Deep We Go
Fallcrest Merchant's Consortium
Once, Fallcrest was a small market town, ruled by an ancient barony, a corrupt plaything of the distant New Kings who ruled over the entirety of the Hearthlands. Some time before the fall of these kingdoms, however, crude mining machines were entering service amongst the wealthier centres of imperial commerce, and the demand for alloyed metals was increasing as martial and domestic budgets swelled with the population. The baron, the last of his line, along with many of the town’s merchant guilds, began a series of mining operations that paid little attention to safety or sense; entire districts were swallowed by cave-ins, hundreds died and the town began to sink, ever so slowly, as well as growing outwards at a rate of expansion that directly mirrored the wealth of the merchants. The various guilds and burgher-houses set aside their traditional differences to create a leviathan of a monopoly, a trade union that became the Consortium. The coffers of the barony were growing empty with continued ill-advised investments and costly repairs to the town’s superstructure, with rising debts crippling his lavish lifestyle (which had always existed at the expense of his people). The Consortium presented the Baron with an ultimatum; if he gave them all rights to governance of the town, effectively ending nearly a thousand years or more of royal rule, they would pay all of his debts and effect repairs on the ravaged wasteland that the town had become.
The baron, after much debate, acceded to the requests, and returned into the weast, where his name and sordid legacy faded into legend. The Consortium began much-vaunted repairs on the town, all the while encouraging new growth and expansion, leading to the city reaching its current gargantuan sprawl. They rebuilt the baron’s palace as the Panopticon, a symbol of their influence and resulting prosperity. However, the subsidence in the town (which they had, in part, contributed to) was too great, and they succeeded in only slowing the process. Technologies have reached a point that the sinking is now barely noticeable, but much of the town is still little more than a chaos of chasms, quicksand and tilting, broken husks of former homes. Much of the initial optimism of the Consortium’s early years has carried itself on the steadily improving profits of the townspeople, and any protests are dealt with equally effectively by either the Fallcrest City Guard or the Department For Civil Reassurance.
All trade within the city, imports and exports, are controlled by committees, hearings, tribunals and councils within the Consortium itself, while a main Liaison, ruled by the High Mastiff, is the executive panel for all major governmental and financial matters. On the whole, most people do not remember any other form of governance, and tales of the Baron’s misdeeds warn them against such a system; as for a democratic vote, profits have always been high, and this is, as always, what truly matters.