Arvost is the capital of the sovereign state of the same name. Despite its daring placement and size, the state has established itself as a valuable ally to the Regalian Empire and retains its independence because of ancient pacts. It stands as one of the last bastions of Elven culture and a monumental society of Human-Elven people. As of now, 550,000 men and women inhabit the state of Arvost, with about 275,000 full-blooded Elves. Its city and various holdings lay in the hilly, scenic lands between Daendroc and Ithania.
Arvost is built around an old Dwarven fortress that had been erected on a plateau. The land around the city is generally hilly, getting flatter by distance. Quarries dot the south of Arvost, many surrounded by mining hamlets that attempt to tap into the vast subterranean ravines. Much of the forests around Arvost are filled with oak and cedar trees, transitioning to jungle trees a few miles away from controlled territory. A good amount of the vegetation has been grown by a small group of Druidic Elders utilizing alchemy that had arrived after the destruction of Ríë. About half a day's journey from the city of Arvost is Halvet, a port town where imports and exports are processed. There is a large lake at the same distance in the opposite direction of Halvet, where there is a pair of small fishing towns built about the shores.
- The city of Arvost.
- The port town of Halvet.
- The fishing villages of Nimini and Thinshore.
- Volordin Castle
- Shores of Greenmist (following the coast of Daendroc near Halvet).
- Forest of Holth (south and southeast of Arvost).
- Daenview Pass (passage between the mountain ridge surrounding the south of Arvost).
Arvost's religious practices are seldom led by any religious figure; most Arvosians make sacrifices and worship the Old Gods on their own. It is somewhat unclear as to why Arvost's religious community continues to be so devoted over the years, though it is theorized that this religious appreciation is rooted since childhood through the existence of various festivals, rote stories, and other such cultural aspects that introduce religion as a positive aspect of life.
The worship of the Old Gods is a rather formal occurrence that many Arvosians relish in participating. It serves as a more consistent, unifying organization as a contrast to the various cultural practices within the country. On the other side of the coin with religion is honoring Estel and nature worship. However this is a more cultural aspect than one of religious importance.
Interestingly enough, Arvost's version of the Old Gods suggest that all of the Gods decided to create the Seraphs together as the only example of cooperation and harmony achieved by the different gods. The gods separately determined the fates of their descendants as time went on. This sudden clash of interest is the explanation for the existence of Men and Elf. This adaptation was written to glorify the Seraphs and their descendants rather than simply just men.
Foreigners collectively see Arvosians as a cultured, snobbish, but upbeat people. They are famous mostly for their jewellery, gold mines, and Elven culture. As such, foreigners wrongly paint most Arvosians with an elitist personality. However, it is often a false assessment, for they often misinterpret the nationalistic pride of an Arvosian and do not realize the fact that the average Arvosian is quite poor. The stereotypes that portray Arvosians as devote Old God worshippers is accurate.
Many Arvosian Elves stay within Daendroc and Ithania, afraid of venturing to the xenophobic lands of Regalia. Half-Elves of Arvost tend to be more adventurous and are the most often seen about outside of Arvost. Arvosian humans tend to have many foreign relations; though they do not forget their heritage enough to forego their patriotism.
Arvosian Gold and Gems
- The density of gold found underneath Arvost is incredibly high, allowing for the metal itself to be made into a pure form very quickly.
- In part with Arvost’s gold-rich mines, it also has many gem geodes. Much of it is used for jewellery, so the raw gems themselves are not worth much in trade.
Wool and Textiles
- Much of Arvost’s farmland is used for raising sheep. They often export wool for Regalian mills. Arvost prides itself in textiles as well, often inlaid with gold, though it is more of a household hobby to many wives than an actual trade.
- Arvost is known to be creators of the powerful Halberd, a cross of an Elven glaive and a Regalisch battleaxe. It has been used in warfare with brilliant efficiency, causing it to become a heavily demanded weapon.
- Halberds come in different proportions based on the difference in spike and axe sizes.
- Artisanal Halberds (Created by metal workers in the Artisan's District of the Eastern Quarter) are lighter and sport a longer pike. Adventurers or civilians use these halberds due to the ease of use.
- Blacksmiths in the Southern Quarter create military Halberds. These halberds are balanced to favor both axe and pike.
- Mercenary Halberds are the trademarks of smiths in the port town of Halvet. These halberds are heavier, and encourage the use of slashing with the axe. The pike's length is also a bit longer, but not as much as an Artisanal Halberd.
