Medium North of Falwood, near Cortosi coast High
- The Walls
- Anir Square
- The Keep of Anir
- Vel Aeroelos
- Vel Tenebria
Humans Nominal Monarchy Anirian, Common tongue Walls, watch towers, standing army Arms, armor Luxury goods, food Gabriel Yeganyan
Vel Anir is one of the more imposing fortress cities of Arethil. Thought by many to be the greatest feat of human engineering, Vel Anir stands prominently in the plains at the northwestern edge of Falwood. Its massive stone towers and complex architecture are a sight that can take one's breath away. The banners decorating the looming stonework seem to call out to those outside the city, creating an air of cheer and celebration.
This city is a stronghold of humanity, a place where the species has thrived and grown to true prominence –unlike in Alliria, in Vel Anir humans reign supreme. The king, the High Council, and all levels of the bureaucracy are composed of Humans. There are few non-human residents within the city, and although no direct xenophobic laws exist many species feel incredibly uncomfortable in the shadow of its tall walls.
Despite this, the city still trades on a massive scale with other cities. Elbion, Alliria, and even Fal'Addas frequently deal with Vel Anir. There are even rumors that thy maintain contact with Cerak At'Thul, though the truth of this is unknown.
Unlike Alliria who only maintains a defensive guard, Vel Anir has long since focused its economic drive into becoming a military power. The king and the High Council decided that the only way for Humanity to truly survive was through the creation of an army. Thus Vel Anir has been dedicated on training and maintaining of its military almost since its inception. Over time this has manifested in a palpable reputation, and even distant lands tremble at the mention of the navy and army, for they are said to be one of the best in the world.
DemographicVel Anir is without question an almost entirely human city. From its leadership to the beggars in the streets, nearly everyone who lives there is some race or subspecies of Human.
Though there are no laws that prohibit others from living there, centuries of war and cultural isolation have made it so other species often feel extremely uncomfortable within the walls of Vel Anir. More than a few Elves from Falwood have stated it is always better to stick to the outlying villages around Vel Anir, and many Dwarves claim that they would rather just camp in the plains than find an inn inside the city. This underlying xenophobia seems to permeate all strata of society, and even the lowest commoner in Vel Anir seems to be less than accepting of other species.
This attitude towards outsiders, particularly those of different species, is born of Vel Anir's tendency towards military conflict.
Although the city is currently at peace, this is a relatively rare occurrence. Over the past few centuries Vel Anir has been at war with nearly every foreign power within a thousand miles. The Elves, the Dwarves, Cerak At’Thul and even the nomads of the steppe have all been at odds with Vel Anir over the past two centuries. Always these conflicts were described and sold to the population as self-defense, protecting them from the aggression of other species who sought to stamp out the prosperous human city.
This was of course not exactly true, but to most it didn't matter. The prevailing attitude throughout Vel Anir was simply that other species were jealous, and thus the city had to protect itself however it could. In this time of peace it means that other species are allowed in the city and might even be treated kindly, but by and large most folk are either suspicious or more secretly hateful.
DesignationVel Anir is a fortress city and a major military power on the continent of Liadain. The king and the High Councilors have been devoting the city's resources to training and maintenance of their armies. It is said that the Anirian Guard is one of the finest infantries in the entire world and that its navy could give even the Merfolk a run for their money when it comes to dominance of the sea.
This military is the very core of the entire city, and its economy is entirely geared towards maintaining that status quo. Swordsmiths and armorers dot the city like fleas on a rat, tailors and tanners slave away tirelessly, and every young man joins the Anirian Guard when they come of age. Uniquely, even women are encouraged to join the Guard, and if they pass the training they are treated like any other soldier. Though unlike for men there is no requirement set in law. For most commoners the military is an exceptional job – it pays well and offers a chance to move up the social ladder of Vel Anir.
Unlike Alliria this city does not derive its power from trade, rather it uses its power to garner trade. Throughout its many wars and conflicts Vel Anir has managed to force dozens of smaller settlements into unfavorable trade agreements. Most of these deals are simple enough: Vel Anir offers the settlement military protection, and in return they receive a portion of that year's harvest. Through these means the city manages to survive, forcing smaller towns and villages to feed its sizable population and allowing it to maintain its military.
