Transportation and palanquins

Table of Contents

Notes on all the useful info I can remember about Sérannian transportation.
— Isabelle


Isabelle is a young French woman who was brought through a magical portal to Sérannie, hit with translation magic, and told to help the Séranniens beat their Dark Lord. Only, once the questing party triumphed, she was forced back to the normal world. She is rather bitter about that.
  While looking for a way to go back, she writes journal entries about her time in Sérannie to not forget what happened and to prepare for her return, illustrating her notebook by sticking postits with emojis scribbles, drawing, or printing photos.

Outside of the cities

The quality of the roads of the kingdom of Sérannie wasn't amazing to begin with. The damage and lack of maintenance occasioned by the war with the Dark Lord haven't made things a lot better.   There aren't a lot of horses in the country, as the Séranniens don't have the right kind of grains to feed them. Apparently, the equivalent to wheat that they have isn't very nourishing for them, and neither's the grass of their pasture. That means that anyone keeping horses needs to employ a herbologist that can bring up the right nutrients from deep underground to feed the grass of the pasture to make them more suitable. All of this makes keeping horses extremely expensive and only worth the bother for armies.   Even for our quests to defeat the Dark Lord, we only had horses at the start of our journey when we left the capital. As soon as we got too far from the main cities and their royal garrisons, we had to give them up, both because of the lack of herbologists nearby and to remain inconspicuous. That meant that the rest of our travel had to be done on foot, carrying our luggage ourselves, royal heirs with us or not .   Nobles, of course, can afford to travel via horses, traders however cannot. Instead, they use donkeys to pull their carts. Those donkeys are too small to be ridden by humans, but they're very sturdy and can pull heavy loads. The donkeys also appear to have different nutrient needs from horses and can feed on unmagiked grass.
Donkeys by Christian Hess Araya on Unsplash

Inside the cities

Since keeping horses inside cities is so unpractical and it's nevertheless unimaginable for nobles to walk on foot next to commoners, they make use of palanquins. Those are generally wide enough to contain a chair that can fit one or two persons. The chair is placed on a wooden base that's attached to two carrying poles, allowing two people to lift it from the front and two others from the back. Above the chair, there are wooden arches on which heavy drapes are attached to hide the occupants of the palanquins from public view. Those are gathered against the arches by small cords to let the occupants climb in or out.   Palanquins are richly decorated with vivid colours to announce the identity of their occupants to everyone on the street. They're also covered with runes. Those help the footmen to lift the palanquin by making it float. In addition, it muffles the noise of the environment, although it doesn't completely nullify them, and some magic also controls the temperature inside of it. All of that means that palanquins aren't surprisingly comfortable, and that barely any lurch or balancing movement can be felt from the inside.   While travelling around with half a dozen servitors—the footmen carrying the palanquins and additional guards—isn't really enjoyable and makes privacy impossible, walking on foot unaccompanied is really unwise. Because of the extensive patron-client relationships, nobles' faces are well known through the cities where they live, and walking unaccompanied would just give people an excuse to accost or even assault them. I better get resigned to the idea that I won't be able to walk around alone ever again .
Palanquin by AmélieIS

Sérannian society by Prospero Piatti

Cover image: Palanquin by AmélieIS


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