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Mapcut of Albrek Trade Alliance

Albrek Trade Alliance


The Albrek Trade Alliance is a strategic defence alliance between the regions of Marbrek, Alfell and Westshore. The Albrek Trade Alliance is fairly young compared to other factions in Ardensis and has, in its current form, only existed 130 years. The population of the Alliance are mostly traders, salesmen, farmers, ships crew, ship builders or seafaring merchants.

Handdrawn map of the Albrek Alliance and some of Ushar.

The origins of the alliance is quite a bit older and different alliances and allegiences has been known to exist over the last 350 years, however a formalised alliance and real commitment wasn't made until the signing of the Albrek Commerce Agreement in 1526 BGS. The initial agreement did not include Westshore, who at that time had very little experience with the Fenlins or other invaders and thus had no real motivation to enter into the agreement. Twenty Five years later they had their first real encounter with the Ushar hordes as they invaded the north eastern side of Alfell, bypassing Rabe'styr and moving on to Braila. Once the people of Westshore felt the love of the Fenlins themselves, they joined the agreement, willingly and fast. The agreement wasn't changed as such, it still bore the name Albrek Trade agreement but the trade rights and products of Westshore was amended to the agreement and concessions where re-negotiated. The agreement is first of all a detailed division of trade rights and rights over certain trade routes and exclusivity of goods. It is also a military alliance to keep the mighty Fenlins in Ushar, to the east, at bay. Historically the fenlins has raided Marbrek and Alfell randomly and thoroughly, even Westshore has had it's run ins with the hordes from Ushar. Once the Albrek Alliance was formed, they bought themselves military capabilities in form of mercenary armies from Nibartus and Castanum. Over the years they have built a rather large force on their north eastern border facing Ushar. The Fenlins mostly invade by land, they burn, rape and pillage each place to the ground before moving on with no apparent pattern to their rampage. To counter this most of the Alliance forces are indeed stationed at north eastern part of Alfell. Here the land is cut in half by a huge lake from the southern ocean and the central mountain ridge of the peninsula form another natural barrier making the ground defensible. To this end, the Alliance has two mighty forts at the frontier, Fort Palitana and Fort Chiklii, where most of the mercenaries are holed up.

Mapcut of Albrek Trade Alliance, the two northern forts protecting the alliance from Ushar.

Two smaller garrisons in the mid and south serve as advanced intelligence points. The land based defence keeps most of the Fenlins at bay, with only few raids when they can sneak in the back around the forts and forces in the north, to counter this several outposts, heavily fortified, are situated in the backlands. The Alliance has over the years come to accept the Ushar threat as any other harsh weather and have developed their own ways of dealing with the Fenlins. Apart from their northern defence lines and several advance scouting points to monitor any movements out of Ushar, the Alliance also deploys decoys. The Fenlis are not seafarers but they do occasionally mount seaside attacks arriving in their great war canoes, surpassing the ground troops and land in surprising places. The alliance counters this by carefully monitoring the sea from Balotra Island and whenever the Fenlis set to sea, the Alliance will stock a ship full of supplies with a few expendable crew and send them right into the arms of the Fenlins. The Fenlins were not fans of hard work and usually took what was closest, and the sacrificial ships, in most cases, was enough. They would plunder and go back home to enjoy their spoils. Whenever the Fenlins did surprise the Alliance, the agreement would see to it that everyone helped rebuilding or paying for the damage. Even the main cities of each region are a part of the elaborate use of decoys and facades, attracting the attention of would be invaders. Rabe'styr, Braila, Ahmeta and Roh'apani are known to most traders and seafarers of Ardensis and impressive as well as well assorted to suit most tastes of men and women. But the real riches of the alliance are stored inland in the great vaults in Kadre Moma, a well kept and strongly guarded secret, and anything of other value is stored in the secure warehouses of Jibou Dei Gherla where anyone invading from the sea would have to pass through the Drakasani Spires, a reef quite impossible to navigate and lethal when the tide is going out. On land, the First Watch and Second Watch garrisons are staffed with some of the most heavily armoured and most enduring fighters in the alliance army, they are the last defence, protecting anything of real value.

Mapcut of Albrek Trade Alliance, the real treasury of the alliance.


