The Koganusân Kingdom is a militaristic dwarf constitutional monarchy known for rapidly expanding in a seemingly endless hunger for raw resources. The kingdom is extremely nationalistic and proud, indiscriminately seeking out and making claims on unsettled realms with the intent to establish colonies. Often times these claims conflict with those laid by other empires and the Kingdom is happy to use its military strength to enforce its own interests. The Kingdom has been involved in conflicts with every other major empire (save the Dranomyr Archive) since it first entered the Sora 450 years ago.
Social StructureThe Kingdom is highly clan based, with virtually every person belonging to one of the approximately 1000 clans. These clans are further divided into numerous families, the largest of which contain hundreds. The largest of these families have their own individual branches, such that any individual finds their filial duty pulled in multiple different directions. Traditionally, a person is expected to hold the clan in the highest regard, followed by the family, with the branch just below that. In practice, the opposite tends to be most true, with the more immediate relations holding the strongest ties of loyalty. Each clan has their own internal structure, but most tend to be fairly hierarchical. Families tend to have professions that they specialize in, with the most prestigious work (such as metalsmiths and bankers) being the realm of the most powerful families, while the least powerful families must content themselves with lower paying professions. Members of these families are not required to take up these professions, but being a member of more powerful family guarantees access to more resources and high-quality training, while those from lower families need to prove exceptional talent before being accepted as an apprentice. One family is designated the chief family, typically the family which can claim direct descent from the clan founder. The head of the family, which passes down through the line of the eldest child, holds the title of clan chief. The clan chief is able to issue decrees which the rest of the clan is expected to follow, acting similar to nobility, though they do not hold titles of nobility nor have the same role in government. Their chief role is to manage the intricate intra- and inter-clan politics, managing access to clan lands and resources, and negotiating business opportunities and licenses for clan families. They additionally serve in the upper chamber of the Koganush parliament. Many of these clans trace their histories back thousands of years, predating the foundation of the kingdom itself. The oldest claim descent from legendary heroes, those who achieved great deeds in the Mythic Age of Sodushòs, though the provenance of their ancestry is often muddied and unclear. Additionally, over the millennia there have been numerous clan splits, leading to many different clans claiming to be the true heirs to the legacy of these heroes. Newer clans arise with some regularity from a variety of sources. Some come from the aforementioned splits, where an internal clan dispute causes several families to break away and form a new clan. Other times, an individual accomplishes some great deed such as slaying a terrible beast, winning a great victory in war, or forging a mighty artifact. These individuals and their immediate family are given writ to found a new clan. In such cases, those closest to the founder, such as their closest companions or individuals who helped them achieve their deed, are allowed to forsake their old clan and families to form new families in the new clan. This is one of the few times a person may honorably leave their family and clan behind. More recently, the primary way new clans are born is when the Kingdom conquers a realm, absorbing its population into the clan structure. The majority of the population are absorbed into existing clans, entering among the lowest rung of families. The extant families typically approve of this, as it means their own status is raised somewhat. However, a portion of those conquered are always raised to the position of their own clan to legitimize the Koganush social system with the locals. The Kingdom tends to select families who hold some level of respect or power on the conquered realm, such as local nobility, famed warriors, or beloved celebrities.
Warring ClansThe Koganusân Kingdom traces its roots back nearly 12,000 years to the Mythic Age of Sodushòs. This was only a short time after the gods had made order from chaos and brought the world into existence. In those days, each god had brought forth their own servants, such as the dragons of Sógshom, the golems of Gùmnol, the wraiths of Ônós, and the dwarves of Lugsas. At first, the gods were content for each of their servants to exist separate, but soon each began to see their creations as the most capable and worthy. They pushed their creations to war on each other. The dragons were powerful, but there were few of them. The golems were legion, but could only follow orders and not act independently. The wraiths were undying, but languished without motivation or energy. Each of these weaknesses was a strength for the dwarves, who were numerous, creative, and industrious. Over the following millennia, they slowly overcame the other servants of the gods, eventually coming to dominate Sodushòs. Several of the greatest heroes of this era founded the first clans, settling in the Nukkir Mountains around 7000 AC. These included the Kerìlòngîgsush, , and Mùranelk clans, each of which continues to hold large amounts of influence in the Kingdom to this day. In these early days, the clans were mostly defined by their warrior bands those who had fought hardest in the earlier age. This left the clans divided and their membership loose. With no more external enemies to war against, the clan chiefs and their warriors grew restless. It's not remembered which clan first raised arms against the others, but soon they had broken into all-out war. As the clans traded lands back and forth, the families which lived on those lands changed their fealty. Sometimes clans would split or families would break away to create their own new clans. The only time the clans ceased their fighting was when faced with an external threat. Other nations of dwarves surrounded the Nukkir Mountains and coveted the wealth it held. These invasions occurred every century or so, with the invaders conquering much of the outlying lands. The clan warriors often fought to their last to resist these invasions, leading to the destruction of several clans, most notably the Kukèthsinnith in 5069 AC. However, the further the invaders pushed into the mountains, the more treacherous the terrain and the more tenacious the clans became. Whenever the threat became serious, the clans would put aside their differences long enough to push the invaders back and reclaim their traditional lands.
