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  2. Elbion

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Elbion

Physical Information
Very Large Elbion Valley, on Cairou river, Liadain 250,000
Societal Information
Human (Majority) Oligarchic merchant republic Trade tongue
Economic & Military Information
City walls and river Luxury goods, magical goods Spices
OOC Info

"If you can't find what you're looking for here, head to Elbion. They got everything under the sun, and then-some."​
— Merchant of southern Liadain
The City of Elbion is a floating city-state and merchant republic located in northern Liadain on the Cairou River. It was founded many years ago by Lord Ganfritz Elbion. The city grew into a trading hub in northern Liadain. It also serves as a leader in magical developments as the College of Elbion resides within the city walls. In the year 370, the city was nearly destroyed by a magical force that ripped it from its foundations and caused most of the city to float in the air.

Description

Located on the northern Liadain continent, the City of Elbion sat at the base of a mountain. With the mountain to the north and Cairou River to the south, Elbion was in a historically well defensible position. Grassy plains to the east and west allowed for easy agriculture to feed the growing, early population of the city.

The city is fractured into multiple pieces floating in the air. Rubble and debris still line the streets as the city continues to recover from being shattered by a magical spell. The great wall that used to protect the city from attacks by land is torn apart. Getting to and from the floating squares of the city is still a work in progress.

After the shattering of the city, there was an explosion of shantytowns and slums that developed on ground level. The slum residents used to be just those that were poverty stricken such as criminals, poorly paid farmhands, dockworkers, or some combination. Now, the population of the slums has exploded with those that lost everything when the city broke apart.

The historical stability of Elbion lead it to amassing great economic wealth via trade. Major exports from the city are luxury goods due to the availability of precious metals from nearby mountains. Magical goods and artifacts are also a major export due to the presence of the College of Elbion. While not known for it across the world, Elbion possesses capable craftsmen and easy access to iron ore in the mountains. What helps bring even more wealth back to the city though is the use of trading ports across Arethil.

However, the city’s shattering has resulted in a severe economic depression. Many warehouses and goods within were destroyed. Many shops for crafting goods were demolished. The loss of life took the lives of many skilled merchants and craftspeople as well. The ports also suffered damage requiring repair to start bringing gold back into the city.

Ducats are used in the city and are split into gold (docatto), silver (zoldo), and bronze (tolaro). The denominations are ten silver per gold and one hundred bronze per gold. Rich attire in Elbion costs a hundred gold. A year's tuition and board at the College of Elbion is a few gold. [1]

History

Establishment

After the establishment of Elbion College by Lord Ganfritz Elbion, word of the College’s existence spread across Liadain. A number of magically talented families moved to the college to learn. Non-magical residents began to move to campsites around the College for the purpose of earning money from the students and Maesters.

After a hundred years of the College's founding, the settlements surrounding it grew large enough to be formally declared a city. It was named after the College's founder, Elbion, who also governed the city up until his death. When Lord Elbion passed away, the College of Elbion was bequeathed to his greatest proteges while the City of Elbion to his five children. This was the start of the independence of the College from the City that has been maintained to the year 369.

Elbion's five children governed the city together. This set the precedent of the divided rule in Elbion via the Merchant's Council that continues to exist.

The Templar War

The Templar War affected the city when the Elbion Templar garrison emerged to attack the City of Elbion.

The City was overwhelmed by the sudden attack. In addition, the City had the incentive to allow the Elbion Templars some latitude prior to the invasion since they served as a counter force to the College. Ironically, the College remained unconquered due to it occupying a former castle and there being only one entrance to the College District. The College was able to take in refugees pursued by the fanatic Templars.

Eventually, the City and College were able to band together. They soundly defeated the Templars and forced the Templars to surrender to the City itself.[2]

Since then, the City of Elbion has used their control over the Elbion Templars in order to maintain an anti-mage force in the event that a rogue mage causes trouble within the City. [3]

Age of Chronicles

By the Age of Chronicles, the City of Elbion grew into a worldwide known trading hub. Elbionese traders could be seen from Liadain to Espressa bringing tremendous wealth back to the city. The College of Elbion has maintained its legal independence from the city.

The city used to be protected by a great wall that hugged all sides except for those that bordered the river. Inner walls further divided the city into multiple historic districts: College, Residential, Government, Merchant, and Port Districts.

During the Pandemonium Crisis, a portal stone manifested in a village west of Elbion. With it not being far from the Cairou River, merchants quickly jumped on the new trade opportunity. The city seeks to maintain control of the portal stone in order to regulate (and tax) trade to and from it.

In the year 370, Drakormir rose from slumber and marched toward the city. Upon reaching the city, someone activated a magical artifact. The result was Drakormir falling into Elbion Lake and the city’s foundations shattering into hundreds of pieces. The broken city slowly rose into the air – becoming the first known “floating” city. There was a tremendous loss of life and wellbeing from this event in the city. [4]

Inhabitants

Despite the fact that Ganfritz Elbion accepted anyone from any race into the College of Elbion, since his death the city has grown to be dominated by a human majority. This is due to the fact that the Merchant's Council has always been governed by humans. What may have been an unconscious bias in Elbion's children grew into pro-human institutions supported by the contemporary government and human majority. This specie-ism only goes so far as to deny opportunities to non-humans.

Due to the constant flux of visitors, the Port District is the most cosmopolitan area of the city based on species and cultures. The slums outside the city walls also has a large non-human population due to the ease that non-humans fall into poverty in the city.

Elbion maintains one of the widest ranges of individual wealth within Arethil. There are residents residing in the slums that struggle to feed themselves on a daily basis and must decide between eating food themselves so they can work or to feed their own child. There is also a strong middle class of tradesmen, craftsmen, and other professionals. And above that was the aristocratic elite of Elbion - the Eleven, the eleven families that govern the Merchant's Council. They held grand estates - many with opulence that could outside most, if not all, other places in contemporary Arethil.

