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"Why fight the Humans for control of the seas? It would be a war without profit. Let us show them instead the wealth to be gained by trading with us. Our ships are faster and carry more cargo, and we have dealt with the Western Lands for centuries longer than they. We will control them with the promise of more riches than they could ever imagine."
Wavemaster Sullandiel Fartrader speaking to the gathering of Clan Lords before the Phoenix King, 1C 2149[1b]

Marienburg Banner Total War Warhammer.png

Marienburg is home to what is one of the most unusual spots in the Old World: Sith Rionnasc'namishathir, the Elf Quarter, known formally as the Continental Exarchate of the High Kingdom of Ulthuan, called 'Elfsgemeente' by the Stadsraat and simply known as 'Elftown' by the locals.[1b]

Overview

Set at the mouth of the Rijksweg Channel, on its north bank, and perched uneasily between the opulence of Guilderveld and the poverty of the Flats, Elftown is literally a piece of the High Elf Kingdom, the last remnant of their millennia-gone empire. Through the eyes and ears of his Sea Elf subjects here, the Phoenix King keeps apprised of Old World doings from his throne at Lothern, and also maintains a benevolent, if not always appreciated watch over the Wood Elves of the Loren and Laurelorn forests.[1b]

The enclave at Sith Rionnasc'namishathir is also profitable for both Elves and Men. The Sea Elves are by far the world's greatest ocean travellers, and the carrying trade between the Old World, Cathay, Ind and the New World brings riches back to Ulthuan. In particular, the Sea Elves claim that they have exclusive trading rights with Lustria and most of its coveted goods are sold by them alone. It is a claim which some Marienburgers refuse to recognise, however, and although battles within the city over it are rare, stories of ambushed expeditions, piracy and sinkings are told by both sides. 'Star-Gem-by-the-Sea' is also the port of choice for High and Sea Elves setting out on a grand tour of the Old World. Here they can have a taste of home before they go out to rough it amongst the natives. Those whose sensibilities are too delicate often venture no farther than the bistros at Elftown's edge, content to view the swarming masses of humanity from a safe distance.[1b]

To the casual tourist, Sith Rionnasc'namishathir seems much like any other well-to-do portion of Marienburg, albeit cleaner. But first impressions are deceptive. Broad canals form the main avenues, lit at the intersections by silvery lamps. The chief waterway leads from Elfgate Bridge, the main entry to the quarter, past the glittering shops and bistros to the Grand Circle Canal, a favourite with Marienburg lovers because of the beautiful park it surrounds. From the Grand Circle and the other boulevard canals branch narrower side-channels that lead between the islands which support the clan mansions and the docks. These are private ways, limited to the Elves, their guests and those who have business with the clans. Trespassers are turned away by details of Sea Elf Watchmen who patrol in fast boats.[1b]

The clans live in sprawling complexes known as the Mansions, although they are more than that. Not only is eachhome to more than eighty Elves, but there are halls for entertainment, private study and meditation areas, and docks and workshops for individuals' private boats. Many of the manses are built around a small bay where private craft may dock, with the entrances facing this pool, the outer walls projecting a nearly blank face to the world. Some Mansions have grown so large over the centuries that they cover most of an island: winding corridors sometimes lead to wings that are rarely used, perhaps even forgotten.[1b]

The canals themselves are kept pure and clean by magic. Sea Elf Elementalists in the service of the clans have bound small water elementals to the canals, which sweep the water incessantly, driving garbage and other filth into the rest of the city's waterways. Though these are an occasional bone of contention with Marienburg's Board of Public Health, good relations with Elftown are too important for the Staadtholder to raise more than a perfunctory protest. A wizard or priest who senses or otherwise detects magic in Elftown will notice flitting patterns of magic in the water that never cross Sith Rionnasc's boundaries.[1b][1c]

Government

"We can learn much from the Elves of Marienburg, for they are a true democracy - theliberty of the individual is placed first and foremost. Everyone is free to speak his mind on any topic, even todenounce his rulers. Do the same in Marienburg and you'll get three years on Rijker's for sedition!"
Haam Markvalt, student radical[1c]