Less Noteworthy Commodities
- Various spices
Despite Arvost's size, the military of the city keep a tight shift over the various layers of wall that keep Orcs and Demons out of the lands. Armed with halberds and, more recently, crossbows, Arvost boasts an effective defensive military that can repel the Orcish Hordes or Demonic incursions.
An average Arvosian Guard is outfitted with heavy armor made from various imported steels to mediate between protectiveness and stopping power. It often features beautiful design work and functionality despite the user's profession. The Guard's halberd is an essential part of their uniform, serving as both a badge of office and an effective weapon for many combat situations. Guarding outside the city and its holdings is considered an honorable and relatively exciting job while City Wall patrols are considered boring. Arvosian guards also partake in routine defenses against the rabid Orcish tribes that attack the outer walls of the state. Serving as a guard is also a well-paid job.
Much of the stone and iron taken from the Gold Mines is used to make bricks for the ever-growing walls that surround the city. The height of these walls reaches well over the townhouses in Arvost, and effectively prevents invaders from vaulting over. The only way into the city is through the City Gates, or through the mines.
The defensive stature of Arvost prevents it from making any military conquest outside of its controlled lands. In the event of any attack from a foreign power, Arvost would lock itself down while sending its defensively trained guards to wage battle outside of the city walls.
Along with it's heavily armed Guards, Arvost also boasts a collective of local Rangers that are privately funded by the wealthier Elven families. These men and women are effectively the 'knights' of the City, albeit armed with bow and shortsword rather than mace and shield. The Rangers do not serve as an effective military force, but work to keep demons out of the city and hunt down any criminals within the city. They are also trained for espionage, if the occasion arises.
The state's spending habits and resource allocation are centered on the preservation of Arvost. This causes problems of expansion, and has recently been the source of overpopulation within the city. These issues reflect onto Arvost's military force, as they are not capable of taking more land from the surrounding jungles. Such immobility is a highlight for concern for the Vllandwen Council as they foresee the possibility of stagnation within the state if Arvost continues in its path.
The state mainly relies on trade for profit. Arvost's main income arrives from the gold and jewellery. A small stock of the Regalian coin production buys its gold from Arvost. In recent years, due to increasingly perilous subterranean endeavors, Arvost has moved on to trading spices and glass, while serving as a passageway for Elves to trade with human powers. About half of the income is diverted to the Holy Treasury, while the other half is split up to pay the contributing parties. This eventually trickles down in low amounts to the other Arvosians, who work crafts, provide services, labor, or farm to make ends meet. Arvost is a rich country, though its people are poor.
Because of the monetary structure of the city, much of the money is diverted into the Holy Treasury. Profit from trades is split up into the money sent to the Treasury and the wages for the parties involved in the procurement of the trade good. This money is used to by the laborers to buy services, which circulates the currency to more people.
Arvost is rather subsistent and self-reliant as a whole, holding enough farmland to maintain the population for another two centuries at most. Ideas of expansion are very attractive to the current lineup of Vllandwen, though would be met with difficulties due to the defensive stature of Arvost and the questionable effectiveness of its citizens during an expansion beyond the tall walls. Jungles and Orcs also serve as obstacles for such an ambitious project. Other solutions to the growing concern for food shortage and overpopulation include using state funds to import food or to arrange for agricultural support from D'Ithanie farming villages to the north.
The average male Arvosian who is the first of his line would own a fully furnished house and a set of his craft's tools by his mid-early adulthood, provided that he married and paid his dowry in full. His household would include around two children, and possible support for his siblings. Male siblings tend to take jobs as laborers, guards, or farmers. Female Arvosians rely on dowries and support from their husband in adulthood. A generous few often take the jobs of laborers and farmers.
The earliest known records mentioning any building in the location of Arvost was a registry of properties held by a Dwarven hold, written some decades before the fall of the Elven Empire. It has been agreed upon by scholars that the settlement itself first appeared as a large Dwarven fortress of some renown. To this day, the inner city of Arvost is still walled by an impressive stockade of Dwarven architecture.
Arvost experienced a brief Civil War by two factions of the Elven population: one supportive of the integration of humans, and others who were keen on assigning professions and classes racially. It ended with an incredibly brutal street battle that concluded with the forming of a new collective known as the Vllandwen Council. Since then, a collection of trained representatives of the City Quarters and their respective districts decided upon the state laws. Because of this decision and the mixed population, the Elven Empire often saw Arvost with a distastful eye. However, the city was left alone by any military conquest due to distance, apathy, and the Arvosian jewelling trade.
