The World Of Khoras - Civilization - Cities

Aerith - Capital City of Vorrik

"The city of Aerith is like its Court - solid as stone, adorned by dwarven etchings and all business. The Aerithians need to learn that there is more to life than the study of war."
- Muddler, grumman trader

Ruler His Might Lordship, Terror of the Battle Field, Scourge of the Orcish Hordes, Lord of the Northern Tusks, Commander of the Vorrikan Forces, King Lothar XII, the Terrible
Population 46,500
Demographics Human 45%, Ogre 20%, Dwarven 15%, Orc 10%, Grum 8%, Elven 2%
Adjectival/Demonym Aerithian/Aerithians
Languages Northern 80%, Dwarven 15%, Ogrish 5%
Nationality Vorrik
National Colors Black and Green
Year Founded 307
Currency Northern
Natural Resources and Manufactured Goods Apples, cider, white onions, potatoes, horses, cattle, rice, barley, lumber, seafood, furs, granite, weapons, iron ore, armor, webbed obsidian
Wealth Average
Government Type Monarchy
Government Stability Stable
Allies Urmordia, Carrikos
Enemies Borrell, Arkalia, Normidia
Walled Yes, double stone wall.
Crime Level Low
Technology Level Dark Ages
Primary Religion Kael
Other Religion

Zothok, Vallaurias, Barrinor, Erylon, Imarus, Sarreth, Grundel, Muthara, Semorjon and Ukharan

Climate Cool temperate to sub arctic
Terrain Rolling hills, plains and sparse forest

Description

Aerith is often seen as a gloomy city. Because of the rainy weather on the east coast of the Captured Sea, Aerith often finds itself under brooding clouds. Horses and wagons track mud through the main gates and the dark grey walls of the city shine wetly. It has been said that this dark, gloomy setting has saturated the culture and worked its way into the people of Aerith. Aerithians are known for their stern expressions and hard minds.

This dark reputation is somewhat undeserved. Although the weather is rainy and the people are stoic, this is a strong kingdom with a rich heritage and many proud traditions. Aerithians are a strong people who do not take kindly to injustice or criminals. Strangers must earn the respect of the locals and until they do, they will be treated politely, but coldly.

Aerith is politically and culturally biased toward military strength. It is home to the finest war schools in all the lands. It has an exceptionally strong military and is very secure from invasion.Because of its high walls, tall guard towers and vertical architecture, Aerith is often referred to as the "City of Towers".

Legal System

Aerithian justice is seen as harsh by many outside cultures. The truth is, Aerithians simply do not put up with crime. Those accused of committing a crime, be it simple pick pocketing or murder, will find themselves facing a council of judges who will listen to arguments from opposing parties and then pass judgment.  Such a "law council" will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. If guilty, the council will decide whether the crime is a Greater or Lesser Offense. A Lesser Offense results in the criminal forfeiting two-thirds of all property to the State. A Greater Offense or a second Lesser Offense results in the forfeit of all property and immediate execution. This system of law has proved extremely effective at curtailing crime, to say the least. Bandits, pickpockets and other criminals must be very careful when practicing their trade. Sloppy thieves don't live long in Aerith.

Culture

Some people describe Aerith as dark, stormy, brooding... and this is only partly justified. Aerith does have grey skies and bad winter storms, but the people are a boisterous lot. While the cold winter winds blow, the taverns are warm and smoky and filled with life. During the day, the streets bustle with activity. Games and sporting events happen every week. It is a proud city with a strong tradition.

Competitive sports are quite popular in Aerith. Wrestling and jousting are the two most popular.

Festivals

Sojourn's End

The largest annual festival in Aerith is the Founding Festival which celebrate the historic Sojourn and Sojourn's End, the legendary journey of a renegade general and his army that led to the city's founding.

News, Rumors and Gossip

1. A massive orcish nation is building in the Northern Tusks. The orcish clans have united and, come summer, will begin an organized military campaign against Vorrik. Their ultimate target is Aerith. King Lother is assembling conscripts and strengthening militias in anticipation of a bloody summer.

2. The guild war between the two major thieves guilds is heating up. A senior member of the Guild of Shadows was assassinated by a Raven and now the blood feud has flared out of control.

3. Fishing villages along the far north shore are having problems with a local "sea serpent". Several fishing boats have vanished and there have been sightings of a large reptilian creature in the water. Fishing catches are down drastically. There is a reward for the creature.

