The Province of Sed

The Province of Sed is the second smallest province in the nation—only Grey Hearth is smaller. The region is known as the industrial capital of the world and is home to more production facilities, manufacturing plants, and corporate headquarters than any other province. Part of the reason for its use as an industrial center has to do with its location. It is almost equidistant from all major cities including Westlake, Alpine, Floran, and Pelenak, the industries of which all rely heavily on the goods produced within the province. The region’s weather and topography are equally important in creating an environment suitable to mass production. Like the Province of Arodil, Sed is mostly flat and full of vast prairies and plains that are perfect for constructing massive buildings and establishing trade lines. While dozens to hundreds of tornadoes cause problems for farmers in Arodil, most of the extreme weather skirts just north of Sed City. Further, though the eastern shipping lanes are rarely used now that raillines cover the nation, its location along the eastern edge of the continent meant it was easy to ship goods internationally even 200 years ago. And where most of the Province of Floran is a few hundred to more than 1,000 feet above sea level and meets the Ocean of Despair in a sheer drop, the entire coast of the province ends in white beaches or rocky coastline, making it perfectly suited to large shipping operations and an extensive network of docks.

The Province of Sed has seen the rise of most of the nation’s major inventions and tools (all save rail carts, which were created in Westlake and first used by the military). While the War of the World and the unification of Atla both played major roles in shaping the city, one young woman is synonymous with the region and played a pivotal role in accelerating the province’s growth.

A young entrepreneur by the name of Jenna Roebeck traveled to the region near the end of 25 PM. During that time the province was experiencing significant growth and change after the end of the War of the World. After the military’s demand for steel, wood, fabrics, and other equipment waned in the years after the war, the facilities built to supply the nation’s ravenous appetite began producing their goods for the public at large. Though the city grew rapidly, at the time local shops still outnumbered the larger plants and corporations 10:1. But when Jenna Roebeck settled in the area and began expanding her orb-light business the land changed forever.

Roebeck is credited with creating the first orb-lights in the year 30 PM. She was 16 at the time and stumbled across the idea almost by accident. Her parents were both professors at the University of Westlake City. During the summer months she would assist her parents with their research projects or help them build their course plans for the following school year. One afternoon in the summer of 30 PM young Jenna was tasked with cleaning up a lab while her parents finished up their meetings. Instead of cleaning as she was told, Roebeck began filling the lanterns and other glass beakers with various compounds, testing how they react to electrical charges. More often than not, when her parents were away young Jenna would experiment with whatever research detritus remained after her parents were finished with their work. Before long she found a combination that, when stimulated with electricity or magi power, glowed for several minutes at a time. Within a year of working closely with her parents she created the first orb-light. A year later every room in the school was lit by the revolutionary device. And by 27 PM she owned her own business and sold her unique lights wherever she could.

The lights, loud though they were, were a huge hit and sold as quickly as she could make them. Struggling to meet the demand of buyers throughout the nation, she knew it was time to expand her operation. And so, at the beginning of 26 PM she left Westlake in search of an inexpensive location to build her budding business.

Roebeck’s lights were a huge hit but they were difficult to make in any significant quantity. And though her parents were supportive of her new venture, they were both tied to their careers in the university and unable to devote much time to her company. Adding the costs of materials and a small factory in the city (which had one of the most expensive real estate markets on the continent at the time) and she was struggling to break even. There was huge demand for her lights, and she knew that if she could produce them fast enough the financial issues would take care of themselves.

After spending a year traveling the world, selling what few orb-lights she could as she traveled, Roebeck reached the small town of Torindale. She had spent several weeks in Floran City and managed to find a bit of help from local students to help her produce her latest batch of lights. While there she learned more of Sed, a city she had heard mentioned before but knew nothing about. The locals talked about how Sed was the industrial frontier and growing quickly after the war. Eager to find a place to call home, she left as soon as she made enough to fund the trip. In Torindale Roebeck began promoting her idea and looking for help. She had just enough money to open a new operation but she needed laborers to do everything from build the building to ship the goods. In effect, she was starting with nothing but a good idea and only enough mig to buy a few supplies. Only through luck, careful persuasion, and several dozen loans, Jenna made it to Sed and began producing lights in earnest.

Five years later as the 20’s were coming to a close, Jenna Roebeck was the owner of the single largest corporation in Sed City, the Silent Light Corporation. Within that five year period she managed to construct a new building, expand her business and change its name, employ a workforce that included more than 150 men and women, and repay all of her loans. Her new company name, Silent Light, was built around the principle of creating a silent orb-light. Up to that point her initial models all hissed when in use. The severity of the hiss depended on the size and brightness of a given model. Though it was by no means overwhelming, the noise was the only serious issue with her revolutionary form of lighting, and one she intended to overcome.

By the beginning of 19 PM Roebeck’s orb-lights were the most sought after consumer product in the nation; even with her massive facility she could hardly keep up with demand. The only way to sate the nation’s appetite for illumination was to expand.

Roebeck began an aggressive expansion during the autumn months of 19 PM. She attempted to hire anyone and everyone still living in Sed, offering independent business owners (including the blacksmiths, masons, carpenters, and other trades people) inordinate sums of money for their land and facilities. She also offered them a quality working wage to join her team. While a few of the locals agreed, most were unwilling to part with what were mostly family businesses that had been handed down for several generations. When the locals refused to oblige Roebeck looked to the cities she had once visited, hoping to entice her former temporary employees. After sending notices across the proto-nation about employment opportunities, hundreds of eager workers immigrated to Sed. Unlike the locals who she wished to displace through near bribery, she had no reason to offer the migrant workers excessive salaries. As a result, the new workers made a fraction of the amount she once offered the locals.

The influx of low-wage workers produced the desired results throughout the city—the local shop owners were displaced and overrun by an influx of skilled foreigners who were willing to do any job at almost any price. Before long almost all of the local businesses closed their doors and were helpless before Silent Light’s ravenous appetite for real estate.

By the time Atla became a unified nation Roebeck owned the largest corporation in the nation and employed twice as many workers as the second largest company. She and her company became synonymous with Sed, and the heart of the city itself became known as Immigration Plains after the immigrant workers who traveled there to work for her company.

Though she owned the largest corporation in the nation, Roebeck was not among those who assaulted the provincial capital in the first year of the new era. According to Roebeck herself, there was too much to lose and too little to gain by joining the protesters. Her factories and offices displaced the locals and almost eradicated an entire city’s way of life, but everything she did was, strictly speaking, legal and allowed. Her wages were low but not unbearably so. She made her employees work long hours, but not to the point of exhaustion. And she bullied her way into the province, but not by outright extortion. As a result, she was able to adapt to the new provincial mandates without losing money.

The Silent Light corporation remained the largest corporation in Atla for another 50 years. Her company’s reign ended when the steel industry grew dramatically between 50 and 60 EM. Though the Silent Light Corporation remained one of the largest companies in the world, once most homes and businesses installed orb-lights, the rate of expansion slowed dramatically

From steel to motorcarts, the Province of Sed has been an integral part in the growth and development of the nation. Today, Immigration Plains is home to the largest concentration of corporate headquarters anywhere in the world. And though Alpine produces more rail goods than any other province, Sed is home to just about anything and everything else.

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