The Old City Stirs
The largest city state, Vandover controls the Broken Road with its large military force, which is composed partially of state soldiers, but mostly of caravan guards and personal armies of the various trade companies that call Vandover home (many of which are actually state owned). This allows them to essentially control trade with the Far North, which is largely fur trade. They exact heavy tolls on local fiefdoms, but reward them with protection, a voice in city politics, and social services, such as a burgeoning system of aqueducts and attempts at healthcare. Vandover is bitter rivals with Rael, with whom they constantly vie for control of the river. Vandover City is ruled by a council of merchants, the current chairman of which is Iona Randal, a half-orc woman who leads the Vandover City Trade Co.