Thieves & Kings
Cultan Ford is located at “…the crossroads of Ambarin Vale…”, where the trade road from the Barony of Freestead meets the Forest Walk halfway between Mornhaven and Seville. A village of over five-hundred souls, the center of its culture is the fortified compund of the Cultan Ford Inn, built in TR 974, a generation before the establishment of the Warduke dynasty, with financing by the Mangai, to facilitate trade with Freestead.
Today the town is a farming community and a market center with a stockyard and grain-houses; all of which are owned by Argyll Winegulf, the enterprising merchant who also owns a controlling share in the inn. There is a royal tollhouse located here as well, housing a company of the 1st Army, who collect dues of caravans and travellers using the Forest Walk. The town is also a common location for dwarves and elves to trade goods, or meet their agents.
The Bridge : There have been many bridges built on the site. The first was a dwarven construction dating to the realm of the Amber Mages, to facilitate trade into the western regions, particularly the realm now known as Dreadwaters March; the stone supports still seen in the river all date to this earliest construction. The most recent reconstruction was started in TR 976 and completed in TR 979, because wagons were being lost in the boggy river bottom of the ford. This structure washed away in TR 1045. Construction of a new bridge is constantly awaiting the accumulation of sufficient capital; the local toll is towards this effort.
Anciently the site was referred to as “Troll’s Bridge”, though there are no reports of such creatures in recent memory.
Temple (“House of the Golden Bounty”) : Temple of Korg, the Father of the Fields : Caristiona Lutewine, the local priestess is noted for her skill in caring for animals, and her use of common herbal remedies that prove remarkably capable of healing all but the most deadly of illnesses and diseases. Her acolytes tend to be local orphans and her shrine maintains its own herds and gardens.
Apothercary (### $$$$) : Braal of Shirkma does most of his business supplying common folk with love potions and simple herbal remedies. He has one apprentice, and his shop lies close to the mill, under the eaves of the forest, with a large herb and vegetable garden.
Clothier (## $$$) : Eiric “the Clothier” is a fairly simple worker whose large shop operates in the shadow of the tollhouse. His work is not exceptional, though prolific from the number of sheep found in the area.
Courtesan (## $$$ : “The House of the Lamp”) : Brelene River operates more than a dozen courtesans from this small brothel, and includes a handful real exotic beauties from Hepekeria. She does well among visiting merchants and is known to purchase sons and daughters from poor families for 200-300 sp, more if they come from distant ports or nations.
Emblamer (# $$$) : Jobar Ballad and his young son who acts as his apprentice are incompetent, but they pay their dues on time and the guild does nothing to stop them from operating.
Hideworker (## $$$) : Located on the isolated north shore of the Ambarin River, Jarindal does most of his business with sheepherders operating along the north bank, and among the handful of untreated hides that trickle out of the woodlands near Dreadwaters March to the north-west. He keeps his own small flocks of goats and sheep, and keeps a large garden north of his shop, where his large family lives. He also has maintains a small shop at the inn. He is quite well-off.
Innkeeper (#### $$$ : “Cultan Ford Inn”) : The center of the local community, the fortified inn is an efficient, no-frills sort of place with fine wood paneling and swift service. Strict order is maintained among all patrons, and anyone who steps out of line is swiftly put down by the handful of Winegulf’s mercenaries who keep court here, led by Alton Winegulf, the younger brother of the clan who leads the mercenaries.
Private rooms cost 10 sp per night, but include fresh bedding and a bath if requested. For an additional 10 sp, one can hire a maid who will assist with the bath, relating a common local legend or tale while doing so. These room-rates include a wooden tall tankard (with two pints) of local ale, and a platter of pickled eggs and biscuits. There are also a pair of common rooms with a dozen bunks renting beds for 2 sp per night, but no food is included in this fee.
Regular meals include pork and beef roasts cooked with stewed cabbage and peas, and a good-sized wedge of cheese for 5 sp per serving. There is always a communal pot of hearty pottage available to visitors for 2 cp per bowl. Drinks include the inn’s own ale at 2 cp per tankard, though these are the larger two-pint tankards made especially for the inn. They also serve a common white wine from Starwater Vale at 3 cp per tall tankard. Unknown to most, there is also a locally-prepared “spicefish” available to regulars, a huge steamed fish spiced with pepper and green herbs, and with a very fine pink flesh.
