Primary Source of Income: Gold, Silver and Precious Gems, Tourism
The city of Vridhan is the oldest, largest, and grandest of all the cities of Prentil. The city was discovered during the conquest of Prentil and soon became the seat of the Vridhan royal family. In the traditions of their people, Core Vridhan, the only remaining Vridhan son, gifted the city with his family name, and declared it the capital of Prentil. The Vridhan family ruled Prentil from their ancient stronghold for hundreds of years, but as the royal blood thinned and withered over the centuries, so did their influence over the land. These days most Prentil citizens, particularly those of Foyyt and Markil, consider themselves free of the rule of Vridhan. Despite this, Vridhan continues to be one of the most influential societies in the land. The city is considered by most to be the cultural center of Prentil and is known throughout the land for its educational facilities, libraries, museums, and theatres.
The peoples and visitors of Vridhan city proper are ensured a very peaceful and tranquil life. This is achieved through a strong focus on education, crime prevention, and population control.
Elementary level education is offered freely to any Vridhan citizen through the city’s schools. Not only does this education includes the basics of reading, writing, and mathematics, but it also includes art, history and philosophy – subjects that are not taught anywhere else in Prentil. And beyond this basic education, Vridhan provides higher level educational institutions that are also unique to Prentil.
The streets of the city are kept clean, and the punishments for even petty crimes are severe – the most common punishment being extradition and exile. To ensure that the vagrants, outcasts and criminals are not allowed to roam free within the city walls, each Vridhan citizen is given a pendant that indicates their citizenship as well as the city level they call home. The pendants include intricate carvings and codes that are difficult (but not impossible) to forge, and a new pendant is provided to each citizen every year. The citizens are required to keep their pendant on them at all times. If they are caught without their pendant, they could be arrested or ejected from the city. The crime for selling a pendant to a non-citizen is punishable by death.
Citizenship is automatically granted to any child born of Vridhan citizens, but is extremely difficult to obtain for any outsiders. To become a Vridhan citizen, one must petition the Vridhan Citizenship Council, and then, if accepted, the petitioner must wait on an extremely long waiting list for an appropriate space to become available. Citizenship availability will only happen through death or forfeiture – new citizenships are not created no matter how many petitioners there are on the waiting list. The Citizenship Council also ensures that, if a space should become available, the citizenship is granted to someone who meets the current occupational needs of the city. Through these means, the Citizenship Council ensures that the population of tradesmen and professionals are kept balanced. There are no laws that directly control breeding and family sizes of current Vridhan citizens, but the size of the city and the buildings within it are strictly controlled, so Vridhan citizens are careful to ensure that their families do not grow beyond the means of their home and income. Through this union of well enforced laws and strong ethical beliefs, the population of the city is well controlled and the economy is well balanced.
Vridhan city proper maintains strict rules and controls, but this allows the people to live lives without fear of crime or economic collapse. The people focus their attentions on family, education and personal and occupational excellence. Those Vridhan citizens that live outside the city proper are generally more rural, but the ethics and standards of the city proper tend to hold throughout the surrounding land. Where it does not, Vridhan Knights are employed to keep the peace.
The Knights of Vridhan are a very specialized group of soldiers trained in the arts of war and the intricacies of law. Traditionally, the Knights traveled all the lands of Prentil seeking out wrong doers and dispensing the King’s justice, for the Knights are entitled the right to judge innocence or guilt, and to execute appropriate penalties on the guilty. Many Knights settle in a particular area and became that regions resident protector, but just as many travel the land far and wide looking for adventure and for folks in need of assistance. The Knights are also known for studying the ways of the bard. It is common practice to give a traveling Knight food and shelter, and in return the warrior would entertain the household with tales of great heroes and battles. The Knights of Vridhan are governed by a great Council. Each Knight must return to the Council once a year and tell of their deeds and exploits. Most of the Knights do this during the great tournament at years end. This is also when new recruits are selected and when first year Knights are given their blank shields and sent out into the world. At the end of their first year, the newly appointed Knight will return to Vridhan and take a name and crest based on the deeds they have conducted that year. Thus we get Knights named Barton Three Bears, Ran’Dul Theivesbane, and Godrin the Gelder.
