Wealthy Land Owner Passes On

Hank Danger

UP: Baja

    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 hiring carpenters…"

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 to leave."

"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