Oban

Physical Information
Medium Sits at the narrowest point of the Allirian strait between Alliria and Elbion
  • Beaufort Castle
  • Solari Square
  • The Sea Wall
  • Griffmadár
  • The City of Arany
Societal Information
Humans and Griffins Kingdom The Common Tongue
Economic & Military Information
Imposing city walls, Sea Towers, natural cliff side sea barriers, Griffin Guard and small standing army Wine, ceramics. glassworks, artisan crafts Furs, timber
OOC Info
Y Seul. Jeon


Oban, the Capital City of the Kingdom of Dalriada

The kingdom of Dalriada was not just rich, it was disgustingly so. It has built its fortune on its unique grapes that produced the best wines in Arethil, its peoples unparalleled skills in the art of glasswork and cermaics, and most importantly it has made ruthless use of its capitals strategic position on the pinsor between the Alirian Straight and the Gulf of Liad. Even though it reaches some 20 miles across, on the command of a long since dead King, the people of Oban erected a series of towers and sea doors, patrolled by Griffin Riders, which forced all ships that wished to use the pass to pay a toll to cross. Perhaps due to its position the Kingdom declared itself a neutral state to outside wars and offered its Kingdom as a place to negotiate peace treaties and to store precious items in their highly guarded vaults that ran deep beneath the Capitals streets. Of course, the profit that came from being a friend to all was simply a side bonus.

Despite it's neutral and open attitude to all races and kingdoms, Dalriada kept a tight leash on its own people. The rich used its monopoly on wealth to keep the people in their place, and the men kept a tight control on its womenfolk out of fear of their stronger inclination towards magic. It was often seen by many as archaic in this regards by its neighbours but it is not so blatant in its oppression that anther power has felt the need to topple the reigning monarchs; the Beauforts.

Overview

Demographic

Oban began as a small stopover point in between the cities of Elbion and Aliiria for those travelling by the sea. It grew quickly in size as demand for more provisions, goods, entertainment and more rose from those passing through to whittle away the hours they were stuck in port.

Despite the flow of all races and species the primary demographic of Oban is human. The families who spent most of their time and effort building up this now bustling city were proud of the fact it was done with little help from magics and from the sweat off their own backs. It is incredibly hard for non-Oban natives to purchase housing or set up shop within the city whose people prefer to keep the secrets of the kingdoms trades to themselves.

The second highest demographic are the Griffins that the people of Dalriada opened their arms to many Ages ago. Whilst Oban is not the city Griffin Riders hail from it is the city where most of them spend their time once they have been chosen by their mounts. It is a popular city for the Griffins who feel a loyalty in protecting the royal family who hold the feather of Velaeri. It is quite common to see younger riderless Griffins taking a nap in the street or on the flat rooftops in the sun.

Oban does not reflect the rest of the city very well in the distribution of wealth. Poorer folk are kept to the slums and outer edges of the walled city furthest from the main gates into the city. Given its position as a vital point of trade and that the city is the Seat of the Royal Family it genuinely gives visitors a very well off vibe for the most part. Merchants and nobility can frequently be seen carrying out business or shopping. Women are always chaperoned when out either by an older woman or by a gentleman. Women on their own are very obviously outsiders to Oban.

Designation

Oban is the Capital City of the Kingdom of Dalriada, so whilst it is most known to outsiders as a large trade city its primary job for its own people is as a seat of power and a symbol of the monarchs strength and wealth.

The people of Dalriada will often make long trips here to petition the King and his Council or to try and make a name for themselves in the city under the eyes of the monarch. Despite its popularity and size its population is surprisingly small. This is due to the fact a lot of homes within the city are second homes to the nobles who live across this sprawling Empire. For large periods therefore these homes stay empty and vacant. It gives the air that the city's population is bigger than it truly is.

Description

Location

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Architecture

Approach from Widow Woods

Despite being a city of trade the architecture reminds people that this is a city the royal family have claimed as their home. The walls are tall and imposing and practically the easiest way to get over them is by flight. The city itself is split into three tiers. The lowest tier where most people will spend the majority of their time whilst in the town on business or shopping is split into the Four Quarters. Each Quarter has a different specialism that draw people and has a slightly different atmosphere. The Northern Quarter is home to most food vendors, restaurants, and is the hub of wine merchant activity. The Eastern Quarter is that which is closest to the ocean and is a hub of docks, ship repairs and taverns. The Southern Quarter is the entertainment district. Dancers, mages and street performers will often mingle here and put on impromptu street plays or tricks for the amusement of guests. The Western Quarter is the main attraction however and home to the cities greatest traders and artisans.

The middle tier is a quaint residential area. The biggest feature here is the Griffin Riders Headquarters for the city which sits to the East on the very edges of the cliff face. A lot of the homes here are often empty for most of the year so this part of the city is very peaceful and quiet.

The upper tier is entirely made up of the daunting castle, the seat of the Beaufort Royal family. There are a few houses that cling to the edges of the castle here that belong to the servants and their immediate families and key personnel that help with the running of the kingdom.

