Empire of Leonte
Table of Contents
- Capital: Rhaentium
- Surface area: ca 2 925 200 square km
- Population: 21 566 000 million
- The population of Rhaentium: 1 092 000 million
The recorded history of the Empire of Leonte begins with the Alenti Empire on the continent of Alentum. Although most of the recordings from this period are destroyed, some surviving sources show that the people of the Empire left Alentum due to a worsening climate.
The war between the alenti and the theumites on Theuma is better documented. The Empire’s position is that the war was justified because the theumites refused to accept refugees from Alentum. The theumites have a different interpretation of the war and its causes.
- 1 - Andrelos I, the first emperor of Leonte is crowned in Rhaentium.
- 27 - The Emperor receives the first theumite advisors.
- 192 - Founding of the University of Rhaentium.
- 376 - Border negotiations between the Empire and the Free Lands fail; the war begins.
- 434 - A plot against the Emperor is revealed, culminating in the execution of twelve senators and two supreme judges.
- 512 - The founding of the Mage Academy of Rhaentium.
- 709 - The creation of the first servile.
- 1011 - First rumors about alenti taking animal form. Investigation reveals a curse of the Free Lands god Nal-Mat. The Empire begins a hunt to root out these creatures.
- 1056 - The edict of Emperor Lahin III ends the hunt for wulvers. The Senate approves laws regulating the rights and duties of wulvers.
- 1116 - The mass production of printing presses begins, bringing a rapid rise in the number of printed books and a literary revolution; the first newspaper is founded.
- 1298 - The armies of the Empire take Strongland.
- 1315 - The armies of the Free Lands retake Strongland; by order of the king, all imprisoned enemies are executed.
- 1392 - First rumors about dead alenti walking.
- 1397 - The walking dead are named moroia and included in the wulver laws.
- 1401 - Creation of the Darith Legion.
- 1433 - Plague outbreak in Katam kills most of the population. The region is quarantined until the plague passes.
- 1598 - The united fleet of Freelanders makes it to Rhaentium, but a heavy storm forces them to retreat.
- 1617 - Freelanders attack the fortress of Mist Pass. The defending Adura Legion lasts for three months without surrendering.
- 1629 - First sightings of bloodsucking creatures. They are named lagars, their creation is forbidden and they are forced to register themselves officially.
- 1790 - Lechia Miseret, a mage turned moroia, gathers a host of soldiers and begins a campaign to take the capital of Cliffland. The forces of the Empire stop Lechia on the way. As an exception, all revolting soldiers are executed.
- 1931 - An explosion, probably in an apeiron refinery, rocks South Durras. Sabotage of the Free Lands is suspected. The number of deceased is unknown. The area remains closed today.
- 2076 - After several victories against the Freelanders in the north of Cliffland, the whole Fareis Legion disappears without a trace. The Legion has never been found.
- 2143 - An extremely fertile year. So large is the bounty that a part of it is wasted.
- 2595 - The apeiron mines of Talmekar are nearly exhausted. Tariffs and limitations on the use of apeiron are introduced by Imperial decree.
- 2599 - Emperor Andrelos IX foils his own assassination and has the culprits executed.
- 2614 - The whole Empire is ravaged by inexplicable storms lasting many months. Thousands of citizens become homeless, hundreds are killed.
- 2785 - A theumite plot against the Emperor is revealed. Theumites living outside sources fall under uncomfortable scrutiny until it is determined that the attacker acted alone.
- 2839 - The Freelander attacks increase after a few silent years. They manage to conquer almost half of Renek.
- 2841 - Empire forces liberate the occupied part of Renek. The campaign is led by Peleias Lardon, commander of the Valara Legion, who is promoted to strategos.
- 2845 - Signing of the peace treaty. War between the Empire and the Free Lands comes to an official close. Negotiations establish the border zone and its legal exceptions, including tax benefits.
- 2846 - The inhabitants of both countries start to settle the border zone, creating many new settlements. The first caravans are established.
- 2847 - Religious negotiations between the Synod and the Freelander priests culminate in an edict allowing the worship of all gods in both countries.
- 2848 - A large conflict between Leontites and Freelanders in the border city of Telit. The border guard enter the city to resolve the situation. A couple of tense months follow and the participants are fined.
- 2849 - The Emperor creates a new palace guard unit consisting exclusively of Freelanders.
- 2850 - Archaeologists from the University of Rhaentium find various theumite artefacts at dig sites in the borderlands. Diplomatic negotiations for their ownership begin.
- 2851 - Current year.
The last Emperors
- 2549 - 2585: Zalagos VII, great reformer, established a common system for weights and measurements to facilitate trade between the Empire’s regions.
- 2585 - 2614: Andrelos IX, restricted the use of apeiron.
- 2614 - 2647: Matrin III, tried unsuccessfully to make peace with the Free Lands.
- 2647 - 2691: Jarail I, not born as a Chosen, but passed the tests a few years after becoming a Chosen.
