Walls of Pla'aron
You might have entered Pla'aron through one of the seven land routes, the seven gates of the city, or you may have found yourself stepping off of the planks of a newcome boat, in the Pla'aron Ports
, taking up most of the western borders of the city.
Tall walls occupy the inlet of the Pla'aronian Gulf
, the structures peering from water, taller than even most ships of the line are. In the centre of these barriers stands an open target, the size of the largest water vessels, even extending a foot or more above the rest of the fortification, only enveloped by a layer of the wall and a walkway above it, styled like a bridge. The wall around these massive doorways is thicker than the rest, as well.
The doors have constantly been opened for about 150 years now, since the last time that there was a Great Plague
The walls continue on land, maintaining a similar height throughout. On the northwest and southwest of these walls, along the nearby shores and, even pressed up against the city walls, is an area considered to be a shantytown, which mixes with a neighbourhood slightly socially above the first, where poor artists and craftsmen live, as well as a few criminal organizations, though the latter one is more there due to their illegal activities, rather then their economic status, whatever it may be.
On the Landmarks and Areas of the City
Southwest once more, albeit within city walls, is the fortress and the castle which serves as the place of residence, study, and work for the elected Royal, as well as the Royal Court, not to be confused with the Legal High Court
, located in the centre of the city. The Stone Path
, as it is known, stands on an elevated piece of land, named Coin Hill, after the aristocrats which had once resided there, before this place was no more than a hamlet.
The view from the summit overlooks craftsmen, the southern gate areas, military, and the artistic communities, to the north and east, while the peak of the edifice that is the Legal Court is visible to the northeast from the castle, near the edge of the channel which passes through the walls to the very east and, making a rough lowercase 'n' shape before it merges with the ocean, to the west.
Across the road of the court, to the south and southwest, is the market, the public square, and are the social elite, mostly consisting of wealthy merchants, high-ranking military officials, and famous craftsmen, who make elaborate furniture, clothing pieces, and other forms of art on the daily basis, and, of course, the Court officials, such as the Lawmasters and Lawholders.
The northern half of the city, also contains its own market, directly opposing and connected to the southern half's one by the Two Piece Bridge
, named so after its ability to be separated and the two sides lifted, should a boat too large to pass under its usual state be coming through. The bridge's ability to do so is only some fifteen to ten years old and is the first of its kind within the Kingdoms.
In this half of the city, we also see some slums, between the two most northern gates, the effect of a vast number of immigrants coming in from the north some decades ago, and overflowing that part of the city, due to minor economic crises in Tribone
On the outskirts of the city, beyond and pushed against the outside of the city walls rest shanty towns and slums to the east, merchants and craftsmen to either side, and military taking up most space in the north, with training grounds, blockades, border control, and the likes.
Pla'aron is divided mainly amongst the several types of Elves and Dwarves, but there is also a noteworthy number of half-Elves, half-Orcs, and the occasional Humans. Other species are scattered around and may be located throughout, though some are quite rare or even nonexistent here.
The economically and socially strong are very present and centred around the middle of the city, and the High Court. Most anybody with a clean past and the knowledge of tools, a trade, or a profession are able, still, to make a living here, and artists, especially sculptures and designers, painters even, are often brought up from the slums, shantytowns, or even the somewhat better parts of the city, and into the aristocratical world.
Though, one might argue that this often happens to aspiring authors, scholars, and intellectuals of low birth and low background, due to the sway that men of natural and arcane studies have over this metropolis. Knowledge built up this city and it refuses to be forgotten.
The City of Knowledge and Lights, as it is known, is governed by a democratically chosen King, Queen or Royal, the latter title used should the elected person confine to or be of no gender.
Together with a legal council and the Planorian Parliment, the elected Royal comes up with laws and taxes, events and holidays, as well as trade deals or exploration missions; though in the case of the latter two, the Royal has more say in the matter and thus more decision-making power.
The Parliment members are about fifty per cent democratically elected, thirty per cent elected by the cities aristocrats and official, designated scholars, and twenty per cent have guaranteed seats, either due to their bloodline or due to a great service which they have performed to the city of Pla'aron, most likely over the course of years of hard work.
The latter group can be ousted from their Parliment positions due to any large errors they make, laws they break, or for another reason, probably one that had been brought on due to controversial or harmful events within the area, indirectly or directly caused by the member.
The city walls, which also extend into the gulf, are anywhere between fourteen and twenty-eight feet tall, and eight to roughly eighteen thick. There are also roughly nineteen or so thousand soldiers within the city at any one point, as well as under three hundred of military members higher up in the ranks.
