The Sovereign Empire of Shikyuo Organization in Fyria | World Anvil

The Sovereign Empire of Shikyuo


For hundreds of years, Shikyuo was ruled over by seven Odegai Khans. Each taking his own lands and peoples for their own in a loose collective of states. According to Shikyuo history, these Khans were brutal and violent warriors. Staking claim to huge swathes of lands and people, and enforcing their will by sheer force and number. Often times fighting amongst each other, attempting to expand their individual territories in a grand vision of total domination.   They terrorized the population and spread destruction across the land. Until Toshitsuga Tageshira gathered an army of unified soldiers and samurai from across Shikyuo and fought against these tyrants. At the end of years of battle, the war was finally won, Tageshira and his forces freed Shikyuo from the hateful grasp of the Khans. If they had not been killed in battle already, the remaining Khans were collected and brought to the new emperor, who proceeded to execute them personally, ending their lives at the tip of his sword.   Much of what these Khans left behind has been lost or destroyed in the several hundred years since this time. Any artifact that is found must be returned to the local lord and disposed of immediately by law.   When Emperor Tageshira took the throne he gathered seven of his most trusted generals and gifted them each a parcel of land. These parcels of land, now called prefectures, were once the territories of the Odegai but were renamed to reflect the new empire. The emperor told his generals that they would govern over each of these new prefectures, they would follow his law but would be given a modest amount of freedom in how they governed. He instructed them to treat their citizens fairly and to foster the growth of their nation above all else. And that they would continue to meet when times grew dire to discuss the best ways to move their great nation forward. Thus creating the first council of lords of this new era in Shikyuo. They would become known as the Teikoku no Hashira, or Seven Pillars of the Empire. The title of Hashira/Pillar has been passed down through family generation since the creation of the first council.   Since then several generations of Toshitsuga emperors have ruled over their united empire. With the current being the first female empress of the era, Empress Toshitsuga Hatsuto. Working to bring peace and stability to a once fractured land. This is the official history of Shikyuo, and many secrets still lay hidden underneath many layers of pride and deceit.
Political Structure
The empire is ruled by an empress named Toshitsuga Hatsuyo and a council of seven feudal lords called the Teikoku no Hashira, or Pillars of the Empire, each Hashira being in command of a separate prefecture in Shikyuo. The empress took over her role as ruler of the empire from her father, Emperor Toshitsuga Ooga, after his death from a fatal wound while out on an expedition. The former emperor, on his death bed, was very hesitant to give his title to his daughter, as his eldest son, Toshitsuga Ryouei was meant to take on the role instead of her.   Ryouei, went missing while on an exploration mission in the northern sea of Ahgero. His father did not want to accept his son’s likely death and died reluctantly giving the title to his daughter Hatsuyo. He did this to ensure the family line stayed in power, and he instructed his daughter to put her eldest son, Tomiya, on the throne when he came of age, regardless of her current health or age.   Empress Hatsuyo has resented her father for these feelings and comments in the years she has ruled since. She rules with a strict but fair hand in her attempts to do what is best, in her eyes, for the empire and its citizens. This has often created a split opinion of the empress, with a portion of the empire supporting her and the rest counting the days until her son takes the throne. Even some of the current council of Hashira treat her with disdain and mistrust, often fighting her commands and instruction.   The Seven Pillars of the Empire rule their own prefectures, venturing to the Shinseina Castle in Kiyosu to attend important discussions with the empress. This is usually done when a matter involves the entire empire or dire matters. Quarterly meetings are held regardless, though oftentimes some of the Hashira will send representatives in the stead. A disrespectful gesture, but one that has become common during the rule of Hatsuyo due to her tumultuous rule and controversial ascension to the throne.   While the Hashira oversees the overall rule of their prefectures, each city or town is governed over by a Magistrate. This splitting of power has caused issues in the past, which Magistrates trying to take over more territory or even overthrow a Hashira. Though this is fairly rare and the Magistrates usually work within the constraints of their Hashira's rules, the Magistrates do often take advantage of their citizens. Often this is done through high, and technically illegal, levels of taxation, with the Magistrates skimming the top percent off for themselves and then sending over the required amount to their Hashira. Smaller communities, villages, farms, and personally owned land away from a city are typically governed by the closest Magistrates district, though on rare occurrence private land may be governed by a Hashira and his personal representatives directly.
