Shalerton

Shalerton.png

Shalerton is a city-state with a population of about 50,000 people. Herds of sheep form the economic backbone of the city. Close to a million sheep live around Shalerton and there are enough pastures and vegetable farms to provide for a healthy diet for the livestock and the people of the city-state. The town itself is small for the number of citizens in the city-state. The necessary businesses like smiths, tailors, and mills occupy the majority of the real estate within the town walls. Government buildings such as courthouses, fire stations, police headquarters, the jail, and city hall fill out the rest of the space in town. There are almost no permanent residences separate from a person’s place of work. With so few residences, hotels and inns compete ruthlessly for customers. The three main hotels are: the Pot of Comfort, run by Jusilia, a mother goose character; the Traveler’s Home, run by Hardigan, a big fat bearded man; and the Yurgastraplax, run by Tgfjklwharydfbi the foreigner, whose nickname is Bill.

Only about 6,000 people live inside the town’s walls working in businesses or for Shalerton’s government. The government workers are part of a bureaucracy that is headed by the police chief. Lieutenant Hunter is a large man who controls everything in the town. Extra taxes usually go in his pockets instead of to the town treasury. He unofficially appoints all the bureaucrats, judges, and police in the entire town. He inherited this role from his father and his father before that. While the town is effectively a monarchy, the Lieutenant family (yes, their first name is Lieutenant and it is their family’s surname) has always stayed away from officially declaring their power.

In the past only police were allowed to carry weapons within the city. Spell books and anything else that could be magically offensive were not allowed inside the town walls as well. If somebody did wish to bring in a weapon special permission had to be gained from Lieutenant Hunter directly. Those who were granted weapons were made members of a special operations police force that occasionally acted as spies or secret police. Shalerton’s participation in the Second Alliance War has caused a shift in this policy. The general weapons ban has been lifted as Lieutenant Hunter believes an armed populace will assist in the defense of the city alongside the police force.

The large police force ensures that crime is close to nonexistent in Shalerton. Theft, murder, and rape are rare and punished severely soon after the crimes are committed. This reduced crime rate and swift response is not just because of the restrictions on weapons but also due to Lieutenant Hunter’s almost complete monopoly on magical power in Shalerton. All magic users must join the special operations force and the practicing of any simple magic within the city is highly regulated. Some magic users chafe under these rules, but Lieutenant Hunter does his best to keep his special operations force happy with gifts and the occasional party in their honor. Using these bribes, Hunter is able to keep the magic users power in his court. With liberal application of divination magicks he is able to predict most crimes before they happen and discover the culprit of those that do fly in under the radar.

Lieutenant Hunter also plays a hand in the town’s economic system through price controls. His grandfather started this practice and he continues it. Price controls on most commodities eliminate excessive time spent on haggling allowing the people of Shalerton to spend more time at work or at home. The price controls also serve to protect both producers and consumers depending on market conditions. Initially the populace resisted these controls and there was even a revolt, but since that time the citizens of Shalerton have grown to love the predictability the price controls bring. Few would dream of returning to the old unregulated system.

In recent years Shalerton joined the Second Alliance against Xoria, not out of good hearted nature, but because Lieutenant Hunter feared his town might be one of the first on the Xorian invasion route. Unfortunately, due to Shalerton’s history of restricting the public’s access to weapons the people of Shalerton have little real martial experience. Their troops were kept out of the early battles of the war to train and were not present at the Siege of Phoenix. Training continues under the eyes of Junai and Gradorian and soon the Shalerton militia will be a formidable force indeed.

-GoCorral

Hornblower

When I was a kid my dad and I traveled around in the car together a lot. We’d go to soccer practice or he’d drop me off at a friend’s house.

My family was lucky enough to own a second house about two hours away from our first home. My dad and I would go to the second home on weekends with our dogs and hang out.

On the drive to the second home we’d listen to books on tape in the car. The topics varied a bit. We’d listen to recordings of live storytellers, Greek classical history, mystery novels and a few other things. Our favorite thing to listen to was the Hornblower series by CS Forester.

The Hornblower series is set of adventure novels about a British naval officer named Hornblower who served during the Napoleonic wars. Hornblower’s fictional life is loosely based off of Lord Trafalgar, an English naval hero of the Napoleonic wars.

Hornblower starts off as only a midshipman, but by the end of the series he is a Lord with title and governance over a variety of places.

The Hornblower books are told from a limited third person point of view. The focal character is often not Hornblower, but Lieutenant Bush. Bush is initially Hornblower’s superior officer, but as Hornblower progresses through the ranks he eventually surpasses Bush. Hornblower and Bush become best friends during the series and chance places them together or they always request joint assignments.

In one of the latter Hornblower books, Bush goes off an a separate mission and supposedly dies. My dad and I thought for sure he was only thought to be dead, but as the book progressed it became clear that Bush was gone for good. He never reappeared in the subsequent books either.

As a present for my dad I’ve started writing a few Hornblower chapters for my own book. In my book, Bush survives the explosion that killed him, but went into hiding. He comes out of hiding for Hornblower’s help in a new endeavour.  Since it’s in vogue right now, I decided the new endeavour would be that Napoleon has risen from the dead as a vampire. Bush and Hornblower will team up to take him down!

I’ll most likely be posting a few of the chapters here as they are finished.

-Mister Ed