There is also the aforementioned water gate, used in the past to stop the income of enemy ships or diseased vessels. There are also seven land gates around the city, thick metal doors, easily closed and barricaded, but thick and difficult to get through. The eastern water gate, through which the river enters into the city is also heavily guarded and there is a raised one-piece barricade made of iron and perhaps other material, with spikes on the front, which can be lowered, almost entirely cutting of the flow of the water, turning the powerful river into a weak stream.
To prevent ocean water flowing into the now almost empty riverbank, there is a gate which rests under the surface of the water, its height adjustable. It is also often used to prevent ships coming in, when they first need to be inspected or when there are too many ships inside already.
In the case it needs to be raised to a level which may overflow the bank and flood the city, there is a sewer system which can be opened, which would lead the water away from the city.
Pla'aron has a vast amount of infrastructure, though the quality and quantity often depends on the exact area of the city. Sewers are pretty much the same everywhere, but parks, courtyards, and gardens will differ in general size and variety of activities, benefits or plants that all of these places have to offer.
Roads connect most of the city and go beyond it even, though the latter are of a lower quality, the further away they lead from a larger settlement. Ports and shipyards are few in number, seeing as the past few elected Royals have decided to focus their attention on the expansion of the land maps and knowledge, rather than that of the waters. Bridges connect the city where a branch of a river cuts it off, seeming to have been built more for the aesthetics of it rather than for the functionality, judging by the number and style of them.
There are several larger places which offer delivery of messages and packages as their main service and one will often find a smaller version of such places around town in larger numbers.
More intricate infrastructures are schools, academies, and Places of Healing, the latter of which, as the name suggests, offer medicinal services to all.
There are all sorts of stores and shops to be found in Pla'aron; from the blacksmith to the jeweller, from a common bookshop to a mysterious place of arcane items which may not exactly have been acquired through legal methods; this city probably has whatever it is that one needs.
Guilds and Factions
The main powers within the city are the scientists, scholars and religious men, and the criminals. The latter are fewer in numbers and power and would risk too much to simply move about in the light of day but they are still a fearsome organization to mess with. While the men and women of knowledge focus on the physical, aesthetical, and innovative growth and development of the city, the other side is more focused on the economic sway of things, while both of the sides meddle with politics, based on their wants and needs.
The two generally do not collide, nor do they attack the other in any truly harmful way. Some choose to live within both worlds and turn out fine and are left undistrubed, and often do the wishes of these factions turn out to be very similar or even the same when it comes down right to it.
Pla'aron began as a fishing village some four hundred or so years ago, which would be around the year 120 for those who are Fjorner
s. For those who hail from the Kingdoms of Trugo
, the country of which Pla'aron is the Knowledge Capital of, this would be closer to the year 1170.
Just a few years after what was to become the Legal High Court was established as the Pla'aron Courthouse, the then-town became the most southern point of one of the Kingdoms within the Trugo Myriad, the economically and somewhat politically unified countries of The Western Valleys
, which was quite unfortunate for it, seeing as a war was about to break out with a nation just south of Pla'aron.
Despite the unfortunate timing, Pla'aron was able to prepare, albeit roughly and in unorthodox ways.
About a mile off from any point of the city, the woods cease and nothing but a valley of grass and wildflowers and shrubs remains. The work of, now decades, then a mere year and a half, cleared the forests. Due to the fear of enemies approaching too closely, the Planorians began cutting away wood to prevent any foreign entities or factions from moving in with the cover of trees.
The war was won within three years, and the other side was nearly erased, but instead left their settlements and joined the Kingdoms. They would have been killed off or stripped of their cultures and religions, were it not for the welcoming arms of Pla'aron's leaders.
A bulk of the city's structures and buildings is very Romanesque and Gothic, even Brick Gothic but also may remind of Austrian walled towns in certain places and areas.
While there are hills around the city and mountains on one side of it, most of the area where people have settled here are flat, with the exception of a few areas, which also offer a fantastic view of the ocean and the town. Branches of a river flow throughout and under Pla'aron, offering fish and fresh water to those who know how to acquire it or to those who hire others to do so for them.
Pla'aron mostly gains its oats, wheats and other crops from trade and import but they produce and harvest their own fish, wood, stone and certain types of metals; although certain entrepreneurs of the city directly import certain metals and materials, either for their own purposes or for certain contracts with the government and the Royal.