Treztown is a liberal city state republic. It is situated between the Gren Kingdom and the Sokan Empire, right in the valley that leads through the Central Mountain Range, which separates these two realms. Its capital, which is the name sake for the entire state, lies between the two rivers that merge just a few miles east of it. This is a very fertile spot, due an abundance of water and the temperate climate. The entire region is covered in thick forests, which consist of leafy trees for the most part, but there are also some mixed forests in the north. The northern and the southern border of the realm is marked by the mountains of the Central Mountain Range. Only where woods have been removed to make place for farmland does empty land exist. Elevation-wise, the center of the valley, so where Treztown City is located, is actually very flat with the exception of a single hill, named Hero's Shoulder. Apart from the capital, Treztown State doesn't feature any large cities. Only villages, which vary in population count between less than a hundred souls to almost a thousand people, populate the rest of its territory. Overall, it is a very small country compared to its two large, mighty neighbors.
Being a very liberal country, Treztown offers a home to all people, no matter if they are a lin, kul or Wolshak, who are willing to live according to the laws set down by the people of Treztown. This has led to a noticeably large amount of foreigners living in this city state. Everyone, from the Blazlin of the desert to the Truzlin of the taiga, can be found in Treztown. Even criminals can find a safe-haven here, however, only as long as no one comes looking for them. Should the guard of another country bring proof that a citizen in Treztown is a criminal, they are handed over without hesitation. Delivering proper evidence is hard and thus convincing the courts of Treztown is pretty tough, because they won't be swayed by a single person's word and usually not by bribes either. The open mind towards people of any culture, as long as they harm no one, is one of few traits that the free citizen of Treztown share. It is hard to pin down many common traits, due to how different the cultural background of one one citizen can be compared to the one of the next. Sometimes this can be the cause of argument and clashes among the population.
Another common opinion among the citizens of Treztown is, that everyone has to work for their own fortune instead of just receiving everything without any effort on their own part. Generosity itself is an approved of trait, however. Boarding houses for the poor and orphanages rely entirely on donations to be capable of fulfilling their task, because the senate doesn't see it as its responsibility to support them. Many religious orders also help out by handing out food and/or offering shelter to people in need. Some disapprove of even that, saying that those who do not work should just starve instead. These are hardliners and a minority, but some of them do sit in the senate - backed by other rich lin who share their views.
Money and property is very important and, due to the lack of nobility, the only things that mark one's status among the other citizen. Even being able to become part of the government is about wealth. The more riches one has, the more influential they are. Wealthy families that have been in Treztown for a long time tend to be the ones running things and newcomers have to really prove their worth or be quickly disposed of - often with illegal means. What one can do to influence the political scene of Treztown is heavily tied into one's wealth, which is even described in the constitution. More is detailed in the government section.
Equality before the law for everyone is another important matter for the citizen of Treztown. Not only are all welcome, but everyone is supposed to get the same shot at becoming someone in their life. This sounds nice on paper, but is often not true in reality. A child of a wealthy family will simply have an easier time acquiring an education and getting everything they need to start out far better than the offspring of laborers ever could. This fact is acknowledged by many, but most don't try to do anything about it. Males and females are also equal in what they may do and are also judged equally by the law. However, it really depends on the background of the person if they take advantage of that or not. Trezlin females tend to be housewives and mothers, but Sozlin females, for example, would never just want to stay at home. Some simply have a certain role imprinted on them due to their cultural background.
Things like religion, fashion and formalities often depend on one's origins. Unfortunately, cultural matters often split the population and a lack of unity is probably biggest weakness of Treztown. It is often the cause of violence or arguments. Only one thing truly unites the city - threats to its independence. If its neutrality is at stake, then Treztown reaches for weapons as readily as any other nation. Peace is the preferred way for Treztown, but they do not shy away from defending themselves with violence. Only Blazlin and Wolshaks, who stick to their war-like roots, will prefer swinging swords over shaking hands.
Partnership and courtship are interesting matters in Treztown. Many cultures have very different views on how to find a partner, or even on how many partners to have. Rizkul males and females who move into Treztown for whatever reason will have to get used to not live in large groups with a matriarch at the head, for example. The most common kind of relationship in Treztown is a simple couple made up of a male and a female - who can be of various species. Hybrid lin are common enough in Treztown to be noticed. Wealthy families prefer if their sons and daughters stick to other people who are well-off and don't become the partners of simpletons and a poor people. Otherwise people are free to pick anyone as their partner, even people of the same sex. It is not illegal, but many frown upon it and consider these people freaks. Treztown has no laws regarding marriage or relationships at all.
Thanks to the varying species living within Treztown, the society is a colorful mix of cultures, despite Trezlin making up the majority. Even the cultures of kingdoms, tribes and republics that have long been erased from the map can carry on their existence in the form of small enclaves in Treztown. Even languages thought long lost might still be spoken by a few families in this city. It is a treasure trove of historical knowledge for the Aezkul, who may have be lucky enough to occasionally find a family who still knows tales of realms long gone.
Here's a list of the most important enclaves within and around Treztown:
Blazkul Enclave. This enclave consists of some Firehorns, lin and kul alike, who fled their hightribe once it turned out that they didn't want to follow the Flame anymore. It was founded in 278 ar. They live at the northern edge of Treztown's territory, having build themselves a small, fortified village between some mountains there. It even contains a Temple of the Great Flame, led by a Firehorn priest and his family. He's also the leader of the enclave itself. Some of the best blacksmiths and mercenaries of Treztown come from there. Of course they also offer shelter and an accepting community to Blazlin and Blazkul of the other hightribes. This might be the only place in Threa were purebred Blazkul of different hightribes live side by side in peace. No one in Treztown is afraid of the enclave, as it even offers protection from raiders to the surrounding villages, like Wheatville. Around a hundred to two hundred Blazlin and about ten Blazkul live within this community.
Hozlin Ghetto. If a Hozlin managed to escape the HozReok, and decides to not join the rebels, then they are likely to end up in Treztown. Most came here during the rebellion and the great escapes that came with it. A Hozlin community began to exist shortly after the base for the Second Ring was laid down. The Second Ring offered a lot of work to the Hozlin, which made for some golden years until it was finished. Unfortunately, the Hozlin were quite alien and thus not well received in the past, which forced them to stick with each other in their own area. That's why an entire district for Hozlin shaped within the city's third ring.
Hozlin have no trouble finding work around the city, given that their raw strength is needed to erect the walls and fortifications of the Third Ring. Yet it is one of many badly paid jobs the Hozlin have to do to survive, after all, it is just simple labor. Poverty is thus common within the district making it more of a ghetto. During daytime the ghetto is calm and asleep, due to the Hozlin's sensitivy to light, but at night they can get out and socialize. Crime is low within the ghetto, though, it goes against a Hozlin's honor to step so low. Some Hozlin managed to become blacksmiths in the workshops of Blazlin, while others left Treztown for the mines in the north and south. They offer back-breaking work, but at least it is work the Hozlin are used to - work in the dark. Smaller enclaves formed near the mines in the form of miner villages, even before the ghetto became large and noticeable.
Aezkul Outpost. Being adventurous spirits and always interested in cultural exchange, it is just natural that some Aezkul reactivated an entire outpost in the mountains south of Treztown. It technically existed before Treztown did, but was abandoned during the thousand years war. Roughly a hundred and fifty years after the war ended, the Outpost was repopulated to use again - so about fifty years after Treztown was founded. The outpost is within Treztown's borders thus technically under Treztown's rule and law, but the senate rarely interferes with the Aezkul and guaranteed the Republic that no harm will done to them. Seeing the advantages that Aezkul scholars and doctors bring to the city, Treztown has always supported the outpost with manpower in the form of dexterous lin hands. It might be the best dug out outpost the Aezkul have, and even includes a rather large library. It includes detailed reports and books on the history of Treztown, since the outpost has been around for most of its existence.
If one wants to further themself in academic matters, becoming students of the scholars and visiting the library of this outpost are the best option. The Outpost eagerly accepts donations and sometimes charges for education and medical services in order to pay for its inhabitants' living expenses and the maintenance of the entire place. Many lin even live within the Outpost and serve the Aezkul in exchange for knowledge or just in order to have a place to stay. Less than ten Aezkul live here, but many visit it. These visitors often stay for a few days, to exchange knowledge and get to explore the area, before they continue their journey.
Aezkul Rejects. These Aezkul are outcasts, rejected by the Republic because of their crimes. Not wanting to live like dirt under the paws of the higher societal classes, these Aezkul left the Zule in search of a better life near Treztown. Since the Aezkul Outpost looks down upon them, they weren't able to settle in the southern mountains, but had to make due with becoming the Blazkul Enclave's neighbors. This happened about five years after the Outpost was reactivated. Having no knowledge or fighting prowess to offer, they instead offer their quick wings. Basically, they opened up a messenger service for Treztown and nearby realms and even managed to earn a name for themselves - Words on the Wind. With the Sokans and Gren both not allowing kul to enter their lands freely, business has not been too good for the messengers. They remain the quickest way to get word out from Treztown itself to the various villages on its land or to get a message from the senate to another nation.
