The great alliance of city-states that came together to found a new, people-driven form of government to escape imperialist tyranny
As Dhara is less of a strictly organized country and more of a loose collection of cities, the country's organization structure is quite unique - each of the country's cities are effectively city-states complete with their own rulers and laws that are bound together by The Peace of Eurykratides, also known as The Treaty of Halerae, which formally unified the disparate city-states of Dhara and officially formed the Dharan Alliance. Under this Treaty, the cities of the alliance vowed to defend each other, to not infringe upon the rights of their allies nor their citizens, to not go back upon their word, to uphold the common good and defend the public trust, and to vest power to govern the newly created alliance in a central decision making body.
- Demokration: The formal, central body of the alliance which is formally held once a month in the capital city of Halerae, in a grand arena known as The Demokration, crafted specifically for this grand event. On average each month, well over 100,000 citizens from all across the alliance make the trek to the city of Halerae to participate in the great process known as Demokratia("People-Rule"). To help aid in this great monthly migration, each citizen who cannot afford the trek who wishes to can apply to have their travel expenses paid for by the Alliance, to allow them to take part in their government. There are Six "Presidents" of this body elected by lot, each holding office one time only, who are responsible for organizing the proceedings and assessing the voting. Less formal meetings are held once a week in the same venue for those who wish to attend, but are by no means required - more held to discuss policies, local goings-on, and other minor matters.
- The Symhelē: A smaller governing body of no more than several hundred citizens(Varying from 300-700, rarely more) chosen from across the Alliance to decide upon and/or prioritize which topics are to be discussed in the Grand Demokration. In times of war or crisis, this body can make decisions without the Demokration needing to meet. The citizens that serve in this body are chosen by lot, serve for one year, and cannot serve more than two non-consecutive years. This body acts as the executive committee of the Demokration and supervises any administrative committees and officials on the assembly's behalf.
- Dikasteria: The third and final institution of the alliance, made up of two parts - the "High Court" based in the capital of Halerae, and the smaller "Low Courts" based in each of the cities of the alliance. Both courts are made up of around 500 Jurors - both courts are populated daily by adult citizens of the Alliance in the respective city in which they are based, chosen by lot to prevent "court-stacking" that once plagued older, more archaic Dharan Dikasterias. Serving alongside the daily-elected Jurors are the Archai - chief magistrates of the Dikasteria who serve as a guiding force and managerial entity for the ever-changing Courts, as well as the all-important tiebreaker. The Archai are chosen randomly and serve for one year each. In the Low Courts, there is typically only one Archai chosen to serve alongside the 500 jurors - though in the High Court, there are 5 Archai to compensate for the higher volume of the High Court's Jurors.
- The Kýklos: The smallest of the Governmental Organizations, this body is made up of 100 or less citizens that are put in charge of the all-important duty of safeguarding the alliance's most valued treasures. This body is filled in a revolving fashion from each of the Alliance's city-states, to promote trust amongst the Alliance's member cities and to prevent any one group from gaining control over the Alliance's shared treasures.
Societal ClassesBelow are the societal classes of the Dharan Alliance - though, because of the diverse nature of the Alliance, these classes may vary from city-state to city-state and as such are described only generally below as general guidelines.
- Landed Aristocrats: The landowning Elite of the Alliance, who own land and thus manage others who dwell and work on that land. Most notably, the leader or leaders of the City-States occupy this category, as well as the landed elite employed by some city-states and their leaders. In general, if one owns enough land that others occupy and work on that land, one lands in this societal class. They are granted full citizenship rights and a handful of minor "favors" as a result of their station, though the specifics of these rights varies wildly from one city of the Alliance to another.
- Middle Class: A category where the vast majority of Dharan Citizens lie. Those who are average in terms of wealth or standing, and who do not own enough land to be aristocrats and who are also not poor enough to be in the lower class. Was once much smaller before the social reforms which grouped foreigners and women into this class as well in the aftermath of the rise of Dahmunara Worldthrone. They are afforded full citizenship rights under Dharan Law and may participate in all layers of government.
