Legends of Creation
City of Statues
Arqad was once a mighty power on the Dreaming Sea, its mighty golem armies made it unchallengeable and its neighbouring city-states were forced to pay tribute. However, over the centuries the magic animating its golems has waned, now it merely has stories of its glory and hundreds of statues of warriors.
It was barely able to resist when the Ys took over a generation ago. However even the sorcerer-princes have been unable to reawaken the city’s power.
When people rediscovered Arqad after the Great Contagion they found an empty, fortified city if gleaming marble buildings and statues. Eventually the city was resettled and people discovered that the huge central temple contained to secrets to commanding the surrounding fields of brass and stone warriors. Enchanted bronze bracers, inset with glowing gems from the temple allowed trusted officers to activate and command the golems.
Over the centuries less and less of the golems responded to commands while some were destroyed in battle and bracers and gems were lost. Now only a handful remain active. Its thought that early scavengers may have stolen or damaged something essential, but no one knows what caused the decline or how to fix it.
Arqadians are a proud, martial people and they resent their Ys overlords, but they are forced to admit that the sorcerer-princes often some protection from the encroaching Wyld and the depredations of the Fair Folk. However the arrival of the sorcerer-princes seems to coincide with a strange rash of mutation occurring in the city itself and the princes seem all to happy to make the afflicted into thralls.
Arqad and the wyld:
Situated at the edge of the world, Arqadians have an complex relationship with the Wyld.
Strange treasures and resources found in the Bordermarches and exotic Wyld animals are a major source of wealth. But everyone knows someone who has been killed or taken by the Fair Folk.
Arqadians have a healthy fear of the Wyld, mutants are ostracised and protective talismans are sold at every market. Most people wear a half dozen wards and talismans just to be on the safe side.
They mine iron in the surrounding hills for jewellery and weapons, but Madean iron mined from the Underworld is more auspicious. All Arqadians are trained in combat and armed at all times, even if just with an iron dagger, even slaves.
Arqadian hoplites are armed and armoured in iron marked with symbols of the moon, they defend the city and patrol the towns and villages on horseback.
Social Class and Government:
Arqad law recognises four classes of people, citizen, helot, slave and foreigner.
A citizen is free to do as they like, may vote, own property and may own slaves. They are however expected to maintain martial readiness, including at least 2 years in a standing military force and maintain themselves at a certain standard (not be homeless or destitute). Failure to do so can result in being stripped of their rights and cast down as a helot.
Helots are a land bound farming class. They may not vote or own land, but are expected to train for battle and are supplied with weapons are armour by the landowning citizen. Helots that distinguish themselves may advance to citizen.
Slaves are the property of citizens. They may not vote, or train for battle. They are however allowed to own land and any of their belongings are their own, not their master’s. Slaves are not allowed to marry, male and female slaves are kept separate as much as possible. A slave may purchase or be granted their freedom, becoming a citizen or free foreigner.
Foreigners may not own property or vote.
The Government is headed by a elected council who places motions, which all citizens are expected to vote on and actively participate in governance. Under Ys control the votes and motions of a sorcerer-prince outweigh those of any number of citizens.
Arqadians worship many of the ordinary gods. Gods of roads, walls, war, fire, the sea, trade, disease, like every nation on the Dreaming Sea, with one notable exception.
Arqad has no City God, their city god is believed to have been slain by the Fair Folk long ago. Instead the chief god of Arqad is a moon goddess called the Dreaming Warrior, she is depicted as a young woman in blood stained robes or armour, holding an iron sickle and a shield. The Dreaming Warrior is the guardian deity of Arqad, defends them from the Fair Folk and sends dreams to advise her faithful.