Citizenship in Elbion requires some sort of backing by the Merchant's Council. Due to the city's size, this is usually delegated to institutions for immigrants and given as a matter of fact to those born of Elbion citizens. Backing from one of Eleven families guarantees citizenship. Those without would require considerable wealth or skill plus a human appearance to get a chance in being granted citizenship. Since the College of Elbion is independent of the City of Elbion, students and professors are not inherently citizens and must normally reside on the College's grounds.

Due to the city's nature of establishment and the College of Elbion, there are a higher rate of mage-capable people within the city compared to other cities in Arethil.

Government

The current status of Elbion's government remains unknown after the events of the city's shattering.

Prior to that event, the City of Elbion is an oligarchic merchant republic. The Grand Council of Elbion, colloquially known as the Merchant's Council, governs the city and is composed of the leaders of the eleven wealthy, prestigious merchant families.

These families are sometimes called the Eleven. They function similarly to noble families in feudal societies - with their family palaces as their lands passed on to heirs and marriages used to solidify alliances. Some of the family lines are directly descended by Elbion and his children. The Elbion family has survived to the year 369. [5] Others were created when their founder amassed enough wealth to threaten the Merchant's Council power. Many of the Eleven ensure that their members are trained in magic.

Families of the Eleven are:
  • House Elbion
  • House Wiscard, led by Councilor Roland Wiscard[6]
  • Nine other houses

The Merchant's Council governed many aspects of life within the city. They held the authority to both grant and revoke citizenship. In addition, they controlled who could legally set up a shop or stand via permits and fees. All laws within the city are created and repealed at the pleasure of the Council.

The city's head of state is known as the Doge of Elbion, stylized as His/Her Serene Doge. The Doge executes the laws of the Merchant's Council and is the final authority in appointing officials to important government posts. The Doge is elected by the Merchant's Council. He or she is meant to serve for life, though the Merchant's Council can remove the Doge from power if desired. As a result of the Doge's and Merchant's Council's powers, normally the Doge requires the Council's consent to act and the Council requires the Doge's support to enact new laws.

A hot topic in the government is, and has always been, the legal status of the College of Elbion. While an enclave completely surrounded by the city, the College of Elbion maintains legal independence where the laws of the city do not apply. However, the reverse is maintained by the city where the city does not allow the College is enforce its rules outside of the College District.

Locations

College of Elbion / College District

Main article: College of Elbion
The College of Elbion, sometimes known as Elbion College, is a boarding school dedicated to the study and teaching of magic. It is one of the, if not the, most prestigious magical institute in Arethil. The College used to be a castle and its tower is the highest point in the city - both historically and today.

The College of Elbion resides in the College District at the northernmost section of the city. There used to be only one continuously guarded entrance to this district. Since the city shattered, the entire College of Elbion remained intact and became its own floating island.

Doge's Palace / Government District

The opulent Doge's Palace was where the head of state and government, the Doge, officially resided. The palace featured plants from many areas of Arethil. Its massive central fountain worked on magic instead of a complicated pumping system as one would expect. The palace itself is gated and heavily guarded.

In addition to serving as the residence of the Doge, the Doge's Palace is also where the Merchant's Council would convene. Several officials also work from the palace.

Surrounding the palace is the Government District. It served as the political heart of the city. Almost all government and political institutes resided within this district. Within it, the Elbion City Guard hosted the city watchmen within this district. [7]

During the city's shattering, the Doge's Palace was destroyed. The Government District was split into several pieces. The survival of the Doge and other ruling families remains unknown.[8]

Port District

The Port District encompasses the many docks of Elbion. Docks meant for trade good inflow or outflow are situated on the east side of the city. This allows for trade ships to be the first ones docked or to leave along the Cairou River. Dedicated passenger vessels are directed to travel further upriver to the western docks. Visitors to the city typically stay at the many inns and taverns of the Port District.

The district also features a large bazaar with many goods for sell at stands. Setting up a stand in this bazaar requires only a fee to be paid to the government.

After the city's shattering, the Port District was severely damaged. Elbion Lake gained a thick miasma in the center where Drakormir fell.

Merchant District

The Merchant District features the largest area of Elbion. Permanent shops and establishments can be found there. As a large city, Elbion has a wide range of trades and businesses. Shops are managed by the government so that there are few cases that competitors are neighbors.

To get government approval to open a shop, one must pay an application fee, submit a written letter of intent with inventory of goods, and be interviewed.

The extent of the damage to the Merchant District after the city's shattering remains unknown.

Residential District

The Residential District is where Elbion citizens may reside. Each citizen is given an amulet to wear as identification that is used to enter the Residential District. Visitors to the Residential District must be escorted by a citizen or have a pass bearing the Elbion seal. There are three entrances to the Residential District that are always guarded.

Many buildings were destroyed after Drakormir's approach to the city - displacing many Elbion citizens.

The Gilded Feather

A bookshop of high notoriety among magic users. The shop is owned by Maester Ignatius Osric of the Fifth Order. Known by most as "Maester Osric" and "Granpa Iggy" by close friends, he maintains a collection of prized books on the art of various magics. One can find a book on just about any topic of magic under the sun, though not all volumes may be detailed and complete. He is best known as the keeper of runic lore and holds one of the largest collections of runic tomes known – fitting considering Osric specialized in rune magic.

The shop is located in the east of the Merchant district, easily identified by its gleaming golden sign baring the sigil of a great gilded gryphon.

Whether the shop survived the destruction that befell the city is unknown.

References

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