Empire of Felora
For thousands of years the Feloran Empire stood as the central legal and economic authority in the Southern Hemisphere, eventually imparting its name to the continent. The Feloran Empire had a centralised economic system, with a central treasury under the authority of the Emperor, with an appointed academic or merchant in 20-year terms. It was the immediate predecessor to the current political paradigm in Northern Felora. Ruled at times by a Steward, an Emperor, or both, the Empire was an absolute monarchy before reforming into a constitutional one. For many Felorans, particularly Sorenians, the Feloran Empire marked the height of their civilisation, and the decline of Feloran prominence, along with the modern innovations of Cyrenica and Aeilla over the proceeding centuries, are a bitter reminder of how far they've fallen. The Feloran Empire was one of the most developed states in the continent of Felora with extensive urbanisation, complex structural engineering and infrastructure, and the fostering of creative and magical arts that were nearly unrivaled. Indeed, the military application of Feloran magic proved decisive in their success in the early Northern Invasions. Feloran society however was incredibly slow to adapt, favouring methodical decision making and politicking that took many months or even years. Though Feloran culture espoused community and inquisitiveness, many of its egalitarian ideals were lost during the Late Imperial, especially after the Kaelbryn Restoration. A succession of crises brought about in part by the Feloran nobility's hubris caused the Empire's demise. Though taking the agricultural Hadar settlements proved simple enough, and their fledgling feudal system was integrated into the Province of Qua'adar's power structure, Emperor Adresin Kaelbryn pushed to establish outposts and colonies in the Aeillan region and beyond, sparking a 100-year crisis with the Aeillans that burdened the Empire's infrastructure and bureaucracy. Pushed to it's breaking point after the drowning of Antiokus, the Feloran Empire collapsed in a period of about 60 years. The Great Suffering, a famine caused by the collapse of the Imperial transportation system and shortage of crops, further decimated the Empire's population, from which the successor states of the Empire are still recovering.
Though it did result in the formation of much of modern Feloran culture, the Imperial Feloran people went through several drastic shifts over the Empire's history before resembling what it does now. These revolutions in culture eventually polarised the citizens of the Empire. The first drastic shift came during the conquering of the Formen tribes along the Tealastrian Coast, when the ancient Soren'ai and Lumor'ai had to adapt and accomodate their new fellow subjects. Further shifts came during the revolution of Thröm and Yuileïa, which left a distinctly egalitarian attitude amongst most of the populace, and again with the adoption of Ekoran animism as official State Practice, which turned the Felorans towards ritual prayer and ceremony. Contrasting this was a steady drift by the Feloran nobility towards autocracy and the expression of refinement (or to some, excess). The veneration of everything as having a spirit and the values of liberty persisted however, amongst most common classes of the Empire. Outside of the Feloran nobility, Feloran culture historically favoured strong community, valuing multifamily groups who in many cases had no close blood relation. Most communities were not headed by a distinct individual, but instead those interested in decision making take part in discourse, with deference to wisdom of elders and knowledge of the qualified. The role of the ancient Steward in protecting the homeland evolved into the "stewardship of the Empire", and issues such as war and regional economics were considered the domains of the Imperial State, represented by the individual roles of the Throne and Stewardship. Marriage was rarely arranged, with it only being common among the nobility during the waning years of the Empire. Feloran culture valued inquisitiveness and discovery, qualities that manifested in both peaceful and warlike ways. Feloran stayed remarkably stable as a language, likely due to the longevity of it's speakers and the role of the State in setting standards and definitions. Feloran did evolve faster in orcish dialects during certain periods of the Empire, and indeed many have little mutual intelligibility to Feloran and are arguably their own language family. Though for much of the Empire's history Orcish peoples formed part of the Empire's subjects or citizenry, even being part of Feloran bureaucratic, religious, and military institutions at times, their culture has remained distinct throughout the Empire's reign, and grew in some cases opposed to Feloran hegemony.
