Taren Kost, Factions in Balance

6 July, 2009

Today we visit:

Taren Kost, the City of Sorrows

The City:  Taren Kost is built on the edge of one of the islands, nearly half the city was sheared away during the sundering.  The city was a vast circle, now a section of it has been ‘eclipsed’ by the section sundered away.  A wall of white stone was built along that edge has the name of everyone lost at that moment carved into it is in now almost faded script.  The original carving were cut deep, but time has worn heavily upon them.  The river that runs through the city pours over the edge and into space.  It is a beautiful sight from the Bridge of Sorrows which spans the river just before it pours out.  The flow of the river is much less than it used to be, as much of it is diverted before it reaches Taren Kost to the fields surrounding the city.

The White Hall is at the center of the city and the seat of government and law.  It is clad is white marble for white is the color of mourning in Taren Kost.  A tall five sided tower looks over the city from the center of the hall, at the top is a complex clock and bells, only the side facing the sundered portion of the city is blank.  The bells ring at noon and for special occasions.

Taren Kost is divided into wards each of which has certain privileges and responsibilities.  The Noble Ward, for example, does not vote in City Council elections but each of the families who own estates within the Noble Ward have to right to maintain their own house militaries.

Beginning two miles down from the wall on the edge is Port Celestra, a docking port for starships.  Most of Taren Kost’s trade flows through Port Celestra which is a busy place, noted for its pharos that lights the way to the port, day and night.

The Civic Seal of Taren Kost is a Pentagram circled with the motto of Taren Kost “We strive to be worthy” in High Draconic.

The Government:  The government of Taren Kost comprises two parts:

The High Council who deal with foreign and military affairs, which is drawn exclusively from the Nobility and the Guilds.  The High Council is composed of seventeen seats, nine from the nobility (one per great house) and eight from the guilds (varying at the whim of guild politics).  The Draconic Satrap of House Sharankiss has the right to attend and speak at High Council meetings but no vote.

The Civic Council, which deals with the day to day civic affairs of the city-state. It is composed of one hundred members, of which one third (34) are elected biennially from the Wards of the city, one third (33) appointed by the Nobility and one third (33) appointed by the Guilds.  The additional Ward member is to show, supposedly, that the city is the most important thing for the Civic Council.  In theory, a unanimous vote of the Civic Council can overturn a decision of the High Council, again showing how the needs of the city are paramount, practically such a power is a dead letter.

The actual bureaucracy that runs the affairs of the city is divided into four Directorates that oversee various functions: Building, Justice, Trade and War.

The Directorate of Building maintains the physical fabric of Taren Kost, bridges, roads and walls as well as the civic buildings.  Its staff is fairly small overseeing contracting to the appropriate guilds.

The Directorate of Justice oversee both the courts and the Civic Guards, who protect the city directly and have limited police abilities.  The Ghostchaser Noble House provides occult investigators and guardians to the city under the auspices of the Directorate of Justice.

The Directorate of Trade is functionally the foreign service of Taren Kost as well, providing ambassadorial staff, trade negotiators, inspectors and intelligencers for the Councils.  It coordinate closely with both the guilds and noble houses.

The Directorate of War comprise two section, the navy which is well equipped and professional, and the army, which comprises the civic militia (training one day in fourteen), the guild militias (of variable size and quality) and the private militaries of the noble houses with a directorate quartermaster to supply them all in time of crisis.

The History:  Taren Kost is built on a model drawn from the Renaissance Italian City-States with a splash of the Roman Republic.  A city whose wealth is based on trade and, very limited, territorial expansion.  A place where a person can achieve success despite their social background with effort.

It is a place with a very strong sense of civic pride and duty.  The noble houses and guilds have become so intertwined that they are the pillars of conservitism in the society; but they are both deeply concerned with civic stability and ensure that wealth trickles down to all levels.  Equally, each noble house and guild is vying for political power within Taren Kost, so there is always work for adventurers.

One comment

  1. […] of Taren Kost, Episode […]

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