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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. Essener New World Trading Company Part of the Foreign Merchants' Trading District of Fort Arltrees Located in a strategic position between Neustadt and Seawatch, Fort Arltrees always represented a fundamental waypoint for the ships of Carno. The first presence of Carnites in the settlement was established as early as the summer of 620, during the battle of El Oleonda: a company of Essian infantry was hired in the garrison of Fort Arltrees, soon reached by a squadron of the hussars from the same city. Treesborg -the Carnite name given to Fort Arltrees- also had a crucial role during the siege of Seawatch: brave captains from Carno, Garvey, or Oleon left the settlement during nights of storm, defying the Lotii ships to provide the defenders with gunpowder and supplies. Most of the Carnite activities in Fort Arltrees were linked to the Free City of Essen, which traders didn't dislike a little more autonomy from the Grand Merchant Council of Aden and its representatives in Neustadt. The security of the commercial delegation is ensured by a small contingent of marines of the Essener New World Trading Company. On paper, these guards are employees of a private commercial entity, but their uniforms and equipment show a clear connection with the regular armed forces. During the previous two years, organizing the smuggling runs to the besieged settlement of Seawatch was one of the main activities of the Essian merchants in Treesborg. A noble mission, but also a quite profitable activity, as each cargo was generously paid in emergency certificates by the local governor. This represented quite a gamble for the Company: the hired captains demanded payments in doubloons or silver thalers, not in promises, and a Lotii victory would have turned all the "siege money" accumulated by the Essian merchants into wastepaper. On the ground floor, clerks and secretaries write and organize the huge pile of contracts, certificates, reports, and other documents that any trading company produces daily. People from Essen are known to be honest, precise and methodical, therefore any comma in the registers could be expected to be in order. In the near future, the Essener New World Trading Company planned to expand its activity on the island. The discovery of rich gold and silver ores on El Oleonda suscitated a particular interest in the Essians, well aware that the experience in metalworking of their countrymen could be put to good use there in the New World, where most of the smelting facilities were still rudimentary. Many Essians see in the New World the opportunity for a new dawn of prosperity for their city: for this reason, the sea flag of the Company includes the golden yellow of the historical flag, a symbol of greatness and power rarely used by the city in the current times... who knows, possibly the sacred Oak of Wotan could find a fertile soil on El Oleonda, so far from its homeland! ------------------------------- I hope you enjoy the first building of the trading district, belonging to the Free City of Essen. Obvious credit goes to @Khorne, who invented it and established most of the lore... for this reason, it was also the most complicated in terms of text writing, as I wanted to be as coherent as possible with what was previously established. The reason behind the black and yellow flag is that while building I realized (to my surprise) that I don't own a white one, required for the more canonical Essen City Banner... my soldiers never felt the need to surrender, apparently!