Dominion

For there upon the stairs to the Ivory Throne he stands. He is pale as Death itself and crimson as the War that brings it. Let His name be writ. His name be known. Let His deeds be burnt into the histories of our great empire.   He is Ifanarien a'Callen, the ruthless, the bloody. With his gods-blest hands he strangled the nightmare that shrouded our people and our beauteous, bountiful realm: the fire of rebellion that turned many a village to ash and soot, both within the heartland and without.   Four-hundred and fifty-two years we toiled, given no leadership by the Stranger. Four-hundred and fifty-two turnings of the seasons, the Ivory Throne sat empty in its hallowed hall. No longer does the Dominion stand uncertain of the future, for now He sits upon the Ivory Throne—stoic and powerful. Upon his brow, the Lords and Ladies Superior of the realm place the Ivory Crown and to his sides, the Prince of Ravens and the Prince of Lances rise, born both anew.   Now that He sits at the head of our empire, we the people of the Dominion may once more breathe freely.   No longer shall we suffer the bloodshed, the fires of war and insurrection quenched. This man elevated by the Stranger and favored by the Rider shall raise us from the squalor that we pitiful many have allowed ourselves to succumb in the absence of His guidance. He shall bring peace to the souls of the restless dead and justice to the violent. He shall deliver us from the scourge that plagues our lands and make whole once more with blood, sweat, tears, and Ivory, what has come to be broken.   — Ifanarien Qor'Rahnarë (Ifanarien the Ruthless), by Nevante a'Vatagan Qor'Rekheri (The Historian)

