Located on the coast in the southwest of Ceslea, Orboris Harbor is a thriving, beautiful city. Even from a distance it’s easy to spot the flagstone roads inlaid with marble, the gold-and-silver-tipped roofs, and the gleaming towers that seem to equally reflect light from both the Sun and the Moon. If you couldn’t smell the salt in the air, you would be forgiven for believing you were under the effect of a powerful illusion. The native High Elves and remaining Dragonborn roam this city with pride, although no-one is quite sure what led these two distinct races to dwell here.
The city’s central and southern districts seem to be filled with grand estates decorated with a mixture of fine gardens and gaudy ornamentation. The further north one goes, however, the more you see standard domiciles made of stone and wood. Surprisingly, no huts or shanties stand in the city’s outskirts. The aristocracy would rather keep an impoverished soul fed and clothed in a stable in exchange for servitude over allowing them to dot their landscape with unsightly structures.
There are a few markets inside Orboris Harbor, however they mainly deal in fine art, crafts, and seafood.
Orboris Harbor has a rich history for those that can read it. Unfortunately, it is partly written in the obscure, Old Draconic tradition. While there are a few practitioners of this ancient script, many of the runes remain lost to them. One scroll that was fully deciphered stated that when the ancient Orborisians landed on Ceslea and founded Orboris Harbor, they realized that they needed a way to keep track of time. Two individuals, Edaan, stepped forward and proposed the dating system that is in use today. During the long, tedious voyage, these two studied the heavens and not only discovered how to control magic, but also how to keep track of time. Thus, on the first day of 0 Post-Orboris (P.O.), the charter for Orboris Harbor was created.and
The High Elves, working in concert with the Dragonborn and Wood Elves that accompanied them, built a small village and learned to fish out of the boat they sailed in on. Preaching unity and teamwork, the society initially flourished. As time went on, however, a rift began forming between the High Elves and the other races. Due to this, many splinter groups left Orboris Harbor in frustration with the High Elf majority. The Chromatic Dragonborn, not to be tainted by the ideals of the Metallics and High Elves, departed. Likewise, Wood Elves that could not adapt to living on the coast decided to find a forest to call their own.
This voluntary exile temporarily crippled Orboris Harbor, thought they were able to recover. Tzat and Edaan remained and built the Arcane Academy, a school to impart their knowledge of magic to willing pupils. The school quickly became the cornerstone of Orborisian society. Classically-trained Wizards were exalted, and many old families found themselves being displaced by aspiring mages.
In 157 P.O., Tzat and Edaan abruptly vanished. The town wildly searched for their most storied heroes, however they were seemingly lost to the stars they had so recently tamed. New Wizards took over tutelage at the Arcane Academy and things eventually settled back into normalcy. Over time, Humans made contact and exchanged some of their magic with what was being taught at the Academy. Unlike astral magics, what the humans taught had names like Abjuration, Conjuration, and Enchantment, and drew on both the spirit of the caster and some raw, primal force. This modern magic began slowly displacing the traditional teachings.
Around 350 P.O. (a hotly contested date, to be sure), many members of the aristocracy began forgetting the past. Wizards of the academy abruptly stopped being idolized by the town, and fine art cast a spell all its own. The Arcane Academy was downsized by the aristocracy to make room for more homes, theaters, and galleries to showcase just how magnificent the artisans of Orboris Harbor had become.
Today, the city continues to struggle with its identity. Many teachers and wizards of the academy find themselves going through the motions rather than pushing the boundaries. Historians are more obsessed with which artist or poet will leave their mark rather than the teachings of the past.
The Government of Orboris Harbor is best described as an Aristocratic Democracy. The Lord or Lady of The Harbor is elected by the Aristocracy, a council of exalted nobles, to enforce the law and institute new ones until they either resign or die. Over time, the Aristocracy adopted a tradition of lineage, meaning that if the outgoing Lord or Lady had a child and nominated them to serve, they would elect this new leader unanimously. In recent times, it has been discovered that the lineage became a bit of a mystery around the year 350 P.O. While names and stations have been formally recorded in elvish, little-to-no history is known about these individuals that held power for over one hundred and fifty years.
Orboris Harbor has a well-trained guard unit and many defensive structures. While there is no outer wall, the city does contain guard checkpoints when traveling from district-to-district. The military is made up of Knights, Archers, and Wizards.
Due to the High Elven influence throughout the years, the prevailing attitudes lean towards refinement. Fancy cuisine, overly formal social interactions, and fine art can be found everywhere in Orboris Harbor. Fortunately, there are still pockets of traditional Dragonborn culture found in various neighborhoods and small markets throughout the city. A slight trend over the past few years has seen more ambitions, lower-positioned nobles adopting some of the novel Dragonborn ideas and using them to gain a social edge on their peers.
Orboris Harbor celebrates one major holiday each year: The Landing. While not the actual day that the High Elves and Dragonborn landed on the coast, it does honor their memory and bring in the new year. These celebrations happen across Ceslea in all major cities, although in most places the focus is on the new year rather than the memory of The Landing.
Although no longer trendy, Magic is still a core part of the culture. Much of the city’s beautiful architecture would not be possible without the various spells woven together to construct and enchant. However, the Arcane Academy receives fewer and fewer students each year, while various schools of artistic instruction are booming.