- Lower Class: An increasingly defunct social class once reserved for foreigners and women, which has, through societal reform, become mostly a place for the economically poor and the disenfranchised. They are not prevented from participating in the Alliance government as a whole(Though some cities may have laws preventing those of the lower class from voting or the like), but because of their poor wealth they may not be able to afford to make the journies or pay the fees required to participate without governmental assistance. In general, a place for those who have fallen through the cracks.
- The Slave Class: While Dhara does not condone the practice of slavery, they have employed a simple rule ever since the country's founding which has endured in the decades and centuries since - "If one infringes upon the freedoms of others, one shall have their own infringed upon". Those in this class are sent here as punishment for crimes, most commonly - they do not have many rights under Dharan Law, but are closely monitored by the Courts and released into the Lower Class when their time is up.
The City-StatesBelow is a list of the City-States of the Alliance, and a short description of their history and/or local specialty.
- Halerae: The beautiful, resplendant coastal city of Halerae, which stands as the crown jewel of the Alliance - the largest and most beautiful of the Alliance's cities, it sits on a hill overlooking much of the surrounding waters and countryside. Its cities are decorated with beautiful marble, its hills decorate with beautiful pillared temples, and at the center of its all lies The Demokration, enormous arena built for the tens of thousands who come monthly to participate in the singlest greatest governmental wonder on the continent - the collective rule of an entire nation by its people. The people of Dhara are intellectual and protective of personal liberties, and are often philosophers, thinkers, scholars, and more as knowledge is made available to the public free of charge. However, they are not as skilled in wartime affairs as some of their neighbors - preferring academia and philosophy to actual battle.
- Dioscine: The second of the Alliance's "Ship Cities", Dioscine is the dirtier, rougher sister city of Massippia - whereas Massippia is known for its vast shipbuilding yards, Dioscine is known for its similarly expansive Shipbreaker yards which are said to be so busy at all times of the year tearing apart old sailing vessels, that they have not been seen empty since the city's founding centuries ago. A dirty, rough and tumble city known for being a more ample home to the criminal element of society, Dioscine is run by "Breaker Gangs" that stand eternally at odds with the city's "authority" - the Ourgeío Brigade which keeps a tense and tentative peace among the city's dirty, hardened citizens. Because the city handles such constantly massive volumes of ships to be broken down ranging from wood to metal ships, the city has developed a reputation as dirty, semi-lawless, and dangerous. Its people are brutal, untrusting, but highly protective of their individual liberties. As the saying goes: "No one can break something better than a Dioscinian".
- Syrenia: A quiet, peaceful city buried deep in the civilized areas of the south-western coast of Zheng-Kitar - it sees little in the war of strife or attack, and thus its residents live a peaceful, idyllic life under the rule of their popularly elected governor. Its culture shares heavily with that of the Qushu League of Free Cities, which it stands near the border of and sits as barely a stone's throw away from the League's capital Nsebu.
- Odinia: One of the alliance's great and mighty "War Cities", better known as "The Great Southern Citadel" - it serves as the primary "War City" that dots the southern border of Dhara, though because the Alliance has good ties with the Qushu League of Free Cities the city's residents are not as experienced with active war as those of some of the Northern War Cities. Instead, it is a city of immigration and trade which also stands in defense of much of Dhara's eastern and southern borders, handling mostly monster attacks and wild bandits and monsters than actual foreign militaries.
- Laenos: A rich, aristocratic city which is the Alliance's single largest producer of Wine. Its vineyards are the stuff of absolute legend, and are said to produce the finest of wines and sweet spirits in such plentiful quantities that many claim that the residents of Laenos do not drink water, but instead drink wine which flows in even more abundance than water. It is a city of riches, and the gap between the rich and the poor is perhaps the widest of any city in the alliance - its people love pleasures and vices of all kinds, and are particularly sensation-obsessed.