Structure

At the head of the Dominion, bearing the title in which all the authority and power, both mortal and divinely granted, is Di'Adeýla Cilanannë, the Pale Imperator, the absolute and singular ruler of the empire and all her peoples. From his seat of power in Di'Ifatallë Cselvë, the Ivory City, the Pale Imperator extends the Dominion's influence over most of the known world, demanding the loyalty of the peoples under his rulership and promising them the stability and protection that only the Dominion can afford them.   ### The Princes Consort   Beneath the Pale Imperator are his Princes Consort, the Prince of Ravens, and the Prince of Lances, both men with whom he shares an intimate and powerfully emotional bond. They act as extensions of the Imperator's will, examining, evaluating, and enacting policies in science and innovation, as well as defense and warfare, respectively according to the Imperator's desires for the empire.   ### The Imperial Trinity   Together, the Pale Imperator, the Prince of Ravens, and the Prince of Lances make up Di'Cilaneti Tivirë Di'Lanakhaltë, the Imperial Trinity of the Dominion. The Imperial Trinity is technically the highest court of the empire, but rarely are matters ever brought to its attention unless they are a true and significant threat to the Dominion, such as the advent of the Shardscape crisis in N.L. 30087, which was addressed by then-Imperator Zavyrr a'Zo-Hanyll and his Princes Consort, leading to the creation of the Order of the Mistwalkers   ### The Lords and Ladies Superior   Beneath the Imperial Trinity are Di'Tryâna neda Trêýna Di'Lanakhaltë, the Lords and Ladies Superior of the Dominion. The titles Lord and Lady Superior are elected titles. There are three each, elected by consensus by the matriarchs of the nine High Houses of the Dominion and any incumbent Lords and Ladies Superior. They serve as the voice of the people and the nobility respectively, when the Ivory Throne is occupied, and serve as the heads of state when the Ivory Throne is empty.   ### The Twin Courts   Established in N.L. 3034 by Imperator Zovynnë a'Devytorë to act not only as a system of checks and balances against the power of the crown, but to take over the governance of the Dominion during times when the Ivory Throne is unoccupied as a result of the stringent requirements of the Law of Lineality, the Twin Courts represent the judicial and legislative arms of the government.   Laws drafted by lawmakers cannot be passed until they gain the approval of the Twin Courts, although the final step is still the Imperial Assent. More importantly, while customarily, the power of the Imperator is supposed to be absolute, the Twin Courts are able to veto _any_ declaration with a supermajority vote.   The Twin Courts are the Court of Ravens and the House of Crows, which have two very different mandates with regard to the purpose that they fulfil. The Court of Ravens is often called the Peoples' Court because it oversees the governance of the colonies and of the heartland, ensuring that the immediate needs of the Dominion's peoples are met.   On the other hand, the House of Crows is more concerned with the affairs of state. It is in charge of foreign policy. One of its most important roles is keeping the many different monarchs and realms pledged to the Dominion, with all their different and often-conflicting goals, in line.   ### The High Houses   Since time immemorial, the Dominion has acknowledged nine Houses for their rich history and exemplary record of contributions to the realm. These houses have the honor of being known as the High Houses. Dominean tradition states that the nine High Houses were originally drawn from the ruling families of each of the Kingship of the Bone Trees' nine most steadfast allies.   Despite being one of the highest honors in the land, the privilege of being a High House is one that should be closely guarded. The position is not permanent and the High Houses of today are vastly different from the High Houses of the Dominion's infancy.   For instance, a High House can be demoted by the Imperator or the Twin Courts, in supermajority, as a result of hienous crimes or extreme dishonor. A famous historical example is the case of House Diren, which was demoted by Imperatrix Keýra a'Callan as a result of the actions of Imperatrix Valaren a'Diren, whose bid for dynasty instigated the first torch-bearer war.   Another way that a High House can lose its position is by its lineage dying off. If a matriarch dies with no living heirs and no living relatives sufficiently related in the eyes of the law, a House is considered to have died. This was the case with House Syrin, following the death of its matriarch Mesana a'Syrin and the subsequent death of her infant daughter.   A Noble House can be promoted to the status of High House if, for whatever reason, there are less than nine High Houses, and if the Noble House has an exemplary record of contributions to the Dominion.   ### The Noble Houses   Also known collectively as the Di'Gallârë, the Blood, certain houses of the Dominion are given the honor and privilege of nobility. Unlike the High Houses of the realm, there is no limit to the number of extant Noble Houses at any given point in time.   Nobility in the Dominion is only semi-hereditary in that a House does not, by default, lose its Noble status if its matriarch dies. However, any matriarchal succession, even in the case of a matriarch stepping down to make space for her heir triggers a reevaluation of the House's eligibility for the honor of nobility.   Houses of the Blood are elevated from the common Houses either by declaration of the Imperator or by the power vested in the Twin Courts. That is to say, Noble Houses are elevated not by virtue of the pedigree of their birth, nor the wealth that they possess, but rather by their merits and the extent to which they have contributed to the Dominion as a whole.

Public Agenda

The Dominion has adopted many directives into its agenda over the millennia during which it has stood, but its primary objective is to unify the world under a single banner. One might look at this goal and think that it is one of conquest, but equally as important to the Dominion as unifying the world is making sure that this unity lasts even if the Dominion were to suddenly crumble.   In the pursuit of this lofty ideal, the Dominion does its best to bring territories under its control using diplomacy and only resorting to violence as a last resort. Although this was originally rather difficult, given that different realms often have different agendas that commonly conflict with one another, once the Dominion reached a certain size, the stability and prosperity that it could offer became enough of an incentive for realms to enter the fold.   Where diplomacy fails, subterfuge is used in its place, and Dominion agents work their way into local governments, spreading propaganda and generally weakening existing power structures in the hopes of sparking a revolt that would then welcome the Dominion. Although the Dominion views subterfuge as distasteful, they recognize that it can sometimes be necessary to achieve the unity that they desire.   When all other avenues are exhausted, then and only then does the Dominion field its armies. That joining battle against the Dominion leads only to tragedy is a foregone conclusion to anyone who pays attention to the fact that the Dominion has behind it the combined strength of multiple realms—some of which are empires in their own right.   The fervor with which the Dominion pursues this ideal of worldwide unity can be aptly described as religious. In fact, the Lanakheri tretâllë view this as their sacred obligation. According to the history and the law of the Dominion, uniting the world under a single banner is not only an ambition but rather a duty, a divine mandate endowed upon the first Imperator, Cilritanë a'Detvida, by the Stranger, which has since been passed on through the millennia on the shoulders of his successors and their descendants.

