The Children of Valon
The Queen's tax collector
Graeghelm is getting on in years. He wears the robes of a royal tax collector as if they weigh as much as armor. This causes him to walk with a staff. His greying beard is full and neatly trimmed. When he speaks, his voice booms out from a still-strong, deep chest. He is brusque, whip-smart, and can spot someone cheating on their taxes from a mile away. Oddly, he is kind to the simple, always willing to help them figure out what they owe and make sure they don’t send more than they can afford for the year. Those who watch closely might even see him pat children on the head as he passes them by.
He has served the Queen for her entire reign and her father a bit before her and is a valued and trusted representative.
His father was a fisherman and rarely home. When he was, he spent his time drinking with his friends. Graeghelm’s mother, on the other hand, was loving and supportive. She knew he didn’t want to grow up like his father and that he was smart enough to make something of himself. She made sure he spent as much time with his tutors as he could stand, and he grew up literate in both words and numbers.
As a seamstress and helper for the King’s family, Graeghelm’s mother was able to keep an ear open for possibilities for her son. As soon as she could, she found him a position. It wasn’t long before the King’s tax collector noticed the intelligent boy and took him under his wing. Graeghelm excelled and when the old tax collector decided to retire, he was the natural successor.
Graeghelm does not suffer cheaters lightly and has learned to spot the signs quickly. He feels the Queen’s taxes are just and necessary. When dealing with the indigent and simple, he makes sure to go over their taxes with them to make sure they are paying what they owe, no more, no less. They view him as fair even if he isn’t overly friendly.
When dealing with the shepherds and others who work far from home, Graeghelm enjoys the little comforts they bestow upon him such as a seat by the fire, a little music, a good story, exchange of news, and a hot, if meager, meal. He knows these people have a hard life and appreciates the fact that they willingly share with him and rarely, if ever, try to cheat him.
Recently, he has begun bringing another bright young man along with him to learn the job.