Though the maps hanging in the city's offices and sold in its cartographers' shops show Elftown as one of many wards of Marienburg, the Exarchate is its own separate town and community, albeit with its fortunes tied closely to those of Marienburg. It governs itself, making its own laws and enforcing them with its own Watch.[1c]

Elftown's affairs are guided by a council of the Lords of the eight clans in Sith Rionnasc'namishathir, headed by the Exarch, the Phoenix King's Viceroy in the Old World. The current Exarch is Tarmonagh din-Ciobahn, Lord of Clan Ulliogtha and grandson of Sullandiel. Though young to hold the position, he takes his responsibilities seriously and sees himself as protector of the interests of all the Elves of the Old World. His active and somewhat haughty nature has bred resentments among the Directors, the courts of the various Old World kingdoms, and even among the Elves of the forests, but his faithfulness to the treaty and his skills at diplomacy have earned him great respect.[1c]

The clans are generally free to order their own affairs. Each Elf is answerable for their actions to their Clan Lord, whomay impose penalties for minor crimes such as public drunkenness or brawling. Punishments include, among other things, a reduction in the share from a voyage's profits or extra duties aboard ship. Greater crimes, including any involving residents of Marienburg are tried by the Exarch and his council.[1c]

Once each year, on the spring equinox, the Elves of Sith Rionnasc gather at the Hall of the Four Winds to honour Mathlann, their equivalent of Manann, and to mark the start of the trading season. An open council is held at which all Elves may speak freely. They may voice their opinions on any matter and criticize the Exarch and the Clan Lords without fear. Elves may even apply for adoption by a different clan, if they feel unfairly treated by their own. This meeting also sees new clan lords confirmed in their offices.[1c]

The most recent gathering erupted in violence when the assembly removed Mearoseagh Strongbreeze as head of Clan Lianllach when he was revealed as a smuggler and slaver. He killed two Manniocs-Quinsh who tried to arrest him and vanished in a cloud of coppery smoke as he fled from the Hall. His whereabouts are unknown, though rumour has it that he has taken refuge with his allies, the wrecker cult of Stromfels. The Exarchate has tried to keep knowledge of the scandal from spreading into the rest of the city itself, though garbled versions of it have reached the Fog-Walkers and the Directorate, who are interested in learning more.[1c][1d]

Elftown Law

Elftown (Elfsgemeente), while technically a part of Marienburg, is governed under Sea Elf law. By the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, all crimes involving Elves - even Wood Elves from the interior of the continent - fall under the authority of the Phoenix King of Ulthuan through his regent, the Exarch of Sith Rionnasc'namishathir.[1a]

Similar to the Star Chamber, the Exarch claims authority over crimes committed by non-Elves against Elves, even if said crime happened in Marienburg proper. Sea Elf law is different to Marienburg's, more subtle in many ways, and many lawyers have found themselves entangled in it and their clients unexpectedly found guilty.[1a]

People accused are brought before the Exarch for judgment under the laws of Ulthuan. Those convicted in Elftown face punishments roughly similar to those in Marienburg: minor offences warrant fines or floggings, while serious crimes such as murder and arson earn the culprit a sentence of death by drowning. The Elves do not maintain jails.[1a]

Elftown's Watch is known around Marienburg as the Mannikins, a corruption of the Tar-Eltharin word Manniocs-quinsh, or 'Guardians of the Peace'. Though they have the authority to make arrests for crimes involving Elves anywhere in the Wasteland, under most circumstances they do not leave Elftown - not since the riots of 2391, which erupted after the arrest and execution of two men who had killed an Elf in a fight. More often they rely on the City Watch to arrest and extradite suspects. Anxious to maintain good relations with the Elves, the Directorate has ordered that this be done as efficiently as possible. This means that the suspect is often arrested, hauled across the Elfgate bridge and handed over within hours, with no way to appeal for help.[1a]

If a case is important and the need is urgent, the Mannikins will operate undercover outside their own quarter. Though the Watch has no love of them for this, their orders are to stand aside rather than risk an incident.[1a]

The Clans of Elftown

Sea Elf clans have divided the tasks of day-to-day life into areas of nearly exclusive responsibility, mutually agreed uponby all clans in a particular region. They are bound neither by the legal charters of Human guilds nor the unbending traditions of the Dwarfs. Each Sea Elf clan is free to change their area of responsibility every few generations to seek new avenues of growth and development. Eight clans of Sea Elves make their home in Sith Rionnasc'namishathir, along with many other NaSbathiri (clanless) Elves, including a few High and Wood Elves among them. The four most important clans are:[1d]

