"A wild island, where anyone can rise or fall. Fortunes are won and lost, grudges are made and settled. No one has claim to the island because everyone has claim. It is in a way a sanctuary for freedom and proof that not even the combined might of the Immortal nations can cage the human spirit" (Book clipping "Cliffs of Liberty")
A land born of profit, greed and deception. A port located on the norther edge of Trades Bay Fairtrade island has what is likely the most diverse culture on Soi. Tradepass Isle is a nation in it's own right legally under the protection of both the Tallet and Goran armed forces. A strong Ashed guild presence exists in every sector of nation's economy. Although no guild present is legally independent. Each one is merely a branch of greater guilds from many cities throughout the Ashed confederacy. The government is run by a inherited position called the Trademistress or Trademaster. All other governmental positions are held by democratically elected officials.
Reluctantly the Gorans believe Tradepass Isle to be Goran. Which means the people are for all purposes considered free Goran. By definition of Goran laws codes and customs they are obligated to protect. This unusual status combined with the diversity of it's residents has left a mark on the Goran psyche that live on Tradepass Isle. Most Goran live within Great Sea Dock which is the remnants of the Arc used to transport the original invasion force. Due to the cultural instability Uroks with specially trained Rbas bands patrol the city performing peacekeeping. Goran with very high social standing are permitted to travel the island freely while not on duty.
Many Inisfalli who want slightly more governmental structure and security in their life but still desire most freedoms find themselves emigrating to Tradepass Isle. Many Inisfalli clans have outposts on the Isle as it is a great hub of trade, an excellent place to make money. Many Inisfalli approve of the idea that the island, much like their civilization, was also founded by a woman.
The Ashed city states in the northern confederacy have large fishing industries that usually farm fish not very far offshore, however the existing Ashed living on Tradepass Isle and high volume of commerce made it a ripe and tempting market. Various guilds compete for dominance in the market in order to sell goods and services to the locals and travelers going through the area. The distance from the confederacy, ethics council and the territory being neutral ground, guild warfare tends to be far more aggressive on the island. Entire guild houses occasionally burning to the ground and prized workers "mysteriously" disappearing.
"Got to give these people credit, they try..."
The Encircled leadership over the course of several takeover attempts declared the island simply too wild and politically tumultuous to influence. The island is treated as an information well and safe zone for many Technocracy agents. They maintain a small team on the outskirts of the town which runs several homeless shelters and orphanages around the island with support from the local government.
"Helpful lot these people are. Although on times bite more than they can chew" The Blood Merchant
The only true form of "law" on the island, a purely volunteer force made up of island natives and the occasional outsider that attempt to keep the inhabitants of the island safe.
Initially seduced into agreeing to build the Southern Lighthouse by an offer from the Blood Merchant too generous to be refused, the challenging logistics and political instability of the island has resulted in an unexpectedly permanent compound manned by the Broken Kingdom. Located at the center of the island where the cavernous limestone of the coast gives way to fair quality granite and other bedrock lies the Mason's Hold. Originally the site of the Broken Kingdom's worker's camp during the initial quarrying stage for their work, the acceptance of further contracts has essentially prolonged the presence of workers to an indefinite time frame and has seen the rise of the fortified complex to house them rather than the single generation wagon-and-tent affair normally associated with a Grand Parade. The permanency of the Hold allows the required equipment, animals, and in many cases personnel to be kept on hand to move on to the next building project as their role on a previous one comes to a close, rather than inquiring the delays and costs of travel and transportation to have Parades issued individually out of the Kingdom.
While the quarry is now managed and operated by the (EmptyChair14 name this) Ashed Company, the work is overseen by master stone-cutters from the Broken Kingdom to ensure the less practical aspects of the mason's needs are met by the spartan laborers efforts. With the limited capacity of the Mason's Hold and all four major families on the island backlogging Parade works the Broken Kingdom's presence seems to be ensured for at least the next century if not more. The Royals finding it hard to say no to steady, if less lucrative contracts when the logistic hurdles have already been overcome and so many pieces are already in place on Tradepass.
