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Numquam cadēmus

Semper praevalēbimus
Sīcut hominēs essem
Sic fuit ante nos
Et sic erit post nos
Si nos moriēmur
Vindicāmur fīliīs
Omnēs gentēs mundi
Sub hūmānitāte
Humiliābimus
Vivat. Vivat.
Humanitas aeternum est.

- Imperial War March

The Greater Imperial Pact of Free Human Nations (Old Tongue: Pactum Maius Imperiale Nātiōnum Hūmānōrum Liberorum, Imperial Standard: Adăt raqna-e carana a-'dery Qanimy qatem), otherwise known as the Empire of Man (Imperial Standard: Raqna a-Qanim), the Empire or the Imperialé, is a large, yet somewhat recent, civilization that resides upon the world of Koldenwelt. The Empire consists almost exclusively of humans, a Deiwos species that despite its short lifespan is arguably as one of the most populous and diverse races on Koldenwelt's surface. Formed out of the petty kingdoms founded by the rebel slaves of the Sovereignty of Dryada, the Empire has since then grown to become one of the most advanced and powerful nations of Koldenwelt thanks to the sharing of knowledge and resources between the societies under its banner, its people having mastered metallurgy, architecture, and advanced technology like gunpowder.

The Empire of Man is ultimately ruled, governed and overseen by the Grand Monarch; a powerful king or queen who presides over the rest of the executive and legislative branches of the Empire, with their purpose being to promote order and maintain balance between the Empire's many cultures and ethnic groups which expand across Koldenwelt's surface. The Empire is collectively known for its mistrust of other species and outright hate of elve, stemming from the millenia of slavery its people had endured, and its near-universal fear and intolerance towards sorcery. To combat these threats, the Empire has created multiple organized military forces, both terrestrial and naval.

Formerly deemed inferior by the entirety of the planet, mankind is determined to carve its own destiny, to create a world where they would no longer be an oppressed underclass drudging for their masters - by any means neccessary. For the thousand years of freedom they have had - not long for an elf, an eternity for a human - mankind has created a titan to match their former slavers, built not on magic but on steel, willpower and hatred. The people of Koldenwelt now shudder as the juggernaut of mankind ravages and dominates the ever-greater expanses of the world. Some both among humanity and outside it have come to believe believe that the Empire is in actuality hardly any better, and perhaps even worse, than the slaver domains it once sought to crush...

HistoryEdit

I fondly remember the time when our two peoples were not enemies. Oh, what I would give for the natural harmony to be restored! Your kind was... happy back in the day. You do not remember it, the short-lived ones, but you understood it, the way of things, like some of us still do.

- Lady Lucretia Felicithi

Only through my dead corpse I would see that order you speak of come into existence again. Know this: once freedom is tasted, it can never be taken away. Enslave us once again if yoy wish; our spirits shall never surrender.

- Grand Monarch Ermenrich I

Dryadali SlaveryEdit

Rebel Human Genocide

The fate of rebel human slaves under the Imperium was gruesome.

Noone is sure how, when or why humanity did come to be. The first pages of the history of mankind are long since lost in time, buried in history by those who would probably not even entertain the thought of it ever becoming anything more than particularily intelligent farm animals. There are tales, though, and legends, none of which are universally agreed on by any large part of the world. The people of the Sovereignty of Dryada, as well as their allies, believe that humans were once a primitive, barbaric species deprived of magical ability that, driven by envy for the great, went to war with the Orichalcum Elf Imperium and was subsequently conquered, becoming one of its many slave races. Some (both elven or human) scholars, however, have come to believe from studying human physiology that they are in fact merely a degenerate (blessed) form of the Dryadali race, whose ineptitude with (resistance to) magic, short lifespan (innovative mindset), disconnection from nature (desire to progess), and of course deformed (elegant) ears are all curses (boons) of some malevolent (benevolent) deity - perhaps a Colossus or even an eldritch Simulacrum. This theory is often supported by Klaxxa alchemists, many of whom trace the origin of mankind to their own masters, the Cobalt Kingdom: humans were supposedly a gift of the Ordnung to their golden-skinned allies, based on Deiwos biology but altered to create a perfect slave race. One way or another, humanity's history begins at a defined point: their servitude to the Imperium.

As darker forces began to take root in the Orichalcum Elves' once grand empire, the loyalty of the broken slave race began to falter. As more and more of the Imperium's subservient (but still free, unlike the humans) subject races began to secede, the humans followed, and by the time the wicked Legion of the Shiarchon was born out of its dessicated corpse, few of them still swore allegiance to the golden elves (or rather the monsters they have become); those would become known as the Ailasi, the Loyalists. Some - the forbearers of the Hopedans, the Kataroçei, the Freelanders, and the Islanders - fled to form their own realms. Most, those that would later found the Empire, stayed at their place in the bottom of the society, now "adopted" by the Sovereignty of Dryada. Mankind served their new masters faithfully, if only out of fear and some twisted sense of duty that had guided their race for so long, and the people of Sovereign, having tasted the lash of oppression themselves, treated them fairly - like a master would treat a dog. Neverthless, what was the natural order of things for both sides remained - the pointy-eared on top, the round-eared at the bottom - and the few slave revolts, including the legendary Airiianic Rebellion, that happened during that period were easily quelled by the Civil Guard. This idea reflected in all facets of Dryadali faith, philosophy, art and culture, and resulted in what some Sovereign nobles still believe to be the golden age for both elves and men.

Things began to change circa 1,800 years ago, when the Sovereign started to expand from the Western Forests, the original homeland of the Dryadali, to the Eastern Plains, the Sea of Sand and the Polar Lands, founding the colonies of Hallashariel, Dryanneia, Tamaraulim and Vilaiel. As elves are by nature not an extremely fertile race and thus not suitable for rapid expansion, most of the settlers were human serfs, forcibly deported from their homelands to work on the new territories for their landlords. As the elf population in the colonies was never large except for the the Forlorn Peninsula and the Biennsar Ridge, the administration of the colonies, especially on lower levels was often given to particularily gifted humans, who recieved the appropriate education in the Sovereign's academies. These decisions had two chief consequences. First, humans were given the chance to create their own culture in relative isolation, separate from their masters. Second, a small but educated and cultured class of human intelligentsia - that came to be known as Lirena-Canim (High Elven: enlightened humans) was formed, able to see how disenfranchised their people were in comparison with their elven overlords or even the rest of the Sovereign. These two facts, coupled with the brutal hardships the serfs had to go through during the settling process, gave birth to dissent, unrest, and, eventually, revolts.

Mannazei and a'LhassanEdit

Forging the Pact

The Pact of Two is forged.

The first colonial rebellions were, like other human slave revolts before them, quelled fairly easily; the Civil Guard took care of undisciplined, unorganised settlers without much effort. However, that time, these revolts would not be silenced completely; through the Lirena-Canim and their literature, poetry, and art, the word of humanity's struggle for freedom spread throughout the Sovereign. This triggered a change in the elven aristocracy's attitude towards humans; whereas they were once unequivocally treated by their masters as lowly creatures that must be subjugated and controlled for their own good, now they came to be treated by some - though this point of view was (and still is) obviously not universal in the Sovereign - as fully sapient beings or even equals (!). Neverthless, neither the Ouroboros nor the Civil Guard's commanders were willing to free the humans, understanding that the traditions the elven civilisation had been standing on for millenia could not be so easily swept away. Thus, beneath the Sovereign's shining exterior, social contradictions continued to grow, and grow and grow until there came a disaster that revealed them. That disaster was called the Dragonrise. When the great wyrm Yurizeng-long rose in the east with an army to dominate the Deiwos race, and the Sovereign's armies - composed mostly of former serfs and slaves drafted into war - were gathered to repel their invasion, the canim problem (as the situation with the slaves had become known) truly came into light. As elven generals - especially their leader, Suraxmali - were forced more and more often to use their human soldiers as cannon fodder to defeat the dragon armies, mass desertions became widespread. Only through unspeakable bravery and mercilessness of its leaders - or maybe just pure luck - did the Sovereign manage to emerge relatively unscathed from this conflict.

Yet, the end of the Dragonrise did not bring the humans their much-craved freedom; indeed, the sheer devastation wrought by the war coupled with the elves' still present disregard for their serfs' well-being and Suraxmali's (who had come to dominate the Sovereign's politics after the war) growing madness only made their plight worse. It was then that the Grand Rebellion began.

In the Dryadali colony of Hallashariel, in the Desert, there was born a human boy with brilliant silver eyes, which was named a'Lhassan - one with radiance in his people's native tongue. Both hard-working and scholarly, and with a keen interest in history and ancient lore, he was soon noticed by his village's elder and then by its landlord, a proud Erylia nobleman by the name of Thassil Amnydal. Secretly a proponent of equality and enemy of Suraxmali's tyrannical rule, he ensured that his serf would acquire proper education and freed him, giving him his own surname - Alhassan Amnydal. In the great elven cities of Purity's Apogee and Argent Corona, the boy learned, facing prejudice and bigotry with pride, and grew into a man - a wise scholar. In the ancient libraries of the Sovereign, he sought to find the answers that had tormented his soul from birth; how did his species come to be, who were they once, and what made them fall from grace. He learned that humanity too had heroes that fought in the ranks of the Dawn Wardens when the Dark God himself walked the lands. One legend, however, fascinated him the most: the story of Khardemav, the ancient human city in the Sea of Sand. Infatuated with the thought that humans too were once like the ancients, mighty and wise, Alhassan left the comfort of elven lands and returned to his homeland to search for Khardemav. Surviving in the desert completely alone for over a decade, he was thought to be lost, forgotten both in his village and in the great citadels of the Sovereign... until he at last found the city he was looking for.

Noone is sure what happened to the man there, but he came back to his village as a prophet, a messiah. Holding a staff in one hand and a scroll in the other hand, Alhassan spoke to his people of a new era of freedom, peace, justice and equality - an era blessed by Pheonas the Five-Faced. Spurred by his speeches, the humans of Amnydal rose against their masters, sparing only Thassil himself - as per Alhassan's orders - and thus ignited the flame of revolution in Hallashariel. Meanwhile, in the northern colony of Drynnaeia, another rebellion was formed among the human gladiators whose battles Suraxmali so enjoyed. Led by the legendary gladiatrix Mannazei the Red, descendant of Ahmalhrich Stormsword himself, the warrior slaves turned their weapons on those they once entertained, taking first the capital of Drynnaeia, Sublime Radiance, then the rest of the province. It wasn't until then than the elves, uncertain how to handle such massive rebellions, decided to act. Those more considerate in the Uroboros Circle suggested to deal with the humans peacefully, but ultimately - mostly because of Suraxmali's stubborn nature - the Sovereign refused to negotiate with rebels and responded with lethal force, sending the Sanguinary Force to crush Mannazei and Alhassan's followers. Forced to fight soldiers that was much more trained, well-equipped and disciplined than their own, the gladiatrix-turned-warmistress and the white-eyed prophet decided to join forces and forge the Pact of Two, thus setting into motion what would become known as the Grand Rebellion. There was more in their alliance than just mere convenience; the two loved each other, and it was their feelings for each other that drove them forward towards freedom.

Siege of Varacharn

Argent Corona, the capital of Suraxmali's realm, under siege.

The combined forces of the Pact, led by Mannazei but driven and inspired by Alhassan's fiery rhetoric, managed to repel Suraxmali's initial assault composed of eagle, wyvern and Drake riders, throwing the majority of his forces into dissaray and dealing a significant moral blow to the Sovereign's military. However, this first victory was not without cost: no less that one seventh of the human military forces perished to obtain it, slaughtered mercilessly by the elven warlord's well-trained, heavily armed forces, and by the time the mainstay of the Dryadali armies reached the Pact's newly claimed territories in Dryanneia and Hallashariel, the Rebellion turned into a long, bloody war of attrition. A bloody stalemate was reached; the humans were too numerous, determined and entrenched in their fortresses to be completely rooted out, yet their military strength was not enough to repel the elven invaders completely. Still, the war continued: having tasted freedom, the men of the the Pact were completely unwilling to once again bow to their former masters or even make peace with them, while the Sovereign's warriors clinged to their martial honour and loyalty to the Archon. However, as time passed and the conflict grew ever more violent, the morale of the Dryadali armies began to falter: more and more elves, both soldiers and civilians, came to sympathise with the human cause and desire for freedom and turn away from Suraxmali, whose already fragile sanity had deteriorated significantly since the Grand Rebellion. These sympathies eventually resulted in the formation of Pax Libertatis, a group of Sovereign aristocrats and soldiers supporting racial equality and self-determination, that toppled Suraxmali from his blooded throne and made peace with the rebel humans. The colonies of Dryanneia and Hallashariel were given to the Pact, renamed Mannfurstdum and Alhassal-ten-Fajim after the heroic human liberators, and those elves that managed to survive the Rebellion left to the West in their ancestral lands. Suraxmali's former seat of power, Argent Corona, became the Pact Center, the liberated mankind's new capital. Humanity was at last free.