Most people will notice that the majority of the houses and buildings are very sturdily built, even in the slums, with flat roofs. There also appear to be random ledges jotting over streets or off the side of large buildings, arches that seem to have no point to them, and even nests. These are all to accommodate the Griffins that roam the skies and also call this city their home.

Outside of the walled city there are large estates and farming lands until it reaches the edges of Widows Wood.

Points of Interest

Beaufort Castle: Beaufort castle is home to the Kingdom of Dalriada's royal family. It is a heavily guarded part of the city which can be seen no matter where one is in Oban, given its elevated nature above the rest of the city. Flags with the royal crest stream down the strong brick sides giving the dark stone a pop of colour. The castle itself is a fortress that is feared with withstand sieges and battles. There is only one main entrance in and out and a secret one that only the royal family know about leading down to a private beach. The inside of the castle is a showcase of the Kingdoms riches with thick tapestries, artefacts from ambassadors and visitors, and a large throne room where people can meet the King or the Crown Prince. The castle also has large archways higher up the walls which act as the entrance ways for Griffins who also prowl the castles halls.

Solari Square: Solari Square is an explosion of colour and people. The square is a beautiful mosaic that attracts tourists from all over and depicts a scene of the Griffin Velaeri giving her feather to the King Alaric The Confessor. There is always some for of entertainment happening in the squares from plays, to dancing, to magic performances.

Sea Wall: The large Sea Wall is an imposing site for any traveller who will have to pay their tolls here to pass the narrow gap between the Allirian Straight and the Gulf of Liad. It consists of a series of tall towers which are always manned by Griffin riders, and a small outhouse attached to the side where the Duty Collectors stand to take money from passing ships.

Griffmadár: This is the Griffin Riders Headquarters in the capital city that sits in the middle tier of the Eastern half of the city. To most it might look almost like a church with the tall towers topped with beautiful glass domes of spires. It is definitely the most beautiful building in Oban. From the walls hang the streamers of the Griffin Riders which are a rich blue and gold in colour. All entrance ways to the tower are a good five meters off the ground and are large archways to accommodate the varying sizes of Griffins the city is home to. Only Riders are permitted within the halls. It is also here that Griffins will often lay their eggs and come to nest.

The City of Arany or The Vaults: As a neutral power in wars, there began to be an increasing demand from neighbours for Oban to care for their most precious treasures - gold, jewels, paintings. As such an elaborate underground system was set up to house these artefacts. The entrance is only known to a handful of people. Those who work in it tend to live underground beside the treasures and rarely venture outside of it. In a way it is almost like a second city because of this and is governed by the Kings Purse - a high position of honour. If people want to place something into the Vaults or have it retrieved they most visit the Corn Exchange in the Northern Quarter.

Widow Woods: The Widow Woods are technically situated outside of the walled city of Oban but is a large expanse of woodland area travellers need to go through in order to reach the city. The woods are often plagued with vagabonds and highwaymen and despite efforts to send guards in to flush them out the sheer size makes it hard to effectively make the whole area safe. Stick to the roads and hire muscle if you wish to be safe from trouble.

Special Events

The Festival of Feathers: An annual spring festival thrown in Oban where citizens and guests dress up in bizarre costumes and masks, incorporating feathers as much as they can into their outfits. The day is a celebration of the unique bond between the citizens of Delriada and the Griffins who continue to choose to protect them.

"If you are weary after your travels and require refreshment, I advice you to seek out the restaurants of the Northern Quarter. The hosts have outdone themselves this year and have pulled their restaurants out into the streets so that you might enjoy the unusually warm weather. Dishes both old and new can be found on their menus, including a selection of our famous Sea Food dishes, all caught fresh today. I've been reliably informed the streets are positively flowing with our famous wines, but I would recommend the Montcroix blends; the family were one of our first wine growers and his are unmatched by all else.

If you are after entertainment then head to the Western and Southern quarters. Here our people have put together a blend of arts, culture and truly spectacular spectator sports. Watch the Griffin Knights joust, enter our various weaponry competitions, or try your hands at one of the gaming stalls. Or if you prefer your entertainment more refined, why not catch one of the plays being performed in the streets or the dancing in the Southern Solari Square, or watch the parade as it marches through. You can also find our artisanal market here; traders from all over Dalriada have journeyed here to offer you all the best of our famous glassware, ceramics and more. You are sure to find a true treasure to take home with you here.

Whatever you do, we encourage you to go and pay your respects to our union in the Eastern Quarter to the bond we celebrate today. Here you will be able to see the latest Hatchlings, give your gifts of thanks to the Crown Prince himself and his Griffin Pyreois. It is also here that fellow Dalriada's can sign up to train in the school of the Griffin Riders with the hopes they may one day be accepted by a Griffin and earn their Wings.

Wherever and however you choose to celebrate this day, make sure you keep an eye out for a Griffin feather! To catch one from the air is said to bring you good fortune for the rest of the year. It is also customary to incorporate feathers into your outfits, from masks down to entire costumes made of them! You'll be able to find your own such trinkets in the market."

