Hastellion Trading Company
Based in the city of Hastellion in Bar-Sunar Province, from which it takes its name, the Hastellion Trading Company is the largest privately operated mercantile operation in the whole of Kelbonnar. The company has warehouses in all of the major settlements in the Empire, trading concerns and shops in many more and has fleets of ships, wagons and Firewings which bring the goods of the world to anywhere that has enough coin to spend on them. The heads of the Trading Company have significant influence within the Empire, and several members of the Macheniolli Family are members of the Imperial Court and even more impressively have access to the ear of the Emperor, and the family has a long history of providing people to fill important positions of state, Satraps, Colonial Governors and most controversially, several previous heads of the Imperial Inquisition. This means that the Hastellion Trading Company has a tremendous amount of power, influence and respect within Kelbonnar. Their influence has grown to the point where several cities, including their home base of Hastellion are directly governed by a Mercantile Board, selected by the Trading Company. The centuries that they have been operating has taught the heads of the Hastellion Trading Company one thing, as long as the Imperial Treasury gets their share of tax, they can get away with owning the world.
The Company is run by a Board of Governors, a committee that is comprised of 50 members, which is Chaired by the Head of the Macheniolli Family. The Board is partly made up of employees of the Company who have proved themselves to be exceptionally usefully, and who have been given senior roles within the organisation, who are referred to as Mercantile Members; members of the Macheniolli Family, who are referred to as Investor Members, and several seats are reserved for members of the Imperial Court, known as Observer Members to attend meetings if they so wish. The Macheniolli Family has always been careful to ensure that there are always more Investor Members on the Board than there are Mercantile Members, to ensure that what the head of the family wants is what happens within the Trading Company. The inclusion of seats for members of the Imperial Court is also a shrewdly calculated move as it has allowed the Trading Company to act pretty much as they want, but with the façade of the Imperial blessing on their actions. Though technically the Observer Members are selected by the Imperial Court, rather than the Trading Company, the Macheniolli Family has always ensured that the right amount of coin ends up in the right hands so that they always assigned Observer Members from the court who either never show up, or who are always favourable to activities of the family if they do. Beneath the level of the Board of Governors are a whole cohort of other middle managers who run the Hastellion Trading Company’s concerns on behalf of the Macheniolli Family. The Mercantile Members who sit on the Board act as area managers and who run a staff of Junior Mercantile Members, who likewise control a staff of Company Traders who undertake most of the ground work. The Trading Companies influence means that there are also several cities across Kelbonnar that are governed directly by the Company itself, with leave being granted for this by the requisite Satrap of the Province each city is located in, who is keenly aware of the kick back they will receive for allowing these arrangements to continue. These cities are governed by a Mercantile Board, headed by a Mercantile Member, with the remaining seats being filled by Junior Mercantile Members, with some reserved for important or favoured members of the community it governs.
Ostensibly the public agenda for the Hastellion Trading Company is to:
Bring the bounty of Kelbonnar to all corners of the Empire.In reality, it is clear that the real agenda of the Trading Company; which though not explicitly stated, is obvious public knowledge, is to accumulate as much wealth and power for the Macheniolli Family as possible.
The Hastellion Trading Company has an enormous network of shops, warehouses and regional headquarters spread throughout the Provinces of the Empire and they have large fleets of land vehicles, ships and Firewings to keep all of the parts of their network supplied with goods and to ensure that profits are ferried safely back to the notoriously secure vault that the Company maintains beneath their headquarters in Hastellion. The amount of monetary wealth, in both ready cash and reserves, that the Trading Company has access to is a closely guarded secret, but it is rumoured to be enough gold to cause a global crash in the price of the metal and the value of the Imperial Coinage if even a fraction of it was released on mass into general circulation. Several cities, including their home base of Hastellion are included in the list of the Company’s asset as they are directly run by the Trading Company and all of the resources and services based therein are at the disposal of the Macheniolli Family.
The origins of the Hastellion Trading Company are oddly shrouded in secrecy, with all that is stated about the origins of the Company being that Zebedee Macheniolli founded the enterprise in the back streets of Hastellion a couple of decades after the declaration of the Empire of Turelion's predominance over Kelbonnar, and the creation of Bar-Sunar Province. Though the establishment of the business is not in itself unusual, as many people established trading concerns at the birth of the Empire, hoping to capitalise on the increased ease of trade between the Provinces, it is strange that out of all of the ones established in Hastellion, it was Macheniolli’s that swiftly became predominant. By 35AIF, the Hastellion Trading Company was large enough that it held a monopoly over trading activities in the city, and less than five years later it was the main commercial player in the whole of Bar-Sunar. By the 60sAIF the Trading Company had pretty much achieved its position of dominance in Kelbonnar, and had established its favourable links with the Imperial Court. The Macheniolli Family’s and the Hastellion Trading Company’s rise to and maintenance of their astounding success has raised a number of rumours of foul play; that they have intimidated their competition, sabotaged their competitors warehouses, ships and shops, and even resorted to murder. Though individual cases and claims of these are easy to come by, the Trading Company’s influence in the right places means that accusations of all sorts simply slide off them and are quickly forgotten.