Saturday, 26 April 2014

U is for Urdithriel Imraholen

As Marienburg is an entirely sea-locked city, it is no surprise that ships of all shapes and sizes make up the mastscape of the city. On any given day, citizens of Marienburg can see three-to-four masted Carracks, smaller yet faster two-masted Caravels, massive multi-decked four-masted Galleons, tiny single-masted Sloops, and agile three-to-four masted Schooners. This is not to mention the thousands of little rowing boats, and river-going Barges and Cogs which frequent the Reik either.


However, when discussing sea-vessels in Marienburg, once must first ask the question "Human-made or Elf-made?", because it does make a difference. The finest Human-built ships are little more than floating washtubs in comparison to the lowliest Elf-made marvels - that is at least the opinion of Urdithriel Imraholen. Urdithriel of Clan Lianllach, who has styled himself as the finest shipwright in all the Old World, and indeed the Known World, is incredibly skilled at his craft, and can command prices of 1,000 Guilders for the smallest jobs done (a sum that would cripple even the wealthiest of the Middle Classes).

But the price is the last barrier one must face to have the master of Race the Winds boatyard to take you on as a client. If you're not a resident of Sith Rionnasc (so, if you're not an Elf), you need to apply to Imraholen with a sufficiently flattering letter (hopefully accompanied by another letter from an existing customer) and hope for the best. If the Master Shipwright reads your letter and finds it flattering, yet not pandering, he will have one of his clerks reply stating a time and date for your appointment (which could be from a week to three months away).

Once you turn up to this appointment, Imraholen will take you for a tour of his shipyard. If you do not oo-and-ah at the right moments, and do not show the appropriate amount of respect and knowledge about fine water-craft, he will have a page politely show you to the door. If you argue, he will have his Ogre Watchman, Mordagg less-politely show you the door. However, should you show the kind of appreciative eye he is looking for, Urdithriel will deign to listen to your request.

The Shipwright will ponder your ideas for an indeterminate amount of time, and either send you a letter with his acceptance and a quote, or you will never hear from him again. Then, once paid in full up front, he will make changes to the design and essentially do whatever he feels is best, and will construct your ship for you.

Despite this abhorrent treatment, and the unmistakable and inexcusably chauvinistic and racist air that Urdithriel Imraholen exudes, the boats are exceptional. Nothing the world over compares to their speed, beauty and grace, and without a doubt the slowest of his Carracks would be far faster and more manoeuvrable than the fastest possible Human-build Caravel. 

Additionally, if you mention it in hushed tones, the Shipwright will be willing to add all sorts of hidden compartments and other accomplishments which would not be considered all to legal. But Imraholen isn't stupid, either, and like Lea-Jan Cobbius, he keeps records of every such addition he makes - where it is located - and how to access it. In a sense, he owns the single record of every Sea-Elf smuggling operation in the Known World.

Furthermore, just like Lea-Jan Coobius, Urdithriel has been closely watching the Elf-Human hostilities that are rising in the city, and detests the fact that the Clan Lords have yet to take any real action. As such, he has begun a small gang of vigilantes to "Solve the Human Problem". Whilst the beatings have been mistaken as common muggings so far, it is likely that soon they will escalate further, and Imraholen doesn't seem to care that this could cause a Civil War.