Âtastcog Empire conquestDespite being able to maintain their hold on the Nukkir Mountains, the clans were never able to expand much beyond their traditional borders. Rivalries between the clans meant that they would begin fighting as soon as the external threat had been beaten. Several clans tried to unify the Nukkir, but none managed to achieve supremacy. The closest any came were the Mùranelk in 5026 AC, who unified roughly 2/3rds of the clans under their banner, only for the kingdom to collapse after the death of their clan chief and a subsequent clan split. This state of affairs held true for several centuries, until 4645 AC, when the Âtastcog Empire turned their sights on the Nukkir. The Empire had been slowly expanding, using their superior military tactics and organization to defeat the smaller nations around it. Their borders finally began to press up against the Nukkir Mountains and, as many others before them, they grew covetous of the many gems, metals, and other resources to be found within the mountains. This time, however, the military strategists of Âtastcog had experience fighting in other mountainous regions at the other end of their empire. This allowed their soldiers to adapt and deal with the difficult terrain, enabling them to successfully press deeper into the Nukkir than any before them. Additionally, the administrative strength of Âtastcog enabled them move slowly and deliberately, ensuring they solidified their control over an area before pushing further. The invasion was not a single push, but rather ebbed and flowed over many decades. The clans attempted to unify twice to push back the invaders. The first was in 4632 AC, but ultimately fell apart when the clan chief leading the alliance, Thûrímadån Gamnòr, fell ill and died suddenly. There was speculation that she had been poisoned either by Âtastcog agents or a rival clan chief who had been bribed by the Empire. The second was in 4616 AC, which raised a large army against the Empire backed by several revolts in Âtastcog-controlled territory. While claiming a few initial victories and seeming to put the Âtastcog general on the back foot, they were routed in battle by a much smaller Âtastcog force. This defeat broke the power of the clans, allowing the Âtastcog Empire to complete their conquest by 4612 AC.
Fall of ÂtastcogDespite being controlled by the Âtastcog Empire, the Nukkir clans were largely allowed to retain its traditions and overall social structure. The Empire placed a governor to oversee the area and collect tribute, but did not interfere on the day to day activities of the locals. The one major change was the enforcement of the Zaâtastcog Koskiht, which prohibited the clans from waging outright war against each other. This stabilized the clan territories, causing those families which were not previously part of the clan structure to become slowly integrated into it. Additionally, the clans became less focused around their military might, with several families better known for crafting or other industrious pursuits rising to prominence within the clans. This situation held for nearly two thousand years. During this time, the Nukkir Mountains developed extensively, with the mostly cave-dwelling clans building huge mountainhomes and even beginning to dig deep into the earth. The Nukkir clans were generally treated well by the Empire, though as with all monarchies, cruel or greedy emperors caused great hardship to all. There were the occasional rebellions across the empire, including several small ones started by the Nukkir clans, but none were able to gain enough support and were eventually suppressed. The Âtastcog Peace finally began to crumble around 2832 AC when a series of unpopular and cruel emperors came to power. The first was Ubur II, who squandered money while imposing harsh taxes. Following his death in 2826 AC, his niece Ushesh IV came to power. She used extortion and kidnapping of nobles to refill the imperial treasury, eventually causing her downfall when her crimes were made public and the nobility revolted. She was deposed in 2823 AC and the nobles placed her young son, Nizdast I, onto the throne. Still a child, Nizdast was little more than a puppet for the nobles, who abused his authority to enrich themselves. Their harsh treatment of him led him to grow into a cruel, callous dwarf. Upon reaching adulthood, he had several of those who had wronged him seized and executed. However, he continued to behave in a heartless manner, inflicting terrible punishments for the most minor of infractions. Eventually, Nizdast's ire fell on the youngest son of the Komôskonìs clan chief, Shugnàm. In 2784 AC, Shugnàm was serving as a captain in the imperial army. Nizdast was conducting an inspection and Shugnàm, suffering from food poisoning, lost control and vomited in front of the emperor. Enraged at the perceived disrespect, Nizdast had Shugnàm arrested. News quickly reached Shugnàm's father, Nenshun. Unwilling to allow his son to face torture at the hands of the emperor, Nenshun raised his clan in rebellion, vowing to throw off the ancient Âtastcog shackles. He called on several allied clans, who added their banners to his own, then captured