In the First Age, Fellara was famous for its medical school, the precision machinery created in its factories, and its traditional of democratic self-government. During the Low First Age the medical school grew into a great university, and Fellara was one of the North's leading cities. That medical skill served Fellara well during the Great Contagion as slightly more than 25% of Fellara’s population survived due to the tireless efforts of its physicians.
Unfortunately this prominence made the city an attractive target for the Fair Folk and, consequently, the Empress’s counterattack.
Few Fellarans have survived into the Second Age yet these include a few dozen physicians who have vowed to keep their knowledge alive. They and their assistants built a large hospital complex half a mile outside the old city’s boundaries, in an area where stone buildings are still possible. Other survivors refuse to leave their city and adapted to the new rules that governed their home.
THE CITY OF BROKEN WALLS Edit
No one knows exactly what damaged the Essence flows around Fellara. Some believe the Fair Folk cursed the city so it could never be rebuilt while others suggest the local Essence flow was corrupted when the Realm Defense Grid destroyed a powerful Earth manse and the city’s factory-cathedrals. Whatever the reason, all of Fellara’s buildings were utterly destroyed and cursed. To this day, no stone will rest atop another for more than an hour. After this time, any walls—even simple piles of stone—inevitably topple and scatter.
Yet these ruins are home to a sizable population who have built a new city from wood, sod and bone. In time, refugees arrived and made the new town of Fella their home.
THE FLAMES OF FELLA Edit
As Fella was rebuilt, its residents discovered another peculiar result of the region’s Essence curse. For seven miles beyond the boundaries of the old city, any fire lit outdoors has a significant chance of spreading rapidly as corrupted local Essence flows cause these fires to flare, expand and become somewhat animate - jumping toward any nearby source of fuel to set them alight as well.
As such Fellans have strict laws about lighting fires outdoors (lighting fires indoors is safe, since buildings provide sufficient geomantic shielding to protect the fire). Deliberately lighting any fire outside a building is punishable by fines and public flogging. Repeat offenses are a capital offense - and send them to the Hospital to be treated...
Many outsiders consider these penalties overly harsh, but anyone who has seen the devastation that even a small campfire can cause here understands the reason for these laws.
Still, the corrupted Essence flows have one advantage: The icewalkers won’t come near Fella, they regard the region as cursed. That alone provided sufficient reason for people to stay in Fella.
MODEN DAY FELLA Edit
Today, Fella has a population of 50,000. 12,000 of these are in some way connected to the famous hospital, with 8,000 living in the Hospital Complex itself.
Fellan economy rests on raising potatoes, goats and musk oxen. Not surprisingly, Fella also produces fine decorative woodwork. The city also reclaimed Fellara’s old prominence for metalwork, thanks to local iron mines—though smelters and forges require special geomantically stable designs to keep the intense fires from running out of control. While the city is too small to compete with Whitewall in the fields of weapons and armor, Fella has established a niche as a source of precision instruments and clockwork.
Its artisans make Creation’s best medical instruments from Whitewall jade and Haslanti feathersteel. Its lens- and gear grinding facilities are also the best in the North.
Politically, the hospital and the city function as separate entities. The city retains its history of democracy with an elected council of 15 citizens. Only people who actually live within Fella can vote (the 8,000 who live in the hospital complex are ineligible to vote). The rest cast ballots in elections held every year immediately after Calibration.
THE DOCTORS OF FELLA Edit
The success of Fella's hospital comes from the skill of its doctors, trained and guided by their immortal surgeon director Jerva, the godblooded daughter of Felkis, north god of healing, who has run the hospital for 550 years. Each is a thaumaturge of at least the Initiate Degree in the Alchemical Arts, while Senior physicians are masters of this art. Few possess enlightened Essence, though each graduate doctor is marked with a coverted glowing Essence tattoo.
Part of Fella's medical mandate is that all paitents will be treated equally. This applies somewhat to payment as well - the poor are treated for free while affluent paitents must pay for their care (essentially paying the same for their circumstances). Indeed, rulers and wealthy patrons who hire a Fella-trained doctor to be part of their retinue must not only paid the physician but also make periodic donations to Fella hospital to retain their services. It is from this sufficient funding the hospital is able to not only stay open but to progressively expand and pursue continued research. In fact, the hospital is one of the few places in Creation one can obtain treatment for exotic magical diseases such as Green Rage, Grinning Fool Death and White Sun Sickness.
Conversely, journeymen doctors from Fella Hospital must travel and live among other peoples for at least seven years, to learn more about the wide variety of disease and health found across the North. Some set up permanent clinics in other Northern cities, but most successful journeymen return to Fella Hospital. Rulers and wealthy patrons from across the North all want a doctor from Fella in their retinue.
HOSPITAL SECURITY Edit
Fella's government protects its city, but Jerva protects her hospital. She is a skilled Terrestrial Circle sorcerer with a dozen First Circle demons bound to serve as hospital security who have strict instructions to capture alive anyone who steals from the hospital or harms any of its medical personnel or patients. Injured attackers are turned over to the doctors for treatment of any injuries they sustained in capture.
Then, Jerva reviews the current status of the hospital and medicine generally throughout the North, determines what life-threatening disease or injury is most in need of immediate research, then uses her Charms and demons to induce the chosen affliction in them. Jerva makes no effort to reduce the pain or horror of the process, then turns the "now injured" criminals over to her staff for treatment. All but the newest and most naïve doctors know the source of these “patients,” but they also understand the value of keeping their hospital and its patients safe. The doctors do their best to save the injured or diseased criminals, giving them excellent care, while also learning from treating these injuries or illnesses.
Half these "paitents" will survive the ordeal, and Jerva will interview each using Foretell the Future and Memory Mirror to assess the likelihood they will reattempt any crime against the hospital, or attempt revenge. Those whom she feels certain will flee and never return, she sets free as a warning to others. The rest she sends back to the doctors with a new illness or injury.
Those few who survive two rounds of this medical horror want nothing but beg to be freed and leave Fella forever. This system works so well that the city of Fella assigns all capital offenders—murderers, rapists, arsonists and the like—to Fella Hospital for treatment of their criminality. Because of this captured criminals who know their fate awaiting them generally attempt suicide. The demons are ordered to prevent this.
Jerva looks forward to a golden age of medical research for the benefit of Creation. Her close friend Ragara Bhagwei, Dominie of the Heptagram and the Realm’s most accomplished Dragon-Blooded physician, plans to visit Fella Hospital for his own research. He intends to seek a cure for nothing less than the Great Contagion.