The mysterious undersea empire of Zihæt is a civilization spanning thousands of years. The empire split in the ancient past from the Kæshék and is one of the few remaining civilizations from before the The Great War. While the hereditary office of the emperor belongs to the Tritons, provincial leaders and bureaucratic offices are often held by Sea elves and Merfolk. Within the empire, a diverse set of underwater cultures and races thrive. The primary antagonist of the empire are the eastern Sahuagin and their Sharkhaan allies.
Central imperial household.
- Leader: Emperor, heriditary
- Administrative: Mandarin (to be confirmed)
- Leader: Lord, appointed by the Emperor, may or may not be from imperial bloodline.
- Administrative: Administrative Circuit
- Leader: Governor, appointed by the Emperor at the recommendation of the Lord.
- Adminstrative: Administrative Commission
- Leader: Magistrate, appointed by the Lord at the recommendation of the governor
- Administrative: Administrators
The foundation of the kingdoms that make up the empire has been lost to antiquity. Individual civilizations are known to exist back to the first millenia of recorded history. During the time from the founding of the kingdoms to now, the basin has remained inhabited by one or several of the kingdoms that now make up the empire. Until roughly 4000 (approximately 700 years ago) the kingdoms of the middle sea were a fractious set of rival kingdoms. This was known as the warring kingdom period. Over a series of 3 sets of consolidation, the empire was unified under the current Triton rulers, and the region has known peace for nearly 300 years.
Demography and Population
The kingdom beneath the sea is as diverse as Drákon is above the waves. While the nobility consists mostly of Tritons, the highest government offices are often held by Sea elves and to a lesser extent, Merfolk. The middle class extends to include seabolds, and a wide variety of other sentient sea-dwelling humanoids.
The kingdom considers the whole of the middle sea its domain. In practice, the sea north and east of the Marais Wetlands is not under the kingdom’s control and is a haven for Sahuagin and their allies. It is unknown how far to the west of the Dragonshome Islands the domain stretches, or what other lands may lie beyond.
The empire maintains a standing army to deal with the Sahuagin threat, as well as provide a basic police force within the major undersea cities. These forces are barracked in the provinces and are supported by the provincial lords. The leadership is accountable to the imperial guard, and the emporer himself. Military service is compulsary for all citzens of age. Most serve in local militias that act both as an extended police force, but also feed the provincial legions. Entry into the provincial legions are limited, and subject to rigorous entry requirements (oral, written and martial). These legionaires are well paid, and considered as a path to the upper class within society. The imperial guard are the best of the best. The imperial guard is formed solely from the provincial legions and is accountable only to the emperor. The tight relationships between the imperial guard and the provincial legions helps to ensure peace and avoid provincial leaders from using the local legion in an uprising.
The state officially supports the Temple of Jubrul as the state religion. Other more shamanistic worship activities exist outside of the larger cities.
The kingdom has no official channels with the surface nations. That said, there remains a back-channel of communications with each of the three primary city-states within the Drákon League at all times.
Agriculture & Industry
Various forms of aquaculture including fish-farming are common throughout the kingdom.
Trade & Transport
Trade exists largely between the cities of the undersea kingdom. A small (unsanctioned) set of trade routes exist with the Thálassopoulos Family and Aérasopoulos Family. The Aérasopoulos Family have been known to hire out mercenaries from Venúék to "protect" the shipping interests of the family in exchange for any spoils.
The Triton are as old as the sea itself and are known as its original masters. The Sea elves are descended from the land elves in some time immemorial. The elves have adapted themselves with a variety of magic and evolution over the millenia. During the final conflict, the sea elves broke faith with the surface elves and sought neutrality in the conflict. Tensions have remained ever since. The Merfolk legends imply they are an ancient race, though recent archeological evidence indicates that they may be more appropriately classified among the Younger Races. Both of the older races and the elves have long worshiped the sea and its aspects. The Temple of Jubrul has begun to formalise those practices, but does not yet have a formal pantheon.
In the beginning the world was covered by the sea. As the earth cooled and the great blocks of ice formed the land raised and gave birth to the younger races. The sea was in the beginning, and will be in the end. The concept of rebirth is a later development and now strongly flavors the official religion.
Tenets of Faith
- Tradition and the family: Understanding that family is the foundation for preserving traditions.
- Love of the sea: Holding the sea and all water-based nature sacred.
- Ritual purity: Rituals to spiritually and physically cleanse yourselves before entering a shrine to worship the spirits.
- Matsuri: Worshipping and honoring the primal and ancestral spirits.
Worship is a deeply personal act. Individual households often have their own home shrines, as well as shrines that exist throughout the seas devoted to local spirits. Larger and more formal shrines exist in large cities, and culminate in the Temple of Jubrul in the capital. Festivals are a large component of the community based religious rights. They are considered communal acts of ritual purity, and help to support everything from good weather and good harvests to success in military encounters. There are also the concepts of rites of passage both shortly after birth (one month, or cycle of the tides) and adulthood.
The priesthood is one of the three major pillars of Venúék society (Administrative, Military, Religious) united by the nobility. The priesthood follows a similar structure to the imperial administration, but does not report in any way to the governors. The church and the high priest is considered subservient only to the emperor, who is considered by some to be divine.
The primary currency are small gold droplets shaped like naturally occuring pearls. Silver and naturally occuring pearls are lower denominations. The currency are called pearls, and often prefixed with the type. Natural pearls are just known as pearls, or colloqually drops.
There is no formal legislative body. However the bureaucratic staff are responsible for proposing or reviewing a new piece of legislation. Care is taken to assess its relationship to the existing law. Laws were crafted through these officials, and must be endorsed by the Emperor to become official.
Suspects and criminals may be arrested by local police who were subordinate to the provincial chief of police. A person could not be convicted of a crime without a confession. Because a confession is required for a conviction and sentence the use of torture is often used to elicit such a confession, though not officially sanctioned. In principle all criminal cases, whatever their gravity, are heard first in the court of the locality in which the facts occurred. The magistrate investigates the facts, determined guilt or innocence, and then proposed the sentence for the offence as prescribed by the code. Whenever a sentence of greater severity than a beating is applicable, it was necessary to forward the case to the next superior court in the hierarchy, that of the prefect, for rehearing. The prefect's decision was final only in cases of penal servitude. Cases of exile or death were automatically reviewed by the provincial governor. All homicide cases and all cases attracting the death sentence were sent to the capital for review by the highest judicial tribunal, the Board of Punishments. No sentence of death could be implemented, except in extreme circumstances, without express approval from the emperor himself.
Official State Religion