Ethcabar

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Antara-Ethcabar
Information
Realm: Mouth of Nie Valley, south of Elgar Forest, west of Aslar
Year Founded: Approximately 2100 BT
Government: Independent City-State
Head of State: Council of Merchants


Antara-Ethcabar is a free port city located at the mouth of the Nie River. In its near forgotten early days, it was part of a collection of cities and farmlands that made Ronids. However, the arrival of tribes who would one day become known as the Assi drove Rondissian power to its current stronghold in the Connemara Mountains, leaving the well-defended Antara-Ethcabar in control of its own fate.

History

Antara’s early history began about two thousand years ago when Rondis occupied the Nie Valley from the Connemara Mountains to the South Sea. Its fortified city walls were built to withstand invasions by sea, river, and land. Assi raiders gradually overtook large swaths of Rondis until Antara’s parent nation became a secluded and isolationist kingdom that used the Connemara as part of its natural defenses. However Antara continued to thrive for over a millenia due to its fortifications and mercantile economy. After being separated from Rondis, it also became a free city without nobility. Instead merchants became the ruling class.

170 years ago Arangoth’s then ruler, King Ware, made a failed attempt to invade and conquer Antara. The free city harbored Korthai pirates, who were considered enemies of Arangoth at the time after they were driven out of Arania. In retaliation King Ware demanded that Antara submit to a suzerainty and pay an enormous indemnity. Antara refused to comply. A combination of unforeseen weather, the logistical nightmare of crossing the Elgar, and Antara’s alliance with Aslar forced King Ware to retreat.

Antara’s recent history has been a time of continued prosperity. In 479, to ensure that all bills are paid by even the most powerful merchant families the Council of Merchants established a centralized bank called the Bank of Antara.

Districts

Map of Antara

Antara-Ethcabar’s districts were redrawn after their independence to accommodate the new style of rule in the city-state. While many of the ancient stone and wood buildings still stand in the South Gate and Silver Cross districts, most structures are relatively new elsewhere in the city.

Aside from the docks, the city is contained within well-maintained and heavily fortified stone walls. This has necessitated some ingenuity in irrigation and storm drainage through protected tunnels.

Port District

The Port District contains the wharves, many warehouses, shipwrights’ workshops, and navy yard. A lighthouse was built into the wall on the west side of this district. Antara-Ethcabar’s port authority has offices here. The military barracks in this district house and train infantry who man the walls and bastions. The majority of lower income residents live in this area. Dingy taverns and brothels provide entertainment for the common rabble, and if someone has the right connections they can sell or buy just about anything in the city’s prolific black market.

Craftsman's Quarter

Industry is contained here, with only a few residences along the perimeter adjacent to other districts. Antara has few natural resources, but raw materials imported from abroad provide artisans most of they need to produce basic and luxury goods.

Trade Town

This is the most bustling and condensed district. Independent bankers and lenders conduct business here. Two markets sell local and imported wares. A lower class market is close to the Craftsman's Quarter and is sparse, while the high end market has a large fountain, cobblestone paving, and brightly colored stalls. A park adjacent to the high end market is where many well-to-do friends and couples stroll, though it’s also a favorite spot for pick pockets. Taverns and inns provide food and lodging for locals and travelers. The Silver Leaf Inn is in this district and is close to the low end market and park. It is perhaps the most well-known establishment in and outside of Antara-Ethcabar. The Church of Menxvan is at the heart of the city in this district. It’s the tallest structure in Antara-Ethcabar. The triangular base has gardens that surround a dome and spire with a bright beacon on top. The main garrison for the city guards and chancellery are in this district, adjacent to The Merchants’ Manor’s walls. Middle class residents primarily live in this area.

Silver Leaf Inn

The Silver Leaf Inn is said to be one of the most well-known taverns in Siveth. Despite that, its history has been muddled with each change of ownership. All that’s known is that’s it’s existed for a long time and the current owners are a man, Minun Rashdis, and his sister, Mikora - both humans. Minun was an employee at the inn until he saved up enough to buy the place when the last owner retired eight years ago. Mikora was working for the Bank of Antara-Ethcabar but quit to help her brother.

