The Great Wall
Purpose / Function
Built during the decline period of the Aeillan Empire, the Great Wall was originally intended to protect the frontiers of the Empire from Aarumites and Huriens living in the Hurien desert. As times have changed, the overall purposehas shifted a little, but essentially remained the same, with the Aarumites and Huriens having been replaced by the Terruk-Mal as the main threat, and with the Aeillan Empire having broken up, and maintenance of the walls having been put upon the successor states, primarily Iskandris and Apepsos.
In its current iteration the Great Wall is a stone faced wall with an earthen core, with watchtowers set up every five hundred meters, with a larger garrison tower every ten kilometers. Set a day's march apart are a series of larger garrisons, the castroi, which are small forts built to accommodate a Bandon sized force. The kastroi are fairly simple with a central drill square and facilities lining the outer curtain. Interspersed between the kastroi are the kastroi ritoi, which are larger and more complex with inner curtains and defenses within the fort itself. The centerpiece of the Great Wall is the Tyli Ordos, a vast fortification that is nearly a proper city in its own right, with two interior curtains each bisected by the central roadway. Wall Gatehouses are fairly simple in original design, but have been upgraded throughout the years with the simple gates having secondary gates, portculises, murder holes and other defenses installed. Watchtowers, garrison towers, and kastroi all have anti-air ballistae for defense against wyverns, dragons, and aerial cavalry, and cannons to help defend against ground attack.
There are several entryways through the great wall, entirely placed within the bounds of kastroi for the specific purpose of monitoring and regulating the flow of traffic into and out of Aeilla. These are guarded by fortified gatehouses into and out of a border fortification. The largest entrypoint through the Great Wall is through the Tyli Ordo, which is part of a (mostly) paved highway between Terruk-Mal, and the Aeillan Successor States.
Hazards & Traps
Near most parts of the Great Wall, there is a small secondary wall that while not defensible, is intended to slow down attackers, and open them up to missile fire. Rows of stakes between this secondary wall, and the main wall, in front of it, or placed in a double row in front of the main wall in less developed sections, are intended to similarly slow attackers down, but also to kill incautious invaders. The most hazardous parts however of the Great Wall can be found in its gatehouses, in the event that they must be defended. Someone attempting to transit the gate by force must contained with boiling water, rocks, and arrows dropped upon them from murder holes, while trapped between the gates.
The Great Wall has been enchanted by mages many times in its past, the oldest and most foundational of these was the in protecting the structures from earthquakes, these wards were part of the rituals used to raise the original earthen cores of the walls, and have served the wall against such damage for nearly eight centuries. Antimagic wards have also been placed on many sections of the wall in an attempt to prevent spellcasters from circumventing the walls with flight. The most recent magical imbued on the wall, at least in the Peptid sections, was the use of stonewall wards placed in gatehouses, sealing them in the event of forced entry, and turning the gates into more wall.
Over the history of the Great Wall it has been periodically upgraded and changed to better meet the needs of the time. The initial, clay brick wall was one of the first things to be replaced with a polished stone facing, and reinforcement. When the Aeillan Empire, and its centralized military bureaucracy collapsed, a lot of sections of the wall went unmanned, and as a result further modifications were made to reduce the manpower required to guard the wall fully, with several smaller watchtowers installed to serve as resting points for guards, and to decentralize the garrisons away from the larger Kastroi into into smaller scattered posts needing only a handful of men in the garrison. The last major modification project was the installation of cannon, and in some places, arcane flamethrowers, in many parts of the wall to greatly increase the firepower of the wall to dissuade increasing Terruk attacks.
As the Aeillan Empire went into decline during the Late Imperial, it lost nearly all of its territory and influence in the northern Hurien Desert. As a result, the northern frontiers of the core of Aeillan Civilization came under threat of attack by the Huri people, and the Aarumites, both of whom would raided into territories surrounding Iskandris frequently. An initial wall was constructed over the course of the early 4th Century AE. This first wall, largely of clay brick and earth, and raised with the assistance of several mages. Minor, stone fortifications were installed within a days march of each other, a few larger forts were constructed as well, and the centerpiece, the Tyli Ordos was established as the main gateway between the nations. These early fortifications were broadly effective, though many sections of the wall were destroyed by digging teams, resulting in the replacement, or augmentation of earth with a weall of polished stones. When the Empire collapsed, there was a time when the walls went largely undefended triggering an upsurge in border raids against the outlying regions of the empire. The Exarchate of Apepsos and Exarchate of Iskandris, once their economies had recovered somewhat from the Succession War, established a series of smaller watchtowers are shorter intervals and reduced main fortress garrisons. Spreading out the garrison did reduce the frequency of raids in the short term, though a few large, well organized raids broke through smaller garrisons. An agreement was made between Iskandris and Apepsos to patrol the wall jointly with the boundaries between the two respected. The Tyli Ordos was ceded to Apepsos, and joint patrols were carried out in nearby areas. The Aarumites were displaced by the the Terruk in the Reforging Era, replacing small bands of raidiers with an organized and dangerous expanding state. Several battles were fought over the walls, and though the Terruk never broke completely through, the casaulties incurred repelling them convinced the Peptids and Iskandrians that upgrades were necessary. Cannon and flame projectors were installed to defend against the increasingly dangerous Terruk presence in the region. Gates were greatly reinforced as well, with magic wards cast to seal the gates in stone if necessary.