In the Shine Cycle, Greyhawk is a space station above a rich but airless world orbiting a warm star some distance above the Shine and Wild Empire. And while it was founded to gain easy access to the rich mineral wealth of its system, its true prosperity came from trade.
Greyhawk was founded in the year 156 (pending the major revision of the timeline I’ve been planning for months …). To avoid owing taxes or a share of the revenue to anyone not invested in the project, it was an independent entity from the beginning. But even though it was independent, many in the Empire took great interest in it; Mary went with one of the initial groups of colonists as the Imperial ambassador to the station, with the renowned logistician Penelope on her staff, and soon afterwards Whitney led a regional trade delegation there and secured a lucrative nearly-exclusive trade agreement. The trade route between Greyhawk and the Empire was soon built up with resupply and rest stations in intermediate systems, which the trade came to rely on.
The Dragon Empire could hardly ignore this new source of wealth for its ancient enemy, so mere years after the trade was established its agents (though officially still “person or persons unknown”) stopped it by destroying many of these intermediate stations and taking the rest to use as bases, which they used to block any ships that tried to come through despite the disruption.
In the subsequent months, Whitney’s delegation returned to Greyhawk, offering to rebuild the route through different systems and fortify the stations, bearing the costs itself entirely (so lucrative was the trade). But before that resumption of their agreement could be accepted, the Greyhawk colonial council and administrators asked the Shine and Wild Empire to annex the station, which it willingly did.
The trade route was rebuilt and fortified, and the pirates routed, with the costs borne by the various beneficiaries of the now-open trade. Under Imperial governance, the station itself was brought up to Imperial standards of construction and facilities, and proved a continuing source of profit for the Empire, its allies, and their people as well as the people of the station.
In the next war, which began within the decade, Greyhawk proved to be of great strategic importance. The Dragon Empire’s space navy attacked it, and when driven off several times they settled down in the system to besiege it, keeping any but the smallest and fastest craft from getting through their blockade. This siege lasted only until the Dragon Empire’s own headquarters in the region was attacked and besieged, however.
A few decades later, in another war, Greyhaw was again attacked early in the war. But one of the Empire’s most brilliant strategists and tacticians, Cadwallader, was there; he led the station’s defenders in an utter rout of the Dragon Empire’s forces.
Early the next century, in the middle of what became known as “The Longest War”, Greyhawk was attacked more seriously tha ever before. Previously, its enemies had allowed themselves to be quickly repelled, and either settled down to besiege it or went to find easier prey. This time, there was a long space battle that tested the station’s reserves, even though by that time it could be resupplied by spider ships—which are a topic for another day.