Mason's Hold itself has grown into a minor citadel, with the initial keep and ring wall built to house the Parade's defenders having been expanded into a massive bailey with a second ring wall leading to a single massive gatehouse, which while impractical in size for holding out a sieging force, readily accommodates the heavy traffic of draft animals, workers, and equipment into and out of the complex. Passing through the gatehouse one finds the outer bailey filled with towering apartment buildings in the style of those found at the Roadhouse in Exildun, stables for the draft horses (required to not only power the Kingdom's construction machinery but also to provide one of the key ingredient's of the Kingdom's preferred mortar), and large warehouses in which machinery for construction is stored between jobs rather than destroyed as it would normally be at the completion of a Grand Parade. Inside the second gatehouse with its properly defensible sized portal lies the keep proper where a council of twelve senior Knighted Riders oversee the safety, supply, and functionality of the complex. Generally considered a retirement post, the Council Knight position gives aged Riders a rather cushy role to fill until they are ready to embrace their roles as Elders in the Kingdom proper or chose to end their tenure with a Final Salute.
Mason's Hold is home to 60 Armored Riders and one Magistrate in addition to the twelve Council Knights and six hundred men-at-arms to professionally ensure the safety of the nearly 6,000 smiths, assorted craftsmen, masons and stone workers (with families in addition) that reside in the outer bailey. While a defensive force is standard for Parades, the primary duty of the Riders stationed here is to maintain the combat drills of the sixth day in the complex and ensure the other laws of the Kingdom remain in place as well. Aside from the Council Knights who hold their position until they request a replacement, the other defenders and workers serve five year obligations with bonuses given to those who renew the obligation rather than require replacements from the Kingdom who then have to be oriented to the various in progress projects around the island. In some rare occasions youths raised in the complex will refuse their Oath of Stone and join the natives of the island, leaving behind the society of their birth. The current project includes quarrying out the land immediately outside of the admittedly minimalist by Kingdom's standard walls of the complex with plans to flood the area to create an over-sized moat. Fifty years into this project, only about half the planned mass has been dug out.
What will become of the complex when the Kingdom does finally finish its work and withdraws is a source of much speculation on the island. What is known is that inside the Hold, the Kingdom's law reigns and that outside of the hold any attack on the workers will draw the wrath of all four factions as the relatively small number of workers means that specialized teams have to be shared among all ongoing projects and cannot be easily replaced without months of delay as compensation is sent to the worker's ruler in the Kingdom and a replacement is found and sent in return. As most Parades are operations of 25,000-250,000 individuals, it is not uncommon for the various factions to supplement the work forces of Mason's Hold with additional labor under direction of the Kingdom's craftsmen to speed the rate at which projects are completed.
The Knotted DragonThe Knotted Dragon is huge Mead Hall run by a formerly Inisfalli clan, located directly in front of the main port of the island. It is the first watering hole a visitor will see if they arrive by ship. The Knotted Dragon is well known for live entertainment every night of the week, and many famous entertainers have gotten their start here (even the well-known Jerry Parrot). It offers the biggest variety of mead outside of Inisfall and even offers Goran mead. Ciders, wines, and ales from all across the world are also available. The Knotted Dragon has recently expanded to offer food from neighboring restaurants.
The Unknotted Dragon
The Unknotted Dragon is a huge spa and message hall run by entrepreneurs from Kushan. Located down the road from The Knotted Dragon, the Unknotted Dragon offers revelers and travelers the chance to have their sore muscles and travel ravaged appearances restored to prime condition. Hairdressers, nail-artists, tattoo artists, acupuncturists, and masseurs are all available for hire as well as a limited number of luxury rooms which guarantee a rejuvenating night sleep.
"Who I am I to question how these people spend there money"
On the island there are no structures as large or lavish as the four Grand Lighthouses, one standing for each major cardinal direction. These complexes stand 200 feet from the island surface at its highest and connected to a manor to be controlled by one of the four "noble" families of the Island. They was constructed by the Broken Kingdom masons and initially paid for by the Blood Merchant himself. Although the initial buildings was completed, construction on them has not. Throughout the years more and more was added to these buildings, be it simple dining halls to the complex hidden passageways though out the complex.
