--Bona al la encycla lorica.
Mercadia is the merchant guild. The guild is headquartered in Lorica’s greatest city, Mercadia. It commands the moieta trade, controls the distribution of resources and is a master of financial instruments applied to moieta commodities. Mercadian mages are also intimately involved in the black markets, though with little to connect them back to the main guild, since after all, all the other guilds are against the black market (at least nominally) and any elements of the black market that are found need to be crushed by the UG. Mercadia is also the master of contract, law-like spells which they use to tell all the other guilds who traded what, etc, and hold people responsible for their trades. Mercadia is the only guild with in-depth knowledge of trade information and thus is able to out-compete the other guilds, and act as a middleman in moieta trades – drawing much of the ire directed at ‘scalpers’. Some Mercadian ‘derivative products’ are also seen as being irresponsible and they have on more than one occasion thrown the maging world into recession. Mercadia also coordinates with the leypeople affiliates who grow moieta on the leys, and so has the loyalty of a great number of leypeople. Its control over moieta distribution and much of its production affords it considerable leverage in dealings with other guilds and was even used to starve out recalcitrant guilds – in one war, depleting an opposing guild of moieta necessary for its war operations, leading to that guild’s suing for peace. Mercadia also has a policy that people who get into debt trading moieta have to serve Mercadia for years (though of course not revealing secrets of their own).
Mercadia is the largest city in Aeriya and even in Lorica with a population of 36,000, though it is not the capital of Aeriya.
Mercadia is one of the oldest settlements in Lorica's history, having been established a mere two centuries after the founding of Originum. It thus has some of the oldest surviving institutions in Lorica, including its oldest bank, its oldest guild, its oldest port, its oldest trade association, and more.
Mercadia is the financial hub of Lorica and especially for Aeriya. Following the founding of the first commercial bank in AD 450, the marketplace quickly moved to the spacious town square right in front of the bank, allowing people to trade quickly and efficiently. This square was also known as Grand Square, and it quickly became the hub of major activity in Lorica. By 500 AD, people have had considerable experience loaning their money to a credit-worthy financial institution, and began loaning money to Aeriya's government, which it has managed to repay with interest to the current day. Over time, the large trading enterprises and guilds began issuing bonds as well, to be followed by bonds comprised of bundles of individuals' debt. The derivatives market was the next to open in 750 AD, with people making deals and gambling on which direction prices of commodities would move, as a means of mitigating risk or speculating on prices. Starting in 900 AD, corporations began to arise, funded by stockholder money. Shortly thereafter, the equity market was launched. All these activities took place on Grand Square, with the name becoming synonymous with the financial center of Lorica. by 1000 AD, financial institutions had been developed whose primary service was to look after other peoples' money and invest them, ie. investment banks. Nowadays Grand Square is a very busy place to be, with exchanges and tall financial institutions' headquarters located all around it, and the square itself a massive paved block with countless market stalls and people milling around. Grand Square had a massive signpost in the corner, updated by the minute, which had the most up-to-date information on the values of some of the largest and most important indices of the exchanges. Grand Square is one of the Ten Wonders of Lorica.
At first sight, Mercadia's downtown is a formidable sight. Much of the money earned or traded at Grand Square end up being spent on building lavish, tough-looking buildings along it and the other major roads of Mercadia. As a result, there are some very large buildings in Mercadia's downtown, almost giving it a big-modern-city look. The city was built in a pretty much grid-like fashion, with the two main roads going north-south and west-east across the city. And much of the money ends up in the hands of the government via taxes.
Mercadia is a mostly money-run society. There is so much money flying around, and so much ease in getting and spending it, that government officials are bribed on a regular basis and regulations are avoided almost constantly. As a result, crime and corruption are rampant, and there is a substantial tramp and thief base in the city. Mercadia, with its large population and weak city guard, is the single largest consumer of drug products produced and imported from Silannum. In addition, there is a considerable amount of trafficking in illegal slaves (those that have been wrongly enslaved); people abduct other people, rush in forged paperwork and are approved without the inspectors batting an eye.
Mercadia, being the world's largest city, provides all kinds of services, including niche artisans and carpenters, calligraphists, casino operators, and more, all of which involve premium sums of money.