Arrokvilla

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What do I think of Arrokvilla? Honestly, it's probably the most important city in the west.
— Economist Richard Dunch in an interview for The Shorian Explorer
  Clang. Clang. Clang. The sharp sounds of a hammer on metal come from a shop to your left. And, for that matter, one to your right. As you walk along the streets, the bitter smell of smoke fills your nose. You turn the corner, and hear shouts. Dockworkers are frantically loading piles of boxes onto large wagons while narrowly avoiding collision. You have arrived in Arrokvilla, the manufacturing capital of the western world.  

History

 

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In the beginning Arrokvilla was nothing more than a place to find cheap booze and some company. No one could have imagined what it would become.
— History of the World by Tobias Baret
 

The Beginning

  Arrokvilla was founded when humans first began mining in The Dragontail. The Handi River seemed like the perfect place to build a town where miner's could escape from the dusty villages springing up around the nearby mines. In the beginning, the city was primarily a cluster of bars and inns, with just enough other shops to support those working in the taverns. However, a few enterprising souls saw a bigger opportunity. Previously, the mines had been shipping their raw materials to different cities within Manudagos and Askabao. This was expensive for the mines, since raw materials were heavy and difficult to transport and selling prices were lower than might be desired. But Karlos Itola and Marauri Lezaeta realized that they could profit off of this shortcoming. Karlos began buying most of the material for the nearby mines and hiring as many craftsman as possible to turn it into more valuable goods. Mazauri began to build her own transportation infrastructure that relied heavily on uses the Handi river to move tons of goods west more quickly. The success of Karlos and Mazauri drew the attention of four other noble families: the Arietas, the Aurteneches, the Yereguis , and the Eguiletas. These four families also quickly began to invest in the area, leading to the rapid expansion of Arrokvilla.  

The City Splits

  As the city grew, Manudagos and Askabao quickly took interest in it. It was beginning to generate a large amount money, and both kingdoms wanted it for themselves. But neither city had more claim than the other. The city was split almost exactly in half by the Handi, which served as the traditional border between the two kingoms. And of the six families who had built their wealth in the city, three were Manudagion nobility while the other three were Askaban. The two kingoms began to move troops into the Dragontail in preparation for war. The six families suddenly became very concerned; war might be good for business, but a war in Arrokvilla would destroy the city and many of their investments. They proposed a compromise to their respective kingdoms: the city would be divided down the middle, with Manudagos owning the northern half and Askabao owning the southern. Both kingdoms reluctantly agreed, realizing that a war might lead to no money for either of them. And so the Arrokvilla Treaty was signed, splitting the city in two.  

Rise of the Merchant Families

  The city was governed peacefully for a time, with each country appointing a representative to manage the affairs of their respective halves. However, as all good things, this would eventually end. The two countries once again began to bicker about this or that. This quickly escalated, and soon both sides were refusing to trade with eachother. The trade bans extended to Arrokvilla, where the two halves of the city were no longer allowed to exchange any goods or services. To make matters worse, a loophole was discovered in the Arrokvilla Treaty. As it turns out, neither city was given control over the Handi as it flowed through the city. Askabao quickly declared itself the owner of the Arrokvillan portion of the Handi, and banned all Manudagion businesses from using the river. Manudagos immediatley followed suit, claiming that they owned the river and preventing all Askabans from using it. Almost overnight, all economic activity in Arrokvilla ceased. The six families, concerned about their investments, held a secret meeting. In this meeting, they named themselves the Merchant Families and drew up a new constitution for the city that put them in charge over almost all of the city's affairs. They quickly forced the bickering kingdoms to approve the document by threatening to move all of their businesses and money to Shoria. Thus the city was handed over to Merchant Families, leaving the two countries in control of their respective halves in name only.  

The Arrival of Magic

  The event that changed Arrokvilla into the city it looks like today was the discovery of emeralds in the nearby mines. The Arrokvillans originally valued them only for their rarity and beauty, and began crafting them into expensive jewerly. However Irene Yeregui, a scholarly young woman dismissed by her family due to her interest in science rather than business, stunned the world by discovering that the stones contained magic and could be wielded, just like those used by the elves. The Merchant families quickly started focusing on how to use Emeralds, and developed an entire new industry centered on the gems. They began to grind them into potions, add them to small artifacts, and, of course, embed full size emeralds into staffs and other accessories for anyone powerful enough to wield their full power.  

Arrokvilla Today

 

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We must oppose the Merchant Families! They are ruining their city with their complete unwillingness to put the needs of their people above their own greed. Their wealth is already giving them an uncomfortable amount of power over the king. If we don't do something soon, they'll be completely unstoppable.
— Letter from Donato Gallarza to Kupido Zubiaur
 

Center of Magic

  Today, in addition to being known for its metal and stonework, Arrokvilla has become the center for all things magical. Those with money visit the city regularly in the hopes of purchasing an Emerald and learning to use it's power. In addition, the city is home to the Irene Yeregui School of Magic, the most renowned school for learning to use emeralds and the center for all western research on the matter. The school also regularly invents new uses for emeralds, which are rumored to be passed along to the Merchant Families in exchange for being left to themselves.   As a hub of magic, Arrokvilla has also drawn the interest of those with emeralds gifted by the gods. Because of this, many temples have sprung up within the city. This concerned the Merchant Families, since many of the churches have ideals directly opposing their own. However, after a short attempt to drive several clerics out of the area, the Merchant Families have become strangely silent on the matter. It seems that the wrath of the gods may have been bad for business.  