The Feloran Empire evolved out of the Àntrepari towards the end of the Royal Era. The legacy of the Getninian Cataclysm left a marked shift in Feloran society towards more combative and protective beliefs, and many of the ancient Feloran pantheon's more warlike and vengeful deities were given a higher status. The Empire is considered to have begun when the Formen people were conquered and made to pay tribute to the Steward of Felora.
The High ImperialAlso known as the Early Imperial Era, the High Imperial is marked by many great infrastructural engineering projects, most notably the Grand Feloran Canal from which the central core of the Empire was formed, following the canal like a spine through Inner Felora. These projects declined in scope and frequency, before being abandoned after the Abolishment of Slavery & the Je'thor Reformations , which removed much of the absolute and economic power from the State. The Imperial Canon, a living document of the Feloran Court, is begun during the wars against the Formen, beginning the written record of Felora (and in many ways, the known world). After annexing the Tealastrian Coast, the Empire integrated the Formen Elves and the region's numerous tribes of orcs into it's society. Much of the orcish peoples were enslaved or otherwise compelled to work on the canals and other projects of the Feloran Emperor. There were also periods of forced cultural conversion as Feloran Emperors sought to "civilise" (and pacify) particularly troublesome orcish peoples, however after the Je'thor Reformations, orcs became politically equal to elves in the Empire, and many became powerful and influential members of Imperial society. The First Vöthar-Fèloran War was fought, marking the beginning of the second continental expansion, which also included sustained contact with the Serene Conclave of Ekora. The expansion came to an end with the Second Vöthar-Fèloran War, which forced the Empire to cease it's encroachment into Vöthar lands. Sustained contact with the steppes eventually lead to the adoption of official state practice, or Ëlhyaea, during the reign of Gardoum II. Under his reign, the Empire created the Province of Ekora out of the numerous disparate nomadic tribes of the Jollì Steppes, with the Temple City of Ekora its capital. Through the created role of Lèlbrìkèrn, the Conclave embedded itself in the Imperial Court, resulting in a spiritual renaissance across the Empire. However, it intensified the Empire's rivalry with the Vöth, who continued to practice an iteration of the old Feloran pantheon now viewed as sacrilegious and offensive. The third & fourth Vöthar-Fèloran Wars were fought with religious zeal. The final of their wars was the most bloody and costly of the four, with thousands killed or forced to renounce "personified worship", eventually resulting in the exiling of the Vöth underground and to the south of the continent.
The Late ImperialConcurrently, the Sighting of the Bright Star was viewed as a herald of a New Era of spiritual harmony in the Empire, with the vanquishing of their long running adversary since the time of the cataclysm. The Late Imperial is marked with an increasing trend by Feloran Emperors back towards the absolutism of the pre-reform Empire. This trend is in turn followed by an increase in both Feloran republicanism and Orc independence movements. In the early years of this era, Felorans began exploring beyond the northern part of their continent, sending expeditions into the wilderness and navigating the coastlines of Felora and southern Galisea. These expeditions lead to the establishment of dozens of small outposts along the southern coasts of Galisea to supply their ships and to trade with the local populaces. While Feloran explorers were broadening the Empire's knowledge of the world abroad, the domestic politics of the Imperial Court grew more divided, while the state bureaucracy grew innefficient and corrupt, due to the poor leadership of successive House Mirenèlis monarchs. The Kaelbryn Restoration marked the return to the throne of House Kaelbryn, a family of the Feloran nobility most opposed to the Je'thor Reforms and noted for their warrior mentality and interest in territorial expansion. After reforming the empire's bureaucracy, reigning in the independence of Je'thor Councils, and generally centralizing political power in the Imperial Court, the Kaelbryn Dynasty launched the first overseas expansion of the Feloran Empire. Spurred in part by increasingly organised attempts by nearby Hadar lords and chiefs to remove or take the Turel trading outpost, the Empire moved to annex the surrounding region and coastline, establishing Turel as the capital of a province of Feloran elves, while carving a second province out of the more landed and agricultural of the Hadar. The Empire was relatively tolerant of other religions, however State Practice was favored, and certain types of worship were viewed as damaging to the Yira, as were certain practices like slavery and gender-based hierarchies. The Empire would expand it's influence throughout Tealastrian Galisea, with outposts and cities established on Leandris, and as far north as Merida and as far east as Hesjan. The Drowning of Antiokus is considered the beginning of the end of the Feloran Empire. After this, supplying the colonies in Gallaca and Merida became impossible, and the center of Feloran power in the Aeillan province was gone. A hasty retreat to Qua'adar stabilized things briefly, however the Aeillans then went on the offensive, undermining Qua'adaran loyalty and integration, making deals with elements of the Qua'adar elite opposed to Feloran subjugation and moving faster in their actions than the Empire could adapt. The Sacking of Soren definitively marks the end of the Empire, with Aranrata Kaelbryn in the ruins of the city declaring the Sovereignty in it's place.
