“Mother, it was horrible. The screams and the blood. I see it still – my parent’s death. Why? Why did my father and the others fight? My mother said it was stupid to fight the Elves with their magick. And why did the Elves attack? What did we do to them?”
~Arren Firre, speaking to Mother Winn, 484
“Ravenguard is one meal and one guild abuse away from war on the streets. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
~Norlantos Cestaer, “Duke” of Ravenguard, 524
According to legend, Ravenguard was founded by a group of Wizards on top of a lake of Godling Blood, a children’s tale passed down among the children and often forgotten with age. The blood of creatures spawned by the heights of heaven and depths of hell were used to power the Wizard’s eldritch rituals. This lake was rumored by the elder children to be hidden somewhere in the warrens of tombs and catacombs underneath the town. Though few mustered the courage to seek it out, none returned with favorable findings. Contrary to the lack of evidence, the unquenchable blood-lust and insane courage of the men of Ravenguard hint that the old tales of the city’s origin might be true.
There is a veneer of civilization within the city now, and desperate discipline to try to keep it intact. The city is ruled by a man named Norlantos Cestaer, a self-professed Duke. The people of Ravenguard, from the rich to the wretched, speak of him with a sneer and snide smirks beneath their smiles, most mocking his make-believe power. There had been a time when the Cestaer’s had absolute power over the city, but a series of weak ancestors left Norlantos sharing power with the merchant guilds, dividing the city into the haves and have-nots. The laws of the recovering land are harsh, but only for the lower classes. Following the wars, occupation, and subsequent liberation, those who were able to rise to power, or had somehow maintained it, became disgustingly rich. While the rich and powerful enjoy multiple perks, the common people, often trampled and oppressed by those in power, were mostly forbidden from leaving the city to search for better living conditions elsewhere. Public whippings and executions are common to keep order in such a state and the common folk have begun to accept this as their fate. Beneath this discipline is a barely contained anarchy though.
A custom of dueling has sprung up in Ravenguard, with even the most civil of disputes handled by contest. The preeminence of the upper class in dueling is another grievance for the laborers and just highlights other facet of oppression. A darker undercurrent to Ravenguard is the rumors about the return of the Red Scales “Ultima Ratio” of disputes. The Red Scales officially were exterminated hundred of years ago, after a series of high profile hits against the most corrupt of the guild-members, but tales about the re-founding of the guild surfaces from time to time, a bugbear for the authoritative powers that be. Despite being percieved as saviors of the downtrodden, the real Red Scales were as eager to kill rich and poor alike, as long as their price was met.
The city’s landscape is dominated by the Citadel, a sprawling fortress that incorporates the ducal palace, the military headquarters, and various temples. As one of the few structures that withstood both the Blood King and the Horde, it served as a central fixture from which to rebuild the city. Surrounding the Citadel are the four noble plazas, known as the Gilded Core, where the rich and powerful live: the Parade, the Market, the Muster, and University Square. Beyond the Gilded Core, the city is divided in four additional quarters called: Port Quarter, Westerfall, South Market Slums, and Low City.