As the river is patient, running down the mountains to sand, it too can flow with great rage.House Liu are the ruling dynasty of Liang. Their origins lay with the lower nobility, holding the title of Meike since the 26th century, earned for their success in the exporting business. Their true legacy however began when they ascended to the throne of Shen in the 29th century. Their leadership led to sweeping changes that restored Liang to a position on the global stage, and brought the Jade Throne renewed respect. Their influence since that time has only grown as their nation has prospered, and with the decline of the Sura Empire House Liu have eclipsed the Suran Salonia dynasty as what is perhaps the world's most powerful family. House Liu today is led by the reigning Shen Jia, who ascended both the title and the position of family head upon her father's death in 3230 YSB.
Royal CourtThe House Liu sits at the head of the royal court of Liang. The head of House Liu is synonymous with the Shen, and inheritance of the title and position goes to the eldest child of the Shen, or to the next closest relative. Theoretically on paper, their control of Liang is absolute with few if any restrictions. In reality the Taiyo (noble council) and the citizenry, as well as the priesthood of Angjao, have influence and weigh in on leadership decisions. The Aji, the princes and princesses of House Liu, have no formal role but often take on roles in court bureaucracy or diplomacy in adulthood. Together with the bureaucracy, martial leadership and Taiyo, they form the royal court. The court sits at the Throne Palace in the capital of Dien Chen during most of the year and the Rice Palace in Kuzoshi during winter.
- Jia - Reigning Shen of House Liu.
- Aki Zeshin - Royal consort
- Liu Naokane - Heir apparent
- Liu Sawa - Second royal son
- Liu Hara - Third royal son
- Liu Yamasi - Fourth royal son
- Sei Urara - Dowager empress, widow of Shen Gosuna
- Liu Agano - Sister of Shen Jia
- Liu Himi - Brother of Shen Jia
Ahiro Liu was followed by three sons, who each established a successful business from the divvying up of their father's large estates. However Liu Chi's descendants would rise the highest. Their business was considered a local institution by the 29th century, the fifteenth generation of Liu's descendants managing and running it. Their relationship with the Ahiro remained strong, and the Ahiro clan had expanded into shipping to serve the growing demands of the Liu business. When the congregation of shrine priests met to decide the future Shen upon the death of the last of House Yahui, fortune turned her face towards house Liu.
When evening had come with its dark embrace, and the palace was quiet except for the sound of old timber yawning in quiet little squeaks, we'd creep from each of our chambers - him from the royal boudoir, and me from among the servants hall. We'd meet under the orange tree on the edge of the grounds, and I'd remember how to love, even when everything else felt grey.
The weight of a crownKusha wielded the support of the clergy regularly in his first decades on the throne. Yet he made only small strides in progress for many years. Successful attempts were made to modernise the royal bureaucracy and begin to rebuild the national military. Kusha forced many royal courtiers to step down from positions, most notable in his exile of the treasurer Shin Kamui who was executed for embezzlement of state funds. Kusha filled the court with more qualified officials and ruthlessly punished corruption in order to restore public trust in the institutions they served. He established a royal library, and abandoned the Yahui families lavish Golden Palace for the more humble Throne Palace of their predecessors. The Golden Palace and its grounds were transformed into a public park for Dien Chen's citizenry, part of his campaign to restore the monarchy's reputation. Members of House Liu were carefully monitored, and punished for infractions that might reflect badly on the government.
Remaking the nationThe golems introduced by Juventius transformed both Kusha's reign and the wider world. Kusha took the opportunity it offered to break the power of the nobility, and eagerly imported Golems. He set the Shen's Wuzin to studying and replicating the magic.
In time, the crown weighed heavily on him. I watched the little grey hairs gather, and his smile become so rare. I pleaded, that he rest his mind, but so many demands were made that he felt he could never escape.
Liang, so isolated from the global economy and trade, was sheltered from the ensuing disruption that golems bought to trade and production. Kusha's early adoption of the magic meant that Liang moved right into the next century, while its neighbours attempted to cling to tradition and flailed against the unrelenting change reaching their shores. Golems transformed agriculture in Liang, and the royal monopoly on their production gave the crown enormous power.
They cut the orange tree down that year, to build new quarters for the cooks. I watched from a distance. He never came to say farewell to the old boughs.
Kusha granted golems to the entire nation, yet retained royal control of their production - assuring his dynasties reign, yet benefiting his people. Agricultural yields rose, and so did the valuable product Liang had to export. Kusha turned his citizenry to production of fine goods, exotic foods, and civic projects, when they no longer needed to turn their hand to simply making enough food to eat.
The Holy EmpressJuzo's successor and daughter Nara was best known for restoring the walls of Dien Chen, and a great project to improve and repair the shrines of the nation. She was popular with both citizens and the clergy. Under her leadership, great translations and transcriptions of ancient holy texts were also undertaken, and libraries of copies of important ancient works - of philosophy, history, religion and science - were distributed to each of the important temples in Liang. She gained the moniker of the Holy Empress for her dedication to the Angjao religion.