Arvost had come to play in Regalian politics a few years before the Five Family Rebellion as a trading partner. During the Rebellion itself, Arvost provided many troops to the Rebels. The city earned fame for their incredibly resilient soldiers armed with halberds: a combination of an Elven glaive and the Regalisch battleaxe. Upon the conclusion of the Rebellion, Arvost signed a non-aggression pact with the fledgling Regalian Empire promising that there would be no aggressive actions made against the city so long as they do the same. It had been discussed and nearly agreed upon for the Emperor of Regalia to be guarded by elite soldiers from Arvost, turned down for more economically friendly options.
In the years before the Cataclysm, Arvost had grown into its own unique culture, even boasting it's own language: a combination of Elvish and Common. The city grew cautiously, hoping never to overstep their uneasy neutrality with the Elven Empire. However, the aggressions from the demons caused many Elves to flee to the city as refugees. This migration caused the eventual mating craze that propelled the Elves to become the majority of citizens in Arvost.
Although Arvost remained relatively untouched by the demonic wars, it was nearly wiped out by invading Orcish tribes soon after the fall of the Elven Empire. Many settlements made outside of the city of Arvost were burned to the ground. The Orcs slaughtered a large number of the human population, which lived outside of the city itself as farmers. Arvost's city walls were too well built for any Orcs to successfully bring themselves over and into the city.
Unfortunately, the Orcs soon discovered various entrances into the city through various mines that spanned from a small mining town to the southern reaches of the city. Arvost started experiencing a heavy offensive coming from the Southern quarter. In retaliation, they staged a mighty defense that resulted in the legendary Battle of the Caves. After pushing the Orcs back into the mines, miners led heavily armed platoons through the confusing network of caves to slay Orcs that had infested the area. The battle lasted for 3 bloody weeks, until the last Orc fell to a local hero named Ewan Cerydion.
Arvost soon rebuilt after the debilitating destruction of suburban establishments. During this time also came a large boom of Half-Elven population, causing full-blooded humans to become a minority. Because of the local hero's legacy (who was a full-blooded human), many of the full-blood humans moved to the Western Quarter and established a proud sub-community there. Afraid of being crushed outside the city, Arvosians started to build new walls outside the city with districts appearing in each new addition. Arvost's new Elven population took up many of the newer districts. Despite the new imbalance of population, the Arvosians remained peaceful within their state without any racially sparked civil unrest.
In the intervening years, Arvost experienced a horrid plague brought about by infected livestock that took the lives of 1/8th of the population, while infecting about half of the rest with symptoms that included vomiting, nausea, and vertigo. The plague continued for about 3 years, ending after a reluctant quarantine of the North and East quarters of the city.
Arvost had participated in the Chrysant Wars briefly, providing shipbuilding wood and halberd-armed soldiers to serve on ships. Following the war, the city also experienced a scandalous genocide of Naga refugees due to various miscommunications. Soon after the Chrysant Wars, a sympathetic Council member named Edeon Miridel who led one of the new districts opened out to various Naga communities in Hadar that still stood during the war. Upon hearing this man reaching out from the seemingly open-minded Arvost, many Naga refugees flocked to enter the city. Unfortunately, Arvost's military did not hear of the arrangement and slew a staggering number of refugees while on the return to the city. The rest fled from the soldiers. This event was a dark spot in the history of the city, and is only truly known to those who lived in Edeon Miridel's quarter and the soldiers who accidentally slew the refugees.
In recent years, Arvost has entered into a state of overpopulation, encouraging many enterprising young Arvosians to venture out to new communities. Although foreign dignitaries such as disciples of the Vllandwen have yet to venture from their homes, many opportunistic Elves and Half-Elves have fled their homes for a perhaps brighter future in Regalia.
- Arvosian half-elves often take the age-length, physique, and ear shape of Elves. In turn, they also tend to inherit human facial features and height. This causes an average Arvosian half-elf to appear as a slightly wispy human with elf ears.
- Arvost racial population is divided as such: 50% Full-Elven, 40% Half-Blood, 10% Full Human
- The minstrels of Arvost are renowned throughout many lands, though are incredibly difficult to hire due to their availability. Arvost's culture is musically inclined, as it is rare for a street in the city to be devoid of any sort of music. This musical inclination reflects to an Arvosian's singsong accent.
- One of Arvost's most long-lived and influential families is the Vyndt. Despite being seen as human-looking half-elves living in the Western Quarter, they are actually a clan of powerful full human vampires that have a family tradition of the sanguine disease.
- Arvost's youth partaking in seemingly violent and involving role-play games has become the concern for many of the parents. It has come to the point where men and women of maturity often join in on such charades. Though such a subculture about historical reenactment is prominent and considered engaging, Arvost has a very weak theatrical interest.