This policy is, naturally, incredibly unpopular with the local settlements, but none of have the military strength to even think about fighting back. More than once a force has attempted to intervene in this petty extortion, attacking Vel Anir to gain some semblance of justice, but always these attempts have been repelled. The city always paints itself as a protector, claiming to guard them from barbaric nomads and extortionist species that would take advantage of them. Over time this propaganda has succeeded in some areas, though others still see the truth.
ArchitectureVel Anir has often been hailed as the greatest Human city in Arethil. The entire fortress is constructed of thick quarried stone. Its massive towers, huge walls, and every stone building are a matching design of the same rock. Everything was carefully structured and built, perfect parallel roads, houses built on exacting grids, and manors completed within only certain sections and zones of the city. At a glance it becomes obvious that Vel Anir was designed from scratch to maintain and survive a siege. The entire fortress is structured in a way to aid in defense during war. There are dozens of lookouts, vantage points, and circling alleys that are perfect for defenders.
This careful planning is key to the appearance of Vel Anir. Its imposing stone walls and its impressive facades are what set it apart from other Human cities. It was designed with a singular purpose, and that purpose has been kept over the centuries of its survival.
Of course, Vel Anir is not just a city of pure stone. Decorating the bastion are hundreds upon hundreds of flags and banners. This livery denotes the Seven Major Houses of Vel Anir, each featuring a symbol and motto. These banners fly over nearly everything in the city, decorating inns, homes, and of course the individual manors of the Seven Houses. These banners are a way of declaring one's allegiance to a specific house, and they add quite a bit of color to an otherwise gray city. One can almost always tell the demeanor, politics, and ideals of a place simply by the banner they choose to fly.
This is an incredibly important part of just how Vel Anir functions and appears. Of course the greatest and largest of these banners decorate the walls of the city itself, representing the King and his royal line.
Vel Anir is indisputably an achievement of engineering and construction. The fortress itself stands even with the great Citadels of old, and even the Dwarves have admitted that they would be hard pressed to match the fortitude of its walls. To many Humans, even those who do not dwell in Vel Anir, the fortress is a mark of just what humanity is capable of. It is often spoken of with great pride, and the pure majesty of its appearance cannot be understated.
Points of InterestThe Walls – The walls of Vel Anir are famous around the world. Crafted and hewn from the finest quarried stone, the walls are truly massive in their size. Decorated at all times with the banners of the king, they are a symbol of human triumph and prosperity.
Designed and constructed to withstand all but the most powerful magics, the walls are twice as thick as a man is tall. They tower over the buildings around them, standing tall enough to obscure all but the Keep of Anir. The very sight of them has been enough to turn away several armies, and raiders rather attack the surrounding settlements risk an assault on the city itself.
Over the years the walls have borne the brunt of many sieges. Catapults, trebuchets, and even the powerful magics of the Elves have all failed to breach the thick stone.
Anir Square – Anir Square is the part of the city that could be considered the very lifeblood of Vel Anir itself. This are is dedicated to a dozen different purposes, though it mainly serves as the primary market for vendors, smiths, and the assorted craftsmen that attempt to ply their ware within the city itself.
Most often the square is filled with the hustle of daily life. Smiths attempt to sell their armors or swords to passing nobleman and even commoners. Men and women scramble to make what they can, often selling fruits and vegetables as well as whatever they have managed to craft.
The square is also the site of any and all public executions that take place in Vel Anir. These are arranged on a monthly basis by both the king and the High Councilors and usually consist of the hanging of thieves. Every now and again someone of higher status is executed and for them beheading is more common. Either way the executions are always a spectacle and draw great cheering crowds.
The Keep of Anir – The central set piece if Vel Anir is the singular massive keep. This citadel of the great fortress is the ancestral home of the king and his family. The Keep has housed the line of Anireth for as long as anyone can remember, its great stone halls standing guard against all those who would seek to harm the royal family.
Architecturally the Keep of Anir is of course incredibly similar to the rest of the city. It is made of the same hewn stone, built with the same rounded corners, and adorned with the same banners of the king as the wall of Vel Anir. Everything about the Keep is a reflection of the city itself, down to its highly defensive structure. It is clear from one glance that it was originally built to withstand a siege. Not just a pretty little manor house, the Keep serves as the last line of defense should an enemy army ever make their way into the city itself.
