Rise and Fall of Arela
Ceres is one of the more powerful city-states of Arela and is situated to the Northwest of the port city Shivar. It is connected to Shivar by one of the Great Causeways, ancient roads that are found around Arela and typically connect the ancient great cities to one another. Ceres, like almost all of the cites of Arela, is founded on the ruin of an ancient Arelan city, resting on a vast plain north of a great mountain range. The city is said to be the best preserved of the Great Cities of Arela, with almost all of its original infrastructure and construction intact. The most impressive of these are the fully functional original Arelan siege walls that surround the city in layers, the outer most encompassing a staggering 3000 square miles of territory. This outer wall encompasses so much land that it is never fully manned and many of the gates are always open. The siege walls of Ceres are in perfect condition, with no unoriginal construction needed to protect the city. Not only do the walls stand as though just built, they posees similar properties to the Shivar Docks or Great Causeways for the soldiers that stand upon them. This has given Ceres the reputation as being the best protected city of Arela.
Ceres, like most cities of Arela, has compulsory military service for all citizens and residents. For many this service takes place on the walls or in small patrol units around and in the outer wall. For some this service may take the form as a tour with the Order of Alion, which has by tradition counted as fulfilling the compulsory military requirement, or a tour at the North Fortifications, a line of ancient forts to along the North Causeway that are typically manned and patrolled by forces from the greatest of the Arelan cities. Typically Ceres has the larger number of forces at North Fortification than any other nation.
Ceres has been ruled by hereditary monarchy since its founding by General Lucius Cerris, leader of the Army of the North Road who named the city Ceres after its taking after his House, crowning himself High Lord. General Lucius and his Army of the North Road were a massive group of predominantly human warriors from all across Mareata drawn to Arela by tales of the discovered great city down the ‘North Road’ (the then-name for what would be known as the Ceres Causeway). Scouts down the North Road who were able to evade the hazards and violent native tribes told tales of a massive great city with massive open stone walls that the dead would not cross. However the city was surrounded by a sea of undead, and filled with unpleasant and barbaric tribes of goblinoids, orcs, and other monstrous creatures in a constant struggle for dominance and resources with one another. All forces of substance attempting to reach the city via the road had been destroyed, with only small scouting and prospecting groups having laid eyes on the city. Lucius Cerris raised an army in Mareata to “liberate and take” the city, gaining support from Mareata monarchs via the promise of riches and relics from the old world, and support from divine orders, greatest among them followers of Alion, with the promise of purging the evil presence from this once beautiful bastion of civilization. Lucius lead his army from Shivar down the Great Causeway and engaged the sea of undead about the city, taking its walls in a bloody mutli-year campaign. During the fighting it is said Lucius went off with a small group of his most trusted men and returned weeks later alone, bearing the blade Light Bringer which he claimed was a ‘gift’. Through impressive feats of leadership and battle, he was universally accepted as the monarch of the city once it was officially established as a permanent settlement.
The city was being established before the sea of undead about it had been entirely eradicated, and hence the Order of Alion was formed with the task of purging the undead presence from about the city, were as the remaining elements of the Army of the North Road began to fortify and defend the city walls and establish a proper settlement.
Within the city was found a wealth of ancient artifacts, not least among them a trove of ancient Arelan Weaponry which largely financed the establishment of the now flourishing city. Ceres now is the chief producer of weaponry and machinery in Arela, with Ceres smiths widely considered the best in the whole world. The massive area within the outer walls also makes it ideal for agriculture, as there are large pieces of fertile land protected within the outer walls. Agriculture and metalworking are the primary export of Ceres. Several mercenary and warrior guilds and orders also call Ceres their home, providing a large base for protective services or bounty hunting to be offered as well.
Legally the institution of slavery is legal in Ceres, but is not often practiced other than those who sell themselves into the institution for training or financial reasons, and is rarely if ever permanent.