The Guilds of Telious
The Guilds of Telious have risen in influence and power over the last two centuries. They have grown to control a large amount of commerce and trade within the continent. They have introduced the start of a banking system to the continent and faster intercity communication with the new Lexigraph system.
The Informan Guild
The Informan Guild started as the Informan Messaging service two centuries ago. They provided rapid communication by messenger on horseback to the continent. This business has proved very lucrative and they have had near monopoly ever since. They have recently started testing an electronic means of communicating between the cities. The first communication has been setup between Terrous and Alfarna.
In addition to communications, the Informan Guild has started branching out into banking. They were the first to establish currency conversion in the city states. In recent years they have started issuing letters of credit so people can travel without having to carry large sums of cash. They have made deals with the governments in each of the city states to allow them to do this. This is establishing the basics of a banking system on the continent.
The Informan Guild has a strict hierarchy and is currently headed by Lady Arabeth Jorsen. The guild’s strong leadership structure allows it to adapt quickly to changing situations and has allowed it to exploit new opportunities quickly. The guild leadership is promoted from within based on those who show the most promise and initiative. This has worked very well for the guild to date.
The Mercantile Guild
The Mercantile Guild started as a loose confederation of shop owners that banded together to get better pricing. The merchants’ success led others to seek to join the confederation. Over time the membership grew to the point that the lose organization no longer worked. After several false starts the guild was organized like a corporation. Each member had stock that was assessed based on the value of his business. This gave each member representation proportional to the value they contributed. The membership then elected the leadership of the guild.
Over time the guild began to coordinate pricing to protect the membership’s margins and enter into exclusive arrangements with manufacturers that would lock out independents. They began to license caravans and as a result of all their actions they came to control trade on Telious. Today the guild controls most trade between the city states as well as deals with main manufacturers. There are a few independent groups that try and compete with the guild, and have varying degrees of success.
The Chairman of the Guild is currently Barnabus Sage. He has been in charge for the last three years. During this time he has expanded the guilds influence and made a trade deal with the largest independent trading company. This has led to a relatively peaceful year or so between the trading caravans. The future for the guild looks good and their influence continues to spread.
The Artisan Guild
The Artisan Guild original grew out craftsmen banding together to protect their pricing from the increased power of the Mercantile Guild. Originally this group was mainly craftsman, but has grown to include manufacturers, miners and others that created goods. The gild also manages apprentice programs for those looking to enter a specialized craft. The guild is present in all the major city states and does a good job of looking after its members interests.
The guild has a hierarchical structure that is split into groups. Each group has requirements for moving from level to level and each group has a representative that sits on the ruling council. The groups are the Craftsmen, which includes blacksmiths, weaponsmiths and any others that work in the traditional crafts. The next group is the Manufacturers. This group includes the workers and owners of the factories that mass produce goods. The Miners cover all the operations that gather process and sell raw materials to the Craftsmen and Manufacturers. The newest group is the Transports. This group is fighting with the Mercantile Guild to get control of rail operations and other types of shipping.
The current leader of the guild is Victor Bladewind a master weaponsmith. He is the first Quargoth to ever lead the guild. This has caused some amount of tension within the guild ranks but to date this has not led to any conflict. Under his leadership the guild is continuing its plans to expand the guilds influence and keep contracts fair with the Mercantile Guild.
The Ledgermen are the newest of the guilds, though they do not consider themselves a guild. They track down people that are wanted by others. They will take commissions from governments, companies, organizations and individuals. As long as the entity can show cause why that person should be brought to them they will take the commission. What justifies cause can very from office to office, but there are general guidelines that are to be followed. All of the City States have accepted the ledgermen and generally will not interfere with their pursuit so long as the agents do not cause disruption or break laws in the process. They have succeeded in bring some order and sanity to what had been a very chaotic endeavor.
The Ledgermen were started after several men had gotten into disputes over who had the rite to claim a fee for returning a person. In the past governments and others would hire a person to perform the job, but when word got out others would potentially get involved as well. This led to many fights and a few deaths among the men that took up the job of tracking down the wanted. They realized that an organization that can manage the claims and with a dispute system would be better than the adhoc way that things were happening. About 110 years ago eight men got together and setup the concept. It took several years, but many saw the wisdom of it and agreed to join. Those that did not were generally left alone, but the ledgermen were not above removing bad apples themselves, after all the wastes are a dangerous place.
Today the ledgermen have offices in most cities and they manage the process of tracking down the wanted for their clients. Each office has a copy of The Ledger, this is the official record of all open wanted contracts. It contains information about the person sought, what they are wanted for, the terms they should be returned under and the commission to be paid. The entry generally contains a photograph if one is available, or at least a drawing of the person. Any member of the ledgermen can attempt to fullfil a contract, unless the contract is exclusive. When someone hires the ledgermen, they can request a specific agent perform the job. In that case the contract is only open to the agent requested. To close the contract an agent brings the wanted to the ledgermen office indicated in the contract and under the terms requested. They are paid their commission and the office delivers the wanted to the party seeking them.
A copy of the Ledger is sent by messenger each day to the main office in Terrous, there the master Ledger is updated and those updates are sent out to the other offices. The ledgermen use the Informan Guild for this and have a very close working relationship with them. The main office contains a complete record of all commissions accepted by the group including the disposition of those commissions. They also maintain a list of bad actors. Individuals that have used the ledgermen for purposes other than intended. Those on this “black list” cannot hire the ledgermen and eventually find themselves on the end of a gratis commission for something they have done. This willingness to police their customers as well as themselves insures most who hire the ledgermen have a legitimate reason for doing so.
Hiring the ledgermen is easy. All one has to do is go to their local office and fill out the paperwork. Once the requested information is provided a clerk will assess the commission based known history of the individual, reason they are wanted, and any other factors that can complicate the completion of the commission. From this the clerk derives a fee to be paid and the client pays 50% upfront and the balance on completion. The ledgermen generally prefer terms that have the target brought back alive, but will accept dead or alive commissions for double the fee. They do not guarantee that a person will be brought back alive as circumstances may prevent that. In the case where an agent must kill a target during the process of apprehension, the ledgermen waive the balance owed by the client. Additionally the client as responsible for damage claims attributable to the target or the circumstances of apprehending them.
To prevent commission jumping the ledgemen have a simple system for managing the process. When the target is delivered anyone with a stake in the commission must be present. The commission paid to the agents is split evenly among them and then it is up to them to reconcile any agreements made amongst themselves. If an agent is not present they generally forfeit their claim. If they can show that their claim was stolen, then a group of ledgermen will hear the evidence and render a decision. No matter the decision the agent that loses is removed from the group. This prevents false claims as well as helps prevent commission jumping.
The ledgermen’s main office is located in Terrous. The organization is run be Miles Carson, a long time commission agent and the individual responsible for getting the city states on board. He has been in charge for almost thirty years and will be looking to retire soon. The Terrous office manager, Ilya Vander is the most likely successor.