Once the estate of an elderly nobleman, the Royal Orphanage was established after the Dragon War, during the rebuilding of Araniae
. Many who survived the attack were left homeless, including dozens of children who had been sheltered during the attack only to discover their families had been killed. The elderly lord, with no family his own, offered his estate as a place for them to stay. As the city' reconstruction dragged on and the children began to despair of where they could go, the nobleman offered the estate to the kingdom on the condition that it be managed and up-kept to care for any children in need of it. The Queen
at the time, Serah Calistri
, was touched by his generosity and set about immediately to make sure the orphanage would have everything it needed. Renovations were made to re-purpose the sitting rooms for play and learning, and the large bedrooms were added to or divided to allow for semi-private sleeping areas. Staff were reassigned from the palace to ensure cooking, cleaning, and general care could be provided at all times.
The Royal Orphanage is in charge of the care, protection, and education of any children entrusted to it. All children sent there are documented by a royal scribe to ensure proper supplies are allocated by the kingdom.
Staff assigned to the orphanage are chosen for their patient and caring natures. Besides basic needs like food, sleep, and cleanliness, the staff are encouraged to form emotional bonds with the children to help fill the hole left by losing their families. Skilled cooks and gardeners tend to the preparation of meals, and at least one healer is always on hand to tend to injuries or illness.
As a previous nobleman's home, the estate came with a thin but elegant stone wall. At about shoulder-height, it was added to to allow full privacy for the children. An enchanted metal gate keeps out anyone with intentions to harm the children while holding any children in who have not been given a pass by one of their caretakers. Two Shields
stand guard at the gate at all times, and others patrol regularly through the area. In the event of an incident, the children are immediately escorted to a safe location, either underground (in the event of an attack on the city) or to the nearest Shield office.
Like all children, Etherea's
orphans are all given basic education in reading, writing, and sums. Those with magical aptitude are further educated in basic control and use. Other basic skills, such as cooking, gardening, weaving, etc are taught to help the children find what interests them. As they get older and start deciding on lifelong careers, apprenticeships are procured for them with guild houses at the kingdom's expense.
Any family-less child is welcomed at the Royal Orphanage. Most are children from Araniae
, but children from the country-side and other towns are offered a place as well. Most countryside children prefer to stay in their home village where things are familiar, and as long as someone is looking after their well-being, the kingdom allows them to stay. In such cases, the local justicars are tasked with checking in on the child and verifying that they are receiving appropriate care.
Children are expected to have decided on a career by the time they turn eighteen. If they have not accepted a guild apprenticeship by that time, they have three choices: accept a position in kingdom service (through which they will be provided basic housing if needed), join one of the military branches, or strike out on their own. This choice is rarely come to, however, as the kingdom does everything it can to provide the children with a future.
Construction and Design
Like every building within Araniae
, the Royal Orphanage is constructed of stone. As a building dedicated to kingdom service, it is also connected to the city plumbing and alarm networks. The lower floor is dedicated to the running of the orphanage, with an office for the matron, a play room, a work room, a library with a large floor space where children can listen to stories, a small study room, and of course the kitchen and dining room. Outside the kitchen is a large herb and vegetable garden. The rest of the grounds are walled off to ensure privacy for the children to play or practice more rowdy activities in peace and safety.