Hybrids' Refuge. This abandoned tin mine in the south of Treztown, a good way east of the Outpost at the foot of the mountains, serves a few hybrids as a place to live in. It isn't certain when it was founded, as it likely began when a group of hybrids simply moved in at some point. They were discovered in 196 ar by an Aezkul of the Outpost. Treztown's population is open enough to live with. At least the kul of Treztown usually know what it is like to be persecuted, thus some feel for the hybrids. The Blazkul at their own enclave tend to not mind the hybrids, the Aezkul rejects even feel their pain and allow Aezkul hybrids to visit them and even stay with them. To the hybrids' dismay, their own enclave does not enjoy the strong support the Republic's Outpost or the other enclaves do, which makes their own refuge rather poor looking. The mine has only be worked by the paws of kul since it was abandoned, making it a rather rough and ugly looking place. It is also quite dark, but most of the kul aren't too bothered by that. At least it is a safe and warm home. It's leader is a Hoz/Blaz-hybrid. Not being able to do much more than mercenary work, which kul are not that badly wanted for, the inhabitants tend to be rather poor. Their position has made their bonds tight and they stick together, no matter what trouble they face.
The social ladder is dictated by personal wealth, which leads to power. Rich merchants and especially landowners mark the highest step on the social ladder. They have money, personal bodyguards, and can greatly influence the course of Treztown's politics and diplomacy, often to their own advantage. Many own vast lands and the villages on them. Instead of taxes or their tenth, the farmers and other people living on their land pay rent. Since they often own property, even if it is just a house, they may vote on laws as well as take part in the senate-election - as voters and candidates.
Then come the masters of crafts. A good master smith, weaver, or tanner can make a good amount of money - enough to buy a nice place within the second or even the first ring if their services are special enough and required by the wealthy. Owning a house counts as owning land, so they can vote for senators, laws and become a senator or judge themselves as well. Their apprentices and journeymen live with them in their houses, thus they cannot vote for laws, but the tax they pay makes them eligible for voting on council-members.
Now come the farmers and simple workers such as lumberjacks, hunters, and miners. If the pay taxes, they can at least vote on who should become a senator, but can't become one themselves. Some do not even pay taxes, which means they can't influence anything and can't buy property. Most just rent their home, be it a few rooms within a larger building in the city or an entire cottage somewhere on the land of a wealthy landlord.
The lowest step on the ladder are the poor, criminals, and the unlucky. Often simple day-to-day workers or thieves, they do not pay taxes and cannot decide anything about Treztown's future. They are important to the city, however, as they do simple tasks no one else wants to do. Richer families like to hire servants from this class, as the poor lin will do anything for their employers. Prostitution and smuggling aren't uncommon in their area, which is the Third Ring and the ghettos outside of it. The black market is alive here and more often then not a tavern also doubles as a brothel.
Most couples, independent of their culture, raise their children themselves. Of course it is nothing uncommon to have relatives and close friends help with them. The parents will teach them social skills and basic skills in other fields. Schools do not exist in Treztown, but teachers can be hired for a fee, and some offer lessons for multiple participants at once in their homes. It isn't as expensive as it might be in other reams, however. A craftsmen will be able to afford education for at least one of his children, if they save up some money now and then. Everyone born to a family that can afford a home in the First Ring is very likely to be able to afford a good education or even hire a private teacher.
The offspring of farmers tends to become farmers, except the parents go out of their way to try and get them an apprenticeship or an education. The latter is very expensive for simple farmers; the other requires the approval of the guilds and the master who is supposed to teach them. It isn't easy to find a master crafter out on the land either. Often the willing young adults have to move into one of the larger communities, or even Treztown itself, at least during the duration of their apprenticeship. Acquiring an apprenticeship is a good first step to acquiring money and thus a say in Treztown's political matters.
Hatchlings who are raised within enclaves, like the Aezkul Outpost or the Blazkul Enclave, will simply be raised how they would have been at home, if with a few differences. A good example is that a Blazkul who hatched at the Enclave will actually know their parents, because there aren't that many couples who lay eggs. This often also leads to the parents being the ones who teach and raise their offspring, instead of a dedicated caretaker. Trezkul in Treztown tend to just raise their children themselves as well.
Kul in Treztown have it harder when it comes to acquiring an education or become a craftsman. It is not easy to find a kul who knows a trade well and learning from a lin might prove problematic. They often have to visit one of the enclaves in order to acquire higher education or learn a craft. Kul rarely live within the city, but do visit it a lot to trade or socialize. Most kul simply do hard work or live somewhere by themselves and hunt their own food.
Due to being so open to immigration and the influx of other cultures, a variety of religious and affiliated temples have sprouted up around Treztown and the surrounding villages. Everyone can pursue their own beliefs, as long as it is not harmful to the rest of Treztown. Basically ever religion is practiced in Treztown, even religions that belong to ancient kingdoms that have fallen centuries ago. Many structures, large and small, are dedicated to the various deities of Threa. Most of them are not built in the town itself, but in the communities on the land it controls. Followers often flock to communities where most of the population already has the same religion. Religion is a personal matter and does not affect the council a lot. Some senators might want to make sure that the laws of the city are in line with the morales laid out by their beliefs, but that's about the maximum extend that religions may affect politics.
The two largest religions in Treztown is the religion around the Creator, which originates from the Gren but is not as radical when it comes to the kul-hating aspect, and the Servants of the Sun. Belonging to nations who are hostile to each other, the followers of each belief often avoid each other if they are very devoted. Sometimes it can even lead to violence, but this is a rare thing to happen. Rumors have it that the priests of the sun spy for the Sokan Empire, which doesn't even appear unlikely given that part of the cult around the sun is that the Emperor has its divine blessing and is the chosen leader of all Trezlin - this part is often rejected by believers among Treztown's citizens, however, which makes them a bit of a subgroup of the Servants of the Sun. True followers of the Sun see them as heretics for denying the Emperor's divinity.
Each cultural group celebrates their respective holidays, but there is one national holiday for Treztown that they all celebrate. Ceremonies like marriage or funerals also depend on the original culture of the person in question. It is advised to look at the nation page of the national background in question to figure things out.
This holiday is on the Postday of the last week of spring. It celebrates the creation of Treztown's constitution. All of Treztown's people are united by their longing for a safe, free home. It is a day where stories of the various challenges Treztown had to face are told. These stories speak of raiders who wanted to steal Treztown's wealth or kings who wanted to subjugate it. In the end, Treztown always managed to fight them off and live on. Many share tales of how their ancestors or even they themselves ended up in the city state. Often these tales are sad, but always have Treztown as a beacon of hope at the end - a home to all who flee tyranny and persecution.
The citizens of Treztown celebrate at home with their families, on the streets, or in taverns with like-minded people. A good meal, drink, and music make for a fine celebrations. Garlands decorate homes, important structures and the market place. The flag of Treztown waves from many window stills on this day. People are proud to be part of this nation and show it. Often entertainers and musicians will do shows on the market place, like on a fair. The sound of instruments fills the streets and people laugh and chat.
Since this nation is essentially a massive gathering of cultures and species, a multitude of languages can be spoken and recognized here. The most common language is Trez, however, which is a mix of a local language that was spoken by the founders, Gren and Sokan. It is also the official language of the government and administration. It is simple enough to learn that it spread widely as a language for international trade. Even people who do not originate from the forestry north of Threa have a relatively easy time learning it, if they put their mind to it. Although many who come to Treztown speak Trez, most lapse into their native tongue with those who know it.
A senate of fifty members rules over the city. Senators can be of any race, but have to be landowners. Even a kul can become part of the senate and has been in the past. The senators themselves are elected by all taxpayers, which includes non-landowners and landowners. This is disliked by the poor who do not pay taxes, but at least some of the wealthy do care for them and it is still better than being ruled over by someone with no qualifications beyond lineage. The senate can suggest laws and changes to the constitution. The changes are then accepted or denied based on the decision of a much bigger gathering - all of the land-owning population. Even owning a house and the property it is build on counts as owning land, so even this group is quite large. However, the property has to be of a certain size, to prevent that owning a square foot of land enables one to take part in the plebiscite. For changes on laws, only a simple majority is necessary. Changes to the constitution require three fourths of the votes to be in favor of the change. Since only people with a certain amount of wealth can influence the politics directly, Treztown is basically an oligarchy of the wealthy.
In order to vote, the eligible citizen gather in front of the town hall. There the senate reads out the planned changes. Usually this is done by the speaker of the senate, who is the oldest member. This happens once per season, or if the senate calls for it. They only call for it outside of the regular times when it is a direly needed law. All landowners are informed two weeks in advance, so that they have the time to travel to Treztown and place their vote. They may also vote by letter, but many refuse to, fearing that the letters will be messed with. If they are on the plaza, they raise their hand to vote yes or keep it down to vote no. If a change is denied, then the senate can discuss a new compromise right there and let the people vote on it again. They only have time until the sun sets and if by then the change didn't go through, it can't be put up for vote again for a year.
