"Nothing Is Free"
They control trade and most of the wealth of Vale. As a guild, they are not actually known to be greedy; in many cases the guild is generous and philanthropic. This is largely due to careful management of their image, however, and is not actually due to a high percentage of charity. Many individuals in the guild are disgustingly wealthy. They collect all taxes and tithes from land trade, and no shop opens without their approval and fees. Despite the potential to go mad with money, the Magnates and Stoutsmen keep them mostly in check. Internally they are extremely classist, with a massive imbalance of wealth and power. Any person who opens a shop pays a fee to become a Free Trader and gain a vote in its goings-on. But, it's not good to be a Free Trader, as this payment is hefty and doesn't amount to much.
Founded By: Finneous Merope, king of ancient Halsteppe before Vale conquered it.
Governed By: A Union of Merchants. Everything comes to a vote, and every member has at least one vote. However, votes per person are literally bought, so the very rich are generally the ones who make all the choices.
Traits: Greedy, deliberate, classist, imbalance in wealth distribution, corporate, frugal, careful, calculating
Friends: Mariners, Artisans