Social: They are quite a sociable lot, after all their wealth is made on outsiders and they welcome everyone except the Fenlins. They are deeply involved in the slave trade and together with the Silkoth Trade Emporium to the south they control all slave trade in the south east of Ardensis. Almost all slaves are moved on and sold, only a few are kept to stock the brothels and lowest service positions. The merchants have bad experience with slave revolts and keep their own stock at a minimum. Independent contractors or workers perform the remaining tasks of running the big cities, while the merchants and traders grow fat and profit. Many of their trade routes take them to weird and sophisticated places requiring a good deal of diplomacy and negotiation skills, and they have that in plenty. Culturally they don't really share any bonds across the regions or indeed within the regions, but they have adopted a lot of cultural traits from others and made them their own. To point to one thing that is typical for the alliance and something that would bond them together is not possible. The one thing that holds the Alliance together is current wealth and future wealth. There are a multitude of volumes written about different merchants and traders along with an abundance of maps that they either made themselves or commissioned mapmakers to do, most of them are colourful propaganda, most of them are simply brags, some blatant lies. The merchant soul of Albrek knows what it takes to make yourself known and modesty was not in their business model. It is quite possible that the merchants had these books written and these maps made simply to build myths, make propaganda and cause utter confusion as to the true nature of the alliance. Rabe'styr is the acclaimed capitol and also the most shiny and glamorous of all the cities in the alliance, here you can find anything the heart desires and your wealth allows for and much of the trade is controlled from here, but just like other major cities in the alliance it is itself not crucial, and in reality there isn't much to pillage there either, the merchants have seen to that, their real riches lies in protection of the mountains and guarded by armies far bigger than those at the border to Ushar. Like many things in the alliance Rabe'styr is expendable at all times expecting to be overrun.

Mapcut of Albrek Trade Alliance, the capitol of the alliance.


Geography: The Alliance is situated on a huge peninsula with a central mountain range in the centre of the Peninsula. In the west and south of the Peninsula a number of huge lakes cut through the land before they empty out into the Sea of Amas. The eastern part of the Peninsula borders Ushar where huge forest covers the land from coast to coast. All the way to the east the mountains and forests fade into plains that cover most of Westshore with floodplains on the coast. Most of the flatlands in Albrek is highly fertile farmland and they do grow a substantial amount of their own food as well as export it to Nibartus, Rhay'ady, Castanum and Aurea. The coast is somewhat less fertile with huge salty floodplains that never dry out. The central mountain range stretches all the way from Northern Alfell down to the southeast of Westshore and is largely responsible for the weather on the peninsula. A warm stream passes the North and West coast of Westshore causing fair and warm weather. On the southside this warm stream collides with colder currents causing the weather on the southside of the Peninsula to be more volatile and less predictable. There are several large reefs on the coastline of the alliance most noteworthy and deadly is the Drakasani Spires, where the seabed is littered with shipwrecks and debris.


Military: Exclusively mercenaries, the locals certainly don't participate and they have no active conscription. There are 6.000 mercenaries on the Ushar border, mostly infantry and archers with around 400 mounted light infantry. The actual conflicts are few, mostly displays of force to dissuade the Fenlins and make them go raid somewhere else. There are about the same amount in First and Second Watch garrisons surrounding Kadre Moma and Jibhou Dei Gherla, the real treasure of Albrek. There are several outposts, with fewer forces, spread out across the land and the alliance makes every effort to shift forces around to be less predictable. The only real enemy is the Fenlins which by their geography also makes it impossible for any other invader to reach the alliance by land. There has never been a seaside invasion in the alliance, not counting the tiny war canoes of the Fenlins, so the Albrek Alliance has no real naval army. They have military escort ships to protect their fragile trade routes, but more as a display of power and to dissuade any attackers, but seaside battles are a rarity.


Trade: Substantial, in fact everything about the Alliance is about trade. The Albrek Trade agreement details who has the rights to a certain trade routes or the rights to trade certain goods. The agreement is renegotiated at least every 5 years or when major changes to trade or shifts in power happen. The Alliance has trade routes all the way from the south with the Silkoths and all the way to Castanum and Aurea in the North. Travelling through the Jarmassin Fjord they even have trade routes into Rhay'ady, amongst the few that get to trade with the forest people living there. About half the trade is slaves and slave related, the other half is goods form Rhay'ady and the Silkoth Trade Emporium as well as local farm products.

Mapcut of Albrek Trade Alliance, showing a trade route.


Religion: There is no mainstream religion in any of the regions of the Alliance. Some local families are known believers, but faith is at all times considered a private matter that will obfuscate their primary goals of wealth. Some religious cults thrive in the workers quarters making their hard lives even more miserable, they are all minor and uncoordinated.


Magic: Apart from the "Biehold Fantasticly Freaky Beasts", a huge animal circus found in Rabe'styr, there are absolutely nothing of neither wonder nor magic on the Peninsula. There are no known caves, dungeons or places for such magic to live and the people of the Albrek Alliance would either tear down or simply avoid such places. There are however quite a few books about magical beasts and several very colourful volumes containing true horror stories, as well as many maps detailing sea monsters in the oceans around the peninsula, but these are commissioned works made to keep certain myths alive and to build the reputation of the alliance. Far to the north, of the coast of Westshore, lies a huge Island by the name of Cim'thol Mold, officially considered a part of Castanum, but in reality no one sane goes or lives there because of the horrors said to live in the caves there beneath the island. There are enough tales from the old Aurean Empire about what goes on at Cim'thol Mold, to keep folks away.

A decorative sea serpent from the Albrek Alliance map