The Chronicle

of the month of Ternost in the year 156

Sectarian hostility between Athionic and Kerunian citizens continues to simmer this month. Tavern brawls between class factions have become more common than those between political rivals, and several twilight muggings have been blamed on Athionic revivalists. As well as campaign bunting, flags of the Principality of Linrodeth are being flown by many households, but in the royal blue colours of the old King. So far established politicians and hopeful candidates alike have steered away from this issue, but it will inevitably become a factor at the midwinter elections.

Next month's elections are turning out to be hard fought, although in most wards clear leaders for the aldermanships are emerging. Close contests are occurring in Arpent ward where Hugo Merewell and Judi Spich are inseparable; in Berwick where Mary Hastings, Aldric Houghton and Emma Chireton are locked in a three way fight; in Cartage where Brunstan Blackbeard and Alice Barbiter look set to draw; and also in Oldgate where Duncan Barnett is being closed on by Joanna Russell. Upsets look most likely in Avigon ward where Samuel Rucche has been campaigning hard, and in Temple where David Northropp may recover his seat. Perhaps the most startling events are in Levestone (home of the infamous beer slick) where local activist Vernon Stripe and the entire Ryman faction have launched a huge campaign focusing on the needs of the ward. This is clearly taking advantage, somewhat unfairly the Chronicle feels, of the absent Alderman Alan Monterey who (like Jim Bottler) is loyally serving Linrodeth elsewhere.

After the blizzards of last month, a deep cold has settled over the city causing a great many deaths among the poor, sick and elderly. The Torians are trying to organise alms for the poor in many wards, and have criticised many wealthy households for hoarding excessive quantities of fuel and food. In these unusually low temperatures very few people are venturing outside unnecessarily, even to visit the Frost Fair on the river. The Bottler Building Company has settled a dispute over "their' ice market following the advice of the Temple of Hahn. Master De Clare demonstrate that in ancient statute the river constituted a "King's Highway' and hence people who claimed that they had a right to use a certain area of it were incorrect. Master De Clare also asserted that pitches on the Frost Fair have traditionally been obtained on a first come basis and as his apprentices were first onto the ice they were sub-letting an area they had a right to. So far this assertion stands, as the various apprentices seem to be far too cold to fight over the ice.

Patrons of the Dancing Bear in Welland are reeling at the introduction of the new menu and the sudden lack of decent beer. The owner of the inn has upset many of the more traditional clients with her "high prices", "poncy menu", and "fussy attitude". A local veteran Guzzler Gimshaw told the Chronicle, "The Bear used to be a great mercenaries pub, but now it just wants to cater to the rich guildmembers who live hereabouts. It's ages since we had a decent tussle and there never be no musicians to heckle". In reply Ms Susie explained, "The Bear is a major business. We have to pay our taxes to the wardmoot like everyone else. This year Alderman Bottler set a very high rate for us, so we had to make changes to bring in more money. The mercenary crowd will still be welcome at Erik's other place, the Falcon on Dracas docks.

With the Brynette Temple work halted, Alderman De Clare has thrown himself at political business this month. He launched a vociferous attach on young Jessamine Scathlocke whom he described as an "opportunistic, self serving, troublemaker". He was sure that people would prefer thriving business, the greatness of Linrodeth, and the wealth of all rather than for a return to the bad old days of endless diatribes in Witanmoot council, the decline of Linrodeth's economy, and widespread poverty. The Archimandrite of the Temple of Hahn has bestirred himself to the Citadel this month to formally protest at the status and condition of gaols and gaolers throughout the Principality. The minimal upkeep of these institutions has become notorious throughout the lands, and has bought the justice system into great difficulties. The massive death rate of prisoners in the cold this month merely highlights an ongoing problem of high mortality, even amongst prisoners merely awaiting trial. The Archimandrite emphasised the difficulty facing judges in civic cases, where fines and compensation could not be reclaimed from a defendant who had already paid with his life. Her Highness is understood to have encountered similar difficulties with tax arrears, and was sympathetic to the call for change. The Citadel has sent official notice to the Witanmoot that the incoming administration will be expected to tackle this problem as a matter of priority.

The girl students and other young ladies of Castle Bard have been keeping themselves warm lately over the activities of a minstrel band with the unlikely name of Brass Monkeys. Arriving in hordes (possibly for warmth) at any venue where the band is said to be playing, the massed females have been curdling ale with their wild, high-pitched screaming. Local wags have designated them the nazgirls, and have advised neighbours to steer well clear.

The Temple of Esprayenna is holding lively discussions with its most senior navigators over the design and remit of the next Ship of the Dawn. This regular offering to the sea goddess is traditionally built with the finest resources available, manned with the most seasoned volunteers, and launched into the West with absolutely no expectation that it will ever be seen again. The new designs of Linrodeth's ships, especially combined with the massive tonnages recently built by the Consortium, imply that the next Ship of the Dawn will be suitable for ocean travel for a very long time indeed. The Chronicle is given to understand that much of the present debate in the depths of the temple is over what to do if the Ship of the Dawn eventually returns. This thorny theological issue shows no sign of being resolved anytime soon.

The long-suffering Northshore patrol of the City Guards has closed off access to the tinker encampment along the Pennine Road after a number of pitched battles with innkeepers and slum-dwellers nearby. The guards admit that this effectively closes off the Pennine Road to all travellers, but since the city is thoroughly snowed in they are confident that "honest tradesmen" will remain untroubled by this measure. It is unclear whether they expect the problem to continue past the thaw, but undoubtedly any surviving tinkers will be encouraged to leave in a Northeasterly direction away from the city.

Our readers will be pleased to hear that the foul problem of Bassishaw was entirely self-correcting, much to Mrs Malley's distress. A number of battered but well-fed urchins and guttersnipes have been noted in the vicinity.