Apr 24

Folk Songs

Folk songs include:

"Soldier Lad", the lament of a young woman whose lover is going off to war.

The unnamed song that Hope at Merrybourne sings in her audition for Honey Taverner begins:

When I grew old enough for love
And promises, I whispered to my friend
‘As I grow old, I promise you, my love,
My love will grow and will not see an end.’


Apr 23


A kind of four-wheeled motorcycle powered by compressed air, with or without an onboard compressor to top up its tank.

Invented by the gnomes of the Clever Man's Works as a way for Hope at Merrybourne to get home safely at odd hours.

Raced by Hope and Briar Heathlake in a promotional race to get investment funds, arranged by Thorn Highrock.

A racing league now exists, with three colour schemes: red-and-brass, like Hope's machine (adopted by the Gold class, among whom Sturdy of West Longleaf and his son are prominent); green-and-chrome, like Briar's machine (adopted by the Silver class, such as Fair Tanner); and blue-and-copper (adopted by the Copper class, notably the Workers' Co-op Association).

There are three prizes for each race: the machine which is ahead when the first of them runs out of air, the machine which runs out last, and the machine that goes furthest.

Other early adopters of the airhorse are the Carters' Guild (represented by Berry Carter and Reliable Carter at the investors' meeting); Cheerfulness Stabler, who runs the largest livery stable in Gulfport (forthright, florid and heavily built, wears tan Victory suits).

Rosie Printer was also present at the investors' meeting, where she asked a question about power loss from using compressed air instead of employing steam power directly.

Apr 23


Gnome, Senior Planner at the Clever Man's Works until he replaced Gizmo as manager. In the process, he transformed the Works staff into a company which he headed.

His father was a dwarf, a fact that he kept quiet until the family was forced to reveal it. His stepfather Valve is relatively wealthy. Bucket courts his sister Braise.

Apr 23

Western Bird

A large island at the western end of the Gulf of Koskant, almost the westernmost point of Koskant. It is so named because its shape looks like a bird in flight.

Birthplace of Hope at Merrybourne, it is the seat of the Countygold of the Western Isles. His manor, Merrybourne, is built in the elven style, and looks like a hill with windows.

One of the villages on the island is called Oakdown.

Apr 23

Thorn Highrock

A plump, middle-aged Earthist woman who runs the racetrack in Illene. Wears a brown suit. An enthusiast for technology, she uses farspeakers as loudspeakers for her caller and promotes investment in the airhorse.

Mar 02

Rosie Printer

Born Industry of Rosewall. Rosie was originally a byname, based both on her name of affiliation and also on the fact that she is unusually pale-skinned and blushes readily.

Her great-grandmother on her mother's side was the inventor of the pressure gun, and she is descended on her father's side from a localgold of Rosewall (not closely enough to count as Gold Class).

She is first seen as an investor in the airhorse. She manages some of her family's money, very competently.

Gave up her family connections and wealth and changed her name in order to oathbond with Dignified Printer.

Associated Characters

  • Mother: Admiration Merchant
  • Father: Punctual of Rosewall (called "Early" by his oathmate) - when parents are interrogating her (or, presumably, her siblings) they speak in turn as a double act
  • Siblings: Punctual, Opportunity and Constant
  • Family butler: Courageous

She is thin and awkward, with flyaway hair and large spectacles. Speaks, as do all her family, in a "high" style using a large vocabulary. Good mathematician and competent inventor (trained in engineering at the University of Illene), creator of an adding machine and a calculating machine.

Briar Heathlake and Hope at Merrybourne helped her with a makeover, after which she gave up wearing the fashionable but unflattering clothes her mother bought for her in favour of outfits created by Mistress Pintuck.

Mar 02

Realmgold’s Creatives

The Realmgold's Creatives are artists, inventors, innovators, philosophers and the like who are supported by Victory in order that they may dedicate themselves to their creative work without worrying about where their next meal is coming from. She provides housing, medical care, and assistants whose job it is to make the creativity practical and, preferably, profitable.

The creatives may sell their works to anyone, but the Realmgold has first option, and takes an eighth of their profit if they sell to anyone else (as cost recovery). If a creative comes up with something that can be replicated, like an invention, they get license income - standard is 1/32nd of retail.

The Realmgold's representative to and from the creatives is her factor, a cheerfully out-of-shape, casual, matter-of-fact middle-aged man named Hardy Fuller.

Dignified Printer is initially under this scheme, until he is transferred to the Research Institute. So is the political philosopher Perspicacity Weaver.

Mar 02

Protocols of Hesh

Hesh is a small village at the bottom of a bluff, north of Coriant. From the bluff, the site of the city of Elwenar is visible: a crater lined with dirty grey glass, in which nothing will grow.

About three thousand years ago (before the elves even brought humans to the world), the destruction of Elwenar shocked everyone sufficiently that mages came together in Hesh and created the Protocols, binding mindspells that prevent anyone from using magic to deliberately do harm to another person. These bindings also include the requirement that nobody may teach magic to anyone not similarly bound. The childhood's end rites and the adulthood rites include preparations for the Protocols, so even someone who discovers their magical power independently and tries to learn out of books is inhibited from doing so without a proper binding from an existing mage.

There are, of course, loopholes. If you don't believe you're doing harm, but in fact are, you can cast the spell. "Harm" means "lasting harm", so a fear spell, for example, can be used in battle or to protect something. Hope at Merrybourne was able to curse her lover Faithful because her geas didn't physically harm him, had an escape clause, and was primarily a restriction on doing something, though because of her malicious intent and her own issues, she did experience splashback.

Mar 02

Patient Carver

Woodcarver, resident in Redbridge. Pleasant, open face, wavy hair.

Oathmate of Hope at Merrybourne, who tells him that his hair smells of cedar shavings and wood oil. He calls her breasts Glory and Splendour. Glory is the right one, and has a mole.

Has potential to be trained as a mage-minor in mindmagic.

Formerly a part-time member of the wardens, which resulted in a military callup in the Unification War. During this callup, he was injured by a crossbow bolt through the left thigh. Despite this injury, he reached his unit in time to warn them of enemy action, for which he received the Realmgold's Military Honour, Gold, with Sun and Moon and the Recognition of Injury in the Line of Duty, Second Class (a hexagonal silver decoration). He now walks with a carved dragon-headed cane, which has pain-relief spells on it.

He has a lot of body hair, and a number of scars from his craft in addition to those from his military service.

As well as his carving skill, he is a competent cook, and a local champion in throwing knives.

He met Hope while they were waiting in line to find out where they needed to go to be awarded their respective honours.

Neighbour Productive Victualler.