Silvain Chevotet let his accounting book close with a deep, satisfying thud. He placed his pen precariously in the ink well atop his lavish, Ironwood desk, pushed his chair back, and stretched deeply, releasing the stress of the day -- then deeper, trying to further release the oncoming calamity his business faced, but failing. He rubbed his face, feeling the deep wrinkles and lines of age. So many counted on him. Not just his family but his workers as well. They were sailors, marines, packers, loaders, artisans, and even down to the farmers that worked his fields to produce fibers for his products. Each of them loved Silvain Chevotet because he was good and fair. He paid a living wage, and it was a lot more than his competitors could say. That bought him a loyalty only a priest could otherwise garner from so many people.
Silvain had started his business as a young man, a friend of farmers, who all came together under lease from the nobility to begin creating their own cloth. He had expanded from there, taking on the risk of purchasing a failing shipping business, and he had grown it into a small trading empire. He couldn't count the ships he owned on his hands, and the marines who guarded those vessels during long trading voyages saw him as their commander in chief. Then, there was all the people in between. His office staff, his accountants, local bureaucrats, and his entire supply chain. From the outside, Silvain appeared like an invincible captain of industry, but he knew he had made his share of mistakes.
And the one mistake which now haunted him, which spelled possible doom for his livelihood and those who worked for him, was now coming to haunt him. There was one Lord who had been slighted. A pale, sickly man which, at the time, Silvain had dismissed. The families which protected Silvain and his business had been so strong then. Yet, as he knew well of business, the winds of fate in Arkland change direction daily. That pale, sickly Lord had just laid claim to the area his main overland shipping route wound through, and he was demanding tax. Not just any tax, but a business crushing levy designed to put Silvain at his ultimate mercy.
Of course, Silvain couldn't stand for it. So many depended on him, and that reality weighed on him as if his neck were shackled to an anvil swinging from a chain. He had hoped to finish his long life in quiet, letting his business run itself for a few years before finally turning the reigns over to his daughter. Yet, fate wasn't going to allow that. It had one more adventure in store for him. There was going to be violence. Silvain couldn't see a way to avoid it. Yet, he was much too frail to lead it, and so, his only daughter would. His money in place, he had increased the wages of his marines, hiring a competent land commander, and their devotion to him was unmatched as were their veteran skils. He could only hope, though, that their devotion carried over to his daughter. It was her that would have to defend their business, leading of all things, battles instead of meetings.
He believed in her. He had too. One last adventure, he told himself. Nobody said making money was easy. He blew out the candle on his desk, grabbed his cane, and limped out of his office into the evening.
Arkland boasts the most powerful economy in all of Indagar. It was once rivaled by the Republic, but after Konagara was shattered, the disparate, in-fighting counties of the Lanagaran Scions could no longer stand united to rival Arkland. Arkland's economy is vast, spanning many industrial and agricultural areas. This ability to expand into so many areas of growth was fueled by the great fleets of Arkland over the last thousand years. Able to produce the finest sea-worthy vessels from Ironwood and with the military expertise of marine units, Arkland has been able to ship products to all known corners of the world.
Over the time of The Republic, Arkland became a trading and shipping hub for all of western Indagar, including trade produced by the Stars of Ixohtl and the Ramal Nations. As Arkland's wealth and culture grew, its draw to the best and brightest of the regions grew as well. Over the years, the greatest engineering and economic minds in the world have chosen the Kingdom as their home. With ample access to farmland and with the influx of talent, Arkland's growth seems limitless.
The Arkland economy therefore has been able to span many economic sources. Arkland's agricultural wealth allows it to amply support its own population. In addition, the northern grasslands are heavily used by animal herders, meaning that Arkland produces many animal products that can be used to generate income such as milk, pelts, and meat. Further, Arkland boasts some of the greatest vineyards in all of Indagar, creating a valuable export in the form of wine. Lastly, with ample field animals and farming lands, Arkland also self sustains an economy borne of fibers used to spin cloth which can be easily transformed in many of Arkland's businesses to fine cloth, clothing, and other goods.
Arkland's Ironwood forests in the King's Wald are extremely valuable all throughout the world. Not only do these special trees produce an extremely durable and malleable wood for shipbuilding, it is useful for all sorts of construction. As such, it retains a very high market value, especially due to its rarity.
Arkland also maintains a supply of ore and metal, but it also imports large quantities. Most cities within Arkland boast large forge businesses which are capable of great feats of metal work, including low grade steel. This creates yet another valuable commodity as Arkland steel is prized all throughout their normal trading routes.
