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  1. Fort Arltrees, El Oleonda, November 623 War was still raging on El Oleonda, somewhere in the East, but the inhabitants of Fort Arltrees weren't particularly concerned. The enemy army was reorganizing around Oryant and Luyang, and the only immediate threat to the Fort was represented by bands of Lotii stragglers and Carnite deserters: they still created some troubles for the most isolated farms... but, after all, that was the New World, and always keeping the musket at hand didn't seem something particularly unusual. Therefore, during the previous months, the settlement kept growing steadily: the arrival of the allied contingent required more warehouses for the supplies, more workshops to fix the carriages, more blacksmiths, more stables, and obviously houses and taverns for all the workers. The gold mine and the farms also contributed to attracting a third wave of colonists, ready to seek their fortune in this remote corner of the Empire. With the allied fleet securing the main trade routes, and the safety offered by the imposing fortifications, the wealth of El Oleonda started attracting enterprising men from all over the Empire, but also from abroad. In Fort Arltrees, merchants from foreign nations were encouraged to settle and start their businesses in a dedicated district, close to the commercial port. In the plans of the local authorities, the presence of foreign merchants in the settlement will further boost the economy of the settlement, encouraging more regular visits from the Madrician commercial fleets. On the other hand, Oleon doesn't want to repeat the mistakes made by Mardier with Terraversa: closing the port to the other nations would only encourage them to try establishing their own footholds in the New Haven Seas, with no control or advantage for the Empire of Light. Several nations established a commercial emporium in the settlement: these little buildings represented at the same time warehouses, offices of the commercial delegation, and informal embassies. To avoid crossing too much one another's path, each trading company specialized in a few specific wares: trading from and to the very corner of the map is already complicated enough, and nobody wants to start pointless concurrencies! In the Foreign Merchants' District, hundreds of doubloons change hands every day: a single ship loaded with spices, dyes, or sugar may be worth a real fortune back in the Madrician nations, while some relatively common goods produced in the motherland or in the Western Islands might be rare and expensive in the New Haven region. In the District, it is also possible to hire captains, ships, and crews of almost any nationality, to circumvent the current political complications: for a fair price, you could get a shipment of Lotii porcelains, or even get a passage to the Southern Kingdoms on a neutral ship; needless to say, this is also of great interest for the secret services, and the "Altonian salesman" who just embarked for the Lotus Empire could easily be an agent of Corrington or Oleon, an ambassador involved in secret talks, or even a Lotii spy! Sailing under a foreign flag can also allow a safer journey to Fort Arltrees for rich passengers, valuable objects... or both, as in the case of the famous painter who has just been hired by the Garvian delegation! A real army of porters works in the district and in the nearby port: hundreds of crates, barrels, and bags have to be moved every day from the ships to the warehouses, or vice versa. Not everything, however, is worth its weight in gold, as in the case of the shipment of fruit and vegetables just delivered to the Mardierian delegation. Even if Fort Arltrees looked very different from the small hamlet of wooden shacks of only a couple of years before, the settlement was still very different from the most civilized cities of the Western Islands. Despite the fancy buildings of the District, trappers and boucaniers are still a common sight in the settlement, and the inhabitants are not particularly picky about the possible meanings of "roasted venison"... differently from that Altonian officer, who would probably think twice before visiting a local tavern! Unfortunately, the development of Fort Arltrees also started to attract a few scoundrels and petty criminals... apparently an unavoidable price of progress and prosperity, in the New World exactly as in the Old one. This officer from East Terraversa should have been a little more watchful while telling tall tales about the Glorious Revolution of 616... Citizens of Southern descent represent a relevant minority, as some inhabitants of Jiangkai resettled in Fort Arltrees after the destruction of the settlement. Some Monomonto swordsmen, abandoned by their own comrades and simply left behind, asked to serve in the Grande Armèe of Oleon: most of them were enlisted in the King's Musketeers, a unit already well-known for the swashbuckling skills of its members... if with a rapier or a katana, apparently, makes little difference for the recruiting officers. ------------------------------ A list of foreign commercial missions: The Essener New World Trading Company The Ferrer Family Commercial Enterprise The Altonian Commercial Mission Miroslav Dobric's Trading Emporium Garvian League Guildhouse Terraversan Commonwealth Rum-Runners ----------------------------- OOC: This diorama includes several little details, including a full interior for most of the builds. Therefore, apart from text completion, expect it to remain “alive” For the next few days, as I figure out the best way to assemble/move/reorganize the different parts! In particular, I plan to add individual posts for each building in this thread, so stay tuned!