The Prefectures of Shikyuo
There are eight prefectures located in Shikyuo, each has distinct cultural and environmental differences between them. Each of these prefectures is led by one of the descendants of the original Seven Pillars of the Empire chosen by Emperor Tageshira after the war against the Odegai Khans ended. The seven main prefectures are Kyuzo, Hayashida, Kikuchiyo, Isao, Kambei, Gorobei, and Shichiroji. With the final prefecture being a small region in the north called Kiyosu, this is where the current empress rules from within the Shinseina Castle. No commoner is typically allowed into this area, and those that do live there live solely for purpose of servicing the throne.
Kyuzo - formerly Tseundu (Effort)
  This prefecture is the closest to the southern border of Shikyuo, the southern border leads out to an unclaimed stretch of land that acts as a corridor leading all the way to the southern coast. It is dangerous to travel this path though as the nations of Bastion and Ithoria fight nearly daily over ownership of it. Kyuzo itself is considered a gateway to the other prefectures that lie deeper within the country. It shares its borders with Hayashida, Kikuchiyo, and Isao. A small portion of its south-western border leads to the deep canyon that surrounds the blighted lands of The Ruined Plateau of Thysduin, this area is avoided by most as some of this blight has crept up the cliffside creating a dark and damp forest of decay. Routine controlled burns are conducted in order to keep the blight from entering deeper into Kyuzo and Shikyuo.   Kyuzo mainly consists of small villages, most of which eke out a meagre existence consisting of farming, hunting, and fishing. The people here are mostly humble, though can come across as somewhat downtrodden as their prefecture is not known for much. The southern gate in which most travellers enter Shikyuo has been deemed too important to be their responsibility and is guarded by a special arm of the Hō no shikkō Samurai, all of whom reside in a small keep situated near the gate. The Hashira of Kyuzo finds this set-up insulting and deeming to himself and the people of his prefecture, but has yet to do anything about it.  
Hayashida - formerly Sonam (Prosperity)
  Hayashida is the nation's largest farming community and grows what is considered the highest quality crops in the land, with their specialty being several unique strains of rice. They sell much of these crops to other nations, with fresh crops typically reaching their nearest neighbours, Kyuzo, Isao, and Kikuchiyo, and thousands of bags of rice reaching each and every prefecture in Shikyuo. This has made the Hashira and their Magistrates very wealthy.   Hayashida only has one large city, located on the north-western coastline, at the base of a small mountain named Himura Mountain. This city is populated mostly by wealthy merchants, nobles, and of course, the Hashira's personal home resides here. Though a small percentage of the population fish the nearby coast, or work on nearby farmlands. Surrounding Himura Mountain and much of the western coast of Hayashida are large forests of Momiji Trees. The Momiji Tree produces vibrant red foliage, and its wood is priced by many carpenters and artisans. Though its high price comes somewhat from the strict preservation laws instituted by both the Hashira's of Hayashida and Kikuchiyo. Because of this, only a small number of trees are harvested each year, making the cost skyrocket. And unlike the growing concern of overlogging in Isao, whose laws on foresting are rarely enforced, Hayashida and Kikuchiyo keep a close eye on those that try to break these laws. Those that have been caught illegally logging are often imprisoned and face intense penalties.   The vast majority of citizens living within the borders of Hayashida live in small villages or communes that work various stretches of farmland. Most farmers in Hayashida however do not own the land in which they work, instead, having to work on land owned by the Hashira or one of the regions Magistrates. Typically working long hours for low wages.   Southern Hayashida provides a good climate for a variety of diverse crops. Though common amongst these are Negi, Kobocha, Daikon, Cabbage, and Sweet Potato.   In north-central Hayashida, the area has been sculpted over many generations to be the perfect land to grow several unique strains of rice. Workers have meticulously carved out huge stretches of land into multi-tiered levels of land used to grow rice. These specially crafted areas look like hills in which large stairs have been carved from them, and various methods of flooding and draining have been perfected in order to grow rice throughout much of the year. Katsumoto Lake, which resides in the center of Hayashida, has been slowly transformed into a feeder system in which to flood each of the main rice paddies with fresh water whenever needed using a system of man-made rivers and tributaries.   There are three main rice paddies in Hayashida, each taking up a third of the central region of the prefecture. Each grows its own variety of rice and occupies a unique stretch of land. To the west, the rice fields are surrounded by golden fields of swaying wheat. To the north, there are enormous fields of poppy surrounding the rice fields, which are regularly harvested for their medicinal purposes. While the central rice fields are the most common and atypical rice crops and are surrounded by mottled fields of green grass.   The southern portion of Hayashida shares a border with The Ruined Plateau of Thysduin, much like Kyuzo, but the Hashira of that prefecture instead decided to cull the southern area of all forest and salt the land to put a more permanent stop to the land. While this means the land cannot be used for farming, it was considered a small price to pay to ensure the rest of Hayashida, considered to have the most prime of farming lands, was safe from further infection.  