and had the Âtastcog governor executed. His army then marched into Âtastcog proper. Nizdast sent a legion to oppose them, but the years of internal strife had left the army undermanned, poorly equipped, and ineptly led. Nenshun's army routed the imperial forces, scattering them and sending them into disarray. Nenshun continued his march on the Âtastcog capital. Nizdast believed suffering through a siege was beneath the Empire's dignity, so he ordered the remnants of the imperial army into the field. The imperial generals knew such a course would be disastrous. Rather than refuse and face the emperor's wrath, they went into the field then immediately surrendered to Nenshun's forces. Nenshun marched into the capital, sacked the city, killed Nizdast, and looted much of the Empire's treasures. He and his army occupied the city for three days before withdrawing. The death of Nizdast is largely considered the end of the Âtastcog Empire, as a succession crisis broke out between three different contenders to the throne. The civil wars between the contenders were indecisive and left the Empire's former territories drained and, over the following decades, they fell to outside invaders, including the Nukkir clans.
Foundation of the Koganusân KingdomNenshun returned to Nukkir as a conquering hero, wearing the looted imperial crown upon his head. His coalition of clans had proven their martial might and were flush with gold and riches from their pillaging. Nenshun saw the opportunity to finally unite the clans under one banner and demanded the fealty of the other clan chiefs, declaring himself their kithärd. Many initially refused to submit, but three of the oldest clans, the Kerìlòngîgsush, Tongmôskonìs, and Mùranelk, each pledged their fealty. This action gave Nenshun legitimacy and several other large clans followed suit shortly after, leaving roughly a third of the clans refusing to bend their knees. Nenshun launched a conquest of the defiant clans. Despite opposing Nenshun, the holdouts had little love or loyalty to one another, so their resistance was fractured and largely ineffective against the combined forces of Nenshun's vassals. Nenshun had the entire chief family of each defeated clan executed, then went from family to family, demanding their loyalty. Any who refused had their own families exterminated, until eventually every family in a clan had either submitted or been killed. Nenshun then chose one of the remaining families and bestowed upon them the title of chief family. Nenshun's power was so great that none could oppose his will. In 2781 AC, the Shutaweth clan (whose name survives as a Sálti term for futile stubbornness) was defeated. Nenshun renamed his clan to Koganusân, meaning the Great Mountains clan, and proclaimed the birth of the Koganusân Kingdom with the city of Haranusân as its capital.
Early DecadesDespite the violent path Nenshun took to power, after establishing the Kingdom, he took part in no further military actions. Already in his late 100s when he invaded Âtastcog, he dedicated the rest of his life to consolidating his power and ensuring his successor would have a stable, loyal kingdom to inherit. As such, he gathered together the heads of every clan in a great council (which presaged both the electors of the tök and Rukomith) to select his successor. He allowed any to put forth a member of his extended family for consideration. The clan chiefs spent two weeks discussing the matter. Each time a name was proposed, Nenshun gave the appearance of considering it, only to ultimately defer a decision. He never gave a reason why, merely saying that he was unsure of the choice. With each refusal to commit, the clan chiefs became more determined, their discussions slowly switching from what qualities they wanted in a kithärd to what Nenshun wanted. With each new name, more and more of the clan chiefs were present when the suggestion was made. Eventually, all 83 clan chiefs came together to suggest Nenshun's third daughter, Belenzinz. When Nenshun asked why they proposed her, each clan chief stepped forward to expound on a virtue they claimed she held. She was wise, brave, just, strong-willed, savvy, and many other qualities that made her suited for leadership. Nenshun then asked if these virtues made her worthy of their loyalty and all answered in the affirmative. Nenshun finally relented and accepted their suggestion, naming Belenzinz his tök. There remains much debate about the selection and Nenshun's intentions. Many believe he truly was indecisive and it was only the combined praise of all the clan chiefs which swayed him in one direction. Others believe Nenshun did not care who was selected, only that the clans be unified in their decision. His constant refusal to accept a proposal or tell the chiefs what he was looking for meant that they, as a group, had to determine what qualities they would accept and then assert their choice had all of those qualities. It was only once all clan chiefs agreed on a choice that he would accept, regardless of their reasons, as that would mean the clans could not oppose the choice in the future after his death lest they risk breaking their own word or that of their ancestor.
