The city of Makhiren is a large, sprawling metropolitan city in the center of Makha, the middle continent of Makhavireth. Located along a river system a few miles north of the continent's southern coast, Makhiren is the capital of the bastion of the same name, as well as the capital of all trade and commerce on the landmass. Known by most as the Crown Jewel, Makhiren has been regarded as the most influential city on Makhavireth for nearly a thousand years, since the founding of the last empire. The governing body of the Makhiren bastion, as well as nearly all city officials, is located within the palace near the center of the city on the largest hill of the region, named Siron, and heavily fortified.
Makhiren's name originates from the surrounding continent, and its place as the capital of that continent. While once a simple fishing village before the coming of the last empire, Makhiren was raised up as a vital strategic asset with its easily defensible location amidst the rivers, the hilly lands surrounding its borders, and its incredible value as a trading center. It was only natural that such an important location share the name of the central continent itself.
Under Imperial Rule
Under Imperial rule, the city of Makhiren prospered as the capital of an empire spanning three continents and holding nearly every race and a remarkable amount of diverse cultures and ethnic groups under its rule. With Imperial power supporting it Makhiren rose to be a bustling hub of commerce and military might, with fortifications and treasuries that were the envy of every civilized state in the world theater. The city itself held the Imperial family's estate and palace, the governing bodies of the largest political entities of the empire, and dozens of foreign embassies.
Even after the empire collapsed and the resultant infighting, Makhiren stood proud at the center of the landmass, and its political bodies were key in brokering lasting treaties and calming the waters that had rapidly begun to swell. Though the city did not come out unharmed – There were three separate siege attempts, one of which succeeded in taking the city for five weeks before the lord general and the royal family were able to rally enough soldiers and support to drive out the invaders – Makhiren nonetheless held its status as a beacon of civilization as the world around it reduced itself to barbarity and greed.
In the years before the Infernal Invasion began, the city was ineffectually ruled by the royal family, a surviving cadet branch of the imperial family line unbroken since the founding of the last empire. With a concerning amount of inbreeding to ensure the purity of the bloodline, botched attempts at diplomacy, and gluttonous misuse of power, the royal family ensured the downfall of their city and their own position of power. The city was broken, and a mere shadow of its former splendor. The glistening spires of old withered away, the great ramparts of the city defenses crumbled, and commerce suffered. The embers of rebellion were never so hot, with riots and protests almost a constant. Few historians truly understand at what point the Royal Family fell to such disgrace, but most agree it was inevitable with the seclusion and sense of superiority its members had held to for so long.
In IDa 1048, the Infernal Invasion began and massive gates to the Infernal plane opened across Makhavireth. The first and most savage attack began just inside the gates of the Imperial Estate itself. A gargantuan portal opened within the curtain walls of the first bailey, behind the portcullis of the main gate. With the defenders confused and taken by surprise, the infernal legion that poured from the gate was quick to slaughter those on the walls and within the bailey itself, before moving on and taking the gatehouse of the palace proper. With little organized resistance, the legion moved in on the palace, slaughtering the royal family and everyone else within the walls of the Imperial Estate. Within a mere two hours the royal family, the military leaders, the leaders of some of the most powerful political bodies, and several foreign ambassadors were slaughtered. Within the city many refer to the event as The Gilded Slaughter, at least within the lower classes.
With a portal located directly in the center of the city mass panic ensued and hundreds of thousands attempted to flee their death in the streets as the legions of infernals marched through the city. The Lord General Lucius Sergius had found himself on the outer walls of the city when the invasion began, checking on the state of repairs he'd recently enacted with his personal fortune. When the portal opened and the panic began, the lord general did everything in his power to rally the standing military forces under his command, send for reinforcement, close all gates of the city, and blockade access to and from the Imperial Estate. Even as the palace burned the lord general saved countless lives within the city itself with his quick action. As the lord general's men held against the horrors of the infernal legions, the people themselves rallied under his command.
Every person who could hold a sword was conscripted under the command of the lord general, and with sun's dawn the next day, as reinforcements marched into the city, the lord general ordered a counter attack. The citizen forces conscripted under military command were to hold the blockades with token forces of enlisted officers if the order to retreat and evacuate was given. All enlisted military forces save the token forces at the blockades then marched on the walls of the estate and broke through the defenses with heavy casualties on both sides. With less than half the number under his command than the Infernal legions still marching through the portal within, the lord general took the Imperial Estate, closed the portal, and saved the city in what would become the most notable strategic victory in recent centuries.
With the invasion ended the survivors counted the cost. The royal family was destroyed, over three quarters of the nobility of the city was slaughtered, every political office left empty, the military lost a quarter of its forces, and every foreign dignitary was slain. With Lord General Lucius Sergius as the highest-ranking individual of the nation remaining, he took control of what was left and took stock of the situation across Makhavireth. Everywhere, across the three continents, the infernals had slaughtered countless masses. Cities, towns, villages and hamlets were burned to the ground, entire armies were wiped from the face of the world, and everything was in chaos. With little choice left to him, the lord general took command of the nation and fought back in every way he could, with Makhiren remaining the capital of the first Bastion of Makhavireth.
With the lord general in command, the nation that was the Bastion of Makhiren rose as a unifying force. One of the few to survive with an intact military and commercial force, Makhiren fought back with whatever might was available to it, as the Infernal legions savaged the countryside. Now, the city is the wealthiest, most powerful, and most influential of the Nine Bastions, and brokers treaty after treaty with the feuding and rival bastions surrounding it. The infernals continue to war against mortal kind, but Makhiren continues to fight back.
