Tibrafes is a prominent independent city-state about a hundred miles north of Llaza, upstream along the Anhui. It is about twenty miles east of the Anhui itself, instead standing on the banks of the Lemnaha, a broad tributary.
Its position is tactically important as it is based around a tall rocky outcrop that provides a commanding position over both the Anhui and the route to Kronlordan Pass through the Juiza mountain range, beyond which lie the border states of the Far Anhui. Tibrafes is based around a castle built upon the outcropping. The rest of the town has grown up over the years on the marshy meads of the Lemnaha.
The main trade of Tibrafes is leather. The meadows are home to hundreds of tanneries, as at one time Tibrafes supplied nearly all the leather for the Empire. This trade is no longer exclusive but Tibrafan leather is still considered to be the finest available.
Tanning is an unpleasant business. Hides are pre-treated for a month or more in vats full of urine and faeces. What with this and other chemicals used, the tanneries and the tanners stink. City ordinance delineates the "Tanner's Meridian" downstream of the town, a line of demarcation beyond which tanneries may not be built. Pigs and goats are reared locally for their hides (although the meat is used too). Only a few large tanneries can handle tembu hides (which can be up to forty square metres). Pig and goat leather has the durability and flexibility needed for every day use, whereas tembu hide is more for heavy duty use and armour-making. Secondary to the tanners, courboulli armour is a large trade.
In modern times, the perfume industry has flourished in Tibrafes, from a simple demand to hide the other odours of the city. The perfumeries can be found to the north of the city, amidst fields of lavender and other fragranced flowers. This trade is tightly allied to the glassblowers due to the need for vials and bottles. Since the glassblowers also control the Tibrafes-Kronlordan mint, this is alliance represents a powerful collection of interests.
The demand by the tanneries for waste products prompted the emergence of another unpleasant but necessary trade. Waste from the public latrines (and rare private outhouses)is collected by a profession that has come to be known as the "dunny-man" or "piss-man"(they prefer the former). Although nasty, the job is a lucrative one. A dunny-man will get paid to take the sewage away, and then paid again by the tanner when he sells it on. The dunny-men are organised into a guild of sorts, since in the past violent disputes have erupted over territory (since each dunny-man performs a daily round through a particular patch of streets). When they are not working, city ordinance restricts the dunny-men to outside the Tanner's Meridian.
This seemingly lowliest of all professions sparked the revolution that led to Tibrafes seceding from the Empire.
When Imperial bureaucrats decided that Tibrafes' waste disposal methods were unsanitary and planned to install an aqueified sewage system, both the dunny-men and the tanners saw a major threat to their livelihood. Both presented powerful factions in the town and armed mobs rose up in protest. Rabble-rousers incited the general citizenry to join in and the castle was stormed and taken.
The Empire responded with troops but the rioters were able to withstand a prolonged siege by tunneling in the sandstone of the Castle Rock. Eventually, however, the Empire re-gained control but not without reducing the castle to rubble and considerable loss of life on behalf of innocent citizens.
The heavy-handed treatment of Tibrafes was a spark that led the other Anhui states to rebel. Eventually Tibrafes was freed, but the rebellion continued long after.
The castle and town have since been rebuilt, and recovered much of its status. Only a few stretches of the old castle walls, and the tunnels dug beneath by the rebels, remain as a reminder of the Empire's perfidy.