The World Of Khoras - Civilization - Cities

Strathon - Capital City of Arkalia

"The city of Strathon is as repulsively wholesome, tidy and organized as the people who call it home."
- V'shang, Leader of the Mire Bandits

"The Silvery City by the Sea"
- Common Saying

Ruler His Most Noble Majesty, Defender of the Western Realms, Right Hand of the Church of Barrinor, Protector of the True Faith, Commander of the High Guard, King Hosric III
Population 72,000

Demographics

Human 50%, Elven 20%, Dwarven 8%, Grum 8%, Avarian 7%, Saurian 6%, Ogre 1%
Adjectival/Demonym Strathian/Strathians

Languages

Northern 80%, Corven 20%
Nationality Arkalia
National Colors Blue and silver
Year Founded 714 CY
Currency Northern
Natural Resources and Manufactured Goods Iron, copper, silver, finely crafted metal products especially armor and blades, foodstuffs, freshwater fish, pigs, sheep
Wealth Above Average
Government Type Monarchy

Government Stability

Very stable.
Allies Normidia, Corvenia, Uthran
Enemies Vorrik, Borrell
Walled Yes
Crime Level Low
Technology Level Middle Ages
Primary Religion Barrinor
Other Religions Imarus, Sarreth, Semorjon, Glavyris, Assytia
Climate Temperate
Terrain Coastal Forest

Overview

Strathon is the capital city of the kingdom of Arkalia. Strathon enjoys a mild and temperate climate, fair weather most of the year, rich soil and excellent fishing waters. The gray stone of its outer walls and towers contrasts with the colorful fields, verdant grasslands and forested hills that surround this beautiful city. Bright copper spires crown the tallest buildings and from these spires, brightly colored pennants fly high, fluttering in the wind. Silken banners hanging from the city walls proudly display the silver symbol of Arkalia. It is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cities and is often called the "Silvery City by the Sea". While it may be fair to behold, it is not without it's problems. Like most other cities, Strathon is very socially stratified. The ruling class consists of nobles, knights and religious elite who reign unchallenged over the poverty stricken masses. While this may be an honorable nation, there exists a yawning chasm of economic disparity between the classes. While the wealthy squander their riches on fashionable clothes and expensive wines, the teeming masses scratch a living from the soil.

History

In 712 CY, the capital city of the Irenni League, Se'auri, was attacked and destroyed by a horde of ogres and orcs.  Refugees from Se'auri fled to the nearest major city, Strathon, the head city in the Duchy of Arkalis. The rule of Strathon was Duke Ranold. He was one of the most powerful nobleman outside the capital city of Se'auri, a popular leader and a gifted orator. He opened his city to all of the refugees and welcomed the surviving nobles into his court. At the same time, he marshaled his town militia and sent out word for all able bodied Irenni men to come to Strathon and prepare for battle.

Two weeks later, Duke Ranold led a force of 6000 men to met the ogres and orcs in battle. Although the Irenni militia men were successful and scattered the ogres and orcs, the city of Seauri was lost. Se'auri had been completely burned to the ground.

Over the next year, Duke Ranold worked tirelessly to strengthen the region. Many of the nobles believed it was time to start again. Due to his overwhelming popularity with both the nobles and commoners, there were many that believed Ranold should rule. Finally in 714 CY, backed by dozens of other Irenni nobles, Duke Ranold founded the Kingdom of Arkalia, expanding upon his duchy's name. Arkalia was founded upon Irenni culture and continues many of its traditions.

In the centuries since, Arkalia has rebuilt and restored many of the original Irenni structures. Many of the buildings in the capital city of Strathon are ancient and exhibit the distinctive Irenni style of architecture.

Government

Strathon is a traditional monarchy currently ruled by King Ivan Hosric III. King Hosric is of the same bloodline that has ruled Arkalia for the last 800 years. The government of Arkalia is closely tied to the official state religion, the church of Barrinor. The king traditionally relies on numerous councils and advisors. Chief of these is the Grand Bishop of Barrinor, his Holiness, Lord John Tenral. Serving both High Priest and King are a miscellany of low ranking priests and military officers serving in administrative roles.

