The Theory of Governance and Social Order
The Theory of Governance and Social Order is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
The Theory of Governance and Social Order
By Lord Tredohal Hashier Faendryl, Ambassador to Ta'Illistim
For a hundred centuries, the world was governed by an empire - the first empire - and we governed it. We were the first among equals in a position earned by exquisite grace and a ruthless willingness to do what must be done to preserve the elven way of life. Our house, alone, was the first to recognize that united, we remained supreme, secure, and empowered in guiding the lesser races to peaceful coexistence and harmony. It was an arrangement that bestowed millennia of blessings, prosperity, and peace to all elves. It was an age that allowed for the unhindered pursuit of knowledge and the exploration of worlds within worlds. It was magnificent and worth preserving by any means, even ones the weak-willed found abhorrent and horrifying.
There are no acts beyond the pale when an empire is threatened with extinction, particularly one that enlightens the world with its majesty and benevolence. There was nothing this house was not willing to do to preserve the elves' greatest achievement. There was no deed that could stain our hands if it was done for the right purpose. Others rode gallantly to their doom and gained nothing more than a tragic inscription upon the memorial stone set upon an empire's grave. Yet, what of an empire of unequal parts? What of a race of unequal houses? Never again will history speak of the elven empire, because when our house stood resolute in its defense, the lesser houses succumbed to the decay of their ideals and visions. They chose destruction, while we chose preservation. For that choice, they sundered what we had saved and betrayed ten thousand years of brotherhood. It is only through madness that one can become an exile in their own lands. However, once confronted with the backs of our sisters and brothers, we deigned to depart from this place called home.
We did not leave to start a new empire, or to become something more than what we had always been. We left to continue what we had always done - to preserve the elven way... the Faendryl way.
The Patriarch stands at the head of our nation. He is raised and trained from birth in the mastership of governance and the duties that fall under its mantle. It is a position of unquestioned leadership, and the Patriarch is the guardian of Faendryl culture and protector of its interests. Inferior and subservient to the Patriarch is a society divided into five divisions known as the Pentact: the Rachis, the Clerisy, the Agrestis, the Emporion, and the Armata. The Rachis is the bureaucratic extension of the Patriarch -- the voice of his speech and the executor of his wishes. The Clerisy is the educator, entrusted with the instruction of Faendryl knowledge and theory, which has served as our most powerful weapon for millennia. The Agrestis oversees the production of raw goods, from farm produce to precious ores, and serves as custodians of the Patriarch's lands. The Emporion delves into manufacturing and trade, governing the trade guilds, and more importantly, contact with the wider world. Finally, the Armata - the Faendryl blade that shadows Faendryl interests beyond the walls of New Ta'Faendryl. It is not only our military, an extension of the Patriarch's wrath, but also his promise of protection. In theory, these divisions are equal in authority and social standing, but beneath it all, the relative power of each remains in constant flux. Some mothers frighten their children to bed with threats of the Senary, a sect of the Faendryl society who dwells in the darkness of a treasonous existence and who answer not to the Patriarch. But these are empty threats used only for manipulation, as it is myth - nothing more.
The perception of the Faendryl abroad, even among those we once thought family, is that of a society rife with competition, where one's fortune continually balances on a knife's edge, while others constantly seek to undermine another for their own advantage. One might even claim that the Faendryl are merely the Nalfein who keep their knives in plain sight, but this is a skewed perception of our people. There is indeed competition, a motivation that drives nearly every Faendryl to achieve more and perform better - in trade or political craft - than those higher in societal rankings. It is an innate characteristic of all Faendryl, one that Patriarchs have in time memoriam relied upon to lead the Faendryl forward, to be superior over others. It is not only a national competition, but a fair and just one, because in the heart of every true Faendryl burns the desire to proudly contribute to our people's and Patriarch's greatness. No one wishes the stigma of accomplishment at the cost of the whole, so it behooves those seeking elevation in their family's station to outperform those they endeavor to surpass.
