Information taken from 'The Mortal Sunset' and the 'Memoirs of Alisaunder Brodie'
The Sunset Sea is not only named as such for its far western position, but to stay anywhere on its coastline is to be blessed with the most glorious sunsets one can ever be washed over by as the glorious colours of orange and red scatter into purples and violets. And on the equator of this Sunset Sea, nestled in Armoury Bay, is the bustling trade hub of Alca with these sunsets reflecting off the grandiose architecture of the funding and culture of the Fierny Family Institute. White plaster walls, arched slate roofs and circular windows, the classical Alcan architecture with variations in every district influenced by the cultures which filter in and out of the city-state.
In a perfectly calm cove on the western coast of the Mortal Realm lies the independent mercantile city-state of Alca, always clogged with a myriad of ships and cultures illuminated all night by the lapping glow of jellyfish-filled waters from the Sunset Sea. Alca is famous throughout the entirety of the Mortal Realm not in isolation, not only for its criminal influences from the Most Honourable Banking Clan of Alca-tief (Clan Fierny), but for being the neutral middle-ground between the two antagonistic superpowers of the day; the Holy See Territories and the Kushan Empire and reaping vast profits off the back of this neutrality.
The Major Council is the power which keeps the Most Serene Republic of Alca moving forward efficiently. Originally, seats in the Major Council were held exclusively by members of the named "noble families" which Clan Fierny left to run Alca-Tief in their absence. However, as Alca grew more independent from their Great Clan who stayed in Ancient Tief, the Major Council expanded its number to fit two more factions into the politics which would ease the trading process of their port.
Now, the Major Council is split evenly in number of seats between the three factions, who convene under the elected Doge who acts as an executive body with their personal Cabinet. These factions represent the aristocracy, native merchant population, and the shipwrights who work out the docks. Each faction works in unison through democracy where every aspect of Alcan society depends on at least one of these factions, but works best with all working together which generally happens in the end as all profit from the success of Alca's trade.
When the Alcan Mafia was established as Clan Fierny returned, a shakeup of the governmental system occurred with their influence extending throughout the city. In the rise of tensions between the Holy See and Kushan Empire came a spike in profits for the Clan and therefore their influence in the Major Council. Now, seats are open for sale as a means for the Clan to buy their way into the aristocratic and merchant factions, leading to two larger factions of pro- and anti-Fierny influence within the Council. This has famously led to vote buying and deep seated corruption at the heart of Alca, where it is difficult for one to see when the government ends and the business interests begin.
The dominant population of Alca are Tiefling, where Alca holds the largest single population of the race throughout the entire Mortal Realm after the devastation of Tief. They are seen everywhere in every district of the city, with over half the seats in the Major Council filled with tieflings from all factions. Minority populations seen in every district come from Humans and Dragonborn, the latter race arriving in more numbers since the Kushan Empire started dealing with the Grand Bank.
Alca also features an enclave of Triton, who feature a district specifically created for them when they were first incomers to the city near the docks where they work. Politically, triton have more representation in the Major Council than the dragonborn through the shipwright faction, due to their integral work in the boatbuilding and dock-servicing of the triton population. In truth, though, almost every race on the Mortal Realm has a potential to be found somewhere throughout Alca.
Infrastructure & Industry
The main source of income of Alca is its ports and adjacent market, with has the Grand Bank's enforced neutrality extended upon it and a High Elven merchant from the Kushan Empire can deal with a human merchant of the Holy See Territories via a middle-man representative of the Major Council.
Alcan Port & Market
Rivalling Monsalvat in terms of utter diversity, the splashes of colour and culture of the ships docked at port such as longships from Yuregrim and swanboats from the Storm Coast spills over into the market plaza. A large tiled courtyard, filled with stalls for prospective sellers from across both the Storm Coast, Holy See Territories and Kushan Empire. On one side, the plaza opens up to the dockyards, and as one walks in, the right is dominated by the Engineering School of Armouring and Artificery (ESAA) - ran by the Fierny Family Institute -, with the back being the Grand Bank of Alca and its impressive cogwork clock-tower.
Sifting in and out of the many stalls are the Alcan Mafia's intricate network of smugglers using the diversity of ships available to sell and move contraband across the entire Mortal Realm. Druids from the Gold Tribe who show no loyalty to anything but the highest bidder - which in any circumstance is the Mafia - operate and protect this network, as well as disrupt any non-affiliated illicit activities as a cutthroat gang.
