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Elminster Speaks - Part 44

By Ed Greenwood

Doings in Delzimmer, Part 3

Once armed with knowledge of the Kauladd and Delzimmer's troubled past, ye can properly appreciate how the Delzmaer handle property.

Ethrael: The Delzmaer system of property registration is handled by the nagra at the Pholruth, or largest nagra house. The Pholruth is a large, many-winged three-story stone structure near the center of the city. Its uppermost floor functions as the cleanest, safest inn in Delzimmer (much favored by outlanders able to pay its steep rates of 3 gp/night without meals, stabling 5 sp/mount/night extra). The middle floor is given over to the living quarters and offices of nagra and kala, the ground floor functions as the nagra station house and ethrael offices, and the cellars are either jail cells, used for seized goods storage, or are the vaults of the Shrimmer (the bank service run by the nagra). The three sorts of cellars aren't connected.

The Shrimmer handles banking and moneychanging and all ethrael services, operating during daylight hours with a staff of three nagra under the constant scrutiny of two kala.

Perishable (foodstuffs and livestock) and mass portable goods (such as nails, chain, rope, and the like) can't be registered, but they can be insured. The owner of the goods and the owner of the storage space (or their agents) together come to the Shrimmer, sign a bond, and each tender matching amounts of cash into the hands of the nagra. If no losses occur before storage ends, both reappear, the bond is destroyed, and the cash amounts are returned. If a loss is claimed, the kala hear the dispute and adjudicate. Typically, both lots of cash are given to the owner of the goods in such cases.

Larger goods (like coaches, suits of armor, and beasts of burden) can be registered, and the nagra maintain two identical copies of the registry (one held by the owner and one by the Shrimmer). Changes in the status of the goods (such as damage or beast injuries and sicknesses) are noted on both registries whenever the owner presents his or her copy and explains. (The kala direct when such claims must be verified by direct nagra observation.) Loans and coin accounts are handled by the Shrimmer in much the same way.

Nonportable property, such as land and structures, are handled through the registration, precise wording, and amendment of ethrael, or written deeds. These are handled by the Shrimmer in two forms: The owner has a written document precisely describing the extent and situation of the property, and the Shrimmer vaults hold a long roll of deed that both describes the property in the same way and keeps an ongoing descriptive record of who bought the property from whom, with prices and conditions and alterations all being recorded.

A typical ethrael property description might begin as follows: "That piece of land and the cellar soil beneath that is within the fair city of Delzimmer and bounded thus: lying along the west side of Such-and-Such Street from the northwest corner of its moot with So-and-So Street, six tharodd north along Such-and-Such Street to a white stone set in the ground and bearing the mark of a toad; thence westerly four tharodd and a foot more besides, on an angle bearing north of west to a second white toad-stone; thence due west three tharodd to Thus-and-Thus Street; south along the east side of Thus-and-Thus Street . . ." and so on. (A "tharodd" is a straight linear measure of six feet popular in Delzimmer and Luiren, though in the latter land it's called a "hinthar.")

This wayward discussion of matters legal and property deeds may seem to some of ye to have strayed far from my promises of current gossip, but wait until next time we converse, and ye'll see how such matters have a way of circling around to entangle again, like serpents biting their own tails.

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