In such competition, the Patriarch will often passively allow the interests of the five divisions - the Emporion, the Armata, the Agrestis, the Rachis, and the Clerisy - to clash naturally against each other, in order to benefit society so long as these engagements do not cross his or her law and will. They are the Patriarch's trusted pillars, support which balances Faendryl society. Membership within this society is driven entirely by one's occupation. It is not a caste born into, but one chosen willingly, and membership hinges on the individual citizen's career path. In this manner, the society benefits from the employment of those with an aptitude in their chosen profession, rather than fate leading one into the division by birth. Such a system, of fate-born profession is a societal malaise, seen frequently in the less civilized regions of the world.
There are prominent families within the Faendryl, but outside the Patriarchy, we make no political distinction between classes. All Faendryl are noble; none of us are common. We do not condemn any of our own to serfdom, thus preventing parasitical existence within our society.
This is not to say that we do not acknowledge differences in social status, however. We simply neither codify such distinctions in law nor do we acknowledge those gained by heredity. Our social positioning is remarkably complex and can change by the hour. It is based primarily on accomplishment through fame, skill, wealth, or any number of other markers of social proof. Piety, however, does not add weight to one's societal position. Worship of the Arkati, while not forbidden or especially frowned upon, is considered remarkably gauche. To express such zeal in public display would engender the same pity and disapproval of those who make no efforts to improve themselves, and by extension, our nation. Such Faendryl, while rare, are born into this world with the need to be both instructed and motivated into performing their share of the national duty.
The Patriarch retains all political power within our nation. Any power wielded by others is by his consent, and is a privilege that can be revoked at will. He does not involve himself in divisional oversight and regulation, a duty appointed to the Pentact, who can propagate the rules and law they believe will best satisfy their goals, so long as they do not conflict with the laws of the Patriarch. The self-governed powers of the Patriarch include the ability to inflict punishment above fines or restrictions of one's service and the ability to override, adjust, or revoke any regulation or punishment at will. The application of ex post facto law and punishment is his alone and is the means by which the Patriarch may keep members of the Pentact in his good will, though they may have otherwise been acting within the established rights of their particular division.
Power is not shared within the Patriarch's family, unlike ruling families of other lesser monarchies. They gain nothing by blood association and are expected to secure positions within the Pentact by their own skill and ability. For any member of the family to issue an order or claim authority in the Patriarch's name is a crime punishable by death. The same fate is shared by those foolish enough to obey such a directive or order. The power of the Patriarch cannot be diluted. It is the ultimate position.
In the same manner that no Faendryl is born into a caste or division, neither is the Patriarch. Unique among those who rule, patriarchal succession is not necessarily hereditary, and it is entirely possible for the Patriarch to choose someone not of blood relation. Thus, there is no promise to family members who curry favor with one who might some day rule. Nor is the Patriarchy restricted by gender, but tradition often limits its appeal and allowances granted to women who could rule as Patriarch. The Faendryl recognize that genius is born in the heart of both Faendryl sons and daughters, and those who are most apt to rule must be offered the opportunity. It cannot be said that a son has never slain a mother, but first and foremost, the one most suited is demanded to be Patriarch by the fate of Faendryl society.
The Rachis is the backbone of Faendryl society. It is the bureaucracy that oversees the administration of the Patriarch's will through his edicts to the Faendryl people. It is his voice, and it is the extension of his law. The Basilican Magistrate is the Faendryl entrusted with its operation and oversight. This position is often, but not always, held by a wife of the Patriarch. It is the division of the Pentact which interacts and communicates most often with the Patriarch. It is strikingly the least powerful of the five different divisions, for its powers have limited reach to administer the laws of the Patriarch.
It is the duty of the Basilican Magistrate to inform the Patriarch daily on the state of the Faendryl nation and to bring existing developments and concerns to his attention. Beneath the magistrate are the Arch Chancellors, one for each division of the Pentact. They are dedicated to the administration of law over each of the divisions and liaise directly with the corresponding leaders on a regular basis. The sole exception of the Arch Chancellors is the Prelate of the Palestra, considered the first among equals. The Prelate often works side-by-side with the Basilican Magistrate.