Slow ExpansionOver the following centuries, the Koganusân Kingdom began to spread in a deliberate and measured manner. Many of its neighbors were rump states of the Âtastcog Empire and, while much reduced from their predecessor's power, still were well fortified and wealthy. It had numerous skirmishes with these neighbors, taking territory in one war then ceding some of it back in the next, but always holding on to some territorial gains. It also built alliances with other nations through diplomatic marriages, typically between children of the kithärd who had not been selected as tök and children of foreign ruling families. Usually, these marriages merely secured alliances for a generation or two, but occasionally allowed for large territorial gains when the fates aligned such that one person inherited both thrones. By 2276 AC, the Kingdom's size exceeded that of the old Âtastcog Empire (though it did not control an identical territory), making it by far the strongest power in the region. It reached its largest size (for the era) in 2193 AC.
Internal TroublesIn 2193 AC, Kudmek II was crowned kithärd. By this point, the approval of the tök had become largely rote and, despite general misgivings from many clan chiefs, Kudmek ascended to the throne. He proved to be unfit for rule, drawing comparisons to Ubur II from centuries before. He was decadent and cared little for rule, preferring instead to spend most of his time drinking, gambling, and hunting. While many hoped that he would leave decisions up to his capable ministers and court officials, he instead allowed his ears to be bent by anyone who would indulge his vices. This led to many talented individuals being removed from important posts and replaced with Kudmek's friends, most of whom had no experience or ability. For the first time since its inception, the Kingdom faced an existential threat. Kudmek's actions had alienated a number of clan chiefs, bankrupted the treasury, and left the government in the hands of those who would rather enrich themselves than govern effectively. Corruption and banditry ran rampant throughout the Kingdom, all while Kudmek proved unwilling to deal with the duties of ruling. Several different plots were formed to remove Kudmek from power. One plan which almost came to fruition was an invitation to the neighboring Kingdom of Tushidatlab to invade. The king of Tushidatlab was a cousin of Kudmek's predecessor and the clans bordering it were preparing to let him invade without resistance, giving him a free path to Haranusân. However, the king of Tushidatlab was indecisive and slow to make plans. Before he could invade, a revolt broke out in the southern reaches of the Kingdom. While Kudmek ignored the rebels, his ministers ordered the army to suppress it. Morale was extremely low in the army; their commanders were appointed as political favors rather than because of merit, their equipment was shoddy, the provisions were thin, and many had clan mates amongst the rebels. The army made only a token effort to stop the rebellion; once the rebels began to resist, the majority of the army fled or even took up arms alongside the rebels. Those who remained loyal to the royal clan were routed and nearly destroyed completely. The rebels seized the army's supplies and rallied beneath the banner of a member of the clan, an ancient and powerful clan which held great respect throughout the Kingdom. They began marching on Haranusân with the stated intention to overthrow the Koganusân clan. At the same time, this rebellion spurred the king of Tushidatlab into action. He began marching as well, though he was several weeks behind the rebellion. The king's niece, Nïsemrer, tried to bring the truth to him, but was rebuffed by his ministers, who assured him that there was little to worry about. Nïsemrer was clever, however, and proposed a celebration to commemorate the victory against the rebels. Unable to refuse lest they admit their deception, the ministers agreed to the plan. Nïsemrer made sure to place dwarves loyal to her amidst the guards at the celebration. Then, midway through, she had the guards seize the ministers and imprison them for misleading the king. By this time, Kudmek had gotten too drunk to even notice what was happening. With the ministers eliminated, Nïsemrer seized control of the government. She had Kudmek restricted to his rooms in the palace, ostensibly to protect him from any rebel sympathizers who might be among the palace staff. She then confiscated the wealth the ministers had misappropriated for themselves, tearing the luxurious homes they had built for themselves down and selling every scrap to anyone who would buy it. She then went to the various family heads of her clan and told them to dress everyone they could, even the elderly, children, and the infirm in army uniforms. By the time they were finished, they had over 10,000 dwarves outfitted for battle, though only a third of those were fit for combat and only half of those were actually trained warriors. She then took her makeshift army and marched north to meet Tushidatlab's army, leaving behind only a token garrison in the city. A week later, the two armies arrayed themselves across from one another in a massive cavern. Nïsemrer arrayed her army so that the largest and most formidable looking troops were at the front, then marched forward to parley with the king. She offered to allow the king to retain the territories his army had already occupied in their march toward Haranusân in exchange