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Found 16 results

  1. Garvian League Guildhouse Part of Fort Arltrees Foreign Merchants' District Since the very first days of the Age of Discovery, ships with the flag of Garvey were a common sight in the New World. When the ports of the Mardierian colonies were still closed to all the other Madrician Nations, indeed, the Garvian smugglers already visited them with regularity, mooring in hidden bays and eluding the hunt of Lotii patrols. Over the years, the Garvians strengthened their presence beyond the line, establishing their own settlements and even winning a colonial war against Mardier in 617 A.E. In the last years, however, they had started to fall a little behind the other nations: Freeport and Leopaldis remained little more than small towns, and no settlements were established east of Prio. The relations between Oleon and Garvey had never been hostile, but they never were particularly warm either. Everybody knew that the Empire of Light and Mardier were close friends, and that only reasons of political opportunity kept Oleon out of the Garvey-Mardierian War... in those days, everybody in Freeport feared to see a row of blue banners appearing on the horizon! International politics had its rules, however, and holding grudges with one of the most powerful empires never seemed a good idea. Nobody was therefore particularly surprised when the Garvian League, the powerful guild of merchants dictating most of Garvey colonial policies, asked to establish a seat in Fort Arltrees trading district. Due to the close relations between Carno and Garvey, several dispatches were exchanged every day between the Essian and the Garvian delegations... too bad for the messengers that the two buildings are almost at the opposite ends of the district! The Guildhouse was garrisoned by a little unit of Garvian marines, wearing the dark blue uniform of the infantry. Due to the tight connections between the mercantile companies and the government, the Guildhouse was one of the few buildings in the District guarded by a contingent of regular soldiers, and not by private guards or trade company troops. On the upper floor, the small office was largely occupied by a long table. Due to the corporative nature of the Garvian League, representing rich merchant families, trading companies, and the merchants' guilds of different cities, important decisions often required complex discussions among the different representatives. In Fort Arltrees, so far from both the motherland and the main Garvian colonies, the seven available seats were rarely all occupied, and most votes were delivered by letter. At the moment, the Garvian representative had just signed an agreement to supply Seawatch with food and other supplies coming from Fort Altrees farms: while the siege was over, the fields around the town were still largely abandoned and devastated by trenches and other earthworks. With the Lotii war junks still lurking in New Haven Seas, the ability of the Garvian smugglers could once again come to good use! The lower floor of the building, instead, was completely occupied by a warehouse. Due to the absence of large distilleries in the growing settlement, the import of rhum produced in the Prio Sea Colonies was a particularly profitable business, even if the delivery journey was long and difficult. Garvian sailors didn't have particularly good fame in the colonies of the New World: they were considered excellent seamen, but also undisciplined, violent, and a little too eager to turn to piracy. They hadn't created specific problems in Fort Arltrees yet, but the city watch passed twice as often in front of the taverns where they meet than in any other area of the city! Another thing Garvian sailors were renowned for was gambling: differently from other navies, the Garvian one allowed cards and dice on board, even though the punishments for ensuring brawls were severe. Never challenge a Garvian in a game of card, if you want to keep your money and your shirt!