Controversial Governance

  While many praise the Merchant Families for their inventiveness and ability to keep peace within the city, their governance is not without controversy. Many people claim that the government cares little about the people of the city, and only uses their power to line their own pockets. They cite rules such as those banning the creation of a new business without council approval; the council claims to do this for the safety of residents, but their opposition believes they use the rule primarily to protect their own interests. And it does seem that the complaints have some merit; there is not a single magic shop in the city that is not owned by one of the Merchant Families, however a proposal for pet shop stocking strange and exotic (in other words, dangerous) animals has recently made it through the approval process with no debate.   Despite the controversy and the outright disregard for their respective kingdom's governance, the Merchant Families do not seem likely to lose their authority anytime soon. They keep very tight control over the city's population, and neither Askabao or Manudagos is willing to oppose them. Together, the six families control at least forty percent of both countries' wealth and are responsible for almost the entire magic industry. With a war against the elves on the horizon, it's unlikely either country can afford to lose these resources.
 

At A Glance:

Type
City
 
Population
10326
 
Inhabitant Demonym
Arrokvillans
 
Rulers
The Merchant Families
 
Owning Organizations
Askabao
Manudagos
 

Explore The Emerald Realms:

Materials Mentioned
Emeralds
 
Locations Mentioned
The Dragontail
Handi River
 
Species Mentioned
Humans
Elves
 
Cultures Mentioned
Askaban Humans
Manudagan Humans
 
Organizations Mentioned
Askabao
Manudagos
Shoria
The Merchant Families
 
People Mentioned
Irene Yeregui
Marauri Lezaeta
Karlos Itola
Settlement Information:

Type
City
Population
10326
Inhabitant Demonym
Arrokvillans
Rulers
The Merchant Families
 
Owning Organizations
Askabao
Manudagos

Comments

Author's Notes

This article is currently a work in progress! I definitely intend to give the article it's own cover image; I may also eventually make a map of the city.


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7 Jul, 2019 06:19

Drawing me right into the article by placing me there and describing how it makes me feel! The fact you also have small descriptions under your key terms is brilliant too! Your sentences are very, very clear and the progression of this feels like a real natural story! A+ from me! If you want an A++, here are some things I think you could do to spice it up even more.   This first one isn't a requirement, more a want. Do you have a map image of the land? If so, it could be a great combo to add in addition to your key terms since it'd make it that much more appealing.   Second, under Rise of the Merchant Families: you mention that, "The two countries once again began to bicker about this or that." What did they begin to bicker about? I understand past trivialities that cause two people to hate each other can soon turn into what everyone thinks is natural behavior toward the other, but it would help to know what it was they were getting heated with.   Lastly, emeralds. One of my favorite gems, just below sapphires, and they're magical too! But emeralds over anything else? Surely if Irene Yeregui discovered it has magic (and has her own school no less), she would know the cause for why this is.

~ Tristan
7 Jul, 2019 22:24

Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you liked it! :-D I'm saving all maps and artwork for after summer camp because I'm already having trouble keeping up with even the writing. There's not enough time! You're comment did just move making a map from the "maybe this would be cool" list to the "definitely doing this" list! So thanks!   With the bickering about "this or that", I was trying to get across the idea that it was something so trivial that even they forgot what they were bickering about, but I probably wasn't clear enough about it. I've made a note to either state that explicitly or to just come up with an actual reason for their conflict.   As for emeralds, they are super cool! The premise I had in mind when making this world is that magic is tied to a specific natural resource in the world. I chose to put them in pockets of hardened magic, which I decided probably looked like emeralds and therefore name them that. I don't expand on them much in this article because they have their own.   Thanks again for the feedback! It's always super helpful to know what types of things people want to know more about! :-D

7 Jul, 2019 09:46

This city is really interesting, and I like how it has changed from a trading center to a magical/religious one. However, there isn't much said about the industry that the reader experiences in that first paragraph (which, by the way, I love the second person. It's so hard to pull off but I think you've done it really well here). Are those forges making magical items? Smelting the raw ores into ingots?   Secondly, I would love to hear more about how the advent of magic has changed the city. As a source of emeralds, have the border tensions from earlier in the city's history started up again? Do any of the merchant families have a greater grasp on magic than the other? How does the balance between religious and industrious portions of the city work? There's a lot more you could add to this article that I would love to read about, because what you have already is really interesting.

7 Jul, 2019 13:06

First of all, I love the 'Mentioned' section to the right of the article, very neat and accessible!   I really enjoyed the history of this city, by narrating its rise and including features such as individual characters and experiences to its history, you really give the city some personality and do exactly what we intend to do here - worldbuild!   If I were to nitpick, I would advise you to re-read the article and edit spelling or grammar mistakes. For example, in the '— Letter from Donato Gallarza to Kupido Zubiaur' excerpt, change 'They're wealth' to 'their wealth'.   Good luck in the future, a map would be cool!

7 Jul, 2019 22:31

Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad you found the history interesting! I had a lot of fun writing the history and I'm super excited to go back and make articles on some of the people I talked about.   Also, thanks for catching the misplaced "they're"! My brain really likes apostrophes for some reason. In my first draft of this article I'm pretty sure I spelled every single plural noun as "[noun]'s" instead of "[noun]s". It was bad. XD