Assets

It is difficult to understand the magnitude of the resources that are at the disposal of the Dominion. In terms of wealth, one could say that the empire is overflowing with it, and the stability and prosperity that such an interconnected system of economies helps ensure that the wealth of the Dominion continues to grow.   In terms of military might, while the core tretalleri army of the Dominion is formidable in its own right and still is most likely the strongest force in the world, the Dominion is further bolstered by the backing and the loyalty of the many realms under her banner, making any military action against the Dominion itself or any one of her realms, an act of suicide.

History

The Dominion is the world's most successful empire. It has endured for thirty millennia and as a result, it has a long and storied history, one filled with long stretches of peace and prosperity, but also sullied by conflict and tragedy.  

Origins

The Dominion's origin was, relatively speaking, rather humble. Its story begins in the Kingship of the Bone Trees, one of the many tretalleri city-states and kingdoms that arose after the diaspora and the fall of the aeneveri empire.   Were it not for the discovery of the Ivory Throne at Di'Tallë Naborra, The Forest of Bones, the Dominion might not have been born at all as it was the power of the Ivory Throne and the associated Ivory Crown that allowed the first Imperator, Cilritanë a'Detvida to bind his liege-lords to his will by blood-oath, ensuring their loyalty on penalty of agonizing pain or death.   Although he did not find it ideal, after decades of failed diplomacy to bring the surrounding regions under his banner, Cilritanë embarked on an incredibly effective military campaign that annexed all the surrounding territories of the Kingship of the Bone Trees in less than twenty years.   Once the first domino fell, the others quickly followed. Most other leaders saw Cilritanë's display of military might, decided that diplomacy was a better option than resistance, and entered the fold willingly. Those few that refused to give ground were eventually forced to by circumstance.  

The Rise of the Silvered Realm

While Cilritanë was consolidating his power and forging the tretâllë of Di'Termalttë into a single unified nation, in the south, the remnants of the old Aeneveri empire looked with envy upon his power and his influence. Putting aside their differences for the moment, they came together to create a fledgling kingdom.   The rise of the Silvered Realm, however much of a threat it posed against the stripling Dominion, was a blessing in disguise. Faced with an ancient enemy, the border clans, upon whom Cilritanë's hold had been, at best, tenuous, were forced to unite with the Dominion.   One of Cilritanë's first acts as Imperator was to helm a military campaign against the Silvered Realm. It was supposed to be a decisive strike to end the threat of the elledŷnnë once and for all, but things did not turn out as planned and although the campaign was quite successful, winter set in and Cilritanë was forced to return to his borders while the elledŷnnë retreated to the south.  

The Wars of Succession

In 2993 N.L. Filiren a'Noren, the sole surviving heir of his mother Veltari a'Noren, died of natural causes. Unfortunately, despite measures taken two centuries earlier, prior to his last surviving sister's death, his mother had failed to produce another child and thus he became the heir apparent shortly afterward.   Filiren's death created a void of power, leaving the Ivory Throne empty and up for the taking. Tensions had already been rising prior to Filiren's death, and no satisfactory recourse had been agreed upon by the time that the Imperator died. Precipitated by the declaration of support by Lemhyn a'Sen, a retired member of the Imperial Guard, for the Lady Isena a'Dovyndë, the Dominion tipped over into open civil war as other claimants squabbled for the throne.   Ultimately, after thirty two years of fighting, on the eve of the Day of Bones in 3025 N.L., Zovynnë a'Devytorë, a gifted young man who had just conscripted into the Imperial Guard but was promoted to the station of Lord General during the course of the war, took the throne, putting an end to the wars of succession and enacting the Law of Lineality, which ensured that at any given point in time, it would be highly unlikely for two individuals to have a legitimate claim to the throne.  

