Icemule Trace Mayoral Debates 5120-06-22 (log)

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This is a slightly edited transcript carefully recorded by an eyewitness from the debates held during the 5120 Mayoral Election. Nothing has been added and only certain pleasantries and extra comments not pertaining to the debates have been removed in order to enhance clarity.

Candidate Introductions

Reiphe says, "Please join me in welcoming our candidates to the stage. We'll begin with Walesca Wineberry, a pillar of the Icemule Trace community. Walesca Wineberry's charitable efforts need no introduction. As one of the manages of the Wineberry Family Fund, she has dedicated over three billion silvers toward civic and charitable improvements in Icemule Trace in the last decade alone." Walesca waves to the crowd. Several well-to-do halflings in the back cheer loudly.

Reiphe says, "Next is Hazelnut Honeybrook." Hazelnut rushes in and jogs up the stage. Hazelnut enthusiastically waves to the crowd.

Reiphe says, "Our third candidate, Ellerel Barrowfoot, is a representative of the Magical Burrow and one of the town's wealthier merchants, as well as a self-professed warlock." Ellerel supports himself on his cane as he walks in. Hazelnut helps him up onto the stage. Ellerel gives a gracious nod as he stands by the other candidates.

Reiphe says, "And finally, a man who requires no introduction at all: Talliver Dabbings." Talliver marches smartly in. Talliver takes the stage, gives a simple nod of his head, and joins the other candidates.

Reiphe says, "After the candidates have had time for a brief introductory statement, we will be taking questions from the crowd. Each candidate will be allowed a brief response to every question, even if they are personally directed."

Opening Statements

Reiphe asks, "Representative Wineberry, why are you seeking to become mayor of Icemule Trace?"

Walesca smiles. Walesca says, "As many of you know, my cousin Nihala was a Wineberry before she married into the Winterberry family. The Wineberries have always been dedicated public servants and patrons of Icemule Trace. I'm here to carry on my cousin's legacy and finish what she started: establishing Icemule Trace as one of the foremost trading posts in Western Elanith. This town is the greatest bastion of Paradis civilization, and I want to show the world the truly magnificent place that we have built here amidst the snow."

Reiphe asks, "Representative Honeybrook?"

Hazelnut tugs at the collar of his doublet, looking a bit uncomfortable. Hazelnut says, "Well, it seems to me that Icemule Trace is already a pretty special place. And I'm young enough that I haven't really had the time to prove myself in serving this town. As soon as I was out of school, I started traveling the world, and I saw how different peoples did things. Some good; some bad. I guess what I'm saying is that I want to do right by the town that raised me, and if I don't have an answer for something, I'm here to listen to whoever does. And, well. I hope you'll all give me that chance!"

Reiphe gets a tight smile on his face and turns his attention to the next candidate. Reiphe asks, "Master Barrowfoot?"

Ellerel gives a dry chuckle. Ellerel says, "I'm rather the opposite of the lad, I fear. Not so young, and not so well-traveled. What I do know is Icemule Trace. To the contrary, a great many peoples have had a hand in building this town. The sylvankind escorted us--our ancestors, that is--to this place, and where would we have been without their guidance through the snows? Although Icemule Trace has been here for well over a century, we exist in a place that is beset by horrors from all sides. A town cannot flourish while it fears the unknown. If you elect me as your mayor, my interests will be in making this a safer land for us all, and preventing future terrors like the ones we've endured in recent years. I also believe that, while we're just a piece of the pie, the Paradis do have a great deal to offer. Our skills with magic are considerable, and I've always found it a shame that we've not done a better job of educating others in the ways of magic. Forgive me, I've gone overlong. Master Dabbings, the floor is yours."

Talliver takes a breath and steps forward. Talliver says, "There's that name again: Dabbings. I've grown up with it, but it's a weight to bear. The family name has a heft to it. Every single one of us grows up just waiting to be compared to heroic ancestors. I'm not a hero. I'm just a halfling who cares deeply about his town, and wants to help improve it. I think we can make it safer by improving its defenses, but I also think we need to encourage trade. And yes, even magical development. And that's why, if I am elected, I pledge that my door will be open to all three of you, and any halfling or tallfolk that have good ideas." Talliver looks a little uncomfortable at having spoken for so long, and steps back into line with the other candidates as if he's rejoining a formation.