The Royal Palace

Lord Calap Restoi is the lord chamberlain of Strathon’s royal household. He manages a staff of 50 servants that maintain this large estate and keep the castle running in excellent shape. Restoi is an older man, clean shaven, with closely cut gray hair. He is a strict, but fair man and expects only the best from his people. The residence itself is a huge, sprawling complex that is part fortified keep and part luxurious palace. This huge castle houses the royal family, Calap’s staff, the King’s council of advisors, high ranking officers of the Strathon militia and a host of nobles, ladies, courtiers, visiting dignitaries and other guests. Outside the castle are a number of courtyards, tiered gardens, shrubbery mazes, fountains, statues and pools. Several of these are enchanted. For instance, the shrubbery mazes will altar their patterns of twists and turns each morning. The gardens burst with color and blossom year round. The pools are filled with water which changes color slowly throughout the day and soft music emanates from the statues upon command.

Law

Legal matters are resolved by the Chief Magistrate who is assisted by a number of lesser magistrates. Strathon is fairly strict with regard to fighting within the city, the possession of weapons and armor and so forth. Large, heavy weapons are discouraged and will be confiscated by the guards at the city gate, to be returned upon leaving the city. Heavy armor is likewise discouraged. Crimes against the state are dealt with severely. Criminals are brought before and tried by a council of magistrates who sit in judgment with very few restrictions on their authority. Although church and state are somewhat intertwined, Arkalia is surprisingly fair. Servitude to the Church, heavy fines, imprisonment and banishment are typical forms of punishment. The Church of Barrinor has some influence over the political and social atmosphere of the city. Therefore, the city magistrates tend to shy away from execution except for the most horrid criminals. 

Military

The City Guard of Strathon is a special subdivision of the King's Guard. Numbering 800, these men and woman are easily recognized by their domed helmets and gleaming chain mail. Each guard bears the standard of Arkalia upon a bright white tunic and white lacquered shield. They fight with broad swords and long daggers. Strathon city guards carry iron manacles and will put trouble makers in chains whenever possible rather than draw blood. City guards roam the city alone, rather than groups as in other cities. As many locals will quickly point out, groups of heavily armed warriors are not needed to keep the peace. After all, Strathon is a civilized city. The City Guard of Strathon is responsible for the usual day to day policing of the city, but in actuality, they see little action. Strathon really is a civilized city. City guard officers are marked by a blue border on their shields and tunics. The Hall of the City Guard is a large stone keep, some three levels tall, which sits very close to the king's castle. City arbiters are a special group of city guards who have proven themselves after years of service. They are given the authority by the King, to settle conflicts and disputes in a form of street justice.

The High Guard

The High Guard is a group of elite knights who are both skilled in steel and spell. Numbering only fifty, these are simply the finest warriors that Arkalia has to offer. They have the best training and equipment available. The High Guard serves the King and Church of Barrinor directly. They are often on hand at diplomatic ceremonies, guarding the palace grounds and serving at religious holidays. Once each year, at the King's Festival, the Grand Bishop of Barrinor chooses one of the High Guard, whomever he deems most worthy,  to be Praemus Nuchet (First Knight). This high honor is held for a year. During that time, the First Knight is given the privilege to carry the Church's most holy artifact, the Hammer of Barrinor, a massive silver and adamantine hammer which is ensorcelled with the most powerful magic. The High Guard meet at the Hall of the High Guard, a large and elaborately decorated stone building near the center of the city. This grand hall is decorated with stained-glass windows, a large abbey, opulent crystal, rose marble and other architectural luxuries. It has served the High Guard for over 600 years as guild house, training facility, social hall and administrative center. Access to this hall is restricted and security is tight. Only government officials, high-ranking military officers, Barrinor priests and High Guard knights may enter here.

Religion

Barrinor is the chief diety of the city of Strathon and, indeed, the entire nation of Arkalia. The church of Barrinor is intertwined with the government at several levels, from influencing the decisions of magistrates to advising the King directly. The main church of Barrinor in this city is called the Argentum. The Church of Barrinor in Strathon is truly a sight to behold. This building stands 70 meters (230 feet) tall (from ground level to the tip of its highest spire). It is a magnificent structure of white stone, flying buttresses and vaulted ceilings. Its brilliant white stones are washed daily and gleam brightly in the light of the suns. Colorful banners drape the outer walls and shining silver spires reach toward the skies. Every window is fashioned from stained glassed skillfully crafted and ingeniously positioned to fill the church with rainbow light. Every inch of these revered walls is cut and chiseled, endlessly engraved with pictorial landscapes and battle scenes. Scripture, prayers and holy glyphs are nestled in amongst the carvings. Thousands flock to this marvel to worship and prayer on holy days. His Holiness, the Arch Bishop Jon Tenral, leader of the church, is a rather rotund man with a mane of white hair, piercing black eyes and a deep bass voice.

