[Book] Niben Industries: the Rivermen

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[Book] Niben Industries: the Rivermen

Postby Infragris » 27 Dec 2013, 00:39

I'm thinking of making this a little series on industry and commerce along the Niben: the Sload soap book, this one, a book on rice cultivation, one for the Silk Weaver guild, and one on trade culture in general. Possibly more, if I think of something. This one is a bit shorter and somewhat dry at times, but the subject is less bizarre and doesn't need a lot of introduction.

Industries of the Niben: the Rivermen

by order of the Imperial Chamber of Commerce

Fishermen are an ubiquitous sight along the Niben river banks. Wearing loose clothing, knee-high pants, and their typical soft sun-hats made of straw and coarse silk, they float along the stream in flat-bottom boats and skiffs, casting their nets and laying their lines. Fish, beside the equally omnipresent rice, is the dominant component of the Niben diet. Common catches are the Spadetail, Slaughterfish, and the Cyrodiic Mudcrab. The catching and processing of fish are a major industry, indeed, the only industry in many villages of the river. Along the brackish southern parts of the river, the growing of Kollops is also undertaken in large hatcheries and breeding grounds along the banks. These mollusks are prized as a source of food for the lower classes, and for the reddish-brown Tinmi pearls they produce, favored by the Niben jewelers.

The Spadetail is considered a somewhat prestigious and expensive fish, and is rarely eaten by the common folk. Instead, their diet focuses on the meat of the Kollop, Mudcrab, and Slaughterfish, for which they know many unusual preparations. Of note is the famous Nibenese fermented fish-sauce, also known as Mokre, said to be an invention of the extinct Kothringi nomads. This oily sauce is made by gathering fish guts and leftovers in large clay jars, mixing them with salt, sugar and local spices, and leaving the jars suspended for several months by ropes from eaves and tree branches, where the sun will heat them. This preparation is said to soften the bitter taste of Slaughterfish meat, while the often tasteless Mudcrab meat becomes in turn more palatable. As such, the Niben Valley is one of the few places where these base kinds of meat are commonly eaten, and even considered a delicacy. Nevertheless, the traveler unaccustomed to this dish is advised to be cautious around the Niben kitchen, and never to look in any unlabeled pots found hanging around the villages, lest he encounters a particularly putrid surprise.

Another reason why Slaugterfish is considered a treasured catch are the particularly lustrous scales of the Rumare breed. Besides their potent alchemical applications, these scales are another prized components for jewelry and clothing ornament among the trader caste, who consider them emblematic of cunning and forceful behavior. These scales are also prized among certain Argonian tribes in the Blackwood and Argon border with whom the Nibenese sometimes trade, where they are habitually used as a highly symbolic from of currency.

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