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The Light Novel series is the source material for the adaptation of the Anime and Manga series. The information and terminology on the article will be based on the source material rather than the adaptions.
A bustling and populous city, Ehrenfest is divided into districts that reflect its strict class hierarchy, including the commoners' lower city, the temple, the Noble’s Quarter, and the archduke's castle.
The city of Ehrenfest originally consisted of only the area now known as the Noble's Quarter. The temple was originally an inn that served as a front gate while travelers were investigated, and the old city gate is now called the Noble's Gate.
When the first Aub Ehrenfest took governorship of the duchy 200 years ago, Ehrenfest was expanded to include the lower city as a demonstration of the new archduke's power and wealth.
The lower city (下町, shitamachi) is the commoners' district located in the southern half of Ehrenfest. A large wall separates it from the Noble's Quarter in the north, and the only means of traveling between the two on foot is to pass through the temple. In general, the poorest commoner neighborhoods are located near the south gate of the city, while more wealthy merchants live in the north, by the border to the Noble's Quarter.
All buildings in the lower city, in wealthy and poor neighborhoods alike, consist of multi-story townhouses. The first two levels are made of a white stone stone that resembles ivory, which was created by the archduke's magic many generations ago. Above that, newer construction made of wood, stone and plaster form additional levels, which can reach as high as six stories, plus an attic.
All commoners rely on public wells for their water supply, which has been made easier in recent years by the spread of hand pumps for drawing water. Firewood is the main source of fuel for heating, and candles and oil lamps are an important source of light.
The majority of inns and pubs is concentrated on or near the large road going between the east and west gates, with more near the east gate, since that is where the majority of merchants and visiting commoners pass through.
Historically, there was no public sanitation or sewer system in the lower city. Commoners used chamber pots and discarded their waste in public areas, often by dumping it out the window. To leave a better impression on merchants from other duchies, Ehrenfest's noble scholars unearthed long-forgotten plans to use magical reconstruction, or entwickeln, to incorporate a toilet slime waste disposal system in the lower city.
With the entwickeln now complete, public waste disposal sites (resembling small manholes) have been added throughout the city. Underground pipes have also been added with the intention of eventually supplying river water to the paper-making workshops, but they are not currently usable due to the amount of mana required for water-purifying magic tools.
Because the reconstruction did not improve the outer appearance of the buildings, a large-scale waschen magic circle was used to clean away the residual filth. Soldiers of the city guard and members of the Merchant's Guild are responsible for ensuring the citizens keep the city clean in the future.
To make access to the public waste-disposal chutes easier during the winter, constructions of roofs for these places have begun, making it less likely that they will be completely snowed over to the point of inaccessibility during the winter blizzards.
In the south side of Ehrenfest, poorer families live in small rooms of ragged townhouses, usually with just one or two rooms for an entire family. Most families share a single bed. Some families living on the upper levels of the building use the attic to house smaller livestock, like chicken. The center of the neighborhood is the communal well, where everyone draws water and wives exchange gossip.
Those who reside in this part of the lower city are commonly soldiers and craftsmen. Because they live so close to the south gate, commoner children often walk to the forest during the day to collect food and firewood for their families. Likewise, many workshops are located near the south gate, including the Myne Workshop.
An open-air marketplace is open during some parts of the year, when farmers bring their livestock and produce in from outside the city walls during the day, and return to their farming villages at night. Merchants and other vendors also sell wares at the market.
Shortly after the remodeling of the city, the population of the southern side fell on hard times when the influx of foreign merchants ended up driving the prices for food higher. Thankfully, the increase in business also increased the profits of stores and workshops, leading to the wages going up soon after, once again equalizing things to more or less status quo for the poor of the city. In the short time in-between they are able to sustain themselves by foraging in the forest.
Places of Interest:
The farther north a building is in the lower city, the more decorative and well-kept it tends to be. In the wealthier merchant neighborhoods, the wooden upper levels are painted in bright colours and often have window boxes full of flowers. The ivory lower floors are always left in their original colour.
In areas with business, the ground-floor is where the store or workshop is located, with the second floor being reserved for the owner and their close family to live in. The third floors and above are then rented out to either more distant family members, employees or if there's room left, anyone the owner approves of and who can afford the rent. The least luxurious apartments, at the top of the buildings, are often rented to live-in apprentices.
