The peninsula of Caelon is divided between mountainous northern highlands and Mesa Cuna, a vast mesa desert stretching across the entirety of the southern part of the land, and onto the land bridge leading to the Southern Tribelands. On the southern edge of the more lush land, situated halfway between the Northern lake city of Gelgadongo and the Imperial capital Denegaz (also known as the White Walled City), lies the bustling town of Tarlia.
Firstborn of the Major Settlements
As best as we can tell, Tarlia was most likely the very first major ancient city ruins to be reclaimed after the land was cleared of the demons who inhabited it during the Age of Monsters. The settlement’s proximity to the White Walled City and location on the river that spans from the west to the northern part of the peninsula made it an ideal location for a settlement. Because of this, it became one of the most important early cities outside of the White Walled City, a key factor in the outward spread of civilization.
The city benefitted mainly as a major trade hub for many years, a link between the north and south of the peninsula that few other cities would enjoy. However, when Tarlia was conquered by the Warathi empire, the city suffered tremendously as relations between Torian-controlled Northern settlements and the Warathi-controlled South.
The Sky Seat & Arena
Although the city proper and all main districts are located entirely along the river on the lower part of the city, it’s worthwhile to note that there are two main parts of the city that are situated on top of the nearby mesa: the lord’s keep known as the Sky Seat, and the arena, where tournaments are held.
A remarkable double-staircase was carved into the stone side of the mesa by the ancient civilization that inhabited the site, which the new inhabitants re-used, along with some portion of the repurposed original architecture of the town below. The Sky Seat, which looms on the edge of the mesa with incredible views of the city, serves as the home of the lords and sultans who have lived there since the reclamation.
The arena serves as a multi-purpose gathering place for the dwellers below, the primary entertainment venue and tourist draw for the city. There was a time that nearly every day the arena was used for various purposes ranging from battles of champions, executions, bull fights, and even a theater for the local and traveling acting troups.
Since the economy of the city has fallen much since its hayday, the arena has seen less and less use for the enjoyment of the commoners. Now, the mesa that once brought many up serves as a stark reminder of the class divide in the city.
A Bastion for the War
Since the Northern Expansion of the Warathi Empire began, Tarlia has served as a primary base of operations for the war. The same connections that once made Tarlia flourish for trade now make it a vital strategic stronghold for the Warathi army.
Along with the sultan’s palace, the mesa now hosts an entire encampment where the machine of the war effort forges its weapons and strategy. Tradesmen gather to supply the army with arms and armor there. The high vantage point offers tremendous protection from any potential resistance from the North, a powerful tactical tool that has helped keep the North from attempting to move against the Warathi Empire.
Although the mesa has never been challenged in this war, it’s clear that as long as the Warathi forces linger here, a southern march on land would hardly be possible for armies from the North. No city offers more protection for the Warathi capital of Denegaz than Tarlia.