Kikuchiyo - formerly Wangyal (Conquering)
  This is the largest prefecture in all of Shikyuo, which includes a large island off its coast called Sakana no Numa, but despite its many resources, it has been stretched thin due to its growing population and large size. And though it shares a border with the six remaining prefectures its relationship with each has weakened in recent times due to the growing tensions between its Hashira and their Magistrates. The Hashira here keeps a strict book of laws that all are supposed to follow, including strict bookkeeping laws on taxation and an increasing list of restricted exports. The Hashira here wishes to keep many of the resources of Kikuchiyo for the citizens of the prefecture, many merchants and even the Magistrates have met this with disdain as it has limited their ability to provide from trade with other prefectures. Even worse, the current Hashira has begun to keep a close eye on the amount each Magistrate is taxing their vassals and has on several occasions caught them overcharging. This is causing a lot of tension between Kikuchiyo's Hashira and their Magistrates, as it is common for the Magistrates to overcharge in taxation so that they can skim more off the top for themselves.   As such, the Hashira of Kikuchiyo is struggling to keep it together, there are even rumours that the Magistrates to the north and south are each planning attempts at breaking away from the prefecture in order to form two new prefectures under their rule. This goes against the historical rules of Shikyuo as since its beginnings its seven prefectures have been ruled over by seven Hashira, each being granted their title via birth. Rumour has it that the Empress is considering this request and may move forward with the split to the dismay of the Hashira and traditionalists. Many believe that this is a thinly veiled message to the Hashira of Kikuchiyo who has butted heads with the empress many times in the past.   Because of the fractured politics of Kikuchiyo resources are limited, and the area is not sufficiently policed. As such bandits have become a common occurrence, with the more brazen ones even attacking villages in broad daylight. One story tells of a village that was completely burned to the ground after two bandit groups got into a fight at a local tavern.  
Isao - formerly Pema (Wisdom)
  Isao has become the most densely populated prefecture in the country over a very short period of time, despite it having only a small portion of liveable space on the mainland. In the last ten years this region, which was once covered in lush forests, has been clear cut in massive swathes in order to grow their cities and fuel their interests. Isao has two major cities, Omura on the coast and Bessho in the north, along with two smaller towns.   The largest of the cities, Omura, lies on the eastern coast and has turned into a sprawling complex of modern buildings, flashy lights, and expensive tourism traps. It has become a city of entertainment and frivolity, with most of its humble beginnings being lost. The city has become stuffed to the rafters with casinos, bars, shops, restaurants, and brothels becoming a place of vice and depravity. But the Hashira of Isao couldn't care less as he has become one of the wealthiest individuals of all Shikyuo.   The second largest city Bessho lies to the north and sits at the bottom of the Ginka Mountains. Bessho has grown much in size as well but instead of providing entertainment, it is actually the largest mining community in the prefecture, providing all the stone and material for the rest of the region. It also has one of the only maintained paths that lead up the Ginka Mountains, though the upper reaches still remain dangerous and wild. People have tried to capitalize on this, creating adventure tours but most of these end in disaster and haven't caught on as wildly as the casinos and bars of Omura.   In the southwest is a medium-sized farming town, they provide food for many of the other communities with the majority of which being shippers to the Isao's capital Omura. This town also has a large logging community that has slowly whittled away at the northern borders of the Kogane no Raito Forest which translates to Golden Lights Forest. This forest is an important spiritual landmark and the home of monks who live in the forest temple at its center. It is illegal to cut down trees here but because the forest lies within three different provinces the rules and enforcement differ. And in the case of Isao, they have made it legal to cut down a restricted number of trees per month. This number is not strictly enforced in Isao though so the number of trees cut down has been immense and the majority of the forest has been lost across the border of Isao. Some, in a desperate attempt to continue making money selling these valuable trees, have begun to sneak into the territory of other provinces and cut down trees in the forest. This has caused tension between Isao’s two neighbours, Kikuchiyo and Kyuzo.   Isao has also begun to take advantage of a nearby island that technically resides within their jurisdiction. Originally this island was covered in thick forests, making it difficult to develop their. Several years ago, however, through the use of newly developed logging machinery, Isao gained the ability to begin clearing large areas of the forest here. As a result, officials of the prefecture discovered that the island was full of beautiful and naturally occurring hot springs, especially in the north and south. Isao has managed to clear out the southern portion of the island and has built a lavish and expensive hot springs getaway. The northern portion is still fairly wild, as it is being protected by a small community of natives to the island. They have proven a thorn in the side of developers whose machines have been consistently sabotaged by these people.  