The Empire overextended itelf in the course of the Late Imperial. Though the initial expansion campaign resulted in a well-integrated and stable predominantly-human province of Qua'adar, the Aeillan Empire proved more difficult to hold. Neither multiple campaigns of conquest nor waves of Feloran settlement proved capable of subduing the native Aeillans, whose culture proved particularly suited to oppose the Empire, with no friendly segment of the Aeillan elite to exploit. The Kaelbryn Dynasty grew increasingly autocratic and irrational in it's actions, and refused to pull back to Qua'adar. Beginning with Drowning of Antiokus and the Tealastrian flight, the Empire collapsed as it's delicate bureaucracy faltered, and the ensuing food shortage emptied cities and left fields fallow.
Demography and Population
At it's height, the Empire boasted a population of 54,834,431 citizens across two continents, including Elves, Humans, and Orcs among them, not counting the vassal dragonborn clans of Tcharss'tai. The vast majority of these, particularly the non-Elves, were lower classes, with slavery having been abolished before the end of the Early Imperial. During the Empire's existence, there was a general favoring of Soren'ai and Lumor'ai Felorans that was supplanted with a general Elven-favored society by the end of the Late Imperial. In non-Elf majority provinces, the Felorans often integrated the region's previous governing elite into their State. The Empire's population was depleted rapidly with the loss of the colonies along the Meridan and Gallacan coast and the provinces of Qua'adar and Aeilla, compounded with the violence and civil strife in the Inner Feloran core of the Empire. The Scouring of Aeilla, Tealastrian Flight, and Sackings of Til Formen'ya and Soren all cost millions of lives. The Feloran Mass Famine, though technically after the formal end of the empire, further emptied the Feloran Empire of elven peoples.
At it's height, the empire boasted 12 provinces or colonies across two continents. It maintained trade outposts that functioned as autonomous cities of the Empire across an even further distance, the oldest of which would become the capitals of provinces or colonies. The Empire occupied 6.4 million kilometers on Felora, and, at it's greatest extent, 1.7 million kilometers of Galisea. It pushed beyond the traditional boundaries of Feloran civilisation and into the bounds of Hadar, Aeillan, and Meridan cultures. Political control over said territories waxed and waned throughout the Late Imperial.
The Empire maintained a standing professional army (known as the Oyemörn) of varying size throughout its history, in addition to conscripted armies (known as Fèlmörn) as necessary. Although it's size and composition changed greatly over the empire's many millenia, when the Empire was at it's height, their were the Oyemorn, Felmörn, and Morn Dolin. Most Oyemörn were well equipped for their time, with good plate armor in the later days of the Empire. It was Feloran military engineering that gave them their edge on the battlefield, most notably the Feloran Trebuchet, a magically enchanted weapon with different armorments and projectiles with magical effects, spells, and enchantments. At the height of the northern invasions, the Feloran Army numbered somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000, supported by roughly 15 War Mages, and including those from Imperial holdings in Galisea, but not including the various Dragonborn clans and religious orders from across the Empire and Feloran continent involved in the campaigns. They had dozens of their infamous trebuchets, however most were lost in the chaos towards the end of the invasions and the collapse of the Empire, and only 9 exist today.
