Tempe is the largest city in Arizona, and is the preeminent Arya settlement in the region. The city is hierarchical, militarized, and home to His Lordship, the High King. The city was founded over two centuries ago during the Great Migration, when it enjoyed trade with and support from the Great River Kingdoms to the east. That connection to the east was severed a century ago by the rise of the Dark Hordes, and Arya of Arizona have been forced to subsist largely on their own since that time.
The economic base of the city is agriculture and ranching. Irrigation from the Salt River waters Tempe's fields, groves, and herds, which have become the breadbasket of the Arizona region. The main route of trade involves a triangle trade with metals from Prescott, lumber from Flagstaff, and food from Tempe. An overland route to the Colorado River at Blythe is also a significant trade corridor.
Tempe society is two-tiered, with the land-owning, noble families forming the high society, and the landless, agricultural workers forming the low society:
The Landed gentry of Tempe is made of the seven founding clans which own all the land in the town. The basis of their wealth is land ownership and the guarantee of safety they offer those who live on their land. Their young men are removed from their familes at the age of seven and raised in military academies. After eight years of discipline and hardening in common school, most are granted the rank of squire and returned to their families to assist in the clan businesses. The most gifted among the students, however, continue onward into secondary school, where they are trained as scholars and officers, and enter into the direct service of the High King, in the King's College. Membership in the King's College is considered the highest honor in Arya society.
The Landless commoners of Tempe tend to be poor and uneducated, however, they are not slaves or serfs. The Landless are paid wages and are expected to care for their own housing and family upkeep. Many of the Landless take up skilled trades, and the most gifted among them have some upward mobility through the Church, the Applied Spellcasting University, and the Ranger Battalion (see below). The brave and tough among the Landless have also been known to take up careers as henchmen and mercenary soldiers in the hire of the Landed gentry.
The majority of decision-making power and authority is vested in the King and His College, who are entrusted with ruling for the good of all noble clans and the city at large. The various members of the College serve as administrators of the King's laws, guardians of his Treasury, and officers of his Army. The King's College chooses a new king from among their own members when the office of High King becomes empty because of the death or abdication of a King.
The House of Lords is a collection of representatives from the seven noble clans. New laws or taxes proposed by the King must be ratified by the House of Lords in order to become laws. The House of Lords is also responsible for supplying a specified number of Cavaliers to serve in the body of the King's Army.
The House of Commons is a collection of the more powerful and wealthy representatives from the Landless of the town. They have little decision-making authority, but can propose laws to the King's College, and are authorized to adjudicate disputes and conflicts among the Landless.
The King's Army
The King's Army is made primarily of the Cavaliers from the noble clans of the city. It is a standing force, with a career officers drawn from the King's College, athough the body of the army rotates through in limited times of service. The duties of the Army are primarily external, patrolling the King's settled agricultural territories and roads for incursions from magical beasts, giants, or humanoid raiders. The King's Army also patrols the city itself, enforcing internal laws.
The Ranger Battalion is an adjunct force to the King's Army, with dual headquarters in Wickenburg and Superior. The Rangers' duty is to patrol the mountain wilderness, keeping check on humanoid or giant incursions, while gathering information and expanding Aryan territory where possible. While Ranger leadership is supplied by the gentry of the King's College, the rank and file membership is largely drawn from the Landless. The Landed gentry prefers the status and money-making opportunities of the town-based Cavalier lifestyle, viewing a Ranger assignment much like a form of banishment. The Landless, however, view Ranger membership as an opportunity for upward mobility, wealth, and freedom.
Occasionally, in times of need, the King's army will be supplemented by mercenary soldiers drawn from the ranks of the Landless.
Relations with Applied Spellcasting University
The wizard towers of A.S.U. predate the Aryan settlement of Tempe. The origins of the wizarding community at A.S.U. are unknown, and the mysterious wizards are less than forthcoming with any information, but it is clearly connected with the study of the Phoenix Aerie to the immediate west. Although they share contiguous territory, A.S.U. is an autonomous power and does not bow to the authority of the High King.
Overall, the wizards prefer to be left completely alone and seem to be totally unconcerned with the politics or troubles of any other humans in the region. A cadre of servants maintains trade relations with the outside world, and they seem to derive great profit from the sale of the magical items they create. They are also known to take in students, training them in the magical arts, for a steep fee, of course.
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