Aruak City is the oldest city in the Clanhold, seat of the Clanlord and the traditional clan seat of the Olharins. Founded over four hundred years ago by the clans of the Aruaki, it is the heart and soul of the kingdom, stronghold of both church and state. A somber, grey-walled town, Aruak City's miles of twisting, cobbled streets are lined with ancient, slate-roofed houses. Tall buildings are rare. The city rambles over many acres, and its outbuildings lap against the boundaries of other nearby towns. Behind the grey roofs and silent, hunched statuary that guard the houses, visitors may find startling warmth and color--but it may take some time. Aruak has a reputation of being forbidding and cold to strangers. Its inhabitants are the most clannish of a clannish people, and unless your family has lived there for at least three generations, you're often considered a "newcomer." Aruak is the site of the second-oldest arena on Andorian land. The arena was constructed in response to the arenas spreading throughout the Delarquan Federation. There was strong opposition to its building from the Church, as an ancient prophesy predicts that the arenas will cause the downfall of Demnat's Chosen. (Or, at least, it could predict that--being, as most prophesies are, vague as hell.)
The great temple of Demnat Shapeshifter is the first thing a visitor sees upon entering the city. Begun as a tiny shrine, the first building constructed by the original founders, the Temple has grown until it is almost a city unto itself, including schools, libraries, laboratories, dormitories, priest's quarters, servants' quarters, kitchens, halls, shrines and chapels, as well as the High Priest's desmene and the Great Hall where Demnat's holy days are celebrated. The Aruaki believe that the god walks among them daily, wearing a different shape each day, and weighs the actions of his worshippers.
The palace of the King is also located in Aruak City. It is of far later construction than the Temple, and though a beautifully designed building, it is far smaller and less overwhelming than the Temple complex. The King's Guard is barracked outside the city, and there is also a Temple Guard under the direct command of the Church. There is a certain amount of muted friction between the two factions. The city guard is composed mainly of Church troops, but there are certain neighborhoods wherein the presiding authorities are secular.
Aruak City is considered the capitol of Aruak Hold, one of the six Holds that the Clanhold is divided into, as well as the capitol of the Clanhold itself. Aruak Hold includes Aruak City, Seam, and surrounding countryside. At certain points in history it has also included Solven, but Solven is currently considered independent of it. Orn Olharin, the High Priest, is also the Earl of Aruak Hold and the Olharin Clan.
As in the rest of Aruak, those born with the gift of shapechanging are considered touched by Demnat and therefore holy. In Aruak, the werefolk outnumber the true-humans, and it is not at all uncommon to see great cats strolling down the streets of town or leaping across the rooftops. There is a long history of conflict between the werefolk and the so-called "true-humans" and it is not absent in Aruak City; but as the percentage of werefolk in Aruak City is quite high, it is, at least, a somewhat more balanced argument.
Aruak has a low-key feud with the city of Solven, dating back to the Aruaki civil war of 212-13, when Clanlord Dashkent of Clan Desshian ousted the current High Priest and took control of the city. The High Priest and his entourage escaped the city with several of the holy artifacts from the main temple, and found refuge in Solven. After the war concluded and the High Priest moved back to Aruak City, the Lord of Solven refused to return the artifacts (and some of them remain in Solven to this day.)
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