L'Arboire Wine and the Village of Poirante
Nobles across the Dántaine have indulged in the fine wines of Martoise for centuries. Among the most famous of them is the wine of the very old and very wealthy L'Arbore family. Although their name and their wine is on everyone's lips, very little is known of the Vignoble de L'Arbore, its surroundings, and the family behind it all. Peer through the curtains, however, and behind the fine fermented pears lies a quaint little village, unseen by most eyes... and a hint at the true nature of Martois politics.
The village of Poirante lies at the base of the Déchirét Mountains in northern Martoise. On its east shoulder runs le Rivière de Verre Bleu (the Blue Glass River), which flows out into the Grey Sea. Most notable about Poirante, though, are its gorgeous green orchards. Presently owned and run by Reinald de L'Arbore, the patriarch of the L'Arbore family, the orchards produce pears to be fermented and brewed into wine in the Vignoble de L'Arbore, located just across from the orchards. This wine is then sold across Martoise, and even elsewhere in the Dántaine on the commission of any noble with the coin the import it.
The residents of Poirante almost unanimously work for de L'Arbore, picking pears in his orchard in exchange for a home on his land. Because of this, Seigneur de L'Arbore would be considered, by any definition, a Lord, and the residents his vassals. However, this is Martoise, and politics is not free of faith here; just down the road, perched atop a small hill, stands Le Chapelle de Laurent, the local Ántouist chapel. And although de L'Arbore holds trade power in Poirante, it is the priests of the chapel who hold governing power in town. On the joint orders of the Comte and le Moine Principal du Martoise, the priests uphold the laws of Martoise and of Ántou.
The question then remains of why, if the L'Arbore family is so wealthy, is Poirante still so small and seldom visited by outsiders? The answer, as with many things, is taxes. All land-owning citizens of Martoise are required to pay taxes to both the government and the Church. Some may argue that the taxation on the L'Arbores is somewhat excessive, but those people would obviously be heretics. for the Bálsante clearly states that giving back to the community is mandatory in upholding order in the world. This is in fact the argument presented to the L'Arbores upon any sort of complaint.
And so it remains that L'Arboire wine draws in a vast fortune, the majority of which the famous winemakers themselves will never see. This tragic truth is hidden away in a tiny village, guarded behind the hearsay of the people and the narrative of the Church.