The only matters the senate can decide on alone are what to spend the city's money on, what construction to fund, and foreign relations. The constructions of the walls were decisions the senate made without asking the rest of the population first, for example. War is literally illegal due to the constitution and Treztown may only ever defend itself, but not act offensively unless it is the only way to remain independent. Should war or another crisis happen, the senate might decide to temporarily transfer all power to itself in order to push decisions through faster.s
Council and court are separated, as demanded by Treztown's constitution. It was voted on by all of Treztown's tax-paying citizens exactly 100 years after its founding. The judges are appointed by the senate, not by the people. Each senator can nominate a candidate and place one vote. A total of ten judges has to be elected in order to fill Treztown's court. They take care of everything, from simple theft to treason. Each court sitting requires at least three judges to be present and a ruling is only justified if at least two of the three judges agree on it. It isn't unusual for senators to try and put a judge in place that will treat their rivals harshly, but let themselves off the hook easily. Corruption shows its ugly head even in the free city state between the mountains. Treztown's courts are fair otherwise, especially when it is about serious crimes like murder. Evidence is required before someone can be punished for their crime and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Treztown's administration is simple, but efficient. Registers are kept in order to track all taxpayers and landowners. Not only are they noted down in large registries, they also receive a document that proves who they are - an identification card. It is nothing more than a document with the persons name on it and the information if they own land or just pay taxes. It is signed by one of the judges in Treztown and also bears the mark of Treztown's administration to prove its authenticity. This piece of paper is important, because people are not allowed to get on the plaza in front of the townhall to vote if they are not able to show it. Apart from that, Treztown only tracks the state treasury. Multiple book keepers are tasked with keeping an eye on the treasury. They inform the senate if it ever is in danger of running low or if a new project can't be financed.
Treztown has no standing army, but instead features a very well equipped guard. Only adult citizens who have lived in Treztown for more than ten years can join the Treztown Guard. Most join their ranks either out of patriotism or because they think they won't manage to become something else. Being a guard has many advantages. The payment isn't too bad, free shelter is available, career options exist and all guards receive free lessons so that they are capable of reading and writing. Although it is supposed to be a lifelong commitment, a guard can buy themselves free from their oath by paying two hundred gold coins to the city. If a guard commits a crime, they are punished tenfold, so that being kicked out due to being a criminal doesn't become a easy way of acquiring free education. Guards serve until they die, but are moved to positions in the administration once they become too old to fight. Either they become scribes or simple assistants to the senate. Members of the guard who fulfilled their duty especially well may be rewarded with a pension, meaning they do not have to work anymore after having become too frail to do their duty.
They valiantly defend the city and are known for their great accuracy with the crossbow. A Blazlin named Korguk Trek is supposedly responsible for that. Thanks to their good equipment and their strict training, the guards are capable of even fighting off soldiers if need be. Being Treztown's one and only defense force, the entire population relies on them and they usually enjoy the respect of Treztown's citizen. Offensively, the guard is useless. They lack the logistics network in order to supply any sizable force for a long time far from home, neither do they have the structures that a proper army requires. Many outposts have been built along roads and near villages in order to ensure safe passage and trade within the realm.
Being a rather wealthy realm, Treztown has often relied on mercenaries for heavier work. Beast slayers and mercenary companies are commonly hired to take care of matters the senate does not want send the guard out for. Trezkul threatening villages or hordes of raiders ravaging the countryside are good examples for issues that would require the hiring of mercenaries. The guard is capable of defeating raiders if they attack the city itself, but it isn't too competent when it comes to taking them out in the wilderness.
Rich families like to hire their own personal guard to ensure their safety. Crime is everywhere and Treztown is no exception. Sometimes one needs their own bodyguard in order to keep thieves and assassins out. Treztown's guardsmen are good at keeping the peace or fending of invaders, but they don't have the time to keep a post in front of the homes of everyone who is at the risk of getting assassinated by their rivals. It is wiser to invest into one's own safety instead of relying on others. Rumors have it that the guard is also prone to bribery.
In comparison with its neighbors, Treztown has a very weak military. This isn't a surprise given that its only neighbors are large nations like the Gren Kingdom or the Sokan Empire. It could not hold its own for long in a war against either of the two and would require help from outside to even survive. Luckily, both nations despise each other and would not want that Treztown ends up in the hands of the other.
Since the guard is not meant for war and isn't very large, it's organization is nothing special. It is meant to ensure that there's someone who calls the shots and who will receive the complaints of citizens. It also takes a load off of the senates back, who doesn't have to ensure Treztown's safety anymore, but simply relies on the guard chief to handle it all. The guard is quite independent and sometimes even considered its own power within the city.
These are the ranks in the Treztown Guard:
1. Chief. The guard chief is in charge of all of Treztown's guards, be it inside or outside of the walls. He assigns guards and their captains to the districts and outposts. He also always has to act in Treztown's best defensive interest. Being directly below the senate in the chain of command, he acts as an advisor to the senators. It is easy to identify him as he wears a red badge with Treztown's rings in gold on it. The senate appoints the chief by electing one of the captains as the new chief. This prevents that someone who has not served with the guard can be in charge of it, which means that it is unlikely for the wealthy to ever own that position themselves, as they do rather not become a simple a guard.
3. Supreme Captain. Only when Treztown intends to go on a military campaign is this position filled, so there's an instance above the captains that may command whatever forces Treztown mustered to fight. Otherwise this position is simply vacant.
3. Captain. The amount of guards a captain commands over wildly varies. One could be in control of an entire outpost somewhere outside the walls or in charge of keeping a district safe within the city. In order to differentiate them from the normal guards, they wear a red badge with Treztown's rings on it, which are colored silver. Captains also take on roles such as quartermaster at the various guard barracks and armories.
4. Guard. The average guardsman wears no badge or anything similar, but is well respected among the law abiding population of Treztown.
Spears and more rarily swords are the weapon of choice for the Treztown guard. Their spears are just normal wooden shafts with an iron tip, which is enough to kill lin and injure beasts. Their swords are usually only handed to captains, but are of normal length and made from iron. For ranged combat, they possess heavy crossbows, which are purchased from the Firehorns or the various Blazlin crossbow-makers in the city. In times of war, the guard even receives enough money to buy armor piercing bolts with steel tips if required.
All guards wear the same armor. It consists of a scale torso armor, leather leggings, a leather tunic, and a helmet. Every bit of metal is made out of iron, as it is cheaper than steel from the Blazlin Enclave. The leggings are padded with wool on the inside during the colder seasons. Over the scale armor, they wear a green vest, made out of plant fiber or wool, depending on the season, that bears Treztown's coat of arms - the black rings representing the walls. Shields are commonly used by the Treztown Guard. Round shields make for good protection on top of the walls or in the narrow streets. Just like their vest, their shield displays the black rings on the green background.
Siege engines are not a rare sight in Treztown. Every bastion and tower features at least one, but they have been bought from Firehorns. They are bolt throwers of various sizes, ranging from small ballistas meant to take down flying kul and combat formations to large ballistas meant to break siege towers and other enemy war machinery. The latter often fires rock orbs instead of bolts, as they are much more effective at shattering wooden structures. Treztown would take a while before they are up to the task of actively sieging a city themselves. They would have to hire siege engineers and likely an entire army of mercenaries in order to be capable of such a feat.
All guardsmen are trained well in single combat, but they are not drilled to fight in large formations. In order to defend the walls and narrow streets, the guard is taught how to form short shield walls. They stab past their shields with their spears and swords in the hopes of fatally wounding an enemy. Urban combat is the only kind of fight the guardsmen are properly trained in. Houses and other buildings serve marksmen as hiding spots to attack from. These crossbow-nests can be quite terrifying to an enemy force which tries to push through the narrow streets into the districts.
The favored way to form a shield wall is the Spear and Bolt formation. Two or three ranks of guards stand close together. The first two rows wield spears and shields and the third row has heavy crossbows. While the very first row ducks low and keeps the spears raised, the second one just lowers themselves a bit and holds their spears over the row ahead of them. This creates a barricade capable of keeping enemies at bay, so the third row can shoot bolts at the enemy - either over or past the side of the heads of their comrades. When reloading, the crossbowmen can take cover behind the shields of the second rank. It is the only formation the guard knows, but has proven to be good at keeping walls and narrow streets secured. The cohesion among the defenders of Treztown is not good enough in order to block off the main roads in this fashion, neither is the formation thick enough to stand against a properly executed and coordinated shield wall.
The government of Treztown is actively taking part in diplomacy. It tries to have a constant diplomatic connection to all its neighbors and even far away nations like the Republic of the Zule and the Firehorns. The senate decides on diplomatic actions on its own, without asking the population. Even war can be declared after a single council meeting. Treztown has a few offices in its administration dedicated to keeping track of foreign relations and going ons in the neighboring nations. They are supposed to gather public information about other nations in order to ensure that Treztown is always up to date and can negotiate the best deals.
Relations with most neighbors of Treztown consist of peaceful trade. Only the Gren and Firehorns can be considered more than just trading partners, even if the Gren had (and might still have) plans to vassalize Treztown. Treztown in general tries to keep trade free and peace the norm. In the eyes of most senators, war is just a waste of lives, time and money. Caravans are supposed to fill the roads, not armies.