  2. Terraversan Commonwealth Rum-Runners Part of the Fort Arltrees Foreign Merchants' District Close to the southern end of the Foreign Merchants' District, the East Terraversan commercial delegation represented the greatest surprise for most of the inhabitants of Fort Arltrees. Only three years before, Terraversa and Oleon had faced each other in a bitter war, and only the military intervention of Corrington and Eslandola -both on the island and in other areas of the archipelago- prevented a complete victory of the Empire of Light. However, while not completely defeated, independent Terraversa itself didn't survive the war. The eastern region of the island declared independence from the capital, in open rebellion against Archduke Oldis, giving rise to the Commonwealth of Terraversa. At the moment, the Commonwealth was struggling to recover from the war and, despite its dreams of freedom, it had de facto almost become a vassal state of Corrington. Allowing a commercial delegation of the Commonwealth on El Oleonda, together with the ferry built between North and South Sillitholina, represented an important attempt towards the normalization of the relations between Granoleon and Westface, even if doubts and mistrust still existed on both sides. An official Terraversan consulate in an Oleonese colony or formal trade agreements between the two nations was still far too much for both sides. Instead, an office and a small warehouse of a trading company represented a less "official" step, but still allowed some informal contact between the governments. If things worked well, an RNTC office might have appeared in Tarlor or Westface, in the future, breaking the almost complete monopoly of Corrington on the trade of the young nation. The name of the company, the Terraveran Commonwealth Rum-Runners, seemed appropriate for a band of smugglers... and actually it had started as such during the Mardierian rule, before the Terraversan Revolution granted it some respectability. Quite unsurprisingly, the acronym TCRR (with the "C" added after the Westface Secession) was often preferred, especially in official documents. The uniforms of the TCRR guards were clearly inspired by the ones of Corrish soldiers, even though their training was not even comparable with the one of Her Majesty's Royal Marines: with the militias still in place, even the regular army of the Commonwealth lacked men with military experience. A couple of soldiers guarded the entrance, while a figure in black slipped through the door, with an envelope of papers in hand. A simple merchant or someone else? An Oleonese diplomat? Or maybe a Corrish agent? The core business of the TCRR in Fort Arltrees -despite its name- was not Rum, but vanilla. The only known source of this valuable spice was Jameston, on Cascadia Island, but small vanilla crops existed also on El Oleonda. Due to the huge distance from the motherland, and the limited amount of production, Fort Arltrees couldn't compete with Jameston in this profitable business (not yet, at least), but the profit margin was still interesting. The TCRR office was small and overcrowded: bags and cases of vanilla pods occupied any available space, together with maps and piles of documents. The flintlock pistol on the director's desk, a memory of his past in the Terraversan Revolution, tended to make all the reports particularly fast and concise. Even though the Corrish influence was starting to take place in some aspects of the Commonwealth administration, the influence of Mardierian culture was still clearly recognizable: for example, in the overly decorated uniforms, or the baroque still-life painting hanging on a wall. Only time would have told whether the relations between the Commonwealth and Oleon could sooner or later normalize, or if the business of the TCRR in Fort Arltrees was destined to last. Profitable trade between two nations, sometimes, could be a good reason to avoid unnecessary wars between them! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The reason why the TCRR could only dispose of the lower floor was also the only reason why that small company could afford a place in the Foreign Merchants' District of Fort Arltrees. The reason had a name and a surname: Professor Alejandro Coronel, archeologist, writer, philosopher, and, as a hobby, occultist. This peculiar character was not interested at all in the vanilla trade, but had a desperate need to move on El Oleonda... something not easy, for a citizen of the Corrish-aligned Commonwealth. Therefore, he paid a significant portion of the settling taxes for the TCRR, and personally financed the construction of the building. In return, he occupied the whole upper floor and obtained from the company a passage to the island, as well as the promise to support him in all his future enterprises. The studio of this peculiar character was completely occupied by a variety of "findings": a variety of idols, ritual masks, maps, scrolls written in ancient languages, and many other objects. In an (apparent?) chaos, Atwi idols were positioned side by side with antiquities from Tellvok, Tyree'De artifacts, and ancient codices written by the first Mardierian explorers. Professor Coronel had heard about the ruins of an ancient city on El Oleonda, and hoped to finally prove his extravagant theory. Indeed, he firmly believed that an ancient civilization once existed in the East, far before recorded history: after ruling most of both the Old and the New World, that Empire had somehow disappeared, leaving mankind in the darkness for thousands of years. Even the Great Pyramids "of Tellvok", according to Professor Coronel, were actually an artifact of that ancient empire. How could all the other archeologists not understand this truth? Despite the plot of the Order of the Faith to conceal the truth, the signs were hidden in plain sight, if one just looked for them! Even the tarots, considered by many a senseless superstition, also told a part of the story... the Rising Sun, the East; the Broken Tower, a clear hint to the cataclysm that had destroyed the ancient empire. Little mattered if other symbols didn’t have an obvious meaning, all of them must have been in a way or the other allegories of the ancient disaster! Most of the academics laughed at him, but he would have proven all of them wrong! He only needed to find the proof of his theory somewhere in the archipelago, possibly even there on El Oleonda... the large islands of New Haven Seas were clearly part of the ancient continent, swollen by the merciless Ocean millennia before! He would have laughed last, he was sure… Even if most considered him a lunatic, and the TCRR guards hoped never to be chosen to accompany him in his expeditions (actually they had placed bets on how soon he would have disappeared in the jungle), Professor Coronel had actually done some important discoveries, down in Tellvok. Only time will tell if the Professor will be able to discover something about the ancient civilisation of El Oleonda, despite his weird theories, or if he will get lost in the interior. For sure, you will probably hear about him in the future!
