Derjuden society in AZ is part of a mobile, trade-based empire, specializing in the trade of magic, jewels, slaves, and money. The Derjuden can be found throughout the region, ferrying trade goods back and forth, and they specialize in caravan-based living on long over-the-road trade journeys. From their population center in Flagstaff, they dominate the lucrative northern trade route to Sin City. In Flagstaff are located several pillars of Derjuden power, including their Central Bank, their Great Temple, their slave market, and the Necromantic Arts University.
The locus of Derjuden financial power is their Central Bank. Access to the Central Bank is, of course, tightly controlled, but the amount of treasure stored there is acknowledged to be astronomical. Through the actions and proclamations of their Central Bank, the Derjuden strongly influence the interest rate charged for loans throughout the region. Of course, they also receive petitions for loans from everyone needing money throughout the region as well. Loan terms, when granted, are always tough, and the Derjuden have acquired a well-deserved reputation for ruthlessness when it comes to collecting what is owed to them.
The Derjuden Central Bank is one of only two coin mints in Arizona (the other being in Tempe). Derjuden money is most prominent along the northern trade route, and is the major coin of trade in Sin City. Interestingly, the Derjuden coins also appear to be used extensively among the more civilized Giant races of the Great Northern Mountains.
The locus of Derjuden religion is their Great Temple. Although only a minority of Derjuden live in Flagstaff year-round, all the Derjuden will mass around their Great Temple in the late autumn for a sacred pilgrimmage that lasts one week. Although their priests are normally based at their Great Temple, at least one priest can always be found traveling with their trade caravans whereever they go.
The primarily method of priestly action appears to be sacrifice of animals upon their altars. When away from their Great Temple, Derjuden priests will set up altars at whatever high places are locally available, and so, Derjuden altars can be found on hilltops throughout the region. The Derjuden god has been characterized by outsiders as "blood-thirsty", due to their practice of carefully draining all the victim's blood upon the holy altar, both in their Great Temple and their various high places throughout the region.
Rumors abound that their sacrifices also involve unwilling human victims. Of course, this is officially denied, and any such human sacrifice must occur in the greatest of secrecy, if they occur at all.
The Derjuden-controlled slave market in Flagstaff is the largest such market in the region. Slaves of all races, human, humanoid, and demi-human, are bought and sold there, especially for fodder as labor in the forests and mines of the surrounding mountains. Derjuden are not the only slave traders in the region, but they do own the slave market in Flagstaff. Their ability to provide a regular supply of common slaves, as well as their ability to acquire unusual species (such as trolls, giants, or dragons), provide them with an outstanding reputation in the slave buying market.
Derjuden can also be found as proprietors of road-side inns throughout the region, providing services and supplies to all travelers. Some observers have wondered how these isolated inns are able to survive in the such isolated and hostile locations, leading to rumors that the Derjuden are involved in dark dealings and secret pacts with the monsters or other dark forces. Of course, these rumors have never been official corroborated, but what is certain is that the Derjuden make frequent use of magical protections and hired mercenaries in their own defense.
Relations with Necromantic Arts University
The origins of N.A.U. predates the Derjuden settlement of Flagstaff. N.A.U. began from a split among the magical faculty of A.S.U. in Temple in centuries past, who were conflicted over the research and practice of the dark arts. It is not certain why Flagstaff was chosen as the location for N.A.U., although it may be related to the powerful nature gods of the nearby mountain peaks, or perhaps its relative easy access to the dark forces in Sin City.
While it is not fully known if the Derjuden were involved in that original split, whatever the case was then, they do have a significant representation there today. The faculty at N.A.U. is at least partialy Derjuden, although they generally seem unconcerned with the ongoing life of humanity about them. The N.A.U. faculty does engage in extensive trade with the outside world, purchasing food, supplies, and magical ingredients, while in turn, selling all manner of magical items of their own manufacture, much of which seems to fall into the hands of Derjuden purchasers. Derjuden merchants dominate the magical trade with N.A.U., although they do not control it. Derjuden students are also commonly taken in to N.A.U., usually being the children of wealthy merchants.
The Derjuden people are fairly loosely organized, and lack any kind of supreme king to rule them all. Rather, they appear to operate as some sort of loose confederation of tribes and trade groups. A mysterious group of elders appears to provide some sort of overall guidance, but they are a shadow group and do not present themselves as a governmental body or provide diplomatic relations.
The city of Flagstaff is governed by a mayor, but the city is home to many races and the mayor is only sometimes Derjuden. The mayor is appointed to office for a fixed term as a representative of the merchant groups, and he is mainly concerned with ensuring Flagstaff's stability and prosperity as a trading town.
While the Derjuden do not appear as a tightly structured governmental unity, and can often be found competing and squabling with one another, they will quickly close ranks when threatened by outsiders.
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