|City of Artorius|
|Inhabitants||Princess Jovana Nevea Alba, Leviana-Silvana Pomona Decus|
Artorius is the capital city of Norarchland, located in the province of the same name. The province of Artorius is divided the River Cadmus. The northern part of the province is bordered by the province of Cambyses in the west, the province of Fidelis in the northwest, the province of Eione in the north, and the province of Scilla in the east. The southern half of the province is bordered by Liber in the east, Quique in the south, and Nicator in the west. Artorius is a large city, but it is not a particularly prosperous one. The royal palace of Norarchland is located a few miles outside of the city but not directly in it, and this unfortunately draws attention away from the city.
Artorius was originally a military stronghold in the cold reaches of Norarchland. It was not named Artorius until the first year of the Golden Age, and it was named for Grand King Bernas Artorius Polaris. It thrived as a military fortress and a city built up around it. For a while it was even the capital of Archland, until the new palace was built in the mountains.
After the Torrent, Artorius retained its name but became less important. It served as a center for the province of Artorius and was an administrative center for a while, but it served only Artorius and a some surrounding lands. When King Ventus Procopius Castor set out to unite the very independent provinces of Norarchland, Artorius, Nicator, and the rest of the northeastern provinces resisted. Many small battles and skirmishes were fought until eventually all of Norarchland came under Procopius's control. Nicator was the last to submit. The reluctance of the provinces to join together under one king resulted in the provinces still remaining independent in their own affairs even after they technically became one nation. Artorius was chosen as the capital in 250 d.A.A. It was never known for its grandeur, with the exception of its gardens. It did, however, become the center of a rumor of a secret store of gold, the key to Norarchland's wealth, but no one could ever prove it existed.
In 463 d.A.A., the Pythian Plague struck Artorius. The violent, pneumonic illness took the lives of thousands in Norarchland. The worst of the casualities were in the province of Pythius, but Artorius had many victims as well, including Queen Jovana Anthea Aurelia. After the plague died down, it continued to revisit the country every generation or so, taking a few lives every time it struck, but never with the ferocity of the first plague.
The city of Artorius is set in a small valley ridged with hills. A small hill separates it from the royal palace. Surrounding the city on the other sides of the hills are rolling river plains. In the north, these steadily transition into tundra. The city is circular in construction, with the old military fort (now administrative building) at the center. It has two gates; one in the west and one in the south. The city is not particularly attractive and is infamous for its bad roads.
Artorius has a hemiboreal climate. It has cold, long winters with large amounts of snow that tend to blow in from the south and bury the city in snow. Thankfully, the city has developed an excellent snow management system. It is still very difficult to travel to Artorius in the winter, but once inside the city the roads are kept clear and are easy to navigate. There is a running joke that the roads are better in the winter than in the summer. Summers are mild and warm, but they never get especially hot. Citizens of Artorius will often be heard saying that they love the snow when it comes, and their entire way of life, from food to clothes to architecture, is prepared in anticipation of the snow.
People in Artorius tend to keep to themselves, much like their fellow countrymen. People mind their own business, do their own work, and only associate with business partners and family. They are not particularly enamored with frills or extraneous details. They prefer things to be only as complicated as they have to be for the job to get done. Because of this, they are not very welcoming to scholars or people who try to suggest new ways of doing things. They like to stick to what they know and not venture too far away from that. In general, they are not fond of people who are different. Gossips and busybodies are looked down upon, and asking into someone's private business is considered rude. To outsiders, Artorius seems like a glum city, and while it certainly isn't the cheeriest place, the people are content and successful in their own sense of the word.
One of the most unique traits of the people of Artorius is their tendency to hoard. The unpredictability in the weather and the overall nervous attitude of the people have caused them to become packrats. They are known to buy, find, or collect items that they don't immediately need "just in case." This causes clutter in the city, but because everyone tends to think the same way, no one really minds. It has caused a problem with thieves and black market trade, but violence is mostly avoided in connection with these crimes.
The people of Artorius follow Aevitas, and Aetas Trees are grown either in little communal gardens or just outside the city. Wealthier members of the community have their Trees planted in the royal garden. The religion of Verafidei is outlawed as a dangerous superstition.
The rate of orphans and single-parent households is higher in Artorius because of the frequent visits of the plague. Medicine is not highly advanced in Norarchland, leaving many to suffer through various diseases until they perish. The average number of children per family is two. Though families try to have more, the high infant mortality rate and perilous conditions for children result in families of approximately two surviving children.
While the people of Artorius are not usually preoccupied with beauty, there are still some features that are prized in the culture. Pale skin is valued across Norarchland, and Artorius is no exception. Small and petite features are considered pretty, and anyone taller than average is considered unattractive. Dark hair is considered very beautiful because it is so rare in Norarchland. Men and women alike will use various dyes to make their hair darker, but there is no long-lasting solution to make one's hair remain dark. This has, however, led to the development of a major export of Artorius--dark hair dye. Besides this, however, Artorius has little interest in cosmeotology.
Norarchland as a whole is less economically prosperous than Southarchland. Artorius, though a main trade stop along the River Cadmus, still cannot compare with the wealth of Alcmena, Southarchland's capital. Its main exports include dark hair dye, fruit, animal pelts (especially deer and boar), rope, and pure water brought south from Ether.
In the Books (spoilers)Edit
The city itself is only mentioned in Shadowskin, but most of the first third of the book takes place in the royal palace a few miles away. It is where Leviana-Silvana Pomona Decus was raised and where she is employed as the head gardener. She leaves the palace gardens after discovering her identity as Queen Demetra's daughter and is thrust into the plot against the life of Princess Jovana Nevea Alba. A few months later, she returns to destroy the store of cursed Tenebrarian gold that is the source of the plague that has been blighting Norarchland (including Artorius) for decades. After she escapes, she is unable to return again.