Kambei - formerly Tseten (Determination)
  Kambei is Isao’s opposite, while Isao has embraced modernity Kamber has stuck to tradition. Over half of the Ginka Mountains lies within their territory, with the remaining third being located in the Isao prefecture. Both of these prefectures rely heavily on mining the mountain for resources but Kambei is more reserved and only take what they require in order to retain their status quo. Isao on the other hand has begun to over mine, specifically in the city of Bessho, and this has created serious tension between the two.   Kambei has several small villages and two medium-sized towns, Taikuri and Nobufusa Bay. One along its northern coasts and one nestled at the base of the Ginka Mountains. This town is called Taikuri, and much of it resides in the lower portion of the mountains itself. In the past this village was actually located much higher in the mountains but was abandoned after a series of rockslides. This original village was actually founded by the Odegai clan of Pema and is said to still harbour the spirits of its ancestors who reclaimed their lost village after the interlopers were driven out by the dangers of the mountain.  
Gorobei - formerly Lobsang (Spirit)
  Gorobei is more isolated than the rest of the nation, it has a colder climate and due to the size and location of the Nemuri Mountain range within its territory, it is not common for people to visit. Its geography is quite rugged, not overly suitable for large farming operations and those that do farm here often only grow hardier root vegetables including Gobo Root and Naga-imo. Despite this Gorbei still has a sizable population, many of which delve into the mines of Nemuri looking for highly sought after metal ores and precious gems. Specifically gold, iron, jade, and sapphire. Thought the rarest element found within the mines of Nemuri is a unique ore called Gin No Sukeru. The ore looks similar in colour and sheen to silver but it is found in a strange shingled formation. When smelted down it can be turned into lightweight steel that can be folded much thinner than others while still holding a keen edge. It is highly sought after by samurai, and when discovered it usually sells quickly and often at a high price. It is common for Gin No Sukeru to be purchased by Hashira or even the empress herself who then gift katana made from the ore to high ranking members of her Hō no shikkō Samurai.   There is also an island to the north of Gorbei and Kambei, it is a remote and dangerous place covered in a strange miasma of intense spiritual energy. Long ago it is said a great tragedy took place here and the entire island became covered in a strange fog that causes misery and bad luck. Those that have gone there have described feelings of despair and a sense that their energy was slowly being drained from their being by the evil spirits that live on the island. The island is technically under the split jurisdiction of Kambei and Gorobei but the island has no official villages, towns, or cities as it is too remote and dangerous. It is mostly left alone, with its few inhabitants left to fend for themselves. Boat travel to this island is rare and often has to be chartered privately and frequently the trip there is fraught with dangerously choppy water, and poor weather.  
