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Oltumur

Oltumur (elven for multiple communities merged near Lake Olt) is one of the Communes of Qosid, located at the north side of Lake Olt and around the Silver River. As all traffic from the lake heading to Thellur passes Oltumur, it is as much a trading town as it is a fishing town. Its economy is layered: wood elves among themselves participate in the gift economy, but trade with (and between) others takes place via a market economy. Despite its sizable population, Oltumur counts as a single commune and sends a single Representative to Thellur for full or partial Thallidien Assemblies.  

Government

Political decision-making

The assemblies in Oltumur employ consensus decision-making. There is no fixed moderator for such assemblies: instead, charismatic members of the community have the habit of structuring the decision-making process. The peg-legged town constable Podde Hekk and the Representative Falended Hyrthe are such persons and they often take on a chair role in the ongoing assembly.  

Keeping the law

Laws and regulations are maintained by a voluntary guard service, that is overseen by Podde Hekk. In contrast to most wood elf communes, Oltumur also has a jail and prison, which is where the offices of the town constable are at. While most minor demeanors are punished with a mandatory task, more severe crimes can lead to extensive prison time.  

Taxes

Oltumur does not have a taxation system: instead, if it is established via consensus decision-making that the commune needs repairs or other forms of labor that benefits everyone, the work is done on a voluntary basis. If Oltumuran obtain coins via trade with outsiders, however, they are expected to deposite those into the communal vault.  

Political stances

Sentiment in Oltumur is self-confident: the mixture of market economy and gift economy, a succesful fishing and crafts industry, markets that attract nearby communes and ongoing trade with passersby have led Oltumurans to believe they live in the center of Qosid. Indeed, the commune is the second-largest town in the wood elf province, second only to Thellur. For all these reasons, Oltumur does not want the world to change and its inhabitants are not keen on the war against the Labarean Empire. Sending their own into the war would mean having less labor at home and would threaten trade, especially with the Labareans.   Added to this, there are few wood elves in Oltumur who believe Olyxx the Young is worth serving. The commune is doing fine by itself and most things associated with the high elves -- such as the endless greed of their merchants - is considered to be a liability to the good life that Oltumurans are chasing. At the same time, the mercantile mindset has been creeping into the commune in the past decade and perhaps a war could revert Oltumur to its non-capitalist ways.   The Representative of Oltumur, Falended Hyrthe, has sought to harmonize the different factions in Oltumur by emphasizing that personal liberty must be maintained. Yet he has vested interests in Oltumur growing as a trade hub.

Industry & Trade

Oltumur is an ancient trading hub, sharing the bounty from Lake Olt and from upstream regions with southern Qosid and providing access to the Ice Sea. Products from upstream include wood and Osfynn, while the town itself has a rich fishing trade and gathers Bitt that is traded with the Labarean Empire.   As Tree Law dictates that gifts shall not be traded, the trading role of Oltumur has historically been divorced from its internal economy. Yet during the eighth and ninth century, an increase in trade vessels from the Labarean Empire brought new goods to the town, which could only be obtained via barter by those who happened to offer wares that the gnomes found interesting. This problem gave rise to a new merchant class, which accepted and used Labarean coinage to procure goods for the commune.   The power of this new class grew, as merchants started new enterprises to create new trade goods. Working with those enterprises was attractive, as the merchants could gift exotic wares. A schism developed in Oltumur, until in 901 LC the young Representative Falended Hyrthe proposed a new system of exchange. Citizens of Oltumur were allowed to trade their goods with Labareans and other outside parties in exchange for currency, but had to deposit this currency in a communal vault kept in the Assembly Hall. Citizens looking to purchase goods via trade could then pick up currency from this vault. A careful system of administration would track who bought or sold what, adding a layer of monetary economy on top of the traditional gift economy.   The new exchange system also allowed Oltumur to accept a policy that stipulated that produce should be offered freely to fellow Qosidians, but should be sold to creatures from outside the larger wood elf community.

Infrastructure

Oltumur consists of a number of buildings, built on the various hills that lie around the Silver River. The settlement can be divided into the west bank and the east bank.  