Relations with the City

"It's a crime, I says. All the wealth they bring into that harbour, you'd think they could deign to share a bit of it with honest dockers like us in our own city. But no, Elves docks at their own docks and unloads their own cargoes, cheating us of work! I'll tell you true, friends, there's plenty of us fed up with their kingly ways. If Guildmaster Cobbius don't do something, we'll take matters into our own hands."
angry stevedore in front of a guild meeting[1e]
"We have made certain legal and territorial concessions to the Sea Elves, true. They are tough bargainers. But we have gained the better end of the deal. Let them have their enclave: their goods bring the world's merchants to our city. As for their monopoly on trade with the Western Lands... well, pirates and privateers have been taking a toll of that of late, haven't they? Hmm?"
Director van Haagen[1e]

Though Elftown has a political role as Ulthuan's window on the Old World, trade is its life-blood and its reason for being. From the secret deals of the clan lords with Marienburg's merchant-princes to the labourers who work as house servants, Wastelanders' feelings about Sith Rionnasc are shaped by its commerce with all layers of the City's society.[1e]

Many of Marienburg's working poor serve the Elves as domestic staff - housemaids, kitchen staff (though the chefs are inevitably Halflings), lackeys and valets, among others. They arrive before dawn and leave well after dark, for Humans are not allowed to live in Sith Rionnasc, save for a trusted handful who serve as majordomos in the clan mansions. They are paid well: an average of 20% above the going rate in Marienburg.[1e]

The merchants of Marienburg deal with the Sea Elves in two ways. The average member of the Export-Import 'Change will trek to the early-morning auction in the Hall of Trade each week, to view the available merchandise and bid on it in an open auction. The bidding is as fast and furious as anything seen in the 'Change, since everyone knows that goods brought by the Elves sell quickly and bring a fine profit.[1e]

But all this is "salt water", according to Marienburgers, compared to the kind of deals made between the Elven clanlords and the heads of the city's great trading houses. Hidden away in club rooms and the opulent salons of the clan mansions, the richest merchants bargain for the most sought-after goods: rare alchemicals from Lustria, cloth of Cathayan spider-silk and spices from the Isles of the Monkey King, south of Ind. The Elf Lords prefer dealing with regular customers for their best wares, men who will pay a hefty price to have the best goods set aside for them. And since many of these same clients sit on the Directorate, they are expected to remember favours done when considering matters of interest to the Exarchate.[1e]

Yet not everybody is happy with the ways that the cards are stacked. Marienburgers are entrepreneurs by nature and many merchants chafe under the Elves' monopoly of the Lustrian trade. Many also resent the favours shown to the great merchants, and feel cheated that the best goods aren't put up for auction.[1e]

In recent years, some have moved beyond resentment. Several Sea Elf clipper ships have vanished ontheir way back from the New World. The ships and crews have never been seen again, but their rich cargoes have appeared in other Old World markets. Whispers have it that a consortium of powerful merchants - perhaps even the Directorate - are backing pirates operating out of Bretonnian and Estalian ports. The most scandalous gossip says that this group has connections to the Stromfels cult, though nothing has ever been proven.[1e]

On a smaller scale, merchandise sometimes vanishes from the warehouses of the great mercantile houses, independent traders or the holds of moored boats and secretly wends its way up-river to the Empire or along the old highway to Bretonnia. If a warehouse man isn't corruptible, Marienburg's many gangs are happy to arrange a break-in.[1e][1f]

The Elves of Sith Rionnasc are undoubtedly least popular with the Stevedores and Teamsters guild and the Pilots Association. Only Elves are allowed on the Elftown docks, and Clan Aisellion provides all the loading, unloading and hauling services within Sith Rionnasc'namishathir. Dockers who go looking for work are only offered the lowest menial labour, at rates far below what they earn on Suiddock. Their resentment at the Elves' high-handed treatment has lead to angry debates at guild meetings and to demands that Guildmaster Cobbius do something about it. Frustration has recently boiled over into violence, with several incidents of Elf-bashing. So far the incidents have been relatively minor and easily papered over, but the first overreaction by either side will lead to serious trouble.[1f]

