The Last Year
The Guild of Foreign Trade
The Guild of Foreign Trade dates from when Bezantur was still “The Secret City”, filled with runaways and refugees from slave lords. The first tradesmen to achieve success realized that if they pooled their resources, they could loan money to their less fortunate fellows and build a better Bezantur. For a profit, of course.
First they needed a space to store their combined gold, safe from thieves and more importantly each other, for the business rivalries that created their fortunes were not easily put aside. They found an abandoned gold mine outside the city and sealed its only entrance with heavy gates and bars and set guards supplied by every principal investor. Each guard watched the gate, and the other guards. Over time, this distrust vanished as the investors gave up their other businesses and poured their energies into the new endeavor, originally called the The Gild after the mine. They have since moved to more spacious quarters, but they still keep their first vault, not merely to remind them of their roots, but because they did not become the world’s greatest depository of wealth by wasting assets, no matter how minor.
If you are an aspiring merchant, you come to them to buy ships and goods. If you are an aspiring shopkeeper, you come to them to buy your shop. Whatever you need in this world, they are the conduit. Even a throne can be yours if you are an aspiring king, or stay yours if you are a sitting one.
They are not the only bank in this world. Every free city has its own. But when those banks need gold, the come to the The Guild. They lend to princes, kings, merchants and tradesmen. If a prince or king cannot pay them back, well… the world lacks for loyal men, not ambitious ones. They simply fund the rise of new princes and kings, and they tend to honor the Guild’s investment. If a merchant refuses to repay them, well…the vicissitudes of trade are well known, and Bezantur is full of men who are not. One way or another, the The Guild of Foreign Trade will have its due.