Its claws wrap around gold and gems, and with them it builds an empire. Beware the Neratoria, whose influence slinks in the shadows, pulling the strings of power.The Neratoria Cunia is the largest and richest bank on the face of Macalgra, and one of the eldest and most powerful institutions in the Sura Empire. Sometimes called the Dragon Bank of Bakieh or the Treasured Claws, the Neratoria Cunia is headquartered in Bakieh and has offices in most major cities of the east; with its influence known worldwide, the Cunia funds kings, would-be-usurpers, guilds and corporations alike, and is contended by many to be the richest organisation in the world. Neratoria Cunia was founded around 1107 YSB when the Neratoria, its mysterious founder, moved to Bakieh. The bank has persisted in the two thousand years since, growing from a minor local institution to a global influence, and in that time graduating from offices in the merchant quarter to a citadel larger than that of the Prince of Bakieh.
Power within the Neratoria Cunia is centralised in one individual - the Neratoria. An immense and ancient dragon, whose personal interests are one and the same as the banks. The institution is privately owned and controlled by the Neratoria, and indeed named after them. Under the Neratoria, the bank employs countless individuals - coin counters, couriers, mercenaries, clerks and accountants. It's daily operation at each of the bank's numerous branches are managed by trusted bursars. The most influential branches, such as its offices in Senet'tu, Sura City and Juventius City are managed directly by children of the Neratoria.
The agenda of the Neratoria Cunia to the rest of the world could be argued to differ greatly than its own private agenda; in essence, the Neratoria Cunia aims to create wealth for the hoard of the Neratoria. It more publicly states its goals as providing better security for the wealthy and therefore reducing theft, and to invest in the wellbeing of Bakieh and greater Sura.
The assets of the Cunia are vast; beyond the Dax Bakieh, its fortress in Bakieh, the bank also owns offices in almost every major city on the vast of Macalgra, investments across Victellus - including vast landholdings, mostly purchased before the agricultural collapse of the 29th century, and great hoards of gold. Most governments of the world have at least some debt to the Neratoria Cunia, further increasing its wealth.
The Neratoria Cunia was founded by the Neratoria in 1107 YSB. It was some years before that the Neratoria traveled from Sarirpala and settled in Bakieh by the permission of the Prince of Bakieh. The Neratoria, an ancient dragon and one of the few of its kind to travel beyond their great holy city, grew to great wealth investing in the trade that flowed from and to Bakieh, and in time used its wealth to found the Cunia. The Cunia had humble beginnings in a small building in the merchant quarter of Bakieh, but it proved immensely successful. A dragon's ability to wait centuries to see an investment come to fruition, as well as a fearsome reputation that cowed any mortal thieves, assured the good prospects of the bank. The true height of the Cunia's power took several more centuries to achieve and did not come unhindered. It was during 15th century that the Sura Empire crossed the sea to assault the kingdoms of Victellus, and the Princes of Bakieh become heavily indebted to the Neratoria Cunia funding their defense of the city state from Suran assault. Ultimately, the city fell in 1422 YSB but the Cunia was unassaulted, even the armies of Sura fearful to cross a dragon. The Neratoria signed the Seven Scale Pact with the Suran Emperor a year later, assuring the Cunia freedom from tax or tariff and legal status equal to a sovereign nation, in return for the Neratoria's acquiescence to Bakieh's conquest. The Cunia's history over the following centuries was not particularly notable. The bank made a point of remaining a neutral party when it came to conflict, by which it meant that it lent to all sides. It gained popularity as a deposit holder for the Suran nobility in the late first millennium, as Bakieh became known as a stable and successful trade city. The lure of a dragon guarding your wealth offered unparalleled security, and the Neratoria Cunia made significant profit from charging security fees. The bank purchased the Dax Bakieh in 1899 YSB from House Ermitia. Previously home of the Prince of Bakieh, Ermitia had moved to a country estate outside the city some decades before, and so the Dax was secured as the bank's new home. The location where the Dax stood offered great security and the ability for the Cunia to expand, and further the size of the banks founder had now outgrown its old quarters. The Dax was almost entirely rebuilt before the Cunia moved in 2015 YSB. An impressive complex was constructed in the style of the local Armorta people, upon a traditional palace platform, with a white stone wall ringing the inner compound, presenting an impressive view of the Neratoria Cunia to the entire city. The approach to the bank's inner sanctum was secured with new lapis lazuli-covered gates in the style of Sarirpala's famous gates, and vaults were dug beneath the complex. This new symbol of the Neratoria's wealth was one of the first ostentatious displays the bank had made, and it helped to familarise the Neratoria within Suran upper society, where such displays were commonplace, and secure its new clientele who expected the utmost luxury. For bankrolling the Gold Blood War, the bank was granted a seat in the senate of the empire in 2231 YSB for partially forgiving royal debts. The Cunia came into conflict with Temple of the One and Six Gods in the following centuries. The Temple's anti-magic attitude applied even to creatures such as dragons, and so the Temple grew to begrudge the influence the Neratoria Cunia held. A long tradition of each organisation opposing every vote by the other began to grow in the Senate, which holds true till this day. The Temple attempted to use the Dark Plague of the 26th century to rally popular opinion against the Cunia, but it proved fruitless as the Neratoria had gained far too much control over the wealth of the Suran nobility, and singlehandedly paid to rebuild it's devastated home city in the following years. The great challenge the bank faced was 29th century collapse of global economics, which caused the bank to stumble; in less than five years many of its assets became worthless, and many of its depositors were rendered bankrupt. Though it suffered less than some organisations, including countries that were rendered into anarchy in a matter of months, the bank struggled for several years. The re-invigoration of the Neratoria came in 2910 when it gained the contract to product the empire's new Ytherin currency. The control of coinage itself allowed the Neratoria immense influence, and the payment of the contract revitalised its devastated fortunes. From that basis, the Neratoria has re-established itself in the present time as an unparalleled financial behemoth.
Ytherin coin issued by the Neratoria Cunia, bearing the bank's sigil of two wings.
Dragon Bank of Bakieh
Written for the Rise to Power Patreon Master's Monthly challenge 2018.