The Sokan Empire and the Gren Kingdom are the only direct neighbors Treztown has. Both are at peace with the city state and trade with it as well. It might appear peaceful and friendly, but the opposite is the case. The relations to the Gren are alright. It isn't hard to figure out that the king of the Gren would love to vassalize Treztown, but can't because then the Sokans might dare to try and force their way into the west. He and every king before him has always assured that they would honor the defense pact between the two nations, however.
The contact to the Sokans is rather tense due to the war they waged in the past. It is centuries ago by now, but the images of Treztown in ruins are still with the citizens and the Empire always dreams of expanding and fulfilling the mission the Sun has assigned them to. One can only wonder when the bronze legions will show up at the horizon once more.
Interestingly, one of the best trading partners and allies Treztown has is a Hightribe. The Firehorns trade various items to Treztown in return for grain and other necessities or even luxury goods. Most importantly, the Firehorns promise Treztown protection. In the past, the Firehorns fought on the side of the city state in the war against the Sokans. Nowadays, they still have a defensive pact with Treztown going and are paid for their promise in even more grain. It is also useful for the Firehorns to have a solid partner in the north. Despite its lack of a connection to the seas, Treztown is a good base for operations in the north.
The Republic of the Zule and the free city state have a good relationship. Aezkul approve of the overall peaceful nature of Treztown and try to keep a good contact to the city state, as it is a good place to find members of any species. Fortunately, the Outpost makes for a great way to keep in contact. Aezkul visitors often take word from the town to the Republic's council. Due to the hostility between Treztown and its biggest neighbor, the Republic does not wish to become Treztown's ally, fearing that it might drag it into future wars. They do allow trade between the nations, even if Treztown's merchants have trouble moving all the way there.
Nearby ravager packs are a curse to Treztown's villages. Sometimes they gather enough warriors and courage to raid villages. This is a rare occasion, but if it happens and ends successfully, it can lead to a whole series of raids. Often the guard has to set out to annihilate these unruly packs or mercenaries have to be hired to do the job instead. Although most packs aggressive, a few Wolshak packs have agreed to live side-by-side with Treztown. They even send merchants to the city to sell parts of the last hunt or herbs.
|Nation ▼||Relation ▼|
|Hoz Kingdom||No contact (friendly)|
|Rebel Kingdom||No contact (cautious)|
|Republic of the Zule||Peace|
|Riz Tribes||Mixed relations (peace - minor conflict)|
|Gren Kingdom||Defensive pact|
|Blazewhips||No contact (hostile)|
|Emberspikes||No contact (hostile)|
|Fireclaws||No contact (hostile)|
|Firehorns||No contact (hostile)|
|Flamewings||No contact (hostile)|
|Wolshak Packs||Mixed relations (peace - minor conflict)|
Western Defensive Pact (467 ar - ???): This defensive pact of the Firehorn Hightribe, the Gren Kingdom, and Treztown was shaped right before the Sokan Empire invaded Treztown's lands. Battlelord Aruk negotiated with the Gren Kingdom and managed to get them on board after a heroic group of mercenaries helped prevent a rebellion of the nobles. The pact basically says that the three partners will defend each other against any aggressions from the Sokan Empire. In 467 ar that led to the Firehorn Hightribe, the Free City State of Treztown, and the Gren Kingdom to form the Western Alliance and form one army, with which they waged war against the Sokans after they invaded Treztown. Nowadays, after more than three centuries, the pact is almost forgotten, but technically still active. The only reason the Firehorns bother defending the Gren and Treztown from the Sokans is because the Gren are the primary supplier of grain for the Firehorn Hightribe. Without the food from the Gren this hightribe would starve.
Free Trade Law: Treztown allows trade with anyone who is willing to peacefully exchange goods and is not embargoed by the council. Embargoed nations include: Hoz Kingdom, Hightribes (Except the Firehorns), and some aggressive Rizkul tribes, though it is hard to keep track of who is who in their case.
The general opinion of Treztown's direct neighbors is not the best. Especially the Sokans are disliked for the aggressions of the past and the fact that they allow slavery. On the contrary, people cannot deny the quality of their luxury goods and the rich eagerly purchase them from traveling merchants. As trade is a necessity to keep Treztown alive, the senate and the people cannot afford to hold grudges against the Sokans. Only the Firehorns are trusted as true protectors of Treztown, having served them well during the Sokan Conquest Spree and harboring no evil intentions. It really mostly depends on the background of the citizen what they think of others, however.
The Gren on the other hand are seen as old friends, although they might have bad intentions. Because of that, the citizens find it hard to trust their former ally. It is simply hard to believe that the greedy Gren king really only wants the best for the, in comparison, small city state. Gren products are liked because they tend to be cheap, but function just fine. Treztown's citizen have nothing against the Gren people. Most pity them for having to bow to feudal lords instead of being able to control their own lives.
Aezkul, thanks to the outpost's efforts and assistance, are seen as smart, kind and useful to have around. They've been a great help by curing illnesses and sharing knowledge, if for a price. Most of Treztown is very grateful to have them around and glad for the trade they enable with the Republic of the Zule. Treztown's few collector of literature have a very high opinion of the library in the Outpost and heavily encourage the exchange of knowledge with the wise Aezkul.
Treztown has almost no quarrels with any of the various tribes of the Riz-, Soz- or Truzlin. Only a few Rizlin tribes raid Treztown merchants who want to sell their wares in the jungle or the Zule beyond. If any of them manage to come to Treztown then they are welcomed and may buy and sell wares at their discretion. Some people in Treztown have a liking for the exotic appearing lin and readily approach them to converse with them. Any foreigner is usually treated well, if they behave well.
Treztown has a free market. The government barely sticks its noses into matters of the economy, especially since representatives of the economy often sit in said government. Most of the market is controlled by supply and demand; no prices are fixated. Only in dire cases does the government intervene. For example, the senate might decide to invest a lot of money in the equipment and land of grain framers if the population is starving or they might fund searches for important ores, such as copper and tin. In order to finance its servants and projects, the state does collect taxes.
Although the administration of the treasury is in charge of it, the tax system is rather basic. There are two kinds of tax-payers - landowners and non-landowners. The latter pays the same tax, regardless of income. This tax is set low enough that journeymen are able to pay it, since they have to. How high the tax is depends on what trade they pursue. Paying taxes makes one eligible for voting on senators, thus allows people to at least influence Treztown's politics a little. Landowners have to pay taxes depending on their wealth. Factors like how large the land they own is and what is build on it influence the height of the tax. Members of the treasury inspect the property a family owns, then assigns them the amount of taxes they have to pay for the upcoming seasons. However, this census is done every year, not every season and at different dates for each family. Landowners who rent their land off to others also have to pay a share of the rent in taxes. Foreign traders have to pay tariffs on their wares, in order to make up for the fact that they do not have to pay taxes. Even traders moving from the Gren Kingdom to the Sokan Empire have to pay tariffs, which is an annoyance to either of the these two nations, but it fills Treztown's treasury.
The black market is alive and thriving in Treztown. Many stores sell illegal goods under the counter, especially in the third ring. All kinds of things can be bought in this city, even the most lethal toxins and the hardest drugs. The guard doesn't even bother cracking down on the black market, as they often profit from it in the form of bribes or gifts. Not only illegal goods, but also illegal services can be purchased here. If one looks in the right taverns, it isn't hard to find assassins or thieves for hire.
As a nation which focuses on trade, it is necessary to have proper currency. The city has a mint, located in the inner ring, that produces three types of coins - pounds, shillings and pence. A pound is thick, square-shaped coin made out of gold. The edges of the square are rounded. Shillings are made out of silver and round in shape. Pence look similar, but are made out of copper. Ten pence are worth a shilling and ten shillings are worth a pound. Pence and shillings are the most common coins among the poor and the normal population. Only rich people are likely to acquire pounds.
Safeguarding the coins in their own homes is risky, so instead they are handed to one of the banks in Treztown. They will keep the money in vaults, protected by hired security personnel. Usually banks just hand out a document that has been signed by the bank owner, which proves that the person has a certain amount of money stored in the bank's vault. This amount continuously decreases, however, because storing the wealth costs fees. Not only that, but the banks also use the coin to invest into things, hoping to get more money in return. The banks keep enough money stored to be able to give money back to a few, but should all people come at once, then the bank would likely be bankrupt. Many trading companies offer their vaults as banks and use the stored money to buy large amounts of wares, then sell them somewhere else for a profit.
Guilds exist, but only in a very basic fashion. Their purpose is not to represent and support their members, but to simply keep track of all craftsmen within Treztown's territory. Every person who is an approved journeyman has to pay taxes, thus the guilds' main purpose is actually tax collection. Each trade pays a different amount of tax, depending on how important it is to the city. Artisans who produce luxury goods, like jewelry, pay the highest tax of all, as they earn much more than simpler craftsmen do. Only approved craftsmen may practice their profession. Producing goods without permission is a crime worth of many years in Treztown's prison.
Unfortunately Treztown is poor in natural resources. Tin mines in the south have stopped delivering tin years ago, but Hozlin keep digging deeper in the hopes to find more. The north still has iron at least, but not enough to cover Treztown's own needs. Gold and silver mines do not exist near Treztown, neither do copper mines. Wood is easily obtainable due to the various thick forests present. Clay can be found in pits near the large river and stone that is suitable for construction can be found in the various quarries in the south. Food-wise Treztown is self-sufficient; it doesn't require imports. It even produces a surplus of agricultural goods.
