Halcyon, The Golden Age
Meili's Guide to Tourism among the Svartalfr: Commerce
Excerpt from Meili’s Guide to Tourism among the Svartalfr
When it comes to societal commerce, the svartalfr face a constant dance between appearance and necessity. Labor is required to create food, clothing, and the other necessities and indulgences that are important to the svartalfr. Equally important to the them, however, is appearing to not exert themselves. Magic is used, of course, whenever possible, both in production and in processes for gathering food. It is common to use slave labor as well, especially using the duergar, who are well suited to labor.
Each city in Svartalfheim has a main market area, and this can be among the most physically dangerous places in the city, especially for an unaligned . Of course colnbluth, if you are aligned with enemies (that is all of them) then that can be dangerous for you as well. Magic, poison, and occasionally, blades, abound at the market place, both as goods for sale and as methods of dispatchment. This author recommends not getting injured there, but if you do, absolutely do not complain about it, as this will lead to disdain from any that you speak to (and a better job will be done next time). In addition, if at all possible, do not show that you’ve been injured, as this will likely result in a reaction similar to that of a dragon that smells easy gold.
The first trick to understanding your role as a tourist looking to engage in commerce among the svartalfr is to understand that, as a colnbluth, you are not only at a disadvantage, but as with everything else in svartalfr society, engaging in commerce can be dangerous. The dance of politics and wit plays a huge role here, as it does in most social interactions, and this very factor can keep it deadly. Never directly haggle price with the svartalfr, as this is conisdered to be an insult to the quality of their product or service. If you must haggle (this author cannot be held responsible for any death or torture that occurs as a result of haggling) then a good knowledge of local political relationships can be used. For example, if a local house is in competition to another house, a gentle comment wondering about the competitors’ price may help you. Still, this is very much a terrible idea, if you have not built a relationship with the svartalfr that you are speaking to, and to be honest, if you aren’t svartalfr, you haven’t.