The Keep also stands as the home of the royal family. Despite its role as a defensive citadel it is still lavishly decorated, every room adorned with the finest tapestries, Elven wood, and golden luxuries. The king, the queen, all of their children and cousins live within the keep itself. This ostensibly is a measure of security to keep them safe, though some suspect there are other motives behind this.
The Keep is well guarded by the soldiers of Vel Anir, with dozens of men constantly patrolling and scouring the halls. Each one wears a band around their arm, noting their allegiance to one of the Seven Houses. At all times there's an equal number of loyal guardsmen around the Keep, ensuring the king is kept safe by all the Houses. Interestingly enough, none of the guards wear the royal red.
Vel Aerelos - Standing directly opposite the Keep of Anir and serving as a reminder of the absolute excess and splendor humanity is capable of is Vel Aerelos. This huge ten story building serves as the main point of government for all of Vel Anir. Unlike the rest of the city, Vel Aerelos is not made of plain stone. Instead it seems to be constructed of a multitude of carved and inlaid rock. Every corner, every edge, every surface of the building is decorated in some way. There is not a single piece of this building that does not catch the eye, and in a city of great architecture it is this that truly draws one's attention.
Whereas most of Vel Anir was built to allow for a better defense, Vel Aerelos completely and entirely ignores those principles. Instead the design of this building simply displays the absolute splendor that Vel Anir is capable of producing.
The inside of the building is no different than the outside. Offices, Council chambers, libraries, and meeting halls are all decorated with only the finest luxuries Arethil has to offer. Plundered Elven wood, stolen Dwarven artifacts, and confiscated goods from ancient ruins line the hallways of this ostentatious house of governance. Everything inside was made to impress, and over the centuries it has only been added to as each of the Seven Houses compete for supremacy in their displays of wealth. Frequently the nobles will make gifts of rare items to the city, setting up one display or another within Vel Aerelos in order to impress and slight their political enemies.
Vel Aerelos is a show of just how fabulously wealthy the Seven Houses are. It serves as a place of governance, yes, but it is also a place of competition on an extremely petty level. Beyond their arguments in the Council Chambers the Houses use the building itself as a means of one-upping one another, a practice that has been in place for millennia.
Vel Tenebria – Though Vel Anir stands as a gleaming example of Human architecture, beneath the city itself lays a remnant of something that most have long forgotten. Not a city itself, but a ruin that had been dug into the earth long before humanity ever even dreamed of constructing the great walls that now stand.
Vel Tenebria cannot be described as a city, nor truly a town. More accurately it is a collection of carved caves and caverns, each connected through a complex series of maze like tunnels. The walls within Vel Tenebria sing of a magic long ago lost, and the rooms found within are often decorated with intricate mosaics depicting battles and death on a scale unknown even to the most veteran of soldiers. There is something hauntingly beautiful about this place, though most do not even know of its existence.
Those that do tell nothing but stories. Tales of shadows and death, of stalkers within the night, of safety from the Nobles and a path that most peasants can only dream of. Some fools not smart enough to hold their tongues also is also say that the halls of Vel Tenebria are home to the Asure Anir, a guild of assassins that lurk in the forgotten realm until they are called upon.
Whether or not these stories are true is difficult to say, but few who venture to confirm them return.
BackgroundVel Anir is and always has been a city of blood and steel. Since its very founding day the method of just how the city would survive has been clear. The military comes first, no matter the expense, no matter the cost. This was a decision made by the first king, Cinira Anireth. The men and women who became the founders of Vel Anir came from the steppe, where brutality and war were not only a way of life, but the only possible way to survive.
Vel Anir was a way not to escape that, but the method by which it was honed into perfection. This was how the city came into being, this was its purpose. Conquest and supremacy were at the very heart of what Vel Anir hoped to achieve, and through the centuries it can be said they have more than met this goal.
The military of Vel Anir is easily one of the strongest and well trained in Arethil. Its army is large and well trained, its navy dominates the Cortosi Coast, and all those capable of magic born within the walls are trained for combat. This singular military drive has lead to dozens of conflicts over the centuries, and more than once Vel Anir nearly came to ruin.
Through it all however the city somehow managed to survive, and now it stands as one of humanity's greatest achievements.
