|Realm:||Mouth of Nie Valley, south of Elgar Forest, west of Aslar|
|Year Founded:||Approximately 2100 BT|
|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.
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.
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.
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 at 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.
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.