Chronology of the Corporate Age
Company Year 0 (1384 in the Mandinorian Calender) – A massive volcanic eruption creates a navigable channel through the previously impassible Barrier Isles, opening a maritime route, ‘The Strait’, to the partly mythical sub-continent to the south.
5 – 8 (1389 – 97) The first expedition to this ‘southward mystery’ launched by the Mandinorian Empire with the ship Suresight making landfall after a perilous two-year voyage. The continent is named Arradsia in honour of Queen Arrad IV of Mandinor. The first drakes are killed and the unique properties of the animals’ blood discovered. Most members of the exhibition perish, either through contact with undiluted drake blood, predation by wild drakes or conflict with indigenous tribes, referred to as ‘a despoiled, perversion of mankind’ by the expedition’s naturalist.
9 – 20 (1397 – 1408) The Age of Exploration. Competing nations send numerous expeditions to explore and map the new continent, all keen to capture a live breeding pair of drakes for return to their respective homelands. None are successful as it soon becomes apparent that drakes will die after being removed from their home continent for any extended period. Attempts to hatch eggs on other continents also prove a failure.
21 – 50 (1409 – 38) Several trade ports and breeding pens are established on the north Arradsian coast, Carvenport being the largest. The first large scale export of drake blood begins, though the attrition rate among merchant vessels remains high due to the treacherous waters and frequently stormy southern ocean. Consequently, the value of one barrel of drake blood is equivalent to three times its weight in gold.
22 – 38 (1410 – 1426) The years during which the figure known as the Mad Artisan is said to have explored the Arradsian Interior and crafted many wondrous devices.
53 – (1441) The Corvantine Empire establishes the first known cadre of individuals capable of harnessing the magical effects of drake blood, ‘The Emperor’s Blood-blessed.’ The term enters common usage after being translated into Mandinorian.
56 – (1444) A Mandinorian experimentalist formulates a method enabling the large scale smelting of high grade iron based on the use of Red blood.
59 – (1447) The Adventurous, the first fully iron-hulled trading vessel, is launched in Mandinor, a vessel capable of withstanding the heavy seas and perilous reefs prevalent in Arradsian waters.
60 – (1448) Formation of the Ironship Trading Syndicate. The Syndicate immediately purchases a Royal Warrant granting exclusive rights to all commerce traversing the Mandinorian enclave of Carvenport.
65 – (1453) First military use of Blood-blessed during the Corvantine annexation of the Tyrrel Islands. In response most other great powers begin to form their own cadres of Blood-blessed.
65 – 75 (1453 – 1463) Ironship Syndicate profits increase by one thousand percent over the course of ten years leading to a boom in the Mandinorian economy. The Corvantine Empire is faced with internal discord, crushing the first of many ideologically inspired rebellions launched by the ‘Co-respondent Brotherhood.’
80 – 83 (1468 – 71) War erupts between Mandinor and the Corvantine Empire over control of Arradsian trade routes. The Ironship trade fleet forms the bulk of the Mandinorian navy and inflicts a crushing defeat on Corvantine forces, liberating the Terryl Islands in the process. The Terrylian port of Feros is ceded to Ironship control ‘in eternal gratitude.’
84 – 93 (1472 – 81) Sixteen different multi-national trading conglomerates are established across the globe. Private company ownership is banned in the Corvantine Empire as ‘all trade belongs to the Emperor.’
94 – 107 (1482 – 95) Intermittent low-level warfare continues between Corvantine forces and company mercenaries in Arradsia, the period becomes known as ‘the First Company War.’
108 – 114 (1496 – 1502) The ‘Spoiled Wars’: a series of concentrated efforts by company and Corvantine forces to eliminate the indigenous Arradsian population in the north. Establishment of the ‘Spoiled Bounty’ and formation of the first headhunter companies.
