I’ve been pondering how trade works in the world of Lar Elien. Most of the princedoms are quite self-sufficient, with people producing their own food and daily necessities basically near the home. They have their cattle and fields, people ply their trades in the cities, and even hunting is done for the dinner table – mostly for the lords and ladies but not exclusively. There are plenty of forests for wild animals, the world of Lar Elien is not really overpopulated.
Thus trade only works with luxury items, or things that simply cannot be created locally. I have been thinking about fine cloth (possibly silk), jewelry, anything smithcraft related or special wares. Some of the southern princedoms deal in salt, for example, and Tir Enwen produces enormous leather skins. Even so, I haven’t been able to figure out the specialty of Lar Elien itself. Maybe Count Willomar levies a toll on the Great Northern Road leading to the mountains where the dwarves live – but I’m not entirely sure about that just yet. I do know there are extensive forests and some mountains in the county, but there hasn’t been any specific idea.
Of course, trade goods are transported by traders. In most cases, that is. In Tir Enwen, the Prince himself leads caravans to the south. Also, Lina’s parents are traders. They have a summer home in a free town called Greenfields (although that name might be subject to change, so far it’s just a literal translation from German), and a winter home in the port town of Bluemouth (the same thing about the name applies here). Spring and fall are spent travelling between both towns and trading / selling their goods.
Their house in Greenfields is a classical late medieval trading house. There are still some of those standing in the German town of Lübeck. Practically the whole front part of the house is storage space, while the family quarters are located in the back. The different levels of the house are used to store different goods – fine cloth, for example, does best in a slightly damp and cool environment, uusally found in the basement or even a cellar. On the contrary, any smoked goods or herbs will need lots of air and dry heat.
This house also boasts a hand-operated lift so goods can be transported up to the different levels of the house. In fact, the doorway is large enough to drive a wagon right into the house and unload it there.
Such traders carry an official seal proving they are licensed traders. The seals serve to mark wax seals which secure the goods. Each seal is magically tuned to the trader family and can only be used by family members. Of course, even such seals are occasionally stolen to be realigned by rogue mages so robbed goods can be traded „legitimately“.
Thus Lina’s biggest worry is to recover her father’s stolen seal when she rides out with Andert to hunt down a bunch of robbers who attacked her family and killed her parents.
*Photo by Andreas Praefcke, Source: Wikimedia Commons