- Kossos: The sister-city of Laenos, Kossos is one of the Alliance's other large producers of Wine - with expansive vineyards and rolling hills, Kossos is a more laid back and less aristocratic version of Laenos. Thanks in part to the city's access to the Tianzhao River, the city has an enormous exotic and foreign influence to its culture, and deals heavily in exported goods shipped downriver from Axiom. Its markets are awash with all kinds of exotic smells and tastes, and the city's residents are thoughtful and knowledgeable from all the exotic spices, materials, and goods that pass through the city's streets and markets. Before the formation of the alliance, the city was so close to Axiom diplomatically that it was supposedly debating accepting Axiom as its parent nation and becoming a vassal state.
- Massippia: One of the alliance's two "Ship Cities", Massippia primarily makes its money off its shipbuilding yards in which over half of all the ships in the Alliance's navy are constructed. Its people are craftsmen to the core, and are extremely skilled in shipbuilding and all of its similar crafts such as whittling, woodworking, ropemaking, and more. Often referred to as one of the great working cities of the alliance, Massippia's people are practical and sturdy, and are extremely at home on the sea in a blend of militaristic and trade roles on the open sea. Many citizens of Massippia have ships for personal use which they often use for all sorts of personal recreation, while others make use of the unique "houseboats" said to have originated in Massippia's dockyards long ago.
- Pyrgone: A rustic city safely nestled in the heart of Dhara's lands, Pyrgone was once a mighty War City, but over time has become a sleepy home for much of the Alliance's elderly and retired - its relative safety from monster attacks and foreign militaries has given it the unflattering nickname of "The Soft City", as it primarily deals in lumberjacking the nearby forest it borders. Its people, primarily the old, the retired, and those looking for peace and a retreat from the more hectic world outside. More insidiously, it is sometimes referred to as a place where one goes to to disappear, as its many marble quarries and mineral mines are constantly churning in new and spitting out old applicants.
- Tripides: A city of craftsman and coastal trade. Tripides is primarily an oceanic trade city, gathering oceanic resources from its vast fishing fleets and trawler navies which are deftly shipped all across Zheng-Kitar. One of the few cities that has the ability, manpower, dockspace, and resources to survive The Gāngtao Migrant Fleet coming to roost within its expansive harbors. So vast even are its ports and docks, it is rumored, that the city once successfully endured a visit from the enormous Bushūbunáo, Capital of the Migrant Fleet. The city is also a popular staging point for expeditions out into the Isle of Yema and the islands to the west of the Alliance.
- Solyntium: A quiet city that has a large population of Elves of various breeds and Half-Elves, due to its close proximity to the Elderwode. A trade city that makes a majority of its money in taxes levvied against those that pass through its walls, as it is a preferable route along the great North-South highway of Dhara to Kamarnassa, which many avoid unless they have a reason to travel to. A city of wealth and riches that has maintained a sleepy, quiet atmosphere since its days as a small border village. Its people are not entirely insulated from the threat of Narixian invaders from the north, but their distance from the alliance's northern front has turned many of the city's citizens into hunters, scouts, rangers, and the like who make frequent excursions outside the city. Its people, as a result, are very self-reliant survivalists.
- Kamarnassa: The Great Academy city of the alliance, built upon one of The Seven Wonders of Zheng-Kitar known as "The Great Library of Kamarnassa". A great city of learning, scholarly pursuits, academia, and even magic. A city of wonders through and through, which is said to contain all knowledge of past and present - while it has many perks to encourage travel to it, not many wish to go here unless they have good reason, as the Great Library of Kamarnassa that lies beneath the city is the target of countless unsavory rumors. Rumors abound of the city's scholarly elite, a supposed magocracy of some kind, and the deadly politics that wrack the city's inner circles.
