House Liu

As the river is patient, running down the mountains to sand, it too can flow with great rage.
— Hingen proverb
  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 Court

The 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.  

Members

  • 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

History

Early Years

Lineage of House Liu
House Liu were birthed from House Ahiro, and take their name from Ahiro Liu - the man who cemented their nobility.   Liu inherited a small rice farming operation from his father, a second son of the house of Ahiro, and made it a success. House Ahiro were untitled landholders in the province now named for them, called Hari at the time, and wile Liu's elder brother inherited the family estates, Liu was allotted a small farm on the edge of his brother's estates. Across the following decade Liu expanded his farm and brewery with savvy acquisitions and marriage to the heiress of his rivals of House Heij, taking their farms and subjects under his wing.   While Liang's trade as a whole was declining, with houses unwilling to expand abroad in a climate of growing xenophobia and the colonies on Okinochi lost a scant decade earlier, Liu pushed ahead. He gambled on trade expeditions, but exports of his rice wines proved popular in Tulan and Morioka. Liu began a regular trade passage, taking also local porcelain, fine smoked fishes and dried spices. It proved a lucrative journey, and the Liu family began to swell with wealth.   Twenty years after his inheritance, Liu purchased his father's farm when his brother fell ill. A year later, his family was granted formal recognition as a cadet house of Ahiro, yet in time they would surpass them. The title of Meike was granted to House Liu in 2603 YSB, ushering them into the lower nobility.  

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.
— From an anonymous journal found in Shen Kusha's papers.

  Their respectable status, untarnished reputation, and lack of ties to court politics aligned them as the priesthood's choice. Liu Kusha, recently head of his family and only 21, was elected Shen. He was handed a nation on the verge of economic ruin.  

The weight of a crown

liang house of liu palace img
In his early years, Kusha sat on a throne beset by troubles. The former Yahui dynasty had run Liang into debt, the navy had been left to rot, and the nation had plenty of spite directed towards its government.   Kusha 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 nation

The 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.
— Anonymous

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.

  Kusha was able to break the back of the nobility, who had held much of the wealth of Liang. Without his golems, they were hopelessly archaic and had no hope of competing with the royal house. From his personal estates alone, Kusha could feed a small city. After a year of stalemate, during which Kusha amassed both civil and military golems, the five families of the high nobility signed a treaty that broke their back, but was their only hope of survival.   The five families renounced many of their lands inherited over the centuries, which were divided among fifteen new provinces. The families, reduced to their ancient homelands, were granted titles in the new nobility. However they were not alone, and a new nobility was established to counterbalance their influence. Among these were House Ahiro elevated to the highest title of Sekke, and the House Inseki - hereditary guardians of the shrine of the Pele (God) of the capital city of Dien Chen. Fourteen other families were also raised from respectable merchant houses and granted provincial governorship.  

Prosperity

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.
— Anonymous

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.

  His successor, Juzo, took the throne in 2920. By then, the world's nations had began to recover their feet and Liang was ready to sell them whatever they could want. Liang's new cottage manufacturers exported porcelain, rice wines, fine fabrics, exotic smoked foods and spices, fragrant oils, art and fine jewellery on vast treasure barges funded by House Ahiro. They returned laden with foreign luxuries, great minds, and news of the latest advances in magic.   Juzo reigned 46 years, and during his leadership he pioneered vast civil projects - constructing public schools, libraries and town halls across the nation. He also established the national work programthat continues today. In return for their yearly food allotment, citizenry contributed to government projects in whatever capacity their skills lay for a scant few weeks. This system proved successful, for the entire nation's population dedicated, even for a few weeks, to one project allows great progress to be made.  

The Holy Empress

Juzo'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 Old

Mino 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.
— Anonymous

 

The quiet Shen

Yoshitu 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 Shen

Shen 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 Diplomacy

Jia 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.  

House heraldy

Royal Seal of House Liu

Royal Seal of House Liu

The 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


NameReignBirth-Death
Kusha2889-29202868-2920
Juzo2920-29662888-2966
Nara2966-29942912-2994
Maniseri2994-29962931-2996
Asugi2996-29992951-2999
Mino2999-30772982-3077
Yoshitu3077-30833027-3083
Toujou3083-31273052-3127
Somanagi3127-31773078-3177
Namika3177-31803099-3180
Hara3180-32203145-3220
Gosuna3220-32303163-2230
Jia3230-present3190-present
 

Mentioned Here

  • 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
Founding Date
2603
Type
Political, Family
Leader
Jia
Parent Organization
Liang
Location
Dien Chen
Related Ethnicities

More Relevant Reading

Liang
Organization | Dec 21, 2018

Liang Imperiacy, an ancient island nation of the west.

Shen
Rank/Title | Dec 24, 2018

The temporal and religious ruler of Liang, and perhaps the most ancient human title.

Nobility of Liang
Tradition / Ritual | Jan 22, 2019

Trading partners

House Liu and Liang as a whole regularly trade with the Whisper Court.

