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)
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.
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.
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.
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.