Greetings, eager readers. My name is Rosalie Lenancur, wandering scribe and scholar,
and former pupil of Royal Scribe Castor Berlorian of the Valdrelian court.
I have taken it upon myself to travel the civilized world, visiting every possible
settlement on my path, as well as doing my very best to drop by the various
landmarks one might expect to come across during one’s travels through Galdon.
I expect my journey to take me from the humid marshes of my home in Valdrel to the
rolling green hills of Rindor, through the treacherous mountain ranges of Dalder,
to the very roof of the world, known as Rimheim, and even into the heart of the
Delionese Empire to the south.
This is my mission, nay, my destiny. To provide a complete overview of the sights
and sundries of this world. My journey shall take many a year, possible the entirety
of my life even, but daunting as it is, it is still one very much worth undertaking.
Understanding of the world is important, should you ever hope to get far in this world.
Knowledge is power, not only because it puts you at an advantage over those who would
oppose whatever scheme you might have, but because it lets you understand why things
are as they are, thereby even eliminating the need for conflict.
I am well aware of many conflicts in this world, perhaps most apparent of all the
war between the empires of Rindor and Delion. It is my hope that through my works,
countrymen from both empires may reach a common understanding, that despite geographical
location, we are all still human, with dreams and hopes and desires, living normal
lives in the comfort of our own homes, not oiling our blades in some nameless warcamp.
But I digress, let me start out with where I am from: the capitol of dear mother Valdrel,
Marnize is a bustling hive of activity, as far as Valdrelian life goes. Located on one of
the utmost few stable landmasses in the country, it is also conveniently close to the
Eastern Ocean, providing it with the possibility of trade and communication overseas with
neighbouring nations, most notably Rindor. The city itself look quite impressive, primarily
made of stone transported from the quarries near the Dalderian border, with wooden roofs
made from quality wood harvested from the bog woods.
The city is walled in, with only one gate leading in and out, barring the possibility of
travel by sea. Immediately after leaving the gate, one realizes the only safe way to approach
town is by following the narrow road snaking its way through the marshes, making any siege
of the swamp city a truly daunting task. I cannot say we have had any trouble with invading
armies just yet, and if we ever do, I pity whoever thought besieging Marnize was a good idea.
The streets of Marnize are fairly busy compared to other settlements in Valdrel, but anyone
from a truly urban metropolis would surely frown upon the lack of activity in comparison.
Here we stay true to the Valdrelian tradition of going outside only if we have a specific
task in mind, rarely stopping for a chat in the streets.
While some mistakenly think this to be out of spite or rudeness, I assure you Valdrelians are
not lesser people or haughty by any means. The weather is rarely fair, the air is humid, and
staying indoors is simply preferable to the outside during most hours.
Those who crave the excitement of a night out on town may consider one of Marnize’s many fine
taverns, in which people regularly congregate and exchange tales from far and wide.
The docks provide the most interesting encounters, as outlanders frequent those reaches of
down, sailors from many a corner of the world eager to sate their thirst for ale, and local
thirst for gossip. Of all the taverns in Marnize, the Foaming Lobster is considered by many
to be the best place for an entertaining tale, and fresh news from all around the subcontinent.
Every wednesday and saturday, arrangements are made for storytelling circles, where respected
bards and wandering taletellers peddle their goods for the price of a good drink and a free meal.
For those simply looking for a comfortable seat and a hearty meal, the Bog Serpent is my
personal favourite. Cozy and humble, it has been run by the same family since before the erection
of the massive walls surrounding Marnize herself, when this was but a humble fishing village over
two hundred years ago. The cuisine is excellent, the beds are soft, and the owners are among
the more pleasant Valdrelians to grace Galdon with their presence.
For those looking for true luxury though, allow me to recommend the Card and Candle, the most
respectable inn in Marnize. A bit too classy for my tastes, but the quality of everything
therein is unparalleled in any Valdrelian settlement. It is usually reserved for nobility
and respected guests of the city, and one must have a certain level of decency and refinement
to even be let inside. I was fortunate enough to tag along on an official visit during my
apprenticeship with the royal scribe, and gazing upon the splendor of that place was worth
the anxiety of being in truly noble company.
As one born into the merchant class, I knew I was not really meant to be therein with the
high and mighty.
Marnize is relatively young, as grand cities go, and as such, there is not that much history
to it. It has yet to survive a mighty siege from foreign lands, no ancient legends surround it,
and to my knowledge there is not much to be said about its inhabitants either that cannot be
said of most Valdrelians.
As I stand here at the gates, gazing out on the marshlands that will take me far beyond these
safe walls, my trusty mule Fenston by my side, I find myself nostalgic about these familiar
stones that I grew up with. I hope my travels bring me back here in the end, as I realize
the journey will be long and perilous. Perhaps I will not even finish this work in my lifetime.
I do hope so, though. I truly do hope so.