Col Colonium: City of Swords
Col Colonium was established by the Aurelean Governor of Alvoran to mark the centennial of that empire’s dominance over the Isle of a Thousand Kings. Unlike most Aurelean settlements in Alvoran, it was not built upon the bones of an older town, but instead planned anew and carved out of the wilderness between Londinium and Eborrac. As such it is a very well planned city, built in the traditional Aurelean grid pattern and served by such public amenities as underground sewers, running water and adequate lighting. In addition, Col Colonium was designed specifically as a city for Aurelean soldiers and officers who had mustered out and chosen to remain in Alvoran, thus it was equipped with bath houses, gambling halls, taverns and other facilities popular with Aurelean soldiers, including an amphitheatre for various games and spectacle. Temples and shrines to the Heavenly Triad and a number of lesser known foreign deities popular with soldiers were also constructed.
It did not take long for merchants, craftsmen and others to converge upon Col Colonium. Within just a few years the town had become a small but vibrant, cosmopolitan city important for both trade and defense. Some veteran soldiers and officers opened schools of arms in the city and many more joined or established companies of private guards and soldiers. The best and most dedicated signed on to the city guard and outlier militia, making Col Colonium one of the safest cities in Alvoran, both within and from without. For generations following, Col Colonium stood as the most brilliant example of Aurelean engineering and governance in Alvoran.
As the Aurelean Empire began to crumble and the legions were withdrawn from Alvoran, Col Colonium remained strong and many of its retirees took up arms again in defense of the new homeland. It is no wonder Arturo courted Col Colonium – both its elected Council and its citizenry – in forging his new “Alvorean” nation, and alliance that, with Eborrac, extended the self-crowned king’s reach to the edge of the northern frontier. The seige on Eborrac has made Col Colonium the new “last bastion” of Arturo’s Alvorean civilization, but unlike that ill fated city no singular incompetent heir can bring Col Colonium down. Even at the precipice of a new Dark Age, Col Colonium still elects its leading Council from among the former soldiers and officers of the city, with equal measure given to either. And as the urghak hordes and rebellious Alvorani tribes bear down, Col Colonium remains strong as both a fortress and a seat of unparalleled military knowledge and learning, from logistics and engineering to tactics and battle magic.
LIFE IN COL-COLONIUM
If visitors have a complaint about Col Colonium it is that it is a city of strict laws and harsh, swift justice. All crimes are dealt with in military tribunals, with open public courts reserved only for cases of civil disagreement. Since its founding, Col Colonium has served as an example of a society of law and order. As a new dark age begins to descend upon Alvoran, this fact has only become more certain in Col Colonium. With outsiders, mostly ethnic Alvorani, seeking the protection of the city walls, Colonium law has become stricter and punishments swifter and harsher. In order to preserve order and civil society, the Council has limited access to the city to traders, scholars and craftsmen, as well as members of military orders still steeped in Aurelean ideals. A shanty town has grown around the walls as a result, full of Alvornai hoping the law and military might of Col Colonium will protect them from the ever growing savagery of the world outside the city’s walls.
Nonetheless, trade, scholarship and militarianism continue to thrive within the city walls. So far, at least, the outriders of Col Colonium have managed to keep the roads leading to the city safe and merchants, academics and others still regularly visit the city. There is a thriving mercantile district as well as a number of colleges, plus the requisite inns, taverns, bath houses and brothels to service a constantly changing, affluent clientelle. Those with the means can enjoy all Col Colonium has to offer with little interference from the law. Those that bring lawlessness and disorder with them, however, are always one false move away from shackles or the headsman’s axe.
Generally, the people of Col Colonium are a diverse lot, with “Alvoreans” making up the bulk of the population, a relatively high number of “foreigners” and even a noticable, if not large, population of dwarven soldiers, merchants and craftsmen. Those that are both ethnically and politicaly “Alvorani” are less well represented and less well treated by the law, given the number of would be Alvorani warlords who have turned to banditry in the region. Many wealthy families and individuals within Col Colonium still practice slavery. As it is forbidden by Arturo’s Decree, however, they are often referred to as “indentured”. While most slaves are servants and laborers, it is not uncommon to find a slave who is a scholar, healer, magician or other professional. Notably, no soldiers in Col Colonium are slaves (though some non-combat members of mercenary companies, schools or arms and even the Watch may be).