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The Bastion of Traktiera, once known as Bulwark, is a single city-state standing in the once bountiful lands of the western continent Vikar, on the landmass of Makhavireth. Traktiera stands as a testament to its people's ingenuity, resiliency, and to the power of their faith, protected as it is under a dome of pure holy power cast by the great edifices know as the Nine Towers. While far smaller and objectively weaker militarily and financially, Traktiera holds her own among the Nine Bastions as the source for most of the food consumed within the three continents, and a major site of religious power.

Etymology

Traktiera was once known as Bulwark, for its history as the last defensive location of its people. The current name is of more mysterious origins, given to the Bastion by its current ruler – Lord Mayor Verater. Many point to past rulers as the origin of the name, or perhaps the ancient dragon that once nested in the area whose name is known only to a scant few, but none are truly certain on the origin of the name.

History

Pre-Invasion

Though young, Traktiera is a thriving farming community that has stood on its own since its founding shortly after the fall of the last empire. Once a simple market town under the heel of a tyrant descended from the Empire's fall, Bulwark became the centerpiece of the rebellion against him. Many of the most vocal leaders of the rebellion claimed heritage in Bulwark's surrounding countryside, and the very man who would become lord after taking the head of the tyrant was a farmer of the town's own stock. Seeing a need for change, the young lord moved the center of power from the outlying fortress now in ruin to the town he called home, and from his people he birthed a nation and a force of men and women proud to defend it.

Bulwark grew up around the young lord's ambition, expanding its territory over the surrounding villages for miles around. Bulwark relied upon that which was the source of its suffering to begin with – Its vast food stocks. With a military force well-fed and proud of its new born country, Bulwark withstood hundreds of attempts through its history to take away its independence. Bulwark became a thriving city, with people coming from thousands of miles to work its fields, sell their goods, and ply their trade. With a fast growing populace, religion was soon to follow, and temples were raised to Rilarn, the local god of war, and Aejuna, the goddess of the major moon. With the blessings of the gods, the pride of its people, and a noble family known for both pragmatism and charity, the young city state rose to become a recognized and respected member of Makhavireth.

Post-Invasion

In IDa 1048 the Infernal Invasion racked the three continents, and Bulwark was no different. Mere months before the attacks began, the pontifex of Rilarn's followers finished a project he had devoted his life to – The Nine Towers. Powered by the faith of those behind their walls, the Nine Towers projected a protective dome around the province entirely, marking off its borders with a clear and unmistakable force of holy light. Though called mad until the day he died shortly before the construction was finished, the pontifex was hailed as a saint by the people whose lives he had saved, and a statue stands to this day in the central plaza of the city itself. Standing at the border of the city-state, one can see clearly just how indebted to the pontifex they really are with a very clear line of corruption and death ending abruptly at the foot of the dome.

With the world around them falling to the Infernal legions, Bulwark took in mass amounts of refugees from across Makhavireth. The gatehouses permitting access into the protective field struggled with the tide of sheer bodies, the city swelled to capacity, and the villages and towns worked to house and care for whoever they could. Thankfully, not a single Infernal had managed to set foot within the borders of the city-state, and Bulwark came out mostly unscathed from the invasion's opening days. As refugees settled in, the resource-rich bastion did what it did best and fed those who came to the province for aid. Within a week, officials finally made contact with other surviving cities and began to offer aid and food to those still resisting the Infernals around them.

A decade before the current day the lord of the city state died in an accidental carriage fire many have called suspicious, and before the lord's ashes were cold the then-mayor of the city named Verater declared regency over Bulwark and set about consolidating power. After three long years of infighting, Verater claimed absolute power over the military and city guard, and crowned himself Lord Mayor. Verater also renamed the region to Traktiera, attempting to erase the old ways and ideals from the minds of its populace.

Geography

Traktiera is a single city-state, barely two day's travel from one end to the other, with little but rural farmland within its borders. Aside from the forest that runs from the northwestern corner down along its western edge, the mountain range that slips through the north east, and the rivers that run through it, Traktiera is almost entirely farm land with a single, stout city in its very center. A single town, seven villages, and well over two dozen unrecognized hamlets lie within the borders of the city, enjoying the protection offered to them by the bastion's defenses.

The forest to the northwest is an ancient place, once home to primal creatures not seen since the creation of the world. Nestled in a small glad beside the tree line, entirely surrounded by the forest with a single opening nearest the city, sits a circle of standing stones older than written word. This circle is visited quite often by those of a more natural bent to their ideology, and has provided Traktiera with a modest amount of touristry. The forest itself is a lively place, rich in wildlife and flora. Along the protective barrier, one may look out at the corrupted lands outside the bastion's protection, and the death and destruction wrought by the infernal legions upon what once was the main body of the forest itself.

The mountain range to the northeast holds the remains of the orcish tribes of the area, having taken up residence in the abandoned halls of the dwarves who left to join the city proper. The orcs occasionally roam out from their mountain strongholds to raid the villages and farmsteads of the bastion, but are kept in check by the fortress Rilagorn at the foot of the mountains, a town in service to the god Rilarn. The mountains also hold one of the Nine Towers, largely kept safe by virtue of being what separates the orcs from the Infernal legions that claimed the rest of their kind.

