Overview

Bratta is a stone Ark made from thousands of different stones of all shapes, kinds, and sizes that have been fused together. Parts of her are iridescent, parts are dull gray, and parts gleam white. No moss grows upon Bratta's stones. The city of Bratta is constructed mostly of stone, though most buildings have wooden frames as well. Stone bridges, too thin and long to be built elsewhere, grace the taller buildings of the city. The Cathedral dominates the center of the city with high, peaked-roofs and large stained-glass windows. The cathedral is the center of all power in Bratta.

The people of Bratta are almost entirely members of the Acolytes of the Ark and revere the Arks as the saviors of civilization. They cherish their Ark in particular as being a peaceful, serene, and protective Ark, and Brattans believe they experience those same emotions chiefly because of how intensely those feelings flow from her. Brattans are welcoming to those who come to Bratta on pilgrimage and have set aside a hostel for those coming to see the Cathedral. Brattans are also a private people, so they will welcome strangers into their city but not as easily into their homes. An offended Brattan will be pleasant to the offender but distant. Gruff types often find Brattans cold and have no idea why or even that they are the cause.

Humans are by far the most populace race in Bratta, with numerous half-races all living here as well. Half-elves find they are better accepted here than almost anywhere else, and many stay and raises families. The prevalence of half-elves and half-orc, or orc blooded, people all living in close proximity has given rise to those of human, elf, and orc ancestry. These hybrids are usually called quarterlings in polite company—they are half-human, a quarter elf, and a quarter orc. Some disparagingly call them mutts or mules. Some quarterlings demonstrate their elven heritage more; others their human or orcish. Generally, the people of Bratta make no extra distinction for quarterlings.

If golem-forged characters exist in a campaign, this is the one major Ark where they would be accepted. Here, golem-forged characters would have a whole different set of problems, as they would be held in such awe that they would have trouble having any real interactions. Additionally, the Acolytes of the Arks would dearly love to speak to the golem-forged about where they came from and what they know. Golem-forged coming to Bratta for answers would be disappointed.

Ark Bratta

No one who lives on Bratta questions her love, peace, and wisdom. Her emotions are as real to them as the daytime sun. Also apparent to them is the Ark's desire for privacy, so while the people of Bratta love her, they rarely use her name or draw special attention to her. The Cathedral to the Arks has statues of all of the Arks in Vernlarum except Bratta, because the Acolytes view her as her own statue and know she wouldn't want the added attention anyway.

Bratta's region is near Andath and Mandith, though she rarely comes in contact with those other Arks. Her meanderings stay mostly to the far side of her region with only some travels near the other Arks. This had led some to believe they can build cities near Andath's territory but still in Bratta's. Bratta disabused them of this notion long ago, but it has been a while. Someone might soon try again.

Bratta's presence strengthens and hardens stone. The walls and buildings of the city of Bratta are some of the most durable in Vernlarum, and some craftsmen specialize in making stone weapons which are as strong and sharp as metal weapons made elsewhere, though not as good as slaveblades or Thonk-forged.

City of Bratta

Government

Bratta is a theocracy run by the Acolytes of the Arks. Symas Rarder is currently the Archon, the highest position in the Acolytes, and is also the Governor of Bratta. Symas views his managing of the Acolytes as his more important duty, and he has assembled a bureaucracy to manage the day to day matter of the city. The Ministers who are the highest bureaucrats are, in effect, a council that makes almost all decisions for the city. They understand Symas's desires for the city and do their best to work in accordance with them. From time to time he has altered one of their decisions, but such an occurrence is rare.

Brithe is the Minister of Hospitality. Her job is to manage the visitors and pilgrims to Bratta. As of late, she has noticed a problem—there has been an increase in the number of pilgrims visiting Bratta, but there hasn't been an increase in the number of people attending services at the Cathedral. She doesn't understand what this discrepancy could mean. Someone in her Ministry could simply have miscounted, but she thinks that's unlikely. She's troubled with the thought that these visitors could be coming to the city for some other, more nefarious purpose, but she doesn't want to alert any of the other Ministers just yet. She's comfortable playing a hunch, but she doesn't want to look like a fool in front of her peers. She has the call out to notify her if a group of adventurous-looking individuals boards Bratta. If she can get a feel for them, she might ask for their aid in discreetly investigating the situation.

