Magritta is the largest and one of the most important settlements in Estalia. Built by natural deep-water harbours within the sheltered Bay of Quietude, its reputation as a friendly port with ready markets for all manner of cargoes draws traders from many ports across the globe. Its quays are usually crowded, and, among the assortment of Old Worlder merchantmen, one can occasionally catch a glimpse of a strangely rigged craft from Araby or even further afield. Magritta's reputation is well-deserved, for no pirates are tolerated here, and the Magrittans maintain a strong presence in the Southern Sea. They are fair, honest traders, and, over the years, have grown to be rich ones. The Bay of Quietude forms a natural fortress, and the Magrittans control all the land thereabouts, including the bay's twin headlands where two massive fortresses guard the approaches to the port, and serve as its beacons.[1a]
The merchants of Magritta trade goods from the north, as well as the natural produce of their lands, including silver from the Abasko Mountains to the east, while Couronne in Bretonnia is one of the larger markets for imported silks and spices. Their southern trade is deeply envied by the piratical Tilean states to the east, who fancy themselves as merchant adventurers, and there are frequent skirmishes between the rival cities. To protect their trade, the Magrittans maintain a strong navy, often hiring northern ships and crews to fight alongside their own tireless galleons. Hostile shipping is mercilessly sunk, whilst pirates are hounded and captured whenever possible and their crews brought back for public execution in the great market place. Ships from rival states may be boarded, their cargoes 'inspected' and frequently their captains obliged to sail into Magritta to trade their goods - thus swelling the city's trade and reducing that of its rivals.[1a]
Like all open ports and trading cities, Magritta has a polygot population. The natives are hard-working folk, largely ignorant of the dangers and temptations of Chaos, thanks to the city's position in the deep south of the Old World. Nonetheless, there are some who are only too willing to take advantage of the city's lax laws to practice their unspeakable rites and vile, daemonic faiths, undisturbed by the vigilance that characterises the cities of the north. Even so, the worship of Chaos Gods is a matter that would shock and disgust the majority of easy-going Magrittans.[1a]
Cult of Myrmidia
The smaller shrines of the Cult of Myrmidia answer to the temple in Margritta where the Archecclesiastium is held. This council of high priests governs and administers the cult, seeing its tenets are upheld. While the Archecclesiatium is technically the governing council of Myrmidia's cult, it has become the main temple's name by association. It was in this temple that the Knights of the Blazing Sun were formed.
Magritta is also the place of the Pilgrimage of the Soldier. This pilgrimage is undertaken by ex-soldiers, who do so to cleanse their mind, body, and soul of bloodguilt from the atrocities they committed on the battlefield. Pilgrims undertake this journey in the name of Myrmidia, and travel to either Magritta in Estalia or Remas in Tilea, both of which claim to be the founding cities of that goddess's cult. These soldier-pilgrims believe that each step closer to these cities removes a tiny bit of the weight that hangs on their shoulders—only Myrmidia understands the pain each soldier carries in his heart. Most pilgrims make the journey alone, although some band together in small groups, especially after a particularly harrowing campaign. Pilgrims wear white robes stained with their own blood. Brigands avoid these pilgrims, knowing that they risk dealing with a battle-hardened ex-soldier instead of a mere dirt farmer.[4a][4b]
Relations With Other Countries
Magritta is more tolerant of its differences with Marienburg than other Estalian kingdoms, perhaps because it too is dominated by merchants who understand that business is business. Most of Magritta's trade comes from the Arabian caliphates and the South Lands routes to Ind and Cathay, so much of their business is complementary to that of Marienburg, and Magrittan ships frequently visit the city. But the Magrittans are unhappy with the Directorate's relations with the Doges and Counsellors of Tilea. Given their clashes with Tilean vessels over trading rights in the Southern Sea, the financial aid given to their enemies by the Houses of Marienburg rankles. Should the shipowners' faction gain control over the puppet King Carlos IX, then relations with Marienburg could take a turn for the worse.[2a]