4. Strange lights have been seen within the ruins of Nitholl at night.

The City Quarters of Aerith

Aerith has four city "quarters", separated by double walls: the High Quarter (government, nobles and scholars), the Common Quarter (residential and some city establishments), the Merchant Quarter (shops, guilds and temples) and the Garrison Quarter (the Academy, city guard towers and barracks). The "Harbor District" is a fifth area that holds the docks, warehouses and a squalid collection of poor shacks.

Government and Public Establishments

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Vorrik is home to King Lothar and his family and also serves as the governmental building. The Palace is part fort, part mansion. Its grounds and walls are stout, solid and fairly plain. Like much of the city's architecture, the emphasis is on function, not form. The Royal Palace of Aerith is traditionally called "Stone Court". It is run by the master chamberlain Borkus, a dwarf of advanced years, and a small staff.

King's Garrison

This single building serves as the main garrison and houses the bulk of the foot soldiers and archers of Aerith. The remainder of the soldiers live and work in the city wall towers and guard houses scattered throughout the city. This facility holds barracks, training facilities, administrative offices and armories.

The Academy

Known simply as the Academy, this is the war school which has made Aerith so famous. Each year, hundreds of young men apply with high hopes. The Academy accepts 250 new students each year and typically about half will survive. Grand Master Horvec is the undisputed lord of this school.

The High Square

The High Square is the name of Aerith's main market square. This large clearing is square, grass covered and 183m (600 feet) on a side. It is encircled by a brick walkway. Two brick walkways also cut through the middle of the square vertically and horizontally cutting the square into quarters. Every market day, the High Square is crowded with tents, makeshift shacks and carts.

Aerithian Royal Mint

This government building manufactures the official state coins (northern currency) and also dabbles in jewelry, gem cutting, art and money changing. It is run by city officials.

The City Guard of Aerith

The guards that patrol the city of Aerith are battle hardened veterans all. This group is no less than a thousand strong. Each guard wields a great sword two handed and wears heavy plate armor over leather and padding. In addition, each guard wears knee high boots and a heavy hooded cloak to protect them from muddy streets and winter rain. These guards patrol the city in pairs. A number of stout stone  towers are scattered throughout the city. Each such guard tower is commanded by a Captain of the Guard and houses all the guards for that section of the city.

The city guard uses war dogs and guard dogs frequently in patrols and sentinel duties. Partly because of their heavy plate armor and partly because of their stern nature, these men have earned themselves the nickname the "Iron Men".

The Underworld

Every major city has its share of criminal activity and underworld organizations. In the city of Aerith, where well armed guardsmen keep the city under an iron grip, one might find all the criminal spirit crushed and lawbreakers seeking cities more lax. Instead, the martial nature of Aerith has forged a new breed of rogue and they have banded together in a guild as organized and brutally efficient as the soldiers who seek to route them out. 

The Guild of Shadows is the largest, oldest and most powerful criminal cartel in the city. This centuries old group has evolved into a organized brotherhood who follow strict rules, established procedures and trusted traditions. They have ranks and discipline not unlike the Vorrikan military. It is this group, more than any other, that rules the night. They have an elaborate system of ingeniously hidden chambers and caches beneath the city.

The Ravens, the second most powerful thieves guild in the city, is a splinter faction that broke away from the Guild of Shadows some 11 years ago in an attempt to free themselves from the constricting rules of the Shadows. This group, one third the size of the Shadows, operates as a collective of independent rogues - no rank, no titles and no laws. Each man has an equal say and gets an equal share. Although they share information and supplies, each thief operates alone. The Ravens have no formal meeting places or hidden chambers and tend to move about using the alleys, sewers and rooftops. The Ravens are in direct conflict with the Shadows and there is much bad blood between them.

A handful of other tiny groups operate within the city, most specializing in some facet of the underworld tapestry. Some are fences, others information brokers. Most cooperate with both the Ravens and the Shadows and see fit to stand clear and let those two larger groups fight it out. A number of independent thieves who refuse to join either major guild can be found in Aerith as well.

Temples and Shrines

The people of Aerith are not particularly pious and what little worship does occur is private and restrained. Most of the deities worshiped openly in Aerith are the war gods of the lands. The most widely worshiped god in Aerith is Kael. Smaller shrines to Zothok, Vallaurias, Barrinor, Erylon, Imarus, Sarreth and Ukharan can be found scattered throughout the city.

