House Stel, based in Urik, is the most aggressive, militaristic merchant house. Its emporium, across from its ally Tsalaxa, is a veritable fortress. Heavily armed and armored guardsmen patrol the grounds with brisk efficiency. Lately House Stel’s popularity has fallen off with the Tyrians and local merchants due to their relentless expansion and also in part due to the fact that it is one of the primary suppliers of slaves for the Ziggurat. Nevertheless, Stel refuses to give up this valuable link in its chain of trade. The major caravan routes of Stel run from Urik to Raam and Draj . Additionally, Stel maintains a monopoly on the trade routes to Malaka and Ogo where it trades with halfling tribes.

Emblem: A pair of crossed black scimitars on a white field.

Trade Goods: Slaves, stolen cargo, weapons, ceramics, iron, and occasionally hostages for ransom. Hardwood, feathers, and gems are obtained from the halflings of Ogo as well. Stel are especially fond of aquiring iron from Tyr, as it is a vital item for Urik’s war industries.

General Information
As may be expected, the entire house is organized along military lines, with the patriarch acting as the “general” and subordinates as his “officers.” Strict chain of command is maintained, with superi­or officers taking responsibility for the actions of those under them and underlings accepting orders without question.

Stel’s aggressive policies and militaristic nature have made more than a few enemies among their fellow merchants. Their current rate of expansion has encroached on all the neighboring territories, but due to their power and wealth they have so far managed to succeed with little to no interference, save for small merchants and houses that have been swallowed in the process. Stel have temporarily allied with House Tsalaxa whom they see as useful due to their fierce reputation as cunning assassins and masters of espionage. They have recently begun to encroach upon the warehouses and territories of House M’Ke, which House M’Ke sees as Stel being openly confrontational, House Stel however denies any aggressive action has been or will be taken on those whom it sees as equals.

Stel’s attitude toward the elven houses and small traders is nothing short of murderous. Stel’s leaders are known to harbor a deep dislike of non humans in general and elves in particular. Conflict between Stel and the elven merchants (particularly the trou­blesome Sky Singer tribe) is open and without quar­ter. Stel’s hatred of elves is returned in full ­few elves will allow caravans flying Stel’s crossed scimi­tars to go unmolested. Recent battles along the car­avan routes in the tablelands have cost both sides hundreds of casualties.


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