Questions and Answers

Reiphe says, "If we might have a round of applause for all of our candidates. We're dependent upon you, the people of Icemule Trace, to ask the questions that are important to you."

Geojordak's Question

Speaking to Geojordak, Reiphe asks, "Your question, sir?"

Geojordak softly asks, "Candidate Walesca, is the rumor that you are in league with the Turamzzyrian Empire with the purpose of bringing the Empires' bigoted and racist ruling system to Icemule Trace true?"

Walesca gets a tight look on her face. Walesca says, "I've negotiated a great many contracts with factors and traders in Turamzzyr, but I have no interest in endorsing their backwards beliefs in human supremacy. I don't believe that any peoples of Elanthia are superior to any others. You may have misheard some rhetoric about my desire to protect the interests of halflings in Icemule Trace. Tradition is important to me. It's tradition that built this town, and I think it is tradition that will guide us into the future. The great effort as mayor will be balancing the desires of the core community of halflings that founded Icemule Trace with the competing need to grow and change into the future."

Reiphe asks, "Would any other candidates like to respond?"

Talliver steps forward. Talliver says, "I would." Speaking to Walesca, Talliver says, "I think you're blowing a great deal of smoke." Walesca gets a sour look on her face. "As Master Barrowfoot pointed out, the first settlers of this town weren't just halflings. Our culture has always embraced the taller races. We're stronger together, and that's all I have to say on that."

Speaking to Reiphe, Walesca asks, "May I respond?"

Speaking to Walesca, Reiphe says, "I'm afraid we really must move on."

Selema's Question

Selema asks, "Representative Barrowfoot, you mentioned making this a safer land. How do you intend to do that while balancing being a welcoming city for all?"

Speaking to Selema, Ellerel says, "I believe our first priority should be putting an end to the evil that has taken residence in the Temple of Hope." Ellerel leans on his cane. "For decades now, those poor girls have been puppets on the strings of something evil. I daresay that the unnatural island below this town, and its horrible abominations, should be cleansed as well. Icemule Trace can't grow if the surrounding lands are still untamed and rampant with monsters. We're limited to a very small valley where the snows are less fierce. We need to take advantage of every bit of land that we can."

Reiphe asks, "Would any of the other candidates like to respond?"

Walesca takes a step forward. Walesca says, "I believe that our efforts should also include the Wehnimer's trail, and possible trade routes into the east. Securing those will make it easier for more caravans to travel between our towns, and that benefits everyone."

Talliver also steps forward. Speaking to Selema, Talliver says, "Safety begins at home, they say. I think Icemule Trace's defenses are in sore need of an upgrade. We can go tilting at undead priestesses and imagined dragons, but there is always a threat on the horizon. The more work we put into the town's defenses, the less we need to worry about looking for the next one."

Reiphe waits for a little longer, and then says, "Moving on."

Kobane's Question

Kobane quietly says, "M'questiuon is f'all th'candidates, an' ah follow up t'wha' Ellerel jes' said. If elected, wha' will yah do t'implement ah plan against th'rot under th'Abbey? We canna afford t'let th'rot spread."

Reiphe says, "We'll begin with Candidate Honeybrook, as he hasn't had much of an opinion on the last couple of questions." Reiphe glances at Hazelnut. Hazelnut flinches, then recovers.

Hazelnut says, "It seems to me that we need to find out what happened to the Abbey before we can figure out how to fix it. There aren't too many people around from when it happened, but... there is one who saw it. She just isn't talking."

Speaking dryly to Hazelnut, Ellerel asks, "Was that a joke about my age?"

Speaking quietly to Hazelnut, Kobane says, "Yah, th'Abbess."

Reiphe warns, "The candidates will refrain from crosstalk." Ellerel tips his hat.

Speaking to Ellerel, Hazelnut says, "I know you were around when it happened, but the abbess was actually there. If we can help her, maybe we can get to the root of this mess."

Reiphe points at Talliver.

