Ambrose, one of Skara Brae's most influential
landowners, quietly passed away two weeks ago, after a long and drawn out
sickness. Also long and drawn out is the story of the slow decay of his lands.
Once, under Ambrose's expert management, the fields had not only been the
largest, but also the most productive of the township. For several years already
he had been bedridden by illness, forcing him to hire managers to direct the
laborers toiling at his fields - - an unhappy succession, as each manager in turn
proved unable to properly direct the seedings and reapings, instead depleting
the land's fertility. Ambrose hired and fired an average of two of them per
year, to no avail, as the land continued to lose its value through misuse and
abuse. Now that the grieving is over, the late Ambrose's neighbors voice
concerns over what will happen to the wide swaths of land owned by Ambrose.
"He was the biggest landowner around here", recalls Dwayne, who was
Ambrose's closest neighbor. "Of course his land was being overused, but if
you leave it fallow for a few years, it can be fertile again." Also
problematic is the land's new owner. "Ambrose's nephew ended up being his
heir", Dwayne says. "He was some sort of merchant who lived in
Magincia, and he sure ain’t any better than the last lot of helpers. At least
Ambrose had the sense to hire farmers to work on his fields, this man’s been
The heir in question, as a quick visit to Ambrose's attorney informed us, is a
Magincian merchant named Bert; mostly a caravan master, he has nonetheless tried
his hand in just about every commercial endeavor known to Britannians.
Unfortunately Bert was negotiating a deal in Jhelom when we came by his home in
Magincia, and thus was unable to comment.
Regardless of who owns them, however, more concerns remain about whether the
economy can support so many farms. "There's a lot of farms in
Britannia", explains Laura, who owns a single farm a long while away from
Ambrose's lands. "Every time I go to market there's more stalls, but not a
lot more customers. I'm worried that the smaller farms may get crowded out by
big ones like Ambrose's."
"It was almost a good thing for the region that Ambrose's farms slowly lost
their production", Dwayne says, seeming almost ashamed at the notion.
"There was already more supply than demand, and if the farms had been
producing like they had ten years ago some of the smaller farmers would've had
"I was almost hoping that this merchant fellow would forget about the land,
but with all the activity over there as of late, he seems to be up to