  3. 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!
  4. Miroslav Dobric's Trading Emporium Part of the Foreign Merchants' Trading District of Fort Arltrees Far in the West, back in the Old World, lay the country of Varcoast. With the discovery of a whole New World, people rarely remembered this small and poor neighbor of Oleon. Nestled among the Madrice Peninsula and the steppes of the Continent, Varcoast was out of the main trading routes and had never attempted to change that. With its dark forests, the unforgiving weather, and its tiny, wooden villages, the country seemed indeed to have remained out of time, still trapped in the Dark Ages. Only a few merchants traveled along the roads connecting the main Varcosian cities with the Oleonese border, mostly for some livestock or wool fairs: a difficult journey along bad roads of dirt, plagued by wolves, brigands, and, even worse, arbitrary taxes imposed by the local lords. The Nation of Varcoast never attempted to colonize New Terra, and only a handful of Varcosians were ever seen in the colonies. Therefore, the Governor was rather surprised when he received a letter from a Varcosian merchant, Monsieur Miroslav Dobric, asking for settling and trading rights in Fort Arltrees. The little building established by the Varcosian delegation would probably fit better in a little town of the motherland, than in a lively city of the New World. A little out of place or not, Dobric's Commercial Emporium was bringing to Fort Arltrees an interesting number of Doubloons and silver Talers, so nobody cared particularly about the antiquated architecture. The Varcosian contingent also looked particularly unusual, when compared to the troops of the other Madrician nations. Wearing an iron helmet and a brigandine, an armor made of heavy cloth and small steel plates, these soldiers seemed more ready to fight a dragon than for a modern battlefield. Completely outdated at first look, this equipment could save a soldier's life back in the motherland, where the brigands and the raiders from the Western steppes still used bows and swords as often as muskets. El Oleonda, however, was far warmer than the Varcosian woods, and the soldiers on guard were severely put to the test by the tropical sun. On the ground floor, in a corner of the warehouse, an officer was enjoying some rest from duty, together with a little glass of liquor. The Varcosians had brought with them a large amount of rakija, a strong spirit made from plums, which soon gained popularity among the inhabitants of Fort Arltrees. The little warehouse also contained several caskets of indigo dye, produced in the nearby settlement of Jiangkai and dried in small bricks. Back in the Old World, blue was a particularly appreciated color, but most of the available pigments were either insanely expensive (as the Mokolei lapis lazuli) or not particularly resistant. For sure, the imported indigo would soon have made the vests of wealthy Varcosians far more colorful! The upper floor of the building contained a small, bare office, largely occupied by barrels, caskets, and more bottles of imported spirits. Various benches and a robust table represented the only pieces of furniture in the room, while a Varcosian flag hanging from a wooden wall was the only visible decoration. During his periods of leave in Fort Arltrees, General Tristan Rimbaud was often a welcome guest of Monsieur Dobric. The lands of the Rimbaud Family, where Tristan was born, were only a few miles from the Western Border, and Varcosian was almost his mother language. Tristan had last been to his family manor almost five years before, and receiving recent news from the Old West was always a pleasant surprise for him... even if, in this case, it also meant being offered a glass of strong spirit after the other, a typical aspect of Varcosian hospitality! The rakija, a strong spirit obtained from the distillation of fermented plums, apples, apricots, and other fruits. Typical of Varcoast, it was also popular in Pontilla and Western Oleon regions.
  5. 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!
  6. 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!
