The settlement that turned the war.
"People too often work from a position of scarcity, when the truth would make every man, woman, and child wealthy. Life is a goldmine...and the more you share the gold you find with others, the more you will always find upon your return to its source."Westgaiden is perhaps the most frequently quoted and referred to settlement in the history of Humär. Not only was it a thriving community, willing to welcome any honest soul seeking to improve their lives--it was an example of what could happen when cooperation supplanted competition.
The Settlement of the ImpossibleIn less than a decade, Westgaiden became known as the wealthiest settlement in Andilain. The twin cities (Westgaiden West - a port/trade community & Westgaiden East - a mining community) prospered with commercial trade, contracts with Lords and Kings both in Andilain and established alliance connections through High King Gaston. Weapons, armor, rare components, foodstuffs (both dried and fresh), as well as wealth from the ore mines, became the main staples of his multi-business industry--shipped to Humans, Evolu and Kutollum people. Westgaiden’s founder, Gaiden Westmyr, became famous among the people, both in his own community as well as among humans across Andilain. Known for his ability to identify and exploit the talents in others, he was given the title of ‘Grand Mentor’ by the King himself. While amply providing for the needs and wants of workers, he used his vast wealth to start new enterprises at every turn, earning Westgaiden a reputation as the place to strike your fortune. If an industry could be created around an exceptional talent within the members of the community, resources would be used to fund its development. This is one of the traits which truly made this settlement shine. Gaiden Westmyr established a standing policy to personally invest in the hopes and dreams of others, and in return, used their labor, talent and determination to succeed and prosper everyone involved. Those who proved themselves were given the opportunity to take over the business management and buy out both Gaiden and the city’s portion, owning their business free and clear. Those who did so paid a flat tribute each year in two portions: a minor portion to Gaiden (which went into a common pool to help other citizens with dreams) and a greater portion to honor and assist High King Gaston, protector of the people. At the height of the community, it was rumored that Gaiden Westmyr had coffers of gold greater than any king. The truth was, money meant little to Gaiden the greater his dreams grew. It was the welfare and future of the people which motivated his every decision and every action in life. Even those who had no formidable talents, but were willing to labor, found Westgaiden to be the place of safety, order, hope and dreams.
Though Westgaiden started out as a primarily human settlement, the war with Mahan brough refugees to the town, allowing for both growth in population and skill sets. At its height, Westgaiden was a hub of commerce and manufactured hundreds of products through both general and cottage industry. This involved humans, Evolu, Iskari, Kutollum and even the occasional Getti from across the sea.
Besides the militia, which was created by faithful and motivated citizens of Westgaiden, a permanent army was employed exclusively by the personal funds of Gaiden Westmyr. It was said that his will contained more that 2/3rds of his estate to be liquidated to continue paying the faithful protectors of the city, held in perpetuity.
Westgaiden, from its inception, was the only completely independent community outside the commerce routes of Andilain.
A Unique Government
Westgaiden, unlike any other settlement in the Kingdom of the time, functioned by a United Charter, drafted and implemented by Gaiden Westmyr. At first, he ran the growing settlement under the hand of hired mercenaries, enforcing his methods of business--slowly easing the tension and signing other merchants, artisans and citizens to the charter, sharing in both power and profit. All citizens were required to serve for two years as part of Westgaiden's militia, protecting both home and business for all. Once service was done, a person was given permanent citizenship and a license to do business without taxation. Those who chose NOT to serve were required to leave the community. Taxes were paid through merchants who profited from the import/export of products and services, as well as storage fees within city limits.