The territory of Vridhan is also protected by a strong army. The Vridhan army is the largest and most organized of all the armies in the land of Prentil and is supported by taxes paid by the citizens. Each able male citizen is required to serve a term in the army. In return, their military taxes are reduced once their term has been completed.
The Vridhan homeland benefits from a significant inflow of cash from their silver, gold, and precious gem mines. These mines are owned by the nine royal families – the original ancestors of Core Vridhan himself. Core had eleven daughters and one son. Before he passed away at the ripe old age of 113, he gave his crown to his son and split the mines equally among his daughters. The daughters all married and made families of their own, and these became the eleven royal families of Vridhan. Over time, two of the family bloodlines died out, so now only nine remain. There is much political intrigue among the nine families as they struggle for power and control. Alliances, betrayals, and even assassinations are common behind the scenes, but all the while, the families will maintain a proper façade to their public.
Because the Vridhan people enjoy such a uniquely peaceful and prosperous environment, they are privileged with the ability to study more liberal arts. Art, music, theatre, philosophy and literature are all pursued to excellence by the cities people. People travel from all parts of Prentil to enjoy the many museums, lecture halls, and theatres that Vridhan provides. This creates the need for an entire support economy – clothiers, luthiers, smiths, bakers, restaurateurs and inn-keepers all thrive in Vridhan city proper, and farmers, herdsmen, miners and lumberjacks share equal success in the surrounding territories.
The most unique and fascinating aspect of Vridhan city is the architecture itself. The city existed in its entirety when it was found and settled by Core and his people. No one knows when or how the city was built, and the entire structure is made of a green veined marble that has not been found anywhere on Prentil. The city is built on a large hill and is made up of five concentric levels, each level surrounded by a massive, perfectly circular eighty foot tall wall. The lowest layer is known has Grounding. This level is primarily populated with smiths, inns, taverns, stables and storehouses. There are two gates in the outer wall of Grounding, one facing north known as Winter gate, and one facing south known as Summer gate. The second level is primarily made up of merchant’s shops and the homes of the Vridhan citizenry. This level is known Brighton, named so because the street lights are always lit to aid the many peoples that come and go at all hours to support their taverns, bakeries and shops. The two gates that grant entrance to Brighton are in east and the west ends of the wall, and they are called Spring gate and Fall gate. The third level consists of the many theatres, museums, lecture halls, universities, and pavilions. The gates to the third level are in the north and south, and they are call Wisdom and Youth. The third level is known as The Theatre. The fourth level, called the Garden, hosts the elaborate homes of the Vridhan wealthy and royal peoples. Each home boasts an elaborate garden; each fashioned and decorated with its own unique theme. The people of the fourth level throw frequent garden parties where the party goers drift from home to home enjoying the fascinating decorations and experiences in the gardens. The gates to the fourth level are in the eastern and western walls, and they are known as Prosperity and Generosity. The fifth and final level of Vridhan city is the palace level. Here, an elaborately constructed marble palace sits atop the hill with a commanding view of all of the Vridhan lands. Access to the palace level can only be obtained through a tunnel that winds up from the interior of a heavily guarded barracks on the fourth level.
Vridhan is a truly unique city. The economy is solid and is bolstered by continual inflow of gems and precious metals from the nearby mines as well as a strong tourism trade. The land around the city is fertile, and there are many forests and rivers to provide lumber, game and fresh water. The city itself has stood for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, and is so well constructed that the original marble walls and buildings never require repair. The alternating gates require any invading force to circle around the inside of the city, all the while exposed to attack and bombardment from above. This makes the city nearly impervious to invasion, and thus gives the citizens a feeling of security that is unique to fervent and often violent lands of Prentil. The city also boasts fully functional water runoff, sewer and indoor plumbing systems. The streets are kept clean and the city is, for the most part, free of crime. The populous of Vridhan is generally happy and there is little strive among the common people. Thus, Vridhan remains the most prosperous and peaceful city on the great isle of Prentil.