Cllr Firethorn had evidence to present he should do so forthwith.