The Myralian Caestra
The Myralian Caestra
In the great nation of Myralis, the Myralitae word Caestreum, or Caestra for plurarity, is a term used for a plot of land serving as a fortified military camp.
Different types of Caestra can be distinguished by their Caestreum identification: Larga Caestruem, Patita Caestruem, Incessa Caestuem, or Taempus Caestruem. The word Caestruelem applies to miniature forts, smaller in size than a Patita Caestrum, often consisting of one important building.
Description and History
The Myralian Caestruem is a fortification designed specifically to protect and house the military units within, including their equipment and supplies during periods of peace.
Caestra were constructed often during The Blood Ages, most notably during the Yellow Wars. Most frequently, Teampus Caestra were constructed. The “Blood Age Woodfort” was a notorious fort built during the Yellow Wars, most known for it's immaculate size, as well as it's success in assisting the push onward into Dyndi land. In “Of Blood and War of the Dyndi”, Author Demitrius Claudius writes in detail the necessities of design for the Myralian Caestra, specifically focusing upon Blood Age Woodfort for as example. This manuscript, however, was lost during the Patka revolts, only to be slowly reconstructed with many inaccuracies over the following decades. After the Patka Revolts, the design of the Myralian Caestra changed dramatically.
The Myralian Caestra is constructed most commonly during time of peril, most notably during the Yellow Wars. During that period, many Caestra were constructed, and few have remained into present day as bases of operations. Caestra were never constructed until land is properly conquered. After the conquering of new land, Myralian soldiers of the Order work quickly to wall their camp, immediate fortification from the enemy. This, however, cannot be done until the land has been appropriately leveled. Soldiers by the plenty, shovels in hand, work tirelessly to level the newly claimed land. After the construction of fortified walls stand upon leveled ground, a parade of marching units travel by column to the new Caestruem bearing equipment and supplies by wagon and upon their backs. Among the first building constructed is the warehouse, in which building material, weapons and grain are stored to supply the soldiers during construction.
Heavily dependent upon the location and the size of the camp, a Myralian Caestruem is often completely within hours of beginning. As the ultimate responsibility of highly specialized Myralian artisans, the artisans requisitioned material and labour adequately throughout the camp. The camp is often constructed with plans specialized toward the projected amount of time the camp is expected to function. Many were built as temporary camps, or Taempus Camps, only being built to last for just under a week. However, many last for decades, even centuries if deemed necessary. A prime example of an age long Caestruem would be the Fort of the Dragon, constructed in the first few decades of the Glory Ages, lasting until present day as a base of operations. The Fort of the Dragon is located in the capital, Dragon's Crown.
Permanent camps are usually built upon Taempus camps, of which are initially constructed of local timber. Gradually, soldiers replace old timber with more permanent stone buildings. DUring periods of great weather hostility, such as the winter solstice, soldiers retire to more developed stone structures such as the barracks. The barracks were among top priority when constructing a permanent camp.
The Caestra are important to the Myralians, as they allow them to remain rested with a plentiful supply of food and material. As opposed to other forces such as the Dyndi, the Myralian Caestra gave the Myralian people a great edge, as the Dyndi did not have such organized encampment, and would have to disperse after a fight.
During the Yellow wars, more permanent Caestra became more common, with the use of timber dwindling and transitioning into the use of stone. Prior to the Yellow Wars, attacks were minor and tribal, able to be withstood by small battles and temporary camps. After the yellow wars, Caestra of varying sizes were established. Many of these Caestra became permanent settlements for the Myralian people.
Plan of forts
Sources and origins
As cited in “Of Blood and War of the Dyndi”, Myralian Caestra were once contructed in a strongly particular matter, and in the case of the Blood Age Woodfort, by very successful design. The camps were constructed by a specific pattern, ideal at the time. However, after the Yellow Wars, the terros of the Patka Revolts ensued, and during this time, the great descriptions of the manuscript were lost. Through great panic and severe loss of the Myralian people, the ancient knowledge was lost, and formally reconstructed in new matters. The design of the Myralian Caestra was dramatically altered to face new adversaries during the Darken Reign that would later ensue.
The common design of the Myralian Caestra is that of a square or a rectangle, with the square representing smaller groups, and the rectangle for a greater mass of soldiers. The layout was specifically handled by leading officials of the Order, known as Menatoras, who measured the land appropriately to determine placement of streets and buildings. Most ideally, the process began at the center of the camp in planning, at which point would be the location of a tent acting as a camp placeholder. During measuring, streets would be marked with wooden pillars, other features such as buildings with coloured crates.
Modern Myralian cities can still see the trace of ancient Caestra within their streets and structures.
Buildings in Caestra are prepared by digging a symmetrical and leveled hole beneath the desired location. This whole is dug two meters deep. First, the lowest half meter is filled with gravel and malleable carbons, then filled with a sturdy composition of mud and sand. Once that layer is leveled and dry, 4 meters of stone are placed, with special spots removed for basement locations. Above the stone, half a meter of clay and mud. Lastly, the floorboards of the desired build. With the floorboards and the layer of clay, any necessary plumbing or heating works are completed.
