Orleon (Dominaria Supplement)
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Orleon, the "City of the Bridges", is one of the most fantastical cities built by men. The city is built on a peninsula and several islands that jut out into the Western Ocean, and the first view often leaves visitors dumbstruck. The buildings, towers, domes, and walls of the city spread along the islands and cling to the slopes like something out of a work of art. Then there's the long bridge south, the Pontecollo. The impossibly long causeway's span was broken a century ago, but near the city the bridge is so long it looks more like part of the environment than part of Orleon. So from the rising ground on the landward side and the long bridge seaword, a viewer's eyes are drawn to the city. The city's five districts separate easily visually, and the bridges and ships travelling from one island to another add to the visual spectacle. While once the capital of all of Beldron during the 4th Dynasty, Orleon fell on hard times at the beginning of the Fourth Age. Their gold mines to the north faltered and the great drought in the first decade of the new Age ruined their crops. Orleon fell to House Ragos of Etrasini about 30 years ago. The people fought for House Valan despite the hardship, but broke to a short siege and a swift assault on the ports. In the end House Valan's last heir disappeared into the central Beldroni highlands, and Doge Sebastian Ragos took the city. The Doge gave the city to his brother, Adrian Ragos, along with the sword of House Valan, Vindicator. Both the sword and the city now fall under the stewardship of Marquis Gregorio Ragos, Adrian's son.
Despite being conquered, Orleon has been powerful recently under House Ragos of Etrasini. Ships sail to and from the city's artificial harbor day and night and the city's famed vineyards, tobacco, and olive oil plantations are booming. Gold from the mines is taxed and minted in Etrasini, but wealth once again comes into Orleon. The great Castle Valan still stands over the bay, untouched by the assault, its shining walls a testament to the will and ambition of a once great House. The current Marquis, Gregorio Ragos, took it as his own and broke his father's tradition of living in the smaller Queen's Palace across the Bay of Dolphins. Under the new Marquis many changes have swept the city. Where his father looked to steady the keel and integrate Orleon into House Ragos' influence, Gregorio has built on this and sought to solidify control and power. New banners, showing the golden sun of House Ragos over a half scarlet and half silver background, give constant reminder that the silver stag now bows before the sun. The Marquis has also commissioned 20 new warships and wants 4,000 men drilled to march south to fight the Lucarni and 5,000 men drilled to march north and root out the mostly independent people of the Auric Mountains. The new Marquis also celebrates Orleon's heritage though, and many see this as admittance of the long-held Etrasinian fantasy for Orleon and her culture. The Circus Urbis horse race on the south side of the city and the jousts and lists in Victory Square serve to engender a new sense of community and prosperity after the city's fall and capture. Subtly changed Ragos livery bedecks every event.
The city has five 'Wards' divided along geographic lines. The northern part of Orleon is divided into Lake Town and Old Orleon. Lake Town is the bayou that was born out of a break in Orleon's first aqueduct. The people of Lake Town are generally in the lower to middle class and this part of the city is ignore as often as not. Ash Hold, the first Keep of Orleon, looks over Old Orleon. When the city was founded, the landward deep water port was an excellent harbor for the fishing and whaling fleets that put Orleon on the map. The oldest families of Orleon still keep their manors in Old Orleon and the buildings here harken to an older time when Kings and Queens ruled a unified Beldron. Moving south across the Market Bridge is St. Amy's Island.
St. Amy's island was once a retreat and monastery island for monks and clerics to Pelor. The Fortress-Monastery named for St. Amy sits high on Penitent's Peak, and the surrounding buildings and ruins atop the peak are part of the greater monastery complex. The old fortress was burned out in the early Third Age but when Orleon expanded onto St. Amy's island the priests rebuild it and live there still. The rest of St. Amy's island is the bustling commercial heart of the city. The artificial harbor built into St. Amy's island is the portal through which most of these goods flow. An immense covered market dominates Silver Square and the tall arches of the Monastery's dedicated aqueduct rise over the city. There are two public parks as well on the island. The final feature of note is Spring Hill, a rocky plateau that Orleon's inhabitants have slowly conquered. Houses and shops sit atop the hill and the inside has been tunneled bit by bit as the island fills up. A relatively new aqueduct brings water south from the hill and into King's Island.