Of rank and file, the ranking enforcement agents are known as Magistrates. It is their responsibility to investigate crimes and make arrests. Each is responsible for leading a team of Lictors, who act largely to supplement the Magistrate's role to inquire and apprehend. Lictors who conduct themselves with skill and intelligence are often marked for promotion to Magistrate. These teams are given a great deal of leeway in outfitting an operation, so much so that rarely do two units use the same methods or carry the same equipment. The highest ranking Magistrates are known as Archons and are specialized in enforcing a specific subset of laws. When matters dictate it, Archons are empowered to direct multiple teams of lower-ranking Magistrates and their Lictors.
It is not uncommon for Magistrates and Lictors to establish a working relationship that lasts an entire career, ending only by death, promotion, or twist of fate. It is this partnership that promotes unit efficiency over time, but is monitored by Archons, should familiarity breed distractions from one's duty.
Those who have been arrested by the Magistrates will appear before the Adjudicators, responsible for hearing cases of the accused and subsequent sentencing. Tribunals consist of three Adjudicators, and there must be a two-thirds majority vote to deliver a guilty sentence. The verdict must either be rendered on the spot or provided within thirty-three days, dependent on the nature of the crime. It is a system designed by reform and the ardent desire of past Adjudicators to perfect the path to justice. Members of the Rachis are forbidden from testimony, unless the victim of the crime. It is the duty of every Faendryl to testify as a witness if they observed the incident in question.
The removal of the Rachis as witnesses, other than providers of hard evidence, has resulted in the creation of a fairly lucrative niche career for spell casters. They are often hired by Magistrates for magical surveillance, observing their teams so that a valid witness can watch events unfold in case a non-Rachis member is not available at the time of arrest. Beyond the convenience of an unbiased witness, it allows the rest of the Faendryl society to remain educated in how justice is perpetuated and enacted.
Personal intervention by the Patriarch will, of course, supersede any of the standard operations of the legal system.
The bureaucratic drones of the Rachis are the Magnates who handle the accounting, record-keeping, and other matters that keep the Rachis functioning. Though necessary, it is easily the least prestigious role in the Rachis and in all Faendryl society. It is a career for those just beginning to establish their role in society or those exiting. The phrase, "A Magnate's Life," has long been a part of the Faendryl lexicon as short hand for an unpleasant or disappointing job or task.
If one were to define the opposite of a Magnate within the Rachis, it would be the Palestra. Established by Ondreian Shamsiel Faendryl, Patriarch XVII, the Palestra have since guarded Faendryl society from the intentional and often mistaken actions of the nation's sorcerers. There is no one uniform description of the duties of a Palestra, as their paths are varied and often lead toward specialization. Three great academies were founded by the Patriarch's order and four lesser academies by necessity. These academies train every generation's Palestra, a process that, based on the aptitude of the Faendryl, may take many years. Of the three great academies: Korthyr, Anaya, and Shamsiel; Korthyr retains the position of preeminence, the academy of the brightest and most able. However, with every graduating class, contests are held in which graduates from each of the seven academies are offered the chance to prove their worth and value. These trials bring honor to the academies and allow the Palestra to charge for their services, should they seek private employment instead of state service.
Trained to deal with sorcery, as well as summoned beings (controlled or otherwise), the Palestra are the perfect warriors, greater than any found in Elanith. Those who seek to serve the state in a public capacity may be assigned to Magistrate teams. They assist in the investigation of sorcery-related crimes or on occasions when a flawed thread in the tapestry of Faendryl society unravels and requires martial attention. In private service, Palestra are hired by sorcerers with an expertise in summoning or in any sorcery that might endanger the community. By law, all sorcerers engaged in such activities must contract with a Palestra. The associated costs are often governed by either the Palestra's reputation or their proven ability displayed upon graduation. Contracts may last as long as the day is bright or for a hundred years, depending on the need and nature of the sorcerer's ambition. For those serving in a private capacity, a small levy, which is directed back to the academies, is placed upon their salary. This, naturally, encourages the academies to produce the finest warriors.