Although Barrinor is the patron deity of Strathon, churches to all of the other Elder Gods are worshiped here as well. Smaller churches and shrines to most of the Celestials can be found scattered around the city.

Economy

Strathon's economy is based heavily on agriculture, fishing, mining and the production of crafted ironwork. Arkalia trades regularly with Normidia, Corvenia, Vorrik, River Gate and Jannerus. As in all other social concerns, Strathon strives to be a model of culture and nobility. Its thriving and stable economy based on centuries old craftsmanship is example of this.

King's Square

The King's Square is the name of the main market plaza in Strathon. At the center of the King's Square is a tall, four story building - the City Mint. Here, city and church officials oversee the manufacturing of the standard coins of the realm which is northern currency. This building also houses the offices of the Market Guard (a small force of 20 troops that provide security) and the Merchants Guild (which performs such market related duties as settling disputes between merchants and checking the accuracy of scales).

Guilds and Organizations

The University of Strathon

The city's single university consists of a small "campus" and four separate schools. These schools teach religion, history, literature, mathematics, art and knightly virtues. The university is administered by Barrinor bishops and is heavily influenced by the state religion. Tuition is high and generally keeps it the intellectual domain of the nobles.

Important People

King Ivan Hosric III, Ruler of Arkalia

A noble leader and fierce warrior with dark reddish brown hair, neatly trimmed beard and steel gray eyes. His valor and honesty are legendary. King Hosric is a staunch supporter of both the church and the High Guard. As a prince, he was a member of that elite group and the King recalls fondly his days as a knight. He will occasionally  attend High Guard meetings and would likely lead them into battle if ever the need arose.

Queen Daelyn Hosric

A proud and headstrong noblewoman who is as skilled with steel and steed as she is with the pomp and civility of the throne room. She is a young queen, twenty seven years old, much younger than her king. She is renowned for her beauty - an exquisitely sculpted face, athletic body and a mane of flowing brown hair. 

Prince Ivan Hosric IV, Heir Apparent

He is five years old. He is being trained in the basics of swordplay by the House Guard. He has already shown an aptitude for martial discipline. This young lad will one day rule Arkalia.

Grand Bishop Jon Tenral of the Church of Barrinor

A heavy man with coal black eyes and a mane of snow white hair. He has the blazing eyes of a zealot during some of his more impassioned sermons. He is a fanatic believer in the martial strength of the Church and the higher purpose of the High Guard.

Calum Theoric, First Knight of Arkalia

Calum Theoric is the pride of Arkalia and something of a prodigy. He is the embodiment of everything that Arkalia stands for: young, handsome, intelligent, honorable, just, well-schooled, virtuous and a terror on the battle field. He was born the privileged son of a former High Guard knight and now follows in his father's footsteps. He has surpassed all expectations by becoming the youngest First Knight in Arkalia's history.

Jerran Alden, Lord Marshall of the King's Guard

The highest ranking military officer outside of the High Guard is the Lord Marshall of the King's Guard, a post currently occupied by Jerran Alden. A slim man of curly dark hair and neatly trimmed salt and pepper beard. He is quick with a blade and is a good teacher. He is also a a skilled brawler  and often engages in sparring duels of unarmed combat.

Bernard Aldrich, Chief Magistrate of Arkalia

The Chief Magistrate is the highest ranking judge in the nation. He is responsible for the interpretation of the King's Laws and determines fines, punishments and legal policies. He is assisted by a number of lesser magistrates scattered throughout the nation in every town.

Lothar Roalyn, Jousting Champion of Arkalia

Sir Roalyn is a frequent competitor in various contests in Korrington and Strathon. He is particularly good at jousting and currently holds the title. He is a member of the High Guard and probably one of the finest combatants of that group, but his magical skills are lacking, some say.

Sir Chorro the Rotund, Royal Storyteller

Sir Chorro the Rotund is the court storyteller of the Strathon Royal Court. King Hosric is quite fond of stories, especially stories that feature brave knights vanquishing evil foes. To this end, his court has always had a royal storyteller to regale the courtiers with thrilling fables and tales of adventure. Some are classics oft retold. Others are the work of Chorro himself. Chorro the Rotund lives up to his name. He is an obese man with a thick grey beard and a booming baritone voice. Although he has been knighted, his title is honorary. Chorro lives at the palace with the royal family. He is overly fond of sweets and liquor. However, he is a truly talented man, able to enthrall an audience of any size and hold them with his thrilling narration. He is seen as one of the King's best advisors and is often called upon to voice his opinion in court. Chorro has been the royal storyteller since the last one was exiled from the kingdom amidst a scandal. It is whispered that the former storyteller has taken up with criminals in the underworld of Drakkel and now serves the UnderKing in Harrow Court.