Due south form St. Amy's Island, across the High Bridge, is King's Island. Unless you're perched on on of Orleon's hills, the King's Quarter is just the massive shape of its walls. For centuries Orleon has no walls. An assault by sea was and is a rarity, such things are frought with danger and chance. Orleon's defenses were therefore built into the rugged terrain north of the city. Earthworks and trenches crisscross the rocky crags still. It was King Kierian Valan who built the Sea Walls of King's Island. His 30 foot walls go right down into the ocean, and their sides are magically reinforced with high crenelated roofs for archers. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the city visually, but the work and architecture of the walls and the buildings inside are very in keeping with the city's graceful form. King's Island houses most of the city's magisterial functions, an expansive barracks, the huge Victory Square, and the Royal Park and Cemetery. Many citizens live on the island too, and it bustles with daily life in and around the official functions. The Queen's Palace is attached to the King's Island, a confusing trick of nomenclature that often causes foreigners to scratch their heads. The small island is actually completely artificial, the result of the dredging that created the artificial harbor on St. Amy's Island. The castle was originally build for the wife of King Halcon Valan of the 4th Dynasty, but was mostly used to host foreign dignitaries. The Royal Family, later just House Valan, lived in Castle Valan.
The last island, west of King's Island, is Stormbreak. Stormbreak and it's small appendage Lookout Point are so names because they take the brunt of any incoming storm and waves and are the first places from which attackers are sighted. Castle Valan, built on a high rocky sandbar in the Bay of Dolphins, is the heart and soul of Orleon. Castle Valan is a singularly beautifulwork of art and fortifications. Gracefully stonework and metal filigree make the castle seem almost dainty. Across the island, rising from the hill the island is named for, are the towers and guild houses of the Windriders. The Windriders are a wizarding guild dedicated to flight and the taming of fantastical beasts. They long held a pact with House Valan and participated in the defense of the city. They now button up behind their walls, allowing visitors in and out but never emerging themselves. House Ragos has yet to sign a treaty with them and attempts to force entry or siege the Windriders has come to naught. Lookout point is the last feature of the island. The lighthouse of Orleon is an impressive edifice, modelled after the great lighthouse in Rog'osto and built by the great-grandson of the designer.
Government: House Ragos rules Orleon and Marquis Gregorio Ragos is their appointed governor. The MArquis rules the city with the help of the three generalsin chage of the brigades posted to the city. Currently all three are in and reside in the various castles spaced across the city.
Guilds and Orders: The Order of St. Amy makes their home in Orleon and ministeers ot the people of the cit and the Auric Mountains to the north. The clerics will also charter out on ships and sell their talents and knowledge. The other purpose of these trips is to learn and bring back goods and knowledge to the monastery. The Windriders live on Stormbreak and have kept their doors closed to House Ragos thusfar. They still work the tower and the hill though, and many assume they move by other means. Two big mining guilds work the south parts of the Auric Mountains and own most of the large farms north of the city. Several mercantile and trade guilds make home port in Orleon as well.
Military: House Ragos currently has 2,000 professional soldiers posted to their new jewel. These men are training some 11,000 local men from Orleon and the outlying villages. Marquis Gregorio Ragos has reformed the city watch too and has 750 men specifically tasked to maintain order.
Judicial System: The Marquis allowed Orleon to reinstate it's court and judges. Two judges hear trials daily in the Civil Court and the Trade Court.
City Relations: Orleon is a vassal of Etrasini. Before the war though, Orleon traded extensively up and down the coast.