The Aletheian Empire

We stand for the Light that shines on all the people within our great empire! Our history is built on kindness and loyalty, and from that, never shall we depart!
  The Aletheian Empire (oft referred to as simply Aletheia) is an immense empire that controls effectively the entirety of Western Valathe, from the northern peaks of the Everfall Mountains to the coast of the southern sea. Its history dates back to the early days of the Worldrend, and many of its regions wear the evidence of their more ancient heritage proudly. To the Empire's south, across the waters of the Korkyrian Channel, lie Gothadrun, Ordan, Faleidr, and a number of other smaller countries. Ordan is also one of the only countries to maintain a land border with the Empire, formerly sharing that status with Terenholt before the War of Empires saw Terenholt fall and Ordan become a vassal state to Aletheia. As it is generally assumed that Terenholt's former territory is under Aletheian hold, the Medimian Empire and the Vostene Republic now maintain land borders with Aletheia instead.   The Empire also maintains a number of overseas holdings, including numerous islands in foreign seas and small enclaves in the Eastern Continent of Xin-Jiyu. Though their military is currently occupied with the task of battling the Medimian Empire, rumours state that the current emperor, Emperor Aneirin 'Cyne' of Aletheia, will set his sights on maintaining an Aletheian presence across the globe to regain the status of an Empire in which the sun never sets. This conflicts with reports from those close with the emperor, who maintain that he wishes for a more peaceful existence.   Prior to forming as an Empire, the land that would eventually belong to it was a collection of disparate countries maintaining their own indepdendence and lengthy histories. The nation's history began prior to the creation of Terra Arcana as the singular nation of Aletheia, centralised on where the current capital of the selfsame name, Aletheia, is today. The Aletheians were a force of stability and hope in the chaotic times of arcane magic, and helped in no small amount by the presence of champions like Ypolita, Aletheia persisted through the rise of Terra Arcana and its later destruction in the the Worldrend. The cataclysmic destruction caused by the Worldrend and the mass societal changes needed tore apart many nations, but Aletheia's heavy Champion presence and clever diplomacy aided them greatly. They saw the destruction as an opportunity, and began to conquer much of the continent through political marriages and clever contracts. By the time Champion Ypolita sacrificed herself to secure Tenaerul, the Aletheian Empire had risen.   The Empire's continued unity can be best attributed to the careful manner in which national identity and independence has been preserved to this day. Unlike in the Medimian Empire, individual identity is prized, and the former nations making up Aletheia's current empire still live on as the states into which it is split. The nobility of each state hails from the nobility of their former independent selves, though their titles are often hereditary titles of peerage given legitimacy only by the state's royal-appointed overseer (typically a duke, marquess, or count depending on the territory's importance and size). This measure of greater independence has been a welcome boon in international relations, particularly when ethnocentric nations such as Gildómar and Galasthin are involved - by acknowledging the varied cultures and histories of their land, Aletheia's royalty have maintained the legacy of these distant origin nations and thus have secured their respect.

Demography and Population

We are a vast and varied people, and it is this we should be proud of!
— Aletheian citizen from the capital
  Aletheia has perhaps the largest population of any nation, owing both to its size and prosperity. Whilst the population does gather mostly in large cities, there are also many cities in the Empire for them to gather at - Aletheia and Undria being only two of the many. There are also many that prefer the regional life, or cannot sustain city living; those in rural areas tend to be poorer, but deal with less crime as a result. It is also the rural population that must typically deal with the native population of creatures filling out Aletheia's bestiary, making it common for the military to patrol the countryside and for aspiring adventurers to travel between towns in less populated areas to handle these beasts. Particularly challenging threats may even rise to the attention of the nation's guilds and be handled by their expertise, instead.   The population is not made up of any one species or ethnicity, either. Though Aletheia has developed its own distinct ethnic groups over the milennia of its existence, a steady flow of immigration from other nations continues to keep the population varied and distinct. Humans are, as per usual, most populous; halflings and half-breeds of many other species are also excessively common. The variety of species in a given area truly depends on where in the nation one is: around the Everfall Mountains, dwarves are more common, whilst Llyneth is more likely to hold gnomes and elves due to its proximity to Serendel Forest.  

Interestingly, unlike most nations, planestouched are quite common throughout the Empire, and the nobility has the highest concentration of aasimar blood in the entire world. This prevalence of extraplanar blood has given aasimar and their elemental brethren an elevated platform in society; by contrast, the demonic taint of tieflings has seen them downtrodden and abused for the simple fact of their existence.   Never has this been more visible than in the rise of Riven Drast and his Drastic Reformers, who have begun to champion the cause of tieflings and other species that experience dangerous amounts of racism, and in the ascension of Emperor Aneirin of Aletheia, the first tiefling ruler of Aletheia since the nation's formation.

