From the Past Until Now
Long, Long Ago
In the year 1153, the borders of Maritonia were much smaller, though they were blessed with a lush and bountiful land that prospered and provided well for those who had settled there. (See a more in depth history in the Shillivan Library.) It was hardly even considered an established country. It was one of several provinces that were being settled in the land at the time. Some flourished and grew, becoming the countries recognized today as Maritonia, Cyrah, Kalonice, Zeroun, Quadi and Dinesh.
Maritonia's prosperity was hard won. Beneficial resources, such as iron, and the knowledge of how to forge and fashion weapons superior to those who came against them, gave them the advantage, allowing them to expand their borders.
In 1320, Cyrah had the tributary of the Osintera river which flowed to the sea, within their borders. They took advantage of this being a major source of transporting goods from interior portions of the country to ships for trade in a timely manner. The Cyran leaders charged high taxes for the use of this water-way, since their own land was harsh and unfriendly for growing much desired foods, or the sustenance needed to keep their herds properly fed and watered.
Maritonia had a wealth of goods, and the cost of transporting their goods over land would have been substantial, with a greater chance of losing a portion of their trade if they transported over land. So they chose to endure the taxes of the Cyrans to make use of the river-way. All too soon, the taxes became burdensome, and the Maritonian rulers called to meet with the leaders of the Cyrans to negotiate a deal to lower the taxes in exchange for better trade agreements. The Cyrans were disagreeable and refused the reasonable offer of the Maritonians. The Cyrans even went so far as to increase the taxes.
Tired of losing money in trades due to the hefty taxes, Maritonia decided to fight back with their superior weapons, and excellent strategists. The Maritonians not only took over the territory that included the river, they captured one of Cyrah's biggest and most profitable port cities, Shillivan.
The Cyrans retreated to lick their wounds. They never forgot the humiliation of losing to the less established country and immediately began regrouping for a retaliation. They hoped to conquer all of Maritonia, taking revenge for their wounded pride. Many skirmishes took place before Cyrah managed to regain some ground, retaking much of the territory near the tributary of the Osintera river and pushing their borders closer to the city of Shillivan. It continues to fluctuate, even to this day.
In the year 1324, Cyrah and Maritonia declared a cease fire that is in existence to this day. It is tenuous, at best, and there are intermittant raids and skirmishes that happen along the border of the two countries. The border lies about 500 miles south of Shillivan, and the looming threat of possible outbreak of war so close, leaves the people to live their lives with a tense expectation of impending attack. In this time of unrest, merchants struggle to ply their trades, competing with each other to wind up on top and garner the favor of the Duke governing the port city for the King who sits upon the throne in Avar. Priests and priestesses of the temples try to ease the concerns of the people while raising prayers to plea for mercy from the Guardians. Meanwhile, as the military forces are distracted with their drills, preparing for any possible attack, there are those who are taking advantage of the distraction to line their pockets.
Shillivan is a highly prized city because of its location and the fact that it's important to the country of Maritonia for trade and easy travel access. It is a 'large' city, allowing for those who wish to slide under the nose of the law a wide range of possibilities to partake in shady dealings. Though the alert of the city is medium to high, the soldiers themselves have grown somewhat lax due to the absence of attacks from Cyrah in the last year. They begin to wonder what the point is and whether Cyrah has finally decided to give up and admit defeat.
With trade being so prevalent, and many foreign travelers coming through the city, it allows for a rich merchant population to flourish as well as the smaller business opportunists, if they are willing to put in the work to make it happen.