Orleans Settlement in The True Dark Ages | World Anvil


Orleans is a major city in Frankia and southwest of the city of Parisius. Situated on the banks of the river Liore in the Liore Valley. Liore itself curves towards the Central Massif. The city was the capital of Frankia during the Merovingian Period and many influential families have holdings in some form or fashion in and around the city. It sits at a bend in the river.


As usual for the region 75% of the population is Human, with the remaining 25% a mix of of other species. Elves & Dwarves are quite common with many of their ancestors coming with the Franks when they took over control after the fall of the Roman Empire. Gnomes & Halflings are very common here, having been in the city & surrounding region before the Franks arrived. The odd Orc & Half-Orc is found too as a throwback to earlier times too.   A broad range of society lives in and around Orleans, ranging from the noble classes of all levels to the merchants & farmers, to many professions (dyers, tanners etc) & military, to the lower classes and general labourers. As usual, the Thieves Guild of Frankia & the Assassins Guild of Frankia have a strong presence in the city. A notable profession found here is horse breeding, with many families of Alan origin settling in the valley as a whole. Some of these are quite wealthy, and many of the other professions make their money in some way related to horses, such as riding gear, horse training, and the like.


The local government has a strong leadership in the form of the Merovingians Filling the role regularly of Burgomeister. Many of the local council chambers are made of the same family and a number of others such as the following families: Capitians, de Rais, de Orleans, and one of the most powerful being the Valois-Orleans. The latter two are closely linked by marriage & blood, and the de Rais being viewed as upstarts, malcontents and 'not quite right', as well as not being fully trusted by any level of society.   Members make up a council that oversees the valley & surrounding region in the name of the Holy Roman Emperor. The Burgomeister is a Count or Countess in their own right, having final say in all matters, and reporting or enforcing the will of the Emperor & his decrees in the region. Taxes are generally raised by market taxes that cost 5 silver pieces a year to attend for traders & others. This can be made up in goods worth that amount, and as long as it's paid up by a certain date then they are free to trade.   Sometimes taxes go hand-in-hand with services rendered, especially for the poorest who will be expected to carry out menial duties over a certain period of time to benefit the people of the Orleans region. Sometimes they can forgo the majority of these if they volunteer to work as the lower rungs of the militia for 3 to 6 months of the year.   A strong militia is always kept partly to stave off attacks by monsters and other more darker threats that sometimes stumbles out of the Central Massif. Two other reasons this exists is that there is a strong tradition of mounted cavalry units in the region, and most are able to handle horses to some degree. That, and the de Rais & de Orleans (and their allies) are constantly at each others throats, sometimes literally.


Sturdy palisades and stonework helps protect the city overall, and the region can be traversed easily by the mounted militia & cavalry. There is a tradition of both troops being well-trained and well-equipped, and led by a number of noble families who all have a number of men-at-arms by their side too. The region is in a good centralised region too that allows for troops of other Frankish cities to arrive quickly & easily.

Industry & Trade

The horse trade is big business here, and the construction of related equipment is second to none compared to other Frankish regions. The same can also be said for the local riding schools, usually backed by specific noble families or specialist trainers.   Many goods pass through the city too as it is one of the more central cities in the Empire allowing for goods of all kind to be bought & sold here. Most of the major Noble Houses are present to allowing for trading in political deals, and even inter-house warfare to flourish. Mercenaries can be found here too in good numbers trying to get Houses to back one or another of these companies.


Stables, stables, stables. That is one of the main aspects of Orleans that have made it stand out in Frankia. With the horse breeding that takes place in many of the farms outside the city walls, the stable has become something regularly seen through the whole valley. Many tanners, leatherworkers, carpenters, and blacksmiths are found throughout the city too. All use their workplaces such as tanneries at the river edge, or smithies just behind them to make many products for the cavalry and other horse owners. Carpenters help to maintain the stables, and other goods related to the same industry.   Sets of small sewers that could only fit Gnomes, Halflings, Goblins & Kobolds at best are present but even these aren't that big. Marketplaces are strewn through the city that can double as courtyards if need be.¬†At the centre of the city is a large Roman Catholic cathedral.