The fortified inn compound also provides various services to travellers and merchants; including a woodcrafter, Raonull (### $$$$) who commonly bends and steams timber for common wagon wheels (150 sp each, or 250 sp per pair). He is something of an authority on local woodstocks, and performs water-proofing on the timber he produces (1000 sp for a wagon); Eanruig (### $$$) a tall, laconic blacksmith whose ironmongery is thick and strong, and he specializes in shoeing horses; Sime (### $$$), a chandler whose tales of his life as a river pirate are endless, and who sells common goods such as candles, lamp oil and provisions, along with old weapons, armor and other goods of a questionable second-hand nature. Jarindal (## $$$), the village hideworker, also keeps a small shop in the compound, selling his usual wares, and providing common items to the chandler. There is also a weapon smith’s shop adjacent to the blacksmith’s, but there is no weaponsmith employed at this time.
The Mangai maintains a small hall in the compound, with a pair of scribes who provide lodging to visiting merchants who can provide a master’s certificate. Often over-looked, is also the small stone shrine dedicated to Larani, though there is no full-time acolyte or priest in attendance, with itinerant knights and the occasional priest from Eylea Abbey visiting the shrine, as it falls under their order’s control.
Innkeeper (### $$$ : “The Wet Crossing”) : Owned by a former river-boat captain, Dragolen Pyre, whose unlovely prow and leaping fish figurehead serve as the tavern’s centerpiece, has a tradition of loud, boisterous singing and dancing. Owned by Dragolen, he has an agreement with the Winegulf clan that he accept no overnight guests and has no stables, but the place is always filled with drinking patrons. The common room is a popular place for gambling and is known to rent a private hall for visitors seeking a place to conduct their own personal business away from prying ears and eyes to feast and entertain themselves. Price for the room is 250 sp, but includes a feast of the tavern’s drinks and fare.
Drinks are 1 cp per tankard for common ale brewed in the cellars, and wines for 2 cp per tankard, but there is either a fair quality white from Star water Vale, or a horrible, watery red from somewhere else. Fare is a surprisingly savory soup made from onions, day-old meats and red wine; and a platter of local fresh-water clams, boiled eggs and mushrooms for 5 sp per serving, though each is a feast. A handful of local ladies (some reputed to be of elven blood), serve as “escorts” for the evening 2-3 sp each, sometimes taking the lucky individual to their home for the evening.
Mercantyler (### $$$$ : “Greybridge Trades”) : Lysandra Greybridge is a merchant who tend to deal in goods coming from the Barony of Freestead, including the elven and dwarven lands of Imladris and Greysmere. She especially deals in glassware, and her elven blood ensures she has close contacts among the best elven glassworkers. She also trades in silver bullion from the Freestead mines on behalf of the Crown, as well as raw gemstones from her Greysmere contacts, shipping all these goods to both Seville and Mornhaven. A very lucrative tradehouse, she has built a small manor fortress of granite. She also keeps a handful of guards close to her holdings, and meets only with exclusive tradesmen in the safety of her manor.
Millwright (### $$$) : Under the protection of Lord Winegulf, rather than the guild, Pherisa Hurler runs a massive millstone, and boasts five large granaries that do brisk business shipping grain west into Freestead.
Ostler (### $$$) : Located on the south end of the village as a circle of fenced paddocks between the forests and the trade road. The manure here is carted out on a daily basis to the nearby fields. Paddocks rent at 5 cp per day, and are commonly used by merchants trying to consolidate their herds before heading out north or south to market. The facility is part-owned by Iris Evendim, who pays about a fifth of her profits to the Winegulf clan. Water is supplied freely, but fodder can prove costly.
Physician (#### $$$) : Hydal Card is a noted Phaedran mage, whose skills are exceptionally noteworthy. SOme claim he dabbles in necromancy, but his home and shop are not exceptional and he charges way less than a physician of his status might demand. He has only a single apprentice.
Tentmaker (### $$$) : Rybal does a good business with travelers along the Forest Walk, and is widely known for his goods. In addition, he makes a fine sailcloth that sees export to Dreadwaters on a regular basis.
Woodcrafter (### $$$) : Nilbosh is an unexceptional craftsman who deals mostly in wagon and river boat repairs, keeping a shop off the town square and a small dockyard north of town. He has only a few apprentices.
The Lordship of Cultan Ford
Winegulf Manor : The name preferred by Argyll Winegulf for his sprawling mansion located on a promontory north of town. In addition to a private stable and smith, he keeps a company of light archers (shortbows) to keep the local bandits and river pirates at bay. He also has an extensive orchard planted about five years ago, but it has yet to bring in a substantial crop. Lord Winegulf is one of the few merchants to have bought his way into a minor lordship in the Forest Kingdom, having assembled a rag-tag collection of former bandits who live in his latest expansion of his lands, who live as virtual serfs (though no one would ever use the term).
Winegulf is known to hire adventurers for 1 gp per day and freedom of all fees in the local inns while in service to the Winegulf clan. He also controls the local market on behalf of the Mangai, charging 1 cp per day per stall.