Trade routes of Calredia
An overview of the different trade routes
Dashed lines mean at least 50% of all trade caravans never reach their destination along this route.
- Orange - Geroii/Geroian Road (Gold, Sugar, Coffee, Tabacco, and Saffron)
- Red - Great Eastern Road (Silk, Foriegn Spices, Tea, Porcelain)
- Black - Aserai Slave Trade (Savanah Peoples, Remali Nomads, and Aserai Slaves)
- Copper - The Iron Road (Iron, Lumber, Metals, and Coal)
- Grey - Silver Road (Silver, Marble, and Stone)
- Light Green - Bezan Crossing (Some Geroian Goods, Naval supplies, Balish Ships)
- White - Jumnish Trade (Slaves from the Northern peoples of Calradia, Northern weapons and Armor, Wool)
The Geroian Road
Sometimes still called the Geroii road, the set of roads that extend from city-state to city-state across the Emerald Gulf is perhaps the wealthiest collection of nations ever known to Calradia. The Geroian city-states are said to be filled with so much gold that it has decreased the value of gold to the point where a piece of bread is worth 50 gold at the cheapest. This makes things very difficult to buy in Geroia from foreign merchants however the import market of the city-states is the most profitable enterprise in Calradia. Merchants from Aserai and Balion arrive to sell their goods for nearly three times their amount they would be worth at home. From there they will often buy the plentiful exotic goods in the extravagant markets and start home.
It is, though, extremely dangerous. SHould you arrive by sea, you must deal with the Emerald pirates. These pirates include Jumnish raiding parties, the Brazen Pirates, and the Sarrian Corsairs. Also, the warm temperature of the water makes the oceans around Geroia some of the most dangerous storms known to Calradia. If that wasn't enough, the massive volcanic activity makes the journey more perilous as they approach an island. This combination of factors leads to only 15% of all voyages there and back successful. There are only a handful of captains that can say they have gone there and back.
Not much better is the land route, that cuts across Aserai territory and the Sarrian Desert to get to Charas, the southern-most city in the empire. To get from Greta to Charas, however, one must cross the Serrates Mountains or go around and be at the mercy of Remali clans that roam the area often. Only a handful of caravans have made it through the mountains with grand stories of how they did it. Some stories mention help from a strange mountain people that follow a strange cult that takes aspects of the Aserai religion, Makerism, and paganistic beliefs. These "Serratites" as they call them showed the caravans through the mountains in some cases and robbed them in others. As if that didn't deter people, the massive taxes imposed by the Empire make the enterprise hardly profitable and thus most goods end up in Aserai markets, stolen or not.
Great Eastern Road
Perhaps the longest trade route to ever grace Calradia, the Great Eastern Road was once the lifeblood of the Aserai empire, and one of the reasons why Aserai and Imperial relations rarely deteriorated to all-out warfare. The Great Eastern road brought Silk, Tea, and Porcelain to Calradia and allowed the spread of technology. Inventions such as the Plough, Paper, Iron Smelting, and even the compass all come from the route. In exchange, strange foreign merchants bought large amounts of raw resources and horses to take to their homes. It is from this trade, people understand the true size of the Aserai Empire which spans far to the east and south in the Nahasa Desert, the far eastern Kingdom of Lokti.
The Aserai, however, cannot police the entire road and many nomadic tribes rob and pillage the caravans that cross the desert. Calradian merchants have gone on the route however the sheer distance make each journey last years for Calradian caravans due to a lack of navigation tools compared to their eastern counterparts. These caravans from the east are also much better funded than the Calradian expeditions, hinting to a large force behind this trade from the east.
Aserai Slave Trade
Unlike the Jumnish raiders, some Aserai slaves are bought from many tribal kingdoms and empires in and beyond the Savanah that go to trade with the Aserai fortresses on the edge of the desert. Expeditions are sent across the Savanah and many exotic animals are brought back to the core of the empire, though many remain in circulation around the empire rather than sold elsewhere. The main export is the slaves gained from Remali clans selling slaves to Calradians either from warring with each other or from the southern bazaars.