It is rumored within the nation that a select number of the Palestra serve the Patriarch in an even greater capacity. They are the Patriarch's Chosen and report on undocumented or unlicensed magics. Drawn from any path, they are to be the hunters of rogue sorcerers or enemies of the Faendryl state. Such roles would obviously draw them into direct conflict with the Armata. If such a secret service did exist, then few are those who would dare to raise protest against ones with the most powerful of patrons. Whisperers throughout the halls of Palestra academies often speak of incredible powers bestowed upon them, such as the right to kill a Faendryl without adjudication, for crimes without witnesses and acts beyond the consent of the Patriarch. It might be said that such legends are promulgated to inspire greatness in Palestra trainees, to become one of the few. It is but a truth anchored to myth and not a topic dwelled upon by any law-fearing Faendryl.
Comprised of scholars and educators, the Clerisy is bestowed with arguably the most sacred of duties: educating the Faendryl nation. Our power comes from knowledge, and it is that knowledge that underpins our civilization. Without the latter, we would not have the former or the power that comes from it. The desire to educate and guide exists in the hearts of all Faendryl souls, and we strive to share it with both our lost cousins and the lesser races. It is what made the empire great before the Betrayal, and it is what has allowed us to retain our magnificence through every nationally endured trial.
This precious gift is given to the average Faendryl through schools, either private or state-operated, or by sanctioned private tutors who have proven themselves by passing exams that focus on the expansive Faendryl knowledge and culture. Secondary education exists solely to train the next generation of the Clerisy or to provide the specialized knowledge that a career in another division might require. Obviously, each division administers its own member training.
Beyond levies placed upon private schools and tutors, the Clerisy is supported by donations from the wealthier Emporion and Agrestis divisions, as well a general tax established by the Patriarch to subsidize the cost of furthering Faendryl greatness. Members of the Clerisy are responsible for the vast majority of current Faendryl research. Their discoveries generally benefit the nation as a whole, making it easier for them to procure funding, despite earning little money of their own.
The office of the Chancellor of the Clerisy is a rotating one. Chancellors serve twenty-five year terms and are replaced by a successor chosen by a council. This council is comprised of the directors of all branches of study within the Clerisy. A Chancellor who has exhibited incompetence can be removed by the council, but such events are rare, given not only the competitive nature of the position, but also the associated danger that accompanies such failure. A proper Faendryl would never set himself or herself up for failure. Chancellors may serve multiple terms, but must wait at least two terms after serving one, in order to serve another term. It is expected that any Chancellor would favor his or her specialized field of study, but must maintain equality of all branches. The rotating nature of this office ensures that even when favoritism appears problematic, it never becomes a permanent state of affairs.
All manners of arts, both magical and mundane, are under exploration by the Clerisy's scholars. Most of the research is conducted in fields common to most other non-savage civilizations, but advanced valence research is unique to the Faendryl nation. The Clerisy is responsible for compiling the Enchiridion Valentia and continue to review data presented for publication within its pages. In addition, the Clerisy was responsible for "salting the earth" of old Ta'Faendryl, calling the Ithzir into our world, and leaving the land taken from us unusable by our traitorous cousins. It is and was, both the greatest and worst accomplishment of the Clerisy by order of the Patriarch.
There are many research teams of the Clerisy dedicated to the study of valences. So many in fact, this research consistently takes up nearly half the division's resources. While each team has a different focus with regards to valence study, there is one team in particular that all others rely on for their research: the Extrachthonic Cartographers Guild. Research requires hard data; theory can only take a philosopher so far. It is this branch of the Clerisy that braves the valences and acquires necessary data through courage, inquisitiveness, and risk.
The original role of the Guild was to map discovered valences, thus, the designation as cartographers, but the Guild's responsibility has expanded to include measuring the properties of the valences, running experiments within them, and even returning with samples of native matter and "wildlife." As one might imagine, this is not a career for the faint of heart.
Qualifying for cartographer field teams is extremely difficult, and their members are known colloquially as "Harrowers." There are very few Faendryl who meet both the physical and intellectual standards required to apply for training, and only a tenth of those pass the final selection process. Every Harrower is both a scientist and a soldier, and must be able to apply their full skillset under extreme stress and in conditions that may be, and often are, entirely alien to those found on Elanthia. The threat of attack by native life-forms, especially when dealing with dead or live extraction, is but one of the dangerous elements the field teams regularly face. When dealing with the valences, the environment and natural laws are anathema to the Harrowers' presence. It is not unusual to find Palestra among them, provided their combat training included handling creatures of the valence and the associated magic education.