- Mysthios: One of the alliance's great and mighty "War Cities", better known as "The City of Mercenaries" - home of all things mercenary, from bounty hunting to monster hunting and more. Residents are required to serve in the town's military at a young age and are encouraged to branch out into other militaristic duties as an adult. From this city, great expeditions into the Elderwode are made, grand armies are raised, and in the city's chief export, mercenary armies are sent to other cities of the Alliance to support their own defense or to train that city's troops. If Eubedon is the Alliance's great city of defense, Mysthios is its' greatest city of strategy, attack, and offense.
- Eubedon: One of the alliance's great and mighty "War Cities", better known as the mightiest city or "The Fortress City". Constantly skirmishing with Narixian Clans as it stands on the northern border of the Alliance, and has such been hardened over time into a militaristic bastion-city where all aspects of life revolve around defense, war, and survival. Its people are tough, rough, and brutal - constant battles against The Narixian Empire have hardened the entire city and its people into a lethal edge. However, there is no greater city of camraderie in all of Zheng-Kitar - the bonds of the people of Eubedon are great, so great that a Eubdeonian would easily give their life to save a treasured comrade without a second thought, making them steadfast allies and incredibly loyal friends to those who can earn the trust of these hardened soldiers.
- Solyros:Formerly one of Dhara's great "War Cities", though it was conquered some centuries ago by The Narixian Empire - the aftermath of this conquest and the subsequent failure of the great Solyrosian General Eurykratides to retake the city led to the forming of the Alliance as a whole.
The culture of the alliance is hugely varied - any given citizen's culture depends heavily on the city-state in which they grew up(Described above), but a more general overview of the Alliance's culture can be found here, in the Dharan Ethnicity.
The alliance has a very isolationist agenda - they wish to safeguard their own liberties and advance the causes of freedom, democracy, and scholarly pursuits of all kinds. It is only recently that they have begun taking a more active role on the world stage.
Though the histories of the individual city-states of the Dharan Alliance stretches back even further, the history of the Alliance begins in the year 4238 ASK, when The Narixian Empire waged a lightning war against the city-state of Solyros, taking advantage of the spoken pacts and thin agreements among the city-states to conquer the incredibly militaristic city of Solyros before the city's allies could agree on a proper response. In the wake of this sudden aggression and the efforts and the subsequent failure of the great Solyrosian General Eurykratides to retake the city(Though it successfully halted further Narixian aggression), the city-states of modern-day Dhara came together and realized that to endure, a change would be needed - as it stood, they were too disorganized and scattered to form a proper defense if attacked by a full nation such as The Narixian Empire. In the wake of this tragedy, The Peace of Eurykratides, also known as The Treaty of Halerae, was formed which officially formed The Dharan Alliance and codified the nation that would rise from the scattered cities of the lands of Dhara.
Demography and Population
The land of the alliance was settled by a combination of settlers fleeing east to escape Imperialist Oppression and a handful of native barbarian tribes, mixing and merging over time and conquered piecemeal through the efforts of Reina the Broken during her mortal life, as she secured much of the land the modern-day alliance now rests upon. They have recently lost the city of Solyros to The Narixian Empire, but they have since held their ground.
The Dharan Military is an odd thing - each city-state fields its own militaries, and as such their organizational structure is too varied to be noted here. However, as the city-states have made pacts to defend each other, their militaries loosely combine together to form one cohesive whole as needs dictate. Some city-states are better at war than others, but in general the military of the Alliance is reactive rather than proactive, unlike the military of their northern neighbor The Narixian Empire - though they are by no means helpless, as their navy is one of the strongest in all the world.
Most all religions are welcome in Dhara, though that of Eurystheus the Boatman is the most common and widespread.