  7. The Ferrer Family Commercial Enterprise Part of the Foreign Merchants' Trading District of Fort Arltrees The largest building of the Foreign Merchants' District belonged to the Ferrers, a rich Mardierian family of bankers and traders. The palace was an elegant and classy building, for the Mardierian canons, even if a little too modest... for the Essians of the adjacent building, instead, it represented an awful baroque monstrosity! The Ferrers earned their impressive fortune a the very beginning of the Age of Exploration, when the ports of Terraversa were still closed and most of the Madrician Fleets were still locked behind the Line. At the time, the Ferrer Bank had the great intuition to finance the colonial adventures of the Mardierian Crown: soon, gold, silver, and spices started to flow back to King's Port and Londa, making the financiers rich beyond any measure. In a short time, the Ferrers were also able to launch their own private expeditions: in some periods, their galleons and conquistadores were almost as many as the ones of the king himself. Many years had passed, and now the quartered banner of the Ferrer only represented one of the many flags flown in the New World, and no longer the most feared. The Civil War, followed by the Terraversan Revolution and the Eslando-Mardierian War, represented devastating blows to the power of the Old Empire and its trading companies. Don Francisco Ferrer, one of the current representatives of the Company, had recently arrived at an agreement with the governor of Fort Arltrees: the Ferrers were authorized to establish a trading mission in the settlement; in return, they would act as middlemen in some trading businesses at the very border of legality... One of the most profitable -and possibly the most controversial- of these activities is trying to establish trading bonds with some Lotii merchants, in order to erode their support to the war against Oleon. Technically speaking, war was never declared between Oleon and the Lotii vassals, even if the latter had provided the Imperial Army with ships and numerous mercenaries. Therefore, again in principle, nothing forbade merchants from Banersbi or Bouton to moor in Fort Arltrees, trade with a Mardierian merchant, and leave unharmed... and nobody ever went too deep in investigating their precise nationality! For safety reasons, the Southerners were always escorted by Oleonese soldiers, were not allowed close to military installations, and could not spend the night in the settlement; apart from these minor aspects, everything had proceeded smoothly until that moment. The most well-paying trade of the Ferrers in Fort Arltrees is an unusual one, basically creating money out of thin air. Both in the Madrician states and in the Southern Kingdoms, gold and silver are valuable metals, and the former is worth more than the latter. How much more, however, is a different matter... A merchant of Oleon, Garvey, or Mardier, for instance, would be happy to pay a golden ingot with nine or ten silver ingots of the same weigth... ...while silver is much more priced in the Southern Kingdoms, and a Lotii merchant would gladly make the same exchange accepting five or six silver ingots. Therefore, by setting the exchange at an intermediate value, both sides would leave richer and happier, buy more metal in their home countries (gold for the Lotii, silver for the Marderians), and repeat the cycle indefinitely! As Fort Arltrees is probably the only place where this type of trade can currently happen, the pressure of the richest merchants on the Lotii commanders could defend the settlement better than a battery of howitzers... at least unless someone decides that raiding and plundering could be a more effective way to get cheap silver! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ On the upper floor, Don Francisco Ferrer was discussing some future plans with the governor of Fort Arltrees and the commander of his guards. Apparently, there are many ways in which the funds of the Ferrer Company could be put to good use in Fort Arltrees, far from the greedy tax collectors and the cumbersome bureaucracy of Mardier. From his side, Marcel Dubois knew that he had to be extremely careful in all his moves: politics might be far more dangerous than a battlefield, and a forged accusation of corruption or even treason could move him into a dark dungeon or in front of a firing squad really, really quickly. Additional picture in the spoiler: ------------------------------------------------------------ I hope you enjoy this second build! The backstory is somewhere between the established lore for Mardier, and something I completely invented (the Ferrer Family is something I introduced to build shady and slightly debatable stuff, without my main characters getting directly involved). I hope I didn't go too far in the business with the "definitely-not-Lotii" merchants, which is quite in line with how business and war were managed during the Age of Sails! The differences in the exchange rates between gold and silver in different places, historically, were a real thing: the Portuguese merchants of Macau and Nagasaki earned fortunes in this way, as China was a hungry importers of silver, and didn't use gold for its coins (therefore, the metal was less valuable).