The Empire FoundedEdit

Age of Dark

The Human Wars had devastated entire cities.

But did humanity prosper? Even the most patriotic and nationalistic scholars among the Empire would give a negative answer to that question. The bloody decades that followed mankind's liberation were hardly the brightest in its history. Once the common enemy that all humans shared - the elves, of course - was gone, there was little the two leaders of the Pact could do to slow down the inevitable dissolution of their realms, and once both of them died on the same day under unclear circumstances - perhaps of old age, perhaps by the hand of an elven assassin or a courtly conspirer - any semblance of human unity was gone. Alhassal-ten-Fajim and Mannfurstdum quickly turned upon each other in a bloody war over resources and territories, and many more petty human duchies, counties, republics and city states - such as l'Ammanori or Bohdaria - were formed as these two kingdoms were torn apart by internal struggles. The Pact Center, which came to be known simply as the Center, was soon plundered and devastated by the warring factions, turned into a barren ruin in but a few decades following the Grand Rebellion.

Human scholars tend to refer to this era as the Age of Dark, as very little is known about it, although there is no consensus among them about how dark it truly was. While all Imperials would agree that the internal strife that marked this period in human history was despicable, there are those who also praise it, considering the Age of Dark to be the time when humanity first developed its own culture not influenced by the Imperium, the Sovereign or any other external force. As for the wars between the human nations, these scholars tend to claim that most of them were actually instigated by the Vila elves, who feared the unification of mankind and thus acted against it from the shadows. The Grand Duchess and her followers of course deny such claims, but few in the Empire - or in her own nation, for that matter - actually believe her.

About the era that followed the Age of Dark, the Age of Foundation, there are no disagreements among scholars: all Imperials and even some of the rebels - such as the Brazen Blades - consider it to be the golden era of mankind. The reason for this is obvious: this was the time when the Empire of Man as it is known today was estabilished. Although many figures, both military and political, were instrumental to its foundation, ultimately the Empire was the brainchild of one man: Ermenrich Stormsword, the First Grand Monarch of the Empire. His figure, cloaked in legends and myths, is studied in Imperial academies even today; much of his past remains unknown and some of it was forgotten deliberately, erased from history by the hands of other rulers of mankind.

A scion of an ancient Mannazian feudal family descended from Mannazei and Alhassan themselves and deposed from the throne by courtly intrigue soon after the Age of Dark - or so it is said - Ermenrich supposedly rallied the common people behind him with the message of human unity, conquering each human province one by one. In Mannfurstdum, his own homeland, he challenged the reigning furst, Athalwolf Brightsword, to a duel of honour, accusing him of consorting with the sworn enemy of mankind - the elves. Athalwolf denied such claims, but accepted the challenge nonetheless, confident in his success. Unfortunately, the stranger had proven to be stronger: as Ermenrich landed the killing blow and tore the furst's tabard, Sovereign coins spilled from beneath it, revealing his treachery to Mannazians who then crowned the victor as furst. In Alhassal, the desert alliance of kingdoms bound together by faith in Pheonas the Five-Faced, Ermenrich came with peace instead. Travelling to the sacred Alhassan capital of Aracadha wielding a staff and wearing the white robes of a piligrim, the now-Furst of Mannazia asked the Sacrosanct Master of the Hallowdom, Agni I, to let him enter the holy ruins of Khardemav. All expected him to die on that journey - no-one ventured into Khardemav's sanctum sanctorum and lived but a'Lhassan himself - but Ermenrich emerged out of it unscathed, surrounded by a celestial halo and wearing the heavy adamantine crown of the Adevasura. Without any second thoughts, all Alhassans bowed to the Grand King, as Ermenrich had become known since then, and thus the two greatest human realms joined his cause.

The Empire Founded

Ermenrich and his knights parade through the Imperial Center.

From then on, Ermenrich's newborn alliance grew and grew as more and more humans joined his cause - some willingly and some, like the seafaring Aos'mara of the Gulf of Blades, by force. In him, many saw the revival of the human race and a hope for unity - a hope that mankind would rise from the Age of Dark and become a proud, dignified people to rival the elder races of the world. Following the Treaty of l'Ammanori in 254 BNA that brought over 30 new cities and feudal domains under Ermenrich's rule and ratified the rights and responsibilities of each human realm, the Empire of Man was estabilished in earnest. From the rebuilt capital of the Pact of Two, now renamed Imperial Center, Ermenrich began his reign, quickly turning the disorganised human provinces into a cohesive whole by creating a new set of laws, estabilishing a unified currency - the Imperial Aureal - and reorganising humanity's armies.

The latter edict would be soon put to a use. Once the Empire was only a decade old, Ermenrich, seeking to form stable trade routes with other human states such as the Islander nations of the East, declared the First Imperial Crusade, commanding the now-united human military forces to claim the wild lands of Tartarion for mankind so that access to the Inland Seas of Xa'in and Korishimia where the Islanders lived would be secure. This military campaign drew attention of the Sovereignty of Dryada, whose leaders were now afraid that their former slaves could become a threat and as such decided to respond; in the war that followed, the human knightly orders were eventually defeated - though not without a fight - by the elven warriors aided by the conscripted natives of Tartarion. This first defeat the Empire recieved made Ermenrich rethink his foreign policies, leading him into signing the so-called Dryadali Truce - the First Dryadali Truce, as this would not be the last time the humans warred with the elves - with the Sovereign and making the Empire enter a state of isolation, developing and expanding on its own. The second Grand Monarch that was elected by an emergency council of human leaders, now known as the Table to Governors, after Ermenrich was assassinated, Ahimelech of Aracdha, continued this policy, ushering in the Age of the Empire.

Recent HistoryEdit

Human-Elf War

The Ash War was one of the many conflicts the Empire had with elves.

In the following decades, the Empire continued to slowly grow in strength. Under the governance of the new Grand Monarchs - who were now chosen by the Table of Governors - new lands were discovered, new technologies were developed - or borrowed from other races - and new war heroes were born, earning humanity new victories against its enemies. More provinces joined the Empire, further enriching its culture, increasing its influence and expanding its knowledge; some of them, such as the northern Saphronian Hetmanate and the Khanate of Kataroçeiople, even brought with them the previously forbidden art of magic. As time passed, the older civilisations of the world, such as the Ar-Klith Sky Empire and the Merovar Dynasty, who once saw mankind as brutish, barbaric or even dangerous, had warmed up towards it significantly. However, the humans of the Empire neverthless did not agree to enter any alliances or form long-term trade relations with other nations - the ali'quam, as non-humans had became known in Collective Imperium Standard - and continued to keep to themselves. There was one Koldenwelti nation that did not accept humanity's rise to power, though: the Sovereign, whose oppressive yoke mankind had once thrown aside and whose leaders could not accept the Grand Monarchs' imperialistic expansion. The elves and the Empire battled many times, all over Koldenwelt, and each war took thousands of lives and devastated entire kingdoms until at least an uneasy truce was signed. The only time the two races (briefly) forsook their grievances was during the War for the Eye, and even then their armies merely fought the same enemy, not cooperating with each other.

Recently, in the last few decades, mankind has experienced a period of expansion unprecedented since Ermenrich's reign. Although the aftermath of the bloody Ash War that raged from 40 BNA to 2 BNA crippled the Empire greatly and left the Grand Monarch responsible for it, Kaleb Greycloak, widely unpopular, the new human ruler, a l'Ammanori noble by the name of Pyrene Vastrise, quickly undid the mistakes of her predecessor and led her people to a new golden - or perhaps dark? - era. A skilled diplomat and negotiatior, she has done her best to maintain the fragile peace between the Empire and the Sovereign as well as improve relationships with other nations, even allowing nonhumans to trade freely in l'Ammanori. However, she has also signed several agreements with the Islander humans and strengthened Imperial military forces greatly; the Empire's armies are now stronger than ever, consolidating human rule in the Great Desert, the Eastern Plains and the Sea of Talons. As tensions both inside the human realms and outside them grow, mankind now stands at the crossroads, its future more unclear than ever. Will the Empire of Man, guided by Pyrene, come to dominate Koldenwelt just like the Orichalcum Elf Imperium, its people's former enslaver, did in the past, or will the light of mankind snuff out once again? Will humans and elves mend their old grudges and live in peace, or is a new war imminent? Only gods themselves know.

CharacteristicsEdit

EthnicitiesEdit

We are NOT pink.

- Javina Desertsun on human ethnic diversity

Although humanity possesses less ethnic diversity than elves or Draonoggr and shows less variation in terms of appearance, size, or magical ability (after all, most humans don't have any) depending on the region, it is far from a homogenous species. Among humans, there are numerous cultures and ethnicities whose traditions and ways of life vary greatly; each has a province of its own, a representative in the Table of Ministers, and its own local military force. Although the Empire seeks to aid and protect humans regardless of their loyalties (shown by its willingness to accept the Kataroçei, previously closer to the people of the Snakeblood Wilds more than to anyone else, into its fold) and a pan-human identity is seen as foremost by its subjects, Imperial provinces neverthless take pride in their culture, language and history.

Overall, human nations can be split into two large groups: the Keracan (Imperial Standard: Freedmen), the Dryalic-speaking descendants of those Sovereign slaves that became free during the Grand Rebellion and that compose the majority of the Empire's population, such as the Alhassans or the Mannazians, and the Larsacan (Imperial Standard: Fugitives) who escaped slavery much earlier in their history and mostly speak Adamren-derived languages, such as the Kataroçei and the Wild Men of the Saphronian Hetmanate. The Empire also gives home to large diasporas of human nations not aligned to it, such as the Freelanders or the Islanders; however, these diasporas do not have a say in the Table of Governors.

Alhassan Humans
Alhassan Banner
  • Capital: Sarif Maidan

To the west, in the northeastern reaches of the Sea of Sand, lies the High Kingdom of Alhassal, one of the oldest and most powerful human realms. Founded by the legendary prophet Alhassan the Harbinger, Alhassal, more so than other human nations, has retained the knowledge of arts, crafts and sciences left by their former masters, and further refined them. The desert kingdom's many great centers of learning, excquisite works of art and architecture and peerless scholars are testament to this devotion to learning, and it is because of them that Alhassal is typically considered to be the cultural and spiritual heart of the Empire. Alhassal is also notable for being the foremost religious center of free humanity; albeit the Empire as a whole has no state religion, the Hallowdom, the dominant faith among the southern provinces, originates there, and the Priesthood of Pheonas holds considerable power in the kingdom.

Unlike Mannazia or L'Ammanori, Alhassal is not a unified state but rather a federation of independent Citadels: great self-sustaining desert fortresses possessing advanced irrigation systems and fields of arable land, each governed by its own lord or Shah. The Shah of Alhassal's capital, Sarif Maidan, the Padishan, is merely the first among equals, and his primacy over his peers stems solely from the fact that he controls the flow of water to the other citadels. The current Padishah, who also represents Alhassal in the Table of Ministers, is Aadideva I. Outside of the Citadels there also exist nomadic tribes nnown as the Glasswalkers, hardened and weary people used to survive in inhumane conditions: they eke out their living by herding, trading and serving as mercenaries and, while despised somewhat, are valued greatly by the Shahs.

One of the largest and richest Imperial provinces, Alhassal enjoys primacy in Imperial politics and holds immense sway in every decision the Grand Monarch makes. Some in the High Kingdom argue that, had luck been on their side, the Padishah could have long since dominated the entirety of the Empire and reign undisputed. However, with the internal squabbles betweeen the Citadels, the kingdom's inhospitable landscape and Alhassal's ancient rival, Mannazia, opposing its vehemently, this is very unlikely to happen.