- 2691 - 2723: Lahin V, died in suspicious circumstances.
- 2723 - 2761: Katrel II, great patron of the arts.
- 2761 - 2794: Xerean IV, deeply religious. Wrote poems.
- 2794 - 2822: Zalagos VIII, a fervent warmonger.
- 2822 - 2839: Iraam I, perpetually in conflict with the Senate. Died in suspicious circumstances.
- 2839 - present day: Relagin II, the peace treaty is considered his greatest achievement.
The Empire is divided into ten counties all of which have their own capital. Rhaentium, the capital of the Empire and the river it is built on, is the eleventh territory. Rhaentium was built on the site of an ancient theumite city, unlike all others. After the end of the war the borders of the counties were changed to create a border zone of about 10-25 kilometres in width.
- Rhaente (capital Rhaentium) - A small territory with special rights, apart from the counties. It is comprised of Rhaentium and the part of River Alger it stands on. Rhaentium is known as the most beautiful city in the whole world. The whole of the Empire’s variety is represented there. The headquarters of the guilds and the highest instances of government resider here. It is also the home of the Emperor and the Imperial court.
- Katam (capital Ironet)* - One of the border counties. Was hit years ago by a plague that killed more than half of the population, but has mostly recovered. There are still areas in the county where no one is allowed.
- Renek (capital Theoleia)* - One of the border counties. Was occupied by the Freelanders for some time a few years ago, but has been freed. Known for its artisans.
- Durras (capital Marene)* - One of the border counties. The air theumite source Dethan is situated there.
- Qhorelth (capital Numaia) - A county with much terrain and many tobacco plantations.
- Talmekar (capital Raskami) - Historically the most apeiron rich country. But during the last few centuries the mines of Talmekar have run out and the county has had to focus on alternative sources of revenue. The Mountain of the Gods is also situated here.
- Estendar (capital Urut) - The location of Athis Forest, the source of the Empire’s most durable and pricey wood.
- Vaserra (capital Shoran) - The county where most of the pigment flowers in the Empire are grown.
- Perein (capital Azat) - Produces nearly a third of the Empire’s grain.
- Kalath (capital Lomor) - The marble of Kalath is known as the most exclusive and expensive building material. The Imperial Palace and most of the Grand Temples have been built with it.
- Melmir (capital Aethil) - Known for beautiful nature views; the most visited county and quite rich because of that. A trip along the River Isera is known as one of the most beautiful experiences in the Empire.
Other points of interest
- Alger - The longest river in the Empire. Rhaentium is situated on the inner sea end of it.
- Aora - A tributary of River Elish.
- Aren - A town on the southernmost point of the land border, with bustling trade. Both caravans and ships come there.
- Athis Forest - One of the biggest forests in the Empire, situated in Estendar.
- Beraz Pass - A pass in the middle of Kethar Mountains, the only point of access to the Talmekar Peninsula.
- The Border - A zone that reaches twenty-something kilometers from the official border line to the inland of the Empire. A territory with some legal exceptions alike to Rhaente.
- Elish - The largest river in the Empire.
- Iante Island - A mountainous island close to Talmekar Peninsula. The location of a nameless fortress, featured in many rumors and legends throughout the years.
- Isera - The river that nearly separates Melmir and Perein.
- Juez Forest - A forest that covers most of Durras.
- Kauza Islands - An archipelago west of Estendar, where sea serpents are sighted. The locals mostly occupy themselves with catching them and other sea creatures. Sea creature meat is a delicacy for the continentals, and items made of their skin or bones sell well.
- Kethar Mountains - High mountains that separate Talmekar in two. It is separated in half by the Beraz Pass.
- Lake Warul - The largest lake in the Empire. The water theumite source Warul is situated in the bottom of it.
- Lotun Mountains - Mountains situated on the coast of Katam. The earth theumite source Karis is somewhere in the mountains. The Mountain of the Gods - The highest mountain on the continent, on top of which live the gods of the Empire. None who have tried to scale it have returned. Measuring indicates the mountain is at least 6000 meters high, but it is likely to be higher still.
- Nemeria - Official Imperial term for the Free Lands. The people of the Free Lands are called Nemerians. Means “rebels”. No longer a correct term to use, after the peace treaty.
- Nohan - A wide river that flows through Raskam, the capital of Talmekar.
- Sea of Selag - An inland sea situated in the middle of Theuma.
- Sources - Situated all over the Empire. Fire - Razen, Water - Warul, Air - Dethan, Earth - Karis, Light - Saqad, Shadow - Amite.
- Ruen Forest - Once beautiful and evergreen, but never the same after the plague that hit Katam.
- Telit - A town on the northern end of the land border, a hub of trade alike to Aren.
- Troisin Volcano - A volcano situated in Talmekar. The fire theumite source Ureth is in the bottom of it. Known as a sight for daredevils as the volcano is not entirely dormant.
