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The Financial Synod of Aerarium IV (10 BG - 5 BG) was convened by Emperor Saudir I in order to deal with the various possibilities of the emergence of the Spacing Guild and its position among the Landsraad.
The emotions of those attending were an almost unbearable combination of fascination and fear. The Guild came to Aerarium IV with intense mixed emotions: the advantages of rebirth of interstellar trade were clear to them but the dangers of dealing with the emperor and the Landsraad were also obvious since their ability to guide ships lay not only in learning, but also in a secret: the spice-trance of their navigators in addition to the abilities gained through a long period of training. If one learned the secret of the spice-trance, one learned what the Guild knew.
In a masterstroke of purposeful misdirection, they offered melange, representing it only as a spice which would extend human longevity. The Guild ambassadors could honestly assert ignorance of the source of melange and the Guild allayed any suspicion that melange had additional effects; the stratagem worked for centuries.
The emissaries warned against attempts to use the Guild for purposes other than those negotiated. They referred obliquely to the possibility of finding and seizing Tupile: if any such action was even seriously entertained, the Guild would retreat into secrecy. They pointed out that no political entity could match the Guild in space, and a search for their home world would take years. During those years, the Guild (even if eventually found) would have destroyed its hyperspace industry.
The age-controlling properties of the spice enhanced the feelings of the feudal states of the Landsraad toward the Guild and the return of extensive trade. They were aware of their vulnerability to the effects of trade and had an added reason to wish to control the Guild. It gradually became apparent that the Guild and the feudal houses had interests that ran in tandem. Both wanted the return of trade, but only in a fashion which would permit each institution to survive.
Unlike the Guild, the feudal houses cared about the economic benefits of trade, and just as deeply about the possible sociopolitical effects of cultural interaction. For years neither the Guild nor the feudal powers could find a way to accomplish all their aims.
One of the problems was the ambitions of the most powerful of the Great Houses. Those houses that had ambitions to become the Imperial House saw in the Guild an opportunity to elevate themselves if they could seize control of this new means of trade but the Guild refused to deal with them and compromise with the feudal powers in general proved impossible for years.
While the Synod remained unable to resolve its problems, matters were never permitted to deteriorate so that the gathering broke up. The Guild was especially concerned that this not happen, for they knew that the outcome of the Synod would determine whether or not they survived.
Saudir and his chief financial officer, the Dioicetes Asetirides came up with a proposal of a solution, but Saudir had not depended on the unprepared reaction of the Synod to his proposal. For months before the proposal was made to the whole Synod, a series of meetings had made clear to various of the feudal powers the advantages accruing to them. The most powerful of the Great Houses had been approached, first individually, and then in concert. The weaker of the feudal powers, which would become agents for the nonfeudal states, had been dealt with in regional groups.
The deadlock was broken after 2.5 years by emperor Saudir . During the latter half of the third year when it began to appear that the deadlock might destroy the Synod, the emperor called the delegates into full session and presented to them the plan for the formation of CHOAM. After several months of arguments concerning matters of detail, the charter was accepted. Once the approval of the Synod had been secured for the charter, the vote of the Landsraad was a foregone conclusion, since the membership in the two bodies so overlapped.
The next years were spent in bargaining sessions between the newly created CHOAM directors and the off-world Guild agents; there, a host of details — commercial areas, product rights, monetary exchange, tariffs, schedules, transport costs and priorities — were haggled over until agreement was achieved.
- SPACING GUILD, FOUNDATION OF