Aynach Flag
  • Capital: Visonia (formerly), Solaris

At the far east, beyond the lands of the Erylia and Hikemera elves lies the Sublime Chivalry of Aynach, the eastmost province of the Empire of Man. A relatively new addition to the Imperials' ranks in age, it is nonetheless a formidable force on their own, sharing their descendants with the inhabitants of Mannazia who settled at the region during old wars against the Hikamera Elves. Their original capital, the great city of Visonia, used to be one of the largest cities in the whole east until it was completely destroyed by the dark powers of the Cult of the Eclipse, and today, the Aynachs' new capital lies closer to the west in the radiant city of Solaris.

The Aynachs are unlike the rest of the Empire for their welcoming attitude toward all beings, including elves and beastmen, with many trading caravans of their races passing through their territory monthly, much to the chagrin of the rest of the Empire. Regarding skin tone, the Aynachs are generally white skinned much like their Mannazian cousins, but involvement with the Erylia Elves through the ages has led to the birth of many families with darker skin. Perhaps the most notable part of Aynach's culture though is its great emphasis on chivalry and knighthood, with their knights being valiant, noble and loyal. The province was once the home of an order of independent knights known as the Knights of the All-Seeing, a powerful but famously altruistic faction composed of some of the most noble and powerful knights in the region, though they were wiped out in the Lympharian attack which destroyed Visonia.

The people of Aynach has little interest of war, preferring to solve problems with diplomacy and trade though they are not above defending themselves or their allies from harm. Aynach has always remained fairly independent and kept to themselves, but as said, they will eagerly come to the aid of their fellow men and women should the situation arise.

Bohdarian humans

The Bohdarians are basic humans; most are farmers who wear normal clothes and hats, while their females where tight black leather suits and skirts. Most notable about the Bohdarians is that the males all have brown hair, while females are all blonde. The males are either soldiers or farmers, while the females work taking care of their young and administrating the food stock, though they can also be found aiding their husbands at the lands of the farms. Both Bohdarian males and females have equal rights, though there are no females found among their militairy ranks, simply as the role as handmaiden is given to the daughter of the King.

The Bohdarian guard are heavily armored soldiers. Bearing long staffs and shields, they are experts at defending the walls and providing a blockades against enemy riders. Although Bohdarian soldiers are perfect defenders, their heavy armor makes them vulnerable at open field due to their weight.

Karacay Humans
Karacay Flag
  • Capital: Kataroçei

Building their cities the open grasslands and savannas of the east, the Kataroçei are a relatively new province of the Empire, but are nonetheless considered a prosperous and industrious nation. The Province of the Kataroçei was founded only a century ago by mass migrating Kataroçei refugees. The Kataroçei were originally native to the Tropical Lands where they existed as nomadic tribes, undisturbed for several centuries. This nomadic lifestyle came to an end when a storm of enormous magnitude flew spores of a deadly, parasitic fungus into the Kataroçei's lands. The plague spread quickly amongst the people, forcing many to flee into the Sea of Sand where the temperature was too high for the plague to germinate. After wandering the desert for a decade, the Kataroçei met the Empire of Man, who invited them to establish their own Province in the Eastern Plains.

The near-extinction of their people and the subsequent trek through the desert left a profound effect on Kataroçei culture. Because of how little survived the plague, the Kataroçei are now a much less diverse culture than they were before. They have abandoned their old religions focusing on Colossi and Simulacra as none of their gods responded to their prayers during the Plague and subsequent mass-migration. Xenophobia towards non-humans is especially rife, as no civilisation were willing to aid the Kataroçei in their time of need until the Empire did. It should be noted, however, that this xenophobia usually does not manifest as hatred, but rather suspicion and fear. Magic, however, is not feared nor persecuted, as magic very common amongst Kataroçei before the Plague, and was used during the Plague and subsequent journey through the desert for survival.

The modern government of the Kataroçei under the Empire, officially known as the Khanate of Kataroçeiople, is a fairly prosperous province renowned for its hardworking population. The Kataroçei devote themselves largely to agriculture, and have often been praised for "feeding the Empire," although industrial work is also prominent in urban areas. The government of the Khanate of Kataroçeiople is an monarchy lead by a Khan, who manages the day to day running of the state, but is outranked by the Grand Monarch.

Mannazian Humans
  • Capital: Mannazian

Mannazia, officially known by others as the Principality of Mannfürsttum, is an eastern province situated between Alhassal-ten-Fajim and L'Ammanori and is recorded as being one of the eldest nations founded by humans, a notable precursor for many younger nations which are often led by Mannaz influence and philosophy. Mannazia is traditionalist and militant, holding practice in higher regard than prayer while public reputation is determined by strength and merit rather than position. Led by monarchial dynasties, the current ruler of which being Fürst Friedemann Ironhelm, Mannazia's foundations revolve around its people; sturdy, hard-working, stubborn and brave, the Mannaz people are a proud one and are often considered to be the forge which keeps the Empire and her many provinces burning with loyalty and dedication.

Mannazia is widely held in regard for its strong soldiers and durable craft, with their national armours and weapons being considered the heaviest out of nearly all of the Empire's states and provinces although this is fitting as its people are recognized for their strength. The Mannaz people are renowned for their mutual respect and rivalry with those of Alhassal due to feuds within the far past, with many Alhassans and Mannaz living within one another's borders even though their cultures inevitably vary and differentiate considerably, in some ways more radical than others. While worship and prayer is found within the walls of Mannazia, it is the military and monarchic nobility who hold political influence and favour.

Mannazia is known for being one the first nations to express xenophoby and general mistrust towards nonhumans, designating anything different to what is believed to be human as 'monstrous' and 'demonic', which has branded itself upon the rest of the Empire ever since its founding. Nearly all Mannaz men retain the instinctive urge to fight, which expresses itself in routinely brawls between friends and family members and in their eagerness to oppose aliens.

Ammanori Humans
L'Ammanori Flag
  • Capital: L'Ammanori

Between the sands of Alhassal and the forests of Mannazia lies the port city of L'Ammanori, founded circa 450 years ago by merchants and pirates in the southeastern coast of the Sea of Talons; a mere harbour at first, L'Ammanori eventually grew to become a nation in its own right, known officially as the City State of Manori. The City State is an aristocratic republic, ruled by a doge elected for life and advised (and kept in check) by the Council of Hundred, the coalition of L'Ammanori's wealthiest and most powerful nobles. The people of L'Ammanori are known collectively as Manorians.

Unlike the other human realms which were built on strength of arms and faith, Manori was built on trade and diplomacy. Having maneuvred between the feuding kingdoms of Mannazia and Alhassal for centuries, its doges have always relied on cunning, not brute force, to retain their status, forming alliances and trade agreements with other human factions for as long as it was necessary and severing them after their use had ended. Some of the more unscrupulous rulers of L'Ammanori were also known to treat and trade with elves and other nonhuman races, even despite their xenophoby, if it benefitted them or the city somehow.

Their efforts have not gone to waste. Today, the City State of Manori (as the city's government is known) is one of the wealthiest and most influential human nations, and L'Ammanori itself is now widely considered to be the cultural heart of the Empire of Man, on par with older human capitals like Mannazia or Aracadha. Even the current Grand Monarch, Queen Pyrene II, is of Manorian blood. L'Ammanori also serves as the headquarters of the Imperial Inquisition, which is centered in the Grand Monastery of Pheonas on the outskirts of the city.

Saphronian Humans
Saphronian Flag
  • Capital: Thalapolis (formerly), Morjegrad

Originally coming to the Frontier Land to claim its vast riches, the humans of the Saphronian Hetmanate are now one of the most prolific and prominent races of the region. Industrious and militant much like their comrades in the Empire of Man, the Saphronians are neverthless much different from their cousins from the Empire of Man, the most notable difference being their attitude towards the Source.

Unlike the other regions of the Empire where wizards and sorcerers are feared and persecuted, magic is a common sight in Saphronia, and indeed its sorcerous academies and their students are well-known across Koldenwelt (though still looked down by innately magical races such as the Urindale); in fact, the usage of the Source is so common in the Frontier Land that every village has a mage of its own, and even those who cannot use magic often develop some strange, unusual, almost unnatural abilities. The Saphronians themselves owe their magical affinity to their history, but other humans fear that the real reason is that the Sea Giants' relics' presence has somehow changed its inhabitants like it has changed orcs.

Neverthless, the Saphronian humans remain a stalwart member of the Empire of Man and its leader, Hetman Savva Blackhand, is completely loyal to the Grand Monarch.

MutuorEdit

Although the Empire is first and foremost a human nation, there are some nonhumans who, either through circumstance or Imperial military conquest, found themselves under its rule. The majority of these mutuor (Imperial Standard: brotherly [species]) are goblins, the original inhabitants of the lands the Sovereign once colonised with their slaves, but the Empire is also home to other nonhuman species, including dwarves, ogres and even dragons. While not outright hated - that would go against the human creed - mutuor do not have much political or civil rights compared to humans and until the recent appointment of lady Jecadia Wyrmscale to the position of High Ambassador, did not have any representation in the Table of Governors.

Plain Goblins

dum wabbit

Imperial Dragon

We were given the power for a reason; to serve and protect those who lack it.

During the Dragonrise, a great amount of Kelodhros of all kinds descended upon the Dryadali Sovereign - including the territories that now belong to the Empire - to conquer and destroy it. After the leader of the horde, Yurizeng-long, was defeated, however, some of the dragons - most of them still young and small - turned their back on their brethren and decided to coexist with the elves instead, settling and building their new lairs and nests in their lands. Some of these lands would later fall to mankind following the Grand Rebellion, and thus these Kelodhros would become denizens of human kingdoms and later, the Empire of Man. In the decades that followed, these dragons - which mostly belonged to short-lived draconic races whose lifespan was only marginally larger than that of a human - intermingled between each other to form a new breed of Greater Kelodhres known as the Imperial Dragons.

While the majority of these red-scaled beasts bow to no authority and remain in their lairs spread all over the Eastern Plains, some of them were either subjugated by humans or accepted their dominion willingly, and now serve their part in the Empire as mounts for the greatest human warriors. Although they are as sapient as their handlers, the generations of servitude and breeding have made them fiercely loyal to the Empire, and they fiercely believe that their great strength and power gives them responsibility to protect those who lack it - such as humans.

Their subservient state does not make them any weaker, though. While the Imperial Dragons are hardly comparable to the True Kelodhros such as the Fire Drakes or the Sand Drakes, only reaching 10 m in size, they neverthless possess tremendous strength, agility and endurance, and can breathe fire - more than a match for the Bagraat eagles and the Fire Wyverns of the Sovereign warriors. Many heroes of the Empire rode these powerful creatures, including Elder Commander Pero Crimsonshield himself, whose mighty steed, Tarrasque, is still feared across the lands.

MilitaryEdit

Elven sorcerers? Desertsnake beasts of war? Dragonling machines? Give me enough human soldiers and enough swords, and I shall cut them down, one at a time. There is no force on Koldenwelt - sans one - that can stand against the Imperial war machine unified.

- General Kasfir Desertsun during the Battle of Ashfield

State MilitaryEdit

Imperial Soldiers

A company of State Militants, led by an Inquisitor, during the Ash War.

The State Military (Old Tongue: Exercitus imperii) is the standing army of the Empire which serves mostly as its defense force, being responsible for protecting the people and defending the Empire's territory. Though nominally a unified force, the State Military is in actuality merely the extension of the provinces' armies, occupied mostly with local conflicts: its guidelines and regulations are fairly loose, allowing for soldiers to retain their native culture, and its commanders are, in practice, loyal more to provincial rulers rather than the Grand Monarch herself. It is only during its most tenuous military campaigns that the Empire calls upon the State Military in its entirety - though considering the Empire's militarism, this happens quite often.

Imperial Justicar

Justicars are easily identifiable by their masked helmets and halberds, trained equally in the use of firearms and melee weapons.

There is no standardised equipment and armour that the Military's regiments are meant to follow, as the armies are usually drafted (or volunteered; there is no certain rule about how a regiment should be formed) and equipped by the local governments: the only general rule is that the regiments almost always fight on foot. For example, Mannazian regiments typically field small, but professional squads of heavy infantry, owing to the province's legendary martial skills and metallurgy, while Alhassal is famed for its great armies of citizen levies armed with crossbows. For this reason, it is commonplace for Imperial commanders to make several regiments cooperate so as to form a more balanced military force. Overall, the State Military is the largest and most numerable of the organizations that serve under the banner of the Empire; however, in terms of military organisation, training and equipment, its regiments fall behind in comparison to the Knights Circle and the Inquisition. Neverthless, the State Military is nonetheless highly-respected by most of those within the Empire as it serves its purpose of defense and law enforcement.

