The Rebuilding of Poelitz
It is ironic that the occupation by the Brotherhood laid the foundation for the present success of Poelitz. They built stone roads, began the fortification of the town and expanded the mining operations in the Iron Hills. After being proclaimed baron, Naudus focused his efforts upon increasing income from trade, his eyes upon the quality and quantity of the goods being produced. First and foremost, however, Naudus needed to rebuild key parts of Poelitz, and dwarves (from Sunndi and the Iron Hills) were hired by the score. Captured Brotherhood troops provided the mindless, backbreaking labor that such endeavors rely on.
The foreman of the Iron Hills contingent, with whom the Baron negotiated, was a dwarf by the name of Derren Darakson. For work on the Poelitz docks, Derren arranged to be paid with two plots of land. One of these was built into a walled compound with accommodations, workshops and storage for the artisans. Upon the other plot the dwarves built an inn, the Path of Stone, and a small brewery. Derren has become, unofficially, an ambassador for the Dwur Kingdom of the Iron Hills. Merchants wishing to trade with the Iron Hills or hire dwarven artisans meet with Derren to negotiate the details. Anyone wishing to air grievances about the activities of Iron Hill dwarves or the quality of their work does so in audience with Derren. There are rumors that Derren is, in fact, a cousin of Holgi Hirsute and seventh in line to the throne of the Iron Hills.
The dwarves’ first projects were to open a stone quarry in the Iron Hills and then to divert the Falen’s Flow (a river that ran through the center of Poelitz) into a new, stone-lined channel around the east of the town. A peculiar, roofed tunnel was constructed along the old river channel and covered over with the debris from the ruined town, to form a sewer system and water course for the buildings that were subsequently built above.
With the river diverted, the old river mouth could be turned into a huge, new dock, and, at the same time, the port was rebuilt with a solid stone wharf and rows of warehouses. As early as 589 CY work started on building a fleet capable of fishing, trading and fighting. For the past two years, the baron has sold one ship each year, and he is paid handsomely by ship captains who use the town’s facilities to repair or refit their vessels.
To ensure the success of his docks, Naudus requires each village to turn over one quarter of its fields to the production of flax and hemp. Although grain profits have reduced, Poelitz is now producing many miles of rope and acres of linen canvas each year.
A saltworks was built during the reconstruction of the port. Sea water is poured into shallow pans and left to evaporate in the warm climate. The salt that remains is collected and sold. On average, the works produces seven pounds of salt a week, and makes a profit of about 1,500 gp a year.
From 589 CY, Naudus was able to concentrate on erecting the townhouses, workshops and municipal buildings that would bring an air of modernity and culture to Poelitz.
From 590 CY, agents of House Heshun started luring skilled artisans to Poelitz with promises of fine accommodation and low taxes. Slowly the town stopped exporting simple ingots of copper and became a center for bronze and copper work. Religious artifacts, candle sticks, fittings for saddles, bowls, and sculptures of all sizes, weighing scales – all manner of utilitarian and artistic pieces began flowing from Poelitz. Even a family of bell founders moved into Poelitz early in 594 CY. Huge bronze statues now greet visitors to Poelitz, and a number of key buildings are roofed in this metal.
Glass working in the town experienced a similar renaissance. In the Artisan’s Court one can purchase vials, drinking vessels and even magnifying glasses and tubes. A number of collaborative projects between the bronze-workers and the glass-workers have proven extremely successful. If a visitor was so inclined, she could purchase the instruments for a complete alchemical laboratory. Together, the artisans are creating some exquisite artwork, from gilded bronze candelabras to enameled bronze caskets.
Not everyone is content with the progress of the town. Many Ideean craftsmen and -women are unable to find work and resent the ‘foreigners’ who are, in their eyes, taking their livelihoods.
Some also think it odd that part of the old town still stands – burnt out ruins, infested by rats and haunted by memories. It has been kept standing for a purpose: To provide a daily reminder of the horror of the Brotherhood, and to be a stark reminder of what happens when a town resists their overlords.
Another curious feature of Poelitz is a small temple dedicated to the Suel goddess Wee Jas. The only one of it’s kind in Naerie, her aspects of death and magic are both venerated here.