- Zeane - A tributary of River Elish.
There are many dialects of the Alenti language spoken in the Empire. (Estonian and English mark two of these in the game). The Chosen, officials and priests use High Leonte; most ceremonies and other important events are conducted in it and it is used to name important places and groups. Mages use their own language with apeiromancy.
A person usually has a given name and a family name. For services rendered to the Empire one may be given an honor name which is used in the middle of the given and family names. A married person also uses their spouse’s family name, with the prefix “ar”. When a child becomes an adult, they choose which parents’ name they wish to use, but it is common to use the family of the parent who bore them.
The Emperor chooses their name from the hundred holy names that no one else may use.
Alith’s parents are named Erais Vothoma ar’Kantha and Tavial Kantha ar’Vothoma. When she becomes an adult she can choose either Vothoma or Kantha as a family name.
(OG: you may use Greek, Roman and Slavic names as inspiration but we recommend you modify them a little.)
Childbearing and birth
Since alenti are generally durable, most child bearing alenti tend to work until the last few weeks of their pregnancy. It is common to give birth at home with family and a childhelper present. If the parent’s health has been weak, they usually spend the last few weeks in the hospital. The child is named by both parents, but the parent who bore the child usually has the last word by tradition. The name is fixed in the family registry office, though an official can also be called to the home.
Most parents usually spend at least a week home with the child, and they are paid a child allowance. When the week is over, the other parent may return to work and most parents continue work with shorter work days. Depending on the health of the parent who gave birth, it is common that they also return to work in a few months, and after that both parents work shorter days and babysit in shifts.
Little alenti spend their childhood in various institutions where they are schooled and taught. The Empire has a developed childcare- ja schooling system where alenti usually leave at 16 years of age. Each alenti is taught reading, writhing, arithmetics, history, law, geography and many other things.
An alenti is adult at 16 years of ago. At this point they have finished school and they are expected to choose an occupation. This day is celebrated with family and relatives and the young adult is brought many practical gifts.
Friendship and romantic love
For alenti romantic love is usually not more important than friendship. Rather they are different in that usually one wishes to marry and have children with their partner, but not with their friends. There are also a sizable amount of those who never look for a partner nor get married. This is also acceptable.
Marriage and family
All adult alenti may get married, regardless of gender. Usually one finds their future partner themselves, but there are cases of family finding the suitable person. Love is not always the requirement for marriage, there are also relationships where two people want to have a home and a family for other reasons.
Whichever of the partners may propose. The engagement is marked by a matched set of jewelry that both wear. Usually the jewelry are bracelets, but rings and necklaces are also used. The marriage is registered in the family registry office and there is also a family party. The newlyweds also go to the temple of Baruna to pray for a blessing.
Old age, death and funeral customs
Retirement is uncommon, even the most elderly work as long as they are able. Many older alenti become teachers and share their experience with others. Death is seen as a natural thing, and there are always those who decide to end their life on their own terms. If one feels too tired or their health is too bad or they feel like their time has come, they have the option to go to the temple of Keteos and die with the help of the priests.
The corpse is treated carefully and with respect. The funeral workers are called, and they will take the corpse away and prepare it for burial. They also hold the death vigil to make sure that the soul has left to the gods.
The funeral is conducted by a priest of Keteos and the dead are buried in a graveyard. The graveyards are usually set away from the cities. After the ceremony and the burial, there is a family wake with food and memorialising of the dead person. Those closest to the dead person mourn for the longest time. The sign of grief are two scarves, one white and one black, usually worn on the left arm. It is also traditional to take and use some of the dead person’s belongings. Usually in that case it has been discussed beforehand what the grieving person may take. The rest are donated to the temple of Keteos.
The Chosen are buried in a different place, a so-called necropolis. Their burial places and grave stones are decorated and they receive a longer ceremony.
The Emperor is buried in the necropolis of Rhaentium, in the resting place of all the dead Emperors.
The beginning and end of the year are celebrated in the Empire, as are the birthday of the reigning Emperor along with other historical holidays. Every god also has their own holy day. The work day is generally shortened during a day of celebration. In the middle of the year during summer there is a celebration week, where the whole Empire has a holiday and many different events are organised.
The birthdays of family members are also celebrated, it is customary to congratulate and wish well for the next year.
Greeting and introductions
It is polite to greet while entering the room or while arriving somewhere. One should greet the host or the first person they encounter. It is polite to reply to the greeting. The Chosen are greeted first but they may decide whether to reply.
One uses their name to introduce themselves and hands are shaken (except with a Chosen). It is customary to say why one is at the meeting or at a specific place. Not taking an offered hand or ignoring an introduction is a fairly strong insult.
Physical contact is usually reserved for family or friends. Touching someone, especially a stranger without their permission is impolite. Touching one of the Chosen is extremely rude, unless they have given permission. This rule may be ignored in dangerous situations or when it is necessary to help someone.