  8. 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
  9. Outskirts of Fort Arltrees, El Oleonda, April 622 Hills and mountains have always represented a difficult obstacle for armies: roads are bad and too narrow for baggage trains, or they do not exist at all. Moreover, the difficult terrain tires the man quickly, and can easily injure the horses. For these reasons, generals avoid mountain ranges whenever possible. Sometimes, however, it is simply not possible: a mountain range crosses El Oleonda from East to West, and any alternative path from Fort Arltrees to Jiangkai would require weeks of difficult march across the jungle. In Fort Arltrees, a new company was specifically formed to move and fight on the difficult high grounds of El Oleonda interior. The unit is equipped with light cannons that can be disassembled and transported on mules, together with all the equipment required to set up a battery. Both the artillerymen and the chasseurs (the light infantry accompanying the cannons) were recruited among the colonists coming from mountain regions of Oleon, and also include a few Altonian immigrants. These men spent their whole life walking along the mountain trails, leading their cows on the high meadows or carrying goods from a tiny village to another one: thus, they are renowned for their endurance and for their autonomy. As in their daily life in the motherland, the bluecoats can rely on a robust breed of Oleander mules to carry weights up and down the mountains... in this case cannons and supplies, instead of wood or salt! Stronger and less delicate than horses, they can deal with mountain trails without problems. Some mules are also equipped with a saddle, and can be riddden by the soldiers in case of need: they may not be as elegant as thoroughbred Guelphian horses, but still mules represent invaluable companions for Oleander mountain infantry. The cannons can be quickly unloaded and assembled by the gun crew itself: even the barrel can be lifted by a few men with arm strength. Gunpowder and ammunition are kept in small hemp bags instead of the usual kegs and cases: when you have to carry everything for hours up a steep slope, reducing the weight and the size of the loads is paramount. In a quarter of an hour, a battery of 6-pounder cannons can be placed almost anywhere... in any skirmish with the Lotii, no matter where, Oleon can now rely on its cannons! Artillerymen with a disassembled cannon (loaded on mules), and chasseurs (right), one of the specialties of Oleander light infantry. The cannon after assembly, and the artillery crew. OOC, the cannon design is very simple. However, all the parts can effectively be loaded on the mules. Overall view: Troop raising build for Fort Arltrees (1 company of mountain artillery).
  10. "Jan 15th, 622AE; Our arrival at the bluecoat hub of Fort Arltrees recieved a warmer reception than any of our men dared hope for. During the journey, rumors abounded as to the loyalties of our hithertofore enemies within the enlisted ranks. Fears of marching out to do battle with the Lotii, only to find our traditional enemies in our rear, were serious concerns right up until the day we landed. As our battalion moved through the city to our bivouacs, we encounted one of the largest markets I have ever seen and a crowd of smiling locals filled the streets to greet us. Some even trying to foist bottles of wine and loaves of fresh bread upon us as we marched. The lieutenant politely declined these advances and became cross with a couple men who had accepted a kask of rum from a local suttler." "With only a few exceptions, our welcome to Fort Arltrees was a warm affair." "I must make a note to visit that market while we are still here. I have no doubt there could be something perfect for everyone in the family. Even grandpa!" -Excerpt from the journal of Willian 'Bill' Morley, Private, Corrington's 26th Regiment of Foot Thanks! As always, C and C welcome and if there is a lore issue, I'll edit accordingly. To be licensed as a small residence in Fort Arltrees. This is an attempt to duplicate some of the building styles I've seen in the lovely MOCs you all have posted lately. A special thanks to Ayrlego and Evancelt for their excellent tutorials on base building.
  11. Meanwhile, at the Hephaestus Artillery Depot, near Fort Arltrees; Pepin the Mule-skinner; "Ahoy there! Here is the last field gun up from the harbor. I trust you have a fine crew selected for these beauties?" Marshal DuQuesne:"Oh I'm sure I have just the men they need..." Pepin the Artillerist!!!:"@$&%#!!?!" Sergeant Hobbes:"Cadets! Prepare to service the gun!" ... ... ... The End A company raising at Fort Arltrees to be licensed and maintained directly to the Crown of Oleon. This is my first whack at a troop raising. Let me know if I bungled something. Thank you! @CapOnBOBS
  12. The two soldiers were out for a patrol from Fort Arltrees. As they entered a small stand of trees, they came across a cute baby bear. They tossed it some cheese and then came close to pet its head. Then the mama bear appeared. As they fled for their lives, the soldier in front remembered something his cousin had told him as a child: "You don't need to run faster than the bear to get away, you just need to run faster than the guy behind you". With this in mind, he tossed his musket aside and ran a little faster.