Unique City Features

Sojourn's End

At the center of Aerith, across the street from the Royal Palace, there stands a 25 foot stone statue of Daemon Kraukor, founder of Vorrik and its first king. This monument is called "Sojourn's End". It is fashioned from a 50 ton block of granite and has stood for centuries. It recognizes not only the man, but marks the exact piece of soil upon which Daemon stood when he called for the pilgrimage to end and declared a new kingdom.

The War Ground

The name of the city arena. A circular open roofed building which seats about 2,000. All manner of battle is conducted here - lethal and non-lethal, duels and group battles, gladiator fights and battles with animals. Other sporting events are held here as well - archery contests, chariot races, etc. On occasion, the War Ground will be used as a place of public execution.

Important People of Aerith

King Lother XII, The Terrible

The name Lothar is one that has been known in the north for many decades. Formerly a brilliant field commander with dozens of successful campaigns against the orcs of the Northern Tusks and a member of the Kraukor line, he was selected by the last king as his successor as is the Vorrikan custom. Despite his advancing years, Lothar is an impressive man whose frame wears his strength well. King Lothar is renowned for lightning quick reflexes, an explosive temper and an outspoken, blunt demeanor. His wrath has earned him the nickname "The Terrible" and when fully enraged, he is said to make the very walls shake with his booming voice. While quick to anger and forceful in debate, Lothar is not a cruel man, simply one who does not tolerate fools.

Queen Esani

A strong land requires strong leaders, including a queen able to tame her husband's hand and heart. Vorrik has such a woman in Esani. She is a tall and graceful woman with remarkable sun gold hair and a steady, confident demeanor. Her voice is both commanding and soothing at the same time and she draws people in with her bewitching eyes, quick wit and eloquent arguments. She and her husband are a study in contrasts. What one lacks, the other has in abundance. Together, they can handle anything.

Grand Master Horvec, Master of the Academy

Horvec is a giant of man with a bald head and numerous scars on his arms and legs. He is the chief instructor and operator of the Academy, the war school of Aerith. He is extremely tough on both students and instructors demanding the best from both. He still though manages to be one of the most liked figures around. When not at the Academy, he can often be found at the Four Kings gambling hall.

Jereg Proeg, Bounty Hunter

A former military commander who grew weary of bureaucratic procedure, Jereg Proeg ventured out on his own as an independent bounty hunter several years ago. His mix of martial skills, city experience and wilderness survival have served him well and he has successfully claimed dozens of difficult bounties. He has also been known to take assassination jobs. Most people know him simply as Proeg and it is a name well known in the northlands. He is easily recognized by his short cut black hair and a white scar that runs vertically down his face (a wound from a battle long ago). The wound damaged his left eye and that milky white orb stares out blindly now. Proeg typically wears custom made scale armor and hunts with barbed arrows and a composite long bow. In close combat, he uses his blade Widow Maker, an enchanted and serrated scimitar with a spiked pommel.

Gedron, Sire of Shadows

Gedron is one of the most famous thieves in Vorrik. He is a respected member of the Guild of Shadows and a constant thorn in side of the authorities. His illustrious career has spanned three decades and spawned dozens of tall tales about his near magical thieving skills. Recently, Gedron has vanished without a trace and not even his own guild can say for certain what has become of him.

Sir Adkar dun Mirat

Jousting champion of Vorrik.

