Geridia consists of a large capitol city, Geridia Prime, and a network of smaller settlements arranged in a 50-mile grid pattern extending southward toward the border with Solaria. All cities are connected by well-maintained highways and a light rail system. The railways allow travel between cities in just over an hour. For other travellers on the highways, there are waystations precisely halfway between each pair of cities (25 miles distant from each). Aqueducts also run alongside these highways, giving travellers access to water to combat the heat of the desert, and also as an emergency water supply for the steam-driven trains. The nation is bordered on the west and north by the Telmarhan Mountains, and on the east by the ocean.
Situated in the large, sandy desert of eastern Senestria, Geridia is brutally hot on summer days, cool in the winter, and chilly or cold at night. The air is dry inland, but is increasingly humid toward the coast.
Founded on principles of absolute law, Geridia is ruled by a system of mutually-balancing "Ministries" which formulate, execute, enforce, and adjudicate the laws of the land. The Ministries are divided as follows:
- Ministry of Regulation
- This Ministry acts as a legislature, debating creation of new laws and changes to existing laws. Each city in Geridia has a single representative "Regulator" in this Ministry, except Geridia Prime which has three representatives who generally act as a unified voting bloc. Each Regulator is supported by his own staff of advisors, researchers, pages, etc. They are also constantly harassed by lobbyists who wish to further their own agendas in government.
- Ministry of Documentation
- The task of applying the Regulators' laws to everyday life is taken up by the Ministry of Documentation, a massive bureaucracy which issues all the passports, permits, licenses, titles, deeds, and other legal documents that record all the legal proceedings and acts of Geridia's citizens, and the travellers who pass through the nation daily. These legal documents are always produced in at least three copies — one for the local Documentation Office, one for the Central Archive in Geridia Prime, and one for each actor in the legal proceeding. As it controls the granting of permissions for almost every significant action of everyone in the nation, the Ministry of Documentation is, in some respects, the most powerful in the nation — except when it is held in check by the other Ministries downstream in the legal process.
- Ministry of Enforcement
- This is the Ministry who enforces the laws of the Regulators, and is asked to act on violators of the legal agreements recorded by the Documentarians. The Enforcers appear to outsiders to be a military force, and while they are as organized as the Geridian army, they are a part of the civilian government. Patrols of Enforcers are plainly visible on the streets, but generally do not use overt intimidation or violence in day-to-day operations; their sheer numbers are enough to keep crime and dissidence in check, and the lawful citizens of Geridia actually appreciate their constant, reassuring presence.
- Ministry of Resolution
- Settlement of disputes, and trials for offenders of Geridia's laws, are handled by the Ministry of Resolution. Each Geridian city has an office of this Ministry, in which all such legal affairs are carried out. They also have their own reporters and archivists to record every detail of these proceedings, with copies sent to the Ministry of Documentation for redundant storage.
The military force of Geridia is its fifth Ministry — the Ministry of Defense. Its size and relative might are significant, but as its name suggests, it is used solely for the defense of the nation and its interests — at least, according to Geridia's own historians and diplomats. It is led by a Primarch and a Council of Generals, each of which leads the military force stationed at one of Geridia's cities. The Primarch himself is the general in charge of the detachment at Geridia Prime. Each General commands a division (8,000), made up of eight individual armies (1,000), each of which is broken into five phalanxes (200), consisting of eight patrols (25). This makes each city's military presence a significant part of its total population, especially in settlements furthest from the capitol.
The military ordinarily does not participate in the day-to-day keeping of order in cities; this task is left to the Ministry of Enforcement. The Ministry of Defense is instead concerned with strategic defense of the nation. However, in the rare instances where the Enforcers' might is insufficient to keep order, the Defenders are called to step in.
The Ministry of Transportation, though named like other government divisions, is not a true Ministry, as it has no powers of governance. It is rather a semi-privatized corporation charged with maintaining Geridia's vast transportation infrastructure, including highways, railways, and seaports. It is funded by the fees it charges to travellers, as well as supplementary funding approved by the Ministry of Regulation; its major projects must also be approved by the Ministry of Documentation, which also supplies travellers with transport permits.