The Imperial Center's regiment of the State Military is known as the Justicar Company and is often considered to be a part of the Empire's army unto itself, separate from other regiments. Loyal to the Grand Monarch herself, the Justicars are much more numerous than the average Imperial regiment, fielding more than 20,000 men, and possess training and equipment on par with Imperial Knights. They are considered to be the heart of the Empire's army, and form the head of every Imperial military campaign; during peacetime, one half of the Justicar Company stays in the Imperial Center to protect while, while the other maintains order in the Empire's provinces. The Justicars are commanded by the Supreme Marchal, who also represents the whole of the State Military at the Table of Governors.

General Kasfir Desertsun
  • Name: Kasfir Desertsun
  • Position: High General
  • Ethnicity: Alhassan
  • Age: 53

I think of battles passed during the day and I dream of bloodshed yet to come as I sleep at night. I know nothing else.

Few soldiers or officers of the State Military rise to prominence in the Empire; their service is considered to be a duty, not something deserving of glory, and their organisation lacks the same aura of grandeur and romanticism that permeats the Knightly Orders or the Inquisition. Still, some manage to rise above the stigma that surrounds the Military and become heroes of the Empire, and among such heroes is Kasfir Desertsun, High General of the Varrula Legion. The current patriarch of the ancient noble house Desertsun, whose scions were always famed for their tenacity and brutality, Kasfir had more than lived up for his family's reputation, earning his stripes on the battlefields of the Ash War through a series of impressive and bloody victories. One of the most skilled riders in the Empire, his legion is composed mostly of light cavalry, earning Kasfir the moniker of Alhassan Horselord.

Brave, fearless and unbeatable in combat, Kasfir however suffers from the curse that has plagued many members of house Desertsun before him, from its founder, Visoka, to Kasfir's own children; once he goes to war, it engulfs him. Like no other warrior is Kasfir bloodthirsty on the fields of battle, and it is said that in the fire of combat, he forgets about everything - his legion, his people, his cause - seeking only to spill blood and sate his hunger for destruction. It is because of this violent attitude that the members of the Table of Governors, and the Inquisition's leader, Pêro Crimsonshield, in particular, have a rather dim view of the High General, seeing him as dangerous or even somewhat inhuman. Kasfir's daugher, Javina, was recruited into the ranks of the Inquisition largely due to this mistrust; as long as Pêro has a scion of house Desertsun under control, its patriarch will not become a threat... or so the Elder-Commander hopes.

Knights CircleEdit

Fort Graostein

Fort Graostein, Mannazia, home to the Ashdrake Order.

The Knights Circle (Old Tongue: Circulus Bellatorum - Circle of Warriors) is the Empire's specialized military organization and consists entirely of the most elite individuals from across the Empire's reach, selected from within and outside the State Military and often conscripted from dedicated bloodlines that offer themselves towards the Circle's services. The Knights Circle serves as an offense-orientated force, equipped and organized to engage in assaults and participate in crusades and quests in order to expand and increase the Empire's territories. The Circle is divided into many smaller divisions, known as Orders, that work in a similar manner to clans or families. Each Order is a sacred and ancient brotherhood, or sisterhood, that has dedicated itself towards lives of combat and bloodshed.

Each Order usually consists of 100 or so knights, including a single Magister or equivalent individual that possesses the responsibility of commanding, guiding and inspiring the rest of the Order. There are thought to be a great many Orders that are registered under the Circle, all with varying cultures, traditions and religions that they uphold with ferocious zealousy and loyalty. Unlike the State Military, the Knights Circle is not divided across all of the Empire's territories and some Orders do not reside within the Empire's borders at all, instead taking residence within the unexplored wilderness or behind enemy lines in order to mark the Empire's presence and prevent or forewarn invasion. The services of certain Orders can be bought for periods of time with large enough payments, although those who are unable to deliver are certain to be executed as an example of an Order's pride. The Knights Circle does not standardize equipment or uniform and is instead supplied by specialized blacksmiths and crafters found within the Orders' members.

While most knights of the Circle are above standard law and regulations that restrict civilians and officers of the State Military, they possess their own codes and set of bounds that issued by the Grand Monarch and the Table of Governors which all knights must follow, uphold and respect with the highest degree and must not doubt unless they seek to be seen as traitors. All actions undertaken by an Order must benefit the Empire as a greater whole, all knights are subject to standard law while off-duty, a knight cannot kill nor harm any intelligent creature that is of civilian or equivalent status whether it'd be ally or enemy, politicians may not be subject to harm without confirmation, and sorcery is to be discriminated against and terminated. Concerning the latter-most regulation, however, there are certain exceptions; secret Orders that are kept out of public and military knowledge that answer only to the Grand Monarch and his representatives. They are typically nomadic in order to conceal their existence and do not operate alongside standard Orders in fear of civil conflict. These are the Sanctioned Orders, which are monitored extensively by the Inquisition and are allowed to make use of magic and alien equipment under their supervision in order to combat others that use such.

The Knights Circle possess internal politics amongst Magisters and equivalent individuals, usually dealing with matters such as reinforcements, resources and general inter-Order interaction. At certain times, Orders will either divide into smaller Orders or combine with others in order to form much larger organizations, either temporarily or permanently. Such movements occur once every decade as the Empire expands, although they can occur during times of crysis. Some Orders are unregistered or are outright treacherous to the Empire's cause, these are known as the Unsanctioned Orders. These nomads are often considered as mercenaries or barbarians, although some of these Orders still hold allegiance towards the Empire and the Grand Monarch but not the established restrictions and codes.

Orders will often pursue recruits at all times and usually do so by either analyzing certain members of their nearest State Military Regiments or through conscriptions that usually include young children. While the rites of passages vary between each Order and settlement, all follow the guidelines inked in the Codex Primitus - the First Codex, a set of documents that were written by the first Grand Monarch with his own blood being used as ink, making this codex an incredibly valuable, sacred and ancient artefact that is regarded above all else by the Knights Circle.

Politically, the Circle is represented by the Magisters and their equals, although as a whole the Knights Circle is commanded, governed and overseen by the High Militante, who holds his own authority at the Table of Governors and recards every conflict, engagement, formation and dissolution of the registered Orders. The High Militante possesses their own Order of knights that serve as one of the largest and most skilled forces in the Empire's existence, with no other Order under the Circle or the Empire's banner possessing such power, size, or skill on their side. It is the High Militante and his Order that leads the Knights Circle in large-scale crusades and wars, although most Orders are independent entities for the most part and can usually function without external assistance.

Imperial ArmadaEdit

The Imperial Armada (Old Tongue: Classis Maritimus - Sea Fleet) is the naval force of the Empire that consists of many sea-faring flotillas from across the Empire, usually supplied by nations that reside near seas and oceans and making use of lifestyles that revolve around them. The Imperial Armada serves a multifunctional purpose; while it is primarily designed and structured for war, it is also used as a means of transporting resources and militia between territories and allies across the waters. The Imperial Armada is divided into Fleets, with their hierarchies, models and equipment varying depending on their places of origin. As not all Fleets are the same in terms of weaponry and strategy, each one is differentiated in terms of strength, number and profession.

Ships of the Empire are usually recognized by their flags, which either don the shared banner of those under the Empire or the flag of a Fleet's nation. The Imperial Armada's purpose is to explore the world and allow for the expansion of the Empire while transporting materials, nobles and soldiers in order to secure colonies and establish territories. The Imperial Armada is also given the responsibility of combating piracy and other seafaring criminals who seek to escape punishment from the Empire such as rogue sorcerers. The purposes of the ships within the Imperial Armada range between models, with some intended for scouting and patrolling while others were intended for defensive transporation and delivering heavy damage to enemy vessels.

The Imperial Armada is represented by a multitude of politicians from across the Empire although is directly overseen, directed and governed by a series of individuals collectively known as the High Admirals. The High Admirals govern a specific sector where the Imperial Armada operates, such as one High Admiral being deployed to oversee the Northern oceans while another being assigned to the Western seas. The High Admirals discuss political matters revolving around materials and support between themselves, keeping a balance over the many Fleets of the Imperial Armada in order to maintain full effectiveness and efficiency on all sides and within all sectors.

InquisitionEdit

Nobody Expects The Imperial Inquisition

As the Inquisition's chief weapons are fear and surprise, their arrival is somewhat difficult to expect.

There's more to the Inquisition than fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Grand Monarch, and nice black uniforms. We are humanity's first and foremost line of defense, the army greater than the State Military and the knights combined, the army nobody expects. We fight enemies without 'as well as within - had we not stood to protect it, the Empire would have long since been gone.

- Javina Desertsun

The Inquisition (Old Tongue: Vigiles Secreta - Secret Police) is the is the background enforcers of the Empire and serve as its inside protectors and defenders, seperate from the other military sub-factions in that it is responsible in the discovery and elimination of internal threats such as insurrection and corruption. The Inquisition's duty is to ensure the internal defense and protection of the Empire's powers and territories alongside dealing with otherwise-prohibited practices such as magic and unauthorized connections with external societies. To effectively manage such tasks, the Inquisition is divided into various Sects which are each assigned a specific role to fulfill.

The Inquisition's Sects vary in their resources, sizes, and tactics, although most are known to employ stealth and assassination-orientated practices in order to route out their enemies while some others are known for terror strategies for mass destruction against their enemies. Agents of the Inquisition are equipped and funded at the expense of the government of the Empire, with some veteran-ranking operatives being authorized to use alien equipment and Source talents; two of the most controversial crimes within the Empire, although the Inquisition operates beyond standard law so long as it ultimately benefits the Empire.

Hierarchy varies between Sects, with no single standard form of ranking structure amongst them although most, if not all, Sects possess effective methods of distinguishing position and rank within themselves, mainly between lesser and major Inquisitors. Inquisitorial philosophy dictates that every and all individuals are neither immune nor safe from suspicion, including fellow Inquisitors, politicians, and even the Grand Monarch, who may be condemned if they act outside of the established constitutions. This gives the Inquisition a degree of authority over the State Military, Knights Circle and Imperial Armada which they can act upon at any given time during missions and assignments as well as the capability to operate outside of political supervision.

Only the most specialized and elite of individuals are able to join the Inquisition, with some being raised and trained from birth and young ages. The Inquisition's recruitment process is both unforgiving and fatal, as a means to select the most capable of trainees who may proceed to become powerful operatives in the future. Those who operate within the Inquisition are exempt from family ties and friendships, as such are seen as moral barriers, and are often cold and harsh as an example of their training and philosophy, trusting no-one. Inquisitors are also known to be deployed across the Empire, with no official residence and instead travelling and resting wherever is necessary, meaning most Inquisitors are isolated from one another and find it difficult to form complex relationships and bonds.

The Inquisition is represented by a select group of individuals although is ultimately led and maintained by the Inquisitorial Elder-Commander, who speaks on behalf of the Inquisition within the Table of Governors. The Inquisitorial Elder-Commander is considered one of the closest individuals to the Grand Monarch and, due to their age and experiences, a valuable mentor during the start of their reign. The Elder-Commander possesses command over all Inquisitorial personnel, assets and resources and personally oversees all Inquisition activity, including the founding of new Sects and the disbanding of others, both of which are rare.

Pedro Redguard

A great storm is coming upon our world. The Inquisition's mission is to ensure that humanity survives it.

  • Name: Pêro Crimsonshield
  • Position: Elder-Commander
  • Sect: Malleus Ater
  • Ethnicity: Manorian
  • Age: 43

Hero of the Empire, Pêro Crimsonshield is the current leader of the Imperial Inquisition, having inherited his position after the previous Elder-Commander, Françoise Goldthorp, was killed in a Lympharian attack. The head of Malleus Ater, an elite Inquisition sect that Adalla, Javina and Alfgund belong to, Pêro is a veteran of thousands of battles, a mighty swordsman and a source of inspiration for all Imperials. He has personally indoctrinated each of his proteges, whom he treats as if they were his own children, and it is thanks to his training that Malleus Ater is considered to be one of the deadliest Inquisition sects in the Empire.

