Taxes have been doubled over the last five years, primarily to finance the Emperor’s project to triple the size of the wall between Viridstan and the Elsenwood, add a moat, and double the guard, all for no reason he has seen fit to explain to anyone else. This is out of character for the Emperor, who is usually well in control of public opinion.
The Emperor has not been seen in public in about eighteen months.
Recently, several sacrificial victims have disappeared on the eve of the ceremony. Mycretian involvement is suspected. There have been storms and tremors as the gods involved expressed their displeasure. One such earthquake three months ago caused a moderate amount of damage throughout the city, now mostly repaired. One casualty of the earthquake was the Barter Street watch station. The city has not yet provided funds to repair the station, so its officers are currently working out of the Courthouse basement.
Hill giants from Yakin Ley have always been a nuisance in the outlying provinces of Ramarche and Ruppin Athuk, but of late have grown even bolder as the Emperor has sent only token forces in opposition. Refugees have streamed into the city from these provinces.
The queen of the mermaids and her retinue are staying in the Palace as honored guests of the Emperor.
The Emperor is growing senile and losing access to his divine and sorcerous powers.
Some of the Emperor’s most powerful artifacts have been stolen lately.
It is said that all Natchai love blood pudding.
The dwarves have been expanding/connecting sewers, tunnels, and mines with the cave system under Clifftop district and can now reach anywhere in the city whenever they want.
The Red Blades (the Emperor’s secret police/special ops strike team(s)) have been tracking elven spies in the city, and have caught a dozen in the last month.)