Background

History

Oban's history stretches right back to the Age of Uroghosh, though all that remains of this era is that Oban was a small market town beginning to grow in trade and commerce due to the increasing traffic along the Allirian Straight. From what little records there are left of this time it appears that the families chose one - the Beaufort's, a promising family of growing wealth and courage - to take charge of increasing the towns reputation.

The more solid records of Oban appear in the Age of Wonders. By this point the lineage and authority of the Beaufort family seems to have been cemented and without challenge. There are many chronicles and annuals that detail the various acts of valour different Kings and Queens performed during their time on the throne. There are a few which go someway to explaining the unique way of government and order to Oban. The first is of course the deal struck between King Alaric the Confessor and the Griffin Astraeus who was a son of the legendary Velaeri. Velaeri gifted the King with one of her feathers which allows for the beholder to summon her and grants them lightness of foot and the ability to carry a great deal of weight without trouble. The feather must be passed on willingly for its properties to work and has become a part of the Crowning ceremony for Princes and Princesses.

By the Age of Expansion the great Sea Wall was in the first stages of being built, though this was primarily as a defensive move against King Grichen and his crusades. The city managed to withstand the siege laid against them but at the loss of a great many people. It was during these Crusades that Queen Laelia lost her daughter Princess Pervinca was killed in battle. In a rage the Queen launched her own counter attack and drove Grichen's forces from the Kingdom with a horrifying display of water manipulation. Her anguish and focus nearly drowned the city of Oban in the processes. She was cut down on the field by her own son, King Dinfar.

When his daughter began to show similar magics to her mother, Dinfar had her imprisoned and proclaimed that women across the kingdom were no longer allowed to wield magic on pain of death. Women were also stripped from their ability to inherit and forbidden from holding their own careers. Women were now the property of their male relatives.

This law has only recently relaxed and allows for women to now be schooled in the art of controlling their magic and using them in ways more suitable for the delicate sex. Women with magical abilities will often now be married to richer men who hope that their genetics may produce a much rarer male with magical abilities. By and large however women still remain a heavily oppressed section of Dalriada society.

Government

Dalriada is a Kingdom ruled by a single monarch. in his waning years he will hold over power to his firstborn or surviving male heir. In a gesture that the reigns of power are beginning to swap hands the Prince will become a Crowned Prince, making him defacto ruler of the Kingdom. This allows for the Kingdom to have a period when the King can shadow and guide the actions of the Prince to ensure the transition is smoother. The age at which this happens varies on the dynamic between father and son.

The monarch is then aided in their ruling of the Kingdom by a Council who oversee and care for different parts of society such as money, the guards, agriculture etc. The King selects these people based off of merit and education which is highly valued.

There are also Lords of different regions within Delradia who are appointed once again by the King and his Council to govern the wider Kingdom in his stead. These Lords act as the Kings mouthpiece and dispenser of justice. They travel regularly to the city to pay homage to the Kingdom and their houses are some of the nicest in the city.

Lore

During the Age of Wonders, King Alaric the Confessor was travelling the expanse of his kingdom. He was weary from the wars he fought on all sides from dwarfs and orcs, monsters and other humans. He prayed daily for his people to be safe and strove for peace. On his way home to his beloved Oban, he heard a strange cry from the forests nearby. It sounded like it came from the throat of a creature, but it was sad and in pain. Cautiously he approached with his mighty sword, Elerondiel, raised high. In a grove surrounded by odd fruits he had never seen before was a Griffin. The giant beasts has plagued these lands for years, killing off all who annoyed them. But humans had begun to fight back against their tyranny from the sky and had fashioned weapons and traps to bring the great beasts down. Alaric considered finishing the creature off for the safety of his people but something made him hesitate: where was the sport in killing an already injured beast? Lowering his blade he stepped forward.

"Peace!" cried the king. The Griffin was entangled in a net spun of silk that cut like razors but despite the peril to itself it cast its wings out and issued a screech that would scare a lesser man away. Still the Great King marched forward and with a swift slice of his blessed blade he cut the creature free with no thought to his own safety. Now free from the its clasp the Griffin launched itself upon the Confessor with a thought to kill him. Instead, as they locked eyes, an understanding blossomed. This was a life for a life debt and it attempted to spring into the air.

Unfortunately for the great beast it had become severely injured in its struggles and it crashed back to the earth with a cry. Oh the great King he did hesitate to help again but he prayed to the Saints and steeled his soul and approached again. King Alaric spent five days tending to its wounds, hunting for food for it, and protecting it from others who sought to kill it. By the last day the pair had formed an unfathomable bond of kinship. Finally, the Griffin spoke, giving the King his name, Astraeus, and bestowed upon him the blessing of his line. Whilst the blood of The Confessor ruled over these lands, Astraeus' children would protect it.


- The Oban Chronicles, Chronicler Abbott II

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