Excerpts From the Travelogue of Reinhard Humboldt: The Empire of Alexander
As you begin your journey into Azuregard, know that you are not the first person to have set foot upon this land. Travelers of all sizes, stripes, and temperaments have all come before you and they all, in their own little way, have made their mark upon the world. Some have achieved great glories, others have achieved even greater follies. So dear adventurer, take heed of their words of wisdom, lest you repeat their mistakes and arrive at a tragic, untimely demise.
It's been over a month since I left Fort Denethas. The trip was long and boring, but not unpleasant as I made my way towards Alexander. After all, who am I to complain given what we endured as we navigated the harrowing conditions of the Bloodpass? I'll take boredom every day for the rest of my life if it means I never have to face the wretched wraiths that prey upon the unwary along the pass ever again. Alas, I'm not so lucky and will most likely head that way once more come spring. For now, I'm quite content to be within the Empire's borders and, better still, in Alexander.
Now, one thing that really hits home as you travel along the Empire's well-maintained roadways is just how powerful the Empire really is. The signs of their military are everywhere. One can hardly go a day without seeing some knightly order or other out and about conducting training exercises, patrolling the roadways, or simply relieving a garrison at one of the outlying forts. With that kind of martial presence, merchants and travelers can journey without fear of being waylaid or attacked by bandits, monsters, or other ne'er-do-wells.
And that's the kind of safety you can expect, even before you enter one of the Empire's cities, which has to rank up there as being one of the most surreal experiences I've ever come across. All of their buildings are built in nice, neat rows, you don't have to walk far to find a constabulary, and there are few signs of filth about. On top of that, their bureaucrats and officials are too honest, as though they're not even human! When you put it all together, Alexander's society is so neat, so tidy, so clean.... that it feels outright unnatural. I have to suppress an uneasy shudder almost every time I pass through a city.
Of those cities, the city of Alexander towers above them all, both in stature and in wealth. Its orderliness, combined with its easy access to land and sea trade routes, make Alexander an ideal location for merchants and tradespeople to do business. So much so that I'm convinced the Empire's anthem is the clinking of the coin since that noise resounds throughout the city as contracts get negotiated and signed and goods are packaged and shipped to wherever they're demanded.
Well, here comes nightfall. Time to track down Theodor and tell him the bad news about his wool shipment...
-- Reinhard Humboldt