|La Baronía de la caña de Mare|
|Location:||The Papal States, Tamaulipas|
|Current status:||struggling on|
Mare's shank was nothing more than a rest stop on the highway before the Great War, after it, it was just another empty building that people and occasionally creatures would stay a night in before moving on. It would remain like this for the next 100 years until a man called Felipe Cruz wondered upon it. he saw the potential of the building almost instantly as people still traveled on the 101.
he spent about a week fixing it up, and opened it as Felipe's Cantina and inn. It proved popular with caravaners and travelers, who were glad to have company along that barren strip of road. With the money he made that first month, Felipe bought some wire and two hens to have fresh eggs, and the rest was spent on a felt poker table. The money from gambling boosted his income nicely, and he was able to hire on a bartender, so when he was playing cards, he wouldn't have to keep getting up to fetch drinks. By 2210 the cantina was a well-known spot along the 101, and anyone going south would be sure to stop in. Unfortunately for Felipe' s son Jesus, who took over after his father died, anyone included Tuco Abaroa V.
Tuco was a minor card-shark from Distrito Capital who was run out after he attempted to cheat one of the major gang bosses. Those who knew him are aware he never knew his father, but adopted the 'fifth' as a way to sound more distinguished. Regardless of his name, he proved a better card-player than Jesus, who was down ten thousand pesos which he didn't actually own. Wagering the cantina and all assets on three queens, he was crushed when Tuco revealed his hand, four aces.
Tuco's first act as owner of the cantina was to kick out Jesus, and then proceed to get drunk. Trouble would start the next week, however, when the food caravan came by, and Tuco's gruff demeanor caused them to leave before the cantina's food supply had been purchased. The lack of food forced Tuco to kill the flock of chickens that had been bred and serve them as the food for the bar.
Knowing that the chickens would only last for a few days, he hired some drifters to look around for a new food source. while they failed to find food, they did find the area around the cantina had everything needed to make concrete. Unable to eat concrete, Tuco was forced to hire a new caravan to deliver food, at a higher cost than the previous one did. Realizing he was going broke very fast, he hired on some drifters with what little money he had left to gather and make the concrete, which he exported to growing settlements in the Papal States.
When a Papal envoy came to him one day, he saw the man as a great way to salvage the situation. Swearing fealty to the Pope, he had to name the small barony he would now rule, calling it Mare's shank in dislike of the dusty cantina. He had no choice of bishop, so one was sent for from Soto La Marina that Tuco felt would do fine. Now a baron, Tuco used the status to attract workers from Distrito Capital for the cement refinery, and using the excess cement to build a home he felt was fitting of a man of his status.
Tuco the fifth would die in 2245, and his son Tuco VI would take over. A grim and focused man, Tuco took to the job of feeding the people, which he solved with a trade agreement with the nearby barony of Santa Juana. Starvation not in his immediate future, Tuco next turned to housing, the paisanos living in tin shacks. By ordering that the workers work overtime, he was able to stockpile enough concrete to convert all of their houses to concrete ones that were much more stable, if not unappealing to the eye.
The third thing on his list was security, the barony only having three permanent guards under his father's rule, which Tuco increased to twelve, drafting some of the paisanos and hiring two mercenaries from Cattle Country to the north.
Last on his list is expansion; something he has thought and plotted about since 2254. Since then, the barony has been relatively quiet, with the workers rising early and relaxing late into the night, which is how everyone enjoys it. There have been a few births since then, but it is still a rest stop on the old highway.
The only thing keeping the village afloat is taxes on those wishing to pass through the town on the highway, which also has the side-effect of driving off most who would visit the cantina. Most of the population are employed in the manufacturing of concrete which is sent to other places in the Papal States.
The Barony is ruled by Baron Tuco Abaroa VI, who oversees all matters in the town, whether arguments between the paisanos or the refusal of travelers to pay the tax. The Baron runs the town from his mansion that looks over the settlement and which anyone trying to leave to the south has to past.
In keeping with his Oath of Fealty, Abaroa sends a tenth of the barony's annual taxes to the Pope and gives it's levies for the Church's wars. The rest of the funds are used to import food for the town, which is unable to grow crops.