The Feloran Empire was the most technologically advanced state on the continent. Feloran methods of construction allowed for the building of massive spires for which their cities became known for, and excavation methods allowed for the construction of the Grand Feloran Canal. Although knowledge of irrigation and aqueducts continued into the late imperial, the abolition of slavery in the Early Imperial marked the end of most large scale infrastructure projects. Feloran Trebuchets and other forms of war magic gave them an edge against many adversaries, and Feloran civil services effectively managed the territories that their war magic conquered for them, and magical communication between the highest ranking bureaucrats enabled rapid coordination across Imperial Provinces. The Feloran Empire may have been the most literate of the ancient societies, partly attributable to the lognevity of much of it's denizens, as a majority of it's elven populace was able to read and write.
From the middle of the High Imperial onwards, beginning under the reign of Gardoum II, the Empire maintained "official state practice", edicts and texts known as Èlbrìles. The foundation of temples and shrines to carry out these rituals and seek answers was supported by the most monarchs of Naezorwyn dynasty. Over time, these writings and religious sites collectively began to be referred to as Ëlhyaea. The cultures the Empire came into contact with generally maintained their own religious beliefs and practices, although there were various periods of pressure, when various Lèlbrìkèrn and dynasts tried to standardise and make state practice compulsory. Notably, the faith of the Vöthar, which was based on the old pantheon of the Royal Era, became taboo and fueled the religiou zeal of the 4th Vöthar-Feloran War.
The Empire maintained stable trade relations with the ancient empires of Galisea, including the Kingdom of Nimeara and later the Yulan'tai Empire. Dozens of trade and supply outposts were established along coastal routes of the Felorans, often negotiated with local rulers and away from any large settlements. These relations were severed and re-established during and after the times of strife that struck southwest Galisea, before turning permanently hostile after the establishment of the Province of Qua'adar. Later human and dwarven societies on Galisea were hostile towards the Empire, viewing it as expansionist. On it's home continent, the Empire maintained relations with the neighboring Daraman tortles, and through the Ekoran Conclave it maintained relations with the dragonborn clans of Tcharss'tai, even peacebly vassalising three of their clans. Due to Felora's wild and hard to tame wilderness, the Empire did not have many opposing powers on the continent of Felora, holding a near-total hegemony over the northern part, and isolated through natural barriers and distance to the others.
Trade & Transport
For much of the Empire's history, it's near-total hegemony over it's continent meant that most trade took place entirely within Feloran territories. Control of the majority of the northern landmass of Felora meant the Empire completely contained most trade routes between far flung settlements on the land. East-west trade went through the Grand Feloran Canal, connecting Erintrel and Formen along with the tortle Daramans. Proper land routes connected these with the Imperial breadbasket in the Jolli Steppes. Norht-south trade was impractical due to unexplored and dangerous continental interior, with little incentive to explore for fear of rediscovering the exiled Vöthar. Feloran canal making in the central and western parts of the Empire enabled rapid delivery and shipments of goods over further distances than would otherwise be possible. As canal construction petered out after the reformation, boat merchants increasingly ventured across the Tealastrian. Eventually, Feloran outposts along the Galisean coast sustained oceanic trade into Tìl Formen'ya until the opening years of the Northern Invasions.
Throughout it's history, the Empire's chief concern with civil engineering and other infrastructure was in holding back and keeping tame the uniquely wild Feloran interior. In the beginning, the Feloran Empire built many canals, linking together the disparate and haphazard network of canals and waterways dug in the Royal Era. This lead to a densely settled urbanised core from which the Imperial bureaucracy set about organising the continent. Feloran cities were centrally planned and followed standardised designs through most of the Empire's history, and their design philosophies are still practiced in many Feloran successor states. Feloran roads were well maintained and paved, with barracks along many major routes and patrols between them.
4620 EIE - 1817 LIE
Imperial Rëtrìrëkà, Imperial Rëkà, Imperial Iktar
Official State Religion