115 – 121 (1503 – 1510) Resumption of outright war between Corvantine Empire and Mandinor over possession of the Tyrrel Islands, now the most important trade centre in the world, to become known as The Seventy Years War. Prolonged conflict leads to a global economic slump as blood supplies are choked off and prices soar to an all-time high.
123 – 125 (1512 – 14) The Blood Bubble – The global economy crashes into depression due to wild speculation on the blood markets. Most sovereign nations are rendered bankrupt. Social disorder and privation spread. Trading conglomerates emerge as the few remaining sources of employment and security.
126 – 137 (1515 – 26) The Great Conglomeration – private interests supplant monarchies via a mix of financial and military force. The Mandinorian monarchy is formally dissolved in 136.
138 (1527) The first meeting of the Council of Global Trade, a gathering of senior executives representing the twenty largest corporations in the world. Its first act is to declare the Age of Nations at an end. The Council goes on to establish the ‘Global Register of Blood-Blessed Individuals’, each company agreeing to ensure the names of any Blood-blessed identified within their holdings is added to the Register. The Corvantine Empire is not represented and remains as the only surviving sovereign state.
142 (1531) The technologist Darus Lethridge invents the microscope enabling the adoption of more sophisticated blending and dilution of drake blood. The amount of usable blood extracted from a single barrel is tripled by this discovery.
143 – 168 (1532 – 57) The Age of Invention: rates of production begin an exponential increase as methods of manufacturing and communication undergo a revolution. The birth rate rises in most developed regions and life-expectancy increases amongst the middle and upper echelons of corporatised society thanks to the widespread use of Green blood.
152 (1541) Graysen Lethridge born in Feros.
172 (1561) The Lethridge Company patents the first ‘thermo-plasmic locomotive engine’ capable of propelling a ship by use of Red blood to superheat steam.
174 (1563) Ironship launches the Dominant, the world’s first thermo-plasmic powered vessel.
178 (1567) The Lethridge Company is ruined when accusations of mis-management and breach of corporate statutes are made by Ironship executives, resulting in a collapse of share price and seizure of all patents. Darus Lethridge commits suicide, bequeathing his debts to his son.
180 (1569) The Corvantine Revolution is launched by a reinvigorated Co-respondent Brotherhood, leading to civil war during which the Empire loses control of the Varestian Peninsular. The Emperor is forced to conclude the Seventy Years War by negotiation. The Treaty of Feros obliges the empire to pay huge reparations and surrender half its remaining trade holdings in Arradsia.
183 (1572) Corrick Hilemore born in Northern Mandinor.
183 (1572) The Corvantine Revolution is defeated and the Co-respondent Brotherhood destroyed at the cost of an estimated three million lives.
184 (1573) Disappearance of the entire Wittler Expedition, an Ironship-sponsored attempt by the Sandrunners Independent Contractor Company to hunt down the fabled White drake. The official report on the expedition by Ironship Executive Liaison Lodima Bondersil sealed by order of the Board.
185 (1574) Lizanne Lethridge born in Feros.
188 (1577) Claydon Torcreek born in Carvenport.
192 (1581) Lizanne Lethridge enrols in Ironship Academy of Female Education.
194 (1583) The last wild Black to be captured alive is harvested in Carvenport. The beast escapes its bonds leading to the Dockside Massacre, forty-three people killed and dozens more injured.
195 (1584) Voters Rights Alliance founded in Mandinorian city of Lademin. It advocates a mix of Co-respondent philosophy and archaic notions of representative government.
204 (1593) Lizanne Lethridge graduates from the Academy. She is summoned to Ironship Home Office in Feros and employed in the Exceptional Initiatives Division.
211-12 (1598-99) The Dalcian Emergency – A Sovereignist revolt against increasing corporate control of the region is crushed by the Ironship Protectorate. Third Lieutenant Corrick Hilemore awarded the Protectorate Medal of Distinction for repeated acts of courage under fire.
213 (1600) Torcreek Expedition sets out from Carvenport in search of the White Drake.