Under The Sun
Among the archfey, there are some who carry the portfolios of natural phenomena, and there are some who embody more abstract concepts. The Prince of Hearts, for instance, is dedicated to the principles of beauty, gallantry, and love. The Dice Matron patronizes risk-taking and gambling, but one is unwise to rely upon her boons. The Aestheticist exists solely for pure art and the perfection of the artist’s craft.
One of the odder archfey is known as the Lord of Orderly Companionship. His realm is the smoothness of interaction between people. Responsibility to self, to others, and to the greater good all fall within his purview. In practice, this generates quite a bit of paperwork, and his polity, Ampholite, is the most heavily bureaucratized city in the Feywild.
Ampholite’s ultimate governance is in the hands of its lord; however, not every issue is fit for his attention, so numerous departments, divisions, offices, extraordinary offices, committees, congresses, councils, and task groups divide up the work of smoothing the rough edges of interpersonal interaction. Ampholite’s aristocracy dominates much of the government, and the rest is generally populated by families which have associated themselves with a section of government for thousands of years. Very few newcomers take postions in Ampholitan government without extraordinary appointment.
The relationships between Ampholite’s aristrocrats and governing families mirror this structure. The nobility is comprised of the Greater Clans and the Lesser Clans, with the numerically far superior Septs and commoner families completing the hierarchy. The Greater Clans dominate the higher reaches of government, but generally remain within a fixed sphere of responsibility. (For instance, no Ixegerusidnon clansman would ever accept a non-military post.) The Lesser Clans fill in what positions the Greater Clans do not take and in turn dominate the Septs. Common families do not have a position within government.
While this structure is static and has been for thousands of years, it provides security against the sort of turbulent infighting that has characterized some eladrin cities. The knowledge that each Greater Clan would be unable to run the city and its corresponding realm without the others dampens much enthusiasm for civil war, and adoption laws allow promising recruits to move up through the family structures. However, stability comes with a price. Ampholite has only so many posts to go around, so younger participants in this game often wait hundreds of years for an opening. Even then, the complexity of Ampholitan law tends to create narrow experts at lower levels and work against generalization even at the highest reaches of the Greater Clans. Rumors persist that this is by design, that governmental stasis is a check against the ambition of virtually everyone in the city.
One means of dealing with superfluous youngsters in the governing families is the military. Ampholite maintains a standing army divided into twelve Guards divisions, each with separate responsibilities and preferred sources of personnel. The Dragon Guards, for instance, form the high command and draw personnel exclusively from the Greater Clans. The Lion Guards are primarily light infantry and welcome soldiers from all social strata. The Hawk Guards form the intelligence and special operations corps; its operatives are typically drawn from the educated middle class commoners and the Septs.
Despite its ossified governance (and partly because of same), Ampholite is a beautiful city. Numerous municipal offices exist to promote its architecture and flora, and the city’s guilds, churches, and commercial societies vie with each other to have the most impressive halls and sponsor the most beautiful gardens. Even the homes of lowliest families in the city have artful facings and gardens. The city’s botanical gardens contain a striking number of specimens from all over the world and the Feywild, all arranged to please the senses. The Grand Concourse is rumored to be the greatest concentration of musical talent in the Feywild. These places draw throngs wishing for even a glimpse of its beauty.
Among the travelers who frequent the city are residents of the natural world. Ampholite is not permanently a city of the Feywild; it sits on a natural rift which brings it into the natural world each night. Mortals from the world who have the opportunity travel to Ampholite to experience the city at night, although they are advised to leave the city before dawn; the effect of the Feywild on natural creatures, especially when inebriated, has been compared to the world’s worst hangover. Travelers are also advised that the eladrin of Ampholite are more than willing to play tricks on their guests, though the intent is usually humor and not malice.
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