Ancestral seat of House Graceford
The town of Aldritch lies nestled in a broad turn of the River Andurin and is well known for its special breed of catkin flowers, which grow upon the many Alder groves lining the river. Said to have first been planted by a Halafolk druid, these catkins, when dried using special techniques known only to the townsfolk, provide a potent aphrodisiac that is sold throughout Midgard. The locals live fat off of their annual crop of catkins and so spend most of the year devising and enforcing elaborate social customs. These customs seem to come and go as regularly as the Alder leaves, but this does not prevent the villagers from throwing grand fetes in which the favorite pastime seems to be observing who can and cannot adhere to the newest rules of etiquette. Though largely regionalized, not even Valkioard is safe from these whims of propriety, for the Lady Graceford is a primary originator and enjoys bringing these “quaint new customs” to court.
Separate but not entirely unrelated to these social gauntlets is The Franconi School for Diplomats. This prestigious academy accepts only noble students or individuals that are sponsored by a noble. Its purpose is to train the most refined, knowledgeable, and discreet diplomats the world over. Its master is Kapus Franconi, a man now well into his nineties, but who spent the first fifty years of his life serving more dukes, kings, and emperors than he can remember. Late in life he finally allowed himself to fall in love with the spinster Glenda Graceford and so settled in Aldritch with her and started his school with the money he had garnered through so much royal gratitude. He now passes on his wisdom, one lash of the switch at a time, to aspiring diplomats in a crumbling red brick castle by the river.