Lastly, another chief export of Arkland is great ships, sold to many nations and businesses around the world. The Capital Shipyards are the prize of Arkland, but their ability to commission any ship, from fishing vessels to great trade ships, is renowned. Thus, substantial numbers of Arkland's citizens are involved in the ship building and trading business.
Then, there is everything in-between. As a thriving society, most of Arkland's cities are full of businesses, ranging from small bakeries to enormous warehouses full of goods to be sold at sea.
Trade has made Arkland on the whole, fabulously wealthy. The Bay of Kings is a natural harbor for ships with generally calm waters. All major cities in Arkland support dockyards where ships can be loaded and unloaded for long trading voyages. Goods are brought to Arkland from the corners of Indagar to be placed on shipping vessels for export to other areas of Indagar or across the seas to the Kingdom of Grandia or for especially long voyages to the areas of the west coast and even The Empire.
Use of Arkland's ships and their docks, as well as labor for moving goods, comes with the price of tariffs, levied by the King as well as by local land owners. Thus, Arkland as a whole always gets a cut of all goods which leave its ports. Since the tariffs are generally lower for Arkland citizen businesses, it is therefore quite common for raw materials to enter Arkland from outlying lands, be processed by an Arkland business, and then shipped. As such, trade is not only valuable outright to Arkland but also fuels an ever growing manufacturing empire.
Shipbuilding and Shipping
Because of Ironwood, Arkland can produce the most durable and sea-worthy vessels of anywhere in the known world. The supply of Ironwood is strictly limited, as it is found to only grow in the King's Wald. As such, rotational tree farming there produces a steady, but limited supply. As demand goes up, so does the price of Ironwood. This trickles down into the value of ships that the many shipyards of Arkland construct. To purchase a ship made in Arkland is a life long investment for most. This fuels an expansive economy built around shipbuilding from small fishing vessels to enormous galleons.
Shipping in general is also an industry that Arkland excels in. Large numbers of Arkland's populace are involved in shipping as sailors or marines. Sailors load, sail, and unload trading vessels while marines often travel on-board or in smaller vessels to ensure the safe transit and arrival of goods. The seas are not terribly dangerous, but marines are a necessity to guard goods while in port, especially while in foreign lands.
The power of anyone in Arkland is driven almost solely by the gold they have access to. As such, and with so much opportunity, the growth of business in Arkland is a natural thing, as natural to Arklanders as farming or shipping. Huge businesses exist, often specializing in certain goods, all the way from supply to shipping. Extremely wealthy business people captain these large enterprises, and often, this is a route to becoming one of the nobility.
The relationship between nobility and business, since nobility own all of the land, is not usually tenuous so long as a business leader makes sure to pay adequately the nobility that controls the land. Nobility are typically more than happy to support lucrative business as a result of this and largely stay out of the machinations of enterprise. Their lives are solely in the political arena, and it is a well known fact of noble society that the richest nobles are the ones who let their citizens work as freely as possible with little meddling.
Huge business enterprises can become a powerful political and even military force within Arkland. This is often driven by the need for protection from thieves or, more likely, armed intrusion funded in secret by a noble or other business leader. This creates a very strange political atmosphere where very wealthy business leaders also become small military leaders, able to afford soldiers. All such soldiers are still sworn to their nobility, but it has happened before where a noble family has been overthrown by powerful business leaders within their lands.
The arms of business stretch far and wide. There is everything from tiny, individually owned shops to major industries captained by boards of wealthy individuals. The roots of business ownership and hard work have existed in Arkland since the first settlers arrived over a thousand years ago.
Arkland has the luxury of access to rich farm and pasture lands around the Bay of Kings. They also have the military might necessary to defend it. Arkland does not often export food or animals products, but it is known to happen. Most of their production goes into simply sustaining Arkland. However, because the rest of Arkland is so rich, so too are the people which feed it.
Great fields exist in the north west of Arkland, tended by huge business run farms. Further, pastureland in the north supplies ample meat and dairy to those who can afford such luxuries all throughout the Bay of Kings. With ease of access to shipping routes, it is easy to deliver agricultural goods anywhere in Arkland within days.
Arkland does have a natural supply of ores and metals, but it is not prolific. Arkland imports much of its metal. Arkland's forges and metal smiths are some of the finest in Indagar. This has been an industry built up over time as the wealth and richness of Arkland's culture has drawn much talent from all around the eastern region of Indagar.
Arkland is also capable of producing low grade steel which goes into construction material as well as weapons. Arkland's soldiers are equipped most often in the finest steel that money can buy. Weapons are not the only thing manufactured, however. Arkland metal workers produce construction materials, home goods, agricultural tools, and all sorts of other wares.
--Neil (talk) 21:40, 15 October 2016 (AST)