Nowadays, however, Pêro no longer fights himself, dedicating most of his time to governing the Inquisition's operations instead. Due to the fame he has gathered over the years of exemplary service, he is one of the most respected members of the Table of Governors and a public figure in the noble courts of the Empire; even the Grand Monarch herself favours the Elder-Commander. Despite his popularity among both nobility and the common folk, though Pêro tries to distance himself from his admirers, spending most of his free time in the Inquisitorium alone.

Inquisitor Adalla Steamheart

Service is its own reward.

  • Name: Ae Adalla
  • Position: High Advisor
  • Sect: Malleus Ater
  • Ethnicity: Xa'in
  • Age: 31

A scion of one of Xa'in's noble houses sent to the Inquisition as per one of the Islanders' pacts with the Empire, Ae Adalla (known as Adalla Steamheart in the Empire) is one of the Inquisition's greatest assets, and has been Pêro's loyal confidante, advisor and enforcer for years. Unlike the Elder-Commander, who is a public figure, Adalla prefers to keep to himself. Always in the shadows, unseen but always felt, he controls the Inquisition's more underhanded operations, ranging from espionage to terrorism. Trained in engineering in his distant homeland, Adalla is also directly responsible for many of the deadly weapons and arcane machines the Inquisition employs, and it is said that it was him who masterminded the Empire's industrialisation efforts after the War for the Eye.

Adalla's personality reflects his position in the Empire; he's a shadow. A dark, mysterious figure, he appears to be quite reserved, keeps his thoughts to himself and generally only seeks to enforce Pêro's will. Few actually know what transpires in the mind of the High Advisor; some believe he is secretly an anti-Imperial sympathiser, whereas others think he seeks to overthrow his master or even the Grand Monarch. There are even rumours, it is said, that the Elder-Commander is actually nothing but one of Adalla's magitech clockwork machines, skillfully crafted to imitate life, and that it is Adalla who in fact rules the Inquisition...

Javina Desertsun

Have a problem? Set it on fire.

  • Name: Javina Desertsun
  • Position: Inquisitor Hunter
  • Sect: Malleus Ater
  • Ethnicity: Alhassan
  • Age: 24

Out of the countless inquisitors in service of the Empire of Man, Javina Desertsun is among the most infamous. A fanatic at heart, she has proven her worth among her peers for her ruthless efficiency, stalwart loyalty, fanatical devotion to the Inquisition's cause and above all, her pure unstoppable hatred. It is what drives her forward, gives her power and protects her; no matter how dire is the battle, hate will keep her alive and standing as long as the enemies of Man still draw breath.

One of the most prominent Inquisitors of the Empire, Javina has been sighted all over Koldenwelt, destroying threats to the Empire, whether within or without with surgical precision and lethality, respected by other humans and hated by almost everybody else. She is also known for her long history with the so-called Changeling Mistress, a mysterious shapeshifter whom Javina has sworn to hunt until the end of times.

Alfgund Stonesoul

Clearly my creator must be a half-witted lagomorph, for he has not finished my section yet.

  • Name: Alfgund Stonesoul
  • Position: Inquisitor Paladin
  • Sect: Malleus Ater
  • Ethnicity: Mannazian
  • Age: 24

Carlini Skystrider

Light can illuminate the way. Light can comfort. Light can also burn.

  • Name: Carlini Skystrider (actual Kataroçei name unpronouncable)
  • Position: Acolyte Cenobite
  • Sect: Malleus Ater
  • Ethnicity: Kataroçei
  • Age: 18 at the time of death

Among her fellow Inquisitorial acolytes Javina Desertsun and Alfgund Stonesoul - both ruthless, cold and remorseless - Carlini Skystrider was like a flower amidst thorns. A bookish Kataroçei farmer girl taken to Inquisitorium because of her unusual magical abilities - a strong affinity with luxomancy in particular - she was driven by her love of humanity, not by her hatred of nonhumans. Although (almost) as strong-willed as her compatriots and willing to fight and even kill for the greater good - such were the tenets of the Inquisition - she did not share their fierce demeanour, and had sworn to herself to only wield her powers over the light to heal and comfort unless absolutely necessary. She also believed that nonhuman races, while inherently different from humanity, did not have to be exterminated or dominated, and that peace was possible between the Empire and its neighbours.

Although both Javina and Alfgund viewed Carlini as strange and even naive at first, they eventually accepted her as as a comrade and a friend - Javina, who was as different from the young sorceress as night and day yet cared for her as an extension of her own self, perhaps even more than that. Alas, cruel fate decided against the peaceable girl, and she was never to become an Inquisitor. Just a few days before the trio was to be fully accepted into the order, a terrible fire destroyed half of the Inquisitorium, taking Carlini's life with it. To this day, Javina mourns the death of her fallen sister-in-arms and every year, comes to her grave in the headquarters of the Inquisition to pray for her soul - as if both girls have once committed something sinful that the huntress now seeks to repent for.

GovernmentEdit

Imperial politicians do not debate with their rivals until they are dead tired like Klaxxa, they do not spend all time trying to poison each other like elves and they do not dance around their precious hoards of gold all day like the Merovar - they recieve orders and execute them. There is a clear chain of command in the Empire - unlike you, we are intelligent enough to understand that our enemies are outside our borders, not inside them.

- Doge Marcurio Argentsea of L'Ammanori

The Empire of Man is primarily governed and maintained by a collection of politicians known as the Table of Governors, ranging from prime ministers to monarchs, who descend from nearly all territories and organizations of the Empire. Ethnic groups and military presences are known to possess representatives within the government, although the Empire is ultimately ruled and dictated by a single individual who is bound by various pre-established constitutions; the Grand Monarch, the highest authorital, political and militarial figure throughout all of the Empire who oversees all of the Empire's organized branches, territories, assets, and resources.

Each political representative is largely independent of the Grand Monarch's authority concerning their own territories and powers, although they abide under rules and laws set by the Grand Monarch in order to guide their territories and powers along the correct paths so as to not invoke suspicion of treachery, with such guidelines prohibiting non-hostile interaction with external societies without permission and agreement from the Grand Monarch and the Table and the outright almost-completely forbidden usage of the Source throughout all nations and peoples. Those that break these conditions are stripped of their political status by the Table, as well as sometimes within their own peoples, and run the risk of having their territories suffer as consequence of their "betrayal".

Table of GovernorsEdit

The Table of Governors (Old Tongue: Mensa Ministrōrum - Board of Ministers) is the main governmental body of the Empire of Man under the Grand King himself and is tasked with keeping order within the Empire of Man on financial, economical, environmental and military aspects. The Table of Governors consists of the highest authorizing member of each nation under the Empire's territory, resulting in a mix of religious leaders, politicians and monarchs. The Table of Governors is necessary for balance and integrity within the Empire and each member is capable of being elected as the next Grand King, as the title itself is not hereditary. The Table of Governors is also capable of stripping the Grand King of his rule if he is found to be counter-productive to the Empire of Man's cause, such as being too weak or in support of demon worship and witchcraft. This is why it is important for the Grand King to gain the respect of the whole Table.

The Table of Governors will meet once every decade or so to discuss matters unknown to anybody outside of their politicial standing, alongside being joined by the Grand King himself. While it is unknown why they gather, it is often followed by a significant expansion of the Empire's territory and the elimination of many minor or lesser nonhumans. A governor can also be deposed of his position by the rest of the Table if they find him/her counter-productive, such as wanting to wage war against a fellow governor or unwilling to fight against the Empire's enemies without a legitimate reason. The Table of Governors will also gather if there is need of a new Grand King.

As of now, the Table of Governors consists of these men and women:

Aadideva
  • Name: Aadideva
  • Position: Sacrosanct Master of the Hallowdom
  • Province: Alhassal-tel-Fajim
  • Age: 59

It would be unwise of you not to listen to the one who speaks for Pheonas and Alhassal.

Although Alhassal-ten-Fajim has several representatives in the Table of Governors, standing for its many principalities and petty kingdoms, only one of them has the right to speak for the desert province as a whole: Aadideva the Eminent, Sacrosanct Master of the Hallowdom. A priest-king coming from an ancient and powerful dynasty, he has been ruling his vast domain for decades, and, as he recieved the throne when he was but a boy, was taught the art of statesmanship from young age. While Aadideva is not a mighty warrior or an inspiring leader, the combination of his experience, education, and natural intelligence has made him one of the most brilliant political minds and strategist in the Table of Governors.

While serving as the Grand Monarch's advisor in matters both worldly and spiritual, Aadideva neverthless disagrees with some of her policies and pursues his own agenda as well - that is, the security of Alhassal, the Hallowdom, and his own (somewhat shaky, given his old age and the number of potential successors) position on the throne. In order for his figure to remain popular and his subjects motivated, he surrounds himself with an aura of fierce nationalism and pan-humanism, portraying himself as an incarnation of traditional Imperial values - though his true attitude towards non-humans is much less severe, and he actually does his best not to provoke further aggression from the other inhabitants of the Great Desert. This puts him at stake both with the more tolerant and the more militant members of the Table of Governors, and of course the Grand Monarch herself: but being a stauch Imperial loyalist, Aadideva wouldn't dare to place his own interests before those of mankind as a whole and remains strongly loyal to Pyrene II.

High Enchanter Batu Bloodsun
  • Name: Batu Bloodsun
  • Position: High Enchanter of the Thaumaturges' Priory
  • Province: Khanate of Kataroçeiople
  • Age: 39

Don't. Do. That.

One of the two represenatives of the Empire's wizarding community, Batu Bloodsun is the messenger of the Kataroçei Thaumaturges, humanity's southern magical school. Although seemingly nothing but a normal - as much as this term can be applied to Source wielders among humans - member of his order: calm, reserved and studitious, more interested in understanding the intricate patterns in the flow of magic than partaking in the Table's politics. Beneath this inconscpicious exterior, however, Batu actually bears great shame in his blood; his great-grandfather, Arslan Bloodsun, once betrayed the Priory, tapping into the forbidden powers of hemomancy and nearly slaughtering his former comrades during the Kataroçei people's journey to the north. Even today, all of the twisted mage's descendants, bearing the blood-red hair of their ancestor, are seen as shamed and disgraced by other Thaumaturges.

Batu, the current patriarch of the Bloodsun family, now seeks to overcome this dark reputation by serving as the Priory's ambassador in the Table of Governors, a position considered to be a duty rather than an honour among the thaumaturges. In the intricate politics of the Empire, Batu tends to place a neutral role, urging the councillors to be less impulsive and more considerate - that was the downfall of his ancestor, after all - but generally agreeing with the consensus of the majority when the situation is truly dire. Batu is also noted to have a rather friendly - even romantic, perhps - relationship with Freya Mistwood, the other mage representative in the Table of Governors.

King Bohdaria 02
  • Name: Bohdaria
  • Position: King
  • City: Bohdaria City
  • Age: Unknown

King Bohdaria is the ruling monarch of Bohdaria City, having over the city for over 45 years. He is known for his cruelty against his enemies, his immense loyalty to the Grand Monarch and his kindness towards his own people.

He often gives parties to his people where the entire city is invite, save for those at guard duty. King Bohdaria is a wise and kind ruler, and though he dislikes nonhumans to a point, he isn't a xenophobe, a trait which has made him unpopular among the rest of mankinds' royalty. He often advises the other kings to open their borders to the elves, dwarves and other species and there are rumors he sought to find allies outside the Empire. He always wears heavy armor and is a gifted swordman.

Diederich Nobleflame
  • Name: Diederich Nobleflame
  • Position: King-Knight of Aynach
  • Province: Sublime Chivalry of Aynach
  • Age: 63

I think we are all grown-ups here and are capable of manning up and getting over the past. Or not. The latter, unfortunately, seems the most likely.

Representing the knights of Visonia and Solaris is Diederich Nobleflame of Aynach, the current King-Knight of the Sublime Chivalry of Aynach, ruling the kingdom after the death of his father and previous ruler, Darrin Nobleflame. For his knighthood, he was tasked to kill a dreaded adult cockatrice who had killed all knights sent to dispose of it, emerging victorious after combating the monster with a small force of warriors and delivering the killing blow by stabbing a spear through its eye. Under Diederich's rule, Aynach has experienced a period of increased economic stability, directing it to become trade partners with the Merovar Dynasty and the nearby elven territories, and he hopes to also deepen relations with other human provinces such as Saphronia and L'Ammanori.

