Valdorian Age - Rising Power on the Frontier
Elweir’s Port Authority keeps track of the comings-and-goings of ships from Elweir’s three portages. The primary duties of the Port Authority are threefold: work with the Royl Masonry on the upkeep of the wharves; log what ships tie up and when, their port of origin, and when they depart; assess tax for doing business in Elweir on captains. The first two jobs are straightforward, and the Port Authority employs many people to make sure they get done. The third, assessing the tax on captains, has become slightly convoluted as the Prince has striven to extract every coin he can from trade in Elweir.
All trade a ship captain conducts must go through the Port Authority. When a ship ties up, the Authority assigns a city assessor to its captain. This assessor must be present at all “final negotiations” for the ship’s cargo (a final negotiation being when payment changes hands). Any captain found concluding a negotiation without the presence of an assessor has his ship and everything aboard confiscated. To ensure the captain does not somehow go behind his assessor’s back, only porters in the employ of the Port Authority and under the command of the assessor can on-and-off load a ship’s cargo. The assessor also employ spies, typically off-duty members of the city guard, to watch captains as they go about their daily business and ensure no illicit gold changes hands. For example, some captains have tried to reach an agreement on a final price without the assessor’s presence, then at the final negotiation pretend the final price is lower to avoid paying the full tax. The assessor has a good sense of what a cargo is worth, but prices fluctuate, and this proved an easy way to save a few coin – until the first captain doing this by the assessor’s spy, and the merchant he colluded with, were publicly hanged in Gibberish.
The tax is 5% of the cargo’s price, whether the cargo was purchased with coin or barter. It costs five sp a day to tie up at the wharf. The assessors are among the most hated men in Elweir… but also among the most resistant to bribery.