Legacy of Mino the OldMino the Old succeeded too emperors of scant note - Asugi and Maniseri. Mino would eclipse them both, reigning for seventy eight years. He left the throne only upon his death at age ninety five. His reign led to the great revitalization of the Shen's Wuzin, and the restoration of the Throne Palace to its ancient splendor.
He also built the trading port of Kuzoshi, and established regular voyages to Petassius for their prized wood. An artistic culture flourished under Mino, and the still young noble Sekke houses patronised artists, poets, musicians and courtesans alike. More negatively, a slave trade of exotic foreigners began to form. These slaves were considered more like beloved pets than property, coveted for their beauty. Many were sex slaves, but others were mere curiosities, or served as novelty bodyguards. Foreigners of exotic appearance and Aeondra and Whisper were particularly prized, usually purchased from families as children.
Now, its time to write the final lines. I regret few things, for my life was good. I regret losing him. I lost him to his people. Their needs weighed so heavy, and it crushed his spirit. I hope he finds happiness, but my time has come. It hurts, rattling in my lungs. I don't know if he remembers me. I hope when his heart is heavy, he'll smile and think of those warm nights.
The quiet ShenYoshitu took the throne upon the death of his grandfather Shen Mino. His reign was not particularly notable, though he became known by the epithet of the Beast Lord for his laws against the abuse of animals. He was succeeded by his son Toujou, who ruled a peaceful period from 3086 to 3127 and was best known for having built a new wall around the growing city of Dien Chen. Somanagi succeeded him, ruling for fifty years. Despite his long reign, he made few changes during the period, though he fortified the port of Dien Chen with a new lighthouse and sea walls. He was also called the Dull Emperor by his deriders, and was said to struggle with the duty of ruling, leaving many duties to his daughter Namika. She took the throne when he died at age 99, but ruled for only three years before her own death.
The modern ShenShen Hara led modernisation of the royal court. He relieved many bureaucrats of their duties, trimming the royal bureaucracy to its essentials, and established a small tariff on import by foreigners. He established a second court in Kuzoshi, and began a tradition of the royal court moving to Kuzoshi for the winter. In this, he aimed to please the nobles of north-west Liang, who were often distant from and ill informed of the royal court's daily undertakings. He encouraged high fashion within his court, a personal interest, which led to a renaissance of weaving and fabric artistry. The traditional white opalescent Rikku fabric remained. However Hara's rule saw garments highlighted with golden thread, vividly dyed hems and shockingly bright jewellery gain popularity, to take advantage of contrast with the white garments of the nobility. He married a member of the distantly related Ahiro clan, but spent most of his time with his male harem. He had two children with his wife only out of necessity. His lifestyle led to the promotion and popularisation of the concept of Seiano among the nobility, where male nobles would keep a harem of lower class men as lovers and advisors. Gosuna, his heir, continued this tradition. He reigned for only ten years, and suffered an early death to an infected wound gained while training with his swordsmaster. His only child, daughter Jia, took the throne.
The Empress of DiplomacyJia took the throne at age forty. Under her father, she had trained in court intrigue, diplomacy and business. Her rise to favour among the court is widely credited to her quick wit, humour and diplomatic skill. She proved herself able to settle disputes amicably young, and when she took the throne this tradition continued. In her reign of a decade, Liang's diplomatic horizons have expanded, and regular diplomatic contact with nations as far afield as Debenya has been restored for the first time in centuries. She established a series of embassies in every national capital half way through her reign, which has served her well since. For the first time in centuries, a monarch of Liang married a foreigner when Jia wed to the second Prince of Atarashi, Aki Zeshin of House Zeshin.
Royal Seal of House LiuThe royal seal of Liu is three traditional shallow wine drinking dishes, decorated with swirling rice. It is also sometimes presented without the rice, in places where the symbol would be too complicated to reproduce, appearing as just the three red circles. House Liu has, befitting its position, accumulated a number of royal regalia over time. The seal of the house is a legacy from before they assumed the friend, and Shen Kusha chose not to change it in respect of the house's heritage. However upon ascension this seal was complimented by a newly commissioned battle standard. The three circles of the familial seal are set upon a pale green field in the battle standard. This flag is used for the military units, and flown on ships of the Liang navy. The national motto "Fell no tree" comes from an old proverb of the Liu family; Fell no tree, and be as their roots.
Battle standard of House Liu
House Motto: "Fell no tree"
Monarchs of House Liu
- Shen - Equivalent to Emperor, Liang head of state.
- Liang - North-western island nation.
- Dien Chen - Capital of Liang, famous for its pink stone.
- Meike - Lower noble title, equivalent to baron.
- Sura Empire - Large eastern imperial colonial state.
- House Ahiro - Ancestral house of House Liu.
- Pele - A traditional god of the Angjao religion.
- Shen's Wuzin - The Liangi royal academy for the training of mages.
- Sekke - High noble title, equivalent to duke.
- Aeondra - Faun like species native to the island of Meos Soaer.
- Whisper - Insectoid species native to the Erewa Isles
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The temporal and religious ruler of Liang, and perhaps the most ancient human title.