Return of the Hydra
Shairra has no true nobility. It would be foolish to call Shairra a ‘democracy’, however, for most of the city’s remaining power is held by the Merchant Houses, a group of wealthy families controlling most of the city’s trade. In Kern, honor and reputation determine a family’s reputation, in Erymia it is strength of arms, but in Shairra money is all that matters. Considering Shairran economy is a unreliable as the Shairrans themselves, it is surprising to see some Merchant Houses keep existing for even two or three decades, before dissapearing altogether.
Before being conquered by Kern, the Merchant Houses shared power with the philosopher-mages, but nowadays no sane person puts ‘mage’ and ‘power’ in the same sentence anymore. Power over Shairra is shared with the Kernian governor or Proconsul, the Kernian army and, unofficially, the city’s Thieves’ Guilds. It is common knowledge all Merchant Houses are allied to one Thieves’ Guild or another and the Proconsul and other magistrates in the service of Kern are all from wealthy Shairran families and therefore notoriously corrupt. So, in short, the city is ruled by King Coin.