The Empire, the Behemoth, the land where men are born with swords in one hand and plows in the other - this is how the Empire of Britannia was described by the nations of Nidus at large. Throughout its entire history the Empire was the focus of many eyes, watching in fear of what they would do next or admired for their orderly and strict control over the masses. A nation that balanced imperial traditions with religious values, it spanned the length of the continent at its height and was unopposed for centuries during its golden era. In modern times they're remembered as the first to fall, but many overlook the authority that was once wielded by this product of war and bloodshed. For within the Empire, greatness was done and perhaps by emulating it, greatness could be done again.
The Emperor of Britannia was the final authority in all of the Empire. They directly controlled the Province of Briton and also commanded the Legions. They were advised by the Councillors, who were appointed to run important aspects of the Empire.
Beyond the Capital's province rose Vice-royalties, each lead by a Viceroy who would be confirmed by the Emperor in a formal vow exchange and typically was the eldest or selected child of the previous Viceroy. Under the Viceroys were the Marquesses, who lead specific towns or lands within the vice-royalty. They would go through the same exchange of vows with the Viceroy upon their succession.
Each Viceroy also had a Vice-Paragon appointed by the Church who lead the lands along with the Viceroy, a further extension of the intermingling of church and state.
In 727 Common, refugees from Merdan
fled the Mage War and the disaster it brought to their home. Landing at the mouth of a mighty river, they traveled north until they found an intersection. Here they laid their founding stone and named the settlement New Briton
, in honor of their old home.
New Briton quickly rose in wealth and prominence due to its location. Due to its control over the Divina river, it had the command over all trade in the region. Their first challenge, and what most would consider the event which set them on their ultimate path, was the Arvan Invasion. Arvan, the city which had been built at the mouth of the Divinia, was not pleased with their neighbor's success. To correct this error they launched a massive assault on New Briton, their troops quickly overtaking the pathetic defenses the Britons had raised and taking a majority of their coins, harvests, and supplies. There they left the remnants, intent on having them serve as an example to the other new cities.
It was then that a Mage by the name of Karsile vu Britan stepped up. He first threw out the Merchant Lords, the old leaders of the city, saying that their failure to protect the weak was what lead to this situation. Then he gathered up more Mages, inviting in those who had hidden among the masses, saying that their faith was welcome in their city so long as they served. The Mages of Kres of Mire jumped on this opportunity. After their banishment from Merdan and the hatred many placed on them as participants in the war that forced so many from their homelands, any opportunity to become accepted, or rather to rise to power, was a golden opportunity.
Karsile sent these mages out and had them gather more of their brothers and sisters. They brought back veterans from the war, elderly mages, wounded commanders, and together they prepared their revenge. The next three years were hard. Karsile had everyone - men, women, children - working the fields in the Spring, Summer, and Harvest and then training in the Winter. Those who could not work were thrown out of the city, only to be silently killed by the Mages once they disappeared from the horizon. He knew better than to have them executed them in plain sight.
By 744 Common New Briton was rebuilt, at least partially, and its people were ready to reclaim their status. First, Karsile imposed heavy taxes on the Divinia. Anyone who opposed, of which were many, were dealt with harshly by the now hardened citizens. After a few months, raids sent by the other cities were repelled. Karsile threw everyone into pushing the enemies back. He bloodied his citizens time and time again. He made them live in battle and over time they began to turn into something new, something different than Merdans.
The only respite Karsile gave them was faith. The Mages would preach daily, telling the people how the Weak would become Strong through hardship and then they'd be tasked with protecting the Weak themselves. They spoke of hard labor, difficult times, speaking as if Kres of Mire himself wrote the lines hundreds of years ago. The people clung to it, a glimmer of hope combined with their revenge being satisfied. The Mages changed their preaching as the battles passed, changing the sermons to ones that spoke about how the weak must obey the strong, how the strong must lead the weak to prosperity. How they, the Britons, were the proof of what can be done when the weak obey. They had risen up to a status past their original place in the world and no one could oppose them. They would do what the Old Cities couldn't, they'd build something that didn't tear itself apart like they had. If the weak followed, how much could be accomplished?
By 750 Common, Karsile's thirst for raiding was over. Now he wanted something more, something bigger. He gathered 1,200 men along with 12 other mages and sent them to march on Arvan. The battle lasted 3 months, with other cities joining Arvan to oppose the Britons. Karsile didn't stop, didn't allow his men to waiver, and by 751 Common, as he stood in the square of Arvan, he accepted their unconditional surrender. Preparations were made to head back to New Briton and proclaim a new nation with the cities of the Arvan Coalition being included. These preparations were completed, but Karsile would never see it done.
His son, Gurald, would partner with the Mages to kill his father after hearing that Karsile intended to ostracize the faith and kill them all. Gurald could not allow this, not after seeing all the faith did for his people. Gurald, a veteran of the Arvan War, was easily accepted by New Briton, especially as the Mages lent him their support. He was crowned Gurald Kresamiren, the 1st Emperor of Britannia.
Britannia's conquests continued after that. Arvan and the other cities brought in more wealth than ever seen and crime had dropped severely. As the faith spread, people took to work with vigor. It was clear to Britannia that all had to be brought into the fold so that this effect could be compounded. By 780 Common, Britannia controlled all of the Merdan refugee cities. It was then that they turned their eyes north to the Vendius Mountains.
The Empire is considered to have officially ceased to exist after the Battle of Briton, following the believed death of the Emperor and 1st Princess.
Demography and Population
The demographics of the Empire consisted of an estimated 25% Britannians, or those who recognized themselves as Britannians. Another 25% was estimated to be some type of Merdan, either the Ishins or Alains mostly. The remaining 50% were slaves of mixed cultures of either Nidans or Suvans. The Britannians were grouped close together in the major cities where they lived, while the slaves worked their lands outside the urban centers.
At the height of it's power, Britannia fielded 17 Legions. Their Legions, comprised of 1,200 Strugans, were tied back to the force used by Karlise in the Arvan War. Each Legion had an assigned province to garrison and they would be rotated to fight the Empire's wars on the Emperor's orders. Each Legion was lead by a Lord, typically titled Lord of the Xth Legion. Each Lord was appointed by the Emperor and was typically a basic arcane user at least.
Some of the more elite legions were the 1st, 5th, and 16th. The 1st Legion was comprised of all Arcane users, though most were only able to use the Vellum and couldn't preform any magic. The 1st was also known as the Emperor's Right Hand and almost never left the walls of New Briton. The 5th Legion made their name in the Battle of the Vendius Mountains in 811 Common. While the unit started to become lackluster after that, stories were still told about the Fearsome Fifth for generations. The 16th Legion was the unit sent to conduct a probing attack into the Asterian Confederacy in 860 Common. Their early victories won them some fame, though the end result of the war overshadowed it for some time.
Agriculture & Industry
The Empire of Britannia was founded and thrived on being an agricultural nation. All along the Divinia crops grew in abundance allowing the Empire to feed its masses, which lead to their early dominance in Merdan refugee society. After New Briton became an established settlement, they expanded into animal husbandry, tending large herds in the wide plains that extended out from their River in both directions. These two trades allowed the Empire to feed its people with fresh meat, vegetables, and grain; something that went a long way with curbing any resentment they felt towards the Imperial Court.