Merchants of Esh
The Merchants of Esh are one of the nine empires vying for the control over Countermay
"The other city-state to emerge from the aftermath of Ixhasa’s fall, Esh was founded for purposes far less noble than Arcanix. It began as a trade hub due to its strategic location, a minor city of no special distinction. It wouldn’t become a power until a residual aftershock from the corrupted Nexus that sank Ixhasa tore open more than the ground beneath the fledgling city. The arcanoquake tore open the tissue between worlds, exposing what the Eshene have come to call the Undermarket: an otherworldly bazaar offering all manner of goods and services, all temptations a man could imagine and several he couldn’t. Anything can be purchased there if one is willing to meet the price, which is rarely monetary; blood, firstborns, and souls (yours or someone else’s) are all accepted forms of currency. Since the discovery of the Undermarket, Esh has ballooned into a sprawling mercantile metropolis ruled by an oligarchy of trade princes—men most able or willing to barter with the entities in the Undermarket. Esh has no standing army, but has never needed one; mercenaries, from this world and others, are far more cost effective. The other empires consider Esh an immoral den of obscene wealth, ruled by barely human individuals only interested in increasing their own fortunes. Which is true. But Esh is also the only place certain materials can be found, so when push comes to shove, they grit their teeth and pay the price."
- Vancil, Matt, and Nathan Rice. Romance of the Nine Empires: Rules of Play. Edited by Jeff Quick, Alderac Entertainment Group, 2013.