Racism in the Empire

  The racism experienced by the emperor himself and exposed by the Reformation has brought light to a number of previously-hidden crimes and discriminations, including the outright murder of many drow seeking to escape the more violent cults hidden away in the Underdark.   The new emperor has stated that resolving these racially-motivated issues remains a marked priority of his, but that the war must be brought to an end before focus can be placed on the home front - something that has angered many, particularly those in the Reformation.

Territories

From the scar of Tenaerul to the glittering peaks of the Alarian Mountains and the viridian gloom of the dark beneath the surface... we are unique, and our lands are beautiful.
  The Empire's main territory on the continent of Valathe is split across 27 main states, each with their own storied history. This number does not include the outlying islands, nor does it include distinct states beneath the surface. External territories further away from the mainland are also not included in this number: Terenholt has recently been willingly annexxed by the Empire, for instance, and has yet maintained its political distinction for the duration of the war to avoid unnecessary complications on the battlefield.   Ennian, north of Rhothos, is the largest trade area outside of the Capital District; the easy access to open waters and lack of threat from nearby land nations makes transporting trade goods to distant Iskaldhal and Takawaoku far easier. Similar but smaller trade towns dot the entire western coastline, including Port Amarin at the edge of Serendel Forest and Undria at the gateway to the Undric Region. Transporting weaponry and infantry to Undria via sky and sea, and then from Undria to the battlefield nearby has been a crucial part of the Aletheian offence on Medimia, and has rendered the region a vital target for Medimian assault. To this end, many civilians have chosen to move inland to regions like Keluris, south of the Everfalls and Serendel, or to Helios, south of the capital.   The Deep Lands, better known as the Aletheian Underdark, are impossible to map and stretch far down beneath the surface of the Empire. They have long been part of the Empire, despite cool relations with Serendel Forest and the former nation it once was. The drow largely rule this underground space, in the parts that are somewhat safe for habitation; their capital is in the north, at Vaermyrhel. Recent discussions between dwarven architects familiar with the Iceflows that run throughout Iskaldhal and drow traders familiar with the safe routes between spaces in the Underdark have given birth to plans for similar underground architecture in the Aletheian Empire, potentially incorporating industrial train technology from Ennian to allow for quick non-magical travel between parts of the Empire without the risk of enemies intercepting or attacking shipments.

Military

Lux et Veritas! We serve the light, and we serve the truth!
— Aletheian military cry
  The Aletheian military is, much like the empire as a whole, one of the world's largest and the reason the empire has yet to be toppled. It is largely split across the land-based Aletheian Imperial Army and the sea-based Aletheian Navy, with recent innovations in technology providing airships like the Suspended Breath and thus the potential of an air-based branch in the near future. The nation also maintains a coastal guard that work adjacent to both Navy and Army to deter threats along the coast, research and engineering divisions that look to improve military technology, and separate arcane and divine divisions for the application of magics in combat.   The Aletheian Imperial Army, in addition to maintaining its military formations, is also responsible for providing backup to regional police forces and for enforcing border protections; similarly, the Aletheian Navy is expected to cooperate with the Aletheian Coast Guard to combat piracy and smuggling. The magical divisions work closely with both army and navy, often assisting in recruitment and equipment for magical soldiers.   The Emperor holds position as the commander-in-chief over the army, but typically, a Minister of War is appointed to oversee the army in the Emperor's stead. This trend continues with the other branches of the army; the Minister of Seas, Minister of Coasts, Minister of Research, Minister of Engineering, Minister of the Arcane and Minister of the Divine all form part of the Emperor's military council. Typically, these roles will be given to generals (in the army, navy, and coastal branches) or to long-tenured and well-proven researchers (in the non-combat divisions).   The military council is not limited to only these ministers, but also draws in expertise from other high-ranking members of the Aletheian military, and from other areas of skill as well. The High Priestess of Celesthem, for instance, is included in the current military council meetings, as are the current ruler of the Aletheian Underdark, Matron Nivinle Alas'thil, and the leader of Thrinda's Arcanium, Thrinda Flametongue.