  13. Fort Arltrees, El Oleonda, March 621 After the end of the war between Carno and the Lotii Empire, the small outpost of Fort Arltrees experienced an unexpected phase of economic growth. The soldiers were followed by hunters and adventurers, and then by merchants and colonists. So far from the rest of the civilized world, the settlement had to rely on its own forces for everything, from building materials to food supplies. Therefore, a little smokehouse was built on the outskirts of the city. Smoked meat becomes hard as wood and loses most of its taste, but lasts for long and doesn't rot: if fresh food is not available, and you want to be relatively sure not to die of food poisoning, smoked meat is one of the few things you can rely on! Alone or in small groups, accompanied by their large dogs, the boucaniers -as Oleander hunters of the New World are often called- leave Fort Arltrees with their long muskets, hunting mainly for feral pigs and cattle. It is often said that these hunters can hit targets up to 300 metres far, about three times the range of a common infantry musket... true or false, thee boucaniers are for sure excellent marksmen, a skill they also demonstrated in the occasional skirmishes with bands of Lotii deserters. The boucaniers take their name from the boucan, a wooden frame over which meat is slowly roasted and smoked: exactly as hammocks and pirogues, boucans were seen during the earliest contacts with the Atwi natives and copied by the first colonists. As an alternative, meat is smoked for a couple of days in a small stone builfing So near to the sea, fish represents an obvious alternative to meat. Caught along the coast, in one of the several rivers or in the ancient artificial canals surrounding Fort Arltrees, fish are usually salted and dried under the tropical sun on wooden racks. This smokehouse would just be a little business in a larger settlement, but represents a fundamental step for the development of Fort Arltrees. It may be seem trivial, but having a reliable source of preserved food will allow longer explorations of the interior and of the nearby sea: if new lands will be discovered, or if rich mining fields will be discovered in the interior, it will be also thanks to boucaniers' smoked meat. To be licensed as a small factory (32x32 footprint, but smaller built area).
  14. Fort Arltrees, November 620, El Oleonda As the battle for El Oleonda arrived at a stalemate, the Oleander presence on the island could become more stable: the first wave of colonists arrived in Fort Arltrees, with small farms, houses and workshops sprouting near to the fort itself. This was for sure something absolutely positive, but also started turning the small settlement into an interesting prey for hostile natives, Lotii soldiers or deserters and, even worse, for Corrington. A small militia was therefore raised in the town: currently, a single platoon framed in the 1ere Compagnie Milice Coloniale de Fort Arltrees, together with a small unit of Essener mercenaries. The soldiers of this unit are nicknamed ragamuffins, due to their untidy and "customized" uniforms: the blue coat, ubiquitous in the Royal Army, is often torn and mended in several points, due to the long marches in the thick jungle; for the same reason, several parts of the uniform are replaced with robust and comfortable hunting clothes. These soldiers lack most of the formal training and discipline of the regular army. However, they know how to move and survive in the hostile jungle of El Oleonda, and how to fight in this unique environment. An attacking army must cross the jungle to reach Fort Arltrees, and there the ragamuffins would make their stand, shooting from the bushes and hunting the enemies, one after the other. These soldiers are expert trackers, who can find and follow the little clues that a group of people inevitably leaves. (Note: the color of the little piece of cloth, possibly ripped off a coat or a jacket, is not so casual) The whole figbarf The officer discussing with a native warrior. (Note: the credit for the warrior's design goes to @Khorne). ------ I'll use this small building to raise a platoon of soldiers in Fort Arltrees.
