Well of Odium
The Belezen College
One of the most famous of the bardic colleges, the Belezen College serves as a beacon of learning and diplomacy, well known for its neutrality. It’s alumni often become advisors or tutors to rulers or the nobles. The Belezen Bards in particular are famed for holding positions of trust in some of the most important houses of Lyrr.
The Belezen College itself is located at the edge of the Roane Forest, a few miles from the town of Carfax. The College is a collection of rambling old stone buildings with green ivy covering the walls, and old lanterns hanging from its eaves.
No more than a handful of its collegians are present at any given time -the strength of the organization lies in the learning and skill of its individual members, not in any muster of warriors. Members are welcome to stay as long as they like but are expected to contribute to the college's upkeep. The customary donation is 50 gp a month (for itinerant members) or 200 gp a month (for members living on the premises).
A small number of servants keep the College in order and prepare meals, but there are no guards or soldiers. Instead, its defense lies primarily in the reputation and influence of its members. Should trouble come anyway, the College is well defended by the handful of Lorists or guests who happen to be visiting at any given time. In case of serious trouble, the Belezens turn to the creatures of the surrounding forest. Through ancient pacts, the sylvan denizens of the Roane Forest are pledged to defend the bards' house against attack.
The College is governed by the Noesis Circle, a small council composed of the five most senior Belezens currently enrolled in the order. All five are nominally equal, but if the Circle's opinion is divided on any important matter, the Eldest of the Circle – the Belezen who has served the longest in the college – decides the issue. Currently, the Eldest of Belezen is Master Gita, a half-elf who has belonged to the College for better than fifty years. The masters of the Circle rarely meet, since they are not often at the College at the same time.
The Belezens are affiliated with several other bardic colleges in neighboring lands.
Warrior, scholar, thief, poet, and sometimes spy – the Belezen Lorist is a legendary figure who serves as the herald and teacher to great kings, the champion of the common folk, the keeper of lore long forgotten elsewhere. Only the best and brightest are invited to become Belezen Lorists, and those who eventually win the approval of the Belezen College's masters are remarkable individuals indeed, skilled in swordplay, magic, and diplomacy.
Those who aspire to join the Belezen College face a long and difficult road. The great bards who lead the school choose only individuals who have demonstrated skill at arms and stealth, learning and cleverness, superb bardic talents and an ear for the stories of old. Finally, all applicants must first study the lore of the ancients learning and the hidden secrets of ages past. Few indeed can stand up to the rigorous scrutiny of the Belezen masters.
Belezen Lorists often adventure to gain information. Occasionally they can be spies and rumormongers. Others are ever on the watch for news of events that may upset the balance they seek to preserve. A Lorist can serve as a diplomat, messenger, guardian, or assassin, as needed. The Belezens strongly believe in fostering the careers of other adventurers whose viewpoints align with their own, and many Lorists attach themselves to adventuring companies specifically for the purpose of guiding their comrades to oppose the right enemies and advance the interests of the Belezen College.