The League of Merchants

History Once the first Diipaa caravels successfully traversed the seas from Vrasia to the Reefwind islands, trade between the two continents quickly followed. The early days of the long crossing, as sailors called it, was rife with danger and ship lost at sea. But the rewards were even greater as the upper classes on either side developed insatiable appetites for novel treasures from across the seas. With the cargoes being limited by the stores ships needed to take on to make the journey, it quickly became apparent the fortunes that could be made if one could offer a port between the continents, and soon scores of adventurous captains and bank-chartered ships were combing the ocean in hopes of finding an island that could serve.

After over a dozen years of near constant searching by what may well have been hundreds of ships, a small caravel in the employ of a Diipaa trading house made the discovery, finding a scattered chain a few small islands in the middle of the ocean. Soon after, a grand assembly of the Diipaa captains assembled to determine how to best administer the new find. Fears abounded that some would attempt to use control of the island to establish a monopoly, and that violence would erupt to secure control, either by a rival trading house, or even by a larger and more powerful nation. The solution that was eventually arrived at was the founding of the League of Merchants. The league would be an independent conglomerate of merchant and banking houses and it would be given the newly found center islands to administer. Its chartered purpose to facilitate and regulate open trade between all nations and cities and to enforce cooperation between merchants. Major merchant and trading companies from all the major nations of the world were invited to join the League. The hope being that by giving every nation access to the new trade routes, none would be overly tempted to seize the new port for themselves.

Shortly thereafter, flotillas of ships carrying building supplies and craftsmen set out for the center islands from all corners of the world. The available sites were quickly surveyed, and an optimal bay sheltered behind a barrier island selected for the new city of Centerport.

Administration The League of merchants has two levels of membership, registered associate and league member.

The league is administered by a viceroy who is elected from the parliament for a period of 5 years and responsible for governing both the affairs of the league, and the city of centerport. The viceroy has full authority to handle administrative matter, however he must propose a budget to the parliament every year and receive funding for any new initiatives or projects.

Courts of Arbitration: A key function of the league is to act as arbiter and enforcer of disputes between trading houses. The courts of arbitration in centerpoint house appointed magistrates who hear disputes and issue rulings. There is no clearly established law applied, but rather hundred of years of tradition, a blend of different customs, and an extremely strong deference ot written contracts. While there are avenues for appeal, the ruling of the court of arbitration are taken very seriously, as all members are bound to uphold them, and the league will readily banish any parties found to be in violation from Centerport.

The Bureau of Fraud and Compliance: A secretive order of investigators, fact-finders, and enforcers utilized by the League management and the courts of arbitration to conduct investigations, gather intelligence, and act as a para-military police force for the League. Officially, the Bureau acts as fact-finders for the courts of arbitration. Magistrates of the courts call on agents of the Bureau to investigate disputes brought before the courts and investigate accusation of misconduct and fraud. In practice, the Viceroy and senior league management also use the Bureau to gather intelligence and stay abreast of the happenings in the world. Whereas most of the world’s spy networks are somewhat ad-hoc organizations, heavily influenced by the whims and paranoia’s of their respective spy masters, the Bureau is a highly professional and meticulously organized operation. Among its agents it numbers numerous experts of bookkeeping, contract, law, and financial markets, as well as more traditional spies and enforcers. It operatives enjoy extensive resources to draw upon, and in the interest of maintaining the good will of the league, the Bureau’s agents enjoy a great deal of cooperation and latitude from the authorities of most of the nations of the world.