"Gleaming in the midday sun, the sight of pristine white marble meets your gazes. From domes to spires to flat-topped buildings, the alabaster structures reach towards the sky, as if in deference to the powers this holy city is dedicated to.
Humans comprise over half of Vesium's population. Following them, there is a muddled distribution of other humanoids. Elves and half-elves account for most of the minority, followed by gnomes and dragonborn. Halflings and half-orcs account for only a slight percentage of Vesium's denizens.
Vesium's government has historically been an oligarchy as a result of the ruling family cooperating, more often than not, with the Order of Avalon in its normal affairs. However, in times of crisis, the founding aristocratic government takes better hold. The city abides by a set of laws commonly referred to as the Marble Code. The laws mimic those commonly found in Grandia but make an exception to include the rights and privileges of the ruling family and region's nobility. As part of these regulations, property and establishments associated with religious groups are not subject to taxation.
Vesium is viewed by many as one of the revered holy cities on Varia. It boasts a significant population of religious devotees, including the presence of the Order of Avalon. The Temples Arcanum, and specifically the College of the Marble Bishop, is also a prominent academy for intellectuals and mages alike, though the rest of Vesium also features a growing intelligentsia. With the nearby settlements of Yorven and Beznik, Vesium thrives off of trade on the trifecta of rivers which the Laine gives it access. The city can also rely on lumber production to the northwest as well as stonecutter settlements to the southeast, the latter of which provides their signature white marble.
Vesium boasts exceptional city planning. As a result, the city can be divided into four distinct districts named mostly after the cardinal directions: Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, and Central. Vesium sits on the banks of the River Laine, which has lent itself to local watermills as well as a riverside port. The city also has jurisdiction over the nearby Lesterian Bridge which connects one side of the Laine to the other.
Guilds and Factions
The Order of Avalon possesses a major stronghold in the city of Vesium. The holy order has operated within the city since before its current naming.
The location on which Vesium stands had, according to records, been home to other settlements during the Second Era and well into the first millennium of the Third Era. However, at around 1200 3E, a dark plague fell upon the city once there, supposedly the machinations of the reviled Yevgen family. With the city at the brink of ruin, Vesius of Gaven, then a somewhat infamous bard, provided the power and leadership to banish the Yevgens and restore order to the city. Subsequently, Vesius I, now titled the Marble Bishop, and his family presumed leadership of the city which became Vesium. As part of his rise to power, Vesius I received counsel from officials affiliated with the Order of Avalon, laying the groundwork for a relationship that would persist for millennia. Over the generations, the city of Vesium grew to become one of the Order of Avalon's most reliable strongholds outside of the limits of Grandia. Vesius I's descendants continued in the line's rulership over Vesium and the surrounding areas. In 2929 3E, political opponents enacted a massacre of the Gaven family which nearly wiped out the entire line. The few survivors retreated to Grandia for sanctuary, though the family would not return to Vesium for well over a century. During this period, the relations of Vesium with the Order of Avalon strained, almost to a ruinous fallout. However, in 3078 3E, the descendants of the Marble Bishop arranged a coup and succeeded in inciting a rebellion within the declining Vesium. Since then, the family, known in the present as the Gaventons, has remained at the helm of Vesium as well as reaffirmed its relations with the Order of Avalon.
Vesium is famous in the continent for the prevalence of white marble in its architecture, and most structures in the central and more affluent areas of the city boast the material, along with designs from the Second Era. However, more recent additions to the city have resorted to the usage of plain stone, brick, and wood for building.
The city sits on the banks of the River Laine.
The regions north to northeast of the city provide Vesium with a stable source of wood and lumber for trade and construction. To the south and southeast, across the River Laine, Vesium has access to stone quarries from which to procure white marble.