3 The Freeport Institute

While Freeport is hardly the first place people might think of when discussing seats of higher learning, there is a temple to Gilidan in town. Wherever you find such a place, you generally find a school as well. Of course, Drac’s End wouldn’t be the first place in Freeport where most people would think of building a school either. But the dean of the school—Professor Mandarus Whitmire—has dedicated his life to shining a bit of light into the darkness where it’s most needed.

History
Mandarus Whitmire founded the Freeport Institute over one hundred fifty years ago, and the venerable elf still heads the school today. While he could have established his Institute anywhere in the city, Whitmire chose Drac’s End in the hope he could educate the poor and working classes to give them a chance to overcome their beginnings. It’s a dream that’s hardly universally realized—most graduates of the Institute come from the wealthy families of the Merchant District and the Old City—but Whitmire’s idealism has given many poor students the opportunity to learn and better themselves.

The Freeport Institute educates people from childhood through to post- graduate collegiate work. Many teachers at the school are also acolytes of Gilidan, doing their part by sharing what they’ve learned in their holy orders. It does cost money to attend the Institute, but the Temple of Gilidan has set up scholarship funds for poor children and young adults. As long as they were born in Freeport, poor applicants have a good chance of gaining admission. Proving this, of course, can be a difficult process, possibly involving trips to the Office of Public Records.

Description
The Institute is a massive, multi-story building ironically placed in the poorer district of Drac’s End, towering above impoverished and uneducated masses who could never afford the Institute’s high tuition on their own. The building is so large it blocks access from most of Drac’s End to the Merchant District, which is just the way the powerful in Freeport like it, and they have long subsidized the institute for this very reason—as well as the fact that it gives them a decent place to send their children to school. Built from stone and timber, the Institute came through the Great Green Fire unscathed, and it continues to be well maintained by its wealthy patrons.

The various rooms of the Institute house classes, study halls, multiple libraries, offices, and all the trappings required of a place of higher learning. Classes tend to be small and cover many academic topics: history, languages, philosophy, and mathematics are the most common courses. But the Institute is prepared to teach almost anything if an instructor wishes to conduct a course. Few people actually live within the Institute, as most students and teachers have homes locally, but Professor Whitmire and some of his associates keep quarters at the top of the building.

Prominent NPCs
Mandarus Whitmire: Mandarus Whitmire is old even for an elf, but he has lost none of his intellect and faculties. After several human lifetimes of exploring and studying the known world, he came to Freeport in the hopes of sharing the greatest treasure of all—knowledge. Whitmire has been around long enough he knows most of the rich and powerful in town—after all, he educated many of them. However, the studious elf has absolutely no interest in politics and no agenda beyond spreading knowledge as far and wide as possible. He is a close friend of High Priest Egil of Gilidan, and the two meet often to discuss scholastic topics.

Husani the Sage: A completely bald man of forty years, Husani has become the Institute's foremost scholar of the myths and legends surrounding Freeport. He is particularly interested in the stories of the serpent people rumored to live under the city, and has collected a number of books and maps referring to stories about them. He is a chronically absent-minded man, given to going on lengthy tangents about troglodyte grooming habits or the use of old stone artifacts to deduce the mating rituals of ancient societies. He dresses in academic robes and simple spectacles, with his only indulgence being a pair of fine gloves he wears to protect ancient artifacts from skin oils.

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