Three of a Kind Cabaret and Casino

"What kind of a place is Three of a Kind? Oh, dear boy, everyone who's anyone comes to Three of a Kind."
Goudberg socialite[1f]

Situated midway across the bustling Elfgate Bridge, neither wholly a part of Marienburg nor of Sith Rionnasc'namishathir,this three-storey building is one of the liveliest night spots in the northern Old World. From dusk till dawn it serves people of all races who seek good food and drink, wonderful entertainment, high-stakes games of chance, or the opportunity to be seen amongst the wealthy and the beautiful. Revellers can always finds it, even in the thickest fog, for its eaves are decorated with gaily coloured lanterns that burn all night.[1f]

Owned and operated by Trancas Quendalmanliye and his friends Fredrik Greendale and Morgaine Bauersdottir, the club's ground floor is a cabaret where guests enjoy exotic meals prepared by Henri Le Feu, the club's Bretonnian chef. Their meals are enlivened by the finest comedians, magicians, singersand musicians from all over the Old World - and sometimes by Henri's outbursts when some poor fool doesn't pay his cuisine proper respect.[1f]

The lower level, built into the Elfgate bridge itself, is an exclusive casino. Everyone seeking entry is stopped at the top of the stairs by a bouncer who waits for a yes-or-no signal from Trancas or one of his henchmen. The decision is final, and those who argue too much are summarily ejected. Gamblers can find any game of chance they want down below, from dice to cards to wheels of fortune, and the house regularly waives the limit of 20 guilders per wager for good customers. Drinks are free in the casino, which often leads to extravagant and foolish betting.[1f]

The upper storey is a private residential area for Trancas and his friends. The stairs are behind a locked door off the bar, and no one is ever admitted without the express invitation of one of the three owners. Along with the living quarters, the upper floor contains Trancas's study and magical workroom, but no great hidden treasures.[1f]

Three of a Kind is a favourite meeting spot for those wishing to conduct confidential affairs away from more formal and public settings. A private lounge lies downa hallway off the entry foyer be-hind a thick wooden door, through which veiled ladies and masked gentlemen whisk before the club's normal patrons can get a good look at them. A large bouncer further guarantees that the occupants won't be disturbed. Available for 5 guilders an hour or 30 for the whole night, this room is popular with any seekers of secrecy, and trysting lover in particular. There is a well-stocked bar next to the fireplace, and users are charged for anything drunk when their time is up.[1f]

Quite a stir was caused last winter when a prominent lawyer and his bodyguards invaded Three of a Kind hunting for his wife and her Tilean lover. The fracas ended with the cabaret's staff "convincing" the outraged husband that he and his thugs should instead take a swim in the canal. Regulars still joke that the couple in the room never knew anything was amiss. But certain peoples' tempers run high when Three of a Kind is mentioned, and more than a few would not mourn it if it were to burn down or fall into the canal.[1f]

The Hall of Trade

"All the best goods are for sale there,lad, except for what goes to the Ten. The trick is getting in -and not buying something when you thought you were scratching yourself."
Guilderveld warehouse owner[1g]

Sitting on the outer edge of the Grand Circle canal near Elfgate Bridge, the Hall of Trade is the centre of public commerce in Sith Rionnasc. Trade goods not reserved for the great merchants of Marienburg are put here by the Sea Elf clans for auction to the highest bidder. It is perhaps the most famous building in Sith Rionnasc, and is run by Clan Aisellion, which in turn operates the hall for all Sith Rionnasc.[1g]

The Hall of Trade is one large room with a couple of offices attached. Running parallel to the canal, its blue shingle roof is curved and peaked to represent oceanwaves, and atop the central spire is a golden weather vane in the shape of an Elven ship. The roof over the portico is supported bywooden columns carved to resemble trees. The portico roof itself has a frieze of carved and painted wood showing an Elf and a Human shaking hands before a background of ships and sea birds.[1g]

