The History of the Merchant Houses
The Merchant Houses of Zalanthas are ancient entities, most dating back almost a thousand years. After the Dragon's second coming and his subsequent rampage in Tuluk, many of the inhabitants of the two major cities fled to refuge of the wilds. Over the next several decades, these refugees banded together into organized clans and families that were spread out across the Known World. By the Thirteenth Age, many of these clans had formed collective agreements with each other and had begun to band together in loosely organized merchant companies. Notable names among the familes during this period were Kurac, Nenyuk, and Kadius.
Over the next two hundred years, internal conflicts were waged between the various factions until the major dominating families consolidated their power. Developing their own peculiar niches, the Kadius and Kuraci clans absorbed their smaller competitors. It was during this time that another dunetrader company, calling themselves the Brothers of Steel and being led by the Salarri family, established itself as a premier arms broker to the two city-states. In 1161 Kadius, who by this time had swollen in power and wealth along with Kurac and the Salarri-led Brothers of Steel, established its first emporium inside the city-state of Tuluk. Kurac followed suit six years later, creating the first known spice market of the Known World. Salarr was the last of the Great Merchant Houses to establish an emporium and did so in Allanak in the year 1173. In contrast to the other three, Nenyuk quietly amassed influence and wealth throughout these years until it had consolidated a hold for itself as the major banking institution of the Known World.
At present, the four Great Merchant Houses of the Known World are House Kadius, House Kurac, House Nenyuk, and House Salarr. Each maintains a tight and ruthless control over their own markets and have gathered to themselves enough wealth and influence that they have become major players in the history and politics of Zalanthas.
The Great Merchant Houses
Dominating the economies of both Tuluk and Zalanthas are the four Great Merchant Houses. Rich with history and intrigue, each has established its own niche in the Known World and are among the wealthiest organizations to exist since the fall of the Empire of Man. House Kadius deals in clothing, furniture, jewels, and other luxuries. House Kurac maintains control of the spice market and also deals with desert gear. House Nenyuk has established banks within both city-states and is a major factor in controlling the finances of Zalanthas.
After the fall of Tuluk, Kadius established the village of Freil's Rest and became a major political player within the Northlands. After Tuluk's liberation, it ceded its controlling interest in the village to the Tuluki Templarate and established a close alliance with the northern city-state. However, it has been careful to remain neutral in the ongoing conflicts between Allanak and Tuluk.
The Lesser Merchant Houses
While the concept of a Merchant House generally brings about images of the four Great Merchant Houses, there are other organizations that fit this classification as well. Though not as flush with wealth, they have still secured a place for themselves within the Zalanthan economy.
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Compiled on 25 September, 2004 by Laeris