for his help defeating the rebels. The king, already adverse to risk, took stock of the seemingly massive army arrayed against him and agreed to her suggestion. He sent a third of his army with Nïsemrer, remaining behind with the remainder to solidify control of the conquered lands. Nïsemrer immediately turned back toward Haranusân, making sure to keep the fake soldiers separated from the Tushidatlab reinforcements. Meanwhile, Haranusân itself had been overrun by rebels, who found very little resistance. The leaders of the rebellion thought little of this, believing that the garrison had deserted much as the army sent to quell them had weeks earlier. They had stormed the royal palace, dragged Kudmek out into the streets, and hung him from a hastily erected gallows. Nïsemrer returned to find the city in disarray, with the rebels having little discipline or know how as to securing it. She secretly had allies within the city open the gates to her forces and sent in the majority of her capable soldiers in, keeping only enough to keep up appearances for the borrowed Tushidatlab troops. She then ordered an all-out assault on the city, positioning her forces so that the Tushidatlab would sustain the brunt of the real combat. The rebels attempted to mount a defense, but were unable to stand against them and were routed. With Kudmek dead and having never selected a tök, the Kingdom was left without a kithärd. Nïsemrer considered proclaiming herself kithärd, but realized her position was tenuous and could not be held without something to legitimize her.
Birth of the RukomithWith Kudmek dead, the general animosity of the populace no longer had a single target to focus on. The Kingdom was now leaderless, its army in tatters, many clans hungry to increase their power, and its neighbors ready to chip away at its territory. Nïsemrer had proven herself savvy, but knew an attempt to seize power would be seen as self-serving. She had no legitimate claim to the throne, being only the daughter of Kudmek's youngest half-brother, whom had never been considered as tök. If she did take the throne, many other clans would oppose her and plunge the Kingdom into civil war. Yet the same could be said of any other member of her clan. Taking a page from the Nenshun, the first kithärd, Nïsemrer called for a conclave of all clan chiefs, even those who supported the rebels. As a sign of her peaceful intentions, she went before the chief of the clan wearing nothing but an old potato sack. The clan chiefs gathered together in Haranusân and Nïsemrer asked them to choose a new kithärd, offering no suggestions on her own. However, as they debated the matter, Nïsemrer privately went to several and bemoaned the power the kithärd held. The troubles the Kingdom had faced, she said, was that the kithärd was too powerful and, as Kudmek had proven, could bring the Kingdom to near ruin when they were unsuited for the throne. The solution, she said, would be to return some power to the clans by requiring any government ministers to be approved by them first. This would place a check on the kithärd and prevent the majority of the problems which arose from Kudmek making his friends ministers. The problem, of course, would be finding a kithärd who would agree to such a demand. At the same time, the Koganusân clan chief, Lerulbéht, played the other clan chiefs against each other. He reminded them of old clan rivalries and warned against allowing a clan with too many old grudges to take the throne. Of course, every clan had made multiple enemies over the centuries and Lerulbéht's stoking of the flames increased tensions. The only clan without that ancient bagged was the Koganusân, who had been above it due to their royal position. Eventually, the clan chiefs came to the conclusion Nïsemrer and Lerulbéht were leading them to. They nominated her as kithärd, which she accepted after making a show of initially refusing. In return, she made official the gathering of clan chiefs, enshrining their powers in law, creating a document called the Sènnôlk, which eventually took shape as the official constitution of the Kingdom. They took their name after the place they gathered, Rukomith, the body which would eventually evolve into the Kingdom's parliament.
StagnationThough Nïsemrer had managed to salvage the kingdom, the reign of Kudmek had lasting consequences. It took several years to root out the rest of the corruption and repair the damage done. Though Tushidatlab was content with its territorial gains, other neighbors took advantage of the chaos to seize several border regions, further diminishing the Kingdom's strength. By the time Nïsemrer managed to stabilize the situation, the Kingdom had lost nearly 1/3rd of its territory. The following centuries saw a slow loss of further territory and power, eventually reducing the Kingdom back to the borders it held at the time of its inception. Though it never experienced the same level of internal strife it had under Kudmek, it had several short periods of instability, gradually leading to the expanding powers of Rukomith until they became the primary legislative power in the Kingdom. It managed to half the contraction of its borders around 1847 AC and they largely held through the following centuries. The Kingdom was relegated to a minor regional power, holding little influence on a global scale when compared to its contemporaries. This situation persisted for over a millennia, with the Kingdom becoming largely ignored by the rest of the world.