Speaking to Hazelnut, Talliver says, "See, that's precisely what I was talking about." Talliver gives a brief, understated smile. "My instinct would have been to gather troops, bless weapons, and go in, but the lad has the right of it."

Ellerel puts more of his weight on his cane. Ellerel says, "It's easy to say that we should help her, but the how of it is more difficult. I'd reach out to my contacts in the magical community and see if any memory specialists in the Magical Burrow might work with her, providing that she is willing."

Speaking quietly to Ellerel, Kobane says, "Ah sage decis'n." Speaking quietly to Walesca, Kobane asks, "Miss Wineberry?"

Speaking to Kobane, Walesca says, "I don't have much to add that other candidates haven't, but all of that sounds wise. I'd suggest the hiring of mercenaries to help cull the vereri and arch wight populations, as well. Many young halflings have lost their lives in that Abbey. I wouldn't want to see others follow, if professional soldiers can be procured at a reasonable cost."

Reiphe says, "Yes, thank you, candidates."

Escanor's Question

Escanor deeply says, "This question is open to all the candidates. How do you intend on improving the town to better defend against the unknown when we cant even keep the walls cleared of ice or the ballistas ammunitions stocked as well as increasing the trade commerce while maintaining peace?"

Reiphe says, "Candidate Dabbings, as you have the greatest amount of experience in this arena, please begin our answers."

Speaking to Reiphe, Talliver says, "Well, I wouldn't want to take up all of the good ideas." Talliver gives a slight smile. "As I said earlier, the less that our town has to worry about invading forces, the easier we all can sleep. I've spent almost three decades of my life trying to sleep with one eye open. That isn't how I want Tracers to live. I'd endorse recertifying our town militia contracts with added duties and pay for the members. It's a matter of daily maintenance and care. I know some of the traders in town think that's a waste of money, but there isn't a town if those walls get overwhelmed. I believe in readiness, not paranoia. That includes putting manned watch posts along the trail to Wehnimer's. Without that trail, every trader in this town would be out of business."

Speaking to Ellerel, Reiphe asks, "Master Barrowfoot?"

Ellerel says, "A fighting force can become a large recurring burden to a town. I believe we ought to invest in safe, sensible enchantments to keep the walls clear of snow and improve the effectiveness of the ballistae."

Speaking to Hazelnut, Reiphe asks, "Honeybrook?"

Hazelnut says, "I think we need more friends. We're all thinking about how we deal with our enemies, but why not look to all of the allies there are out there? I went east because I thought the Elven Nations were just about the most legendary place I'd ever heard of. And they're still great, don't get me wrong, but they don't hold a candle to what they used to be in stories. They were stronger together, and now they're all bickering and splintered. So maybe we work with Wehnimer's Landing to figure out how to secure the trail. I don't think your ideas are bad, though, gentlemen. I like the idea of sensible maintenance and a little magic, provided that we don't over-rely upon it. Magic might make you invincible, but..." Speaking to Ellerel, Hazelnut asks, "Have you ever heard of the Vvrael?"

Walesca says, "All of these things cost money. Magic. Men. Even friends. The best way to ensure Icemule Trace is safe is to also ensure that it is profitable."

Reiphe nods.

Arianiss' Question

Arianiss asks, "To all the candidates, particular Miss Wineberry, are you all aware of the Town Council elections that will be held after the Mayoral election? What do you believe the purpose of the Council will be to help you with the town, and what are your thoughts on the Council potentially being made up of non-halflings, and/or those that do not stay strictly within the walls of Icemule all the time?"

Walesca says, "I see the role of the Town Council as an advisory body. One thing you learn from being successful in business is that responsibility always falls on the head wearing the crown. And businesspeople who don't understand that usually end up either unscrupulous or... headless. Metaphorically speaking. I pledge to always listen to my town council, but when the final decision comes, I will make it, and I will never shirk from the consequences."

Reiphe asks, "Any others?"