Shichiroji - formerly Dolma (Liberation)
  The Shichiroji prefecture is Shikyuo's main supplier of bamboo, and much of its territory is covered with large stretches of bamboo forests. Many of its cities and villages lie within these ever-growing bamboo labyrinths, and while roads do exist leading to many of these places it easy to get lost amongst pillars of bamboo. Local legends saying that newcomers should always travel with a guide or risk mischievous spirits leading them astray into the endless forest maze. Those that live here live fairly simple lives, they cut down bamboo for sale or use and replant all that they reap. Many within this prefecture are very spiritual and their capital, Gokohji, is considered a place of divine importance and stepped in spiritual energies.   This province has two major cities, the first being its capital of Gokohji which is located on the shores of Meigetsu-Ji Lake. Gokohji is a city of monks, and knowledge seekers filled with temples, libraries, and places to reflect and meditate. Many travellers pass through here on spiritual pilgrimages or in order to be cleansed by the monks by the cleansing waters of the Saiho River. This river has a legend of its own, its source is unknown and its path is long and winding. It is said to originate somewhere deep within the Nemuri Mountains of Gorobei before flowing all the way down and winding through the province until it reaches Shichiroji, where it pools into Meigetsu-Ji Lake before again continuing on to flow out into the sea. Saiho River and Meigetsu-Ji Lake, for many, represents the flow and uncertain journey of time and life. We all move onwards on our path in life but for many our origins are shrouded in mystery, our journey in life long and winding, and our end and beyond a mystery.   The other major city is the town of Sakata, the last settlement before entering into Kiyosu, many of those that live here work the farms of the empress or act as merchants between the people of the rest of Shikyuo and those that work for the empress in Kiyosu. Each vying for the empress's attention trying to impress enough to attain a coveted job within Kiyosu, or even enough to impress one of her personal vassals in order to acquire one of her coveted trade licenses. Anyone looking to enter Kiyosu must go through a vetting process in this city.   The empire's largest graveyard, Tsumasaburo Cemetry, is also located in Shichiroji, it spans several kilometres and winds up and down steep hills along its southern coast. Tsumasaburo Cemetery was built to bury and honour those that died in the years of battle against the Odegai before the official formation of the empire. Some believe that the graveyard was built atop an ancient Odegai tomb, filled with important members of the clan Dolma. Though nobody has ever found the entrance. This rumour is not often spoken about, as even speaking of the Odegai can get you imprisoned or worse.  
  Kiyosu was formed when the Toshitsuga reign began several hundred years ago. The prefecture was created by taking away land from the Dolma and Lobsang regions, now called Shichiroji and Gorobei. These are now considered royal lands and can only be entered with express permission from the empress.   These lands are lush and meticulously cared for, everything within it is used to handle whatever the ruling emperor/empress wants. Shinseina Castle resides in Kiyosu, this is where the entire empire is ruled from. The castle is opulent and takes up a large swath of land which includes multiple buildings and even access to its own gardens and temple. The castle was built during the reign of the first emperor of Shikyuo, Toshitsuga Tageshira. The castle is surrounded by mountain walls and is nearly impenetrable only having two accesses, the main road that leads to the rest of the country and a back road that leads to the ocean.   Two large farms take up land in Kiyosu, the food grown here is used only for the residents of Kiyosu and is of the highest quality. A large sakurai forest takes up a vast majority of the southern portion of the region and is used as a personal garden for the empress. To the northeast of the province is a Takai Temple in which important ceremonies, usually involving the empress and her Pillars are conducted. It is located alongside a river that empties out into the Dragon’s Eye, a lake just south of the temple. To the north west is a small outpost that is heavily guarded, here prisoners of political importance are held before they are transferred to a prison colony located on a collection of islands to the north of Kiyosu.

Once more, we have survived.

Geopolitical, Empire
Alternative Names
The Unwavering Dragon
Notable Members
Interesting Rumours
Various ancient technologies lay dormant, across the empire that are hundreds of years old. Most locals only know vague legends regarding their origin and purpose. Recently ancient and mechanical samurai constructs have awoken from a deep slumber. They now wander the land trying to find ways to complete their ancient orders.
The locals of the mountain village Taikuri have recently seen a strange humanoid man wandering the narrow paths of the mountains above their village. Some of the villagers swear that this strange creature is the cursed soul of one of the slain Orc Khans from two hundred years ago. Cursed to wander the lands in which he was slain so long ago.
Legends say that deep withing the Ginka Mountains lies a shimmering pool, filled with silver coins and jewellery. Resting on the shore of this pool lies a silver dragon, calmly napping near its collection. Some say if you bring the dragon a new piece of silver for its collection it will grant you a boon.
Expansion Controversy
A few of the Hashira have begun pushing the empress to expand their territories to the south, and to take the corridor to the southern coast for themselves. These Hashira believe that if they take advantage of the obvious inept forces of the ever quarrelling Bastion and Ithosia they could easily crush their forces and take control. However, the empress is concerned that this won't be the case, and that Bastion and Ithosia have more fight in them than the Hashira realizes. She also does not want to use up valuable resources, as she knows much of her nation is already stretched thin, especially with all the recent bickering between her own Hashira. If their forces are weakened enough, she worries that the increasingly aggressive and desperate nation of Bastion may even turn and begin attempts at invading the normally secluded empire. this.

Cover image: Canyon Vista by Jason Scheier


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