West Bank

The west bank of Oltumur (colloquially known as 'the tongue', is sparsely populated and not a popular destination for travelers. It consists of an extension into Lake Olt, with cliffsides that tower above the lake.  
Barracks, jail and prison
The Oltumur barracks are where the voluntary guard services can rest, train and keep their gear. It is also where the town constable is housed. Built on a small hill, the barracks are also equipped with a jail on ground floor and has a prison complex underneath, constructed within the hill. The jail is mostly used to briefly keep in the drunk and disorderly from the docks. Prison sentencing is uncommon and mostly limited to those instances in which an outsider engages in criminal behavior.   Besides constable Podde Hekk, this building is also manned by Kradok Hith, an old jailor who is obsessed with rules and procedures.  
The Bow Rest
The Bow Rest is a tavern that caters to the Oltumur voluntary guards and that serves decent fried fish and beers from Pibabared. The tavern keeper Dethen Hyf will not accept money for food and drinks even from outsiders, but will also not serve alcohol to drunks. The Bow Rest is a two-story building, with the upper floor offering three two-person rooms. Lodging is intended for the guard service.  
Oltview Manor
Located at the western cliffs of 'the tongue', overlooking Lake Olt, Oltview Manor is a large estate that offers its owner, the retired dwarf merchant Torak Arad a refuge from the daily grind. Oltview Manor used to belong to a Labarean scholar and still contains a large library. Torak keeps to himself and rarely goes into town, but he does employ a small group of wood elf chefs to satisfy his needs as a gourmant. He sometimes pays them in coin, but more often trades dwarven craftwork that he imports via the harbor.   While not himself a member of Clan Kandarin, Torak owns a collection of safes and storageboxes manufactured by this clan. He stores valuables from befriended Oltumurans and business partners from outside the commune -- sometimes as his way of partaking in the gift economy and sometimes as a paid service.  
The Silver Tongue
This large manor dates back to ancient times and is the property of high elves from Dathyll, who never seem to visit it. Rumors say that in centuries past, dark rituals took place in this building that haunt it to this very day.  
Tower of Tifor
Tifor the Tall, a human wizard from Zhai lives in this three-story tower. Himself a towering figure, he is well-known among the townsfolk, who all believe Tifor has always been in town.  
Show spoiler
In reality, Tifor arrived nine months ago, after double-crossing a member of The Shekekar in Lloridan. Tifor is a scholar of a new wizardly discipline named Chronomancy and has used this new school to insert himself at historical festivities. He is currently planning a party himself, featuring temporal copies of his persona who form a big band.
 
Fishhead's Cottage
In this small cottage, nearby the Silver River, lives a wood elf diviner known as Fishhead. He can foretell events on the basis of fish entrails, sells herbal remedies based on lake flora and fauna and provides baits and other useful goods to fishers. Fishhead knows the lake like no other, but is not forthcoming about its secrets to strangers. It is rumored he has been partially afflicted by the Lake Curse, a condition that plagues Oltumur every 56 years and causes inhabitants to go mad and drown themselves in the lake. Fishhead is known to talk to creatures from the sea, although many doubt these creatures actually talk back to him.  
Silver River Gate
Built on stilts pushed into the Silver River floor, this tavern provides a view of the ships heading north through the Silver River. It serves a variety of fish dishes and is a popular location for visitors to Oltumur. This also means it is completely embedded into the market economy: food and drinks cost money here and even Oltumurans are expected to pay. The wood elf proprietor Gaf Gaahil enjoys the company of strangers and cares little for what is going on exactly on his premises. This is why the River Gate is also the place to go when looking for stolen or illicit goods.  
West Market
This is where goods are sold, mostly to visitors to town. The market-oriented wood elves from Rybalou often sell glassware, tools and the occasional weapon here in exchange for coinage. Sailors that are passing by sometimes set up a stall here, too, so West Market is a place where you can stumble upon exotic goods.  

The Dwarven Bridge

Large ships pass through the Silver River and the Dwarven Bridge is an elaborate construction that allows travel between river banks without blocking the flow of river traffic. Constructed by masons from The Porcupine in 128 LC, this is a vertical lift bridge that is operated using trained bears. The bridge is raised two times per day: at dawn and at dusk. For the remainder of the day, traffic via the river is limited to lower boats.  

