Construction of Centered began in around 1000 B.G.A. and took over 500 years. The goal was to create a single, massive, impenetrable, self-sustaining city, in which four million Marconians and eight million slaves could carry on the Marconian way of life forever. Access in and out of the city was common, and tourists were welcome and treated with great hospitality. It was the Marconian idea of a perfect city.
Centered was built in a round, tiered, wheel-within-a-wheel-within-a-wheel-over-a-ton-of-slaves design: a concept considered "perfect" by Marconian ideology. After the protective lake around the capitol, Centered also resembled a massive Bentika from the air. The city included an extensive subterrane for the slaves: extensive tunnels, store-rooms, workshops, etc., that allowed them to serve the city above without being seen.
The outermost "wheel" was filled with irrigated cropland, able to grow enough food for the city. This region also held reservoirs and water reclamation-system, allowing the population to be sustained by rainwater that fell within its walls.
The second wheel held the lower-class Marcons, who lived in spacious houses and had some support from the slaves, and of which each family could own one slave. The lower-class were mostly artisans and craftsmen, tradesmen who worked with their hands, or servants to the upper-class.
The third ring housed the upper-class. Lavish estates, beautiful temples, high-society shops and other trappings. A playground for the well-to-do.
The inner-most wheel contained a large palace and a mage-tower for visiting royalty. When the court came to Centered, they could enjoy all the pleasures of the capitol.
The outermost wall was three hundred feet high, sloping, and four-hundred-feet thick at the base (200 at the top). Structures along the top housed over a hundred thousand full-time soldiers and mages, and small mage towers were placed every few miles. The inner-wall mirrored the outer, but was 350 feet high and only 200 thick. The additional height accounted for the greater elevation of each successive loop.
The walls, built of expertly-crafted stonework and fused together with fire magic, were designed to stop any conventional or magical attack. Indeed, there was no gate to the outer-wall; visitors arrived by air. The military consisted of a total 400,000 soldiers, wizards, and security personnel, placed to ensure that nothing could threaten the Marconian way of life.
Fall of Centered
Operation Off-Center was the code-name used by the Gudersnipe Army for its attack on Centered. They began by firing a single cruise missile at the outer wall. The missile was a "bunker-buster" designed to penetrate the structure before detonating a 500-kiloton atomic warhead. The resulting explosion destroyed two and a half miles of the wall.
As was standard Marconian tactic, the army raced to defend the gap, placing fifty thousand soldiers (one-fourth of the city's defensive force) into the gap to block any ground invasion. The Gudersnipe Army waited 24 hours for the enemy soldiers to gather, then launched a 120-kiloton tactical nuclear weapon directly over the encampment, killing all fifty thousand Marcons.
The second missile was launched at sunset, and at daybreak the Gudersnipe Army stormed the city using half a million soldiers in armored vehicles, equipped with Magic-Tech anti-magic auras.
The secondary wall was breached with conventional explosives, as it contained dozens of passages for waste water, food, farmers, and other provisions to pass. Gudersnipe Army soldiers used numerous large explosions to build a ramp, through which their tanks and armored transports entered.
Gudersnipe then set fire to the workers' city and slaughtered the Marcons, cutting a swath toward the upper-class section. Several skyships attempted to escape, but were shot down by jet-interceptors supporting the ground attack. Close air-support was also provided by helicopters and other vehicles.
The chief goal of the invasion was to raid Centered's treasuries and seize magical materials the Marcons might use to make weapons. It was also to deal a critical blow against the empire, and demonstrate that, when the time came, the city on Lake Bentika would be taken with ease.
The assault lasted 4 days and left 4 million Marconian citizens and 2 million slaves dead. The other six million were liberated, but most were quickly recaptured by the Marconian army.
As a final degradation, the Gudersnipe Army detonated a a single variable-yield 1-megaton hydrogen bomb inside the central towers, utterly destroying it and contaminating the entire city with dangerous levels of fallout (the weapon used had a yield of between 1 and 8 megatons, so much of the fallout came from unused fission isotopes). Though many structures survived, the city would not be inhabitable again for eons.
During the early Golden Age, some coastal cities in river deltas reported radioactive contamination, probably as a result of runoff from Centered.
In A.Y. 1599, the great Alliance Explorer Finious Aberton visited the ruins of Centered (the first Alliance citizen to do so and likely the first person to enter since the Mage Wars). He traveled alone, crossing thousands of miles, and spent an entire winter exploring the city. He reported the place as "Ruined, damaged, heedlessly ransacked, and razed nearly to the ground". Finious barely made it back to civilization alive, and was found to be suffering from acute radiation syndrome, indicating that Centered was still contaminated.
No official expeditions would visit the city again.