When it comes to romantic contact, only handholding is permitted in public. More than that is seen as extremely rude.
Since Imperial life is usually quite peaceful, weapons are uncommon. General citizens don’t usually bear weapons. Weapons are borne by guards, police and soldiers. Bringing a weapon during a visir or a public place is seen as an insult as it implies mistrust in the safety of the particular place. The border zone is an exception, there bearing weapons is permitted and not considered rude.
While moroia, lagars and wulvers have a different positions in society, they must still be treated politely and that is reflected in everyday interaction. The same goes for theumites.
Leontites are a very cultured people. The Empire invests yearly in various areas of culture, as do the counties and cities.
There are many ways to spend one’s time in the Empire. Thanks to the printing press, books are freely available. Various serials published in books are especially popular. There are many literary genres, especially speculative books about Freelanders or theumites.
Sport enthusiasts go to chariot races or to see gladiators. There is also a lot of betting, though it is sternly regulated.
Theatre is popular, both amateur and professional. There are hours-long complicated dramas, but also shorter comedies on offer to watch.
Different festivals are also common. They are organised to celebrate important events in the city or the village, or to showcase the skills of different artisans (like artisan fairs). Usually one can eat and drink well at such a festival, and dance to good music.
Parties are usually large, organised on squares or village houses. The weekends are commonly spent either drinking or dancing in different tavernas.
The economy of the Empire is mostly efficiently regulated by a large amount of officials who receive their orders from the Economic Council in Rhaentium. The Economic Council decides the standards of currency and other values, along with the parameters of production for the guilds. The Empire collects taxes on most things. This money is used for the army and other governmental instances, to fund the construction and repairs of the road network, and other projects important for the Empire. Some of this revenue is also meant to support different cultural instances.
When the alenti left Alentum, they took with them tomatoes, potatoes, cocoa, tobacco, coffee and pigment flowers. All of these are grown on plantations and consumed heavily. After the signing of the peace treaty all of these have become great articles of export to the Free Lands. They also developed various grains received from the gods.
Currency and prices
Paper money is used in the Empire. The Imperial staurus is the currency. It is available in values of 1, 5, 10, 25, 100 and 500.
Prices in tavernas
- Glass of cheap wine 2 St
- Glass of good wine 6-15 St
- Shot of vodka 3 St
- Glass of beer/mead 2 St
- Loaf of bread 1 St
- Simple meal 2 St
- Large meal 4 St
- Fancy meal 8 St
- 1 night in a taverna 3 St
- 1 night in a good room 5 St
- One days’ meals 2-3 St
- Cheap weapon (knife) 5-10 St
- Average weapon 25 St – 50 St
- Quality weapon 250-500 St
- Masterwork weapon 1000-3000 St
Service and wages
- Average worker’s monthly wages 50 St
- Wealthy alenti’s wages 250-500 St
- Chosen’s monthly wages 500-1500 St
- Mercenary’s daily wages ~ 10 St
- Leonte soldier’s monthly wages 100 St
- 1 gold = 150 staurus
- 1 silver = 15 staurus
- 1 copper = 1.5 staurus
The Empire is singularly ruled by the Emperor. The Emperor is aided by the Chosen.
The dynasty in power since the beginning of the Empire has been Leonteides.
The Emperor is always one of the Chosen, but they might not be the relative of the previous Emperor. In spite of that a crowned Emperor always becomes a member of the Leonteides dynasty and their previous name is erased. They also receive an emperor name they choose from the hundred holy names. The Emperor rules until their death.
The Emperor is found from usually twenty-something candidates with different tests and readings of omens. These candidates are usually Chosen who have been prepared by their families, raised in the knowledge that one day they might also become Emperor. When the new Emperor is found the city is notified and the Empire celebrates for a week.
The Emperor is the only one with the power and authority to name new Chosen, to change or to veto the edicts and laws of both the Senate and the Synod, to name the leaders of the military, the Synod and the Senate and to reorganise Imperial life.
The current Emperor is Relagin II Leonteides. The people call her “Bringer of Peace”. When one discusses the Emperor, it is customary to use one of their many titles, but not their names. The citizens usually say “the Emperor + a positive adjective”,
The next instance of government after the Emperor is the Senate. It is comprised of 88 Chosen, eight for each county, and it is led by a Speaker named by the Emperor, sworn in either during the ascension of a new Emperor or the death of the previous Speaker. Their job is to lead the sessions of the Senate, to confirm the votes and to decide when the votes are tied.
The Senate creates and fixes laws, examines and signs the yearly Imperial budget presented by the officials and handles the day to day details of governing the Empire. The Senate’s members are elected by voting citizens every eight years. Since one usually votes for those who have been visible in their home county, it is known that serving in a particular county is usually a way to the Senate. Every county and Rhaente picks eight representatives.
All adult alenti citizens, who have not been branded, have the right to vote. Serviles and theumites do not have the right to vote.
