Corevale has been at the center of trade and intrigue in the Vales for millennia, and the Six Oligarchs of Trademeet have controlled that trade and intrigue for just as long. Sometimes hereditary, sometimes elected and sometimes taken by force, the life of an Oligarch is one of wealth, double-dealings, and secret alliances spent mostly in Trademeet. One of the Oligarchs, and arguably the most powerful, is chosen by the Triumvirate of the Valian Bank, one of the greatest centers and dealers of wealth in all of the Centerlands. The Triumvirate is always Human and currently comprised of two males, Lord Shadiri (the current representative) and Lord Kasytos, and one female, Lady Blacklace, an ancient widow of six husbands considered the richest and therefore most powerful person in all the Vales, save perhaps the Archaeomancer Ofestolus the Grey of Deepvale. Known through the lands for its iron guarantee and ruthless elite collection force, called the White Masks, the Valian Bank is respected and feared from the Priestking of Voranor to the Sanadans of Akad to the Krull of Arathis.
The five other Oligarchs each represent a Guild (Metal, Wood, Food, Goods, and Information) and are mostly arrayed in hierarchies and power struggles below the Triumvirate, the most powerful currently the Master of Metal, a shrewd Mountain Dwarf named Kizroc Zakratoc. The Master of Information, an Erudite ex-Academite named Jakina Trath, is perhaps the most dangerous, however, and all in the land try diligently to remain in her favor, though it is said that she truly takes no sides but her own.
The society below is arranged between the five Guilds and the Valian Bank, with every free citizen answering to one Oligarch (or the Triumvirate) and their lieutenants. The Guilds are organized in five tiers, with the lowest being manual laborers barely above the status of slave, the second common soldiers, the third skilled craftsmen, the fourth merchants, and the fifth including the clergy and officers of each Guild. Each Guild has their own police force that patrols their own sections of Trademeet and the surrounding areas of Corevale, though much of the protection of the roads, Isthmi and tunnels is provided by Deepvale to the west and the Vale of Spires to the east.
See the Vales.
The Six Oligarchs of Trademeet only directly control the city of Trademeet and Avir’s Lift. Prusal, Gront, Haemor, Bramor and the other small towns of Corevale are considered free cities and are under the protection of a certain Guild (such as the Metals Guild in Prusal or the Wood Guild in Gront) or have their own town mercenary force (such as Haemor and Bramor). Goldengate is controlled by Deepvale and Greengate by the Vale of Spires, while Prusal (and therefore the Metals Guild) patrols Longtunnel and Dominion of Ondeth exacts tolls on Darktunnel. The Bloodgate, the site of one of the major and bloodiest battles of the War of the Vales, is controlled by the regional government of Battlevale. Although most of the roadways are either aligned with Deepvale or the Spirans, there are several roads controlled by the Oligarchs: the Steelway down the center of the Vale and the Liftroad to the east.