  2. The Altonian Commercial Mission Part of the Foreign Merchants' District of Fort Arltrees Altonia has never really been a country of sailors and explorers. A lively class of merchants always existed in the nation, but their activities were mostly limited to the export of hard cheeses or the import of salt from Wisimar. Times, however, had changed quickly, and some had started to look beyond the traditional routes and wares. The recently opened Breshaun-Ulric trading route renewed interest in the New World among the most enterprising Altonians. After long discussions in the parliament, an influential league of merchants had convinced the government to claim sovereignty over the so-called Bat Island, in the Prio Seas... a small island with no proper mooring point, thousands of bats, and a native tribe still unaware of having become subjects of Her Majesty, Queen Brigette III. However, not even an outpost was established yet, and many thought that Altonian government was still not seriously pursuing its colonial adventure. To participate in the New World spice trade, a group of Altonian traders established a commercial mission in Fort Arltrees: apart from profit, their not-so-hidden aim was to attract the Queen's attention to the colonies, and to push the Crown to finally take some more serious steps on Bat Island. Informally, Oleon supports this plan: an Altonian colony on Bat Island could represent a friendly port halfway between Lavalette and Kojima, in an area infested by the pirates of Barracuda Bay. As the commercial mission was not directly backed by the Altonian government, the guards were not drawn from the army but were instead civilian volunteers. With all the books describing the New World as a tropical paradise, it was not particularly finding young men looking for adventure! The Altonian guards were equipped with modern muskets and uniforms but still wore cuirasses while on duty... when they were equipping their men, the Altonian merchants had still in mind Armond Basker and his conquistadores. Paprika and dried chili peppers had quickly become the main interest of the Commercial Mission, even though small amounts of tea and other spices were also exported. Compared to pepper or vanilla, chili peppers were not considered the most interesting good by the merchants of the main colonial Empires. The spice was very sought after in the Old World, and a cargo of paprika was still worth a little fortune, this was true, but the plants had quickly adapted to other regions of Halos, and now chilis were planted at ease also in the Mokolei Empire, in New Oleon, and even in some areas of the Madrician peninsula... even if definitely not in cold countries, such as Carno, Garvey or Altonia! Dried chilis were carefully mixed and controlled before being packed in bags of canvas and shipped to the motherland: a moldy cargo of spices would not make a good impression on Queen Brigette and her court! For paprika and ground chili, barrels and caskets were usually preferred. The Altonian merchants had also started to export, alongside the raw spices, blends of different chilis, paprikas, and local herbs. These products were having a lot of success, both in the motherland and in the rich westernmost colonies in the Sea of Storms. Unfortunately for the Altonian merchants, this also meant tasting way too many chili peppers, ranging from slightly spicy to unbearably hot. Hopefully, the people in charge of this were paid a little extra... In the little office, a curious machine helped the clerks with their duties: built by an Altonian clock-maker and inventor, it can make complex mathematical operations through an intricated system of buttons and dented wheels. Operating it, however, is so complicated that many still prefer the old, dear, paper and ink! Hide contents A different angle: ---------------------------------------- Here you can find the interior of the third build of the series, the Altonian Commercial Mission. A little less elaborated than the previous ones in terms of furniture, as I tried to keep it a little more warehouse-like. I hope you like it!
  3. On patrol in the snowy mountains near the Altonian capital of Ulric, a grenadier plays catch with a lighthearted dog that ran down to the path from a cabin. A group of dragoners (dragoons) draw their sabers in salute for grenadiere Major Steiner as they attempt to weave their way through the game of fetch. ---------------------- OOC: Wanted to use the new hotel bellhop torso and dark orange horse for some cavalry. It's been snowing a bunch here in Colorado so I also wanted to take a stab at a snowy landscape. @Ayrlego's recent Altonia figbarf inspired me to try my hand at some NPC troops! Thought it'd be fun to play around with the legs on the cavalry to make a brick-built "saddle" Altonian grenadiere (grenadiers) and dragoner (dragoons)