Fort Arltrees, El Oleonda, April 623

Fort Arltrees was not on the frontline with the Lotii, at least not yet. However, building monumental gardens in the middle of a war didn’t seem a priority… but the point was precisely sending a message to both the citizens and the other Madrician Nations. The mighty Empire of the Light was not scared by a distant kingdom of the South; its settlements could keep growing, war or not war!
Two men were walking along the cobbled trail, between the statues and the fountains: one, the city mayor Marcel Dubois, was well-known among the citizens; the other, instead, was a new face in the settlement. From his elegant and costly clothes, however, it was evident that he was not a trapper or a common adventurer. "...and as you know, Monsieur Dubois, my family has always been open to investments in distant lands... risky investments, sometimes. With our ships, men, and capitals, we participated in all the colonial enterprises of the Mardierian Crown, from Terraversa to King's Island. We were among the first ones to face savages, hurricanes, and tropical diseases, almost a century before the other nations even arrived on Terraversa... and this is how we earned our little wealth and the favor of the King." Don Francisco Ferrer, the foreigner, was intentionally minimizing the role of the Ferrer family in the colonial adventures of Mardier. An understandable move, considering the avidity and cruelty of the first Mardierian expeditions. From the information Marcel had taken before the meeting, however, the situation was very different: the Ferrer had not participated in anything but had instead funded, organized, and directed some of the main enterprises of the Old Empire on Terraversa and beyond the Line; the conquistadores and the galleons of the Ferrer expeditions were only slightly fewer than the ones under the King's own banners, and if possible even more brutal; and the little wealth, actually, would have been envied by several small nations. This, however, was before the Civil War... after half an hour of empty talks about trade, and prosperity, it could be a good chance to arrive straight to the point. "You and your family gave for sure a fundamental contribution to the establishment of the Mardierian Empire, and even more to the development of the colonial economy. I heard that you owned almost all the tobacco plantations on Isla de Medio, and at least half of the sugar factories on Terraversa... but I hope that the Terraversan Revolution and the Eslandolan operations of 617 didn't affect too much your enterprises!". Don Francisco didn't show any emotion, but Marcel knew that he had just hit the right point. His interlocutor would have never admitted that, but the recent events in the New World had been a real disaster for the Ferrer Family: they had lost all their estates on Terraversa, and most of their business on Isla de Medio had ended abruptly after the Mardierian defeat. By themselves, the economic loss was important, but not catastrophic. However, most of the investors had lost their trust, and their doubloons were quickly disappearing. Even the Mardierian crown had reduced its support, also due to some ambiguities of the Ferrer in the Civil War. In other words, the Ferrers were still filthy rich, but their fortune was quickly fading. "Well, Monsieur Dubois, I cannot hide that our trade companies are facing some difficulties." -in other words, they were just a few steps far from bankruptcy- "The Terraversan Rebellion and the treacherous aggression we faced in 617 had some consequences on our business... and the Empire of Mardier might not be anymore the ideal environment for our enterprises. My cousin Alvaro even decided to leave our business to reconquer our estates on Terraversa, sword in hand. But I'm sure you already knew how serious is our financial situation, and we both know that this is the reason why I am here." Marcel didn't expect the Mardierian merchant to be so sincere... better, now they could play with all the cards on the table. After a long discussion, the main points were settled, and an agreement was reached. With just some more details to define, the two men took leave and parted. Before going back to his many duties as city mayor, Marcel Dubois went to pay homage to the statue of Poseidon, right in the middle of the gardens. What they were going to do was not completely fair, nor even completely legal... but was also a unique opportunity for Fort Arltrees and Jiangkai to grow and flourish. Why understanding what was the right thing to do could never be easy? ------------------------------------- The gardeners are planting tulip bulbs in one of the flower beds, supervised by a Priest of Poseidon. Apparently, after some recent speculations, a single doubloon can now buy several cases of tulip bulbs! Meanwhile, some fish are transferred to the pond behind Poseidon's statue. Apparently, the rivers of El Oleonda host some of the most colorful and beautiful fish ever seen in the New World (that, according to the Tyree'De, are also extremely good if grilled on hot coals). On the other side, the pond has been emptied for some cleaning activity. In a settlement so far from the motherland, the workforce is too valuable to keep it closed in jail! In return for their work, the inmates receive some money to start a new life when their sentence will be over. The New World is quite different from the motherland: it can be harsh and violent, but sometimes more open-minded and forgiving. ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Overall view: The story is finally complete, after some little technical inconvenience! I hope you enjoy it! BTW, I'm not planning to involve Mardier in our new colonies... I just needed to introduce a side character for some shady businesses I'm planning! To be licensed as a Medium Art and Culture