Culture

A strong tradition of knightly honor exists among the warrior class, akin to the Garrison. Each knight is a skilled and noble warrior - a fighter, a scholar and a gentlemen all in one. This is most apparent in the High Guard, who embody the very essence of knightly virtue. Clad in the finest armor and riding the best steeds, these men are sworn to uphold justice throughout Arkalia. The citizenry love the High Guard and will offer them free meals and free lodging whenever necessary. Such acts find favor with the Church. This tradition of honor saturates the culture. Every blacksmith, brewer and cobbler takes pride in his craft and puts in an honest day's work. Here, a man's word is his bond. To break an oath is considered a serious crime.

Arkalian cusine includes a variety of roasts, savory stews, sweet pies and a diverse selection of puddings and desserts. Meat pies are also quite popular. Most meals consist of some sort of stew or pottage cooked in a cauldron over an open fire. Bread is a staple at every meal. Breakfast typically consists of eggs, ham, bacon, tomatoes and bread. Spiced pork is probably the single most popular Arkalian dish and has spawned countless variations.

Strathon is a large, clean and prosperous city with many highly held traditions and a history of knightly honor, glory and valor which it is quite proud of. Strathon's social side centers on numerous festivals and tournaments which are held at specific times of the year.

Blessings Day

A religious holy day of the Church of Barrinor held once each year in late autumn. During this celebration, the Praemus Nuchet (First Knight) is named and the Hammer of Barrinor is granted. At this event, squires who have shown themselves worthy are knighted.

Guard's Parade

A large, very formal military parade held in late spring in which the various military groups march down the main roads in a great processional to show off before the nobles and commoners.

The King's Fair

The largest celebration of the year. This annual four day festival is held in late summer and includes jousting, wrestling, archery tournaments, duels, feasting, dancing, entertainers, bards, jesters. Wizards compete in magical competitions. Knights, wizards, lords, ladies and commoners come from all over. The prizes and prestige from the games are considerable.

The Sea Festival

During the summer months, there is the Sea Festival in which scores of ships show themselves off while nobles compete in sailing races around the bay.

City Districts

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Monuments and Public Spaces

The King's Garden

The King's Garden is a carefully landscaped collection of terraced gardens, cobblestone walkways, stone benches, hedgerow mazes and ponds arranged in a dizzying geometric pattern which covers a sprawling 20 acres. These gardens almost make up a city quarter all by themselves. The gardens are unique in that anyone is allowed to walk them by order of the king. Of course, the gardens are protected by its small staff of caretakers and any who would bring evil ways into the garden, be it brawling, hard drink or lecherousness, will have to answer to the captain of the guards.

The Fall of Barrinor

Near the center of the city is an enormous pair of marble statues - one an armor clad knight and the other a mighty dragon. This monument depicts one of the more famous legends of Barrinor. According to this tale, Barrinor was slain doing battle with a vile wyrm in defense of a common village and, for this act, was subsequently raised immortal.

 

Architecture and Infrastructure

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Crime

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Inns and Taverns

Name and Proprietor Description
Hounded Fox
Quinland Volos
Inn/Tavern - The Hounded Fox is an inn and tavern run by a hunter and sportsmen named Quinland Volos. (His friends call him Quinn). Quinn has decorated his establishment with kills from his many hunting trips. Mounted heads, claws, skins and skulls adorn the walls and stair case. He is a good contact in the city and often arranges professional hunting trips for visiting nobles for a substantial sum. He often guides these trips himself. Quinn has a 17 year old daughter that often entertains bar patrons with song and dance.
Stag's Head
Reynard Selwyn
Brewery/Pub - Reynard Selwyn is a odd mix, the product of a grum mother and a dwarven father. The result is a 4 foot, broad shouldered curly headed, bearded grum who loves gold and ale and a good fight. Reynard is a brewer who has built up his business on the success of a single drink - a wonderful red ale based on his great grandfather's recipe. Stag's Head Ale is a strong, bitter flavored ale with a deep amber color. It is a favorite among the locals and Reynard guards the recipe jealously.
Borok's Batches
Borok
Brewery/Pub - This small brewery and tavern is located in the south end of town, outside the city proper. This quaint pub is small, but loved among those who know their ale. Borok, a half dwarf, lovingly crafts every batch. Each batch is crafted slightly different so no two brews are quite the same, but they are all excellent.
The Pig's Pit
Jobis Tothran
Tavern/Inn - It is owned and operated by Jobis Tothran, known as Tubby to one and all, a jovial fat man with a deep belly laugh and a round, reddish face. He has short, curly black hair and coal black eyes. Tubby runs a large , boisterous tavern which is popular with the commoners. The establishment has 10 private rooms which it lets out to guests for a silver a night. These rooms are small, but clean and have locks. The second story has one large common room which sleeps about 15 for a copper a night. Rather than spreading hay around for warmth, Tubby goes to the trouble to make sure every one in the common room has a blanket.