  15. Fort Arltrees, November 620, El Oleonda People called it "The Tavern", nothing more. The simple wooden building didn't have a real name or colorful signboard, but still everyone in the little settlement knew it... quite unsurprisingly, since it was the first real tavern on the island. The first wave of colonists had arrived on El Oleonda even before the end of the battle. Hunters and adventurers arrived first, though men looking for their fortune on the island, and ready to defend it weapons in hands. Soon, however, the ships started carrying also farmers and artisans, fishermen and priests... common people who decided to leave a miserable past behind, or who simple tried to improve their lives with a new start. Wooden houses replaced the first shacks, while the first shops and stores started opening their doors. And, among them, The Tavern. The owners, a young couple from Breshaun, had moved with a little money and a lot of enterprise. Currently the meals they serve are drastically influenced by what is hunted, fished or collected around Fort Arltrees every morning. However, the customers seemed to apreciate the sometimes strange stew served in The Tavern, especially if accompanied by a glass or two of Fatu Hiva booze... currently nothing was brewed in the settlement, even if a few guys down the main street were already trying something a boiler and an alembic. The settlement was growing at sight, with a certain satisfaction of the major, Lieutenant Marcel Dubois. With the new tavern, the settlement could already be considered a Town, and new colonists were arriving with every ship. After all, Fort Arltrees would have remained on the maps for longer then he had expected, and was quickly turning from a temporary camp into a real settlement. However, the political situation in the area was far from being calm... Carno was friendly, and had also provided the settlement some mercenaries, while the Lotii had signed a treaty and had withdrawn eastwards, at least for the moment. The Corrish declaration of war, however, concerned Marcel. For this reason, he had given order to raise a little militia, nicknamed "the Ragamuffins" from the untidy and customized uniforms of the soldiers. Corrish redcoats, however, were definitely far, and a real fight there in the East was quite unlikely. Life in the settlement continued exactly as before Corrish declaration of war, vibrant and colorful: a tiny market had started appearing along the main street, with new stalls sprouting each time. A fortune teller had also arrived into the settlement, a clear sign that money had started moving. However, she should probably make more favorable predictions, if she wants to keep her customers! The tiny colony established excellent relationships with the nearby villages, with Halosian and Tyree'De hunters and traders regularly visiting each other's neighbours. Quite unsurprisingly, some of the colonists took a local wife, while others left the settlement to live with the natives. An overall view of the scene: I will license it as a Large Artisan in Fort Arltrees, using the license awarded in the challenge. As usual, I preferred a downsized, minifig scale build to a microbuild, but please let me know if there is any problem. In this case the "excessive size" of the license compared to the build accounts for the overall growth of the settlement.
  16. El Oleonda, March 620, Fort Arltrees Fort Arltrees is a small military outpost, nothing more than a rudimentary palisade surrounding some tents and a couple of large huts… this is how all the settlements begin: it strange to think, but even Breshaun, during its first days, was nothing more than that. Any real possibility of development, however, is delayed until the end of the hostilities, when the arrival of civilians, regular shipping of supplies and, in general, the construction of more permanent builds will be possible. Living in Fort Arltrees in fact, is something very, very dangerous: an attacker wouldn't do any distinction between soldiers and civilians. However, a place where soldiers have no way to spend their wages offers a lot of opportunities to merchants who are brave enough. Sutlers are civilian sellers who follow soldiers almost to the battlefield. Sometimes they are hated and considered profiteers, but they also represent the only ones who can provide anything beyond rations, uniforms and weapons: tobacco, paper and writing implements, candles, a good knife or a whetstone, a linchpin or a mug, even some liquors… these little commodities are not cheap, up to five times their real value, but they can make far more comfortable the permanence in such a desolate place. In Fort Arltrees the sutler's shop, actually a large stall with a few improvised tables, represents the only place where soldiers can spend their free time: it soon has become a sort of little tavern, a meeting point that the soldiers simply call "the store"... there is no possibility of mistake about which store, since it is the only one! Soon a little kitchen was established too: soldiers have to pay, but food is by far better than ordinary rations. Even if this little commercial activity drains money from the soldiers' pockets, it represents a fundamental step for the growth of Fort Arltrees: taxation on little activities like this one provides to the commander of the fort some extra funds for the development of further projects, such as attracting settlers and starting some little farms. This, however, will be only possible after the end of the Carno-Lotii war… provided that the settlement will survive that long! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is the first economically relevant build in Fort Arltrees. I wanted it to be a very simple, provisory build, and I think I achieved the result… now I think that the next step is starting building something a little more sophisticated, maybe a blacksmith or a real canteen! Any idea? What would you like to see next?