Founding of Lere
For the modern celebration of Lere’s founding, see Founder’s Day.
Almost 1,000 years ago, the Kingdom of Lere was founded by two brothers, Wamor and Castow.
They were exiled by their corrupt father from an ancient kingdom to the far east, on another land. They brought with them the just and noble citizens of their kingdom who were willing to leave their homes for the promise of a better life.
The journey was harsh, dangerous, and not everyone made it. But Wamor and Castow’s courage never faltered. For their selfless act, a god who did not wish worship in return, so chose to remain nameless, blessed Castow and Wamor. The god told them that in the next day’s journey, if they keep the sun at their back, they would come to a rich and prosperous land, and so it was. The god blessed the land, as well. So long as the noble Lere family bloodline ruled over this land, and this one kingdom was justly ruled by a benign family, it was worthy of protection. And so Lere flourished.
Lere is a mercantile empire. It has a rare export, a fruit that grows nowhere else in the world save a vast sea within Lere’s limits.
Also, given the protection, it makes a prime destination for traveling merchants. So wares from several different countries continually pour in, and consequently, Lere is more racially and culturally mixed than any other known civilized kingdom, though humans still dominate in population.
Lere is primarily run by six merchant houses.
Lere’s Merchant Houses.
The six merchant houses that make up Lere’s unofficial “royalty” are Auburn, Greymane, Stonebrook, Xiao, Rosalia, and Zahran. Per custom, every house has an official leader, as well as a steward who is entrusted to handle affairs in the leader’s absence, but will usually have some other primary function critical to the house. Stewards often function as both champion and second-in-command to the house.
The royal family of Lere, and six merchant houses make up the primary land owners over Lere. Though the land owned personally by each house does not compare to its “territory”, most of Lere is still considered to belong to one family or another, usually by way of estate fees. This is defended as tradition, and indeed is a practice extended to or near the founding of Lere. And it is explained as a means of local business owners to be given access and rights owed usually only to the richest of business owners.
In reality this is more of an accepted racket. Business owners are usually forcefully coerced into joining these “estate agreements” by whichever House officially lays claim to the respective piece of land, and defends it. When a particular business on the border of two houses becomes highly profitable, it is often “discovered” that the land originally belonged to whichever house does not currently “claim” the establishment.
Business owners who do not cooperate, or agree to pay estate fees, often find themselves the victims of arson, theft, vandalism and even flooding, in areas well above sea level. Independent merchants find themselves unable to establish stalls in the common areas during festivals or major caravan stops. And the paths to their business are often inconveniently obstructed by the house or houses who ‘own’ the surrounding property.