Shops and Guilds

Name and Proprietor Description
Atherton's Ironwork
Atherton
Smithy - Atherton is a half dwarf who has traveled extensively. He has studied iron craft in Kalimura and Uthran. From all this study, Atherton has developed the skills of a master. He is often commissioned by the military to forge blades for officers. Atherton runs this smithy out of a small two story stone building with the help of two assistants.
Leaky Tankard
Bruester
Tavern/Inn - The leaky tankard is one of the oldest establishments in Aerith. It is a small tavern with eight private rooms. The food is good and it serves a variety of fine drinks. It is run by Bruester, his wife and three daughters.
Three Mugs Full
Octurus
Tavern/Inn - Octurus is a small man, with thinning grey hair and spectacles (which he had fashioned long ago in Kalimura when he visited there). Octurus is a fine cook and brews his own house ale. The Three Mugs Full tavern is well liked and usually crowded. He has four small rooms for rent.
Willy's Fine Wares
Willy
General Store and Trading Post - Willy, a wiry old man, runs a large general store and trading post in the south end of town. He is an ex-miner and specializes in mining gear. He will often regale customers with helpful hints on mining the northern mountains and the best locations to mine. (It doesn't matter in the least if they are not miners or have no interest in mining).
Golden Helm
Sir Agren and Lady Katrin Vurni
Inn - The Golden Helm is a large, upper-class inn which caters to visiting nobles, government officials, wealthy merchants, knights, high ranking clergy and anyone else with sufficient coin. It boasts a great central dining and social hall with an enormous decorative fireplace, a fountain, several small balconies and a small stage upon which all manner of minstrels, bards and actors may perform on any given night. It has 60 rooms which go for 2 gold per night, 12 noble suites which go for 10 gold per night and three "royal" suites for 30 gold pieces per night. Every possible service is provided here... whatever a client desires. Whether you want a sumptuous feast, a relaxing bath, a personal scribe or messenger, a hot oil rubdown or a beautiful woman to warm your bed. Of course, every service comes with its own price and it is quite easy to spend a small fortune here. The Golden Helm has a dozen private guards who keep the peace and ensure the flow of money is kept safe. Thieves are not welcome here and are dealt with harshly. A small army of servants, cooks, stablemen, maids, guards and common laborers keep the place running and most live in an adjoining wing of the building. The Golden Helm is owned and operated by Sir Agren Vurni, a retired knight in his seventies. He and his wife, Lady Katrin Vurni, enjoy entertaining and playing host to their more important guests.
The Spit and Polish
P'taur
Weapons and Tools Shop - The Spit and Polish is a general store which specializes in armor, weapons and tools. Mostly leather and metal goods. P'taur is a half dwarf from Urmordia. His human wife and four children help run the store.
The Shattered Blade
Brock
General Store and Trading Post - The Shattered Blade is a general store that sells everything - food, clothing, horses, blades, armor, cloaks, boots, rope, tents, miscellaneous tools, etc. Brock is a tall, thin human male with a shock of blonde hair and pale grey eyes. He has a slow, easy manner which conceals his quick mind and ability to sniff out an easy sale.

The Storm Cloud
Viessi

Leather Goods Shop - Viessi is a cranky old man who always seems to be in a bad mood. He is a small man who appears smaller due to his crooked back and crouched over posture. Little of his thin, wispy grey hair still clings to his skull. His face is usually unshaven and covered with grey stubble. Viessi has no teeth left and his face is always set in a puckered scowl. Despite all this, the Storm Cloud does good business as his leather goods are skillfully crafted. However, the customer will have to put up with all manner of mutterings, complaints and bitterness. One minute Viessi may be complaining about the weather, the next his aches and pains and the next a stingy customer. He often will give a customer a lecture about not caring for a leather product (if it was brought in for repair) or how to care for the product (if it's being bought new). Viessi lives alone in the back of his small shop. His wife died some years earlier. This doesn't stop him from engaging in spirited arguments with her, often while customers are within earshot. No one is quite sure why this leather shop is named the Storm Cloud, but most regulars believe it refers to Viessi's disposition.
Greubel's Leather Craft
Greubel
Tannery - Greubel is a young and well-built half-orc who has made a good life for himself in Vorrik. He rather likes that people are judged by their skills and the word here rather than their race or past. This suits him just fine. He is a skilled warrior, an experienced hunter and a first rate tanner. Greubel often goes up into the foothills on short hunting trips and usually does quite well. He trades some of the meat to villages and always returns with several good hides. It might seem that the Storm Cloud and Greubel's Leather Craft are two stores in direct competition, but this isn't quite true. Greubel considers Viessi a friend (although no one knows why - Viessi seems to save his most potent verbal venom for Greubel). Greubel sells prepared hides to Viessi at very low prices and even directs customers to the Storm Cloud for work which is beyond his skill.
Meesha's Mend-All
Meesha
Apothecary and Hospital - A beautiful, exotic young woman with dark skin, bewitching eyes and long, flowing raven hair. She seems to have some Myrian blood in her although she says her real homeland is much farther away ("You've not heard of it" she'll say...) Meesha is a skilled herbalist and often finds herself patching up soldiers that come back from battle or mercenaries returning from missions in the mountains. She has a dozen cots in the back room specifically for this purpose. She has more suitors that anyone can count, but she is very particular about whom she will take into her bed.
Silver Armadillo
Laos the Black
Smithy and Armor Shop - The master of this small metal-working shop has an interesting past and is fond of retelling the tale of how he came to be in Vorrik. It seems that Laos was a smith in a distant land "across the sea" and that through a series of adventures (involving piracy on the high seas, slavery, war, daring escapes and luck) he ended up a freeman in Vorrik. The locals aren't quite sure of how much of his stories to believe, but they are entertaining and there is some evidence that his tales are true. Laos has light brown skin, crystal grey eyes and a mane of long, tangled dreadlocks - an unusual combination rarely seen in Ithria. Laos does indeed have the skills of a master smith, but uses strange techniques unknown to the local metalworkers. For instance, Laos uses a form of blade folding to make stronger blades - a technique almost unheard of outside of Kalimura. Laos specializes in various forms of armor and his work is quite good. Laos hates all borrellians fiercely (something about his wife dying while they were slaves of a borrellian) and is the first one to strap on his sword when the borrellian raiders come in the summer.
Gord's Rock House
Gord Hun
Stone Masonry Shop - Gord is a small,  runt of a man with an enormous wife and seven children. His large house sits upon a mine of webbed obsidian and karrym stone, both of which he mines extensively. There are several mining shafts, tunnels and caves beneath his house and grounds.
Four Kings
Konrad Bloch
Gambling Hall - A large building in the southern quarter of the city which is run by four brothers and their families. This building is built around a huge central gaming hall which has, multiple balconies and tiers overlooking the main chamber, bar and firepit. All manner of card games, bone dice games and chess games are played here. In addition, a complex "battle between armies" game called Oppugnar is played here. This simulation game utilizes chess pieces, large ornate boards and specialized cards. This game developed in Vorrik between battle field commanders and has become quite popular in Aerith. Some of the nobles of Aerith have become "masters" of this game and take it very seriously. High stake gambling often centers around these games which can last over a day.

