Dream on the Horizon: A 7th Sea campaign
Dialect Spoken: South Montaigne
Charouse is the home of the Emperuer as well as the nominal capital of the nation, a fact which the city of Paix and its embassy have begun to contest. The city of Charouse is built upon a hill in a defensible position, while the other cities in the province are either clustered alon the Sineuse River, or spread around Charouse in the lush grasslands like a pack of dogs waiting to be thrown a bone.
Charouse is the largest city in Montaigne. Originally a colony of the Old Republic, it presents a view of such granduer that it can awe even the most jaded noble. The streets are narrow and labyrinthine, growing narrower as they approach important buildings. This was originally for defense in case an enemy breached the walls. Some points of interest in Charouse include:
For many years, Charouse was famed for her numerous and extravagant cathedrals. The most well-known of these is the towering Lame Enflammee. Built during the liftime of the Third Prophet, its high walls and grinning gargoyles stand out from the other structures nearby, most of which are short, squat governmental buildings. The cathedral has been boarded up following the Empereur’s decree that no church worship shall take place within ten miles of the Chateau du Soleil. Other cathedrals have been converted into public museums, libraries, or shelters for the poor.
A recent scandal arose from the Empereur’s treatment of another Charouse’s religious edifices. After the Cardinal d’Argeneau disappeared, the Empereur converted the Cardinal’s traditional home, a palatial estate known as the Chateau du Theus, into a home for disabled soldiers. The Church was outraged, but when they demanded the estate be returned, the Empereur replied, “You would have me throw thousands of crippled men out on the streets to make room for one many who may never return? What would your Prophets say?” The Church backed off the issue, but remains furious.
Public Buildings Among the more interesting public buildings in Charouse is a newly constructed observatory. It has five refracting telescopes, including one 130’ long, and is open to the use of Montaigne scholars, who have but to ask permission to gain entrance. Just to the west of the Chateau du Soleil is the royal tapestry factory, known as the Fantome by locals because of rumors that the building is haunted. Several dozen weavers are employed there, turning out yards of illustrated fabrics and other furnishings with which to decorate the homes of the Empereur and his favored nobles. When the Empereur gives on away it is a sign of great faovr with him, and the lucky recipient can expect several dozen new friends, all eager to have Leon’s favor rub off on them. One such tapestry might bring 10,000g, as much as a member of the gentry can expect to inherit from his parents!
Finally, a testimony to the Empereur’s excess can be found near the Chateau du Soleil. He had an equestrian statue of himself made recently, and then had his architects design an entire plaza to set it off. The walkways are positioned at just the right distance away to give the best impression of the statue – all for the small sum of 40,000 Sols or 240,000g.
The Empereur’s Holdings The Empereur has two places at his disposal in Charouse: the old palace of the kind, and the Chateau du Soleil, which he had constructed himself.
The old palace is located in the center of Charouse. As might be expected, it is large, impressive, and opulent. However, since the construction of the Chateauy du Soleil, the Empereur has used it mostly to house his priceless collection of art. A small contingent of musketeers (10-20) gaurd the palace at any given time to thwart would-be art thieves.
The Chateau du Soleil is another matter entirely. Built on the easten edge of town to help alleviate traffic confestion in the center of the city, it contains rooms for several hundred courtiers, six seperate gardens, over twenty fountains, three hedge mazes, a wine cellar over two acres in size, and a maze of secret passages that run through the walls of the building. The main ballroom itself can contain over four hundred dancers at once, and often has to be sectioned off for smaller affairs. Construction was completed in 1664, and the Empereur moved in immediately thereafter. However, for all its beauty, the Chateau is not very comfortable. It is often cold in winter and hot in summer. The enormous rooms are built to impress, not to enjoy. This, combined with the bizarre customs that courtiers must follow while staying at the Chateau (such as bowing to the Empereur’s dinner if it passes by in the hallway), make begging a favor from Leon a very exhausting ordeal—not that it stops anyone from trying.
Colleges and Universities Charouse houses over twenty-five very old and distinguished universities. The two most famous are the Pierre Leveque War College and Le Grand Universite/
The Leveque War College trains young nobles in the art of command. The teachers infuse their pupils with a practicality rarely seen in Montaigne. Each student, before his graduation, is required to attend a public execution and give the order for the headsman to strike. This teaches the student the seriousness of command. Hundreds of men will live or die at their commander’s word, and if he fails to understand that, he will lose their trust. The Great Tomb outside the college honors the Montaigne soldiers who have fallen in war.
Le Grand Universtie is the foremost place of learning in all of Montaigne. Tuition is 300g per five-month semester, and the professors are all respected practitioners in their fields. If the school has a flaw, it is that hands-on experience takes a back seat to lectures and library research. However, that has not stopped many of the graduates of the Universite from going on to become great scholars in their own rights.
Petit Charouse The sewers underneath teh city were not built – they were discovered. The city planners simply decided to put them to use rather than build another sewer system. Eventually, some of the poorer citizens of the town moved into these sewers, and that’s when the disappearances began. On moer than one occassion, the musketeers have come running in answer to a cry of help, only to witness some unfortunate citizen being dragged into the sewers by an unknown forze. People living in the sewers have begun crafting weapons.from the detritus they find, hoping to protect themselves from this unknown threat. Ghouls, rats, explosive gasses and other, less natural terrors also haunt the sewers.