Cartographer field teams are also supported by the most advanced equipment and experimental magics available to the Faendryl. One such piece of equipment unique to the Guild is the panoptic. This device allows the wearer to see in the blackest valences, where normal laws of light stray from those known in Elanthia. It is an iconic piece of headwear and allows users, in special settings, to view different types of light, as well as to translate various non-light-based energies into an optical analog viewable by normal Faendryl.
This specialized equipment has numerous uses outside the duties of the Extrachthonic Cartographers Guild, but the cost of producing a single panoptic renders it impractical for large-scale production. Only a select few outside the Harrowers have access to them. Panoptic construction methods remain a highly controlled secret. Anyone found removing one beyond the borders of New Ta'Faendryl, without explicit permission from the Patriarch, will suffer a penalty of death.
Responsible for farming, ranching, and the production of raw material, the Agrestis is the wealthiest of all divisions. All land by default belongs to the Patriarch, except land that the Patriarch has bestowed upon others. For all other land, the Agrestis is caretaker, entrusted to cultivate rows of produce or gardens of unimaginable beauty.
The Agrestis is comprised of ranchers, farmers, and miners. Ranchers are responsible for riding, food, and pack animals, as well as skinning and tanning. The farmers are involved in production of food and textiles, logging, and include vintners and distillers among their ranks. Miners are responsible for extracting and processing raw metals and minerals.
There is no single Chancellor for the Agrestis. Instead, they have a triune office composed of the current head of each division of farming, mining, and ranching. Each member is empowered to act as Chancellor with regard to his or her specialty, but is still expected to heed advice from their two peers. One of the three is required to serve as liaison with the respective Arch Chancellor of the Rachis. Appointment to the triune is an informal process by Faendryl standards. Anyone who deems themselves worthy to oversee and serve as the spokesperson for their respective field may petition for the opportunity. It is an election made by a secondary member council, selected by a previous Chancellor. Given a Faendryl's acuity for assessing accomplishment and status, there is often little debate where a contender's competency with regard to the Chancellor's seat is concerned.
The heart of manufacturing and trade for the Faendryl nation, the Emporion is the second wealthiest member of the Pentact. Guilds dominate the division, representing much of its entirety and wielding the most political power. Guild membership is not required, but rarely does one experience significant success without it.
Each guild maintains an effective, though not legally protected, monopoly on the goods and services it provides. No Patriarch has ever granted an official monopoly to a guild, as the spirit of Faendryl competitiveness allows for the opportunity for alternatives to rise and replace those who have become complacent and inefficient. To be recognized as a guild, an operation must demonstrate a high degree of craft quality and maintain a minimum membership. There are many smaller, independent business ventures within the Emporion that are not large enough to qualify as a guild.
The following is a list of guilds within the Emporion:
• Leatherworkers • Builders • Metalworkers • Machinists • Mercers • Grocers • Lapidaries • Clothiers • Spicers • Apothecaries • Fletchers • Aquaductiles • Scriveners • Woodworkers • Wainwrights • Enchanters
These guilds are comprehensive, generally encompassing a number of specialties related to their portfolio. Each guild operates on the typical apprentice-journeyman-master model, and each guild's master votes every fifth year to appoint a new Guildmaster. The Guildmaster is responsible both for overseeing his or her guild and for liaising with the Chancellor of the Emporion, selected every tenth year by a vote of the combined Guildmasters.
The Emporion is the only division of the Pentact empowered by the Patriarch to engage in foreign trade, which happens to leave the Emporion ideally suited to perform its other major task for the Faendryl nation: intelligence gathering.
All traders who operate beyond Faendryl borders are expected to record as many details as possible regarding the economic, political, and social status of the lands they travel. This information is then relayed to their superiors upon return and eventually delivered to the Patriarch and his advisors.
