More wordy remarks from Porridge Marten, the chronicler of The Game of Cronies:
While generals and their soldiers were involved in the shedding of blood in fruitless wars from one nasty end of Westeroids to the other, merchants, traders and bankers in the SevenEleven Kingdoms prepared caravans and trade expeditions seeking out vital resources for their respective nations and lucrative trade agreements for their masters; the greedy merchants’ minds were restless, their hands sweaty in anticipation of counting out their own profits in crowns.
Timber, stone and other materials were needed equally for a nation’s supposedly important or frivolous building projects. Admirals demanded more timber for war galleys. Generals wanted to feed and raise more troops. Mages sought lore and potions. Slaves always came in handy…the poor wretches… in the mines and in construction…and they weren’t paid a single crown in return.
Trading sites in foreign lands would be the first step in acquiring a neighbor’s resources. And if the “traders” weren’t especially interested in bartering, the sites offered them an underhanded way to spy on, loot, or convert their hosts. Trading routes would snake out across the lands while the traders made shrewd bargains.
Devious leaders expected that over time towns and cities would eventually rise from these first trading spots, as colonies or as new states loyal to their mother countries, but as history shows, they were often wrong.