The first league was originally established by the ancient Sanctaphrax academic Aurelius Ventilix, for the purpose of creating a monopoly on Cliff-Marble for the Academy of Wind. The Leagues grew independent of the Sanctaphrax academics and evolved into an economic juggernaut that ruthlessly regulated every aspect of Undertown commerce, effectively assuming political control of the city as well. The only business in which their might was challenged was in the transportation of materials via Sky Ships, where they were forced to compete with the illicit trade of Sky Pirates. Leaguesmen and Sky Pirates possessed a mutual hatred for one another, and spent centuries shifting between competition, outright war, and brief cease-fires.
The Leagues oversaw all trade in Undertown and controlled all the goings-on in the city. The various leagues were very quarrelsome, fighting amongst themselves for supremacy, and often hiring Sky Pirates to raid opposing League Ships. All Leagues had a Leaguesmaster who presided over each one, and all the Leaguesmasters reported to the High Leaguesmaster. Leaguesmen wore special hats which indicated their rank, and the more important Leaguesmen had taller hats. The most powerful Leaguesmen wore hats so tall that they required hat-tippers to walk behind them and constantly hold them steady.
Leaugemen were the most wealthy members of society, and wore impressive and often bizarre outfits. They sported gruesome fashions like finger-spikes and sharpened teeth. Later, during the Twig trilogy, the Leaguesmen were far less flamboyant, favoring simple white robes and (in the case of the Leaguesmasters) plain tricorn mitres of equal height.
End of the Leagues
Between the Twig and the Rook trilogy, the Leagues of Undertown finally collapsed. The end of the First Age of Flight rendered the Leagues' sky ships useless, and the balance of power in the Edgeworld changed drastically. With the construction of the Great Mire Road, the Shrykes assumed control of commerce between Undertown and the Deepwoods, and the rise of General Tytugg's army of goblins resulted in a dramatic shift of political power in Undertown. The final High Leaguesmaster, Vox Verlix, ended up with no power at all, hiding from his enemies, real or imagined, in the Palace of Statues.
The League of Free Merchants was divided into a few general categories.
The larger divisions of the Leagues were further divided into smaller groups which oversaw every single aspect of Undertown industry.
- League of Plankers and Beamers
- League of Gluesloppers and Ropeteasers
- League of Wicktwisters and Waxdippers
- League of Melders and Moulders
- League of Forging and Founding
- League of Gutters and Gougers
- League of Haulers and Herders
- League of Raggers and Royners
- League of Furnace Tenders
- League of Smelters and Stokers
- League of Rock Merchants
- League of Torturers
- League of Rilkers and Renderers
- League of Wheelers and Wedgers