Tales from the Inner Sea
Port Caros lies on the coastal Altai Territories, a big sprawling place where the fierce nomads come to trade horses, leather items, certain spices and other goods with traders from Calvia, Padiha, Bassur and other realms. It was created some 60 years previously by the Principality of Calvia to allow trade that could circumvent Voyan influence, and it is still administered as a Calvian port, albeit one that the Altai have some degree of influence over. It has an almost cosmopolitan populace as different Altai clans come and go with their trade goods, and traders from the civilized lands visit and have embassies present. Voyans are conspicuously absent. As an average, there is a rough census of 15000 people who dwell in this cityport, with the numbers varying by 5000 from season to season.
The Calvians make a good living from the trade rights they have managed to agree between the Altai and other trading presences, and in all fairness the Calvians have been very generous with the nomads, making sure they get a cut of the traders fees in the form of more metal goods and other rarities. The Altai for that matter appreciate this surprising degree of honesty from a civilized people and are rather short with any traders who seek to go around their trading partners.
Port Caros also makes a good living dealing in the gemstones, stone and precious metals gleaned from the miners who work the fringes of the Great Range to the West. Even more profitable and definitely more dangerous is the trade that comes from the brave and some say foolish people who treat with the Dark Trolls who live in the Black Wastes to the East, where rare spices, timber, gemstones and herbs are bought from the inhuman creatures in exchange for certain metals like copper and lead (and if some folks are to be believed slaves). As the Trolls and their motivations are a mystery to most it is regarded as a risky business, and for every wealthy merchant who made his fortune on one venture to the Wastes, there are 10 tales of people who did not fare so well.
The place has a wildness much like Calvia but coupled with the Altai influence it can be regarded as an almost lawless boomtown at times, though that is not to say it lacks law, only that it can often seem arbitrary when Altai customs and Calvian law (such as it is) collide.
Most traders and people who come here wish to trade for the horses of the Altai (though other goods draw people too), but it is by no means certain that any given tribe will trade. Petitioners must impress the tribe they solicit with gifts, brave deeds and other ways before discussions even take place, and any suspicion that the animal would be treated poorly (and that includes spurs) would result in the petitioner getting beaten and banished at best, and killed at worst. Altai love their horses and would wish a potential owner to do the same.
The Port is run by a Governer selected by the Princess of Calvia who consults in all major decisions with a small council of Altai representatives; this consultation is largely a courtesy and almost a formality as the Calvians have proven to be good administrators who have never been known to cheat. A contingent of Calvian marines guard the port and the Governors residence, with whatever Altai tribes present often patrolling the streets and surrounds of the city against pirates, rogues and troublemakers.
Currently the Governor is Mirtenath Mavro, the young heiress of House Mavro, and a friend and ally of Her Serene Highness the Princess. Her stewardship has proven to be capable and profitable for all concerned and the Altai in particular are pleased with her bravery and cleverness. Certainly she has managed to keep a close eye on the various embassies of many lands that dwell here and prevent them from causing too much upset to the trade in the horses and goods that they all covet so much. Vardonne, Bassur, Padiha, Menetia, Ateliket and the Empire all maintain formal embassies of varying sizes here and all jockey for position and influence in various matters.
Religion is a mix and match, with shrines to all the major gods present, excepting Mowta, Yesann and Neraka. The Ba’Ath temple is built adjacent to the Governors residence, a Calvian Royal statement of religious tolerance and favour. This does not sit easily with the Nerukatan hierarchy in distant Armarissa, but they have little pull here and the Sunfather in the Port is a skilled politician unwilling to rock the boat for the sake of dogma. Sensu and Satrom are very well represented here as befits a sea port. There is also rumour of a Loksani shrine present, but in typical fashion it’s out of sight and any adherents of the Divine Clown must use their own wits and intelligence to locate it. The Altai hold to their own religious practices outside the port and resist any attempt to engage in religious discussion let alone conversion.
The Port is always improving and expanding, with a tithe of the trade being diverted from the coffers of Calvia to fund civic improvement. A Colissea and Racing Stadia are in the process of being built, and it is expected that once these have been constructed (Armavine engineers and architects are in charge of their building) the Port will finally have arrived and become something like a proper modern city. There is also a rumour that the Empire (with both Altai and Calvian permission) may open an Imperial Posting Station here as well, something guaranteed to assure that Port Caros is as good a place to do business in as other trading ports.