The High Court
The second governmental instance is the High Court. It is made up of eight Chosen named by the Emperor, who usually serve either until death or retirement due to the change in Emperors. The High Court presides in judgement over the Chosen and/or in cases of high treason. If the High Court cannot come to a decision due to equal votes, the Emperor has the deciding vote.
Both the Senate and the High Court live and work in Rhaentium.
There always six theumites amongst the Emperor’s advisors, representatives of the sources situated in the Empire. Their task is to communicate with the Empire in the name of the theumites they represent. The position of the advisors in the palace depends strongly on the Emperor’s disposition towards the theumites and has historically varied.
The Imperial officials are the one who keep the large organised bureaucracy going. Every unbranded adult citizen may become an official, though lagars, moroia and wulvers do not tend to rise very high in the hierarchy. To become an official ones needs to take exams to attend special academies where everything an official needs for their work is taught: higher arithmetics, calligraphy, history, law, and so on. These academies are all over the Empire, but the officials of the most high degree are schooled only in Rhaentium.
The first level is enough to work in one’s home under someone else’s directions. The system of exams is complex and only few can complete the hardest of them, to receive the privilege of working for the Emperor and the Chosen.
The Empire’s rich folklore began in old Alentum. Historical texts from the old continent have been preserved and reworded. It is common to record as much as possible. Most texts are also available to the common people. Stories of historical people and their deeds are common, there are also many fairy tales of different creatures and phenomena encountered on Theuma.
The Empire: 21 566 000 million
- Alenti: 19 647 000 million
- Moroia: 300 000
- Wulvers: 160 000
- Lagars: 40 000
- Old Blood: 250 000
- Serviles: 653 000 (counted apart from alenti)
Theumites: 1,2 million
- City-dwellers: ca 5 million
Country-dwellers: ca 16 million
- The Chosen: ca 10 000
- The military: ca 1,5 million
- The clergy: ca 1 million
- The artisans: ca 3 million
- The officials: ca 500 000
- The merchants: ca 1 million
- Police/city guard: ca 1 million
- Farmers: ca 14 million
- Others (everyone else): ca 3 million
Counties and capitals:
- Rhaente: 1 206 000, Rhaentium 1 092 000
- Katam: 2 034 000, Ironet 564 000
- Renek: 1 483 000, Theoleia 382 000
- Durras: 3 099 000, Marene 211 000
- Qhorelth: 3 698 000, Numaia 289 000
- Talmekar: 3 853 000, Raskami 408 000
- Estendar: 3 495 000, Urut 271 000
- Vaserra: 2 119 000, Shoran 65 000
- Perein: 1 786 000, Azat 101 000
- Kalath: 1 652 000, Lomor 86 000
Melmir: 994 000, Aethil 96 000
- Aren: 54 000
- Telit: 36 000
Religion is an important part of life in the Empire, for it is only for the gods that the Empire exists. Their blessings help it flourish and their curses have helped for the Empire to stand against their enemies.
The gods are always veiled in their depictions, for their faces are said to be too powerful to be witnessed directly. Both their servants and emissaries are veiled in a similar manner. Any other depictions are considered heresy. The legends say that the gods live on the top of the highest mountain on Theuma and follow the lives of the mortals from there.
The priests are the representatives of the will of the gods, as are their emissaries in rare cases.
The gods of the Empire are:
Titles: Keeper of Balance, Shield of Law
Symbols: scales, quills, seals, rods, rays of light
Domain: order, law, balance, contracts, politics, the Chosen, justice
Colors: yellow, purple, crimson
The leader of the Imperial pantheon. God of officials, judges and leaders. Malakhim’s priests guard the harmony of the laws. Malakhim’s blessings are the binding of contracts and the Imperial seals of office.
Titles: Warden of Endings, The First Dead
Symbols: stars, knives, doors, bones, candles
Domain: death, night/shadows, endings, moroia, lagars
Virtue: letting go
Colors: black, yellow, white
The god of the dead. Keteos’ priests guard the dying and the dead, and study the night skies. Keteos’ blessing is the travel of souls to the Mountain of the Gods after death.
Titles: Guardian of the Knowing, Watcher of Memories
Symbols: books, scrolls, measuring tools, eyes (more than one), harmonious shapes
Domain: knowledge, information, wisdom, measurements, saints
Colors: grey, olive, light blue
The god of academics, historians and knowers. Atrepe’s priests preserve the oldest of texts and scrolls. Atrepe’s blessing is the finding of knowledge.
Titles: Shower of the Ways, Guard of the Waters
Symbols: hourglasses, waterdrops, fish, boats, wheels, fans, feathers, lamps
Domain: travelers, rivers, birds, time, changes/cycles, geography
Colors: blue, light green, seablue
God of travelers, merchants, couriers and mail carriers. Parendi’s priests study the weather. Parendi’s blessings are the moving of things and sometimes the changing of weather.