Auctions are held weekly, beginning promptly at 8 AM on each Marktag, but traders arrive long before that, since the doors open at dawn to let potential bidders examine the samples on display. The hall is always thronged at this time with eager traders sipping mugs of Arabyan coffee and morning-beer provided by the hall's managers. When it happens, bidding is frenetic: a complicated combination of shouts, hand-signals and other obscure gestures. Presiding over the bedlam with a constant rapid-fire sales pitch is Fidelius Cloverhill, the renowned Halfling auctioneer working for Clan Aisellion.[1g][1g]

To bid in the auction, a non-Elf must be a member of the 'Change: this is stipulated in the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and strictly upheld. Identification, however,is not checked until after the bidding for an item has ended, when prompt payment is expected. If someone successfully bids for an item without the requisite qualification or identification, the Hall of Trade withholds the goods and fines the bidder ten per cent of their successful bid, before throwing them out. The Clan Aisellion marines who guard the hall, usually stifle any objections. Repeat offenders or those who can't pay the fine are brought before the Exarch and charged with fraud.[1g][1h]


The Gift of Tongues Translations and Interpretations

"He's the very best. I had a 500-year-old Tilean manuscript that no one could read - it was in some obscure Tobaran dialect. Ralmoris translated it in less than a week! Too bad it turned out to be a pasta-maker's handbook."
Rijkspoort book dealer[1h]

This small business is located on Elfgate bridge above Heer Tvinink's famous tea shop, and is identified by a sign reading 'The Gift of Tongues' in seven languages. Inside lies a study and consulting room furnished with antique Tilean furniture. Beyond the chairs by the fireplace is a writing desk covered in neatly arranged scrolls and manuscripts - the bay window next to it provides a fine view of the bridge traffic. A small bookcase filled with dictionaries, grammar books and collections of Old World legends and folktales takes up part of one wall. Two doors lead out from the study, one to a small kitchen, the other to a equally well-appointed bedroom and a privy.[1h]

The proprietor of the Gift of Tongues, Ralmoris Galielholendil, is well known as one of the best linguists in the city. He has made a tidy sum serving the Houses of the Ten, the clans of Sith Rionnasc and anyone else who can afford to pay. Clients are most likely to need his services to interpret at meetings or to translate documents. Though he is not a scribe himself, nor does he employ one, he will dictate a translation to clients who can either write or bring a scribe of their own. Discretion is essential in his profession, and he guarantees absolute confidentiality. Bribes won't work at all, but it's just possible to learn sensitive information from him by convincing him that it affects the safety of either Elftown or Marienburg. His fees begin at 20 guilders per hour, with one hour paid in advance.[1h]

Race the Winds Shipyard

"Finest boat-builder in the city, though it pains me to say it. I'm just lucky he's so snooty, or there'd be no business for the rest of us!"
Rijkspoort boat-builder[1j]

On the far side of Elftown, across from the shanty-towns of the Flats, lies the most exclusive shipyard in the entire city. A wooden fence taller than a man surrounds the property, which includes an extensive carpenter's shop, a sailmaker's building and a great forge operated with unusual skill by two Elven blacksmiths and their apprentices. There are dry docks for six ships, each large enough to hold the biggest Sea Elf clipper, with four ships currently under construction: three clippers for the Elven clans and one pleasure boat for Staadtholder van Raemerswijk. Two yachts belonging to the lords of Clan Ulliogtha and Clan Aisellion are in for a complete refitting.[1i]

The boatyard is constantly busy and always noisy. The workforce of more than a hundred arrives shortly after dawn, and hammering can usually be heard until late into the night. Throughout the day, supplies of timber and new fittings will be either arriving at the main gate or at the dock, and a steady trickle of hopeful customers turn up at the yard's single gate, which is guarded constantly by Mordagg, the Ogre Watchman - tourists are not allowed![1i]

Anyone wishing to commission a boat or ship from Race the Winds, no matter what the nature of the work, will find it difficult and expensive. Non-residents of Sith Rionnasc must first send a letter requesting an appointment, preferably accompanied by a letter of introduction from another client. Appointments within one week are more likely if the letter is polite, written in Tar-Eltharin, and flattering enough without being obvious groveling. A failure will produce a response that "Master Urdithriel Imrabolen is unfortunately unavailable for the next three months". Only a personal introduction to Urdithriel by a Sea-Elf of high standing will bypass this, and then there's still the second stage to get through.[1i]

