Tales of the Red Way
Jade Covenant Trading House
The origins of the Jade Covenant Trading House are as far from most trading houses’ beginnings as night and day. Initially, the organization that became the Jade Covenant was closer to a mercenary organization than a house of merchants.
Over 200 years ago, Count Grandion of House Arroway, one of the noble houses of the empire began a clandestine society of mercenaries that worked in secret. Whereas House Arroway had been a fine and upstanding family, their fortunes had declined due to poor harvests and other unwise business decisions. Since it was frowned upon for nobles to take on financial operations, outwardly, the options for House Arroway were limited.
Count Grandion hired on Rohan Bleakwater and Arlyssa Suleda, two of the most ruthless mercenaries and adventurers of their day. His plan was simple – use them to start a network of adventurers and other sellswords who would sell their services in any endeavor for those who would pay. Count Grandion would put them in touch with the merchant class and nobility and he would take a cut. This seemed to work brilliantly, until they ran afoul of the Jade Merchant House.
It is not entirely clear how Grandion’s mercenary group and the Jade Merchant House came to blows as that is lost to the annuls of history, but Grandion’s adventurers began raiding caravans of the Jade Merchant House which causes the Jade Merchants to retaliate in kind. Soon, forces were allying with one side or the other and before long, the streets of Southport were running red from the blood that both groups had spilled.
It was not until the wedding day of Marilka d’Gratillo, youngest daughter of Vistin d’Gratillo, leader of the Jade Merchant House, that things became truly dark. On Marilka’s wedding day that forces loyal to Count Grandion attacked the ceremony, killing 7 guests as well as Marilka, that the Emperor stepped in to halt the crime and violence.
Agents of the Emperor arrested Vistin d’Gratillo and Count Grandion as well as some of their most loyal underlings and told them in no uncertain terms that they were to come to a compromise. Naturally, the two men were unwilling to find any kind of a compromise due to the violence that had transpired and the bad blood that had festered. So the Emperor had to take his peacemaking plans to the next level. The Emperor had Lyssa d’Gratillo, wife of Viston’s son, Markius, arrested and executed on trumped up charges of treason. Following that, the Emperor then had Count Grandion’s youngest daughter, Valla, wed Markius, forging an uneasy alliance between the two families. Within months the violence had subsided and within a year, there was peace. This eventually led to a bond between the two families when they signed a peace accord known as the Jade Covenant. This in turn lead to the creation of the Jade Covenant Trading House, taking members of the count’s mercenaries and merchants loyal to d’Gratillo under one powerful house. The mercenaries would lead the protection detail on the caravans as well as the warehouses whereas the merchants would continue their business. With both groups now united under one organization, the bloody violence that had once threatened to consume the lands between Northport and Southport had now come to an end.
Over the next two hundred years, the Jade Covenant Trading House rose to become one of the most powerful merchant houses in the lands, transporting their goods from Faris, through the Elven Woods and every stop along the Red Way. They specialized in exotic goods and were known for their well trained security forces that protected the merchandise.
A generation ago, the Emperor at the time forced the Arroways to make a decision. Since their open and notorious involvement in the Jade Covenant Trading House was making a mockery of the rules that nobles could have minimal contacts with business, he made the family decide whether to surrender their title or surrender their involvement in the Jade Covenant. Their decision took less than an afternoon to make. The Jade Covenant had done more for them than their silly titles ever had, so they gave up their titles to a smaller family.
Currently, the leader of the Jade Covenant Trading House is Hullador Arroway, a shrewd businessman with two sons and two daughters who excel not only in the business side of the organization but also the martial side of the organization. They slowly vie for dominance of the trade routes, recently expanding with a small fleet of ships that threaten to dominate the Great Crooked Lake.