Not just human labor, but also some materials are sold along the slave routes. Mostly Aserai armors and weapons, though not enough to remove the nickname of the route, "The Road of Skulls", earned from the number of fatalities as slaves are marched on foot across the desert. Stories and rumors surround the Road of Skulls, from undead mummified remains walking across the desert to sandstorms that remove the flesh of a man unfortunate enough to find themselves without shelter.
The Iron Road
The North of Calradia is full of natural resources that can fuel empires. These resources are traded from the northernmost mountains and forests across Calradia, ending at Pravnd and Halmar and starting in the mountains and markets of Ichamur, conquered by the empire nearly a century ago, ruled by the people of the steppes, the Savramates. Since it's conquest, the Empire has vastly expanded mining operations and built several additional markets for Sturgians and steppe peoples to come and trade in raw resources like furs and lumber. Coupled with the Imperial mines, the Iron route was born, bringing goods from the north to Halmar, the center of trade in Calradia, and allowing the Battanians, Sturgians, and Vlandians access to Iron and other materials, starting a new age of trade in Calradia.
The Iron road is perhaps the most important road known to Calradia, giving enough iron money can buy to every nation, and is a driving force behind the Empire's wealth and dominance. The Empire's lose of Battania following the Battanian Wars, the Empire's dominance in the trade route was questioned and with a rising steppe horde cutting off eastern trade routes and making even the Aserai quiver in fear, many Calradians are terrified of the chaos that will ensue should the route ever be cut off.
The Silver Road
A testament to the rise in Vlandian power in Calradia, the Silver Road has created vast wealth and allowed for several fortresses and keeps to be built in Vlandia proper. It begins down near the once-imperial held duchy of Jaculan, where the city of Jaculan and the occupied Imperial colonial town of Colonia Veluca (Eventually called Velucan by the Vlandians). Around these cities were vast silver mines where the Empire employed hundreds of slaves to work. They produced so much silver that the silver denarii was created as currency in the empire and soon adopted throughout Calradia.
Vlandia, after lacking my natural resources in the homeland, later waged war against the empire and slowly conquered the main sources of silver in Calradia. Also in the area were marble and stone quarries used in the construction of the empire's cities, bathing the region in wealth as the empire was forced to do business with the Vlandians, and making them a power to be reckoned with in Calradia. The Silver Road ends in the Sturgian princedom at the largest port in the Alai sea. Here, only a few caravans go but those that do report seeing foreign ships once every decade or so. The Silver route is one of the longest and most traveled routes in Calradia.
The most traveled trade routes in Calradia that is reached by sea, the Bezan Crossing connects Vlandia and Balion together only threatened by Jumnish raiders who have a shaky truce with the two nations, allowing for trade to be possible. The goods most often traded are Balish naval supplies to outfit the Vlandian navy, ships from Balion like Cogs that make up the majority of the trading ships in Calradia, and some goods that manage to make it out of the pirate-infested Emerald Gulf from Geroia. Though most often it is common goods like grain and lumber that make up the trade. It is perhaps one of the least profitable routes for Calradians, but the safest and allows for the close cultural connection the Vlandians have with Balion. However, with the rise in the Jumnish population and their desire for more places to raid and perhaps even conquer, the Bezan Crossing is under threat and both Vlandia and Balion are preparing for a large naval war against the longships of Jumnish Jarls.
It is perhaps the one thing keeping the Jumnish people from raiding and pillaging the coastal nation of Balion and the relatively undefended shores of Vlandia, the Jumnish trade is perhaps the most profitable business in the Alai and Bezan seas. Often called the Northern Slave Trade, the Jumnish raiding parties often sell their captives in Balish and Vlandian ports who then fuel the Balish naval forces and the rising rival of the vast Calradian Empire, Vlandia. It is not just slaves on this route however, also assorted loot from their raids including armor, weapons, pagan icons (which are usually melted down later for their valuable metals), and other goods produced in villages.
This trade, however, is under threat as the Jumnish population continues to expand and the amount of freemen who look at the Vlandian and Balish lands as raiding opportunities. Already a few renegade ships from Jumne have attacked Vlandian shipping and many are terrified that the brutality of which the raiders enact on Sturgian villages will find it's way to Balion or Vlandia. Should the Jarls officially break the truce, the Alai and Bezan seas will go from active trade routes into a constant naval warzone, making them similar to the endless pirate attacks in Emerald Bay, only with added Jumnish ferocity.
Written by Alders