North Bank

Only a few buildings line the north of the spiralling Silver River, which opens into a grain field that is used to supply local bakers.  
Tannery
Kirni Kesten runs this tannery. She produces smooth, colorful leather and sells both hides and produce from the hides. She is interested in buying quality skins of exotic creatures. Like all wood elves, she participates in the gift economy, but in practice she sells most of her produce to foreign traders passing through the area. Anyone buying authentic leather wares from Qosid outside of the Kingdom of Laeryll is probably buying wares made by Kirni.  
The Old Tower
A remainder of the Aksdryn fortress that once lay at the site of Oltumur, this ancient fortification now serves as an armory. It also provides a lookout point toward the north: if there are fireworks in Pibabared, they can be seen from the Old Tower. The voluntary guard often holds station here, which means it is a good place to play cards and catch up on gossip about security issues.  

East Bank

The East Bank makes up the bulk of Oltumur and is where ships dock into town. It is a lively area, filled with wood elves hauling around goods, offering and selling food from stalls and trading with visitors. Many of the ships in the harbor are fishing boats, as fishing is the main activity of Oltumur commune members. Although there is a lot of trade going on all across the East Bank, the wood elves here rarely speak foreign languages.  
Ship's Right
Also see: Ship's Right.   This popular inn and tavern is built from planks of old fishing ships and the place smells like it. It attracts fishers and sailors, who share their tall tales of voyages while enjoying (or at least drinking) the peculiar Salted Crayfish Beer that is brewed by the proprietors Ust Gwythun and Hegge Gwythun on the basis of Olt Crayfish meat, locally sourced grains, river water and imported salt.   The upper floor of Ship's Right provides numerous rooms for lodging.  
Bryn's Depot
Also see Bryn's Depot   This large depot was used for storage and cleaning of fish, until its proprietor Bryn Gwythun went missing. Since then, the depot has been used for storage of goods by Bryn's brother Ust Gwythun, who stores kegs of beer and other produce for his inn here. In Derwik of 904 LC, it was discovered that a band of ghouls resided in the caverns below the depot.  
Assembly Hall
The place where the commune holds assemblies, this is a large hall, connected to a large dining space that can seat up to 120 wood elves. The Assembly Hall has a small stage for speeches and moderation. The venue is sometimes used for ceremonies and communal parties. A ladder in the hall leads to the end of a large horn that has been attached to the outside of the building. When an assembly is held, it is customary to blow the horn so that the whole town is informed.   The stage holds a throne for the Representative, who sits there to give council during days when no assemblies take place. At his right hand, a vault built by the Clan Kandarin has been fortified into the wall. This is the communal vault, which opens every two days for people who need to pick up coin. Kradok Hith administers who picks up how much and for which purposes. The vault is embossed with dwarven runes and metal coiled serpents outline the construction. These serpents are part of an electric protection system.  
Fish Market
Here, all kinds of fish and other creatures from Lake Olt are sold, both alive and dead and not rarely prepared for immediate consumption. In the central portion of the market, communal tables and seats offer eating space to everyone. Food is given to familiar others as part of the gift economy, but strangers have to pay for their goods.  
The Lake Cafe
In a grand mansion that was built in ancient times by high elves present in the region, the Oltumur commune convenes for small talk, political discussion, workshops, hobbies, sexual encounters and overall sharing of ideas. Great communal dinner parties are also hosted here. The Lake Cafe is run under the auspices of the headstrong wood elf Talii Hyf, the sister of Dethen Hyf from the Bow Rest.  
Black Smoke Corner
This blacksmith offers and repairs equipment for fishers and the voluntary guard service. It is specialized in hooks, nails, harpoons and fishing weights. At this site, Bitt from Lake Olt is stored and shaped for trade, and processed into various forms for application.  
Fishmongers
In these large buildings, the catch of the day is salted and brined. Workers here are busy all day and smell of fish even longer - it is a job that is mostly picked up by young wood elves who still need to find their way in life.  
Hall of the Traveling Word
Despite its remote location, Oltumur is a good place for news. The Labarean Empire comes to trade here, news from the north comes in via Thellur and wood elf communes from around Qosid come to market here, bringing their own tidings or those of the greater Kingdom of Laeryll. This is why The Traveling Word maintains a guildhouse here, for newsmen who usually travel from the Ice Sea to Oltumur and then Thellur. The Hall of the Traveling Word is closed off to those outside of the organization, but the blue-clad newsmen can often be found collecting gossip from the docks, inns and cafes of the wood elf commune.  
The Leap
The Leap is an outcropping of rock. It stands about a 100 feet above the level of the lake. Young wood elves woo each other by 'taking The Leap', a feat in which both males and females participate. Jumping in the lake water below is considered to be a sign of maturity and daring.  
Temple of Zodan
Near the cemetery, a Temple of Zodan is maintained by the wood elf Methek Faastear. Old even for elven standards, Methek is known to provide impressive sermons and the services at his temple are well-attended by the townsfolk. Although the temple is dedicated to Zodan, it is also adorned with references to Forx and Methek presides the associated death rituals, too.  
Cemetery
For those lost at sea, an Ancestor Tree death ritual is not possible. Instead, the wood elves of Oltumur place large memorial stones in a cemetery, much like humans do across the coastal lands. The stones are enscribed with the names of the departed and tended to by the keeper of the cemetery, a dwarf named Knat One-Eye. Knat is a wanderer, a dwarf who left the Clans of The Porcupine and he at one time had to serve time in Oltumur. After his release, he had grown fond of the manners of the wood elves and he dedicated himself to tending the cemetery. Here, here has been creating a historical song, much like the ancestral clan songs of his birthplace, in which he sings about the lives and deaths of all the wood elves that are commemorated in the cemetery.  
Standing Stones
Two enormous runestones stand on an island just off the tongue.