All known professions are practiced in Treztown. The majority of the population consists of farmers and only a small share lives in the city as craftsmen, merchants or other. In rural areas, people are forced to have basic knowledge of multiple crafts in order to be able to maintain their own items. Traveling merchants are essential to keeping the rural population supplied with tools, clothing and other items made by the skilled artisans that live in the city. Wandering smiths travel around with mobile forges in order to offer repairs for severely broken tools. Some villages may even have their own smiths and tailors. Common people may hunt, but usually kul hunt so much that the market for meat and raw hides is satiated.
Trade is a very important aspect of Treztown. The treasury and most people's wealth depends on it heavily. Caravans create constant traffic on the large roads leading from the Gren Kingdom to Treztown, where the wares are then loaded onto the cargo ships that sail the large river that passes by the city, so that they may sell their wares in one of the large imperial cities. Trading is a private matter and Treztown does not buy wares to resell them, usually. Anyone can become a trader, as trading companies do not have any monopolies or similar. Such companies do exist, but they are more like unions of traders who work together to increase their profits. Not working for one of them is possible, but might end in being taken care of if one proves to be serious competition.
Clay bricks and stone slabs are exported in large amounts to nearby cities that cannot be profitably be supplied by their own nations. Due to the small amount gathered in the mines, ore is not exported. All of it is refined by the skilled craftsmen and then sold to other nations. Blazlin-forged steel is renowned for being reliable and the best one can buy. The market in the east is entirely covered by the Firehorns, but the steel market in the Empire is not even touched by them because of the hostile tension between the nations. Merchants in Treztown take advantage of that and travel to the Sokans to sell various steel items and jewelry made by Blazlin and Hozlin to the imperial population.
Any grain surplus is sold to the Firehorns. Treaties have been put into place to prevent that the Gren Kingdom imposes tariffs on the grain meant for the Firehorns, so that Treztown's grain isn't much more expensive than the Grens' grain is. Having a high need for the grain, the Firehorns as much from bot sources as they can, but usually buy from Treztown first due to the good ties these nations have.
The most profitable trade route of the north begins in and is dominated by Treztown. After picking up steel from Treztown, the tradesmen move to the Sokan Empire to sell said steel and buy exotic jungle goods instead. They move back to Treztown where they either repeat the process, or they move onward towards the Gren Kingdom where they can sell the exotic luxuries for an even higher price. Since the Gren are at war with the Rizlin tribes, their wealthy families can't buy any of the jungle's exotic goods themselves. With the money they made by selling the luxuries, they buy iron and bring it back to Treztown and the circle begins anew. If imperial or Gren traders attempt the same, they have to pay the tariffs imposed on them when passing through Treztown.
Another noteworthy but unwanted export are the services that the shady figures in Treztown offer. The best assassins, thieves and mercenaries one can buy for money tend to come for Treztown. Gren nobles do not shy away from sending one of their underlings to Treztown with coin to find someone willing to take out their rivals or at least spy on their actions. Treztown is a trade hub as much as it is a hub for dubious services.
As mentioned in the subsection above, Treztown has to import iron in order to satisfy its own demand. There are iron mines, but they do not produce nearly enough of the useful material. Copper, tin and other metals also have to be imported as well. They are in great demand due to the various kinds of smiths living in the city. Apart from that, Treztown does not have to import any other raw material. Luxury goods are readily imported to fulfill the cravings of the rich. Imperial traders especially make a good profit by selling wine or exotic goods from the rainforest on Treztown's markets. Sokan smiths' skill with bronze is well known and many buy bronze in order to have their buildings or furniture decorated with it. Artworks from the imperial galleries are sought after by collectors and marble statues as garden-decorations are the new tend.
Soft drugs, such as alcohol, tobacco and plants from the jungle that only have a weak effect, are legal. Harder drugs, especially ones that have a strong effect on one's ability to assess a situation properly, may not be sold to citizens or used personally. It is, however, allowed to buy them abroad and sell them in another nation. This is supposed to prevent that criminal gangs use strong drugs in order to make others dependent on them and basically create an army of addicts. Poisons are highly illegal, but the black market for them flourishes in Treztown. Weapons may be freely sold on the market, but weapon and armor smiths pay a rather high tax, making these items pretty expensive. This has made an illegal weapons market a thing, where blacksmiths just pretend to only make tools but take commissions for weapons as well.
The population of Treztown is very colorful. Basically every kind of lin and also ravagers live within its borders and almost any kind of kul. Numbers-wise, Trezlin are the dominant species. Sozlin are the second largest group, closely followed by Hozlin. Truzlin are the rarest kind of lin in the city. The amount of young people outweighs the amount of old people, due to the high population growth and the constant influx of immigrants. Males and females appear in roughly equal numbers, as there isn't any reason for one of them to die earlier or be born more often than the other. Dents caused to the male side by past wars have long since healed. Just the city of Treztown alone harbors the astonishing number of ~50.000 lin, making it the biggest city in Threa. On all the land that Treztown owns as a state, multiple hundred thousand, but certainly way less than a million, lin as well as perhaps almost twenty kul found a home.
The literacy rate of Treztown is near 5% as only the rich, guards, and employees of the administration manage to acquire the necessary education. Most commoners do not need to read in their daily life. Kul rarely bother to learn how to write. On the contrary, Aezkul and Blazkul are literate in almost all cases. Schools do not exist in Treztown, instead the outpost and private teachers offer to teach how to read and write. Due to the low amount of scholars and the lack of a university, the outpost is the only way to acquire a higher education.
Iron and bronze are the highest form of metal available to Treztown, at least without considering what the local Blazlin smiths offer. How to gain iron from iron ore is an invention that spread from the west to Treztown and the commonly available material replaced bronze by now, as it is simply easier to find. Tin mines in the south running dry and the copper embargo of the Sokans further supported this development. Metal is used for tools, weapons, and armor. Treztown's smiths are not the most experienced when it comes to using modern armor and weapon making techniques, as they mostly focus on making simple scale armor, swords and spears. Tools that are currently in use are not the most modern by any standard, but they work just fine. The Blazkul Enclave is capable of producing steel, but does not share that secret with the rest of the city. However, they supply the Blazlin forge with steel, which means that steel tools, weapons and armor are in use in Treztown.
Among Treztown's own population, scholars are a rare sight. In most academic fields the city state is rather backwards and nothing is done to combat this. Even the war machines on the walls are purchased from the Firehorns. Only very few in Treztown are even capable of designing something like them. In medical matters, Treztown relies on imports from the jungle or even the Zule - which mostly come from the Outpost. Often elderly women know a few herbs for a small issue, but few can help when it comes to bigger injuries or severe diseases. Without the intervention of an Aezkul, most serious illnesses lead to death.
Influenced by traveling Aezkul scholars, the literate population adopted their script. It has become the most common form of written language in the entire city state. Merchants often learn how to read and write the Sokan script, too, because it is the most common script in the Gren Kingdom and the Sokan Empire. Public libraries do not exist in Treztown due to the low literacy rate and the lack of print. Any collection of books tends to be in the hands of wealthy, private readers, or the Aezkul Outpost, which has a rather large library itself.
Clay and wood are the most common building materials for normal houses. They set up frames made out of timber and then fill the holes with clay and woven sticks or thin boards. Thatch often serves as building material for the roofs. They are sloped to allow snow to slide down and rain to run off. Windows are uncommon in villages, as glass is not usually used a lot there. Small slits in the walls allow for fresh air and can be closed off with a piece of leather. In the city, windows become more common place, as do proper glass windows. The glass is thick and not very smooth, thus it often distorts the view. Within villages, houses are usually only one level tall and include a stable for animals, a chicken coop or a workshop. In Treztown the houses are built in an even sturdier fashion and often involve experienced carpenters. This allows them to build higher and thus shelter more people on less ground. It is common that townhouses include multiple families, one or two per floor, or have a workshop on the bottom floor while the owners and other families live in the floors above. No matter the location, the houses only have two rooms on average. One secluded sleeping room for the parents and a shared living room where the children sleep and where meals are cooked. The smoke of the cooking fire leaves through a chimney that is either built in the middle of the home or attached to its side. The middle chimney has the advantage of acting like a large heating pipe. Even if only the bottom floor is having a fire, the ones above will still have the warmth. Village houses just have a hole in the roof to let the smoke out. Furniture usually consists of simple beds or bedding made out of hay, stools, tables and a wooden box for belongings. Things such as couches do not exist in the homes of the simple people. Hooks on the walls, made out of wood or metal, are the best way to keep things put up.
Houses of wealthier people, like merchants or skilled crafters, are also half-timbered constructions, but tend to at least have a stone foundation and the walls are often covered in lime plaster to give them a prettier appearance than the earthy color of the clay. Their houses also tend to have more rooms. Interior walls are usually just made out of wooden boards, without the addition of clay and plaster. Instead of thatch, wealthier people prefer to use wooden shingles on their roofs. Windows are very common, especially in the higher floors, and often require a wooden or metal cross inside of them to keep them stable. The furniture may look fancier and feature some decorations, but it rarely includes more items than the ones mentioned under for simple people. Some can afford to have their bed sack be filled with furs instead of hay. Crafters always use the bottom floor as a workshop, be it for smithing, tailoring or other kinds of trades.