The government of Makhiren is organized from the bottom up by Lord General Lucius Sergius himself, to cleanse the city of the Royal Family's faults. Pointless bureaucracies have been culled, corrupt officials replaced, a military formed of favor and appeasement has been reordered with merit and ability at the forefront. Commerce, while still the mire of intrigue and shady deals that it has always been, is also well-oiled and organized with officials appointed based on ability and reputation the Lord General considers invaluable. Even the temples of the city maintain a certain organized flair, with their hierarchies ordered to a more ideal system while within the city walls. Chaos is stamped out wherever it is found, crime punished with the idea of rehabilitation in mind. Any who would claim the Lord General as incompetent is considered little more than a drooling imbecile by any but the nobility themselves, who cling to their waning power.
Makhiren has been the center for trade and industry in Makhavireth for eight hundred years, since its founding and completion under Camilia I. Its waterways and well maintained highways have attracted many traders, and those who aren't attracted by easy transport of goods are attracted by the city's central location in respect to every other location of notice within the three continents. Even the land around the city is rich and prosperous, maintained by grateful landowners and protected by a well-organized military.
Makhiren is the origin point of the Imperial Highway, constructed by the Last Empire around two hundred years after its founding, beginning around IDa 203. The following roads branch off from the city proper.
- Deep Folk Road, leading southwest towards the lands of the dwarves and down toward the Kel'Korin archipelago.
- Sanctuary Trail, leading northeast towards the elven capital and then the goblin-held lands to the southeast.
- Rethiln Highway, leading northwest towards the barbarian capital of Rethiln itself, one of the safest routes to the fortress city.
Makhiren as a nation has held a standing army for centuries, at all points capable of defending its own borders and striking out against enemies on all sides. The city proper is little different, with a city guard that patrols its own streets and the roads a few miles outside the city, and just as capable of sallying forth, taking the fight to approaching armies. The city guard are both outward defense and inward police force, maintaining law and order within the city walls.
Makhiren has massive interior walls, with a bailey between the interior and curtain walls about a hundred yards across. The interior wall surrounds the city entirely, sectioned off with towers and bastions with several gates at strategic locations. The curtain wall defends the locations not already blocked off by insurmountable terrain and cliff faces, as well as the various waterways that are blocked by raising and lowering multiple chain nets along the length of the curtain walls.
Along with the fortifications and standing military, the city is also home to the private armies of trade barons and nobility, as well as the adventurers that constantly travel to and from the city. Griffons also call the city home, carrying riders of military and civilian origins. Giant eagles, hippogriffs, and several other beasts are tamed and enlisted within the city as well.
Law and Order
The City Guard has traditionally kept order within the city since shortly after the founding of the last empire, with a few voids in service when the corruption of the city permitted nobility and royalty to take over on such accounts. In addition to capturing the criminal element, the city guard also protected various locations of import and settled smaller disputes not worth the notice of the courts. Individuals with wealth or influence could hire protection from the city guard, especially those with political power or key witnesses in danger due to their testimonies.
Justice within the city is handed out by the local magistrates who hold sway over individual districts of the city, and groups of political importance such as the temples, nobility, and commercial powers. Magistrates are given an envoy from the city guard, but just as often employ their own personal protection as well. Anyone found guilty under the Magistrate's power may appeal to the Lord General or a high ranking military officer under his direct command, though this is rare due to those found guilty being subject to harsher military discipline rather than the more lenient civilian justice.
The code of law within the city has been heavily reorganized by the Lord General and his staff, with the various bylaws and confusing jumble of various codes of conduct being solidified in much simpler honor codes. Generally speaking, most acts short of actual physical violence or manipulation of a person's will are subject to far lesser punishments than otherwise, while anyone found guilty of a crime under a magistrate's jurisdiction is never sentenced to death, regardless of the crime in question. The harshest punishment a magistrate may employ is a life sentence within the city's prisons. A military official, however, has the freedom to sentence anyone found guilty under their jurisdiction to death, though this is rarely called for.
While no official thieves' guild exists within the city, many trade barons maintain what look to be legitimate businesses on the surface but are little different than criminal organizations beneath. While not strictly tolerated by the Lord General, a pragmatic stance has been taken by all but the weakest of those in the commercial businesses, and few are those with greater power who don't also wish to see the Lord General's influence subverted.
The nobility of Makhiren are perhaps the most influential members of society outside the military powers and the Lord General himself. The noble families own the land in and around the city, have dealings with the greatest trading powers, and have old bloodlines that have granted them more power than someone of younger blood may lay claim to. A few of the nobility may still trace their lineage back to the last empire, with one or two of the surviving families even descending from offshoots of the Imperial Family itself. Most nobles within the city seek a return to their old positions of power free from the reign of the Lord General, and work to regain what they'd lost in the invasion through intrigue and political dealings that never outright incriminate themselves.
The so called "Trade Barons" of Makhiren are powerful mercantile family leaders with influence on par with those of noble blood. While largely unable to claim any sovereign lineage, the trade barons of Makhiren hold major influence through commercial dealings and shrewd business sense, leading their families to wealth and influence rarely seen by those of common blood. While looked down upon by those of noble birth and seen as new money, the nobility of the city deals with and tolerates the trade barons regardless, due to the power and influence at their command. The trade barons are also responsible for seeing that strict organization and paperwork are maintained, and that the laws of the city are beholden to by the commercial powers that be, lest the Lord General's wrath be cast down upon them… Or, better yet, lest their shipments and warehouses be left unguarded altogether.
While not holding a particularly zealous populous, several temples stand within the confines of the city. Temples to several greater deities dot the skyline, and a few shrines to minor deities stand where their worship is most condensed. The temples are organized by influence and number of worshipers, with the most influential temple holding legislative power under the Lord General's command and an advisor in his very staff.