The city states on Orasaren are collectively called the Free cities, but they fiercely resist any attempt at unification, and have fought each other since ancient times. The only time they have been united was under the rule of the Cedonese and Mirrish empires.Ever since its founding more than 400 years ago, The Cormenaeran Confederacy has been a major player in the complicated politics of the Free cities. The confederacy have had several wars with the other cities. For the time being though, the cities are at a relative peace. The unstable equilibrium may change however, especially since there are many mercenaries and private armies on the isle.
The Cormenaerans are reknowned traders. They have many merchant ships engaged in trade throughout the Mid sea and sometimes beyond. The Cormenaerans are a major provider of luxury goods from the south. The majority of the short ranged trade is conducted by local merchants, but the trade across the northern Mid sea is another matter. Most of this trade is luxury goods, such as silk, gems, slaves and rare woods. These cargoes naturally attracts pirates, but the Cormenaerans use large convoys of well armed merchant ships to deter them. These convoys are costly, but the profit is great.
About 10% of the population consist of slaves. They are mostly from other countries, as it is against religious beliefs to own another follower of Lord Sea as slave. The slaves are well treated on the whole, and have the right to own property, even other slaves. They also have the possibility to buy their freedom.
The nominal ruling agency is the Grand council, where all the influential families are represented. The most prominent is the minister of Action, currently the widow Ashanishade. She was the husband of the former minister of action and has inherited his status. She is a shrewd woman, a master of politics and survival. A former prostitute, she won her status by marriage and has kept it ever since.
The many wars on Orasaren are fought mainly with mercenaries, mostly professionals who expect pay in coin. They travel from one employment to the next. Their presence is a great problem, as they tend to plunder the land when unemployed. Cormenaera is reknowned for it's fleet, which is very efficient. It escorts the trade convoys and fights pirates.
Despite the constant struggle between the cities, the isle of Orasaren is a great place of learning and art. The university in Cormenaera is a hotbed of intrigue and new ideas. The rich are constantly funding artists and scholars, who give their benefactor reknown. Most people, even the poor, can read and write. Many spectacular works of art and architecture around Midsea are of Orasareni origin.
By some remarkable political maneuvering, Cormenaera has managed to take over the city of Anecir, a former enemy city on the east coast. Most of the nobility was exiled or executed. The current regime is a puppet in the hands of the Grand council. The people in Anecir however, resent their new masters, and are prone to civil unrest. Should the opportunity arise, they would most likely revolt. They listen to the rumours of the voice of the people, a communist movement that has managed to make revolution in the city of Belniar.
The Cormenaerans follow the teachings of the Lord of Sea, the creator of all land and sea. The clergy is well organised, but is very corrupt. Nevertheless, they command great respect among common people. There are some monastic orders, many of whom critize the clergy for their hunger for power.
All in all, the Cormenaeran Confederacy seems to be on the rise, but there are many factors that can change it. There is always intriguing in the Grand council, and many fear that the differences may lead to bloodshed. The city of Anaduan is stronger, both financially and military, and may take offensive action to weaken its neighour. There is talk among the common people that the taxes are too high, and that the people should have something to say. Who knows how long the truce under the Orasareni defence alliance may last?