Buxom Wench
Alesha Landry

Brothel - This large brothel does a lot of business considering the general population of the city. This large, 3 story stone house has several dozen rooms and is usually filled with young soldiers spending their monthly wages. It boasts such things as perfumed oils, bathing chambers, massage chambers and group chambers. It is run by a very wealthy woman named Alesha Landry and who three daughters. It was founded by Alesha's late husband (and many say that she helped him on his way to the afterlife so that she could run the brothel). This establishment rents out rooms (as well as girls) and also serves food. Prices are very high here and it's easy to spend a small fortune before you know it. Mercenaries and adventuring groups that walk into town with the look of wealth about them will often receive a visit from a beautiful young woman delivering an invitation to spend some time at the Buxom Wench. Although the Golden Helm will never admit it, the Buxom Wench provides girls to the upper class inn when they need it.
Fidrian's Warhorses
Fidrian
Horse Ranch and Stables - This large establishment includes a 3 story building and a fenced 4 acre lot. Horse Master Fidrian raises and trains the finest steeds in Aerith. Mostly for the military.
The Battle Ax
Tarn and Glora Farrand
Tavern/Inn -  Good food and a good ale although patrons will have to deal with the husband and wife owners of the bar fighting in front of them. These two spouses seem to hate each other. There is a notched battle axe hanging above the bar, but many patrons believe that Tarn named the tavern after his wife.
Fang and Claw
Vidar Krask
Animal Trainer - Vidar Trask is a short, stocky man with curly black hair and a thick, salt and pepper beard. It is very likely that Vidar has some dwarvish blood in him, but no one has outright asked him about it yet. Vidar trains guard dogs and war dogs for the military and for wealthy nobles who want well behaved canines. In the last three years, Vidar Trask has branched out and is now training all manner of animals. He has trained large hunting cats, domestic cats, all manner of dogs and wolves, falcons and even attempted a krallinar once (although it proved to be untrainable). His methods employ no magic at all. Always hobbling behind Vidar on three legs is his faithful dog, Max, a retired guard dog who lost his leg on the job.
The Dragon's Graveyard
Wicker
Trading Post, General Store and Curio Shoppe - The Dragon's Graveyard is a large general purpose store. Run by a three grum brothers named Wicker, Scuttle and Rocktop. They buy and sell everything - clothing, weapons, armor, general supplies, dry foods, books, exotic curios. Their huge shop is stuffed to the rafters. A large reptilian skull is mounted on the wall above the counter. The three brothers claim it's a dragon skull, but it's more likely the skull of a firedrake.

This website was last updated July 26, 2014. Copyright 1990-2014 David M. Roomes.

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