Religion

Sarenrae has granted us our beloved nation, and Iomedae has shed her blood for us! We are not sworn to one deity; your thoughts are free to be your own. But as we step into the blaze of summer, give thanks to those who have gifted us their powers and blessings!
Aetha Tinuval, High Priestess of Celesthem
  The Empire has historically, and characteristically, been very lax on enforcing any controls on religion. Whilst those who worship evil deities often come under strict scrutiny, the only worship that is truly forbidden is that of truly destructive gods - like Rovagug, an entity that wishes to destroy the world and universe. Being found to worship these destructive and irredeemable forces of evil is grounds to be arrested and questioned, and sent to Celesthem Temple for religious healing and counselling. Very rarely does it carry any other cost in the current day and age.   Historically, the crime of worshipping these evil deities has carried penalties ranging from imprisonment to the death penalty, and has at times been broadened to include many other deities. Particularly notable was a 5-year period in the early 4000s where it was considered illegal to publicly worship Shelyn out of concerns that her divine brother and deity of torture, Zon-Kuthon, was speaking through her; modern scholars have noted that Shelyn is also one of Ordan's patron deities, and the ongoing war with Ordan at the time was likely involved with the ban. It was eventually lifted after an appearance from an angelic adherent of Shelyn's appearing within the Aletheian Palace.   A number of religions are prominent in the modern Empire. Sarenrae and Iomedae are considered to be the most sacred to the empire, particularly as it is said that Sarenrae has blessed the royal line with its celestial blood; the announcement of Princess Ashlyn Alarian as Sarenrae's Champion has only served to cement that certainty in the pages of history. Iomedae was patron to Champion Ypolita, and both Ypolita's legacy and Iomedae's doctrine have drastically aided Aletheian military might over the years.   However, these two alone are by no means the only major deities with prominence in the Empire. Abadar is regularly prayed to as a deity of stability and trade, and Nethys is often called on for aid in the Empire's many centres of research (such as Thrinda's Arcanium and the Mages Guild). Accompanying Iomedae in the hearts of soldiers are Gorum, Torag, Irori, and Cayden Cailean; accompanying Sarenrae in the hearts of those more peaceful are Desna, Shelyn, Cayden Cailean (yes, again), and Erastil. Those with inclination to the natural world oft pray to Erastil for aid in hunting and farming, to Desna for guidance when they travel, and to Gozreh for clear skies and calm seas.   Those parts of Aletheia that were once colonised by other nations, particularly ethnostates (such as Ilendras once being a colony of Galasthin) hold their own significant religious beliefs and celebrations. In the case of Ilendras, elven deities like Seren, Ketephys, Yuelral, and Findeladlara are held in high esteem; these selfsame deities were looked down on in Dhun Volkulgar, a former colony of Gildómar prior to its destruction. Refugees from the Dhun - most populous in Ironfalls and throughout the Undric Region - hold their dwarven beliefs close, disdaining elves and arcane magic and upholding Torag's word.

Lux et Veritas

Type
Geopolitical, Empire
Capital
Demonym
Aletheian
Leader Title
Government System
Monarchy, Absolute
Power Structure
Unitary state
Economic System
Mixed economy
Currency
International gold standard
Legislative Body
the Emperor; assisted by the Mortal Archons (also known as the Nomothetai)
Judicial Body
the Emperor; assisted by the Alethnomoi (also known as the Aletheian Law-Courts)
Executive Body
the Emperor; assisted by the Blades of Truth and the Aletheian Military
Subsidiary Organizations
Official Languages
Related Professions
Related Myths

Champions of the Empire

The Aletheian Empire has been seemingly blessed by the gods with a large amount of divine interference over the years, from Iomedae's Champion Ypolita to the celestial blood that infuses the Empire's ruling line. In 5622 - 26, this blessing has once again increased. The gods have begun to choose Champions of the Divine in a near-unprecedented amount, and the majority seem to be from the Aletheian Empire. It is as of yet unknown what this signifies, but it should be noted that the first two Shards of the Void to be tracked down and handled - the Spiritblade (given to Kazric Szithna by Riven Drast) and the Gemstone of Life (beneath Ilendras and close to Yuethin'tar) - were both within Aletheian borders.  
Champion Deity
Aniks Alas'thil Pharasma
Ashlyn Alarian Sarenrae
Azyel Lathronon Nethys
Celuriel Geltharieth Magdh
Cid La Flaga Gorum
Kazric Szithna Sinaske
Kraia Woodslough Gozreh
Malina Vonymos
Nivinle Alas'thil Andirifkhu
Pin Whisperbreath Brigh
Ypolita Iomedae

Slavery in the Aletheian Empire

Formally, slavery is banned across the Empire. However, this is nigh impossible to enforce, and many Underdark communities have exceptions in place due to the impossibility of enforcing rules and the threat of revolution from beneath if they were to prohibit it. Additionally, androids are a global exception to the rules on slavery due to pressure exerted by Vexua: whilst Aletheia permits independent androids and considers them citizens, Vexua's threats and technological advances make prohibiting their android trade a danger no nation can afford.