Speaking to Walesca, Hazelnut says, "Mayors aren't kings or queens. It seems to me that being a mayor is about taking all of the responsibility and none of the reward, and that's something business doesn't teach you. Respectfully, ma'am." Walesca doesn't look at Hazelnut. "I've never been a mayor before. I'd want my councilors to represent a lot of different viewpoints, and that means that they can't be all halflings, or all--well, anything. And if they travel around to other towns, I'm the last person to fault them on that. I spent a decade doing that before coming home!"

Talliver thoughtfully says, "A good commander listens to his advisors. You're right, Master Honeybrook. Being a public servant isn't like being in business at all. They're opposites. One is about improving things for yourself, and the other is about giving of yourself to make the world better for other people. Some of the best people I've served with have been tallfolk. I welcome any and all to my council, if I'm elected."

Ellerel quietly says, "Well, I can scarcely follow that with anything meaningful." Ellerel chuckles to himself. "Good advice is good advice. It matters not the source."

Reiphe points at Dayzed.

Dayzed's Question

Dayzed deeply asks, "This question is addressed to all the candidates, but especially Candidate Honeybrook who made mention of alliances a bit ago. Our outgoing Mayor entered into a highly-dubious agreement with the elves of Ta'Vaalor - what will our next mayor do to unwind that agreement? Or, if you plan to maintain said agreement, why and to what end?"

Speaking to Dayzed, Hazelnut says, "Ta'Vaalor was one of the least pleasant places I've visited. I'm not sure what we can offer them in an alliance. There's no route there that isn't controlled by other peoples that we don't have alliances with. I'd need to learn about why we have such an alliance with them, what it brings to this town, and all that. But I'm not fond of supporting any regime that things everyone else is inferior. That's a line I'm not interested in crossing."

Speaking to Hazelnut, Walesca says, "Your inexperience is forgivable, but I think Icemule Trace needs more knowledgeable hands. I'd withdraw from our agreements with the Vaalor."

Speaking to Walesca, Reiphe says, "The candidates will refrain from personal attacks."

Talliver slowly says, "I admire the Vaalor for their military efficiency. I've served with a few, and I don't think the gander always represents the goose. But I'd withdraw from the alliance until it's clear what sort of people we are supporting with our aid."

Reiphe nods and says, "I'm aware that we've gone over our time, but in the interests of seeing all questions answered, we will continue, within reason."

Opalina's Question

Opalina softly asks, "Tallivar mentioned his door was open to everyone, How about the rest of you Would you be willing to keep your door open for each of the other candidates?"

Speaking to Opalina, Ellerel says, "I would be happy to do so. I've become rather fond of discussing things with young Master Honeybrook and Master Dabbings. And, of course, Mistress Wineberry."

Speaking to Opalina, Walesca says, "I'd be willing to evaluate some of the candidates for positions in my cabinet."

Speaking to Opalina, Hazelnut says, "Absolutely."

Speaking to Opalina, Talliver says, "I'll do one better. I'd commit to selecting my lead advisor from among these candidates."

Reiphe nods and points at Teaberry.

Teaberry's Question

Teaberry asks, "This question is for all of the candidates. What do you view as the most unpopular of your mayoral plans, why do you find it essential, and what methods you plan to use to achieve it?"

Walesca says, "I think a number of people have mistaken my intentions for preserving halfling culture. I still find it essential because I do believe that our first settlers' stories need to be preserved and told. They are vital and unique. I think a number of people have mistaken my intentions for preserving halfling culture. I still find it essential because I do believe that our first settlers' stories need to be preserved and told. They are vital and unique. I'd plan to open a settlers' museum, if I am selected. And I'm pleased to say that the Wineberries will front all of the funds for building and staffing, with not a single silver of cost to the town."

Ellerel says, "I heard some grumblings over my concern with the island down below. Beneath the brightly colored monkeys and crocodiles, it's a heavily warded magical fortress full of heinous experiments and forbidden knowledge. I hope you all will give some consideration as to how dangerous that could be in the future. I would establish a commission on emergent threats to the town, and ensure that they have the best magical advisors available."

Speaking to Teaberry, Hazelnut says, "Somehow, I don't think free drink night at the pubs is especially unpopular." Several halflings chuckle. "That said, if one of my initiatives proves unpopular, I'd want to know why. And that involves getting out onto the street and listening to people. And hopefully avoid making really bad decisions in the first place."