Many of its neighbors still despise Vel Anir, forced to pay tribute to the city in the form of food and conscripts. Others see them as protectors or valuable military allies, taking advantage of their powerful armies and navies to better suit their own agenda.
For their own part, Vel Anir is hardly free of conflict from within. Though initially united, long ago the Royal Family of Anireth and the Seven Houses fell into great conflict. No one is entirely sure what happened, but it was during the deep of long winter that the Seven Houses banded together and formed a powerful alliance. Their retainers struck in the night, slaughtering the King's Guard and taking the then ruler of the city hostage.
Instead of deposing the King however the Houses made him their puppet, using the Royal Line as little more than a face of their power. It of course didn't take long for the Seven Houses to fall into contest with one another, their alliance breaking and competition beginning.
Despite this internal conflict, Vel Anir is still and incredibly powerful city both economically and militarily. The pressure it is able to exert with its armies ensures that it is held to proper place within the world. Many cities and species trade with Vel Anir, and the city itself is currently experiencing a rare moment of peace.
GovernmentPerhaps the most important function of understanding Vel Anir is understanding its form of government. Though many regard the city as a monarchy, the truth of the matter is in fact far different than it seems.
Peasants, commoners, and even most scholars would say that the king rules Vel Anir with an iron fist. They would say that his decree is law and whatever he wants goes. They say that his very word starts wars and ends them. This however is far from true.
Some centuries ago the conflict between the Seven High Houses and the king erupted, and within a single night the Royal Line was stripped of its power. The Houses banded together, slaughtering the King's retainers and taking control of the city. No one is entirely sure what happened, and even the Houses themselves do not remember, but since then it has been the Houses, not the king that has lead the way.
Of course each of the Seven Houses have their own agenda and plans. Each wants something different and each has its own designs for Vel Anir.
This creates and intricate map of alliances, friendships, marriages, and political games as the Houses attempt to bind themselves to one another and take control of what they can. The backroom politics of Vel Anir are a constant battle for supremacy, with each of the Seven houses vying for power. Sometimes they work together, other times they desperately attempt to kill one another.
Politics in Vel Anir are said to be more dangerous than any street brawl.
Currently our of the Seven Houses have banded together in a loose alliance. Houses Urahil, Banick, Sirl, and Luana have sworn to work with one another to ensure the future of the City. They claim their intent is to keep the current peace, though whether or not this will hold true remains to be seen.
The three other Houses, Virak, Weiroon, and Pirian, work in opposition. Though they are not exactly allied, they all tentatively agree that the other Four Houses cannot be trusted with the future of Vel Anir.
Lore"I want him dead.
Who does he think he is? What does he think he is? That damned Niasin Urahil and his despicable, horse-faced little harpy of a wife. How dare they do this to me. How dare they cross me. After everything I did for his father, after everything I did for that... that family.
The very thought disgusts me.
I brought them opportunity, I gave them a chance. All they needed to do was cast their vote for the war. All they needed to do was support this one measure in the Council Chambers but he just couldn't do it. The stupid bastard doomed us.
Now those fucking knife-ears are going to run wild in Falwood again. We won't be able to stop them. In a year's time they'll be at our doorstep, and then... then it'll be the end of this city.
All of our power, all of our might will just ebb away as those foul little creatures rush towards us. It disgusts me to think they still let them in the city, disgusts me to think that I must receive them in the Council Chamber.
I must do something about this. I have to make sure they never come here."
— Velkath Pirian, recent journal entry
By all accounts Vel Anir is a city of power and might, a display of just the majesty that Humanity is capable of when it truly comes to it's best. The world over most humans sing the praises of Vel Anir and it's King. For many it is seen as a place of progress.
Where once it was a war like state, the public perception within Arethil has mostly shifted to a more positive outlook. The current peace that the city practices is well liked, and Humans from all over the world flock to Vel Anir to begin their life anew. Few of course understand the true politics of the city, but most are hopeful that they can find their place.
Other species are more apprehensive about Vel Anir, their longer memories reaching back far enough to recall the massacres that had been conducted at the hands of the Anirian Guard. Still, most are willing to give the city a chance, and there is a general hope that the peace continues.
Some, however, are not as optimistic. Those who know the true story of Ven Anir over the recent centuries watch carefully, waiting for the lash.