Places of Interest:
- City Guard Central Building
- Gilberta Company
- Italian Restaurant
- Merchant's Guild
- Othmar Company
- Plantin Company
- Smithing Guild
Due to the vicinity of to the river, this side of the city consists mostly of the docks, warehouses and workshops, though a fair amount of inns and pubs can also be found catering to the merchants coming over the river from the neighboring province of Groschel and beyond it the border-gate to the neighboring duchy of Frenbeltag.
The eastern side contains many smaller stores catering to the folk visiting the city on foot. It is also the place were the only ship in the entire city is situated that deals in feystones or "magic stones" as they are called among commoners.
Responsible for the security of the lower city are the soldiers of the city guard. In addition to guarding the city gates and acting as the local peacekeepers, the city guard is also responsible for cleaning the main roads of snow in the winter and cutting down Trombe that have grown too big for the scavenging children to deal with on their own. Soldiers of the city guard are recruited exclusively from commoner citizens and the entire guard is subordinate to the Knight's Order.
Should a noble be required to deal with other nobles that refuse to listen to the members of the city guard at the gate (due to them being commoners), the gates are equipped with rott bells to call a member of the Knight's Order to deal with said person.
To prevent collusion and negligence of soldiers staying in the same place the entire time, the gate guards are rotated between the city gates every three years. For this purpose, the gate guards are split into platoons that move in their entirety to their new assignment, from the Commander down to the freshest apprentice.
- The south gate is located near the poorer craftsman's district, and commoner children regularly pass through during the day to collect firewood, hunt, and forage for food. The nearby farming town is also nearest to the southern gate. During harvest season many commoners travel there for "pig day".
- The east gate is connected to the city road, so business is very lively due to the number of travelers. However, it's also less safe due to all the outsiders.
- The west gate only connects to the harbour, but still sees a decent amount of traffic, from the province of Groschel and the neighboring duchy of Frenbeltag on the other side of the river.
- The north gate connects the noble's quarter and the lower city. It is only used by commoners, since nobles use a separate gate on the grounds of the temple. Commoners are only allowed to pass the north gate with express permission of a noble, which is usually only given to rich merchants summoned to noble's estates.
Unlike the other three gates, the north gate is guarded by layknights in addition to the commoner soldiers.
Apart from the rooms inside the wall next to the gates, the city guard also has a central building near the center of town. The building contains the central administration, run by clerks, and also contains meeting halls for times when members of different platoons have to meet or to make announcements to large groups of commoners, as was the case for announcing the remodeling of the lower city to add a sewer system and clean up the streets.
Located directly on the border between the lower city and the Noble's Quarter, the temple is the primary place of worship of the gods and the home of many religious ceremonies. It is the only temple of its kind in the duchy of Ehrenfest. The Ehrenfest orphanage is also located there.
Both nobles and commoners avoid entering the temple unless required for religious ceremonies or other business. Likewise, priests and shrine maidens live on temple grounds and do not leave unless summoned. As a result, there is very little traffic between the temple and the other areas of Ehrenfest.
The Noble's Quarter is located in the northern half of the city, separated from the commoners half by the temple. The Noble's Quarter is an opulent suburb, with all residential buildings being large mansions with most having an extensive lawn.
Like the lower city, the Noble's Quarter doesn't have a school. Tutors are called in to teach the children until they reach the age of ten. In winter, they gather in the children's room. At the age of ten, children are sent to the Royal Academy each winter until graduation. A noble is only considered a true noble if they attend and graduate from the Royal Academy. This school teaches nobles magic-related things and prepares them for social gatherings.
Unlike the lower city, the noble's quarter is kept meticulously clean, mainly by the use of magic tools.
Every set of rooms where a noble is expected to live or to house guests have their own toilet and bath, and each building has a connection to the sewer system. Both the individual toilets and the sewer system utilize toilet slimes to dispose of the waste.
The Ivory Tower is a high-class jail exclusively for imprisoning members of the archduke's family, should they commit severe crimes. The magical doors are configured to only be opened by members of the archduke's family, but once the door is open anyone can enter. However, entering the tower without the express permission of the Aub is considered treason, and even members of the archducal family can face execution, depending on the surrounding circumstances.