Talliver says, "I don't know that it's unpopular yet, but spending on building up our militia will eventually become so. Right after a repelled invasion, everyone wants to spend on the walls. Then, when it's quiet, like it has been for a bit, they become less of a priority. Sometimes you need to stay the course, even when it's unpopular. Listen, absolutely. Think, and reconsider when you must. But being a leader sometimes means making the unpopular decision." Hazelnut nods at Talliver.

Reiphe points at Paiyot.

Paiyot's Question

Paiyot squeakily says, "To all candidates. Besides defense, what tangible changes are we folk looking at if we toss our vote yer way? Mainly in respects to the daily lives of its citizens and businesses."

Talliver says, "I have been speaking to my advisors about a multi-point plan to clean up the town and reinvest collected taxes and tariffs into local business. Icemule Trace isn't a metropolis like Tamzyrr or even Vornavis, but we're bigger than we used to be. Our business infrastructure has to support that. I'd work with my friends in the Commerce Burrow to improve local shops and attract more merchants."

Walesca says, "I know a little about that." Walesca gives a faint smirk, and some of the more well-to-do halflings clap and cheer. "Improving shop inventories and expanding the availability of caravans for travelers, both in and out of Icemule Trace, would be among my top priorities."

Ellerel says, "Candidate Dabbings mentioned that Icemule Trace is getting bigger. It's also getting more crowded and cluttered. I'd look into expanding into the safest parts of the surrounding territory."

Hazelnut says, "It seems to me that everyone's just talking about stuff. Stuff and things. I'm more interested in the people. I want people to be happy and fulfilled when they're here in Icemule Trace. To me, that means finding fulfilling things for Tracers to do. Whether that's expanding the offerings of the Gaming Hall, or attracting more cultural events, that'd be my focus."

Reiphe points at Astari.

Astari's Question

Astari asks, "There have been many statements made about Defense plans and dealings with other cities, but what do each of you plan to do to help foster the sense of community found within the town?"

Speaking to Astari, Hazelnut says, "I've been trying to do just that. Sometimes all you need to do is sit around a fire and tell some stories. It seems to me that we should begin work on a citizens' hall, as some other towns have. And you all can always count on me to sing to your things and make them prettier, whether I'm mayor or not."

Speaking to Astari, Ellerel says, "That's a very good question. I--"

Walesca says, "On that front, I have an announcement to make."

Reiphe says, "Candidate Wineberry--"

Walesca says, "Some of you know that the family requested my late cousin's belongings from Clovertooth Hall. In them was stored Nihala's will, which contained a bequest to the town of Icemule Trace should she perish. She owned a significant stretch of land outside of the western gate. I'm pleased to announce that she has left that land to the town, along with instructions to the family that its hot springs and the surrounding territory be developed for all citizens of Icemule Trace to enjoy. And that I will be personally furnishing all funds for the construction."

Ellerel gives a quiet cough. "Well, how does one follow that?" he asks. "I don't have the resources of the Wineberry family, but I think that's a tremendous gesture. I believe that encouraging and supporting the citizenry in their efforts to build this community is the right path. I've always admired the tales I've heard of House Aspis's Bardfest, although I've never been able to go myself, on account of my leg." Ellerel taps his knee and winces. "I don't see any reason why Icemule Trace shouldn't have such grand festivals."

Talliver says, "I started tonight off by complaining about the weight of my family name. I'm not above using it to help this town, though. I'd be interested in attracting more halflings from the east to tell their stories, and in working with the comrades I made during the Griffin Sword War to expand the cultural offerings that bring us together."

Reiphe points at Gidion.

Gidion's Question

Gidion asks, "With all the talk of trade, neighbors, and community, no one has mentioned our friends in Pinefar. Halline has a lot of work up there but, as it stands, the trip can be nearly impossible for some folk, while the Voln Monestary makes it trivial for others. Would you consider steps to ease that passage?"

Speaking to Gidion, Talliver says, "It seems to me that it goes back to improving our roads and securing them enough so that caravans can more safely ascend the mountain."

