Solven has one of the largest populations of werefolk in the country and outside of Aruak itself, is the oldest city in the land. The church of Demnat is particularly influential in Solven, and the Earl, Lirain Olharin, is the granddaughter of Orn Olharin, the current High Priest of Demnat. Lirain is a canny diplomat, and managed to wrest control over the earldom attached to the city from her younger brother despite the Aruaki prejudice against female shapeshifters holding such positions. (As the church holds that a shapeshifter's highest purpose on earth is to spread Demnat's blessing to all Aruaki people, the church frowns on anything that would put a potential mother of more little shapeshifters in danger. Since one male shapeshifter can father any number of children far faster than a female shapeshifter can bear them, males are more expendable and can go get killed with impunity. Or at least that's what the church SAYS its reasons are.)
Solven does some farming and is a major center for flax growing, but it is mainly a manufacturing town, with many weavers, dyers, and other cloth and clothing related crafts. It is a younger, smaller, brighter, and friendlier town than nearby Aruak City, without the having the "touristy" feel of Seam. The cloth market of Solven is justly famous, for not only does it boast the fine native linens, satins, brocades and other fancy materials, it attracts merchants of Osksi woolens, Karnhorn silks, exotic dyes from the far east, and many others.
Solven has had a low-key feud with Aruak City for several hundred years, since the Aruaki Civil war of 212-13. When the usurper Dashkent of Desshian took the capital city and drove the High Priest from the Temple there, Solven offered refuge and support to the Church in exile until Aruak City was reconquered. Solven was, at that point, considered a part of Aruak Hold (which included Solven, Seam, and Aruak City). After the war, the lord of the city, Devan of Clan Dellon, felt that some recompense (or at least recognition) was due him and his city. When the High Priest of the time (Ardian of Clan Desshian) refused, on the grounds that it had been Devan's holy duty, Devan ordered the Solven Temple's doors locked and refused to release to the High Priest any of the holy relics which had been evacuated from the Aruak City Temple.
Reluctant, in the still-uneasy aftermath of the war, to open further hostilities, Ardian created Solven a separate Hold and elevated Lord Devan to the position of Earl. Most of the artifacts were eventually returned to Aruak City, but a few remain in Solven to this day. Within the past few generations, Solven has passed out of the control of Clan Dellon (which is in decline) to that of Clan Olharin as Aruak City has passed from control of Clan Desshian to Clan Olharin. It is quite possible that within a generation Solven may become part of Aruak Hold again.
Ruler: Lirain Olharin of Clan Olharin, the niece of Orn Olharin. A competent and fair ruler, but under her uncle's thumb politically; unlikely to do anything without his consent. Intelligent but not ambitious; currently unmarried. It is rumored that she is barren. A shapeshifter; can assume the form of a lion. She is a tall, rangy woman with long dark hair which she wears in a complicated braid; she is beginning to go grey. She has the typical Aruaki coloring.
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