The Hardby Merchants' Alliance
When the Pomarj fell to humanoid hordes, many refugees fled to the safety of Hardby. The mainly male leaders of the refugees found themselves excluded from governance, and worse still, belittled by Hardby’s famously independent-minded women. Unwilling to tolerate this state of affairs, the refugees took control of the docks and the militia, Founding the Hardby Merchants’ Alliance, they seized power in a bloodless coup. Much to the Alliance’s surprise, the Despotrix quietly accepted her deposal. Little were the merchants to know that the Gynarchy would have the last laugh.
The Alliance created the Trade Council, consisting of six merchants, six merchants, six rivermen (dockers, pilots or military officers, and one judge), to rule Hardby. Half of the rivermen and merchants are elected every three years, while every five years the Watch and staff of the Law Courts nominate the judge, usually a member of the Gynarchy.
Where once the Trade Council had few official constraints on its powers (so long as it did what the Despotrix wished), its remit is now greatly diminished. Since Greyhawk took control of Hardby, the rivermen councilors have been military officers loyal to the Directing Oligarchy, The Council is subordinate to the Military Governor and confined to discussion of strictly commercial matters. Even taxation is dictated from Greyhawk. A major cause for grievance is the waiver on tariffs given to members of the Greyhawk Union of Merchants and Traders shipping their cargoes through Hardby, a boon not extended to members of the Alliance. This has caused no small degree of resentment among Hardby’s mercantile class.
The leader of the Alliance is Perav Hulvir (LN male human Expert L5). A former longshoreman made good, Perav is a broad, bullish man who makes up in raw cunning for what he lacks in education. Under his direction, the Alliance has begun consolidating Hardby’s guilds with the message that though unity there is strength to overcome the current difficulties. Perav has recently become a drinking partner of Mirlan Rinshand, the local factor for the Royal Guild of Merchants of Aerdy. The only obvious outcome of these meetings has been a Royal Guild contract for several Alliance merchants to carry Ahlissan cargoes from Prymp to Hardby, much to the joy of the hardpressed local traders.