A Goblin’s Guide to the Empire, page one.

Arzin's Journal page 01

[Image: A page from a journal with a drawing of a zeppelin at dock, several coins, and a portrait of a small, fluffy, ferret-like anthro character wearing glasses, a bowtie, and a vest.]

As of this morning, have arrived in Alsvor. Am profoundly miffed that was not able to sketch the city from approach, as view upon arrival should have been magnificent. However, had taken passage on a kajarun zeppelin bringing ore from Jadros and since said passage had been had taken without captain’s knowledge, had to vacate vessel directly upon anchorage.

Note for later: zeppelin anchor towers are not easy to descend. Any further exploration up there should be undertaken with grappling hook and/or parachute. Also under cover of night.

After escaping from the crew and various confused dockworkers, endeavoured to procure local currency and thus a guide. Luckily the currency exchange is outside shouting range of docking towers, but still close enough to be convenient.

As a city reliant on imports, Alsvor is also reliant on the traders bringing said imports, and the visitors who come just to look at things (of which, technically speaking, I am one). Making it as easy as possible for people to spend their monies is in the city’s best interest. The clerk on duty this morning, however, appeared to be having difficulty.

Kajarun coinage of helmets, zeppelins, mountains and wyrms has a set exchange rate to Alsvoran shields, knights, griffins and dragons, as they have with other nations. Trolls, however, aren’t fans of exchange rates. Or other nations, really. Monies usually means ‘we agree this coin is worth this much fish or this many nights in a bed’ and then monies are traded instead of fish or beds. Trolls don’t need monies to make those promises to other trolls – for them is enough to say ‘I give you half next catch if you let me use spare bed for two weeks’ and shake hands, or maybe ‘my friend Kai give you half his catch if you let my sister use spare bed’ and shake hands, or even ‘I might need spare bed if weather turn bad, anyone going fishing soon?’ and shake hands.

(This not because troll stupid – they think monies, and nations that use monies, are untrustworthy. Given history of interaction with troll peoples and other nations, this is fair enough.)

However, when trolls write this system of handshakes down, it gets very confusing for other nations. Especially when ‘write’ means ‘carve in stone with claw.’ The elf clerk at the exchange desk made a valiant effort, and after cross referencing several equivalencies charts, including an almanac to check the weather conditions in Lyeyl two summers past, managed to determine that “Mariya will give Iskra half of kale harvest and two thirds kohlrabi harvest” to be equivalent to one griffin, eight knights and two shields. Only took him twenty minutes – quite impressive.

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