Wall and ditch
Construction of a Caestruem, after the leveling of land, always began with fortified walls. A ditch would be created, in which soldiers will begin by shoveling out the land around the borders of the camp. The ditch often dug as far as nine feet below the surface, six feet wide. The materials gathered from the creation of the ditch, if applicable, would then be used as the lower fortification of the walls on the inside of the ditch. Over time, the fortification would be replaced with heavier stones, and the ditch would be turned to a moat.
The walls would be constructed as square or rectangle, measuring at a 10:4 ratio for rectangles. After appropriate measurement, the walls would be constructed.
The Caestra can often be divided into four even sectors with a road spanning north to south, and two roads spanning east to west, with a central plaza in between. At each end of the north to south road would be a gate, often inaccessible by simple means. At the southern end of the wall, stands the main gatehouse, from which most units would enter and exit from. The gatehouse is constructed after the completion of the wall from a gap that remains. The gatehouse most commonly stands at a 3:1 height ration from the wall. The gatehouse is protected by an iron or wooden gate at it's center, able to be lifted or closed from within the house. Outside the gate is a drawbridge, managed by a soldier at a post. Atop the gatehouse, room for soldiers to watch for attack at height advantage.
Streets and central plaza
Every camp included a “main street”, which ran through the camp in a north-south direction and was wider than that of a typical street.
The main street was typically used for marching and for officials. The principle of the street was the middle of the street, a space for parading and carriages of high officers. The principle measured approximately 9 meters. On either end of the principle, two smaller edges of the road, where common soldiers may pull wagons, measuring 6 meters. These are known as the Latussus. Toward the further end of the Latussus, the Acciassus. The Acciassus were a place for soldiers to walk among the edges of the main street, directly beside any buildings that may exist in the region, measuring 3 meters.
Along the main street, homes for higher ranking officers were on the east and west sides, just in front of the barracks and common housing. To the north of the main street, the building of the Supply Officer, to the south near the main gates, the Public Forum building.
At the crossroads of the two main roads, the central plaza. The central plaza was a place of social engagement, in which soldiers would enjoy their time off duty.
In some permanent Caestra, a canteen is formed often on the outside of the gates, though may be inside the gates as well. The canteen is a market that is created during peaceful times, fueled by goods provided by locals.
In every Caestruem is a Principia, a central building to the north of the main gates, sitting upon the edge of the crossroads of the principle. The principia is a crucial building to the Caestruem, acting as the governmental center for the camp. Within the principia, a courtyard for social gathering, and a row of rooms for servants and officials. On the central interior, the basilica hall is located for quick gathering of soldiers. On the eastern side, or occasionally both sides, the tribunal of the basilica stands. On the Northern end of the basilica, one would find offices for clerks who keep track of records and paperwork, as well as their sleeping quarters. In the center of the offices, a fortified basement hides the treasury, where most precious goods belonging to the Caestruem are held.
An important workshop for metalworkers, leather workers, glass workers, carpenters, and others capable of useful trades. The Fabrica is also often home to a select group of special forces within the order.
The retentura can be found on the rear end of the Caestruem. It is used as a safe house in the event of immanent threat from outside forces. Late into the Darken Reign, the retentura was transformed into a prison for captured enemies of the Darken Tribe, a place to hold enemies captive and for interrogation. The retentura still retained its purpose as a safe house during this period.
In Myralian Caestra, the barracks serve as the living place of the Order. Soldiers sleep within the barracks in specialized living quarters, usually arranged as a long hall of multiple bunked beds. Within the barracks is a storeroom, an armory, and a granary.
For sanitary facilities, a camp had both public and private latrines. A public latrine consisted of a bank of seats situated over a channel of running water. One of the major considerations for selecting the site of a camp was the presence of running water, which the engineers diverted into the sanitary channels. Drinking water came from wells; however, the larger and more permanent bases featured the aqueduct, a structure running a stream captured from high ground, sometimes miles away, into the camp. A public bathhouse for the soldiers, also containing a latrine, was located near or on the Principia.
A camp is best placed on a hill nearby a water source, most commonly a river.
Activities conducted in a castra can be divided into ordinary life and duty. Ordinary activity was performed during regular working hours. The duty was associated with operating the installation as a facility of the Order. For example, none of the soldiers were required to man the walls all the time, but round-the clock duty always required a portion of the soldiers to be on duty at any time.
Duty was divided into four periods of the day, independent six hour duty shifts soldiers would be assigned to, to ensure duty was covered at all times by ready individuals. The Myralian soldiers manage time with a tool called the umbrascope, which casts a shadow upon a circular disc with divots pointing to a specific time. Specific times of day would be marked by bards with instruments, a collective of special soldiers known as the Musicanus. Specific instruments and specific flairs marked certain shifts of the day. A tone of a bell was also used to mark midnight and noon, at which time soldiers were expected to be outdoors at a salute, in praise of Darius. A special form of Heda, Mileda, is practiced at the tone of the bell.