A famous centre of learning, only an hours ride from Llaza. Founded over 400 years ago by the philosopher Arketes, a great man who travelled widely, influenced kings and statesmen but was completely illiterate. In his old age he retired to his brother's farm and as the number of people seeking him out for advice and wisdom grew he took to conducting lectures in a nearby meadow.
On his death many of his better students carried on meeting there and lecturing to new generations. Although Arketes himself never wrote down a single word of his teachings, his niece Dom Keralia wrote several works based on his lectures, reminiscences and sayings. She was to play a large part in the early development of the college.
Eventually the college developed to its current state where it has approximately 500 students at any one time. There are between 30 and 40 teachers (called Doms) on the faculty who are assisted by advanced students who take over the majority of teaching of newcomers.
The main subjects taught are philosophy, history, aesthetics, law, theology, medicine and natural sciences. There is also a magical faculty which is notoriously hard to gain admission to. Both men and women are taught and there is the usual mix of races.
The oldest building, the Great Hall, stands on the site of an old barn (so inevitably the students call it "The Barn"). Originally it was used for teaching but it now serves as dining hall, ceremonial area and general meeting room. Dom Keralia herself laid the foundation stone. Other buildings include the library, the dorms (segregated by sex) and the New College building which is about 200 years old! It houses the lecture halls, laboratories and seminar rooms and the private chambers of the Doms. There is an assortment of ancillary structures - like the kitchens tacked on to the Barn and the Shed, where sporting and exercise equipment is stored. The Meadow, where Arketes first declaimed is carefully preserved at the centre of the settlement and still retains the feeling of a rustic pasture. Salsham'ai members of the faculty particularly enjoy conducting classes perched in the trees. A half hour walk down the hill is the village which has grown up to house the employees of the College.
Arketes' free thinking and democratic principles have left a legacy of liberal, even radical, views amongst the student population. They were instrumental in building up the revolutionary movement against the Empire before independence in Llaza. There is also a strongly conservative faction made up of the sons and daughters of high ranking Leaguers. Strangely those on opposite sides of the political divide seem to manage not to destroy the College but to strengthen it.
The most significant events in recent years were the Great Fire and the Hognarch scandal. 30 years ago a group of Vaartan fanatics started a fire in the library which destroyed a large proportion of the holdings including most of the original manuscripts of Dom Keralia. It was a terrible blow and although much has been replaced (with the help of such institutions as the Great Library in Thalsa) some things can never be replaced.
The Hognarch scandal some years later has also had a severe effect on the College's finances. One of Arketes' tenets was that education should be as freely available as possible because "Knowledge brings Freedom". The result was that fees were kept low and there was a large proportion of scholarship students. The College always remained comfortably funded by donations - ambitious but poor young men and women were often extremely grateful to their alma mater once they had achieved those ambitions.
Soon after the Great Fire, Dom Hognarch, the recently elected Principal, was advised to invest in several "get rich quick schemes" to help offset the costs of rebuilding and restocking the library. Some of these backfired and it was left in a worse state than before.
Fees are rising rapidly and the number of scholarships is decreasing. The college is facing a difficult period.