Darkwell is the largest city in the Two Rivers region. It is seen as the de facto capital of the region through most eras.
Darkwell is a largely human
city. It is the last major stronghold maintained primarily by humans in Sirene.
There is tension with the northern Demynian region that has bred distrust of elves in particular. DMNeeds
holds in its oral history that its founding was to escape the persecution of drow, gnomes and dwarves in Darkwell. Each race had an affinity for the underground and Darkwell's underground infrastructure is on the backs of those races who were driven from their homes after the fall of the Sabrinian Empire.
Most citizens are laborers who toil in these underground remnants of the city. Either mining the underground to sell any minerals found and to expand its underbelly or carrying water from the bottom to the top. The water is poured down the central chamber under The Great Tower and the energy generated from this action is harvested by the Tower's wizards.
Other citizens do similar menial tasks, such as fishing in the polluted rivers that give the city its name.
Only a handful of people can be considered wealthy in Darkwell, even among its wizarding class.
The city is maintained by a somewhat merit-based caste system. These can be split into five main categories: angefort, bevau, creret, dulli, raffet
The caste system proposes those born to great people are destined themselves for greatness. In a similar sentiment, those born to dirt are destined to remain in it. The dulli and raffet are not, themselves, responsible for their lot in life but it was the circumstances of their birth which are to blame for their successes and failures.
Accordingly, those of the lower castes receive much less harsh punishments than those of the higher castes. It is assumed those of lower classes will eventually commit some type of crime and they can not be blamed for the impulses which they were born with. First offenses in Darkwell are often short stints in jail or doing hard labor. It is only after a certain number of offenses when other forms of corporeal punishment start being considered for any given individual. However, if someone can prove they are from a lineage of 'natural criminals', they be able to lessen their punishments depending on the nature of their family history.
Higher castes are not given so much lenience. Those are considered conscious choices of which the individual was full in control of due to their 'good breeding'. If the crimes are severe enough, the family may condemn the individual as a changeling and will manifest proof the accused is a raffet changeling who was left when their child of 'good breeding' was stolen by a nonhuman species. Angeforts have a tendency to blame drow for these child thefts and bevau appear more partial to blaming dwarves. Lower castes (excepting the raffet) will blame whichever non-human caravan most recently passed through.
The angeforts are the ruling caste of the city. The government is run by only a few individuals who have been in power for some time. They are considered the most unblemished at birth and thus the only ones capable of unquestioned rule. There are very few who manage to elevate themselves to the level of an angefort based on merit.
Angeforts will spend most of their lives in the expansive government buildings just below the surface of Darkwell. It is common for angeforts to go blind as they age due to having to work in such complete darkness whenever the lights go out in one of the many blackouts plaguing the magical infrastructure of the city. They rarely interact with or speak to classes lower than bevaus.
Currently, there are only 8 great houses maintaining their status as angeforts. They make up about 2% of the city's population.
Bevaus are the wizarding class of Darkwell. They are well-educated and spend most of their time in The Great Tower. Some wizards are chosen to be servants of the angeforts and will only lower themselves to menial labor in these instances. Usually the wizards chosen are of a fairer persuasion.
Bevaus spend long hours from childhood honing their craft and learning to manipulate environmental magic into spells. Many of the bevaus go on to only work in the bottling of magic underground, forcing the energy of running water into flasks to be used throughout the city by other wizards.
Older bevaus become teachers or are put on gardening duty, irrigating the city gardens with magic when they become too feeble to make the journey underground.
Children with natural affinity for manipulating ambient magic born into the dulli or creret castes are considered changelings, one of the children stolen from their original parents of a higher caste. Dulli and crerets are of course expected to hand them over immediately unless, of course, they are the ones guilty of stealing the child. The child is then adopted by one bevau or another into their family depending on who can make the better case the child was stolen from them. In this way, the bevaus manage to maintain a steady population while bevaus themselves rarely make time for having children.
Crerets are the artisians and merchants of the city. They are the business owners who serve both the dulli and bevaus. They may serve the raffet if they were previously of the dulli class. Otherwise, they must bar raffet from entering their establishments in Darkwell.
Since crerets are the only caste who regularly travels and trades with those outside Darkwell, they are thought to be wells of wisdom and expected to carry news from occurrences in the land. However, crerets are strictly guided on how they interact with raffet upon leaving the city and cover every part of their bodies before entering settlements to trade, talking only through written communication.
It is much more common for a dulli to become a creret than for any other ranking up to occur.
The dulli are all those who are left.
They are the simple laborers and workers who maintain all of the city's great infrastructure and do a bulk of the menial tasks. As a generalization, they are considered to be both slow and stupid. This is, of course, not true, but they will often reflect this in their own manner of speaking to politely deflect conversations with raffet.
Raffet are all those who exist outside of Darkwell's caste. Primarily, this concerns non-humans.
Wellians have an ingrained fear of the raffet as they believe them prone to violence and thievery more than other lower castes. They limit their interactions and closely watch their children for signs one may be a changeling. Wellians believe the raffet envy their 'good breeding' from the dulli to the angeforts. They assume the raffet wish to steal their children for the greatness they were born to and will replace the 'good children' with their own unwanted 'bad children'.
In a roundabout way, the Wellians have made this a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they fear one of their children is a changeling, they will disown them and shun them from their home. Traveling caravans of traders will sometimes take these children in and raise them as their own.