The richest people, landowners and luxury goods traders, can usually afford to have a mansion. Mansions are often designed and constructed with Sokan designs in mind. Clay is used for their walls, too, but usually in the form of bricks. In order to make these bricks, forms are filled with clay and then baked. For the roofs, they use clay shingles, which keep the warmth inside quite well. Marble is also a common building material for special places, like the entry hall or living rooms. Wood still is of great importance for furniture. In order to fill their homes, many rich people buy furniture from abroad or from carpenters with foreign roots that live in the city. Chairs or benches with padding (similar to a couch) make fine additions to a successful merchant's household. Light, in any kind of house, is usually generated with fireplaces or lamps that burn blubber or tallow as fuel. Often these are just bowls that have a wick sticking out of the fluid, but wealthier homes even feature proper lamps with a glass and metal cage for the flame.
Outposts that are build to allow the stationing of guards on the outskirts of the city state or to keep trade routes safe usually consist of a tower and a barrack. The tower often features a first floor that is made out of stone, to give it a solid base, which has a tall wooden structure build on top. Due to the lack of filling material, the towers can be rather windy and are not suitable for housing the guards. They purely serve as a high point to observe the surrounding area from. The barracks which house the local garrison of guards are usually half-timbered structures. An enemy won't have trouble taking them down, but that is not what they are made for anyway. The barracks consists the necessities needed to survive in a modest fashion. Beds, stools, a large table where the entire garrison eats and a hearth where the guards can make their own meals. Usually the barrack just has one or two rooms. Often a woman or two live in the outposts or nearby in their own house as well. They work for the guards and keep the outpost clean and cook the meals. Some might even work as prostitutes.
Treztown might as well be called Trezcitadel for it is one well constructed fortress. Featuring two rings of walls, with a third one in construction, it is not an easy task to assault it. Being built on flat, clear land, there are no terrain advantages for the attacker, but a very clear view for the defender. The walls are concentric rings, their center point being the cross where the north-south and the west-east road intersect. These roads lead to the four gate houses that are build into each wall. For more information on the walls, check out the Notable Structures sections.
Within Treztown's first wall, called First Ring or Inner Ring, live the richest. One may find a bathhouse and fancy inns here, as well as luxury stores and the Treztown Hall. It is a very clean place, thanks to hired servants and the basic sewage system laid out by a Sokan architect a few centuries ago. Getting into the inner ring proves problematic, as the guards are supposed to not let everyone pass. Only traders and landowners may enter it. They receive special permits which grant them entry. It is also possible to enter if someone with the permission to enter vouches for them. During an assault, the citizens are allowed to seek shelter within the Inner Ring, if the Second Ring falls.
The Second Ring is where the craftsmen, small trading houses, and guardsmen usually live. Here one can find modest and wealthy inns and Treztown's large market place. Banks, temples, guard armories, barracks and most workshops are also located in this part of town. The big streets and plazas are paved and clean, but the narrow alleys are often just dirt paths and they reek of filth. A sewage system does not exist in this part of town and people just pour excrement and dirt filled out of the windows onto the side streets. The districts are tightly packed with two or even three story buildings. To avoid fires spreading too quickly, districts and blocks are separated by wide roads. As a side effect, it allows most kul to easily move around within the city as long as they keep their wings to themselves. Most side streets and alleys are too narrow to allow a kul or similar entry, however.
Between the second and third wall live the poor and lawless. Many refugees found a place here in the past, when wars ravaged the north. Poverty is a large issue in this district because Treztown's government didn't know what to do with all the new people in the past and never bothered helping them; unemployment was high and people hungered. Over time, the situation improved by itself, but the problems of the past remain today. Brothels, black markets and shady taverns are a common sight here. The new wall and the improved infrastructure will make the area more appealing in general and is the first step towards finally improving the Third Rings situation as a whole. Outside and around the third wall are fields, villages and tree nurseries, as well as mines in the hills. There are also outposts and small castles at the borders of Treztown's lands.
The many villages that are build on Treztown's soil usually consist of just a few buildings. Most of them are houses, but some of them might be dedicated stables or shared bakeries where the entire villages bakes its bread. A few villages even feature a palisade to protect them from wild animals or bandits. The best looking buildings within those small communities are the house of the local landowner or religious structures, such as shrines for the Sun or similar. These villages are connected to the paved main roads with dirt paths that are wide enough to allow carts to roll on them. During the rainy fall, these paths turn into muddy pits that are hard to traverse with carts. Some villages have laid out planks on the paths to give them some stability. Apart from those villages and hamlets, there are a few small towns, namely Settler's Rest, Lumbermill, and Wheatville. Once there was also Freedom's End, but it was burned down prior to the Great War of the North by marauding soldiers.
In the ancient past, the two villages that Treztown grew from were both surrounded by palisades. Those were enough to protect against predators and small groups of raiders. The first stone wall was constructed relatively soon after the the settlement that was further inland grew close to approximately one thousand people, according to ancient texts written by the Aezkul. The city grew rapidly and with rapid growth came wealth, with wealth came the malicious interest of raiders and other nations. The council decided that a wall was a necessity for a booming city such as Treztown.
This wall was lower and did not cover a lot of area. In 263 ar, the rising threat of ravagers and marauding savages from the east made it necessary to construct a much better, taller wall. It didn't take long to build the wall that is nowadays known as the First Ring. Construction began in 264 ar and finished just 3 years later in 267 ar. The wall, just like the Second Ring that came after, was built 8 meters (26.2 ft.) tall and 3 meters (9.8 ft.) wide. Instead of a battlement, it featured a low stone wall on top of the wall walk. During the winters construction had to pause. It was built using shaped stone bricks, which made the surface a bit smoother if not by a lot. The wall surrounded the entirety of the town back then and offered enough space inside that everyone, even the settlers by the river, could seek shelter inside the walls if necessary.
To improve the safety of traders coming to and from Treztown and to be capable of spotting raiding parties before they come too close, the senate decided to construct three guard posts in 147 ar. One in the north, one in the east and one in the south. These were nothing more than simple wooden towers with a small barrack attached to them for the local outlooks. They weren't really capable of defending themselves, but their garrison was enough to assist nearby caravans if they are being robbed and they were able to warn Treztown from incoming threats many hours before the guards on Treztown's towers could. Just like the towers, the bridges they guarded were made out of wood. Simple but sturdy structures. A fourth tower was build in 151 ar, nearby the second southern bridge.
A few decades after the construction of the First Ring, the second Southern Riverwatch was burned to the ground by Wolshak raiders. It became apparent that it was necessary to fortify the Riverwatches and turn them into small strongholds. This happened in 301 ar. The wooden structures were torn down and replaced with strong stone towers. In order to make sabotaging the trade routes harder, the bridges were rebuild with stone as well. The guard garrison increased in size. Ten guardsmen at least have to be present at all times. The towers also received large warning fires, to be able to warn Treztown even on foggy or rainy days. Small compound walls were erected around the Riverwatches as well.
In ??? ar, after the Great War of the North, the senate found it wise to even further upgrade the Riverwatches. The bridges were replaced with draw bridges to allow the guard outposts to stall enemy armies and defend the bridges more easily. Apart from that, a thicker, higher wall was set around the guard barracks, that also includes the draw bridge itself, and the garrisons can be raised to a hundred heads strong during a time of crisis, but still is usually occupied by an average of ten guards. All of the towers were rebuild in a wider fashion to allow the employment of multiple small ballistas. Overall, the Riverwatches were turned into bastions. The last incident during which the Riverwatches were needed was when a Wolshak raiding party was trying to get over the Northern Bridge. Without a lowered draw bridge, the Wolshaks weren't able to get across without suffering from causalities from the plenty crossbow marksmen and the bolt throwers.
When the settlement that would later become Treztown was build, the town hall was nothing more than a big wooden house where the adult males of the young settlement held council about what to do next. It grew with the town it was meant to govern. It didn't take long before additional rooms had to be built and the council's hall gained additional space. It was rebuild in 101 ar to celebrate the constitution, and then consisted of a core building, that was made out of stone slabs, with a few half-timbered additions. It was basically a miniature keep. Only sketches made by Aezkul remind of that time. This building stayed for a long period of time until, even until after the First Ring was built. It was often expanded during its existence.
Later on, in 397 ar, an large fire took down the entire building. However, this proved to be an opportunity to create a much better town hall and they began the construction of a new, larger stone structure, which was supposed to centralize the entire administration and even the guard's administration in a single building. The first ring of walls was already up at that point and a second one was being considered. The construction of the replacement took until 404 ar. Nowadays, this structure still stands and it features barracks and an armory for the guard of the First Ring, a big room for the council, and a large plaza in front of the town hall for the town's population to gather and vote, as well as offices for the town's administration. The Treztown Hall's basement holds the treasury, food storages for the First Ring and the town's archive.