As it currently stands, the North is controlled by the Stormfang guild, a transport and fishing guild known to have strong ties with the Woag nations. The East is controlled by the Vanaduke Family, which serves as the Technocracy's foothold on the Island. The South is controlled by the Fairtrade guild and serves as the central hub for all notable business dealings pretaining to the island. The West is controlled by the Shoemake guild, a Tallet enterprise which ships goods from the Ebony colonies back to their homeland.
City Under the Tide
"If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere..."
On the southern rim of Tradepass is a hidden entrance where it is only accessible during low tide. This leads to the myriad of tunnels that span the entire island. There is a section of this labyrinth however, that is the home of pirates, slavers and individuals whom of which would be fine to do any deed as long as there was coin to be made. It is here that the Prodigal sons base of operations reside.
Fleet commander Win Fairtrade set forth to build a new port not formally linked to the Family Hearth. Under the The Family Hearth Fairtrade had formal dues to pay. Fairtrade dreamed of something far more profitable. In her dream no more sailing vessels and therefore no risk to lose ships or goods. The Family Hearth maps revealed a large breakwater in the unincorporated island of the northwestern Traders Bay. Banding together with a group of like minded venture capitalists Fairtrade purchased an Ashed mercenary fleet. Offering untold riches to the free people of the south lands to become settlers Fairtrade took posession of a population for her new land. Fairtrade established a small city named Fairweather Port under the flags of the unincorporated people that settled the island.
Firtrade in her former career was a captain that sailed into many ports, handled terms of trade and usually left the customer pleased they were getting the best deal. Many of these trade partnerships lasted to the great benefit of the customer. Multiple Ashed tradesmen that did dealings with Fairtrade were able to rise to rank on their respective city councils. Fairtrade called in all favors and existing contracts with the Ashed. Said councilmen were offered exclusive trade rights on this new port and opportunities to expand guild roots in the new city. Because of this Ashed mercenaries were acquired at a fraction of the normal price. Fairtrade divided her hired Ashed mercenaries into two groups. One to present themselves as the unclaimed people and sail to the west and formally apply to join the Tallet Empire. The other to sail westward to Goran waters and formally declare war on the Goran Nation.
Tallet Emissaries arrived shortly after and performed a census on the people. They were easily able to discover the ploy Fairtrade was attempting however, bureaucratically nothing was wrong from the Tallet viewpoint. Although Fairtrade had performed what could only be described as an act of war against the The Family Hearth legally this was an independent nation offing free expansion on Tallet land into what was largely considered The Family Hearth territories. No warriors were requested nor were they dispatched. The Tallet emissaries merely discussed terms of incorporation. By yielding any and all claim to any defense for the next year typically expected by a Tallet province and formally applying to join the empire rather then engaging them in warfare Fairtrade negotiated an unusually low tax with Tallet territories. The contract was handwritten by Fairtrade himself. The Tallet emissaries left with only only paperwork that accounted as formal recolonization as part of the empire and gave what would be expected tax revenue in the coming year.
The second venture did not sail nearly as smooth. The Ashed mercenaries sailed under the illegal flags of the The Family Hearth fleet until a Goran war fleet could be discovered. Said fleet was far larger then originally expected, the Ashed discovered a war armada. This played into the mercenaries advantage. The ships used in the operation were specialized skiffs build for speed and mobility with hauls painted jet black. Dark black sails and flags were prepared at dusk. As the sun set the flags and sails were replaced. The targets were Goran scout vessels.
From the head Ashed ship a single flair was let loose. Simultaneously all other Ashed ships eliminated their respective targets. Most of the Ashed fleet was sunk in the responding Goran cannon fire. The head Ashed vessel lured the armada tactically until it was able to make safe passage into Fairweather Port. Being a a traveled woman Fairtrade knew the operational laws and customs of all ports and people. Standing on the dock Fairtrade outstretched both arms and requested The Rite of the Vassal. The Goran commander reluctantly accepted as was his duty.Within the following year various Ashed guilds branches were built in Fairweather, a Goran fortress was build on Tradepass Isle, the Talet returned seeking taxes and were shock to find a Goran occupation. Fairtrade presented paperwork that had no clause to prevent nor remove a Goran occupation. The The Family Hearth although furious about the actions of Fairtrade were sent a gift. An exclusive no competition documents in regard to all waters around Tradepass Isle, terms on the dismantlement of Fairtrade's fleet, a statement relinquishing the right to hold a fleet, a gift of the remaining colony vessels, a vow to exclusively trade using currency from the The Family Hearth mint and free drinks for life to all Wise Masters on Fairweather Isle.