Agriculture & Industry
Dhara's wineries are its greatest industry, though its marble quarries and silver mines are also huge industries - otherwise, its incredibly varied nature means that most all things can be found in some quantities depending on the city-state in question, as some specialize in shipbuilding, shipbreaking, while others in war, battle, tactics, mercenary work, and so on. On the whole, Dhara is a blend of agricultural and industrial power - while its disjointed nature may be seen as a weakness by some, the fact it is so spread out across the city-states also grants the nation huge flexibility and self-sustenance in regards to its resources.
Trade & Transport
Transport within the Alliance is done overseas if possible, through the Alliance's vast navies, but when done overland is done through the Alliance's passably maintained roadways of dirt and stone.
Dhara is quite legendary for its educations, public schooling systems, and freedom of information - libraries are open to most all citizens during respectable daytime hours, and to the common citizen they are often made available such a vast wealth of resources that they can easily be appalled when travelling to less fortunate countries or less developed ones where citizens are kept on a tighter informational leash. Dhara's policy is best described by the following quote from an esteemed Dharan Philosopher:
The secret of freedom lies in education. The tyrant cannot stand above an educated people.
Freedom or Death
Dhara, The Alliance, Wine Country
The Dharan Alliance primarily uses the "Drachma" as a form of currency - a unique silver coin stamped in Dhara using its vast reserves of silver and other mineral wealth. This coin is exclusive to Dhara, and though similar is not comparable to the "Silver" coin of the Three-Coin System - namely, because the "Drachma" is more valuable than its more mundane counterpart, in both material and fiat wealth. The secret to the Drachma lies not in how impossible it is to know the methods of forging or stamping it, but in the material used to make them - Dharan Silver is hard to find outside of Dhara, and Drachma made out of normal silver are relatively easy to spot to most eyes. The Drachma was created out of neccessity when the Alliance formed, unifying the nearly 14 different currencies of the City-States into one unified unit. However, Dhara does accept a wide range of currencies in trade - namely, the "Note" from Axiom, City of the Great Game and the Saltsheet from The Gāngtao Migrant Fleet.
Shipbuilding, Shipbreaking, Wine, Marble, Silver, Philosophy, Pottery
Military Might, Glass, Tin, Copper
The Demokration is the legislative body of the Dharan Alliance - a monthly gathering of more than 100,000 citizens held in the grand Demokration arena.
The Dikasteria is the judicial body of the Dharan Alliance, with courts placed in each city and the High Court in the capital - the jurors are chosen daily by random lot to serve the courts of the cities of the Alliance.
The Symhelē is the executive body of the Dharan Alliance - the august body of of several hundred citizens meets to focus the decision making of the Legislative body of the Alliance and to act quickly in times of emergency.
Dhara and Qushu are excellent allies and strong neighbors - as Dhara heavily influenced Qushu's democratic government and both countries staunchly support freedom and people-driven government, they are natural allies who have recently renewed their vows after Siwatu Kalejaiye rose to power in Qushu and drove the previous Tyrant out of office, renewing the two country's ties in a grand ceremony.
Tense but Close Allies
Though many coastal nations fear and even come to despise the arrival of the Migrant Fleet, likening them to locusts that drain entire areas of wealth and resources, the lands of Dhara are one of the only areas that has maintained good trade ties with the Migrant Fleet and welcomes them openly and honestly - their ports are some of the most expansive in all the world, and as such they welcome the ships of the Migrant Fleet wherever possible. So tight is their bond, that the Dharan city of Tripides stands as one of the only, if not THE only, coastal city to fully allow the Bushūbunáo, The Salvaged Supercarrier, to dock within its harbors and not bankrupt itself in the process - a testament to the brilliance and efficacy of the city's tradesman and harborworkers.
Hostiles in a cold war
Dhara and Narixia have been at odds ever since they came into contact - Narixia's policy of aggressive expansion through military might to prove themselves in the crucible of war does not mesh well at all with the Dharan polocy of isolationist freedom. As such, they have been testing each other constantly ever since the Narixians managed to take the city of Solyros - the act which set events in motion which would go on to found the Alliance as a whole.