The current building itself consists of a single tower and two wings that have a 90° angle to each other. When one looks at the structure from a top-down perspective where north is at the top of their vision, the building looks like a mirrored L. Both wings are three levels tall, including the ground floor. The highest level is half-way build into the roof, thus more of an attic. While the northern wing is dedicated to the guard, the eastern wing is dedicated to the general administration. Council meetings are held within the tower, which features only one floor that is three floors high, thus it offers more than enough room for a few kul. A huge window in the north-eastern wall allows light to fall in and an entire kul could fly through, if they were willing to break the glass. The window is made from glass bricks, which do not allow more than a blurry image to come through. Every office features at least a single window, which means that both wings are basically covered in windows except for a few places, like where the armory of the guard is located. Logically, the armory features no windows to make breaking into it harder. These windows are not just holes but made properly from glass and have a few wooden crosses within for decorative purposes and stability reasons. Most of the internal structure is made out of wood, that includes the floor and walls. Usually senators, including kul, enter through the tall and wide double door that is the main entrance. All external walls, and even a few of the internal ones, are made out of natural stone bricks. The walls are rather thick in order to give the structure the necessary stability.
Clusters of houses were built outside of the First Ring just two decades after it was finished, but it wasn't until even bigger houses and important structures, such as temples and barracks, were build outside, that it soon became apparent that a second wall was direly needed. If everyone would have tried to seek protection during an assault within the First Ring, they wouldn't have fit inside. The Second Ring was planned to be a large distance away from the First Ring, so it would leave room to grow for many centuries, according to the original planners and the council. The costs of such a wall quickly made these plans worthy of the garbage bin, however, and instead the wall was constructed in a tighter fashion, still leaving some room, but not nearly as much. Construction began all the way back in 414 ar, but often the construction had to stop because funds weren't available to pay the workers required to put it up. Slavery has been illegal since Treztown's constitution, so that wasn't an option. In 459 ar only a quarter of the walls was build.
Once the Sokan Empire's Expansion became faster, the council reconsidered if it should really keep the construction on a low budget. They also made additions to the First Ring - towers, better gate houses, proper battlement, and war machines bought from the Firehorns. Those advances in fortification techniques were already implemented in the Second Ring. Each tower is very large, taking the shape of a 13.7x13.7 m (45x45 ft.) squares, but they are only 16 m (52.5 ft) tall. Only few of them exist, but they are all heavily armed with multiple small ballistas on the large flat top to fend off enemies from the air and a single large ballista inside the tower to launch rocks and thick bolts at enemy formations or siege towers. Due to the heavy weapons, large size and relatively low height, they more so serve as bastions than watchtowers. When 467 ar came around, most of the wall was finished and the additions to the first wall were done. Unfortunately the Second Ring was not finished when the Sokans attacked, so it couldn't effectively be used to halt the attackers. Protecting the breaches took a lot of lives. Another three years passed before it was completely finished, because of the destruction that the assault of the Sokans caused. Once done, the wall was an impressive sight, but the large amount of huts and tents errected outside of it by refugees and other migrants made it clear that even this wall is not going to be enough in the far future.
With the relations with both its neighbors being tense, the council decided that the only way to ensure Treztown's lasting independence was to make it an impenetrable fortress and keep up the good relations with the Firehorns. Thus a third wall was commissioned that encompasses a great area. Every house near the outside of the Second Ring and as some free land is going to lie within the Third Ring once it is finished, which it almost is. Construction began in 788 ar, but it has yet to be finished. The master-builder estimates that they will be done in 805 ar. Once the wall is done, Treztown's fortifications will rival that of the Obsidian Citadel. Another special feature of the Third Ring is the 4 meters wide and 5 meters deep moat that has already been dug around it. Draw bridges lead across the murky water filling it. The other two rings did not have a moat, which proved to be a mistake when the Sokans rolled their siege towers against them to storm them. It is also larger than the other two rings with a height of 10 meters (32.8 ft.) and features a square tower every 50 m (164 ft.).
When Trezlin started to expand further inland in the search of the new land, they traveled even further west, pushing the Sozlin out of the woods as they went. This happened centuries before the founding of Treztown, when Trezlin still lived in small villages and used flint for spear tips instead of metals. Fertile forests where hunting was good made some of the settlers stay between the mountains that split east and west in half, while others pushed on further east until they reached shore. The Sozlin there were better warriors, however, and were able to keep a grip on the shores, leaving the Trezlin to live in the forests.
The settlers who stayed began to tend to fields and keep animals around. Two settlements were founded. One of them was located right next to the nearby river, while the other was less than two miles away, deeper inland. Both settlements lived peacefully side by side each other and grew steadily. Due to the traffic from west to east and back, the settlements always caught wind of new developments on either side of the mountains. This ensured that Treztown never lacked far behind when inventions were made somewhere.
Kul and other beasts were a serious threat. Often fresh civilizations were annihilated by hunting Trezkul or packs of ravagers. Only thanks to their intelligence, their ingenuity and their willpower were the Trezlin able to keep their homes and expand their lands. The young civilization was even wary of the blue kul living in the mountains nearby - the Aezkul Outpost. Little contact existed between the Aezkul and the Trezlin villagers, as they attacked the giant creatures on sight. They were simply afraid of them. Soon enough, the Aezkul left in order to fight for their kingdom back home and were forgotten rather quickly, only mentioned in tales believed to be legends.
In the time shortly before this and during it, many larger civilizations formed. Kings and lords, who were naught but chieftains beforehand, made claims on land and subjugated those who did not want to give up willingly. Treztown's people remained independent, living in one of the stronger cities. People have lived in the area for centuries, even millennia, but it wasn't until 101 ar that the people of Treztown voted on a constitution to lay out how the people of Treztown should be governed. Many historians see this as the point where the nation truly began to rise. The first constitution was orally declared and kept. Basically, the people of Treztown had to remember the laws they laid out for themselves. This duty was done by the town elders Even before the constitution Treztown was ruled by a council of the landowners, which were the ancestors of the first people to settle in the area.
This changed just a few decades later, in 151 ar. The Aezkul founded their own republic just one and a half centuries ago and decided to move back into their old homes. Explorers were send out to inspect the shape of their old outposts. The one near Treztown was inhabited by a few gryphons, but those were quickly scared away. It didn't take long for a small Aezkul family to settle in that location. This did not go unnoticed by the scouts and hunters of Treztown. Although the people were wary, they decided to carefully approach the kul. After all, they wore armor and pouches, so the townspeople thought they must be civilized.
A small group of Trezlin, mostly consisting of hunters, went up on the mountain to talk with the Aezkul in their lair. They were received with friendly words, which they did not understand. Gestures were the only way the two species could communicate with each other for a long while before Aezkul finally figured out enough Trez to hold a conversation. They also taught the people of Treztown how to read and write, which allowed them to write down their constitution in Aez. The document still exists today.
Furthermore, a few minor wars were waged during this time. Surrounding Trezlin tribes and petty kingdoms were jealous of the advanced city state and tried to assault the city. Thanks to valiant defenders and a wall, the attacks were often repelled and Treztown send out its men to take over the tribes instead. Many tribes were integrated as villages into Treztown's area of influence. Outposts were constructed to keep the area secured and under the council's control.
- Treztown's Constitution (101 ar)
- Aezkul Outpost Reactivated (151 ar)
In the early stages of the Empire's expansion, Treztown was nothing but a small city. Over the centuries the Sokans expanded their empire, Treztown grew as well. By integrating nearby villages and small towns, it turned from a small town into a flourishing city. Many people migrated westward in order to avoid the Sokans. Some came all the way to Treztown. In the first half of this era, there was enough cleared land left for everyone and plenty of mines that required hard workers. Due to its greater wealth and might, Treztown became an important player in foreign politics. Neighboring kingdoms engaged in diplomatic talks with Treztown and ensured the trade between the two cities flourished and that their traders had safe passage towards the east, where other Trezlin kingdoms had formed multiple centuries ago. The Aezkul Outpost also became more populated during this time and the Firehorns who created the Blazkul Enclave arrived during this era, too.
Said Enclave was founded in 278 ar precisely, which was received as a worrying developed at first, because the Firehorns settled without asking for the senate's permission, but at least they didn't pillage surrounding villages. Just their presence was enough to scare the people of Wheatville into forming a citizen militia and gathering a small force together with the surrounding villages and Treztown's guard force to check out the in-construction Blaz Enclave. Despite having superior numbers and even a few local Trezkul on their site, the Firehorns met them without fear. No fight broke out, but instead the priest that came with the Firehorns, Zxorum, negotiated with the translator the guards brought. All went peaceful and Treztown began tolerating the Blaz Enclave's presense, as they brought a master of steel with them, that was going to build and run a smelter in the Enclave to supply Treztown with steel, as long as Treztown wasn't going to bother the Enclave with taxes or such. Of course, only Hozlin and Blazlin smiths are supplied and no other kind of lin is allowed to possess the knowledge of how to work or create steel, as agreed upon by the senate.
