House Inika operates out of its headquarters in the city of Gulg. It is small compared to some of the other major Trading Houses, but this is by choice. Dealing in small, valuable cargoes, such as kola nuts, exotic feathers, spices, and gemstones, Inika sees the benefit in remaining small and efficient. As a result, the house rakes in profits far out of proportion to its size, gaining a reputation for being one of the shrewdest houses in the region.
House Inika's banner shows a plain gold circle on a black field.
Over three centuries ago, in the year of the Desert's Fury, in the city of Gulg, Taro Inika, a trusted agent of House Riben, broke his merchant's oath and left his employers, starting his own house. Only the good will of Biria Riben, the house's matriarch who had once been Inika's lover, prevented the new house from being crushed within a year.
In Gulg, rivalries between Trade Houses are kept to a minimum to maintain the peace and tranquility of the city. This proved a rich environment for the new concern. Within a few years, the house assumed its current form: a streamlined business dealing in small but valuable cargoes.
House Vordon, ever on the lookout for weak rivals to exploit or destroy, immediately dispatched raiders to disrupt the silk routes between Urik and Raam. Surprisingly, House Inika gave in immediately, abandoning the routes, effectively ceding them to its wealthier competitor. Unfortunately for Vordon, they soon found that the resources that Inika had withdrawn from the silk route had been rerouted into the spice trade between Tyr and Gulg, where Vordon was extremely vulnerable. Within a few months, Vordon was on the ropes, losing money on the spice route and regretting the day that it ever heard of House Inika.
Such incidents underline two of House Inika's major philosophies: that force is to be used only as a last resort, and that strategic withdrawal to a superior position is often the best route.
Inika's favored trade goods -kola nuts, spices, gems, feathers, and other small but valuable items, help make Inika caravans small and fast. Gulg's relative tranquility and the regularity of its production provides House Inika with a regular income. Wise investment and conservative spending combine to keep Inika on a solid financial footing.
Inika's caravans are small and fast. Elven scouts provide advance warning of ambushes or attacks, which are usually avoided rather than confronted. Cargo is carried almost exclusively on kanks, although inix are sometimes used for larger cargoes. Mekillots and wagons are almost never found in Inika caravans.
Average caravans include about a dozen Elven scouts with up to 20 kanks and (rarely) four to six inix. Due to the caravans' small size, House Inika can afford to maintain many more than other Merchant Houses. At any one time, Inika can have 50 to 75 caravans carrying cargo across the region.
Inika caravans' tactics are, first and foremost, to avoid any enemy forces. Should this fail, they scatter to break up pursuit. The scouts are expected to seek out the dispersed kank riders and bring them back together after the attack has ended.
House Inika maintains very few permanent installations, preferring to temporarily rent or lease space in villages, forts, or cities. The house maintains a few trade villages and fortresses, such as Fort Adros. Major facilities and their resources are listed below.
- Fort Adros: 75 employees, 150 slaves. Supply point along the gold route between Walis and Altaruk. Often a target of attacks by Elves and Gith.