Demon InvasionIn 297 AC, demons escaped from Hell on Sodushòs. No one is sure how this happened. Some blame it on miners digging too deep and breaching the underworld. Others say a group of mages summoned a demon lord into the mortal realm. Some even believe it was divine punishment from the gods for a forgotten transgression. Regardless of the cause, hordes of demons began to sweep across the realm. The Koganusân Kingdom reacted to the invasion by fortifying its cities and sealing off the tunnels that led to its cities. With a long history of isolation and self-reliance, the Kingdom was uniquely suited to weathering the storm. While much of the rest of the world struggled against the demons, the Kingdom remained largely untouched. The demons were eventually beaten back, not through acts of individual heroism or the invocation of powerful magic, but through tenacious resistance and tremendous bloodshed. By the time the majority of the demons were wiped from the world in 244 AC, much of the world powers were in shambles. Hundreds of millions were dead, governments had collapsed, famine was rampant, and society had largely broken down. It was into this apocalyptic world that the Koganusân Kingdom reemerged, relatively unscathed.
Conquest of SodushòsWhile other nations had also escaped the devastation, none were as suited to take advantage of the situation as the Kingdom. They sat in a centralized location and the Nukkir Mountains, while no longer as economically important as they once were, still held significant resources and had fertile caverns which produced bountiful food. Additionally, the kithärd of the time, Rurån VII, was an ambitious and cunning dwarf. She saw the wounded world as an opportunity to carve her name into the annals of history. The Kingdom's initial expansion was presented as an act of compassion rather than military conquest. Rurån sent supply-laden transports across the land, delivering food, medicine, and other necessities to any who needed it. The soldiers she sent along with it were there merely as guards, protecting the transports from bandits and any lingering demons. She did not even demand fealty or obedience in exchange. However, the soldiers always moved on from the communities, telling the locals that they were not an occupying force and could not remain. This prompted many of the communities to petition Rurån to accept them as vassals. She readily accepted any who did, raising new clans from among her most trusted allies to take control of the areas. Through this, the Kingdom expanded via nonviolent means until Rurån died in 220 AC. Her successor, Mïnustom I, shared her ambition to expand the Kingdom, but was much more shrewd. He had no compunctions with using the military to enforce the Kingdom's authority on others, seeing it as far more expedient than relying on good will to bring about willing subjects. The expansion proceeded mostly unopposed across Sodushòs, though it was nowhere near bloodless. Their constant aggression required extensive supplies and Mïnustom had his soldiers pillage the lands they marched through to stay fed. Coupled with the disruption in trade routes that were still recovering from the demon invasion, this caused widespread famine across the realm, further weakening resistance to the Koganush advance. The only thing to stop the advance was Mïnustom's early death in 200 AC. His heir, Muzdìd I, was young and inexperienced. The clans had become overextended through all the expansion and many feared the land would be rendered completely depopulated without a change in policies. The continued expansion stopped as the Kingdom turned back inward, working to rebuild their conquered territory. Despite this, the Kingdom controlled roughly half of the world and were the undisputed superpower.
Discovery of SoraflightThough the Kingdom ceased its aggression, only a generation had passed since the end of the demon wars. Thus it is of little surprise that the Kingdom was one of the few nations on Sodushòs able to turn its eyes to the skies and the Sora beyond. As with most things in the Kingdom, much of the impetus behind the research was the desire to conquer. As Muzdìd advanced in years, he desired to leave a legacy which could match those of his two predecessors. Though he reigned over a period of stability and prosperity, he wanted to be remember as a great conqueror. However, the Kingdom found ruling over its massive territory difficult, as it took weeks to send communications from Haranusân to the outlying regions. In 90 AC, the Kingdom unlocked the secrets of soraflight, using it to establish their superiority over the rest of the world. Though Muzdìd died before he could see the entire world unified beneath the Koganush banner, his successor Thital III completed his ambition. The last holdouts surrendered in 75 AC, uniting the realm under the control of Koganusân Kingdom.
