The Company of Free Traders
"Freedom for all! Commerce through unity!" --Motto
Merchant's MilitiaThe Company of Free Traders is the last widespread coalition of merchants in Ravengrin. They have facilitated significant amounts of trade all throughout the land and history of Eitridea, and have been the dominant faction compared to their contemporaries almost since their founding in 63 ALF. The Company is a multi-functional trader's guild, offering multiple different services. While there are many independent merchant caravans traveling all over Old Eitridea and beyond in the name of the Company, their main services are that of providing security details to escort caravans unaligned with the company, as well as large scale distance transport of freight. Certain branches of the Company are known to function as something far more akin to a mercenary militia than a merchant's guild.
Commercial OxymoronDespite their name, the Company of Free Traders are far from free. Military and freight services come at a high cost to those not part of the Company, and there is a distinct level of prejudice between Company-aligned merchants and those that remain independent. Those that can pay, however, have an amount of insurance of security that it increasingly rare in Ravengrin. A monopoly on such a valuable commodity means that the Company wields incredible power, and factions all over Ravengrin strive to remain in their good graces. To be cut off from the Company can spell utter doom for entire provinces.
HistoryThe Company of Free Traders was founded in 63 ALF, arising from a factionalizing of a handful of wealthy mercantile mercenaries. This small coalition quickly expanded, and by the turn of the century, it had reached such a size as to be nearly the most powerful organization in all of Ravengrin. It has remained much the same since then, though in recent years, even the Company of Free Traders has not been unscathed by the increasing danger of the wild lands, and the decreasing security of travel. The Company is currently led a council of prominent merchants that were, until as of late, based in Ephesia, but have recently been ousted by the Ifrinn and resettled in Valendost. This council dictates most of the goings-ons of the Company, from the largest mercenary groups down to the most insignificant caravan.