Another semi-private organization, the Ministry of Maintenance, handles the upkeep of other aspects of Geridia's massive technological infrastructure, including long-distance messaging, aqueducts and other water services, sewage, and waste management. It is funded by its own fees, as well as supplemental assistance from the government.
The College of Artifice is a network of guildhouses and educational centers devoted to the study of technological development. Many of the artificers and alchemists of Caraonis travel to the College to begin or advance their careers quickly, and to establish contacts with other like-minded artisans. The College provides many of the resources and personnel needed by the Ministries of Transportation and Maintenance to keep Geridia's infrastructure running smoothly. This organization attracts most of Geridia's foreign-born inhabitants, including many dwarves from Thranggârddin.
Geridia's technological advancement is its greatest strength in economic relations with other nations. It exports machines large and small, as well as the technical knowledge of its engineering contractors. Being situated in a sandy desert, it is also able to export a wide variety of finely-crafted glassware and glass sculpture, the latter being highly prized in Arlyrion.
The nation's climate is also its weakness, however, as Geridia is forced to import a large proportion of its food, mostly from Solaria and Andelgia. After the Grid War some centuries ago, Geridia and Solaria managed (with great difficulty and initially fierce opposition) to negotiate for the construction of a railway from Geridia West 7 to the Solarian city of Shyrgaard. Massive quantities of grain and other produce flow northward along this lifeline, and the machinery used to assist in Solaria's agricultural production are in turn sent southward from Geridia. This relationship has benefitted both nations in the long term, though the products of Geridian industrialism are still only begrudgingly accepted in the northern border towns of Solaria, where the ravages of the war between the two nations were most gravely felt.
History and Culture
Geridia was founded in ancient times by a group of desert nomads who sought to establish their own autonomous society apart from the other human nations. They settled on the eastern coast of the Senestrian continent at what would become Geridia Prime, on the banks of the only river flowing through the desert. In the nearby mountains, they discovered vast quantities of metals and coal, and by a series of scientific and engineering discoveries, transformed themselves quickly into an industrialized society. The plutocratic rule of wealthy elders was gradually replaced by a technocracy ruled by wealthy industrialists, but the practical organization of society did not change much as a result.
Their advanced technology allowed the formerly nomadic people of Geridia to establish larger permanent settlements, which quickly spread southward down the length of the desert. The fledgling government of the nation strictly controlled this development, mandating its rigid structure and setting up the organizations that would become the nation's Ministries.
Having spanned the length of the eastern deserts and finding the fertile plains of southeastern Senestria, the Geridians attempted to expand further south and claim some grassland and its valuable natural resources. This sparked conflict with Solaria which had already all of the territory between the desert and the southern coastline. The conflict escalated, eventually becoming the Grid War. The settlement at the center of the dispute, which would have been Geridia West 8, was destroyed, and the Geridian military was driven northward, back into the desert. A treaty between the two nations ended the bitter war after two years of bloodshed. Some citizens of Solaria still hold bitter prejudices and grudges against their northern neighbors, but the Geridians simply regard it as a failed economic exercise.
Geridian culture is influenced by two major forces — the advancement of industry and technology, and the necessities of living in a harsh desert environment. Geridian buildings are designed to dissipate the sun's heat and shade its streets, with large metal fins and awnings to reflect heat skyward. Some buildings also use rooftop solar boilers to produce hot water for the cities' residents.
Clothing is likewise designed to guard against the sun's rays, and consists of long, flowing robes and headscarves covering most of the body. Daily wear is dyed in solid colors, but more formal or decorative pieces are woven in intricate geometric patterns. Indoors, out of the sunlight but still faced with stifling heat during the day, clothing is comparatively revealing, particularly the costumes used by dancers, musicians, and other theatrical performers.
Material artistry is focused in the areas of clothcraft, including clothing and artistic tapestries, and glassware. Glass sculpture is a favorite art form in Geridia, and is a major export to other nations.