Splitting of RukomithWith the entirety of the realm under Koganush control, the clan system began to strain against the social customs of those who had been conquered. A few of the more highly respected and powerful families, such as nobility, had been made into clans themselves, while most had simply been absorbed into one of the extant Nukkir clans. Despite this, many of the non-Nukkir bristled against the system, often refusing to listen to their clan chiefs or otherwise respect the clan structure. In turn, the clans either forced these intransigent families to the periphery or punished the families by restricting their dealings with other clans. This led to general unrest among the non-Nukkir, especially as many felt they had no voice in government. Thital considered simply implementing martial law, but was dissuaded by the more progressive clans of Rukomith, who feared this would lead to a general rebellion. Instead, the proposed offering them a voice in Rukomith separate from the clans. This, they figured, would help ease the transition to the clan structure, as they could voice their complaints against the clans in an open forum. Thital was reluctant, but eventually agreed to the suggestion, and the expansion of Rukomith narrowly passed into law in 52 AC. The decision had the desired effect. Though the newly minted Oworg Bis had no actual power, it provided enough of an illusion of such that most people were placated. Those who weren't had too little of a voice to effect change and instead had to accept the symbolic seat. Even so, they almost immediately began to push for an expansion of powers for the Oworg Bis.
Early Era of ExplorationIt took some time before the Kingdom managed to travel far in the Sora, having only explored a few nearby uninhabited minor realms by 20 PC. This was the year, however, where they discovered force engines, enabling state-sponsored expeditions to go much further, much more quickly. They quickly began to expand outward, finding rich and verdant realms full of valuable ores, gemstones, and other resources. At first, people were reluctant to venture out into the unknown to colonize strange worlds. The kithärd, Tilåk IX, encouraged the settlement by promising to promote families which first settled worlds to full clan status. This caused a rush of settlers to expand out into the Sora, claiming realms as quickly as they could. This naturally caused many disputes as different families each claimed they were the first to a world and deserved clan status. In some cases, this led to bloodshed as settlers fought to claim a world, sometimes even slaughtering other families to secure their position. Tilåk vacillated on whether to continue the policy or not, but eventually had his hand forced by the Rukomith, most of whom had disliked the policy for reducing their clans. Rukomith attempted to pass a law which ended the policy in 32 PC, which technically violated the Sènnôlk by restricting the kithärd's ability to create new clans. Tilåk, however, simply dropped the policy while vetoing the law, thereby giving the Rukomith what they wanted without setting a precedent.
Expansion and WarfareThe first other sorafaring power the Kingdom encountered were the Dranomyr Archive, who contact them in 56 PC. While the Kingdom had discovered realms with life upon them, the Archive was the first intelligent life they'd met. The Archive congratulated the Kingdom on their rapid progress through the Sora and warned them about interfering with primitive realms. The Kingdom had no idea such things even existed, so the aging Tilåk agreed to it without argument. This was fortuitous, as only a week later the Kingdom discovered their first primitive realm. They were tempted to invade, especially after realizing the realm had a large population of dwarves, but thought better of it given their uncertainty about the Archive. They did not have to wait long to assuage the desire for conquest, however, as a month after that they encountered the realm Shirzh, which was in the early stages of soraflight. The Kingdom quickly mounted an assault and found allies among the native dwarf population, which had long warred with the other native species. This began the Kingdom's period of violent expansion. Though they kept away from primitive realms, they quickly attacked anyone who had reached the Sora.
Conflict with the Daren HegemonyThe Kingdom's aggression eventually cost them in 125 PC when they made first contact with the Umbrian Empire, the precursor to the Daren Hegemony. The Kingdom found one of their newly settled worlds and, thinking it was merely another weakly defended sorafaring world, invaded. Instead, they found an equal match when an Umbrian fleet arrived shortly after their attack began. Both sides took heavy losses in the fighting, but the Koganush forces were forced to retreat. Despite first contact involving violence, neither side escalated the conflict. Instead the two sides realized there were easier opportunities than warring with equals, so they both paid reparations to the other for the losses and went about their business.
