Prepared by Tamonir, Master of Secrets for the Queen of Taneth
Grandiose. Arrogant. Self-important. All these words and more can be used to describe the self-styled merchant lords of Abah's Landing. The four mercantile houses began to take shape about one-hundred-and-sixty years ago. They began as legitimate businesses, working to elevate Abah's Landing and create a center for trade and commerce between High Rock and Valenwood. But Hew's Bane has never been cooperative to those who tried to carve civilization out of the wilderness and, despite their best efforts, each mercantile house slowly became more corrupt as the pursuit of illegal profits quickly outdistanced more above-board enterprises.
The four houses emerged as the at-Addin Syndicate, House Vien, the Thazahrr Cartel, and Gurges and Associates. In time, the lords of these four houses controlled almost all of the commerce and gold flowing through the port city—both legitimate trade and illicit activities. Most of their profits came from smuggling, slavery, and other unlawful transactions. The merchant lords supplied Abah's Landing with goods and services while also establishing lucrative (if modest) trading partnerships in distant lands. As fortunes grew in Abah's Landing, it wasn't long before other groups began to take an interest in the area. This began a long and tumultuous relationship between the merchant lords and local criminals and crime bosses. Indeed, rumors of a "hidden" merchant house even began to circulate, and evidence abounds of a covert war being fought among the houses and the so-called "hidden house." While I have not been able to uncover any details concerning this conflict, the outcome can clearly be seen. Gurges and Associates was shattered and the other three houses were reduced to pale shadows of their former glory as a clandestine power emerged as the controlling interest in the port city.
For the last fifteen years or so, the merchant houses took a step back. Oh, they continued to engage in business and provide funds to support city services, including guards and infrastructure, but they no longer showed the swagger and bravado that exemplified their behavior for the decades prior to that time. Though no mayor or merchant house or secret guild took center stage, it appears evident to me that someone or something has influenced Abah's Landing from the deepest shadows. For this reason, I urge caution when dealing with Hew's Bane.
In my next report, I'll begin to provide background on each of the prominent merchant houses operating in the area.
(NOTE: These dispatches were "recovered" from a Taneth vessel and delivered to an interested party in Abah's Landing. I have published them so we may all know what our cousins across the bay think of us.—Anonymous)
|Abah's Landing Merchant Lords, V. 1|
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