In a follow up to my previous post about Erce, I thought I’d take you to visit Albon for a tour. Albon is the home of my main character, Lizzy Albon. I present a leaflet from Erce’s Premier Travel Agency: The Traveller’s Union of Camar and Bemose.
Holiday In Albon – The Largest of The Northern Isles
A Visitor’s Guide for Tourists, produced by the Traveller’s Union of Camar and Bemose
Visitors usually arrive in Albon through the port of Hythe that serves King’s Ford, the capital of Albon after visiting the continental Empire of Belenos. Should you arrive from the west, the usual port of arrival is Fromat, a mining town and port, in the province of the same name, and in the north, visitors arrive through the semi-independent state of Crowe.
But let’s assume you’ll arrive through Hythe. The first thing you’ll see as you sail in is the Hythe from which the port takes its name. This is an impressive structure of white chalk built over a natural outcrop that forms the northern spur of a bay. Unless your ship is particularly favoured, you will probably anchor in the bay. This affords an expansive view of the bay and the river mouth. This is the Tortel River, although it’s generally referred to as The River. A ships boat will carry you, and whatever cargo they have aboard ship to the docks that line the bay.
At the docks, have your identity and any travel passes ready. You will be met by the Hythe Guard. This is a regiment of cavalry that guards the Hythe; don’t be worried by their uniforms and the new ‘fire-arms’ they sport. These were a recent gift from the island of Umar as part of post-war negotiations for trade routes; most of the men still prefer swords and pikes, and are generally friendly unless provoked.
There are some restricted items that may be taken or charged an import tax on.
- Books questioning the divinity of the Founder or the One, promoting atheism, or lewd/immoral acts – banned
- Alcohol – taxed at 14% of market value
- Fur or luxury material not obviously part of a garment – taxed at 25% of market value
- Tea, in quantities larger than one small chest – taxed at 25% of market value
- Weapons – all weapons must be checked and listed against the owner’s name and place of residence, by the Hythe Guard. This list is delivered to the Information Office daily and some random checks by Officers of the I.O. can be expected.
Other items can be added at any time, so check with your ship’s Captain before disembarking.
The best way to travel, once one has disembarked, is by private coach if you have connections in the city, or by the public carriages. These usually seat two, although a larger vehicle can be ordered at the Hythe. It costs about AC2.00 per mile, so a trip to the centre of King’s Ford will cost you AC10.00. Have your money changed at the banks in Hythe before boarding the carriages, they don’t accept currency from other lands.
It’s best to change your currency as soon as you land; being found away from Hythe with a large quantity of funds from other countries can result in arrest and imprisonment. Due to the unfortunate events in the early A.E. 1330s involving the current queen of Albon, Sumoasti travellers are particularly suspect, and those found with large quantities of Sumoasti coinage will be imprisoned by the Watch without notice.
Hythe itself is worthy of at least a half-day of your time. Once past the docks, with their warehouses and chandler’s stores, new streets of fine houses, the homes of merchants and sea captains, have been built in the same white chalk stone as the Hythe. These houses act as business offices as well as residences, and I recommend having an introduction to at least one of these houses should you arrive late in Hythe. There are no hotels, and the only boarding houses cater to common sailors, rarely a salubrious situation for the refined traveller. You should also apply to these places, during business hours, for return transport arrangements. Along these streets one can also find shops catering to the tastes of all visitors, including one of the smaller branches of Caro’s Couture, the premier dressmakers in Albon.
Typical business hours in Albon are First day to Fifthday eight in the morning until half past six of an afternoon, Sixthday, nine until five, Lastday – known as Holyday – closed, except in extremis.
If you are from a secular country, such as Calman, the prevalence of Lastday closing may be an unexpected phenomena, however, Albon has a state religion, the worship of The One. This is the native religion introduced in A.E. 815 by a man known only as the Founder and his Companions. He was a wandering preacher who, with his itinerant and eclectic band of followers, extolled the joys of faith in the One, an almighty deity, to a largely polytheistic or animistic people.
The Chapels of the Albon capital are worth a visit for their architecture and historical significance.
The following recommendations have been provided by our agents:
- Visitors should make themselves known to the resident Curate, many of whom will provide a personal guided tour for a small consideration of around AC5.00 per person;
- Women should wear a skirt/skirt-like garment and a head covering, such as a scarf or coif – coifs can be bought from local hatters for a reasonable sum – around AC30.00;
- Men with long hair tie should back their hair, as the Alboni have a very conservative view of the roles of men and women. The arrival of large numbers of Umari to help fight in the recent war against Sumoast, and efforts by native organisations, has done little to change this, so it’s best to be on the safe side.
- Do not get into theological or social reform arguments with either Curates or worshippers. This could result in a trip to the cells of the High Curate’s Palace in the company of the Morality Police. You do not want to spend time with the M.P.s. Unlike the Watch they have little oversight and aren’t afraid to use torture.
In King’s Ford a visitor can find a variety of hotels and inns to suit their taste and purse. Some of the best are listed in our Hotels of Albon leaflet; please ask one of our agents for a copy before booking your holiday in Albon.
The Traveller’s Union of Camar and Bemose cannot be responsible for any cancelled bookings.
If you are carrying valuables, please make your way to a Watch House to register them, in case of theft, and deposit them with either the Watch or your hotel’s safe.
Once in the city there are a variety of entertainments that will fill your visit.
During the day explore the shops and markets, or take a tour of the Old Palace, where the Moot meets daily. You probably won’t get a chance to view a session, unless you have an acquaintance among the Moot Members or other respected member of the community. Tickets for seats in the viewing gallery are limited, so early attendance is recommended.
In the evening, join the glittering crowds of aristocrats and wealthy merchants at the theatre to see the latest plays written by local playwrights or imports from the other Isles. There are public balls at some of the hotels and late-evening opening cafes, providing hot tea and coffee, as well as spirits. Sometimes these events are disturbed by M.P.s but the Watch usually prevent too much damage being done.
Of course, King’s Ford is just one small part of the island, there’s a lot to see outside the city. For more information, see our leaflet Exploring The Northern Isles of AE20.00 a day.