Wealth

Wealth is a nebulous concept; wars have been fought over it, men have lied, stolen, cheated, craved, bled and died for it. Its precise definition is not, however, always money, and Mandrakes fall into disparate lines over what they consider valuable. Some do crave wealth in the form of gold and currency; however, only a few members of the House are obsessed with that form of wealth.

Most Mandrakes fall into the following views : that wealth is tied to the land, that wealth is tied to the mercenary trade, that the only wealth needed is honour, or that learning is the primary source of wealth needed.

Land - Most Mandrakes who follow this view are ranchers, or tied to the ranchers. Their perspective is not necessarily wrong; they have, after all, historically been quite wealthy from their ranches and livestock, and Mandrake horses are renowned for speed, grace and intelligence to this day. They have had a hard time of it of late, however, thanks to the losses suffered over the past two centuries. It is not impossible for them to regain their lost ground - and they have regained some lost land, thanks to House Karm forgiving Mandrake's debts - but it will take time, and time may be in short supply.

Mercenaries - The mercenary trade is split into two sections : actual men fighting for pay on the one hand, and the crafting of arms and armour for sale on the other. The former group views themselves as much more of a practical money-maker than they really are; in Amber, especially in the present day, there is rarely a shortage of cheap fighting labour. With the war against the Black Road, mercenaries find it harder to recruit men to fill the gaps in their ranks; too few people leave the military intact to be able to serve in a mercenary unit. While this is not yet critical, it does suggest problems in future should things continue as-is.

Arms and armour, on the other hand, remain of value; and higher value for higher skill than ever before. With Karm returning the mines to Mandrake, House Mandrake has now begun to get their smithies up and running again. It will take time for production to get fully underway, but this has the potential to be the salvation of the House.

Honour - Honour is nice, but doesn't pay the bills. The main benefit of the Mandrake honour is that those outside the House who recognize it for what it is are more likely to be willing to deal with the House, in trade or in other ways. As such, it remains a hidden vein which keeps paying off - but some younger, more impatient members of the House may not recognize it for what it brings.

Learning - Learning is either practical or impractical. The primary way in which Mandrake benefits by learning is when it is put into practical application; doctors are always in short supply, and the family has learned, sometimes the hard way, that offering medical aid for free is not acceptable. Similarly, trusting to others' sense of honour no longer is valid - Mandrake has even in recent times too often been left holding an empty bag. The Mandrake prices for healing, thus, are on the rise each time that someone does not voluntarily pay.

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