West light house- Goran, ebony islands pirates
East light house- Family Health / Tallet Slaves
North Light house-Warden
South Light House
After the founding of Tradepass, both Win Fairtrade and the Blood Merchant sought a site to build what they would deem the Great Lighthouse. Fairtrade noted a cape to the far south where they could not only build this grand structure, but also seek to connect it to the cave network where the Prodigal Sons used to hide their vessels. After the land was chosen now began the journey to actually hire builders and masons. Although both Fairtrade and the Blood Merchant had the funds to construct the structure they had no access to any Mason guilds that would be trustworthy and knowledgeable enough to build their vision.
The only option they had was hiring a Parade of the Broken Kingdom, a task which was expensive but possible. Compounding the already expensive task of hiring a Parade was the Kingdom's lack of ships and there any means to transport their workforce to Tradepass and of course the cultural distaste and distrust of sea travel among the People of Stone. As a counterpoint the Blood Merchant used his connections with the Prodigal Sons to secure the method of payment hardest for any Royal to decline, masses of high-grade steel. In addition the Merchant used his intimate knowledge of the Truest King to provide each Royal with a personal gift they could provide to curry favor with the Truest, never exposing the existence of said gifts to anyone but the Royal who would present it. Timing his maneuver during the High Tournament, the Blood Merchant was able to evade an unreasonable wait or bartering period by having the entire Royal Council already in position for a single negotiation and offering such a strong starting price in steel that the entirety of bargaining was over the practical barriers of sea-travel and the need to shrink the scale of the parade because of this issue. The paying of steel combined with the prearranged gifts between each Royal and the Merchant saw the Truest King readily agree to the unusual terms of the Grand Parade; unable to find any reasonable objection to the Merchant's arrangements.
The terms of the Parade allotted that only a fraction of the normal sized workforce could be used, meaning construction which would normally take a few years would have to stretch a decade or more. Likewise due to the long term nature of the engagement, the Kingdom would be able to establish a permanent home for their work force on the island which would only be evacuated when no more Parade contracts on the island were active, the Kingdom reserved the right to use this permanent base to work on a Parade issued by any given faction on the Island, and finally transportation had to be provided by first Fairtrade and later by anyone else who took on further Parade contracts. This transportation clause stipulates that only ships categorized as galleons or larger can be used to transport Parade related peoples and goods, and that these ships must travel in a convoy of at least twelve in number. Further these ships must be provided every five years to allow for the rotations of workers and their guardians as well as the replenishment of equipment and animals to continue the Parade works.
In return the contract holds the Broken Kingdom to complete their Parade Contracts without renegotiation from generation to generation of mortal rulers, with any previously negotiated Parade being obligatory when new Royals ascend to ensure that prices paid as much as two or three generations in advance could not be renegotiated by new rulers later in time. Likewise the initial Contracts and all that follows demand the complete withdraw of all Kingdom military and official civilian presence when all outstanding contracts are completed, meaning any permanent structures created on the Island by the Kingdom would need to be fully abandoned unless the inhabitants forsook their status as subjects of the Kingdom. To ensure all Parade Contracts are completed in as timely a manner as logistics allow, the Kingdom would agree to accept outside labor pools and would rotate specialized workers to keep them constantly utilized and any other matter of efficiency as could be initiated to counteract the normally lax work ethic of the Kingdom.
Left with only the problem of sea-travel to overcome, Blood merchant came up with a plan to keep all the Broken Kingdoms workers in a drunken stupor as they traveled on the sea. While the People of Stone are given to steady drink, they are not often given to strong drink with even their native spirits lacking the potency of many other nations. The Blood Merchant simply relabeled casks of Unduellan liquors before distributing it to the workers as they boarded. Now known in the Kingdom as "Ship Trance" these beverages proved highly effective at keeping the workers too confused and disoriented to really register their sea-faring until they had already become use of it.
Once arriving on Tradepass, they was welcomed with honors by the Fairtrade guild.