Layout

Bratta is laid out with broad streets all leading to the Cathedral. The streets and buildings are cleaner than on any other Ark. The people of the city are diligent about keeping the city in order as a sign of their devotion. The alleys are cleaned and swept regularly.

A high stone wall circles the city. The wall is thick and does a good job of protecting the city from raiders from the Wastes. Or it would if the gates were ever closed. On orders from the Archon himself, the gates are never closed—he views closed gates as a sign of inhospitality. He tells his people a raider who enters the city might be getting his first taste of the peace the Arks have to offer, and Brattans should not put barriers in his way. People grumble about this, but there are few enough raids on Bratta that there is not much to argue about. The low level of raids could be because of Bratta's distance form other Arks or the peace people feel when they set foot upon her. There are even rumors the Ministry of Complaints has taken actions to prevent raids.

Ministry of Trade (Port Grace)

Port Grace is the common name for the Ministry of Trade's primary are of responsibility—trade with the outside world. Trade officers man the Port's gear works, receive embarking traders, monitor their goods so the proper taxes can be levied, and send of those disembarking with similar checks.

The bureaucracy adds time to the process of boarding and leaving Bratta that doesn't exist on many other Arks, but the Brattans like to be sure those who are coming on don't do so with ill intent or with contraband.

Ministry of Complaints

Another group in town has dubbed themselves the "Ministry of Complaints". This Ministry is the gang of thieves that rules the streets of Bratta. The so-called Complaint Officers are devotees of Bratta, and they work within much tighter boundaries than similar organizations on other Arks. The Minister of Complaints, a shadowy female figure, has made it known that she views the bureaucracy of Bratta to be inefficient at caring for the poor and the less fortunate. She views it her ministry's job to correct for those failings. And as tax monies don't exactly pay for the Ministry, naturally some compensation falls into the pockets of Complaint Officers along the way.

The people of Bratta often make reference to the Ministry of Complaints with phrases like "take it to the complaint men", "the next time I see a Complaint Officer I'll tell him about your problems", or "complaining ain't cheap". Depending on a person's wealth and status, the Ministry of Complaint is an Arksend or heretical. The Ministry of Justice has, thus far, taken a light hand with the Ministry of Complaint—arresting Complaint Officers as they find them, but not seeking to root out the so-called Ministry as a whole.

Diplomatic Relations

Brattans are open to those who come to visit them, but hesitate to be too entangled in the politics of others. Recently, the Ministers have noticed Mandith attempting to make closer ties with the other Arks. This has made the Brattan Ministers suspicious, and they have withdrawn even further from any direct interaction with Mandith or Andath—they don't want to choose any sides if a conflict arises.

Malia is the ambassador for Mandith on Bratta. She has been stonewalled by the Ministers at every turn. But she is working on a plan to gather as much information about Bratta as possible, for she believes Bratta would make an excellent target for the Suzerain's plans. Ambassador Malia spends most of her days in the hostel, writing letters and making notes in a notebook. Once a day, in the early morning hours, she goes for a long walk around the walls of the city. People used to find this strange, but she has been on Bratta long enough that people accept her appearance now.

Magic

Brattans are comfortable with magic of all kinds. Because they view the Arks as the saviors of civilization, they are appreciative of magic and its ability to hep the world. However, they don't appreciate the scholarly study of magic. Most Brattans find such an idea too dry and perhaps heresy. Studying how an Acolyte's gods were made is not a way to endear oneself. This situation, and the Brattan preference for privacy, has generated a culture of "if you don't ask about magic, then I won't tell". Mages operate in private, but most consider it unlikely a full school of magic could develop in Brattan. Warlocks, specifically golem-pact warlocks, are seen as particularly special in Brattan, as they have a special communion with the Arks. Some people regard these as priests in the church, others as prophets of the Arks, and still others are jealous of their connection and resent the warlocks, which is a unique experience for those who practice such an ostracized skill.

Serode is a half-elven golem-pact warlock. She rode up onto Port Grace one day, not saying a word to anyone, only weeping. The Brattans took her in, and hosted her at the hostel for a few weeks, where she mostly slept, stared at the ceiling, or wept. Since that time, she has recovered. She enjoyed the view of the city and will, upon occasion, walk to the walls to stand upon them and look at the city as a whole. She won't speak of her past, but that's alright by most Brattans who don't ask anyway. Hospitality Officer Cynher passed through recently and noticed Serode tracing an arcane symbol in condensation on the breakfast table. Cynher didn't ask, of course, but he wonders what the warlock is about.