|“||The merchant guilds: the Mercers, the Spicers and their like, grow steadily in wealth and influence. Jumped-up, posturing commoners dictating to their natural betters.||”|
–Sult on the merchant classes
The Guild of Mercers is one of the two wealthiest merchant guilds in The Union; the other being the Spicers Guild. It predominantly imports goods from Styria into The Union; glasswork from Visserine, wine from Ospria etc. The head of the Guild is Magister Coster dan Kault, whose headquarters is in the ostentatious Guildhall in the shadow of the Agriont in Adua. Many of the wealthies nobles in The Union, are heavily invested in the Mercers, including Brock, Heugen, Isher, and Barezin.
- Coster dan Kault, Magister of the Guild
- Gofred Hornlach, senior member of the Guild and Kault's deputy
- Salem Rews, merchant from Adua
- Villem dan Robb, partner and junior customs post holder
- Harod Polst, merchant
- Solimo Scandi, merchant from Westport
The city-state of Westport in Styria entered The Union under the influence of the Guild of Mercers. Nine years before the series, the Guild made large contribution towards war-effort for the First Gurkish War. They were rewarded with exclusive trading rights in Westport.
Although the Mercers give the impression of great wealth, they are in fact heavily in debt to the bank Valint & Balk. The need to repay what they owe has driven them to use risky and often corrupt business practices.
The Blade Itself
Inquisitor Glokta arrests a Mercer called Salem Rews for flagrantly evading the King's taxes. Rews confesses and names the nine other men involved. Arch Lector Sult encourages Glokta to continue his investigation into the Mercers, so he can take their resources as his own. However, the Mercers have a spy in the House of Questions, and try to subvert the investigation by ordering the nine men killed. Serior Mercer Hornlach hires a Styrian assassin Carpi, but he is arrested by Glokta while trying to kill Salem Rews.
Rews, Carpi and Hornlach confess in Open Council that the corruption is generalized, and all the orders came directly from Kault, head of the Guild. Glokta leads a military expedition to the Mercers' Headquarters and arrests several members. However, he is unable to prevent Magister Kault from committing suicide. Right before hanging himself, he admits to treason but implicates the bank Valint & Balk and the Closed Council.
The assets of the Mercers, including exclusive trading rights in Westport, were handed over to His Majesty’s Inquisition.
- The term "mercer", from French mercier, originally referred to merchants who imported fine cloth like silk and cotten into England in the 12th century.