By Chester Seaton, News
26/5-Over a year has passed since the pirate Roderick Beauchamp La Pierre crashed a barge full of Barrier Sea tuna into the Bank of Crowndon, contaminating the gold within with an unbearable stench and tanking the Crowndon economy in the process. While things have started to improve as the gold was melted down and re-circulated, the Empire still feels the pinch.
“Last year at this time, this tavern was full of the merrymaking of fishermen and dock hands,” said tavern owner Hatham McTavish. “Now, all those men are gone, either moved to other towns or enlisted in the air corps. Some turned to thieving, either wound up hung or in a dungeon. Had to turn in one of my regulars, me-self. Hurt like hell, but a crime’s a crime.”
Corroborating McTavish’s account is a new report from the Imperial Authority, saying that recruitment in the Authority, as well as the Crowndon Air Corps and Crowndon Infantry, has tripled in the last eight months, spiking just after the beginning of winter.
“Military service offers a certain security,” said Sergeant Donald Loys, a recruiter in Walsh. “With jobs down, men are lining up. Our recruiting stations have even been told to focus on this fact to bolster enlistment.”
Likewise, petty crime has tripled as well.
Nowhere in the Crowndon Empire is the economic pinch more visible than in Rommsbach, where the famous Mile of Treats, a street known across the Triumvirate for its abundant bakers, candy makers, distilleries and tobacco sellers has been all but abandoned in the last few months.
“This place used to be a party, most every night,” said one citizen of Hestenberg, the town where the Mile of Treats is located. “Now it’s near a ghost town, most of the bakers have shuttered their stores. The smell of pies and sugar and fresh fruit has been replaced with nothing but salty air from the sea, and the colorful banners along the road are tattered and torn. It’s a terrible sad thing. But they’ll be back, I know it. They always come back.”
The hopes of that man from Hestenberg might not be empty, either. Towns along the Serpent’s Tongue River, the border between southern Crowndon and Monteddor, have seen a recent boom since the first of the renewed shipments of Blackwood from Desantana Refining came pouring in earlier this year. And though those effects have yet to echo throughout the rest of the empire, morale is, for the most part, growing.
“Crowndon is, and always has been, the strongest of the Triumvirate,” said High Lord of Industry and Commerce, The Grand Duke of Walsh Harlow Dyston. “We have weathered innumerable tests in the past, and we’ll sure as hell weather this…this mere prank by a drunken trickster.”