"Empires do not rise and fall due to wars, or leaders, or Divine Intervention. Each was created and destroyed by the driving force of life, that being the acquisition of wealth." -Rodrick Brandbury, Founder of The Merchant's Guild The Merchant's Guild Basic Information: The Merchant's Guild is a gathering/membership of most shopkeepers and/or tradesmen of the Ardrian Conglomerate. Originally founded by Rodrick Brandbury, a famous Jeweler/Smithy during the golden times of the Yavkard Empire, the Guild's basic purpose was to allow free trade within the empire's borders in order to promote the natural growth of wealth brought from foreign nations. The outcome was such a huge success that the emperor himself decreed the Guild to be the main standing branch of economic government for all Yavvi settlements. The Guild itself is run by a Triumvirate, consisting of one delegate appointed by the Emperor, one delegate voted by guild members, and one voted on by the ordinary people. This would allow for all party's befitting from the enterprises of the Guild to have equal say in the Merchant's Guild's direction. Before the Guilds popularity grew within the Yavkard empire, manufactured goods all had high taxes placed upon them due to their cost to forge/manufacture, providing little income for the Empire's economy. When the Guild took over the economy, they did away with the heavy tax, and instead decreed that a tribute would be required for all member's shops to be given to the empire's treasury each year. This made it so the empire would still receive its base domestic income, all the while lowering global prices of goods, which made the Yavkard empire into a rising economic hotspot throughout Ardria. While the Yavkard Empire eventually fell after the events of the Cataclysm, the Merchant's Guild endured and adapted to the new reigning power of the area, that being the Ardrian Conglomerate. Though under a new style of leadership, the Guild still prospers by allowing similar trade agreements throughout the different tribes/settlements. In time, the Guild may serve as a force of unity, one that could potentially bind the Conglomerate together into another long lasting empire. The Merchant's Guild's symbol is an anvil and hammer surrounded by a diamond, a tribute to the Guild's founder. Though it was originally centered around farmers and other craftsman, it has since evolved to include all trade, anywhere from clothes to trinkets to even magical items on the rare occasion. Any person under the Conglomerate who wishes to start a business needs only to pay the yearly tribute and they will be exempt from any sales tax on their products.