Guilds and Factions

Within Oltumur, a sharp division exists between merchants and craftsmen. The merchants are firmly embedded in the market economy and find traditional sharing and gifting cumbersome. Instead, they want to push for rules that require all commune members to accept currency for their work, similar to what Rybalou did. Thus far, such proposals have not convinced the more conservative commune members, most of whom work in fishing, cooking or craftswork (a notable exception is the tanner Kirni Kesten). The merchants are currently organizing and are looking for ways to bypass consensus in the assembly.   Then there are also those who find that the exchange system of Falended already went too far. They argue that the introduction of money has eroded the tradition of gift giving: surplus is sold for even low amounts, and no longer given to those in need. Shortages, which were unheard of in pre-monetary times, are occurring more and more often.

History

Oltumur originally consisted of three separate wood elf settlements, the largest of which was Aksdryn, which lay at the Silver River. Aksdryn was the outgrowth of a fortress that was built during the early reign of Thanyal the Singer and remains of this fortification can still be found within (and underneath) Oltumur. The fortification was built to protect Thellur against mauraders coming from the sea.   In the second century BLC, such marauders were uncommon and the area became a romantic reminder of times past. High elves started building manors near Akdsryn for leisurely purposes and improved its docks - not rarely using the materials that used to make up the Aksdryn fortifications. As a consequence, wood elf fishers who were originally spread out around the lake started converging in the area in a process that ulimately led to the emergence of Oltumur.   Yet the safety of Oltumur was not a given. Sea devils started raiding the settlement throughout the third and fourth century and were only pushed back through the collective efforts of the wood elves. In the seventh century, a white dragon settled in the area and demanded a steady supply of seafood as tribute.   In the eighth century, the invasion of Silimanis shook up Qosid, with wood elves leaving the coastal area and joining existing communes in their northern province. Oltumur welcomed an inflow of fishermen and rapidly expanded. Moreover, naval troops from Silimanis founded a new commune right next to them: the new commune Yhaoltum created a military harbor and initiated the Qosidian Fleet to patrol Lake Olt. Over the years, the communes started collaborating ever more closely, with Yhaoltum providing lake security, ship repairs and military training, and Oltumur providing men and women, food and other facilities.   As trade between Thellur and human and gnome settlements around the Ice Sea grew, Oltumur benefited by partially introducing a market economy.

Geography

Olturum is built around the point where the Silver River enters Lake Olt. At the western side, the land quickly slopes upward, leading to cliffs that overlook the lake at its west and south. The eastern side is made of lower hills and artifical elevations that date back to the days of Aksdryn. In its north, grasslands stretch out across rolling hills, and afford the wood elves the possibility of agriculture.   The land west of Olturum quickly gives way to Oltswamp, while east of the town lie beaches, along which Yhaoltum has been built.   Lake Olt itself is treacherous. Its edges are steep and the water quickly becomes deep. Besides fish, the lake hides many other creatures. Around the edges of the lake one finds cliffs (in the west) and beaches (in the east). The cliffs harbor caverns, too, and a variety of wildlife. Oltswamp is home to a sizable population of Bullywugs.

Natural Resources

Lake Olt offers fish and other seafood and during the warmer months, deposits of Bitt float up the lake and are collected for trading or alchemical purification.
Representative
Falended Hyrthe
Type
Town
Population
6000
Location under
Included Locations
Owning Organization

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