In addition, certain members of the Emporion are trained as spies, engaging in active, rather than passive, espionage. These individuals have no official title and attend no official school, as any record of such training would threaten the stealth integrity of such activities within the nation's mercantile operations. All of these agents maintain a mundane professional identity complete with membership in one of the major guilds. This allows them to travel to enemy territory, undetected and without suspicion, to gather information for the Patriarch.
These spies are not trained in sabotage or assassination. Trained as masters in the art of infiltration, their responsibility is solely to gather intelligence to locate and secure information that more passive methods of investigation would never produce. These infiltrators can then escape undetected, leaving no sign that their target's security was compromised. It is a trade built on the knowledge and secrets of merchants who are chosen by the Basilican Magister. They are sworn to protect all information of their duties and go to their graves without revealing details of their roles or selectors.
The Armata is the Faendryl military, responsible for intelligence gathering and covert operations in times of war, border security, and the assembly of expeditionary forces when required.
As the Faendryl nation seeks to lead the world by example, not by conquest, there is little need for an enormous standing army. Likewise, due to the progress of our nation, the Faendryl people have mastered use of the most powerful weapons and knowledge, which reduces a need for rank and file. The military rarely extends beyond Faendryl borders. The Armata consumes a relatively small amount of national resources, and during peacetime, it is the smallest division of the Pentact.
Despite the occasional large-scale external conflicts since the Faendryl defeat of Despana, the elven lifespan ensures that veterans remain amongst active soldiery and are compensated handsomely for staying on active duty. Despite an extensively recorded military history and doctrine, the Armata recognizes living memory and actual experience as vital in order to maintain a serious fighting force.
Heavily magic-oriented, the Armata focuses most of its battlefield tactics around the use of both offensive and defensive spells, and the deployment of summoned creatures, from the squad level up. All recruits are trained together from the beginning of their enlistment, so that by the time they are accepted into the Armata, all are adept at fighting in concert with each other.
Every member of the Armata begins as the enlisted rank of recruit. One cannot start a military career as an officer, and there are no exceptions to this rule. Officer candidates are chosen from soldiers who display both a strong talent for leadership and meritorious conduct. The position of Chancellor is the top officer's rank of the Armata, and he or she is selected by the Patriarch for promotion from a pool of candidates, typically composed of the ranking generals.
Though the prime purpose of the Armata is to defend against external threats, it maintains a single elite fighting force that instead focuses on internal threats. There are certain dangers inherent to building a nation over a tear in the wall between our world and others. Every so often, abominations crawl out from the heart of Maelshyve, beneath the ruins of Despana's fortress. Most escape to the west to throw themselves against the human empire's "Demon Wall." This relentless attack bleeds out the empire's treasure, a fitting payment for their unprovoked genocide attempt of the Faendryl people. Some of these monstrosities remain within Faendryl territory. However, the Armata force tasked with hunting down and exterminating these creatures is designated as the Patriarch's Order of the Guardians of the City. The Guardians, as they are known colloquially, consist of two hundred of the Armata's finest and are often deployed in smaller companies that range in size from five to fifty, depending on the nature of the threat. Palestra and the most adept spell casters often find their way into the Guardians, whose presence is necessary to ensure protection of the city and its citizens.
Patrols by the Guardians are conducted from within the walls of the capital, to the ruined land near Maelshyve, where they attempt to eradicate the creatures before they can threaten the lives of common citizens. It is a violent task filled with changing dangers, as every creature may present both new and unexpected challenges, possibly unknown to even the Extrachthonic Cartographers Guild. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Guild focuses their attention on the Guardians' exploits, often seeking to recruit members for their own dangerous ventures into the valences.