Titles: Sunrider, Eldest of the Mountains
Symbols: all sorts of weapons, disks, rays, mountains, banners
Domain: war, burning flames, strength, weapons, mountains
Colors: crimson, yellow, grey
Protector god of soldiers. Terhent’s priests bless soldiers and inspire them on the battlefield. They also preserve ancient martial arts and other such knowledge. Terhent’s blessing is bravery in battle and strength to fight.
Titles: First Creator, Finder of Treasure
Symbols: all sorts of tools, stones and jewels
Domain: industry, creation, minerals, colors
Virtue: hard work
Colors: brown, dark grey, peach
Protector god of all artisans. Sulenis’ priests guard ancient arts and artifacts. Sulenis’ blessing is the richness of Imperial resources.
Titles: Soul of the Cities, Warmthkeeper
Symbols: roofs, pillars, coins, different instruments, chain/knot patterns
Domain: cities, culture, relationships, warmth, alcohol, money, music
Colors: peach, purple, light grey
Protector god of all entertainers and handlers of money. Baruna’s priests keep the secrets of music, poetry and other culture. They also bless marriages (despite that the marriage has to be registered at the Imperial Family Registry Office to be official). Baruna’s blessing is the monetary system of the Empire.
Titles: Protector of the Living, Lord of Beginnings
Symbols: seeds, trees, fruit, grain, frogs, cattle, goblets
Domain: all living, soil, weather, healing, beginnings
Colors: green, brown, dark grey
Protector god of all the living, especially children and farmers. Darsilis’ priests heal the very sick and wounded, and bless the earth. Darsilis’ blessing is the richness of the earth.
A saint is an alenti has done something very important or shown a good example with their deeds and loyalty. A saint is always named posthumously, by the Synod and the priests of Atrepe. The name of the saint is then recorded in the Book of the Blessed kept in Atrepe’s Grand Temple.
By the last count there are over 500 saints, and each of them watches over a small aspect of Imperial life like they used to in their lifetime. Many of them have their own orders, the members of which are dedicated to following the example of that particular saint.
- Saint Ceriel - Patron saint of the drowned at sea.
- Saint Cilines - Patron saint of the innocent dead.
- Saint Fillan - Patron saint of teachers.
- Saint Ilsippus - Patron saint of war veterans.
- Saint Kuthar - Patron saint of border guards.
- Saint Phaleia - Patron saint of doctors.
- Saint Raun - Patron saint of Rhaentium. Was one of the builders of Rhaentium during their lifetime.
- Saint Velesin - Patron saint of child bearers.
- Saint Yriel - Patron saint of those who died from the plague. During their lifetime a priest of Darsilis who took care of the sick in Katam until their own death.
(OG: You are welcome to make up more saints for your characters.)
Becoming a priest
Any adult unmarried alenti can become a priest, with the exception of moroia, lagars and wulvers. For this they must first speak to the priests of their chosen god, who will test them. If they succeed in the tests, they become a novice. A novice must serve for at least a year, but usually for two-three years, until they have shown they call fulfil what is expected of them.
The requirements are following:
- Showing the virtue of their god
- Keeping from all secular relationships like marriage and bearing children
- Speaking the truth
- Understanding the wisdom and rules of priesthood
- Physical asceticism and dedication to the spiritual
After this the novice must complete a test. Nothing more is known about this test that to pass it one must all their knowledge and skills. If the novice fails, they are sent away from the temple and never taken as a novice anywhere. Those who pass are named priest and receive the symbol (referred to as an aegis) and power of their god in a secret ceremony. A priest who has served for 30 years is called a high priest. A priest serves until their death. Every priesthood has titles they use amongst themselves. Regular citizens refer to priests as ‘Blessed + their name’.
Every gods’ priests have different tasks, but they are all united by their dedication to the gods and the wellbeing of society. An ideal priest inspires people around them and is an example of their god’s virtue. The priest themselves is not holy, except for their aegis, but most saints have been priests.
The priest must follow their god’s example and tenets, or they may lose their powers for a short time or for good for a bigger transgression.
The Synod, also known as the Council of the Priests is the highest religious instance in the Empire. It consists of 88 priests as each county sends eight priests to represent their religious interests. The sent priests are always high priests and they serve for eight years after which a new representative is named. These representatives are chosen by the leaders of the county’s highest temple and confirmed by the Faithguard.
The Faithguard is a high priest named into this office by the Emperor, responsible for the sessions of the Synod and confirming religious edicts. It is also their duty to decide if the Synod’s votes are tied. Usually the Faithguard is named from Malakhim’s priests, but there have been exceptions. The Faithguard generally serves until the end of their life. A new Faithguard is named when the former has died or a new Emperor ascends. There are rare cases of the Emperor stripping the Faithguard of their title for some other reason, usually a great crime.
The Synod presides over all sorts of religious issues and they rely on the law and their own wisdom when making their decisions. The Emperor may change the Synod’s edicts or reject them, but that is often seen as too much interference.