I stepped off my royal white longship, and delved straight into the bustle, colour and smell of the renown market plaza of Alca to use up spare time before meeting with the Banking Clan. While I recall little of what I actually did during this time, the images of the various and exotic wonders I witnessed being peddled and haggled for will never leave my memory. Personally, my own crew exchanged gin cases of 'The Dottach' for Xhinjai tea leaves - an extremely rare commodity in the Territories which of course increased Clan Brodie's social standing. Mercenaries set to travel to Yosha wearing Crab Folk chitin-plate armour buying a slave proficient in Deceitstones, a shady stony figure brandishing "artefacts which fell from the sky" if you can believe any of that tosh, a couple rabid Kenku on chains which reminded me of Carrion Crows used for patrolling the market by Druidic guards. By Courga's Beard there was even a Frost Giant being as sociable as they can be, speaking with a Lycanthrope of Hammerfall on the intricacies of Necromancy and its origins. Even some recognisable art I could see past the spices and peacocks, seemingly depicting the heroic last moments of old Lord Dougall Grey as anti-Winters propaganda. Though it wasn't the only attempts to influence the masses, with a Priestess of Galana offering words of wisdom from an Infernal-translated Bounty of the Springmother. Rich luxuries sold like standard commodities only in the plaza of Alca, for where else can one buy Bloodstone for cheaper prices than venison back home? Or to even have access to a wonder of cogwork from the esteemed Academy, to which I even picked up a new invention known as a "pocket watch". Truly a wonder to behold and watch. To sit on a bench and witness the world go by, never being bored for a minute.
Prompts Advent Calendar #17 WorldEmber Article #19
Sometime in the Third Era during the height of the Empire of Midland
Alca-Tief (original colonial name)
For a Brief History of Alca and Extent of the Criminal Corruption in the City, please refer to:
Organization | Feb 19, 2022
Written for Prompt 12 (2020 Advent Calendar) - The Realm-Wide Infamous Criminal Organisation
A Note From Hackelburg
The Storm Coast is under immediate threat, Doge Ludovico. The Kushan Empire are pissing on our sovereignty, with troops rushing up the north. They capitalised on the civil war in Cerus, walked through the recently ruined Zaral, and devastated Borduria to form a client state and I do not need to remind you that this subjugation of Borduria breaks the pact of neutrality the Storm Coast had with both parties in these tense times. The uprising in Krakhozia is no happenchance either, My Doge, it is a further instigation of war against peaceful neutral parties. Clear as day with Kushan influence all over Krakhozia. We will most certainly be next and you think they'll stop? The entire Storm Coast will fly the banner of the Dragon-Elf Empire before the Great War finally comes, and that'll mean no trade with you Doge. They broke one pact, I doubt they'll stop with us. But you are more influential than us with the Empire, you can squeeze them in the coffers where it hurts if they don't back down. You can keep the trade markets open. If you do not send the required influence through the Empire to call off this unjust invasion of our people we will have to do nothing but inform the Siblings and ask aid of other forces. We all are having the same Nightmares these days don't you forget.
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I love the contrast between your description of the beauty of the cove's jellyfish waters, compared to the following lines about crime. That got me to chuckle.
Thank you :-)
Makes you feel the atmosphere of the place! A shame the links don't show short summary excerpts, and suffers a bit from run-on sentences.
Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
Yes, definitely the downside of my current system.. If I think of an alternative I aesthetically like before WorldEmber finishes you'll probably see the update!
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
Ooo jellyfish waters. <3 This sounds like a beautiful, interesting place that I'd love to visit, despite the whole criminal mafia thing. I really love the diversity in the races that do business there.
Definitely a place I will probably keep expanding the quote at the bottom for to truly show the diversity of the market! So long as someone stays under the Fierny radar, I'm sure it will be a fantastic place to stay or visit :-)
I love all the rich details you've supplied here, and the prose is a really fun way to tie your world together!
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed :D I'm trying to put at least one excerpt from an in-universe book for every article to make that one of my running themes of this world :-)
I love that ^_^
Jeez, David! You describe it all in such a fine detail, every time I think it's like a briefing from some other world, you're visiting. And I hate it when hovering over some stuff I only find the info "Written for ptompt X of WorldEmber 2020". Nicely written! Neat and complex. :)
There we go! I bit the bullet and made B I G briefings and I don't think it turned out too well! Hopefully this article looks better for you than before ;-)