Gender plays no role in appointments or promotions amongst the Faendryl. Both men and women are free to seek the glory that societal service can bring to both the nation and themselves. The organization of family life is dictated by which spouse is most successful and whether there are sufficient finances to hire a servant, tasked to oversee day-to-day requirements of raising offspring. For those of lesser means, the least successful parent remains at the home for child-rearing duties, as the status of the family takes precedent over the desires of the parent. Children are often pitted against each other in an attempt to drive them to greater success, but careful consideration is given to recognizing each child's strengths. Excellence in arms can be balanced against excellence in the arts, and only the most inept offspring will fail to find pride in their parents' eyes. The benchmark for Faendryl children are the Patriarch Contests, revolving around both the physical and mental realms in which Faendryl children are expected to excel. Driven by the Patriarch's mood, these contests may include essay writing and other artistic themes focused on the office of the Patriarch or Faendryl society as a whole. Additional contests may include physical feats such as simple foot races and problem-solving challenges that draw upon a variety of abilities. The contests are not annual, but occur often enough to test the mettle of every Faendryl generation.
When age forces a decline in ability or a need to resign, the elderly of our house often find home with their children and remain there for the remainder of their days. For those without offspring, by choice or misfortune, their homes are maintained by their respective divisions. It is understood that in order to maintain maximum productivity, a Faendryl must choose this path. Because of this, they are honored for stepping aside.
She is a new city, New Ta'Faendryl. An eternal city, established only a few thousand years ago. Drawing upon superior abilities, builders raised her walls of intimidating heights from the earth and imbued them with magical strength. They are walls that even the Vaalor would admire, and they are walls that serve to remind the world that the Faendryl strive for personal perfection. The walls with grand turrets form a circle around the city, each housing a summoning chamber and focused mana node. These turrets exist at five points as they lay upon the compass: north, west, southwest, southeast, and east. Additionally, each location holds a main gate, and travelers are rarely permitted entry. Five main boulevards cut through the city to its center, the Patriarch's palace and surrounding public gardens.
While residences are spread throughout the city, the five divisions of the Pentact are generally concentrated together with the boulevards serving as borders between them. Some divisions naturally require more space than others, and the number of residences and general shops tend to fluctuate, with many being in the vicinity of the Armata and less located near the neighborhoods of the Clerisy. Each of the divisions has constructed their own edifice, where they headquarter their council and chancellor offices, records and manuscripts, and such things that are required by all well-operated and efficient mechanisms of state.
The streets themselves vary according to section. Most are lined with either colorful crystalline growths, a decorative technique developed in the darker days of Faendryl history to provide both light and comfort, or more interesting native flora. Public fountains are often referred to as Gifts of the Patriarch and are located throughout the city. They are typically found at intersections and are accompanied by friezes that revel in the glorious history of our people. Statuary is not uncommon. Relief sculptures are the preferred form of expressive art, built into walls of gardens, entryways to homes and business, and over storefronts.
Given the humans' infant-like reaction to creatures of the valences, the streets might be perceived by them as a parade of horrors, an abundance of minor demons abiding their masters' orders and roaming freely within the walls. They bear much of the burden of lesser tasks relegated to them so that Faendryl may use their time to focus on more important matters. They assist in the crop planting and mining for the Agresti and help haul the goods of the Emporion from workshop to store. They are plentiful and the gift of our forefathers' great genius.
Visible from every street and alley is the pinnacle of the Patriarch's Palace. As noted, it is the center of the city and a glorious reminder to all of the Patriarch's presence and purpose in daily Faendryl life. It is a tall palace, rising upward as if to pierce the heavenly veil, its slender buttresses of black and white marble appearing to wrap about its central spire. Lines of stone, quarried from the valences at great risk, delineate the home of our Patriarch, its luminescence hidden by day, but visible at night. The palace and crystal-lined streets create the sense of an exotic city on a spectral plane, with moonless nights that are popular for strolling couples and families.
New Ta'Faendryl is the Faendryl home and the essence of our people today, writ large in stone and beauty. It is a city of inspiration, to burn brightly in the souls of the elven race and to cast a light brilliant enough to pierce the blinders of their unfortunate misconceptions of who they think they are and who they claim we have become.
We do not dwell on vengeance. It is, after all, an entirely wasteful way to spend one's time.
This concludes my brief review of modern Faendryl society, circa 5115, and while this barely scratches the surface of what an in-depth study of my people would entail, I trust I've managed to provide a sufficient foundation for those mining these rather extensive archives for information.
Penned by my hand,
Lord Tredohal Hashier Faendryl
Ambassador to Ta'Illistim