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Marienburg is a wealthy city that has broken apart from the rest of the Empire. It is renowned for its flourishing sea trade and the flamboyant dress of its merchants.
Marienburg was once part of the Empire, but gained independence though a massive transfer of gold into the imperial coffers in 2429 IC, during the reign of Emperor Dieter IV, with the resultant scandal forcing his abdication. Any subsequent attempts to subdue Marienburg and bring it back within rule of the Empire - such as the disastrous battle of Grootscher Marsh - have failed, and today Marienburg remains a fiercely independent city where the Count of Nordland, nominally the ruler of Marienburg, is forbidden to return under pain of death.
Marienburg has long been the largest and most prosperous trading city in the Old World. Many call it the City of Gold which alone conveys a good idea of the wealth of this sprawling cosmopolitan city. Nowhere else can be found the vast array of shops selling goods from as far away as the Elven kingdoms of Ulthuan in the west and distant Cathay in the east. The city’s craftsmen represent every skill known to man, and a few others beside, so that it is said in Marienburg there is no activity that cannot be quickly turned to profit.
Many mercantile guilds have their headquarters in Marienburg, most important of all the secretive High Order of Honorable Freetraders which represents the elite amongst mercantile society. This large, rich and ambitious body of men feel themselves shackled by the old order and are eager to seize power for themselves.
Marienburg is also notable for its population of High Elves, dwelling in the district of Elfsgemeente, known to the Elves themselves as "the Continental Exarchate of the High Kingdom of Ulthuan", which contains several Elven merchant houses, numbering roughly 100 Elves in total. Marienburg itself is built on the site of the ancient Elven fortress of Sith Rionnasc'namishathir (meaning "Star-Gem of the Sea" in Eltharin), and the surrounding domain of Athel Toralien, which was ruled by Prince Malekith of Anlec (who was, at the time, ambassador to the Dwarf kingdom of Karaz Ankor before the Sundering.