Supportive for the Grand Monarch, Diederich usually urges the rest of the Table of Governors to open diplomatic relations with elvenkind, citing Aynach's own success as a reason, though his requests often fall to deaf ears and he is typically seen as unrealistically friendly to elves, to the point of not being taken seriously. This means that his great wisdom and experience is often ignored by his fellow leaders, who he has on occasion referred to as "dimwits stuck in a thousand years-long past", taking a particular distaste for High Furst Friedemann, despite having been a great friend of the previous Mannazian ruler, Reingard II and for Aynach's very positive relations with Mannazia.

Matriarch Freya Mistwood
  • Name: Freya Mistwood
  • Position: High Enchantress of the Imperial Academy of Mages
  • Province: Saphronian Hetmanate
  • Age: 42

Most representatives in Mensa Ministrorum stand for nations, cities, peoples - I represent the Source itself. I would recommend you to hold your distance.

The second representative of human Source users in the Table of Governors, Freya Mistwood is one of the Imperial Academy of Mages' High Enchanters, and although she might not be the most skilled or the most influential sorcerer at her home in Saphronia - though she is by no means lacking in magical prowess, being a mistress of pyromantic and cryomantic spells of all kinds - she is certainly one of the most silver-tongued. Gifted with a temper as hot as the fireballs she conjures and the wits as sharp as her spellblade, she is a proud, respectable woman, and is not afraid to speak her mind and stand against the Grand Monarch if need be.

Most in the Table of Governors see her as a wildcard, unpredictable and fickle - and they certainly have the right to, for it seems that whenever a certain decree is suggested or the Grand Monarch comes with a mandate, Freya is the first to stand against it, rallying the rest of the Table with her vindictive speeches. Some think the High Enchantress is a rebel without a cause, probably driven slightly insane by her magic, while others believe that she in fact has a secret agenda in her twisted, Source-laden mind. Nobody knows what Freya is up to for sure, and only her comrade at magic and, as some say, lover, Batu Bloodstone, seems to understand her motives, if only partially.

Furst Friedemann Ironhelm
  • Name: Marcurio Argentsea
  • Position: High Furst of Mannazia
  • Province: Principality of Mannfürsttum
  • Age: 19

One day, humanity shall rise, and then, I will fight for it, like my ancestors before me.

Due to its history, the Principality of Mannfursttum has always played a pivotal role in Imperial politics, having numerous representatives in the Table of Governors headed overall by the High Furst of Mannazia, the highest and most powerful figure in the province's feudal hierarchy. For generations, the High Fursts were noble protectors and warriors, heroes of humanity, leading it into wars against its enemies - elves, undead, demons, Kelodhros - and gathering fame on the field of battle. It is thus no surprise that Friedemann Ironhelm, the current High Furst, seeks to match or even surpass the reputation of his great ancestors and conquer for the Empire; it is his duty, and he was indeed raised from his very childhood to become a warrior, a hero. Unfortunately for the young Mannazian, Friedemann was born in the age of peace and tolerance, and his dreams of glory were not to realise.

The realised that his manifest destiny was denied to him has left the young High Furst bitter, angry, and full of loathing for both himself and the rest of the world. Unable to accomplish himself on the field of battle, he instead tries to claim victories in the Table of Governors, rousing the older councillors with his fiery rhetoric and begging them to begin a bloody, sacred war with the elves and other enemies of mankind that would usher in the Golden Age of Man. Fortunately for both humanity and the rest of Koldenwelt, the Grand Monarch keeps Friedemann in check, and for good reason; many in the Empire actually support the young man, and should Pyrene fail in limiting his power, humanity might once again rise and begin a new era of conquest...

Ambassador Jecadia Wyrmscale
  • Name: Jecadia Wyrmscale
  • Position: Lady High Ambassador
  • Province: N/A
  • Age: 30

Green midget bitch? It's Lady High Ambassador Green Midget Bitch for you, commoner. Bow to Her Highness!

Cunning, zestful and jovial, Zhe'kadh Kzan-ir-Zaam, known in Imperial Standard as Jecadia Wyrmscale' is quite obviously the strangest member of the Table of Governors; not a human as would be expected from one of the Empire of Mans leaders, but a goblin from Mannazia. The story of her ascension to her current position is a rather entertaining and somewhat unlikely tale; Jecadia was originally a jester in Queen Pyrene II's court, chosen by the Grand Monarch for her small (even for a goblin!), comical stature and love of jokes. The years of service in the Imperial court, however, had revealed to Pyrene the more nefarious - yet useful - traits Jecadia possessed: intelligence, ambition, and the keen eye so common to her species. Thus the goblin jester became the Queen's personal agent, telling the Grand Monarch of rumours whispered about her in the courts and plots planned against her august figure - protected from suspicions by the jester's seeming foolishness.

There came a time, though, that Pyrene became suspicious of Jecadia's growing power herself, fearful for her own life - but, as a form of respect to the one who had been safeguarding her rule for so long, decided to give the goblin an actual position in the Empire's state hierarchy - thus depriving her of her jester priviliges - as opposed to disposing of her altogether. Jecadia, with her silver tongue and mastery of words, became one of Pyrene's many diplomats, and soon (though not without dissent in the Table of Governors) High Ambassador of the Empire. Now, Jecadia remains one of the most powerful men (or, rather, citizen) in the Empire of Man and thus useful to Pyrene, but is no longer a threat to her; understanding the laws of human politics, the former jester has accepted her new place and now tries to enjoy it as much as possible. Outside of maintaining working relationships with Arkenholdt, Purity's Apogee and Sohitalia, Jecadia also spends her time debating with the other members in the Table of Governors, most of whom can't stand her due to her being a goblin, and trying to improve the life of her people, acting as the unofficial representative of the non-human races of the Empire. Rather sensitive about her size and species, she is known to lash out against those who show bigotry and speciecism towards her and insists on her official (and ironic) style of address, Her Highness, as opposed to her common nickname, the Goblin Queen.

Doge Marcurio Argentsea
  • Name: Marcurio Argentsea
  • Position: Doge of L'Ammanori
  • Province: City State of Manori
  • Age: 40

Well met, my friend. Nice hat.

Marcurio Argentsea, the current Doge of l'Ammanori, is arguably among the most influential members of the Table of Ministers; his power and authority are only rivalled by those of the High Furst of Mannazia and the Sacrosanct Master of Alhassal. Unlike Friedemann and Aadideva, however, Marcurio has no famous ancestors and no aristocratic blood; while his two compatriots come from ancient noble families that have been serving the Empire for generations, his parents were simple merchants, trading in the docks of l'Ammanori. Gifted from childhood with savvy and wit, Marcurio has ascended to his current position through the combination of cunning, luck, and, often, bootlicking. Always polite, open and friendly, complimenting the court ladies' beauty and the gentlemen's accomplishments in business and war, this charming upstart has quickly earned a fortune and forged a little empire for himself in the banks and trade districts of l'Ammanori. When the old Doge of l'Ammanori, Alessandro Highmountain, finally passed away, there were no arguments in the Council of Hundred about who the new ruler would be: Marcurio was elected unanimously.

While adored in his own city, however, Marcurio has a muddled reputation in the Empire in general, as well in the Table of Governors. His sycophancy, ignoble ancestry and pacifism make him highly unpopular among Imperial aristocrats, especially in the more traditionalistic provinces of Mannazia and Alhassal; "such-a-sycophant", "much-bootlicking" and "many-praises" are all common monikers for Marcurio. However, due to his closeness to the Grand Monarch (some even believe him to be her consort secretly) as well as l'Ammanori's importance to the Empire, Marcurio still remains a powerful, important figure in the Empire's hierarchy and Pyrene's personal advisor.

Pedro Redguard
  • Name: Pêro Crimsonshield
  • Position: Elder-Commander of the Inquisition
  • Province: City State of Manori
  • Age: 43

Hero of the Empire, Pêro Crimsonshield is the current leader of the Imperial Inquisition, having inherited his position after the previous Elder-Commander, Françoise Goldthorp, was killed in a Lympharian attack. The head of Malleus Ater, an elite Inquisition sect that Adalla, Javina and Alfgund belong to, Pêro is a veteran of thousands of battles, a mighty swordsman and a source of inspiration for all Imperials. He has personally indoctrinated each of his proteges, whom he treats as if they were his own children, and it is thanks to his training that Malleus Ater is considered to be one of the deadliest Inquisition sects in the Empire.

Nowadays, however, Pêro no longer fights himself, dedicating most of his time to governing the Inquisition's operations instead. Due to the fame he has gathered over the years of exemplary service, he is one of the most respected members of the Table of Governors and a public figure in the noble courts of the Empire; even the Grand Monarch herself favours the Elder-Commander. Despite his popularity among both nobility and the common folk, though Pêro tries to distance himself from his admirers, spending most of his free time in the Inquisitorium alone.

Hetman Savva Blackhand
  • Name: Savva Blackhand
  • Position: Hetman
  • Province: Saphronian Hetmanate
  • Age: 36

Yes, of course. Numquam cademus... stars help Saphronia, stars help Saphronia...

Grand MonarchEdit

I am humanity.

- Grand Monarch Pyrene II

The Grand Monarch (Old Tongue: Dominus Aureus - Golden Lord) is the highest figure in the entirety of the Empire of Man's hierarchy, society and military. He commands all armies and military branches of the Empire and oversees the balance and ever-growing expansion of Mankind. The Grand King is exempt from most laws and is fully, legitimately capable of raising or lowering prices, accepting or denying nations of membership within the Empire and authorizing the use of magic. The Grand King resides at the very center of Imperial Central, the capital city of the Empire, and is regularly updated of progress of all members of the Empire as well as any discoveries made concerning enemy nations or scientific record and theory.

The Grand King, despite the title, is not a hereditary position and must be elected from a member of the Table of Governors, who rule beneath the Grand King's authority. The Grand King is only re-selected if the current one passes away or disappears after a select period of time. The Grand King is also capable of being de-throned by the Table if they agree that he is too weak or not beneficial to the Empire's cause, which is why each decision the Grand King makes is carefully thought out before being placed into practice. The Grand King also cannot impose a standard religion amonst the Empire and must instead compromise with the many various religions supported and worshipped by each member of the Empire, though he has the right to deny or exile zealous and fanatical nations. The Grand King is a beacon of hope and strength within the Empire and the title itself is said to be enchanted with unimaginable power.

The Grand King swears oath to various documents set in place by the Empire's founder and followers to progress Mankind onward without fault or error and is gifted with supposedly blessed armour and weaponry to boast his importance and significance to the Empire, usually constructed of ancient materials used by races now long deceased and extinct. The Grand King is to never leave the Imperial Central Palace, the residence of all Grand Kings, unless an event known collectively as the End Times occurs, in which the Grand King must venture forwarth and lead all the armies and forces of Mankind against whatever threat opposes them.

Empress Pyrene II
  • Name: Pyrene of L'Ammanori
  • City: Imperial Center
  • Age: 34

As I command, so shall it be.

Elected Grand Monarch after a long and fierce debate in the Board of Ministers, Pyrene II of l'Ammanori is considered to be an extremely divisive figure both among Imperials and non-Imperials. Born of house Vastre, known among the other l'Ammanori noble families for their wealth, greed and a tolerant attitude towards nonhumans, Pyrene does not believe in the warmongering ways of the old Grand Monarchs. A cunning diplomat and negotiator, she instead seeks to achieve human dominance through peaceful means: she abhors war and only sees it as the last resort.

Since her coronation, Pyrene II has been working to lessen the tensions between the Empire, the Sovereign and Ar-Klith, and has signed numerous treaties and military pacts with the Ouroboros Circle and the Lord Protector to stabilise the situation in the Orient. However, her rule has also been marked with rapid expansion of Imperial domains; under her, humanity consolidated its rule in Saphronia and Alhassal, claimed multiple islands in the Forlorn Sea and allied numerous non-human factions, notably the Astral dwarves of the Biennsar Ridge, essentially taking them under the Empire's protectorate. Pyrene also has no intention of weakening humanity's military might: the Knightly Orders of the Empire are strong as ever, prepared to strike against the enemies of Man.

