The Free Cities Compact

The Free Peoples of the Lands Surrounding Icefell Bay, having in the past been Abandoned by those who had sworn to defend our Hearths and Homes, do hereby and herein Establish a Compact to ensure that we will always and ever remain Free.
— Excerpt from the Preamble of the Free Cities Compact
As the Great Strife went on, the fortunes of the First Kingdom of Man suffered greatly. Their western borders, which reached around Icefell Bay to both north and south were assaulted by the Dark Armies, causing them to retreat hundreds of miles back toward their capital. As they did so, they abandoned the great port cities that had risen during the kingdom's ages of expansion. The cities of Seaguard, Seagate, Icefell, and Endmere were left to their own devices.

These cities were razed, but their people were never truly defeated. After the Strife ended, the survivors rebuilt. They also held a grudge against the First Kingdom; they were not willing to forgive their abandonment. As they each rose from their ashes, these cities vowed never again to be beholden to a remote power for their defense.

It took but a few hundred years for them to realize that while this independence was a noble goal, it was not a practical one. Rumors of returning power in the First Kingdom to the west, and increasing troubles with piracy in Icefell Bay and the Farsea beyond showed them that none of the cities would truly be powerful enough to stand alone. And so, the leaders of the Free Cities met to discuss their mutual desires and fates. The outcome of that meeting, in the year 243CR (just over two thousand years ago), was the Free Cities Compact.


The purpose of the Compact was twofold. The first purpose was obviously stated in the document's wording. Establishing a mutla defense agreement with the other Free Cities would ensure popular approval by all of the merchants and other residents of the Cities. Should the First Kingdom or any other invading force attack, all Cities would defend each other.

The second purpose was more subtly implied in the third action point of the article, but was much discussed as a real reason for cooperation by the city leaders before drafting the document. That was the intent to establish economic cooperation among the Free Cities that would allow the merchant lords of the cities to work together to establish prices and availabilities of goods, and thus exert greater control over the markets for numerous key commodities that were either produced around Icefell Bay or were imported via the Sea through Icefell Bay. The Compact effectively made the Free Cities an economic superpower overnight, with the ability to control a significant portion of the trade which the kingdoms to the west relied upon.

Historical Details


The Free Cities Compact was created in response to a growing fear that the First Kingdom would once again march east to Icefell Bay in an attempt to "reclaim" its territory around the Bay. The military planners in the First Kingdom were in fact preparing for this, but they expected to be able to reclaim the cities one at a time while the others either waited in fear or petitioned to be annexed to avoid another potential devastation of their city. With the announcement of the Compact, these planners realized that neither would happen. In fact it was likely that the combined forces of the cities could withstand their attempts, and the economic embargoes would do more harm to the First Kingdom than forceful annexation of Icefell Bay would justify. And so, instead, the Kingdom formally recognized the pact and established trade relations with the Free Cities within two years of its signing.
Treaty, Diplomatic
Authoring Date
The various City rulers met together on 8th of Time of Chitsone's Diamond in the year 243CR. After several days of discussion about their needs for mutual support, they began to draft the Compact on the 15th of the month. It was completed and ready for signing two days later.

Ratification Date
The document was signed by all of the City Rulers on the 17th of Thitsone's Diamond in the year 243CR. It was considered to be in effect immediately upon the signing.

Expiration Date
The document does not provide for any time limit or expiration. It is theoretically possible for one or more of the Cities to formally withdraw from the Compact. The legality of this has been debated in all four cities, but mostly as an academic exercise in legal theory. No city has ever seriously been considered withdrawing.

Possible Expansion
There has been much discussion among representatitives of the four signatory Free Cities to approach the Free City of Cliffport to invite them to join the Compact. It is hoped that doing so would eliminate - or at least drastically reduce - the problem of Seafarer Privateer raids upon commerce among the Free Cities.
Aye... I hafta be admittin'... since th' Lords came home wi' tha' Compact o' theirs, our trade's been startin' to get better... We're spendin' less ta buy, an' chargin' more ta sell, and I can't be complainin' abou' that! Guess them lords 'r worth th' taxes we pay 'em after all.
— Icefell Merchant discussing business with an associate.


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