Stone walls bristling with guards greet all travelers to the town of Calchester, the Arcistoth seat of power and first true line of defense against the Huldra of the Caonach Vale. Within the walls, the people are hard working, tough and no-nonsense, emulating the strict authority of their Lord Knight.
But Calchester is not a town without color and light. The townsfolk are proud of their history and their local hero; banners fly over the town square representing battles, knights and festivals past. When a new warrior makes the town their residence, the citizens welcome them by flying a new banner in their honor. Every season of celebration is cause for the creation of a new banner. One who knows what each of the pendants mean can read histories of struggle, triumph, prosperity and hardship over the years, all flying over the streets of Calchester.
As with most towns of Marchen, the majority of the populace lives outside the walls of the central city, taking up homesteads on the land allotted them by Sir Ursi. Aside from the serfs and peasants working the land, Calchester draws craftspeople looking for opportunity. There is always demand for skilled artisans this far from Geirrfast.
An unusual community calls Calchester home. The dwarves of Clan Farraud remember the war against the Huldra, back in the days of King Geirr and Isbrand I. Originally they were travelers, making for Borgondhi and fair Gloriana itself with hope to ply their family trade there and make their fortune. Inadvertently they came to the aid of knights fleeing the battle of King Geirr’s death. Stalwart and skilled, Farraud blades held the line against the Huldra vanguard while the wounded escaped. Ever since then the dwarves have lived here in Calchester in their own walled off community. Clan Farraud practices the cobbler’s trade, so boot and shoe fashion in Calchester is serious business. Nobles of Isbrand’s court have tempted the Farraud dwarves to leave their home, but loyalty to the knights of that long ago battle keeps them here.
While Ursi Arcistoth rules her fief from Arcistoth Keep, Lord Mayor Loxias is responsible for the administration of the town proper. Matters of serious legal dispute, crimes against the crown, and all considerations of defense are the strict demesne of Ursi’s authority—other matters fall to Loxias and his coterie of advisers.
The merchants, skilled artisans, scholars and wealthy of Calchester elect a town council to represent their concerns and affairs to the Lord Mayor and Lady Knight. The Honorable and Loyal Guild of Weavers and Dyemen is particularly involved in the council, frequently supporting one candidate and urging action on any number of economic declarations. Complaints and needs of the peasantry go directly to the Lord Mayor or his appointed representatives, as they work land granted
All able-bodied citizens of Calchester must muster for militia training at least three times a year. Spitting on the ground that Valter von Yorlen’s tax collectors walk is strongly reinforced, but not mandatory. Ursi maintains a small but strong army of veteran footsoldiers to maintain the peace and protect the realm against Huldra incursion.
The Church of Our Triumphant Family has a parish of significant size that tends to the spiritual needs of Calchester’s people. Due to the town’s history, icons and shrines to Fearless Mother can be seen in the windows of many houses.
Ursi Arcistoth, Lady Knight of Arcistoth Fief
Ruler of these lands. While all law keeping in Calchester and the surrounding villages is under her purview, she leaves most civil matters to Loxias and the town council. Her primary concerns are military strength, defense, and punishing lawbreakers such as thieves and murderers, as well as resisting Baron Yorlen’s influence.
Lord Mayor Loxias
Appointed by Ursi Arcistoth to manage and administrate the town’s affairs, Loxias is the exact sort of person she would select. He is a veteran of battles against the Huldra with a mind for practicality. Scars from a raid he barely survived many years ago serve as his only badge of office—otherwise, he dresses in plain, practical garb. Old injuries make him a bit stiff and slow, but he is quick to gain the measure of people and weighs decisions carefully. Sound judgement is his greatest asset. When mulling over particularly tough calls, he stares off into the distance, squinting as if he can make out the signs of another Huldra raid. Loxias is swift to curse trouble makers and the blatantly greedy, and not afraid to do it in public, to their faces. The community of Calchester is his highest priority.
The envoy from Clan Farraud, Tilro represents his dwarven people on the town council and in trade negotiations. He attends town events and stays heavily involved in the community. While well respected for his honesty and intelligence, his habit of predicting impending hardship grates on his fellow villagers.
One of the infamous Bastards of Arcistoth, Frederic is the only one stubborn enough to return to the home fief and demand respect. His sailing merchant career ended in calamity, landing him here. Now he works as a failing carpenter, whose reputation constantly thwarts and frustrates his efforts.
Originally a farmer, Yvain came into money unexpectedly (the details of the story vary) and is fervently trying to elevate himself to the middle class. He’s no longer a serf, and devotes all of his energy to enriching himself and his position. Yvain is dabbling in several different trades and meets with representatives of the Guild of Weavers and Dyemen on a regular basis.