Pyrene is thus seen as a controversial leader in the history of humanity, having many supporters as well as opponents. Some in the Board of Ministers see her as a weak, guillible ruler or even a puppet of the Sovereign; others praise her for her political savvy and silver tongue. The opinion of elves and Klaxxa on her reign is likewise polar: while many in the Sovereign and Ar-Klith support the treaties she has proposed and wish for the end of tensions in the Orient, not everyone truly trusts her. Does the human queen truly want peace or is she a warmonger in disguise, preparing for all-out war in secret? Nobody knows. The true intentions of Pyrene II are an enigma, and the secretive monarch does not intend to reveal them.

Coming soon

SocietyEdit

The human culture on Koldenwelt traces its origins to that of the Sovereignty of Dryada, inherited by mankind through the years of subjugation, with few remains of ancient human traditions preserved in slave folklore, music and mythology. The first rebels that Mannazei and Alhassan led formed kingdoms based on elven social structure, spoke elven tongues, wrote with the elven script and lived in former elven strongholds, only slightly changed by their new residents to suit their needs. Even today, Dryadali culture continues to have a large impact on humanity; although humans now have born their own great scientists, philosophers, thespians, artists and poets, the fundament of their works remains rooted in elven society and the traditions laid out by elven scholars. Thus, ironically as it may be, it can be said that the Sovereign and the Empire, for all their differences, belong to the same cultural sphere and are the different branches of the one Deiwos civilisation.

Following the Age of Dark, however, the Empire started to develop its own distinct and highly diverse culture, art and philosophy, not based on elven traditions. The most important invention of the humans of the Empire, however, is a new set of values and ethics, based on the philosophy of legendary human heroes from Ahmalrich to Mannazei, Alhassal and Ermenrich and formulated by Grand Monarch Ahimelech I. These moral commandments, known in Imperial Standard as San a'Nimed, or the Path of Mankind, have become the basis for the Empire's social structure, hierarchy, and religion, and are honoured by all Imperials. The ethical system of San a'Nimed has three key tenets. The first in the triad is, as it should be expected from the moral code of former rebel slaves, Freedom: both the freedom of an individual to choose one's own path and the freedom of the race as a whole. The second most important Imperial virtue is Equality; every man or woman, regardless of his or her origins, gender, nation or social class, is meant to be judged solely by his or her merits and loyalty to the Empire's cause. To ensure that this tenet of San a'Nimed is followed, the Grand Monarchs have issued the so-called Imperial Table of Ranks, a hierarchy of 42 civil, military and courtly titles independent from the traditional feudal ladders of human provinces; any Imperial, in theory, can attain any of these ranks through hard work and dedication. In practice, this is not always so, but neverthless social mobility is high in the Empire, and seeing a former peasant become an aristocrat is not uncommon there. Finally, the third tenet of the Path of Mankind is Zeal. Liberty and equality have to be obtained at all costs, by any means neccessary. Inaction is the greatest crime for the Empire; only through blood, iron and toil can the world be changed.

Due to the years of slavery, the Empire and its people have largely lost touch with the original pre-subjugation human ways, and now seeks to reclaim its former culture. The key to that revival of Old Humanity, as many Imperial scholars tend to believe, is through studying and understanding other human cultures untouched by slavery: the Islanders of the East, the Wild Men of the North, the Freelanders of the South. The former human nation, being arguably the most advanced society of Men on Koldenwelt as well as the Grand Monarch's partners and allies, is especially respected by the intellectual elite of the Empire; it is thus quite easy to find Islander wares among Imperial nobles, ranging from literature to weapons and furniture. Islander influence is also present in the Empire's own art and craft, often inspired by eastern designs, not to mention Xa'in and Korishimia's highly advanced technology that the Imperials seek to imitate. Towards the other human nations, such as the Freelanders, the Hopedans or the Aos'mara, the Empire is much more cold.While some sense of kinship definitely exists between them and the Imperials, most of them treasure their independence greatly, causing the more patriotic of Grand Monarch's subjects, who would rather see humanity unified under one banner, to view them with contempt.

This coldness, however, pales in comparison with the icy relationships the Empire has with non-human races. Mankind's path, the Imperial doctrine says, is their own; fraternising with other species is considered to be the first step towards being subjugated by them. Many (though obviously not all) Imperials thus feel mistrust or even outright hatred towards aliquams and would refuse to do anything with them. There are exceptions, though. Most humans have a relatively positive, or at least tolerant, attitude towards goblins, the original inhabitants of the Empire's heartlands, and are on fairly good terms with the dwarves with whom they share many similarities in culture as well as appearance. The other cousins of mankind, the elves, are on the other hand almost universally loathed by Imperials for obvious reasons and unlike the other non-humans are not called aliquam (which means "not ours") but rather xiliam, Imperial Standard for "invasive phantom". The reciprocal hatred between the elves and the humans is well-known on Koldenwelt, and although certain acts are made by the Grand Monarch and the Ouroboros Circle to overcome it, the grudges between the two warring, yet ironically closely related races run deep into history, and are unlikely to vanish in near future.

LanguageEdit

Alhassan Script

Imperial humans use the same alphabet as elves, but write from left to right as opposed to top to bottom and utilise a different script. Alhassan and Manorian writing is typically more ornate and curved, as shown here, while Mannazian symbols are usually carved on stone and are thus geometric in shape, resembling runes.

Though it is said that in the days of yore the human race spoke a tongue of their own, called Adamren, the centuries of slavery that they have endured have swept that ancient language away and now few scholars even in the Empire itself speak it. Instead, most Imperial humans now use languages that descend, one way or another, from the bastardised patois forms of elven tongues, spoken by slaves under the Sovereignty. Thus the languages of the Empire ultimately descend from High Elven, though very little remains in common between this sorcerous language and the human tongues, which possess none of its innate magical power. With the lesser tongues of elves the Imperial languages retain more similarities, to the point that an elf and a human might, to a point, understand one another, although that only serves to further the animosity between the two races. In addition to this, the human languages also use certain words, idioms, and grammatical calques from the tongues of the Orichalcum Elfs, the Klaxxa, and Adamren itself.

The two major exceptions are the language of the Katarocei people, coming from the Tropical Lands and ultimately more related to the speech of the Freeland City States than anything else, and the dialects of the wild men of Saphronia. As these peoples have never been under the dominion of elves, their tongues have very little in common neither with Sovereign nor Imperial languages and are presumably derived from Adamren itself.

Collective Imperial StandardEdit

In the Dark Times, as well as in the first years of the Empire, there were three main linguae francae among humans. Amongst merchants and caravaneers prevailed simple trading pidgins, only as complex and articulate as was needed to strike deals. In politics and courts, the tongue of whichever human faction was dominant at the time was typically used. Finally, amongst historians and scholars, and in official documents, a "low" form of High Elven, the language that their masters, and the most educated of their house servants, once spoke between each other, was used.

Naturally, in a state where all human nations were, at least on paper, equal, and their independency from the elf yoke was stressed, such a situation could not stand. Thus under Saadi I, the fourth Grand Monarch of the Empire and patron of arts and sciences, ordered Alhassal, l'Ammanori and Mannazia's most skilled poets and storyteller to create a tongue that would befit all of the Empire's citizens, regardless of their nation. The trading pidgins of Imperial merchants were used as the basis, but were sufficiently enobled and enriched with appropriate literary lexicon from High Elven, Alhassan and Mannaz, so that it would be fit to be used for the matters of sciences and statesmanship. The creation of the High Imperial Tongue, or the "Collective Imperial Standard" as foreign scholars usually refer to it, took decades, but as Saadi lied on his deathbed, the first lexicon manuscripts were finally finished and sent to all government officials of the Empire to be used under the Grand Monarch's decree.

Now High Imperial is used in all documents, decrees and laws that encompass the entirety of the empire, spoken mainly by clerks in chancelleries and ministries, as well as the more educated of Imperial aristocrats, and by students in places of learning. It is also taught to all Inquisitors to be used as a secret tongue so as to make their communication discreet. The common people on the other hand rarely know it fluently, although the nature of the language means that most of the Empire's citizen will understand at least some of it.

ReligionEdit

There has never been anything resembling religious unity among human nations. During the times of elven subjugation, different human communities revered different gods - some holding to the ancient animist and hero cults of their ancestors, others adopting their own interpretation of elven deties, others yet turning to Colossi or Simulacra for worship. Typically, each community would have a supreme deity that it revered, with the rest called upon from time to time. Following the Great Rebellion, certain newly formed human nations adopted new faiths - such would be the case with Alhassal and its Cult of Pheonas - while others like Mannazia retained and developed their old beliefs into full-fledged organised religions. The Times of Dark were thus rife with religious wars and purges, of which many were so gruesome and massive in span that humans mourn for those murdered during these grim times to this day.

These facts, collectively, ensured that from its inception, the Empire of Man - as a whole - was a secular society where different faiths were accepted. A compromise has been made under the devout Manorian Grand Monarch Lodomer Pathseeker: all clerics and holy men, if they wished to practice their beliefs under the Empire, had to make a piligrimage to the Imperial Capitol, bow before the statue of Ermenrich and grant the Grand Monarch the blessing of whatever god or gods they might worship. Overall, despite the efforts of the more overzealous Alhassan Grand Monarchs, this system has functioned relatively well, and since then religious conflicts were few in the Empire.

PolytheismEdit

MonotheismEdit

Alhassan Symbol
  • Reveres Pheonas
  • Centered in Alhassal, influence in l'Ammanori and Saphronia
  • Largest religion in the Empire

Centered in the sacred city of Khardemav, the Hallowdom is among the oldest and the most important human religions, and there were times that it nearly took dominion over the entirety of the Empire of Man - though all attempts of Alhassan Padishahs to make it state religion were thwarted by the Mannazian Highfursts. Formed by the prophetic founder of Alhassal, who gave the nation his name, the Hallowdom is centered around the worship of Pheonas, the Five-Faced Desert God of Freedom, and stands for liberty, justice and perseverance in the face of conflict. It was this faith, along with the gladiator warriors that would form Mannazia, that liberated humanity, and as such the Hallowdom's clergy wields great power in the Empire, speaking both through the Padishah and their own representatives. However, due to the staunch policy of the Cult of Pheonas on monotheism, the Hallowdom often stands in conflict with other religions in the Empire, which limits its power.

In addition to the official Hallowdom that reigns from Sarif Maidan, there are also cults in distant provinces of the Empire that add Pheonas to other deities - such, for example, is the case in Saphronia where traditional star worship is also prevalent - or otherwise mix it with other traditional religions. Clerics in Alhassal are not very keen on such religious syncretism.

MagicEdit

Though the Source is usually frowned upon in the Empire, both due to humanity's innate lack of sorcerous prowess and their hatred of the magical elves, there are three major exceptions; three places in the Empire where magic is taught. The first one is the northern province of Saphronia, where for centuries there existed a magical tradition among its natives. Living in a land steeped in the Source ever since its first inhabitants settled it, the Wild Men of the Frontier developed a simple but potent form of sorcery - a sort of shamanism based on invoking natural forces through chants, talismans and petroglyphs. That practice was later developed by Imperial settlers into what is now known as sigilite magic - a mnemonic art based around invoking the Source through memorising arcane symbols. Albeit less potent and diverse than the pure forms of magic like the ones practiced amongst elvenkind, sigilite magic is also much easier to learn and no less powerful when in the hands of one of good memory.

Much different is the form of arcane arts practiced in the southern nation of Kataroceiople, which shares its origins with the sort of sorcery the spellweavers of the Freeland City States practice - albeit unlike with the Freelanders, their magic is not limited solely to the elites but rather to all who may show the capacity for it. Unlike the sigilite magic of Saphronians, the Katarocei thaumaturgy is much more physical discipline, requiring a deep attunement with the self and one's inner magical potential that all races - even humans - have - and rather than expelling this power, it focuses on the body itself. Thus Katarocei thaumaturges are, unlike most other Deiwos spellcasters, often competent fighters as well as mages, using motions of hands and feet to channel the Source even in the midst of a fight. It is for this reason that mages from the southern province are often called upon by the Grand Monarch in times of war.

Lastly there is the Inquisition. As befitting of such a powerful organisation, it is only logical that it uses all assets it has to full potential - and that includes the Source. Forms of magic practiced by Inquisitors are typically combat-focused and simple, and often use practices deemed forbidden both in Saphronia and Kataroceiople.

TechnologyEdit

Human Manufactorium

Humans working in a manufactorium.