The prospective client will be invited to visit the boat-yards, and will be shown around by the Master himself, to see if he has the ability to appreciate true craftsmanship. If the prospective client does not have enough knowledge or ability, be it with sailing, boat-building, or Tar-Eltharin (or any combination thereof), he or she will be politely shown the gate - or thrown out by Mordagg, if they are boorish enough to persist. If they are knowledgeable enough, Urdithriel will deign to accept a commission. Prices begin at 1,000 guilders for a small sloop. He will never provide repairs for human-built ships.[1i]

Urdithriel's boat-yard has another reputation, albeit only known in certain circles of Elven sea-captains: his high standards of workelfship can be and often is used to create secret compartments and hidden holds ideal for smuggling illicit cargoes both large and small. Unknown to his clients, within the strong-box in his office, Urdithriel keeps paper records of every ship in which he has fitted compartments like this, as well as information on where the secret chamber is, and how it can be opened. Should this information fall into the wrong hands, it could be extraordinarily valuable to its finder, and potentially disastrous to almost all Elven smugglers.[1i][1j]

Priceless Friends Exotic Animal Emporium

"You should have seen the look on my little girl's face! She kept saying she wanted a pink parrot, and I'll be burned if that Elf didn't find one for me - in time for her birthday, too! Now if I could only get it to shut up..."
Goudberg ship-owner[1l]

For those seeking the perfect pet, whether for companionship or to follow the latest fashions, there is no better place in Marienburg than Priceless Friends, the exotic pet emporium located on the Grand Circle canal. Here one may find unusual animals from all over the world, from trained Kislevan mink and hairless Arabyan racing dogs to stranger creatures from the interior of the New World and Cathay. Though friends are priceless, Sumieren Imlordil will provide any animal if the money is right.[1k]

The shop itself is a broad, low timber-and-stone affair surmounted by a red tile roof. The outside of the building ispainted white and all the windows are barred to prevent thebirds inside from escaping. The front door is unmarked, but next to it is a brass plaque with a man and a dog engraved on it and the words 'Priceless Friends' beneath. The interior is a large warehouse through which visitors are allowed to wander. Behind the warehouse are stables for the larger beasts. Customers are greeted by Sumieren himself.[1k]

Though Priceless Friends keeps many animals in stock, Sumieren specializes in obtaining creatures on request. If a client is willing to wait even for several years, Sumieren guarantees that he will find the animal. If a customer wishes to pay extra, he will also train it to perform tricks. His skill with even difficult-to-train creatures has earned him the nickname "Beastspeaker". The current rage in in the upper circles of Marienburg society is for the four-armed green Lustrian Mimic-Monkey, which can imitate speech as well as a parrot.[1k]

The shop also provides larger creatures for the great public and private zoos of the Old World, including the renowned Bestiary of the Tsars in Kislev. When enough commissions havecome in through his agent in the 'Change and stock is low in the shop, Sumieren will leave Marienburg for expeditions that can last as long as three years. While he is away, his two apprentices Muirghal and Fiaroth run the shop capably but without flair.[1k]

Visitors to Priceless Friends will be almost overwhelmed by the cacophony and odours of all the animals. The current stock includes an Arabyan camel (for the private collection of Countess Emmanuelle Liebwitz of Nuln), ten to one hundred parrots, macaws and cockatoos, one Lustrian four-armed green Mimic-Monkey (sold to a social-climbing Middenlander noble), a matched pair of fine Tilean hunting dogs (sold only as a set), and a sacred Cathayan Temple Rooster, reserved for Director Jaan van de Kuypers. Prices begin at ten to one hundred guilders for the cheapest animal, a common Lustrian red-capped parrot.[1k]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED -- Marienburg: Sold Down the River
    • 1a: pg. 39
    • 1b: pg. 69
    • 1c: pg. 70
    • 1d: pg. 71
    • 1e: pg. 72
    • 1f: pg. 73
    • 1g: pg. 74
    • 1h: pg. 75
    • 1i: pg. 76
    • 1j: pg. 77
    • 1k: pg. 78
    • 1l: pg. 79
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- The Thousand Thrones
    • 2a: pg. 14
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