The western central part of Orleans houses the cathedral with many noble houses surrounding it. There is also a large motte & bailey present too that all laws, meetings and legal workings take place with a treasury below. To the east is the tanneries, blacksmiths & dyers where the effluence and smell from these industries run off. Between these lies a merchant district that has may of the markets. Dotted around these are stables where the locals keep horses, along with warehouses & carpenters businesses. To the north of the city is farming land where crops, and livestock is grown, including the famous Orleans horses. The south part of the river (on the southern part of the bend) is smaller areas corresponding to the parts opposite.


There is excellent arable land in the region leading to perfect farming conditions. With the Central Massif not far away too, there is a good supply of timber and rocky mountains fort some stone work. The river Liore supplies good opportunities for fishing and allows travel up & down by smaller marine craft. The area was settled by a good number of Alans that allows for horses to be a common commodity here.

Guilds and Factions

Three guilds are found here, and at least two are well-known throughout Frankia. These two are the Thieves Guild of Frankia and the Assassins Guild of Frankia. The remaining is particular to the region. It is the Horse Breeders & Trainers Guild. It specialises in the breeding & raising of specific types of horses, along with the training of them and their owners. They also keep an eye on the quality of gear used with the horses.


Orleans has been around for centuries if not longer. Originally a settlement of local Celts of the Carnutes tribe, and a place for the Druids in the surrounding regions to meet in it's early days at least once a year. It was called Cenabum in these days though was taken over by the Romans under Julius Caesar in 52BC when he massacred the Carnutes. In the late 3rd Century AD Emperor Aurelian renamed it civitas Aurelianorum (city of Aurelian) after having it rebuilt. During 442 AD, Flavius Aelius (Roman governor for Gaul), invited Goar of the Iranian tribe the Alans to the region to help control the rebellious natives and the Visigoths who were travelling through the region at the time. They came with the Vandals and many stayed including helping Aelius fight the Huns under Attila. With them staying in the region, especially in the area between Orleans & Parisius, many of the locals and place names ended up with Alan names especially Alliens. The locals hated them, as they were not above causing trouble or killing local Roman senators who they thought weren't paying them at times.   After the Franks took over, Orleans became the capital for a while especially under Clovis the 1st. After a while it was moved out to Reims / Parisius & Aachen at present. One of the most powerful families with a great destiny still has major power here in this period, the Valois-Orleans.

Points of interest

The Orleans Cathedral is possibly the main point of interest here. It dominates the skyline from the centre of the city and at the centre of local noble life.   A number of old Roman crypts and Celtic tombs are found throughout the local region & below the city. These have been built over along with mass graves rumoured to exist of the massacred Carnutes & their Druids. Outside of the city is mass graves of about 350 odd years old created after the battle against Attila & the Huns. Local legends say that many of these sites are haunted while containing old weapons, armour and treasure untouched in decades or centuries.   Woodlands and mountainous forests are nearby that Carnute remnants are said to still exist waiting to attack the city and bring themselves back to glory.


Old Roman architecture are found throughout the city along with the carved wooden and wattle & daub walled buildings are seen throughout. Muted colours are present throughout, with dashes of colour in the noble district.


Orleans is situated on a bend on the river Liore where it runs west to east before going south after the bend. This lies in a valley usually referred to as Orleans Valley. To the north east is Parisius, and to the south east is the Central Massif. Forest & woodlands are common in the region, along with mountainous terrain here & there along with wide areas of pasture & grassland for long stretches of the Liore river. The river is notorious for being quite treacherous at times, especially during periods of heavy rainfall.


The city is regularly warm and gets a good amount of sun for a large part of the year. This is tempered by cooler air blowing down from higher areas, especially the more mountainous areas to the east & south east. During the wetter parts of the seasons, the land gets a number of heavier rain than many other parts for the same reason, along with heavy snow at times. This makes the region very fertile along with the river swelling in the worst rainstorms.

Natural Resources

Timber from the woodlands in the area is regularly harvested, along with skins & fur, stone from a few mines that dot some of the rockier mountainous areas and lives stock (especially horses). The horses can fetch more than others bred in the Frankish Empire regularly going for three times the price as elsewhere. Even pack horses can fetch well above the average price in other Frankish regions.   Some fish, herbs, grains, and locally produced wine also add to the coffers of Orleans.
Alternative Name(s)
Cenabum, civitas Aurelianorum (city of Aurelian)
Roughly 4,000
Location under
Ruling/Owning Rank
Owning Organization
Characters in Location

Cover image: by Colonel 101


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