The Knight's Order is a battalion of knights who serve as the primary defense force of Ehrenfest. The Knight's Order is made up entirely of adult nobles who can wield magic. Knights live in the knights' barracks, located in the general area of the Archduke's castle, alongside several training grounds.
Since Ehrenfest does not have a dedicated dormitory for scholars, should a scholar require lodgings, it is common for them to be given a room in the knight dormitory in the barracks.
Contained within the walls of the noble's quarter is an entire forest, so that nobles can relax, hunt and gather magical ingredients in a relatively safe environment. Should feybeasts beyond a certain danger level be spotted, the Knight's Order will be ordered to hunt them down.
Once a year there is a great hunting tournament during the festivities surrounding the Harvest Festival.
The Ivory Tower is also hidden away in the forest.
When Judithe ran out of rejuvenation potions, she petitioned Rozemyne for a leave of absence to gather ingredients. Rozemyne took this as an opportunity to go to the forest with all her retainers, under the guidance and protection of Bonifatius, so that all of them got the opportunity to gather ingredients, and for the apprentice knights to gain experience in guarding their targets against real dangers in a controlled environment.
When he learned of this, Wilfrid requested to be allow to go along with his guard knights, which his parents granted.
As it revealed large flaws in the abilities of some of the apprentice knights, it was decided to make the gathering a regular occurrence in the future.
The Archduke's Castle
The archduke's castle lies beyond another wall, separating it from the Noble's Quarter. It looks around three to four stories high from the outside and has much land surrounding it. On the land are several facilities for tutors and forest rangers to live in, training grounds and barracks for the Knight's Order, and gardens for tea parties. The Archduke's family lives in the castle with their attendants. It has an entry on the northern side for private visitors and the Archducal family, and another entry on the southern side for workers.
The castle itself is also subdivided into several wings, connected by corridors.
The central building is where the Archduke and his first wife reside, and also house meeting rooms, ball rooms and similar facilities. Inside of the Archduke's office is a room that allows access to Ehrenfest's foundation magic.
- The northern building is where baptized children of the Archduke live until they get married. The connection corridor to the main building terminates on the second floor. Beyond the entry area, this floor is reserved for boys, with the third floor being for the girls. The first floor is only used by servants.
- The Eastern building, until recently, was used to house the Archduke's mother, meaning it is probably reserved for family members of the Archduke other than wives and children.
- The Western building is where the second and third wives live.
Prior to moving to the northern building upon their baptism, the Archduke's children usually stay with their parents, though in recent history, Wilfried has been raised by his grandmother Veronica and, accordingly, lived in the eastern building with her until turning seven.
The meeting rooms inside the main building are divided into ranks, so that a meeting room appropriate to the expected guest can be chosen, with the ones for archnobles being much more richly furnished and decorated than those meant for lower ranking nobles.
As the castle is big, there are many corridors and stairs which won't lead one directly to their destination. For that reason, Rozemyne is permitted to use her highbeast Lessy inside the castle, so that she won't faint or would have to be carried all the time.
Despite spending the vast majority of his time in either the temple or castle, Ferdinand does have an estate of his own in the nobles quarter, with his own complement of attendants and servants. Generally the mansion only sees use during certain times of the year, when even regular blue priests return to the nobles quarter for a few days.
Spoiler from Part 4 Volume 8
The estate is right next to the archduke castle and as such of considerable size, as befits an archduke candidate. It was granted to him by his father prior. Due to spending so little time there and basically never having visitors over, his staff is very limited in size to the point that when he invited Detlinde, Rozemyne, Wilfried, Charlotte and Melchior he needed to borrow two of Rozemynes temple attendants to keep up appearances for their foreign visitor.
The inside of of the place is all very functional and nearly entirely devoid of decorations, quite similarly in style to Dunkelfelger interior design. He refers to this as the "beauty of practicality".
- Suzuka has noted that the north side of the lower city would look like Rothenburg, Germany in the Manga Part 2 Volume 1 afterword.
- Rozemyne's room in the castle is located directly by the stairs. It looks like her room in Karstedt's estate.