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Histories of the Stronghold District, Traders' Corridor and the Foreign Quarter

by AllanP

At the beginning of Traldarís Dark Age (around 800BC), Vandar tribesmen from the Hin lands reached Marilenev, and settled the site now known as the Stronghold district. The Traldar kings welcomed them to help repopulate the town after its losses created by the threat of a Beastmen invasion. Within three centuries, the fusion of Vandars and Traldars resulted in a new race - the Traladarans.

Outside the core of Marilenev, on the riverís edge near the Vandar settlement, a small fishing community sprang up in the seventh century before the crowning of the first Thyatian emperor. As well as the beginnings of a fishing industry, the area ooperated as a trading port for river and coastal traffic, gaining the name Tradersí Corridor. This site was visited by Minrothaddans who established an early relationship with Traladara. A Minrothist Shrine was established nearby for Minrothad mariners and traders.

As well as water-based trade, land-based trade from Marilenev expanded with the market area that developed around 500BC. An outgrowth of this trade market was the appearance of temporary camps for visiting merchants set up north of the farmlands. This was the precursor of the present-day Foreign Quarter.

Over the next several centuries, Marilenevís trading expanded as its commerce reached Minroth, The Five Shires, Darokin, Ylarum, Rockhome, the Gnome Caravan, and Thyatis. The growth of se-borne trade saw the immediate area around Mirror Bay developed to provide berthing and cargo facilities for vessels from overseas.

The failure of the Traladaran League in 612AC left the Duchy of Marilenev deprived of much of its political power. The Radu family (a powerful merchant group) lead the trade guild in ousting Duke Alexandr Marilenev and create an oligarchic republic, the City-State of Marilenev imitially controlled from the Stronghold district. The Radus solidifed their hold on the merchant guild in the coming centuries. They gained popular among the people through acts of charity, like digging the great irrigation channel during the Great Drought (613AC). In 675AC Illija Radu fortified the Stronghold district and started a political campaign to extend the fortifications to whole town. The construction of the city walls was financed by Marilenevís Town Council in 681AC as the Vampire Wars rage across Traladara. The Radu family remains a powerful faction in present-day Specularum exercising its control of the Merchantsí Guild, of the Stronghold district and of other activities.

It was not until 802AC that Dwarves built the first permanent blocks of the Foreign Quarter. This was in the area north of the city wall. The Dwarven section was soon joined by areas populated by Darokinians and Hin as well as Ylari tribes. Minroth traders and seamen took up residence closer to Traders Corridor. The expanding Foreign Quarter became a vibrant centre for merchants and traders from other lands. In 860AC, the House of Hallonica built its offices in what has become the Darokin neighbourhood of the Foreign Quarter. Ruling guild master of Moinrothad, Kitrina Meditor, passed the Isolation Act in 890AC prohibiting immigration and most visitors to Minrothad. As result, the Minrothad area near Traders Corridor maintained a distance from the other non-Traladaran districts of the Foreign Quarter.

Following the Thhyatian Occupation in 900AC, the Hallonoca Building is sold to the Torenescu family just 40 years after its construction. The Darokinian neighbourhood of the Foreign Quarter sees an influx of Thyatian and Monrothaddan settlers. The arrival of the Thyatians led to a partial retreat of the Darokin merchants -- given the instability of the area in the first year, many of them chose to minimize their losses by withdrawing at least part of their operations from Traladara. Buildings were consequently sold or rented to get some return on the investments. One sale resulted in the acquisition of a site where a team of Augrist workaholic dwarves built the Augrist Temple in the Foreign Quarter initially for the benefit of the Minrothaddans who had migrated to that neignbourhood. To this day, the temple has a permanent work-in-progress look. During the early years of the Occupation, many Thyatians moved in to help the provincial governors as their civilian administration, as well as part of the Thyatian military machine, and settled initially in the Darokinian district. However, during the following years the Thyatians built new residences in the city (especially after the major works in the Church district and Bricktop), within the protection of the city walls, and the Darokinians returned as soon as it was clear that the Traladaran province was going to stay.

After Duke Stefanís acquisition of Traladara in 970AC, he opens up trade with the Kingdom of Ierendi. The year 973AC sees many Ierendian immigrants settling in the Foreign Quarter. Also, the Darokinian House Hallonica buys back the Hallonica Building in the Foreign Quarter from the Torenescu clan, and opens an official branch in Specularum. This district while still largely Darokinian has a slightly more cosmopolitan air, given that it houses the Augrist Temple, some Hin businesses, as well as some Thyatians who remained there.

Duke Stefanís construction plans for the newly-named Specularum in the first decade of his rule include the building of an outer city wall that provides not only a secure Dukeís Park and extended development for the South End, but also increases the old cityís links with the Foreign Quarter. However, the Minrothaddan isolationist stance at that time results in their enclave near Traders Corridor remaining outside the city fortifications. It is not until 991AC that Oran Meditor rescinds the Isolation Act and opens Minrothad to outside contact.

The aspect I haven't yet sorted out in my mind is reconciling the description of Traders' Corridor at 1000AC as given in GAZ1

Tradersí Corridor
The strip of land, right by the shore, is not protected by the cityís old tide wall. It is where the major shipping and shipbuilding businesses are located; there are also several fish-markets along this strip of territory. In general this area has numerous piers, warehouses, and merchant-related businesses; overseas passage is booked here; international messages pass through here; cargo from all over the world is received here and reciprocal cargo is sent out.

(The description in K:KoA is practically identical)

The way Traders' Corridor is decribed, it seems moreimportant than the Docks that surround Mirror Bay. In my text above I have assumed that the Mirror Bay Docks began to develop during the 6th and 7th centuries AC (prior to the formation oftheMariners Guild in the eigth century AC). They would have provided the major overseas -bound facilities through to the Thyatian Occupation. I imagine the Thyatians continued development of the Docks area, probably building a naval base and constructing the Sea Gate. In Stefan;s era, Mirror Bay is home to Naval Shipyards (GAZ1) as well as commercial traffic (as per "Of Nests and Nations" in Dungeon #13). So I'm not completely clear about how Traders'Corridor and the Mirror Bay Docks co-exist. Apart from the Naval Yards, is Mirror Bay controlled by theRadu, Torenescu and Vorloi factions? Do other merchants, traders, etc have to conduct their business through Traders' Corridor? IIRC when we discussed this some time back, it wasnoted that Mirror Bay provided a deep natural harbour, while the Traders' Corridor piers were likely to be in a shallower part of the river (subject to tides?) and with less room to maneuver large vessels..