The Empire of Kaer Thalion
A large trade empire and hegemony, based in the southeast of Dálnaes. Dominated by the Y'dak, its people are of dark complexion and quiet temperament. Due to frequent conflict with Zarglÿf and raiders from the sea, they have a strong warrior culture that rewards skilled and accomplished warriors above all else, and they have the most powerful standing army of any of the five kingdoms.
LOCATION & TERRITORYThe mainland of the Thali empire rests in the southeast corner of the northlands, between the Ul Kaerek to the east, Etherea to the west, and Zarglÿf to the north. Its southern border is made up of the Vas Tora and the near-impassible Arg'razulyan Jungle. Over the last two centuries, the empire's territory has expanded to include the Duvadak Islands, the Galipala Islands, parts of Torgat's Passage, and even a bit of coast in the .
PEOPLEThe Empire is home to many different peoples. Most areas remain dominated by their native cultures, but the larger cities have become melting pots of trade and cultural immersion. For details regarding mainland Thali culture and lifestyles, see .
Natives (jai)“Native” Thalis are those who live on the mainland within the Empire’s original territory. Though split into three distinct groups, each with their own distinct cultures, they all enjoy full rights of citizenship under Thali law, and the affix -jai, meaning “people”, is used to delineate them.
Colonies (zukai)Colonies are protectorates who have made the decision to become citizens of the empire. They have full rights of citizenship, though they are required to carry travel papers when leaving their home territories to prevent being mistaken for enemies of Kaer Thalion. There are three typesof colonies, and every colony has an ambassador in Durleik to speak for their people. The affix -zukai, meaning “ally”, is used to delineate people of the empire’s colonies.
Protectorates (fai)Protectorates are those who have come under Thali control, usually by accepting offers of military protection and/or trade agreements. Protectorates are not considered citizens and thus enjoy only some such rights under Thali law, but they are invited to have diplomatic representatives in Durleik to negotiate on behalf of their people. As well as protection from outside threats, protectorates enjoy the benefits and reach of the empire’s vast trade network. While not required, members of protectorates are asked to carry travel papers when leaving their native lands so as to avoid unnecessary confrontation, and protectorate ships are allowed to fly Thali flags as well as their own. The affix -fai, meaning “friend”, is used to delineate members of protectorates.
EnemiesThe empire seeks peaceful relations with all peoples they meet, but sometimes those they come across respond with nothing but hostility. These peoples have been labeled enemies of the empire, and Thali warriors are permitted to engage in combat if provoked. Enemies have their own names based on Thali perspective of them.
- na'kumaj (“clanless") – raiders of the deep desert who refuse to follow Thali law
- razutani – (“merciless”) the main civilization of the Farlands, who capture, enslave, and sacrifice others in droves to appease the gods.
- volvaka (“rock reapers”) – a clan native to the spine of @torg that freely attacks those that dare to “steal” their sacred stones
Caer Thalion was founded by rebels and slaves of Zarglyf, who fled from their masters across the then-believed impassible desert to safety before creeping back up the coast to found their own kingdom. As a result of their harsh beginning and the following decades of conflict with their old masters, Caer Thalion developed a warrior-based culture, which is responsible for their continued military might. However, despite their combative culture, they maintain an attitude of 'strike only if struck first'. They defend themselves without question, but never attack another people unless it is the only way to ensure peace between them. However, tension remains between them and their old oppressors, which has resulted in strong cultural attitudes on both sides. In fact, if a Thali and a Glyphen do not greet each other with an insult, it is a sign of dishonest intentions.
The capital of Durleik, which started as a fortified bastion on the cliffs of the coast, has grown into a sprawling center of trade both by land and by sea. In recent years, Caer Thalion has secured peaceful trade with the peoples of the Farlands, which has given them an even greater value as the leader of trade and commerce in Dalnaes.
Due to its warrior-centric culture, Caer Thalion maintains the largest standing army in Dalnaes. Every Thali male goes through basic warrior training and (unless it would cause strain on their family) is required to serve in the active army for at least five years. Any man who chooses to remain in the army after the five years is provided with a horse by the crown, resulting in a large and powerful cavalry. In recent years, an elite warrior group has arisen under the leadership of a particularly gifted kurdan. Called the Sul'ri, or Sunriders, they act as enforcers of kingdom law within the Great Desert, as well as diplomatic voices between the desert clans and the crown.
- jarul - the general of Thali military. He answers only to the king or queen when military decisions are made.
- kimanji - second-rank commanders of the military. Usually two or three are active at a time
- kurdan - third-rank captains of the military. Usually three or four serve under each kimanji, and each kurdan usually commands a force of 500-600 warriors
Mythology & Lore
"We raise our hands to the sun above, and plant our feet on the sand below. This is our land, the land given to us by Kaerek. Here we are free, and we welcome any who would embrace that freedom. May Kaerek dance for all."Though Thalis believe in the same pantheon as the rest of Dalnaes, they have particularly strong reverence for two gods: Kaerek, God of the Sun and Zefrak, God of War. When the original slaves escaped from Zarglÿf and crossed the Breach, they found a land where sunlight touched every rock, tree, and grain of sand. In their eyes, Kaerek had led them to this new land to be free, and they called the land Kaer Thalion, "Freedom Under the Sun God". The ocean they settled beside was named Ul Kaerek, the Sea of the Sun, for it was believed that Kaerek rose from embrace each morning and sank into the sands of the Y'dak each night. As Kaer Thalion grew, conflicts with their past masters and stangers from the sea forced them to fight to keep their freedom. They prayed to the God of War for strength and skill in battle, and under his guidance they drove off their attackers. Heroic warriors were hailed as blessed by Zefrak, and their teachings regarding war, both in its execution and its restaint, became one of the cores of Thali culture. But war never became as important as freedom, and despite their powerful military, Thalis hold that war is a last resort, and that Zefrak will curse any warrior who engages in battle without just cause.