The earlier mentioned positive effects of the Sokan Empire's expansion soon turned bad from 458 ar on. The Empire, having acquired vast amounts of people and land during the last centuries, began to expand way more rapidly than it did in any of the centuries beforehand, because of the militant ways of Emperor Jurva the Conqueror. This rapid push in the last part of this age lead to massive amounts of immigrants moving to Treztown, especially because the neighboring realms that had taken the brunt of the past waves of immigration were erased by the Bronze Legions of the Sokans. Overpopulation and unemployment soon began to take their toll on Treztown. It became harder and harder to supply all these people with even the bare necessities. Raiding and plundering groups that ravaged the countryside of the city state made it much harder, especially because it made founding new villages and clearing land difficult. It reached its worst peak during 467 ar, when the refugees began to starve and became unruly and even Treztown's core population was at the risk of a famine, at least as long as grain was still sold to immigrants. Many joined the Sokan religion and became Servants of the Sun, because its priests handed out free food to people in need. The Gren Kingdom could have assisted, but the King had the borders closed to prevent that any refugee can arrive in his realm and cause the same issues. This also prevented traders from selling grain and other food to Treztown. Some historians argue that the Gren King wanted to starve out Treztown so that the senate gives in to vassalization, but so far no solid proof has been found.
Fortunately, Senator Ohhor Minekeeper hired a group of mercenaries to pacify the rural areas in the north so that grain may freely flow again. It was an odd group - Stalks-Two-Moons, a female Sozlin with a nasty scar on her chest, and Strongback, a Trezkul who belonged to the Sokans just a century ago. Both of them managed to pacify the northern region by wiping out the present bandits. This prevented the famine that was about to strike Treztown, at least it appeared so at that time. Documents later proved that the city had ample gain storages, but that an order from the senate kept them shut. They were supposed to supply the city during a long siege. It simply wasn't seen as necessary to open them, as long as only the immigrants starve but the citizens survive.
Despite the likelihood that the Gren King - King Bjorn - tried to starve out the Free City State to drive them to accept vassalization, Treztown began alliance negotiations. Battlelord Aruk, a lord from the Firehorns, represented Treztown while King Bjorn represented the Gren. Negotiations went sluggish, until Battlelord Aruk and his bodyguard helped fend of an attempted rebellion and saved Prince Ulfrid's life. Unfortunately King Bjorn died, but thanks to the efforts of Battlelord Aruk and his men, his oldest son was able to take over. His youngest son, Prince Bjorn II, was part of the rebellion and slain by his own brother as punishment for his crime. It would have likely been impossible to fend of the rebellion without the information gathered by Stalks-Two-Moons. She also risked her own life in order to protect Prince Ulfrid, allowing the line of the Scalecutter family to continue ruling over the Gren Kingdom properly, instead of having to hand the crown to Bjorn II., who was naught but a puppet for the actual plotters - the Vandellarian Duke and his family. Now, with Ulfrid crowned king, the Gren began to gather an army to march out to Treztown's defense.
They did not arrive before the Sokans did. Five legions, so around 25,000 legionnaires, arrived in the valley Treztown is located in on the Centday of the 7th Week of Fall in 467 ar, which also marks the beginning of the Great War of the North. Treztown refused to surrender, so a multiple weeks spanning siege began during which the town was utterly surrounded and blockaded by the Bronze Legions. Most people living outside of the still unfinished Second Ring panicked and tried to get into the city. Refugees made up the larger part of the people trying to get in. It caused a lot of overcrowding and many ended up sleeping on the streets, in the mud of fall. Soon disease and cold began to claim the first victims. Not everyone managed to get inside, a noticeable amount of people stayed outside of the walls for one reason or another. Soon enough the port area of Treztown became a lawless district, even worse than it was before the siege. All granaries in the town were stocked and firewood was present in great amounts, both were being rationed by the Firehorns, who had much more experience with sieges than the senate or the guard.
Sieges tend to cause a lot of tensions, even if the population is fed, warm and sheltered. Crafters run out of materials, farmers can't tend to their fields and people just have nothing to busy themselves with once everything that has to be fortified is fortified. It didn't help that many people were living on the streets, because citizens of the Second Ring weren't willing to shelter those that flooded the city once the Sokans came. Tensions between the different societal groups became apparent just a few weeks after the gates closed. Not long after the siege began, a group of senators that supported the Sokans were poisoned, with Sokan wine nonetheless. It forced the First Ring's wine store to surrender all of his stocks to the guard to be destroyed. Despite the losing their political figureheads, the cult of the sun did not lose the tiniest bit of the support they already had among the local Trezlin population. Armed cultists fighting against the city from within were a serious threat to the city. Wolshaks, gathered in a pack under an alpha named Murmo, stole the bodies of the deceased, be it executed criminals or people that died of disease and consumed them. The lin didn't appreciate the bodies of their dead beloved being eaten and were about to become violent against the purely carnivorous ravagers. Later, another problem arose as the refugees, who were tired of freezing in the mud at night, occupied a district. A Hozlin named Mohha, the leader of the rebellious refugees, refused any offer Ohhor Minekeeper made and preferred tossing people out of their homes over believing the senate, which has abandoned them before. There were many chances to break Treztown's fighting spirit through internal tension and conflict, but thanks to the best effort of the senate and Stalks-Two-Moons, Strongback, an Emberspike named Romirez, and supposedly a Truzlin named Kero Frostberry, most issues were solved and Treztown's fighting spirit was strengthened through their deeds.
After exactly 7 weeks after the siege began, on the Centday of the 14th Week of Fall, 467 ar, the Sokans assaulted the walls. Just a day before that, Battlesteerer Urzik send out the aforementioned four individuals to destroy the artillery upon a hill named Hero's Shoulder, named so after the siege to honor those that risked their life and carried Treztown's fate on their shoulders. They were successful and managed to destroy the entirety of the Sokans ranged war machinery - this hindered their assault capabilities greatly during the assault on the Second Ring. With the first wave of Sokans send against the walls, the Battle for Treztown officially began. They brought ladders, siege towers and battering rams. Many of their formations marched straight for the spots where the Second Ring wasn't finished yet in the hopes of breaking through there.
It took until the Postday of the 16th Week of Fall 467 ar, so a total of 46 days, until the Gren Kingdom's and the Firehorn's reinforcements finally arrived. Battlelord Aruk and King Ulfrid thankfully weren't greeted by Sokan flags waving over Treztown's townhall. They broke the siege with a rapid and strong strike, forcing the Sokan legions to retreat despite their numerical superiority. Unfortunately Treztown's entire Second Ring was destroyed in the fires the Sokans started everywhere once they realized that Treztown's allies are coming too close. Many died in the fires, but far more died defending their homes. During the siege, once the Second Ring fell, many of Treztown's inhabitants were captured and brought away to serve as slaves in the Empire.
Given that winter was coming, snow was already falling, the Great War of the North was put on a hold. The united army of the Gren Kingdom and the Firehorn Hightribe settled down nearby Treztown to prepare for a campaign in spring that was supposed to end the war as quickly as it began and at the same time force the Sokans to give up large swaths of the land they already conquered. Battlelord Aruk and King Ulfrid were both hoping that the recently conquered realms might begin rebelling against their imperial rulers if a foreign force assists them. In order to repay the Gren for their help, King Ulfrid demanded that Treztown musters at least a thousand warriors to assist in the upcoming campaign. Despite the extensive damage dealt to the city and the many people lost in the assaults, the Senate agreed to that, knowing that the flags of the Gren would fly over Treztown if they didn't.
(More to be determined.)
- Blaz Enclave Founded (278 ar)
- Great War of the North (467 ar - ??? ar)
- Siege of Treztown (467 ar, 7th Week of Fall, Centday - 467 ar, 16th Week of Fall, Postday)
After the war against the Sokans ended, a long time was needed to rebuild. The wars left most of the land directly east of Treztown ravaged and depopulated. These hard years were followed by an age of prosperity, because the Sokans, Gren, and People of Treztown traded freely with each other, thanks to the agreements negotiated in the Peace Treaty of Woodstead at the end of the war. The senate did not undertake any special actions during this almost three centuries long time frame and simply focused on the city's safety and growth. Roads were build, walls upgraded and reinforced, and trade heavily encouraged by lowering taxes on their own traders.
Nowadays Treztown is a large, wealthy city. It still has to struggle with issues like unemployment, crime, and the constant tensions with its neighbors. The unemployment problem is caused by the fact that many mines have ran dry, which increased the number of poor citizens drastically and made especially the Hozlin unhappy. In the hopes of finding more tin veins and open up more jobs in the dark shafts, they are trying to go deeper in the southern mines. A few of the Hozlin advice against it, being afraid to wake the horrors lurking beneath Threa, but that doesn't impress those that have to feed their families, or those that hope to get rich off new ores. By constructing the third wall, the senate is trying to at least temporarily give work to these people to figure something out in the mean time. Unfortunately such a project drains the treasury and Treztown can't pay as many mercenaries as it did in the past, so they've to rely on their own guard to handle any safety problems.
This shortage of capable warriors came at an unfortunate time. A drastic increase in ravager raids has unsettled the rural areas. For some reason, the ravagers are far more numerous than anticipated, and extremely vicious. Some fear that Treztown might have been heavily underestimating just how willing the Wolshaks are to fight, even against larger nations. Something must be encouraging the Wolshaks. The senate is investigating the issue, and has promised to annihilated any unruly packs. Part of the reason the Wolshaks got so riled up is likely that Treztown is also cutting and burning down forests to create farmland.