Friendly

The Aisu Trading Guild is the largest merchant guild in the world, and it has prospered under Liu's patronage. The House Liu is a shareholder in the guild.

Family

House Ahiro is the ancestral house of Liu. They have kept strong ties to the present day, and House Liu did not forget House Ahiro when it ascended to the throne - elevating House Ahiro to the high nobility. The two houses also maintain business relations, with Ahiro traditionally acting as Liu's merchant fleet.

Non-aggression pact

House Liu
-30
Morioka
-30
House Liu inherited its predecessors non-aggression pact with Morioka. Their own strong trade with Morioka has helped to improve relationships with their neighbours, but it remains a contested relationship on both sides - with the nations historically rivals.

Comments

Author's Notes

Written for the 2019 "A Family Affair" contest. Art created by me, rice symbol modified from Public Domain art found here. Header in the public domain from here. In article art in the public domain from here.


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22 Jan, 2019 11:58

Absolutely amazing work Isaac.   Just one comment on the prose [...] good. But I regret [...] that but is really not needed and I think that this piece needs a bit of tidying up to make it flow better. <3

23 Jan, 2019 17:01

Thank you. Fixed that, good point. <3 Much appreciate the feedback Dimi.

23 Jan, 2019 02:36

I quite like this article, and is very detailed. I feel like it could be a little more streamlined. One question, why is the motto at the very bottom of the article?

23 Jan, 2019 14:47

Love it! There's a LOT of detail here, and I especially love the list of monarchs with date ranges of both their reign and lifespan.   Constructive critique: The layout here is very impressive, but I would try to put more into the sidebar so you don't have the empty space near the bottom. Maybe it's my OCD, but I've been trying to make my sidebars and main body match in length.   Question: What about Jia's heir(s)? We've learned a lot about the past rulers and some of the current, but what can be expected in the future? What are their goals and aspirations? How old are they, and how do they feel about their future roles?

23 Jan, 2019 17:00

Thank you. The sidebar did bug me, but I wasn't sure what to put there that wasn't 'essential' info to have in the main body of the article.   As to Jia's heirs. I admittedly haven't decided yet, and I should work on that. When Jia gets her own article, I may expand on it then. Age wise, I imagine they just entered adulthood after all. I believe I covered that tradition that the princes and princesses usually serve in diplomatic posts while their parent rules, which is where they would be occupied presently.   Much appreciate your feedback.

23 Jan, 2019 15:40

I like the formatting, the style and everything really helps sell the design of this family with Chinese/Japanese routes in them. I would say that some excepts like the Golems one can be rewritten since they tend to not really give insight what exactly the Golems are. Also maybe use numbers instead of fully written letters to make it more noticeable (like 40 years instead of forty) Beyond that, I enjoyed this article!   About the symbol tho: I noticed that the positioning of the three dishes doesn't seem to have any significance (first all below one another, then all three in a triangle shape). Is there a particular way to position these dishes?

23 Jan, 2019 16:58

Thanks Endrise.   The dishes are positioned in a three so they can be set inside a seal. The idea of their seal is based on a Japanese mon (like the logo of Mitsubishi). They're created to be inside circular constraints, usually for like signet rings and wax seals.   The battle standard however is supposed to be easily identifiable from long distance, and having just a small circle at the top would look a bit weird! I'll edit the golems excerpt thank you for pointing that out.

23 Jan, 2019 17:00

Agh, so it's a "for a seal" and "for battle" difference. Got it! Either way, nice article, keep up the good work!

23 Jan, 2019 17:01

Wikipedia has a good article on Mon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mon_(emblem)

23 Jan, 2019 20:30

This is really nice, a nice theme, a beautiful article, love it! Have a like and follow!

26 Jan, 2019 10:46

The formatting on the page made it almost feel like I was reading a real historical document, or even a textbook, and I mean that in a good sense. There's quite a few details in here. Overall I enjoyed reading it. The images really fit with the theme and the formatting just looks really well thought out. First impressions matter and the page stuck it through to the end, so bravo! Good luck in the Family Affair event!   I do agree with some of the comments saying that the empty space on the right side looks a little off, but I think that can easily be fixed by just including some details in the relationships to spread it out a little more.

26 Jan, 2019 15:29

Thank you. The suggestion of detail in relationships is a really good point! I didn't think of that. And your comments mean a lot, glad you enjoyed it.

27 Jan, 2019 02:46

Glad I could help a bit! Good luck in the competition!

5 Feb, 2019 17:24

Fantastic stuff Isaac, I love your use of the flash fiction and I love the concept of these golems which essentially secured the families right for power. I also love the evolution into culture under Mino, a sort of Renaissance if you will. Keep up the great work!

17 Jun, 2019 20:28

Hi, love! We Enchanters would love to feature this article! Unfortunately it appears you've neglected to credit your artists. If you could, we'd love to have you credit them so we can show your article off to the lovely users in our community!   For more information about our feature requirements, please see our codex entry:

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21 Jun, 2019 01:09

Amazing work on this. I'm working on my own Asian Themed fantasy city and this gave me quite a bit of inspiration. I look forward to seeing more of your work.