Ellerel says, "That's assuming that there isn't a magical method to make travel more easy, mind. I'd be happy to explore both mystical and mundane options."

Speaking to Gidion, Walesca says, "I believe the entire road needs to be improved considerably. I'd devote funds toward resurfacing it and ensuring that it's patrolled to keep monsters away."

Gidion says, "I'm not sure anyone would call that a "road." You literally have to climb rocks..."

Speaking to Gidion, Hazelnut says, "I think they're all good ideas. But no one's even asked you what part of the trip you struggle with. So, what part do you find most challenging?"

Gidion says, "Mostly it's the treacherous, slow passage through the Slopes...It's hard to move quickly and the creatures there are significantly tougher than the ones in Pinefar. At least, tougher than the ones Halline tasks one to get."

Speaking to Gidion, Hazelnut says, "Then, let's start there. Sometimes it's not the road, but the boots. I'd be happy to work with the merchants in the Commerce Burrow to see if they could make or procure boots that are better suited for ice."

Reiphe looks a bit surprised. "And... finally:" Reiphe points at Elphieya!

Elphieya's Question

Elphieya quietly ask, "I've heard a lot of commendable plans and aspirations from the candidates. My question is, if you do not win the election, how do you plan to support the winner and are there things you have spoken of tonight that you would still work to accomplish even without the title of Mayor?"

Speaking to you, Walesca says, "I've invested in this town since I came of age. I will continue to do so. Should I not win, I'll continue to work on behalf of Commerce to ensure the town's prosperity."

Speaking to you, Ellerel says, "It seems to me that I've spent much of my life here. If I don't win, I would certainly be happy to support the victor, as an advisor or as a friend."

Speaking to you, Hazelnut says, "Well, I can certainly say that it would be less stressful if I lost." Hazelnut gives a self-effacing grin. "I'd probably go back to doing regular work here in town. I don't plan to leave Icemule Trace for any more long voyages, so I'd be happy to help out."

Speaking to you, Talliver says, "If I'm not the right choice for Icemule Trace, I'll return to the guard. I'd be happy to advise."

Closing Comments

Reiphe says, "And, with that, we've reached the end of our questions for the candidates. Your closing statements? Candidate Wineberry."

Walesca says, "I know some of you are not fond of me, but I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to make Icemule Trace better. I pledge to work with you whether you like me or not. Out of all of these candidates, I'm the only one who has run a successful enterprise, and I promise to leverage those skills to propel Icemule Trace into greatness."

Ellerel says, "Without reservation, I'm the oldest of these candidates. That doesn't make me the wisest, necessarily. But I have seen great decisions and bad mistakes in my time. You have my word that, if you select me, I will bring the weight of these years to every choice that I make. I may not have the silvers, the easy charm, or even the legendary name of my opponents. But Icemule Trace is as near and dear to me as my own heart. I ask, humbly, for your votes."

Hazelnut sweats a bit. Hazelnut says, "Well, I'm probably the least likely candidate up here. I'm still a bit surprised that the Tavern Burrow selected me. All I can promise is that I'll always listen to you. I think it's silly to pretend, no matter how many years you've lived or how much money you have, that either of those factors means that you have the answers to everything. I'm... maybe a little more shy about announcing policies than some of my friends up here. But that's because I really want to get things right for you. If that's all right with you, then vote for me. If it's not, then don't. I'll still be here the day after the election, and every day afterward, so long as I can help it." Hazelnut grins.

Talliver quietly says, "Well, they took all the good words." Talliver offers a rueful laugh. "That's all right. I've never had many pretty words. Look. I've served this town faithfully. I think I'm the right halfling to take on a different position of service. It's not enough to just have heart, or wisdom, or silvers. You have to have ideas and you have to know how to lead. That's what I bring to the table. I feel like any of these halflings up here would do a fine job--and I mean that, friends. But Icemule Trace doesn't need 'fine'. To quote my cousin, Trevor, the lock needs the right key. I think I'm the right halfling for that office. I hope you'll agree with me, but I'm here for you either way."

Reiphe says, "And with that, I'd like to extend a final 'thank you' to all of our candidates, and for the crowd that has attended this momentous event."

Everyone applauds!