Government

The Lord Mayor Verater holds near absolute power within the city-state of Traktiera. Head of the city guard and military, Verater wields them like a cudgel and beats down any resistance from the lower classes. Though a council of landowners and ward leaders exists in theory, they hold no sway, rarely meet, and never publicly question their “beloved” leader either in fear of violence or for love of coin. The average citizen may fear the corrupted regime, but in general holds no hostile intent against their ruler. So long as the demons are kept out and food is on the table, rebellion is but a distant fancy.

Beneath the Lord Mayor is the Council – A collection of influential members from through-out the city state. Each ward of the city presents one member, while each recognized village from outside of the city presents two. The council, however, is infamously corrupt, with the village council members themselves being upper class landowners who live in estates within the city. This results in almost total power of voice given to the upper-class ward, with only token voice given to the four council members of the four other wards of the city itself. Even if the council held any true power over Traktiera, little would be done for any but the wealthiest of society.

The temples of Traktiera also hold sway, if only over peoples' hearts than actual political influence. The two temples dedicated to the gods Aejuna and Rilarn stand at opposite ends of the eastern ward, guiding the religious devotions of the people and feeding the Nine Towers with their faith. The holy defenders of Traktiera, independent of government and military, are based within the temple to Rilarn while the Healer’s Guild is based in the temple to Aejuna. Both factions are highly influential, but rarely if ever wield that influence against the political powers who are more than capable of turning physical force against the temples themselves.

Commerce within Traktiera is monopolized by a sparse few wealthy business and land owners, with small business owners scraping a living off the boots of the wealthy. Talk of free market is a farce, and any attempt by those of the lower classes to change their lot is met with almost hostile force as they find themselves friendless and penniless in the gutter. Old coin rules the city, and power is held and maintained within the estates of the upper class.

Trade

Traktiera is the breadbasket of its home continent, holding the largest percentage of farmland of any bastion. Exporting the largest amount of produce and livestock, Traktiera is largely responsible for the continued existence of trade and readily available food within Makhavireth. Without the vast farmlands of Traktiera the continued survival and strong grip of the resistant bastions would likely crumble over time.

Metal is a minor secondary export of the bastion. What the military and local smithies don’t use is generally of barely moderate quality, and does not fetch a large price on the larger market, but Traktiera remains one of the few bastions to continuously produce metal of any kind.

Ale, while still a strong source of income for the bastion, is a suffering industry for a city-state once famed for its taverns and beloved brewery. When the current government came into power the brewery’s owner was slain in his own home as a voice of revolt against the new regime. Minor breweries sprang up to fill the void, but none match the quality and popularity of the old.

Traktiera utilizes a network of canals for its shipping and receiving, and is located just a short ways off Deep Folk Road and Sailor's Highway, which splits off from the east-west running Deep Folk Road to run south towards the Kel'Korin archipelago. Traktiera was founded years after the fall of the last empire, and indeed centuries after the highways themselves were built, thus not sitting astride any of them like other bastions.

Defenses

Traktiera's main defense is the famous Nine Towers, the great edifices raised in response to the Infernal invasion. Foreseeing the events that would usher in an age of war and chaos, the pontifex of Rilarn’s faithful called for the construction of the nine towers and personally enchanted the stones themselves to raise the barrier that would save the land. Now a nonagonal nation with a sharp and clearly marked border of devastation on one side and life on the other, the now-dead pontifex once accused of insanity is remembered through dozens of monuments across the land, most notably a large statue in the city's market square.

Secondary to the Nine Towers, Traktiera maintains a standing army, city guard, and a holy order of knights sworn to protect the city-state from the Infernal legions. Of the three, the holy order is perhaps the oldest – Standing in defense of the town Rilagorn and the shrine to Rilarn within for over a thousand years. The Order of the Pike is known for the long polearms they wield in battle, and is a very influential and martially skilled group of men and women that have stood strong through-out their long history.

The city guard are perhaps the second oldest, though they have been disbanded and reconstructed multiple times over the bastion's history. The city guard were originally born of the founding lord's desire to protect his own people, and a retired knight of the Order of the Pike joined him in his efforts, training the first recruits. The city guard currently exist as an arm of the Lord Mayor's influence, patrolling the streets to show his authority but meting out justice only upon those who openly defy him or blatantly break the law. The city guard as it is rarely interferes with criminal activity and the people of the city have taken to taking justice into their own hands.

The standing army of Traktiera is the youngest of the three forces, and is used mainly to patrol the field projected by the Nine Towers, as well as defending the gatehouses of the field set along the main road. Occasionally, the army will clear out a den of bandits or repel an orc war party, but most of their effort is spent maintaining the towers themselves.

Law and Order

While once known as the defenders of the city and her people, the City Guard has fallen to indolence and corruption. Rare it is to find a city guard performing his duty in apprehending a criminal, and rarer still to find one that can't be cheaply bribed out of bringing him to court. The city guard have become little more than a show of the Lord Mayor's authority,