The city of Marrephilahd

In the Venial Empire, time is measured off the founding of Marrephilahd; this study was made in the year 4852 SF.

History

Marrephilahd is an intensely old city - some 5000 years old - that has been a major port for most of its existance. Due to historical quirk, it has been a socialist city for most of its existance, too.

The city coalesced around a collection of traders huts, where sea-traders from the offshore islands traded with the local goblin and hobbit population. Some of this trade was in precious metals and gems, leading to fortified structures and a guard. The existance of the fortifications meant that they needed to be maintained - and occupied - yearround, which led to founding of homes for the people running the establishment. The owners of the fortifications were a syndicate of sea traders that came out of a single tribe. As more structure was built up around the fortifications, the syndicate found they could make money supplying security to the building town; then they found that they made the customers and guards happier by giving them a say in the operations.

Currently, the city owns the port, and claims a monopoly on portage services. This translates to control of the local railroad (narrow-gauge, serving mainly the Marrephiligan peninsula), charging a transit tax on the bridges into the city, and operating the seaport. Civic services are also run by the city (police services, and the local militia; the water board, and the sewers and structures board) the local library, which is co-managed by the city and the Temple of Indifference, and the department of taxation and subsidy.

Geography

The metropolitan area is broken into two segments: There is the Marrephiligan peninsula, which is also set up as a limited corporation, and has about 300,000 population; and the Imperial Concession, south of the city, which is run by an Imperial Governor, and contains 200,000 population.

North of the city, and west, lies the Venial Empire; west of the Empire lie various balkanized states, the Homeland (of the elves), the Inner Sea, various frontier emirates, and the Mage’s Wilderness. South of the city, past the Imperial concession and one of the Southriver emirates (the imperial concession used to be a emirate until it was conquered by the Empire) lie the Wild Lands, which are occupied by Goblin and Orcish barbarians. East of the river is the Middle Sea, and a vast archipelego of islands stretching 1500 km east to the Eye of God (a permanent storm of magical nature.)

City Life

Average dividend within the city is 600$/year. Cost of living there runs about 1000$-$1200$/year. On the peninsula, the average dividend is only 300$/year (aside from a population 100,000 town at the other end of the peninsula, it is all farm and village) but the cost of living is less than 600$ (800$ near Marrephilahd). In the Concession, there is no dividend, and it costs about 1000$/year to live there.

Becoming a citizen of the city is difficult. It is organized as a limited corporation and the citizens are the shareholders. There are a limited amount of shares available, and they customarily pass down from parent to child.

Taxation is simple: There are fees for use of the port, and for use of transit. There is a 3% flat tax for residents of the city; nonresidents pay a 5% tax. Corporations pay a more graduated tax: 5%/100,000$ year, up to a maximum taxrate of 30%.

Statistics

population
500,000
shareholding citizens
220,000
… dependents
>240,000
foreign nationals
>40,000
trade, $/year
$1,400,000,000
…. tons/year
2,000,000,000
ships calling/year
1,000

Transportation

There are three railroads serving Marrephilahd. There is the Marrephilahd Railway, which is a meter-gauge railway serving the Marrephiligan peninsula with branches south into the Imperial Concession and west along the (?) river to the Venial capital. There is the Vens Central, a two-meter gauge railway that runs provides the rail link to the Balkanized states and Nerol, as well as links north to Cinnabar and lines to within the Venial Empire. The third railway is an unnamed railway run by a syndicate based within the Southriver emirates; it is 800mm gauge, and runs about 60 kilometers west along the south side of the river.

Two other railroads - the Cinnabar & Venial Empire and the Marrephiladh and Great Western Railway terminate 8km west of the city and use Vens Central trackage rights to get into the city.

There is a paved, but underused, highway, leading west along the river. The river is also navigable well inland, up to the cataracts at (?) and the port there. (River and road traffic declined abruptly when the Vens Central railway was built to Marrephilahd; at that point, paying pilot’s fees to get through the mouths of the (?) and having to transship at the cataracts became too expensive. There is, and has been, talk about building a navigable canal around the cataracts, but nothing has come of it for several hundred years.)