There are few districts in Arc, or in any other city of the Arclands that are as imbued with tradition and history as Starrander Road, which, along with the Dures Road and Ordrish Roads is one of the three main thoroughfares in the southern portion of the city. The road and its side streets are the centre of the city's wealth, power and privilege and Arc's rulers go to great lengths to preserve this. The long, wide boulevard between the waterfront district of the and the plaza of the Trophym is named after on of Arc's greatest emperors, Jorei Starrander, whose efforts in securing the wealth and power of the city's merchants, financiers and mercenary companies led them to immortalise his name. Over the centuries, merchant venturers who sought to exploit new territories and mercenaries who fought wars for gold took with them Starrandic pendants, helping them to remember the emperor who have championed their avarice. It makes perfect sense, therefore, that the Starrander Road should be the home to the most prestigious and wealthy mercenaries and merchants in the world. It is accessible at its southern end by the Starrander Gate, a huge wrought iron barrier, housed in an ornate marble archway, which depicts the saints of the Aruhvian faith and on either side the faces of Arc's greatest emperors. To the poor of the city, Starrander Road is a permanent reminder of their exclusion, and the way in which a metropolis owned by oligarchic power slowly shuns those for whom every day is a battle for survival. The guards at the Starrander Gate permit only those Arcites who wear the Arrum, or the seal of the Protector to pass through. The Arrum is a signifier of social rank and typically it is bestowed by the the Protector to guildsmen and women, knights of the Protector's chosen orders such as the Hipostics, members of the Aruhvian clergy, diplomats and dignitaries and anyone with enough wealth to command an audience with the Protector himself. Once through the Starrander Gate, those who are honoured by the Protector are said to have stepped into the 'inner city' which runs from north to south between the Trophym and Storm Row and six streets to the east and west of the Starrander Road. Here, a clean, orderly and well maintained world of opulence and wealth exists. In order to keep the elites members of Arc's society free from the taint of the grinding poverty that surrounds them, the Watch of the Lord Justiciar, chase away thieves, vagabonds and beggars, and eject those deemed too ordinary low status. The wartch are roundly despised by the rest of the city's guards; they are typically the laziest and most arrogant of Arc's brigades, suited for little else other than bullying the disposessed. The Watch are well rewarded by their wealthy patrons and often trusted by the more corrupt members of the merchant aristocracy as secret couriers, enforcers and sometimes even assassins.
Arakamian LightAt dusk, each evening the Arakamian lamplighters parade down the Starrander Road in silence, filling each of the sixty three lamps along the long thoroughfare with oils brought from Ty'Zan, with each draft infused with a mixture of rare metals and ore. The lamps of the Starrander Road are large curved bronze braziers that burn late into the night, each with its own colourful irridescence. The Arakamians are more than just lamplighters, however. They were once the households to the personal chaplains of the Emperors, who followed a branch of Aruhvianism based around the Grace Levanto, known as the 'Arakami' or hidden truth. The Arakamians were disbanded when the last Emperor, Toun a' Dryn took his own life, but as an act of defiance refused to disband or leave the city. Their master, Elmakouth, created the convenient fiction that the Arakamians were loyal to the memory of Jorei Starrander, the one emperor even the protectors could not criticise. This enabled them to remain in the city and take the role of the lamplighters of the Starrander Road. They were ideally suited to this task because of the prevalence of lamps, braziers and torches in Aruhvian dogma. They look with disgust on the wealth, greed and cruelty of the Starranderites (as the rich call themselves). The tall buildings of the Starrander Road have the added benefit to the wealthy who live there, that they blot out the Oboline, the debtors prison that the was built to punish the poor and benefit the rich.
Non ArcitesFirg and Half Firg are not ordinarily allowed past the Starrander Gate, and the residents of the inner city have no idea what a Jaraki, a Half Fey or a Chorale might look like. To the cosetted and indulged, these beings from the very edges of the known world exist as little more than folk tales. The Starranderites have a hard enough time understanding that there are humans that don't come from either Arc or the Arclands. Olorians, Vire Folk and Ghothars are seen as extraordinary novelties (and whilst they are generally made to feel unwelcome, they might be patronised briefly because of their exotic 'otherness'). Suffice to say, Starranderites are the most insular people of an insular city, situated in an insular reason and for this reason they tend to give Arcites and Arclanders in general a bad name.
MercenariesTo find an adventuring band for a one off hazardous job, one normally looks in Storm Row. To find an army that will overthrow a kingdom, lay seige to a city or liberate an entire region, one visits Starrander Road. On the far side of the Starrander Gate resides the oldest and most prestigious mercenary companies in Aestis, who have a close and interconnected relationship with Arc's armies and sacred order of the Hipostics. In no other city in Aestis do mercenary companies have as high profile a presence in public as they do in Arc; they avoid the ugly term 'mercenary' and prefer to think of themselves as 'Knights of the Coin', implying that once paid for, they offer the same standards of chivalry and honour as a knight in the service of a king. The truth could hardly be more different; after centuries of waging small endless wars, many have accumulated more wealth and land than small kingdoms and they are able to bend politics in Arc to suit their needs and objectives. Arcish mercenary companies have a huge part to play in the corruption of the city and they know it. Many strut with an arrogance born of privilege and entitlement, and they are confident that whatever laws might bind ordinary citizens do not apply to them.
The Tregener GardenFor those wealthy enough, drinking and dining at the Tregener Garden midway along the Starrander Road is evidence of great status in the city having been achieved. Naturally, most of the clientelle are the lords of great mercenary companies, but Iyvan Tregener, great, great grandson of the original founder of the gardens is little more than a wealthy socialite. He is currently being blackmailed by the Mordikhaanian resident in Arc, Kherrune Vaar, in order to supply Vaar with information about any mercenary operations that might affect Mordikhaan. After the loss of several of her agents, the House of Sword guildmaster Vrenna Dorne now suspects Iyvan and is preparing to take action. Do you want more lore? Get weekly updates on World Anvil and the Arclands Blog straight to your email inbox, PLUS our list of fifty mysterious trinkets to delight and enchant your adventuring party. Get your copy here.
A Fire in the Heart of KnowingOur debut Arclands novel is available here. Read A Fire In the Heart of Knowing, a story of desperate power struggles and a battle for survival in the dark lands of Mordikhaan.