Chapter 0 Prologue
Chapter 0: Prologue
Singwa hung high up in the sky as always, sending light and warmth down to the streets.
The massive statue of Singwa, the God of the Sun, Light and War, under the illumination of sunlight, stood shiny and gleaming at the shrine, exuding an air of magnificence.
Morante City, the capital of the Forde Trade Union, was the largest trade and port city in the Grindia Continent.
This city had the largest amount of shrines dedicated a pantheon of deities, earning the city the moniker: The City of Shrines.
It also had the most academies on the whole continent, among which included seven of the top ten highest ranked ones, causing it to also be known as the Academy City.
This was the most populated city on the Grindia continent; it had a population which numbered almost eight hundred thousand.
Over here, businesses flourished and people came and go. The amount of gold coins circulating in the daily economy of the city usually amounts to millions. Countless mercenaries, swordsmen, adventurers, artisans, peddlers as well as the common folk and slaves each with their own dreams and aspirations.
The bards often sang about how this city was a favored land of the gods, a land rich with wealth and prosperity…
The second largest waterway on the Grindia Continent, the Silver River, silently nourished the Falik Plains and entered the seas from the west part of the city, giving rise to a bay filled with hidden treasures and a great maritime armada.
The vast and rich Falik Plains, thanks to the abundant sunlight, produced various goods including honey, allowing the city to grow larger and larger thanks to the yearly harvest.
167 years ago, the Archduke of the old Falik Empire, Forde Morante suddenly announced a reform that led to the relinquishing of the hereditary feudal lord system and the adoption of the republic system. Serfdom was also abolished, liberating up to 400 thousand serfs. This reform greatly startled the various nations on the continent.
Greatly advocating trading as a means to develop the nation, Archduke Forde Morante rallied six other merchant guilds under one banner, forming the Forde Trade Union and began to trade with various other countries. This was later recorded in history as the Great Forde Reformation.
The newly-founded trade union embraced freedom and openness, causing hordes of wealth-hungry people to flock over as well as inciting jealousy from various other powers.
The Krissen Empire, one of the three great empires of the Grindia Continent, declared the Great Morante Reformation to be illegal and proceeded to invade the Falik Plains, starting a war the lasted more than a hundred years.
The newborn Forde Trade Union however did not yield. Rallying countless slaves under the banner of freedom, they met the invasion with similar appalling force. For more than a hundred years, blood stained across the Falik Plains.
Two Krissen emperors, more than ten dukes and countless elite soldiers fell at the Falik Plains to the forces of Morante City. However, the bright blue flag of the Forde Trade Union stood proud and tall.
Over the countless years of war, the trade union grew stronger. With 100 thousand warriors and clever plots, they dealt the empire a final blow that brought down the sole Sword Saint of the empire, winning themselves twenty years of peace and sending the Krissen Empire down the path of decay.
Following the Krissen Empire’s last emperor’s death by sickbed, the three princes started an internal power struggle for the throne, further crippling the already dying empire and allowing the trade union to be free of their threat and to rise and prosper. Within those twenty years, the trade union apexed and became the top superpower on the Grindia Continent. The influence the union had on trade throughout the continent was immeasurably great.
Morante City, the city that persisted, the capital of freedom. Originally, it was known as the Seaview Citadel. To commemorate the great deeds of Forde Morante for fending off the Krissen Empire’s invasion, the name was changed to Morante City. To accommodate for rapid economic development, the Forde Trade Union commissioned for thirty six other districts to be built outside the citadel’s walls as well as a new wall surrounding the newly-built districts, dividing the city into the outer walls and the inner walls.
But Morante himself didn’t call the different sectors of the city that. He termed the inner part the Upper City Sector and City Core. The west outer part was called the Academic Sector, which contained about twenty academies of various disciplines. The northwest part of the outer city contained the Naval Sector, the Port Sector the Business Sector, which occupied the most space, and the Camp Sector which was where non-residents usually resided. To the northeast of the city was the Garrison Sector and the rest of the east and south parts were the Residential Sector.
Although Morante City was the capital of the Forde Trade Union, the union’s highest council was not responsible for the city’s management. Instead, the city’s management was handled by a mayor in the City Core who was elected once every five years by the union council. After the mayor’s five-year term, the council collects evaluations from one representative from every district and decides if the current mayor will take on another term.
The Forde Trade Union was faced with powerful underworld syndicates which resulted in sky high expenditures during the time of its formation. So, to prevent corruption and to streamline the administration process, they set up a brilliant new policy from a mercantile perspective: They legalized the syndicates and put them in charge of the security, taxes and hygiene of the various districts of the city. This achieved multiple things. Firstly, each and every syndicate kept each other in check and prevented the rise of an uncontrollable major syndicate. Second, this decreased the city management’s expenditures and human resources by a huge fraction. Lastly, it also made the syndicates easier to manage. For example, should the citizens of a district be unhappy with the management of the syndicate in charge, the city council will remove said syndicate with the cooperation of other syndicates.
Initially, this policy was not met with much favor. However, that all changed within two years. The security of the area was greatly improved and the crime rate greatly decreased as well. The expenditures saved from having to suppress the syndicates went to the development of infrastructure, further improving the living standards of the city residents.
This result greatly surprised the naysayers of the union and it also prompted many kingdoms to reevaluate the management of the city. The conclusion was that the effectiveness of the syndicates’ management greatly surpassed that of the many kingdoms’ own officials, who were great embarrassments in comparison.
This was Morante City, a haven for merchants, filled with vigor and rife with many curiosities. Some called it heaven while others called it a city of devilish temptation and deprivation.
During the day, the streets were filled with the sound of rowdy merchants and the shrines resounded with hymns of prayer, while the nights were full of merry debauchery. This was Morante City, the city that never sleeps.