Technologically, the Empire of Man is undoubtedly one of the most advanced civilisations of Koldenwelt, especially when it comes to all things that are simple and easily mass-produced - and thus, efficient. While humans may lack the capability to create the highly intricate clockwork machinery of the Klaxxa or the arcane artifacts of the elves and the Draonoggr, what the Empire can produce it does in large quantities - and as the common Imperial proverb says, quantity has a quality of its own. It is thanks to this philosophy that the human mastery of metallurgy, masonry and engineering is now on par with, and in some cases exceeding, that of their former masters, the elves of the Sovereign, even though mankind lacks the Dryadali's immense knowledge of magic.

Overall, what sets apart Imperial technology from the engineering of the Klaxxa or the Islanders is scale. Although the Ar-Klith Sky Empire has developed the steam engine, the zeppelin, and other scientific wonders that no other Koldenweltian civilisation can match, the most advanced pieces of Klaxxa technology are all unique, products of genius inventors that cannot be reproduced. Humanity, on the other hand, has developed the printing press, allowing them to spread ideas quickly throughout their massive domain, as well as advanced machine tools for mass production of goods. For every masterwork rapier an elf blacksmith can create, a human manufactorium can produce over a hundred - not of the same quality, of course, but reliable enough to be deadly. Human engineers also make use of other races' innovations obtained through trade or more unsavoury means, such as gunpowder developed by the Klaxxa (and now widely used in many Imperial provinces) or Merovar shipbuilding. Thanks to the agreements between the Grand Monarch, Xa'in and Korishimia, the Empire has also managed to get their hands on some Islander technologies.

It should be noted, however, that the sheer size of the Empire means that advanced technology is spread unevenly throughout its provinces. Whereas the engineers of the Imperial Center are already experimenting with the steam engine (so the rumours say, at least), certain regions of Saphronia still remain in the Iron Age. Overall, the city state of l'Ammanori is the most technologically advanced region in the Empire, with Alhassal and Mannazia following closely.

LocationsEdit

CitiesEdit

Imperial Central

Imperial Central

  • Name: Imperial Center (Casmadan)
  • Age: ~700 years
  • Population: 80,000 citizens, 10,000 soldiers
  • Ruler: Grand King

Legend has it that when the great dragon Yurizeng-long was felled by the lance of the elven general Suraxmali, his will was so powerful that even as his spirit dissipated, the mighty wyrm's body would not decompose but turn instead into a gigantic statue of marble, granite, silver and gold. Yurizeng-long, prideful as he was, would never accept defeat - not even in death - but neither would Suraxmali. Thus, it is said, the elf warlord decreed that the body of the dragon be turned into building material for his new capital. Built by human slaves in but a decade, the grand city of Argent Corona became the new capital of Suraxmali's Sovereign, and it was from there that Suraxmali began his reign of terror. It was also there that the Grand Rebellion concluded when the human rebels stormed the city and murdered him in his palace.

Since then, the now-rechristened Imperial Center (Imperial Standard: Casmadan, literally Monarch's Central [City]), also known as Imperial Central or, before the Empire, as the Center, had become the free humanity's cultural, spiritual and political heart. Though plundered and damaged greatly during the great wars between Mannazia and Alhassal, under Ermenrich I the city was once again rebuilt, and became his newborn Empire's capital. Though the decentralised structure of the Empire means that regional capitals, such as Sarif Maidan or Rauthberg, are actually more populated than the capital, Casmadan still stands as a shining monument to Mankind's achievements and progress and houses many of its most sacred sites and relics. Amongst these are such monuments as the Mausoleum of Steel where Ermenrich's body lies - the metal statue clad in divine armour replicating his features nigh-perfectly in death - the fountains around this mausoleum which allegedly produce blessed water (forbidden for commoners to drink), and of course the great Ironward Palace where the Grand Monarch herself resides and the Table of Governors convenes.

Casmadan itself is divided between three wall formations: the first formation, shaped like a diamond, surrounds the Ironward Palace, while the two outer circular formations protect the city proper and the towns and villages under its direct jurisdiction respectively. These walls are, in actuality, much younger than the city itself - Suraxmali, in his pride, thought that his armies were strong enough to protect his capital with or without fortifications, which proved to be a fatal mistake once the human rebels stormed it. Only under Ermenrich did the city recieve proper fortifications - designed to protect Mankind from nonhuman armies and militia, but also to represent Mankind's sturdy and enduring heart. Protected by the Grand Monarch's most devoted knights and Justicars, Casmadan is deemed truly impenetrable by its citizen - a bastion of mankind that would stand for as long the Empire survives.

L'Ammanori Port

L'Ammanori

  • Name: L'Ammanori
  • Age: ~400 years
  • Population: 50,000 citizens, 5,000 soldiers
  • Ruler: Grand Monarch Pyrene II (as Princess Pyrene, de jure)
    Doge Marcurio Argentsea (regentship, de facto rule)

DON'T BE UPSETTI HAVE SOME SPAGHETTI

Aracadha

Sarif Maidan

  • Name: Sarif Maidan
  • Age: ~700 years
  • Population: 150,000 citizens, 10,000 soldiers
  • Ruler: Padishah Aadideva I

ARABIAN NIGHTS

Konig-Something

Königruhmstadt

  • Name: Rauthberg
  • Age: ~1200 years
  • Population: 60,000 citizens, 20,000 soldiers
  • Ruler: High Furst Friedemann Ironhelm

BRINGEN SIE MIR FEGELEIN

Empire of Man Bohdaria City

Bohdaria City

  • Name:Bohdaria City
  • Age: Around 100 years.
  • Population: around 125 citizens
  • Ruler: King Bohdaria

Bohdaria City is one of the most isolated cities, nestled on a tall mesa far from the main trade routes of the empire. Located at the junction of the grass plains and the desert, it endures heavy heat during the day, but is freezing cold at night. Its location, however, is a great provider, as the Bohdarians (the humans of the city are called this way) are great farmers and the ground around the city is some of the most fertile in the empire.

The city is built upon a hill, surrounded by a river that makes it easily defendable from her high walls. The houses are built in the outer circle, while in the middle of the city stands the capital building, home to the city's king and his family. The building style of the Bohdarians is remarkable, with blue roofs and ornate brown stone. Bohdaria City seems to have some connection to the Urindale Elves of the Northern Region due to a statue of their God found beneath its streets.

SettlementsEdit

Individuals (other)Edit

Elika Bohdaria 02
  • Name:Elika Bohdaria
  • City:Bohdaria City
  • Age: 26

Elika Bohdaria is the daughter of King Bohdaria, princess of Bohdaria and heir to the throne. Bold and a bit stubborn, she is as gifted with a sword as her father and for that is called the Shieldmaiden of Bohdaria. She is trained as a soldier, but also has traits of a princess, with her proud manners and fondness for dresses and jewelry.

A crucial dofference sets her apart fromthe king. She is quite xenophobic, and dislikes her father's policies towards allowing nonhumans inside the empire. The reasons for her hatred against none humanoids is easily explained, she was taught this during her years of schooling though she has never met an elf or dwarf before.

Elika wears a golden blue armor, signaling her status as shieldmaiden of Bohdaria.

Leo Stahlheim
  • Name: Leo Ironhelm
  • Position: Captain of the Honor Guard
  • Ethnicity: Mannaz
  • Age: 38

The Grand Monarch shall not fall as long as I stand.

Leo Ironhelm is an almost legendary figure within the Empire of Man. Uncle to the young High Furst of Mannazia, and the captain of the Grand Monarch's Honor Guard, Leo is an apt warrior who achieved his fame after killing a Fire Drake all on his own; gaining the title of Dragonslayer in the process. In the light of his achievements, Leo arose into a political position - begrudgingly so, for he had originally sought to escape his familial responsibilities by living at a small village under an alias in Mannazia's wilderness.

Unbeknownst to everyone, Leo is a servant of Harstag, one of the twelve Simulacra, who he serves as one of his three chosen Avatars of the Hunt. This connection to the otherworldly being gives Leo strength and speed beyond that of regular humans, causing some within the imperial court who have seen him in action to be suspicious of the man.

Marius
  • Name: Marius
  • Position: Champion to the Grand Monarch
  • Ethnicity: Unknown (likely Mannaz)
  • Age: Unknown (likely in his mid 30's)

What kind of man is that...thing? It's more of monster than a man.

Known only as Marius and sometimes given the moniker Marius the Monster and The Mad Demon, Marius is a colossal eight and a half feet tall warrior clad in ominous grey armour, and one of the most feared warriors of the Empire of Man. Whilst he swears loyalty to the Grand Monarch, it is believed that he would much rather spit in the face of any other authority. He himself holds no disregard for non-humans, though it could be said that his unquenchable bloodthirst takes any victim equally. As to his height, brutality in combat, near-silence and due to the fact that he consistently wears his armour, there is a lot of speculation as to whether Marius is even alive underneath - much to the suspicion of the Grand Monarch's court.

RelationsEdit

AlliesEdit

Blue faceOur pacts are unbreakable like the walls of our fortresses.

  • Islanders - We might come from different lands and have different ways, but our blood is the same. Human.

NeutralEdit

Yellow faceOur path is our own.

  • Ar-Klith Sky Empire - They to the dragons are what we are to the Deiwes. Blood and iron, not magic and deceit, will shape the world.
  • Merovar Dynasty - Friends with elves, aren't you, snakes? One day, you will regret that you let a scorpion enter your house.
  • Hopedan Kingdom and Freeland City States - You might reject our cause; but you're humans still. We do not wish to fight with you.
  • Wukong Domain - Direct your hatred on those who truly deserve it: the elves.
  • Gnoll_Diaspora - Potentially dangerous. A storm, not an empire - it bleeds and crushes and destroys.
  • Min Lagosi - Yes. Hide.
  • Man-Serpent - Do not remain impartial. Direct the wrath of the sand against the Khep.
  • Vermin Kingdom - Disgusting.
  • Kingdom of Jnordia - "They may not align themselves with our cause but they are still our brothers and we seek no quarrel."

DislikedEdit

Orange faceWe shall honour our treaties. Not that you deserve it.

EnemiesEdit

Red faceYou shall be crushed under the armoured boot of Mankind.

  • Brazen Blades - Your path of revolution is the very definition of failure, elf-lovers. Embrace the Empire, or you will be eradicated.
  • Legion of Shiarchon - We won't compromise. We won't fear. We won't succumb to those who once enslaved us. The Empire is non-negotiable.
  • Endless Host - The last bone domino falls here!
  • Exosubstratal - We shall fight to the last man standing! Death is the preferrable alternative to embracing their vile madness.
  • Khaepsha-ultan - At least the elves try to conceal their power-hungry nature with lies and deception.

QuotesEdit

All hail the Empire!

- Valdemar Mistwood

Humans are always so hot-headed about everything. You can't try talking to one without it going "ew, that man or woman isn't a naked monkey like me, DARE they be different". Bah.

- Sea Witch

So much flesh to reap.

- Lich Lord Praetinnath

Weak. Imprudent. I'll make good use of you, as manual labour and lesser servants. Your Monarch will bow.

- Kimorgos

Humans so small! Is funny to me.

- Lesha Orc Chieftain

Brr. Xenophobes.

- Lord Protector Arken-Lak

Young, arrogant. Disrespectful to nature. Unbelievers in the Source, and ignorant of higher powers. Perhaps one of the few civilisations that have earned my distaste.

- Kinmorunddraver-World Walker

So much blood...so much opportunity...

- Zran Kar

Men once lived under our banner. This is why they did so; ignorance fills the air they breathe.

- Shiarchon

HUMIE BONES MAKE FINE CRAKIN SOUNDS

- Kebra'Osos

High numbers. More to gaze upon the Maw.

- Praenuntius

Unwashed, uncivilized, uncouth cretins. Stay away from our city.

- Official from the City-State of Halifaxia

Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum ita desiderat anima mea ad te, hūmānitās. Sed in primis ad fontes ipsos properandum.

- Javina Desertsun

Hmmph. You need to learn respect. As well as proper military work. I'd gladly show you both.

- Trofandalore the Indomitable

I really don't like the rest of my race much...

- Sefarina Brightwing

PUNY OOMANS IS PROPA TASTY HURHURHUR

- Teh'Loca

The perfect race to feed the trolls! I will FEAST ON THEIR FLESH AND TEAR APART THEIR BONE FOR MY USAGE!

- Lak'rajah

NotesEdit

GalleryEdit

TriviaEdit