One may pray to whichever god for their blessings. Bringing a small offering to the temple and praying there is seen as more effective. Sometimes the priests may give the person a task to fulfil. It can mean a longer pilgrimage. A task may also be given if a priest feels during confession that the person has acted against the virtue of the particular god, and deserves a chance to make it right.
After all aforementioned things priests also bless various items to be given as gifts during celebrations or for favors.
After the peace treaty worship of the Free Lands gods is also allowed in the Empire, but at this point only Freelanders living in the Empire do it. At this moment they have no official temples.
The Empire has a professional military, consisting of about one and a half million soldiers including the border patrol. The exact numbers are confidential. Joining the military is voluntary and a chance for many to leave their usual lives. When signing up a person pledges 30 years of their life to the army. The army also provides their equipment. After 30 of serving one may retire to a freely chosen location in the Empire where they will provided with a small parcel of land. Many prefer to continue serving, however.
The largest unit is the legion; it includes infantry (most of the unit), cavalry, war machines and auxiliary troops. Usually a legion has about 10 000 soldiers and the army about 100 legions.
The highest commander of the military is the Emperor, but the Strategos is the one responsible for seeing through commands through and directing the army in battle. The Strategos is named by the Emperor, usually upon the death or retirement of the previous one. Usually the one chosen for this honor is the commander of the most capable legion.
The current Strategos is Peleias Lardon, the former commander of Valara Legion, appointed in 2845.
Most of the principles of outfitting the army and warfare have been passed from the time of Alentum, when parts of the old Empire were at war with one another. Only that which does not work, is changed. Compared to Alentum, the current Empire’s navy is much smaller, and mostly used to patrol the coast and the Sea of Selag.
**Some better known legions
- Adura Legion - Held the Fortress of Mist Pass for a 100 days during year 1617 against a much larger Freelander army.
- Darith Legion (darith - ‘doom’ in high-leonte) - Differently from other legions, this one is led by a priest of Keteos. Most of the legion is made up by moroia, deserters and other criminals. Historically they have been used as expendable troops against the Free Lands and a large part of the moroia in the legion were Freelanders before their death. There are many stories and legends about this legion.
- Oroph Legion - One of the oldest legions in the Empire, having inspited many legends and books with the bravery of its soldiers.
- Valara Legion (valara - ‘resolute’ in high-leonte) - The former legion of the current Strategos Peleias Lardon.
One can apply to join the border patrol when signing up with the army. The best recruits are chosen after at least a year of serving first. The border patrol is the only unit not divided into legions. Before the end of the war the border patrol’s main task was to stop anyone from crossing the border. After the war their main task is to keep order in the border zone and to check the border permits of the people traveling there.
The border patrol has the right to process smaller misdemeanors and to arrest those disrupting the order. The border patrol also works with their counterparts in the Free Lands and apart from Leontite-only groups there are mixed groups who operate in areas where people from both sides live together, like the villages of Aren and Telit.
Imperial society is like a well-working machine where everyone has their place and responsibility. The most important thing is how the citizen can be useful to the Empire and how well they serve the Emperor.
There are fundamentally two societal classes. The citizen class is made up of all unmarked alenti. The small minority is the upper class, known as the Chosen, who bear a mark from the Emperor and a special path in life.
Guilds are so called workers’ unions, uniting people of the same occupation. Guilds regulate occupation standards and stand for the rights of their members. Guilds are present in the whole Empire and there are many different kinds of them. Usually a guild is led from their headquarters by the guild council, made up of the masters of that particular trade.
Joining a guild is either easy or hard depending on the guild. Some more sophisticated guild set severe standards for joining and not everyone is accepted. Therefore it is possible for someone of a certain trade to have the choice between more than one guild.
The custom is that guild members pay a membership fee every year. This money is used to fund guild life and guild rooms. Guilds have houses or meeting rooms in all bigger cities.
Not all of these groups are called guilds, some of them have different titles. Besides the mentioned groups, there are more than three hundred guilds in the Imperial list.
- Palace Mages Guild - The guild of highly valued mages who render their services to the Emperor, the Emperor’s Court and other Chosen. This guild’s membership is invite-only.
- Peoples’ Mages Guild - Also simply known as the Mages’ Guild. Largest mages’ guild in the Empire. The People’s Mages Guild is the one responsible for mining and refining apeiron in the Empire. All legally sold apeiron in the Empire originates from the Mages’ Guild. Most of Imperial mages belong to this organisation. The Mages’ Guild also oversees the Mage Academies.
- Collegium of Doctors - The group of university-learned medical doctors.
- Collegium of Sciences - A group that gathers archivists, chroniclers, historians, theorists, philosophers and many others. Is called a Collegium despite that one does not actually need an university grade to belong here, unlike the Doctors.
- Peoples’ Medics Guild - The guild of self-taught or school-learned doctors. Many retired army medics are also members.