The Torch-Bearers

Zovynnë's Law of Lineality and the Twin Courts that he established alongside it proved to be effective save for one fatal flaw that stemmed from Zovynnë's personal worship of the Mother: the Law of Lineality permitted the formation of matriarchal dynasties. The torch-bearers are called such because contemporary authors described the three Imperatrices as taking torches to the Dominion and setting fire to it.   Seeking a return to the old ways, the Imperatrix Valaren a'Diren attempted to abolish the Twin Courts and the Law of Lineality to establish a dynasty for her and her children. Suffice to say that it did not end well, and Valaren a'Diren was deposed by Keýra a'Callan.   Toward the end of her life, Keýra a'Callan stepped down from the throne and allowed her daughter Ordanen a'Callan to take her place. Ordanen, however, had been influenced by Valaren's philosophy earlier on in life and thought that her mother was weak for wanting to keep in place a law that had been established by a man. Her actions following the mysterious death of her mother in N.L. 3460 sparked another civil conflict that ended twelve years later with Ordanen's execution and the restoration of power to the Twin Courts.   A third torch-bearer, Lisarna a'Dovyndë, who was swayed by the philosophy of Valaren like Ordanen before her, made a short-lived bid for dynasty in the Season of Light N.L. 4103. In the Season of Darkness of the same year, she was hanged by her own regretful mother.

Type
Geopolitical, Empire
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Friendly

During first contact with the Dominion, the tretâllë were appalled at the flagrant violation of the laws of life and death that was intrinsic in the existence of the Voices. Launching a full-scale inquisition against the Veldrani was briefly discussed before the priests of the Faith of the Nine confirmed that the Stranger tolerated their existence if only because they served to remind the world of the horrors of genocide.
  • 0


    Birth of the Dominion
    Era beginning/end

    Cilritanë a'Detvida, ruler of the Kingship of the Bone Trees, declares himself the ruler of the Dominion, the united clans of the tretâllë.

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  • 2993

    3025



    Wars of Succession Begin
    Military action

    With the death of Imperator Filiren a'Noren, sole surviving heir of his mother, Imperatrix Veltari a'Noren, a vacuum of power is created.   Lemhyn a'Sen, a retired member of the Imperial Guard, declares for the Lady Isena a'Dovyndë, precipitating the conflict between claimants to the throne.   Thirty two years after the beginning of the struggle for the throne, a gifted young man, Zovynnë a'Devytorë, who had only just conscripted into the Imperial Guard at the beginning of the wars of succession but was promoted to the station of Lord General during the wars, takes the throne, ending the wars of succession.

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  • 3291


    The First Torch-Bearer War
    Political event

    Valaren a'Diren sparks a civil war by attempting to overturn the Law of Lineality and stripping the Twin Courts of power.

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  • 3300


    First Torch-Bearer War Ends
    Political event

    Valaren a'Diren is deposed by Keýra a'Callan, and power is restored to the Twin Courts

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  • 3460


    Second Torch-Bearer War
    Political event

    Ordanen a'Callan attempts to follow in Valaren's footsteps by abolishing the Law of Lineality after the mysterious death of her mother.

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  • 3473


    Second Torch-Bearer War Ends
    Political event

    An army fielded by the Lords and Ladies Superior of the Twin Courts deals a decisive blow to Ordanen a'Callan's forces and captures the Imperatrix as a consequence. Ordanen is tried and executed for treason.

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  • 4103


    Third Torch-Bearer War
    Political event

    Lisarna a'Dovyndë, influenced by the philosophy of Valaren a'Diren, declares the Twin Courts powerless and abolishes the Law of Lineality. She is hanged by her own regretful mother during the Season of Darkness, and the Twin Courts, facing pressure from the public and the High Houses of the realm, decide to excise the provision for matriarchal inheritance from the Law of Lineality.

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