Manera was originally settled when several ships escaped persecution from their prospective homes and fled across the sea to find a new land. Unfortunately this new land was a chaotic place filled with creatures they had never seen before. The group quickly split into various factions and spread out across the land, creating the various self governed city-states that exist today. Each city-state founded its own style of government originally, but without a central authority to control those with power, those with power rose to positions of power and, eventually, became the rulers.
These city states existed for many years, until a few hundred years ago when a single dark elf became bored with ruling a single city and decided he should rule all the cities. He constructed 2 new city states, one at the top of the mountain, and a smaller one at the bottom to supply his new city. He threatened all cities who opposed him with destruction if they did not follow his commands and begin to give him tribute. Some fought at first, but eventually all fell to his power.
He still rules today, restless atop his tower of rock.