Pellingham

Located at the farthest reaches of the Empire of Turelion's Ultaru Province, at the edge of the Relialo Plains and within the shadow of the Wyld Woods, Pellingham is a community that is focused around the growing of grapes and other fruits that are in turn made into wines and ciders. Though few people purposefully visit the town, many on the continent of Euristan will have sampled the town’s wares in taverns and inns.

Demographics

The majority of Pellingham’s citizens are employed in the town’s fruit and viticulture industries, which means that most of the population is regarded by the Imperial Bureau as being at the top of the lowest-income bracket, which gives the town quite a prosperous if quiet feel. There are, of course more affluent individuals who dwell in the town, with the communities richest inhabitants being the owners of the orchards and vineyards and merchants who import goods and tools needed by the town’s industries.   Pellingham is a mixed species town with a slight majority of Humans amongst its populace. The majority of the town’s inhabitants are ethnically Turelite as is often the case within the Empire of Turelion, though there are a smattering of other people from more far flung places, including a small community of Woodelves originating from Thaleros to the east, who ply a trade as guides to the mysteries of the Wyld Woods.

Government

Like most towns under the rule of the Empire of Turelion, Pellingham is governed by an Alderman, appointed by the province under whose jurisdiction the town falls, in this case Ultaru Province. The Alderman of Pellingham has a handful of staff who work for them and help to run the town from the Alderman’s mansion off the town’s central square.

Defences

The trees of the nearby Wyld Woods provide an ample source of material not only for housebuilding, but also for the construction of a palisade wall with fortified gatehouses at its northern, south-western and south-eastern points where roads enter the town from the surrounding area.   The town maintains a small permanent defence force, but at fewer than 100 soldiers it can do little more than patrol the walls and keep some semblance of order in the streets.

Industry & Trade

Pellingham’s primary industries are linked to the orchards and vineyards that surround it, the produce from which is almost exclusively given over to the production of cider and wine. Between them, these two industries employ the majority of the town’s populace, either through direct cultivation of the trees, or through the secondary brewing and fermentation processes.   In addition, another large subsection of the population are employed in activities linked to the Wyld Woods to the west, whether that be through cutting timber, herding animals, pigs especially beneath the boughs of the trees or hunting wild animals for food. However, the nature of the Wyld Woods, and the disdain of its Woodelf inhabitants for those who would recklessly destroy its habitat means that forestry work, especially related to harvesting timber is dangerous and many townsfolk have gone missing or been found dead after logging trips. Most who venture into the trees must rely on the help of the Woodelves who have forsaken their kin in Thaleros and who now work for coin as guides to the nearest reaches of the woods.   As most of the surrounding agricultural land has been given over to the cultivation of fruit trees, few arable crops are grown there and the town relies on buying grains and vegetables from other towns and villages in Ultaru Province.

Infrastructure

It’s position at the western edge of the Relialo Plains and quite far inland from the coast of the Centric Sea to the south and the Icefang Ocean to the north means that Pellingham is relatively isolated from the major settlements of Ultaru Province, though the town is directly connected to a branch of the Imperial Way that spans the Relialo Plains and eventually leads to Turelion Province to the south. To the north, the Imperial Way does provide a connection between Pellingham and its provincial capital Allerium.   As wine merchants and their agents from across the province have an interest in regularly travelling to Pellingham, the road that connects the town to the rest of the province and the Empire beyond is at least well-constructed and for the most part well maintained and protected.   Within the town itself, Pellingham has a regular and well maintained network of compacted dirt roads, with the town’s central square and central streets being cobbled.

Guilds and Factions

There are three main trade groups that have formed within Pellingham, the Vintners, the Scrumpers and the Woodfolk, representing the wine makers, the cider makers and the loggers and other folk whose work takes them regularly into the Wyld Woods respectively. None of these groups are formal guilds in any way, but they are instead viewed as mutually beneficial collectives, where their members pay a small percentage of their weekly wage into a common pot presided over by the group, which is used: to pay for goods and services that will benefit the group’s collective members, that an individual would not be able to access or afford; pay a small retirement stipend to those too old to work and; provide a hardship fund for people who become too ill to work, or to support the family of a member who has died; to provide basic funeral arrangements to those who have died and whose family cannot afford to pay for even a pauper's grave.   Because none of the three groups is overtly political, though each has a significant body of influence in the town, their existence has been tolerated by each successive Alderman appointed to rule the town, though there is an expectation on the part of the Provincial authorities that each group will keep their members in check.

Tourism

As it is rather out of the way, few tourists visit the town, though Pellingham receives a large number of merchant visitors who come to buy and then export the wine and cider that are the town’s staple products.

Architecture

As it borders the mighty Wyld Woods, the inhabitants of Pellingham have access to ample supplies of wood with which to build their houses, though there are dangers associated with this, see above. Therefore, the majority of the town’s buildings are constructed out of sturdy, high quality wood, which also gives most of the buildings the structural integrity to be built at least two stories high and taller.

Geography

Pellingham is located on the western edge of the Relialo Plains and within sight of the eastern edge of the Wyld Woods. It is located in a natural bowl in the surrounding landscape, with the surrounding slopes having been turned into orchards and vineyards for the production of fruit that is eventually turned into cider or wine in the town’s presses and wineries.   Though there is no open running water source that either passes through or exists near the town, the site of Pellingham is located at a point where the underlying water table is very close to the surface, which means that ample fresh water can be accessed by the town’s inhabitants through the many wells that are scattered throughout the settlement.   Though great pains have been taken to ensure that the Wyld Woods to the west, do not encroach too much on the town's orchards and vineyards, all of Pellingham's inhabitants know that one is never that far away from the wooded wilderness or the creatures that dwell within it.
Type
Town
Population
c.2,000
Inhabitant Demonym
Pellingites
Location under
Owning Organization


Cover image: by Chris Pyrah

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