|Population:||185 (175 temporary legionnaires, 10 permanent merchants)|
|Notable Individuals:||Pancho Mendoza (temporarily)|
|Factions:||La Legión de la Gente|
|Notable events:||Battle of Casa Roja|
|Current status:||Contested outpost of La Legión de la Gente|
A former summer villa for a wealthy Mexican family, Casa Roja, or Red House in English has served as a trading post for caravan trade on the former border between Mexico and the United states for close to a century and since the reign of Rey Mateo Segundo of the Kingdom of Mexico it has served as a base for military forces from La Ciudadela until very recently when in the summer of 2281 it was seized by communist partisans and revolutionaries under the banner of Pancho Mendoza and La Legión de la Gente who are currently using the outpost as their forward operating base to use in their war against Rey Cristobol and his reino.
Casa Roja was built in 2045 by a wealthy Mexican advertising tycoon as a vacation home for him and his family just seven miles from the Rio Grande and eleven miles from Rio Bravo where he lived. The house was a two-story villa on a hill with close to thirty rooms, meant for a vacation house and for hosting large and lavish parties for him, his family, his friends, and his business partners and clients. Built on one acre with a ten-acre parcel of land surrounding it, Casa Roja was right off the highway and cost two and a half million American dollars, land included.
After thirty-two years the house was still regularly used and in the hands of the same family when the bombs fell, they were in Rio Bravo and killed by atomic fire. The house, however, fared better than its residents and survived. It would be left vacant for decades until in the 2130s when it was mostly looted clean of all valuables by scavengers. Comanchero raiders would use the mansion as a hideout on several occasions until in 2156 when a caravaneer decided to take up residence in the new mansion with his caravan of five men and three pack brahmin. He set up a trading post and rented rooms in the spacious mansion and set up a moonshine still in the basement to sell liquor. In the case of comanchero raids, the residents would hold up in the mansion and seal the doors while firing rifles from the windows.
Casa Roja was a stop for caravans going north into Texas and continuing further south into Mexico for over a century as residents came and went. Trade increased when Rey Valentino established El Reino de Mexico and opened up his vault to the outside world, establishing La Ciudadela. By the 2220s most of the traders passing through Casa Roja were headed to La Ciudadela to trade or headed from La Ciudadela to turn a profit for the nobles. However, the comancheros who pestered the former U.S.-Mexico border plagued the area around Casa Roja and savaged many caravans.This changed when after waging war against comancheros in the area for six years, Rey Mateo Segundo sent troops to Casa Roja in 2263, making Casa Roja the first and to date the only territorial expansion of the Kingdom of Mexico. The annexation was greeted without much resistance from the people of Casa Roja who welcomed an increase of activity at their small outpost by catering to soldiers and an added level of safety from raids by comancheros. The garrison at Casa Roja was used to launch escorts for caravans headed for Texas and to launch hunting parties for comanchero raiders.
When Rey Cristobol took power in 2270, the outpost fell under his control and soon he used it as the front line in La Guerra de la Ciudadela, when Pancho Mendoza's People's Legion declared war on him. For over ten years, Casa Roja repelled hit and run attacks and marked the border between legion infested countryside and kingdom controlled land. This changed in the Battle of Casa Roja when in May of 2281, heavily armed legionnaires led by legion support unit, Los Hermanos de Sangre assaulted Casa Roja and killed the sixty-man garrison after a nine-hour siege of the mansion on a hill, using snipers and machine gun emplacements to weaken up the defensive structure of the house before storming the hill and engaging in bloody melee combat. When news that the outpost had been captured reached the rey, he sent one hundred men out to reclaim Casa Roja, which they did.
They found the outpost deserted and looted of supplies and then received radio orders to head back to La Ciudadela where Pancho Mendoza had personally lead the burning of corn and wheat fields. The force left ten men to guard the mansion and ran back to La Ciudadela to fight Mendoza, who was headed back to Casa Roja off the main road. "The Ride Around Cristobol" as it was called was humiliating to the rey and when it was over the legion had retaken Casa Roja and had burned most of La Ciudadela's food supply.
Since the battle, Casa Roja has served as the forward operating base of the People's Legion were close to one hundred and seventy-five legionnaires are garrisoned. Mendoza himself personally commands the operation and is using Casa Roja as his final stop before attacking La Ciudadela, plotting his attack and anticipating a kingdom attack every day.
For most of its history, the "government" of Casa Roja was the people who lived there. Since it was inhabited after the war, there were never more than fifteen people operating the trading post and living in the mansion. They generally got along quite well as had no real need for a government or police force as the settlement was so small it would have been redundant, instead for security the merchants who lived at Casa Roja protected themselves with their own weaponry and settled their own disputes, forming a small militia if comancheros came too close.
This worked with such a small settlement until 2263 when Rey Mateo Segundo took over Casa Roja and kept a garrison there. From that point on the government was the garrison of soldiers from La Ciudadela, who collected tolls for caravans passing through, made sure that no crime was committed by caravaneers, residents, or soldiers, and who escorted caravans financed by Citadel nobility to the Rio Grande. This government was also quite simple, yet effective for such a small settlement.
After The Battle of Casa Roja, the legion allowed the residents of the trading post to stay and took over enforcing law in the relatively crime-free outpost with the exception of collecting greater tolls from caravans, confiscating all goods from nobility financed caravans, and allowing no caravan carrying food, guns, or medical supplies to go into Rey Cristobol's territory before having such trade goods confiscated as they could aid the war effort against Pancho Mendoza's communist militia.
When the legion moves on it is likely that Casa Roja will continue to remain under the control of the victorious side in the Citadel War, it doesn't matter to most of the ten or so permanent traders at Casa Roja who wins as they don't expect trade to be hindered either way. However if given the choice, all would prefer to stay under Rey Cristobol's banner than Pancho Mendoza's.
The economy of Casa Roja is quite small, however so is Casa Roja and its population itself. Since it was founded as a trading post, Casa Roja has made money by acting as a trading post for caravaneers to pick up supplies, spend the night, get a good meal and a drink or two, and maybe play a little game of cards, at times prostitutes, have lived in some of the rooms of Casa Roja. However, there has not been one in the post since 2276 when she became collateral damage in a raid by communist partisans with the legion.
Since Casa Roja was annexed in 2263, its economy benefited the Kingdom of Mexico by collecting customs from all caravans, cattle drives, brahmin drives, and travelers that pass through, though the customs were nominal the traffic that passes through Casa Roja gave Rey Cristobol's government a tidy little profit. Casa Roja's small economy only improved when Rey Mateo Segundo annexed the post as the increased safety the soldiers provided drew additional traffic.
Since May of 2281 when Pancho Mendoza took Casa Roja after his "Ride around Cristobol" La Legión de la Gente, The People's Legion has controlled the post. This has obviously discouraged any merchant activity bound for La Ciudadela from passing through and had a noticeable impact on the economy of the post, however, due to how little the traders made anyway they haven't noticed it greatly. The customs for passing through Casa Roja have also been increased and now caravans or merchants carrying supplies that could aid Rey Cristobol merely traveling in his direction are subject to confiscation of their goods and sometimes execution as an enemy agent, ensuring that legion control has not been as fruitful as the hands-off approach that Kingdom forces took.
Casa Roja is located between La Ciudadela and the Rio Grande on the route from La Ciudadela to Hidalgo. It is eleven miles north of La Ciudadela, seven miles south of the Rio Grande and Hidalgo, and twenty-three miles to the southeast of Cresta Confederada. It has historically marked the border between the territory controlled by the People's Legion and The Kingdom of Mexico.