The city of Luveneum is the capitol of the Imperium Aurumeum — the Aurumian Empire.
The city is known for its winding streets full of wine shops and street vendors, its bazaars, its back allies full of thieves and prostitutes, its smokes and smells, the sound of its chanting priests and the incantations of its wizards. It is the heart of the Empire. All roads lead to Luveneum.
The city of Luveneum grew up along the banks of the River Ralus, south of where the rivers Ralus and Tyrbis meet, at the Cerapian Marsh. The city is comprised of eight districts and is the seat of the Empire.
- Forum District
- Imperial Residence
- Grove District
- Temple District
- Tor District
- Library District
- ??? [TBD]
- ??? [TBD]
The Cerapian Way
The Cerapian Way is the road that leads North East, through the Cerapian Gate, and towards Mt. Cerapius, known to be the home of Morior and the Underworld. It also leads North to the remainder of the Empire. The Cerapian Way bisects much of the city, forming the boarder for most of the city’s chiefest districts and terminating in the heart of the Forum District, home of Grand Forum and the Senate House.
Luveneum is populated by people from all over the known world. The Empire was once vast and diverse. Today, many of the Empire’s former holdings are now trading partners, though few could be considered allies. Foreigners from all walks of life — tradesmen, former Legionary Auxiliaries, diplomats, merchants, thieves and beggers — have all found their way to Luveneum and now call her home. Although the District Aldermen can only be elected by citizens, any resident my petition them, and the word ‘petition’ can have many meanings. There are few restrictions placed on non-Aurumi residents, other than on suffrage.
The economic divisions within Luveneum reflect the Empire at large, though perhaps even the poor do better in Luveneum than in the Empire’s other great cities. A powerful elite composed of noble houses and their vassal merchant-lord houses command over those less-fortunate. The middle-class, composed predominantly of successful tradesmen and merchants, dwindles, while the ranks of the poor swell. Such is the result of these uncertain times. Business is fraught with much risk, but it also can yield much reward. It is possible to move from the poor to the upper-class — and even to become a merchant-lord — but it is most often the case that the journey travels in the opposite direction.
Religion Within Luveneum
In Luveneum, gods are both most-important and irrelevant, simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. Or should it be said that there is much religion in Luveneum, but probably little faith. The gods of the Aurumii are worshiped almost to exclusion — even foreigners from heathen lands give praise to the gods found in Luveneum. Every house has an alter, as do most shops, taverns, and brothels. The high priests officiate over holy days and civil events both. The city has temples to its many gods throughout, though the Grand Temple is to be found in the heart of the Temple District.
The many sects and orders generally cooperate (even when in competition). Each god has its place in Aurumean life, therefore each god’s priests has his place in Luvenean life. It is common for a family or individual to offer an animal sacrifice to a god for his favor, or in thanks to a god for a fortunate happening. That said, life continues on. Blood is the currency of the gods, but it is a common currency to find flowing in the gutters of this bloody city, and the smoke of pyres fill the air night and day.
Magic is everywhere within Luveneum — be it divine or arcane. Knowledge collected from throughout the known world has found its way into the Great Library. This knowledge is vast. The result is that it is not just the smoke of offerings that choke the air of the city; much of the smoke is from the brewing of concoctions produced by the city’s army of mages and sages and sorcerers.
When the gods are too busy or too uncaring to respond to petitioners, it is not unheard of for one to seek other means of redress. The Guild of the Wise is an association of practitioners of the dark arts and purveyors of occult tinctures and materials. Most practitioners within the city environs are members, though not all. The Guild’s ranks are treturous, choked with the in-fighting and petty wars that allow its members to progress in rank and standing and power. Prices for services and goods are held stable by this organization, however, so non-members and violators are prosecuted with extreme prejudice, despite there being no law requiring membership within the guild. There also exist conclaves (formal and informal) of non-members and foreign practitioners, who offset the powers of the Guild.
The population of Luveneum does not trust the wielders of arcane magic like they do the divine. Generally, the lower class has a distrust of arcane magic, though the poor often find themselves left with little choice but to utilize its services. The middle class tend to keep a wide birth from the arcane, save when necessary. The wealthy and powerful use it as their tool and plaything, often inviting powerful mages to parties for the express purpose of entertaining the guests with overt displays of power.
The Empire is corrupt at its core, causing civil administration to become inefficient and anemic. This has allowed the criminal element to establish a kind of shadow government. Unfortunately, this shadow government is no more effective and is infinity more fractious (which is saying something, given the amount of in-fighting within the civil organization). Luveneum is the seat of Imperial government, and is also the seat of organized crime. The criminal element is largely
divided up in to groups of gangs known as Collegii (singular Collegium), each controlling one of six districts of the city (the Forum District and the Imperial Residence remaining neutral). Most of these organizations have chapters in other cities, though coordination between chapters rarely is much to brag about. Most collegium divide the various rackets in their territories among smaller gangs.
To date, no one collegium has managed to hold dominance over the city or the empire. The collegii attempt to weed out free-lancers, but the on-going gang wars usually provides some measure of cover for independent small-time operators. Officially, the collegii are all at peace, having established the Truce and divided the city equitably during the Third Council of Thieves more than 100 years ago. In reality, the collegii violate the Truce all the time. Violation is never overt, however. Great measure is taken so that any offensive action can be deemed within the terms of the Truce.
In the century that has passed since the establishment of the Truce, many collegii have come and gone. New ones are founded, and old ones die out (either from assassination, attrition or conglomeration). Each collegium claims a lineage back to one of the members of the Third Council of Thieves, however. In order for a collegium to be recognized by all the rest of the collegii, it must have its name and members entered into the Book of Thieves. The Book of Thieves is kept on neutral territory. Many a group of free-lancers have been eliminated while attempting to locate and record their names in the Book.