- Alchemists’ Guild - The main guild of alchemists, separated into many subguilds based on the interests of their members (medical alchemists, war alchemists, studying alchemists and others).
- Artisans Alliance - One of the largest guilds in the Empire, the Alliance is a group representing over a hundred types of trade. All sorts of smiths, tailors, printers and many others belong here. Being admitted into the Alliance is a sign of legitimacy for an artisans’ guild, as the Alliance negotiates with the Empire for them and is often able to acquire better options.
- Merchants’ Guild - A rich guild, handles funding and manning the border caravan’s nearly singlehandedly.
- Performers’ Guild - All sorts of performers from actors to singers belong here.
- Security Guild - A guild with many war veterans and other skilled fighters as members. The guild offers various services in relation to guarding someone or something. There are rumors the guild also offers some not so savory or legal options, but it has never been officially proved.
- Hunters’ Band - A group of professional bounty hunters.
- Veteran Watch - A group dedicated to emplying wat veterans and reintroducing them to society. Created after the peace treaty was signed, due to the large number of soldiers retired.
- Forest Watch - The group of Imperial forest rangers.
- Explorers’ Guild - A small, recently grown rich guild, suspected to have pricate backers. The guild has all sorts of members and they explore new areas, chart them and in the opinion of many freelanders openly steal found artifacts and other valuable items. Nothing has been proven so far and the guild has been able to survive all political incidents.
Travelers’ Refuge - Historically a guild helping those on the road, many of their members have moved to the border areas to help and teach travelers. Compared ot the Explorers’ Guild, more of a peoples’ organisation.
- Night Guild - There are illegal guilds as well, unrecognised by the Empire. The Night Guild is one of such by rumor, having black market fences, assassins, thieves and others as members.
The following eight virtues are especially important in the Empire:
- Respect - One must respect the Empire, the Emperor, the Chosen, the gods, the other citizens, their family, their parents and their spouse.
- Letting go - Death is a natural part of life. As if grief, but one must not cling to it much too long.
- Remembrance - There is no progress without knowledge and the wisdom of the past must not be forgotten.
- Flexibility - Life is unpredictable and temporary, going along with it is the most simple thing.
- Bravery - Only the brave will reach the future.
- Hard work - No one gets anything without working and everyone must contribute to the progress of the Empire.
- Bonds - Everyone is connected.
- Helping - Everyone, especially the most weak must be taken into account.
The others and their treatment
All lagars, moroia and wulvers who live in the Empire must be registered. The reason for this is that everyone must know who they interact with. This special status also puts some limitations on their further life and the occupations they may hold.
Although serviles are created from alenti souls, the process changes them so much that they are no longer considered to be alenti. They are treated politely, but more like tools than people.
The birth of the Old Blood is seen as a good omen, especially in families where neither of the parents are Old Blood themselves. This is rare, however. An Old Blood alenti may experience coddling and a lot of attention, since knowing one of the Old Blood is said to bring luck. Because of this many Old Blood experience pressure to stick to safer occupations. Despite that many of them do enter the army.
Law and punishment
In front of the law everyone is equal, no matter their occupation, riches or connections. The laws were created during the beginning of the Empire and they have stayed mostly the same until the signing of the peace treaty. The laws are administered by judges who have passed the necessary exams and have permission to act given by the High Court.
Small misdemeanors like insults, petty theft, petty fraud usually carry the sentence of a fine or community work.
Crimes such as stealing and corruption carry the sentence of serving Malakhim’s priests for a time. Usually this punishment is a year or a few years, but sometimes one must serve for far longer.
For severe crimes against a person like torture, assault or murder, the sentence is hard labor for several years and branding. Branding usually means the punished person is no longer welcome in society for no one trusts a person marked like that.
The highest crime is high treason which carries the sentence of execution. Execution may only be sentenced by the High Court. High treason means plans to harm the Empire, the Emperor, the Chosen. Before the peace treaty, any sort of collusion with the Free Lands and spying for them also carried this sentence.
The Chosen (Not a playable class)
Joining the upper class is a rare thing. An alenti who has done something extraordinary enough to draw the attention of the Emperor, may be taken into the Chosen. Upon joining the Chosen they receive a new name and their old name is erased from all records. They also must give up their family ties, their children and their parents. The process of Choosing is done with a special item that gives the new Chosen a magical lizard-shaped sign on their body. When two Chosen have a child, the child will also carry this mark.
The upper class is involved in politics, creating laws and making decisions. There are few of the Chosen and therefore it is important their bloodlines stay strong. Combining and mapping the bloodlines is the task of those in the palace.
Being Chosen is not easy, despite the respect they receive. They must understand all aspects of life in the Empire - the territories, the people, everything. Since they become creators of laws and highest judges, they go through harsh tutoring to know enough to make their decisions fairly.
Some of the Chosen live in the palace in the capital and make up a part of the Imperial Court. Most of the Chosen however live all over the Empire with their families and their work involves administering the cities and the city courts.