Breaking news! Just short months after Lady Alysia of Undria passed away in sacrificial protection of her brother, Emperor Aneirin, assassins broke into an Ordanian ball and killed his father, Lord Andron! Lady Ceridwen is reportedly missing, kidnapped by the attackers - we at this paper wonder if this is yet more disturbing tiefling violence from the Drastic Reformers, given Lady Ceridwen's own status!
— gossip rag, late 5626

Rumours & Myths

Many rumours abound in the Empire, some lasting long enough to become myths and legends. For the longest time, the Lost Princess - a princess stolen from her family, wandering across the land and helping those in need long beyond her time - was one of these myths. It is only in recent years that this was proven to be true: Ashlyn Alarian was indeed stolen away, and Sarenrae's blessing kept her alive until she was once again needed.   Again, truth faded into rumour and myth when Altanluu, protector dragon of Aletheia, slumbered and became known to only the royal family - to be revealed once more when the great golden dragon took to the skies above Aletheia as Champions began to rise. And again, though not to the greater population, when the rumour of the royal family having close ties to the nation was revealed to be truth to the Lost Ones: in desperate times, Emperor Aneirin 'Cyne' of Aletheia called upon the nation's avatar before them for answers.   What credence do these hidden truths give, then, to the rumours of forgotten gods and vampiric conspiracies? What else is true, but hidden just out of reach?

Foreign Relations

Aletheia, nation of truth? Just another lie they tell you as the rich watch their uneducated poor struggle and die.
— Medimian citizen
  As the largest empire on the face of Istralar, there are very few nations the Aletheian Empire does not have some kind of relationship with. Official foreign policy, as seen through an outsider's lens, is generally to remain on neutral or friendly terms with the majority of other nations; the empire's largest political rivalries and conflicts are with those closest to it. Ordan and Aletheia have held an antagonistic relationship for centuries, starting with the other nation's very formation: Ordan was once a large state in the Aletheian Empire that splintered into its own nation after a series of rebellions and revolutions in the mid-3000s. The relationship between the two countries has broken into war many times, with the latest conflict resulting in Ordan's King Charles Judicaël Régis de Vermailles et Autissécourt attempting to assassinate Emperor Aneirin of Aletheia at a farce of a peace talk. The king was slain instead, and Ordan made into a puppet state of the Empire's.   The Medimian Empire, one of few other large empires to still exist, is perhaps the only nation with relations openly and vehemently worse than Ordan's. Aletheia and Medimia, to use the shortened forms of their names, have been on truly antagonistic terms for centuries due to their different founding morals. The intervention of other nations, particularly Gothadrun and Terenholt, as well as the hard work of peacekeeping diplomats and powerful outside influences, has been the only thing reducing the flames of war between each empire down to a burning tension. Despite all attempts, however, the War of Empires broke out in 5623. Currently, in the winter of 5626, the war is locked into a vicious stalemate. Emperor Aneirin has taken the throne from Emperor Asterion of Aletheia, and has maintained an aggressive but restrained approach that focuses on neutralising the Medimian's devil summoning. No sign of peace talks has yet arisen.   Gothadrun remains the closest political neighbour Aletheia has, both physically and in their international relations. The two countries collaborate often and have many members of shared nobility, a fact that often fuels conspiracy theorists determined to bring up the vampiric conspiracy that they believe is true. The countries were close enough that Lord Andron Undria, father of the Emperor, was working in the other nation as part of a political exchange up until his assassination by mysterious forces at a ball in Ordan; the other half of the political exchange was for Prinzessin Siglinde von und zu Schönigenteich-Güldenbergen's sister, Veronika, to work adjacent to Emperor Aneirin in the Aletheian Palace. There was also significant talk of a betrothal between Prinzessin Siglinde and Emperor Aneirin, though this seems to have fallen through as of late - seemingly due to the interference of the Lost Ones and the deaths of the Emperor's entire immediate family.   A diplomatic web of the Empire's relations can be seen below:


Cover image: Aletheia Banner by Hanhula ft. paid assets
Character flag image: by Hanhula via Armoria

Comments

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10 Mar, 2022 16:17

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Sacha Ricard
Creator of the world Special Agent
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!
12 Mar, 2022 14:50

Thank you! Armoria is a fantastic tool for generating flags, especially when paired with your own SVGs!

12 Mar, 2022 15:15

Oh I didn't know this tool, I will take a look on internet.

Sacha Ricard
Creator of the world Special Agent
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!