The head barmaid is an ugly but flirtatious middle-aged human woman named Palandra. She also manages the inn rooms.

The inn rooms are comfortably sized and affordable, but there’s a light crust on everything from poor housekeeping.

The food here is curiously mediocre for such a well-known place, but the drink menu is extensive with prices many can afford.

Patrons from all economic classes frequent this inn, which makes this a place to hear local gossip.

South Gate

Despite the simple name, this is the wealthiest district in Antara-Ethcabar. The most prominent merchant families live in large multigenerational households. A spattering of embassies dot the area, with Aslar having the most distinguished one. Some buildings spilled out of the city walls, but these are mainly stables for horses in an area informally known as Foal’s Run.

Silver Cross

The University of Antara, many churches, and the Bank of Antara-Ethcabar are in this district. This area has many of the nicest inns and taverns with some that are affordable to even middle class travelers. Many physicians work in this area, with volunteer clinics tending laborers wounded while working in the Craftsman's Quarter or Port District.

The Merchants Manor

A small ancient castle that was built when Rondis still reigned in the area was repurposed after independence to be the administrative building for Antara-Ethcabar’s government. The Merchant’s Council meets here to make important decisions about running the city. Diplomats and ambassadors are given an audience in one of the many stately studies. Representatives selected from the city’s populace also have offices here.

Peddler’s Lament

This is an impromptu, high density neighborhood outside of the city walls for the most destitute residents. The residents here weren’t the ones who named their home.

Government

Antara is governed by a Council of Merchants comprised of the seven wealthiest merchants in the city. Despite the lack of hereditary nobility titles, many prominent merchant families have passed down seats among relatives for generations. Men and women may be on the council, but men have always been the majority. Not all merchant families maintain their hold on a seat as family feuds and financial mismanagement often contribute to a storied lineage’s downfall.

The Council of Merchants manages the city-states finances, makes trade deals, and ensures that public officials are paid their due salaries.

An advisory board assists the council in making decisions for the city, with a representative selected from various civic and private groups to serve their city.

Military

Antara has a minimal military presence. Historically it's relied on its ancient fortified walls and an alliance with Aslar to keep aggressors at bay. However they do have a small navy to protect their harbor and enough of an army to man the wall’s towers, gates, and other defensive structures as necessary.

Society and Peoples

This free port city is known as Antara in the original Limbri language of Rondis or Ethcabar in Aslaran. People often hyphenate the name as Antara-Ethcabar or use either name in either language interchangeably.

Antara has a stratified society with lower, middle, and upper classes dictated by profession and, with that, income. The lower class consists of manual laborers and farmers. Middle class includes artisans, journeymen, and certain medical professions. Merchants make up the bulk of the upper class, and skilled physicians may find themselves reputable enough to join high society.

Many in the lower class and the majority in the middle class are comfortable in Antara, but there is nonetheless a large gap between them and the wealthiest merchants. Still, the merchants rely on the lower classes to generate goods for export, so it suits them to not horribly mistreat artisans and manual laborers. There are also many philanthropic organizations that both help the less fortunate and provide added social prestige for the merchant philanthropists in upper echelon circles.

Upward mobility is possible in Antara-Ethcabar, but those entering the mercantile trade have to compete with well established merchants who wield their fortune to maintain their power and influence.

Corruption is rife in this city, with many merchants bribing supposed arbiters of justice to turn their cheek from wrongdoings. Slavery and orcish goods are examples of illicit trades, but merchants have been known to get away scot-free even after being caught. It's made the city a frequent pit stop for pirates and smugglers favored by influential merchants. Korthai were once frequently seen in Antara, but the pirate race's conflict with the city's closest ally, Aslar, has made them a less frequent sight.

Many different languages are spoken in Antara, but Arangothek is the primary language of the city due to immigration out of the Elgar when the woods overtook what were once farmlands.

Religion

As a diverse city many religions are practiced in Antara-Ethcabar, and the Council of Merchants has historically never declared a national religion. However, as with many things in this city, the ability to wield vast sums of money for influence has sometimes garnered the favor of one religion over others. This is most apparent in the placement of an opulent Temple of Menxvan at the heart of Antara, which was built with the help of wealthy benefactors.