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Colend

Country famous for its rules and regulations in society. The saying goes that in Colend you battle with ribbons and words not steel. Everything they do has meaning to it, even the colours they wear and how they layer them.

Capital: Alsaes

Language: Kifelian (branch of Sartoran)[1]

Ruler: Carlael Lirendi

Heir: Shontande Lirendi

When it split off from the breaking Sartoran empire, 'Colend' meant 'beloved country'--originally connoting a select group of people, but understood was the land as well,.

Colend's wars have been very few. Seldom have they had a standing army. Conflict has been resolved through extremely highly developed and refined social mechanisms for centuries, giving the Colendi a formidable reputation for cultural sophistication--also for snobbery, elitism, decadence, moral ambiguity (at best), and for a multivalent approach to the concept of truth. The palace guard is run through the Heralds' Guild.

Alsaes (or Alsais, pronounced All-Say-ehs, or All-say-YIS, depending on your accent)

Alsaes is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It sits where two rivers come together. Centuries of delicately balanced magery keep the city from ever becoming marsh or bog. It is veined with canals, most of them charmingly curved that no matter where you are, or where you look, the view is pleasing to the eye. This includes the trading sections of the city: if you do not want to tend to your window boxes and painting your shutters regularly, then Alsais is not the city for you. The royal palace lies at the north end. After a couple of abortive attempts at castles, Alsais gave up being militarily defensible.

The inner canals are mostly named after noble families (Sentis, Alassa) as they used to be canals outside the family Houses. This was before the palace was expanded to include apartments belonging to the important families.

There are no walls, there are only the eight gates, seven of them beautiful, the eighth gate (Thorn) no longer exists, except as a warning. Some are only accessible by water.

Gates

The Gate of the Lily Path, the Gate of Spring Reeds, Thorn Gate [very old idiom for the site of military executions centuries previous], Gate of Silver Willow, Gate of Pecan Blossoms [courtship and declaration], Gate of the Crown, which is used for royal processions and for artisans whose master works have been granted Mastery; then the last two are Autumn Gate (old gate of harvest, which is used primarily to ship goods in) and Summer Gate (in ancient times, for shipping goods out, pointed toward Sartor, but also opened to the river going south to Skya).

There are magic Destinations at most of the Gates, but if you attempt to enter the city via magic, you had better have arranged ahead of time with the royal herald-mages.

The inner canals are mostly named after old aristocratic families, but the main one is the Crown Skya Canal.

Some Gates only accessible by canal--like Gate of Spring Reeds, which is different from the old Spring Gate, now the Gate of Pecan Blossoms.

The gates all have different names and attributes, as well as traditions. All of these things can, and do, change in meaning, depending upon intent.

Oldest gates are Winter/north ( now Silver Willow), Summer/South (once pointing to Sartor, now Lily Path), Spring/West (now Gate of Pecan Blossoms), and Autumn/East (now Crown Gate). An invitation to enter through Winter Gate in modern times, is a reference to the winter gathering by invitation from the king, which usually leads to privy council appointments..

Gate of the Lily Path is traditional entrance to palace. A magic destination is off it.

So frex the Gate of the Silver Willow might be customary for mourning families to arrive in...but someone could arrive who is being courted by someone she, or he, doesn't like--and the meaning is changed for court.

Or the Gate of Pecan Blossoms might be the gate for diplomatic arrivals, but also as a signal for formal courtship. And then others use it for the same purpose.

There are no "upper class/lower class" gates--that would be far too simple. In fact, the Gate of the Crown is the one used most commonly for artisans who attain mastery--and aristos, or even princes, often return from trips through the Gate of the Lily Path. 

These Gates then slide into language with special meanings, so one could say she slid through Silver Willow if she were turned down by a lover, or he pranced through Crown Gate if he were showing off.

For example, newcomers to the palace traditionally enter through the Gate of the Lily Path, which is the old Summer Gate, which is closest to the palace. A family member summoned to return can use that gate, signifying displeasure with the family, but entering through the Gate of the Silver Willow, which is the traditional gate through which mourning boats drifted, would send a far grimmer message.

The Gates have districts nearby; artisans' shops are roughly divided by district, strictly controlled by the guilds. Competition is considered good, so you'll find the silversmiths along this canal, and carpet-makers along that one, etc. More spread out are eateries and the pleasure houses and entertainment spots, strung between the three playhouses, whose histories alone require a long entry (the tension between plays, players, and the aristocrats they serve and satirize has been long and fraught).

Anyone hoping to come to the city to work will enter the Gate of Gold. Skya Gate is another Gate only accessible by Canal, which is primarily for river travel and shipping.

The Colendi social season begins on Flower Day in spring with the King's Regata on the canals, the entire city participating with decorated gondolas and boats, and at night thousands of candles in crystal or colored paper, welcoming the season; masks indicate the laying aside of rank and identity. The season ends with the Blue Night Masque on September 1st. But the most famous event of all is the yearly Music Festival. Those far-sighted enough to notice such things are aware that this festival is the cauldron of the world's artistic expression, for the greatest musicians come from everywhere to compete. The judges are selected from among people in the city, and might eve be visitors: they do not know one another, their votes are cast in secrecy and isolation before the Silver Feather is awarded--which always makes the winner's (or winners' if a group) careers for life. It's the going back and sharing of new ideas that shapes art, of course.

See TIME-KEEPING FOR COLENDI HOURS

History

Colend's history is long and varied. (See General Timeline). Because the kingdom has no naturally defensible borders (the mountains at the north end are not considered defensible as the Chwahir have come through the three main passes sporadically) diplomacy and trade are of crucial importance. Marriage and parties were considered to be Colend's best weapons of defense. The Lirendi family has ruled nearly as long as the Landises have ruled Sartor, though the Lirendis have not descended in an unbroken line either sons or daughters. There are cousins and marriages and adoptions in there; basically, if you are going to rule in Colend, your name must be Lirendi.

Footnotes

  1. There is an anonymous, much quoted saying (by someone who didn't provide a name, and risk being labeled ignorant): Kifelian is a language where even the articles are polysemous.

See Also

<< Chwahirsland | Sartoran Continent | Decael >>

Categories: Colend

Page last modified on February 19, 2018, at 08:51 AM