This establishment's claim to fame is its signature dish - spiced pork, a traditional Arkalian dish. Tubby's spiced pork is considered by many to be the best in Strathon and it is from this dish that the establishment takes its name. Tubby boasts loudly and often of his secret blend of herbs and sweet orange marmalade.  

The Pig's Pit has a distinct architecture. The building has white outer walls and large black oak beams - very similar to Normidian architecture. The main chamber is circular and built around a huge central hearth - more like a fire pit that radiates heat out into the room in all directions. The fire pit is equipped with a large spit and Tubby always roasts whole pigs right there so as to put on a good show for his customers.

Tubby has a wife and four children, all of whom help run the business. His wife is Clarissa and his children, two boys and two girls, are Tomas, Brittany, Michel and Viella. Tubby also has an older brother, named Sloan, an older balding man who walks with a very bad limp (from his younger days, a battle with a dragon, so he says). Sloan is a brewer at heart and endlessly tinkers with hops, barley, yeast and other ingredients as he works to perfect the house blend. Currently, the house blend is a smooth golden elixir that is affectionately named Sloan's Honey Ale.

Seneschal's Gambit
Lyn Yolen
Gambling Hall/Tavern - Run by a headstrong woman named Lyn who is not a follower of Barrinor and does everything she can to run her business without interference from the local church officials. She encourages all manner of gambling in her place and often engages in drinking contests herself (she can drink anyone under the table). Although not a member, she is friends with several members of the local thieves guild and often lets them have discreet meetings in one of the back rooms.

Shops

Name and Proprietor Description
The Scroll & Plume
Aden Jule
Library/Apothecary/Wizard School - The Scroll & Plume is a tall, four story wooden building with a stone foundation. It is a library, apothecary and small wizard's school all in one. Aden Jule, a retired hedge wizard, accepts about three to five new pupils each fall and graduates about that number each spring. Usually he has less than twenty students under his care at any one time and they typically study under Aden for five years. Aden dwells in the top story of this building and runs the apothecary (with his students' help) on the first floor. Aden's library is small and limited to subjects that interest mages (magic, alchemy, herbalism) Within that limited scope, however, it is quite good. Aden is a passionate but embittered old man who feels that mages in Arkalia do not receive the respect they deserve. Rather, he feels, they live in the shadow of the knights.
Noble Blade
Dorakin Wesly
Smithy - Dorakin Wesly is a tall black man, completely bald and immensely strong. His skin is scarred from countless battles and years spent in front of the forge. He is on friendly terms with several people in the Arkalian military and is often commissioned to forge blades and armor for officers. His business is doing well and always has orders backed up. Dorakin has an adopted daughter, a six year old girl, who was orphaned at a very young age and found her way into his life by accident. Dorakin is very protective of her and, although he himself is not a learned man, hopes to provide her with a good education. It is known among the community that Dorakin will accept payment for his iron wares in the form of books or other materials that will aid his daughter.
The Plated Steed
Phadimus Ein 
Barding Shop - Phadimus is a scarred veteran of many battles as well as a skilled smith. He has steel gray eyes and bristling beard. He is a well known and well liked local who is always ready with a war story. He produces very good barding and much of his work ends up on the steeds of the High Guard.

Rumors, Gossip and Adventure Ideas

1. The High Guard is being disbanded. This is only the tip of a much larger issue... a major conflict has arisen between the King and the Church. The King is disbanding the High Guard as the first step in a major political shift of power. 

2. Production of the arms and armor used by the High Guard is being moved from Stirling to Bronzedale.

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This website was last updated July 31, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.

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