Conflict with the Bláthaofa KingdomThe Kingdom's redirected exploration brought them into contact with the Bláthaofa Kingdom in 230 PC. The Bláthoans had only been traversing the Sora for a few decades and still relied on relatively primitive soracraft compared to those of the Koganusân Kingdom. The Kingdom had encountered elves before and generally considered them weak, easy targets. Though they were more cautious in their dealings than with the Daren Hegemony a century before, they still viewed the Bláthoans as easy targets. After a few ostensibly peaceful meetings between the two sides, the Kingdom launched an attack on a particularly ore-rich realm called Scádgard inhabited by the Bláthoans. The elven kingdom was taken completely by surprise, having not yet met any hostile nations before this. Koganush forces pushed onward, taking over the tree realm of Daoseonn next. The Bláthoans watched in horror as the Koganush occupiers took their axes to the limbs of the tree, chopping off huge branches, many of them thousands of years old, in order to build new warships. The Koganusân Kingdom was unprepared for the ferocity of the counter attack. Nearly the entire Bláthoan fleet massed on Daoseonn, attacking the Koganush fleet and driving it into the air envelope of the tree. As the Koganush ships came closer to the tree, its branches suddenly began to swing at the ships, propelled by ancient druidic magic. The Koganush were completely unprepared for such powerful magic and of the twenty ship strong fleet, only two managed to retreat, both heavily damaged. Enraged but wary of the Bláthoan magic, the Kingdom sent a second fleet to attack other Bláthoan worlds, making sure to avoid any tree realms. While the Koganush forces were able to achieve superiority in the air, the Bláthoan ground forces were able to hold their own due to their powerful druidic magic and propensity for settling on verdant, green realms. Koganush geomancers were only partly able to counter, leading to stalemates where the Koganush forces were able to blockade and surround a realm but were unable to gain control over the realm itself. This situation persisted on several realms, with both sides taking heavy losses in the fighting. Eventually, in 234 PC, the Koganusân Kingdom agreed to meet with Bláthoan diplomats. Negotiations were contentious, but both sides eventually agreed to a cessation of hostilities. The Koganusân Kingdom kept control of Scádgard and two other realms where they had managed to achieve partial ground control, while accepting a payment of 80,000 kg of gold to abandon their attacks on another dozen realms. The Koganush claimed it as a great victory, but the Bláthoans did not forget. The Bláthaofa Kingdom was able to have its revenge in 302 PC. While the Koganusân Kingdom was busy fighting a costly war with the Álfuríki, the Bláthoans encountered the elves of Ildathach who had developed lepicephs. The two elven groups had much in common and quickly joined forces, the Ildathoi teaching the secrets of their powerful sorafaring creatures to the Bláthoans. Armed with these new weapons, the Bláthaofa Kingdom immediately invaded Scádgard, overwhelming the token garrison in a matter of hours. With their former colony liberated, they moved on to the other two realms they had ceded to the Koganusân Kingdom, splitting their lepiceph fleet between the two. These victories were also similarly simple and, before anyone in the Koganush central command even knew an attack had happened, the Bláthoans were pushing into Koganush territory. The Bláthoan forces conquered the Koganush realm of Talebsirngád. The world had been selected because of its lush jungles and fertile rivers, which the Koganush settlers were exploiting to their fullest. However, this breakneck pace had unexpected consequences for the Bláthoans. Seven of their ten lepicephs died of exhaustion, three of them on the journey to the next target, causing the deaths of all aboard. Suddenly confronted with their lack of knowledge about the creatures they were now harnessing as weapons of war, they ceased their advance and declared victory. The Koganusân Kingdom, still embroiled in their war with the Álfuríki, begrudgingly accepted the loss and made no attempt to strike back.
Conflict with the Tanzit SuzeraintyIn 268 PC, the Kingdom discovered Shaundi, a realm which had only reached the Sora a decade before. Seeing a ripe target, they invaded and swiftly conquered it. A few years later, it came across a colony of the nascent Tanzit Suzerainty. While it recognized that the colonists obviously belonged to another sorafaring power, time had dulled the caution they had gained after their encounter with the Hegemony a century and a half earlier. It did not have much actual interest in the world, but wished to test the power of its new potential rival and invaded, occupying the colony of Kanenao. The Suzerainty counterattacked a few weeks later, liberating the colony. The Kingdom continued to make token efforts to capture it, then retreated once they felt they had taken a good measure of the Suzerainty. Confident that their opponent was weaker than them, the Kingdom began probing for a more promising target. It eventually turned its eyes to Sambrit, a colony of Wandrit, a minor sorafaring nation which had aligned itself with the Suzerainty. It conquered the world, hoping to provoke an overextention from the Suzerainty. The Suzerainty, however, merely accepted the remaining Wandriti worlds under their aegis and remained within their borders. While the two nations would posture against each other for several decades, it took another 60 years before war broke out. Tanzit colonists on the realm of Zhian discovered a number of dwarven ruins, some of which seemed no more than a few centuries old. The Kingdom jumped on this news, believing the world was the location of an expedition which has been lost during its early years of expansion. It laid claim on the world even though Suzerainty citizens had been living there for nearly 30 years, eventually invading in 322 PC. Having experienced the Suzerainty's counter-invasion before, the Kingdom did not stop with just Zhian, but pressed further into Tanzit territory. They claimed a dozen realms before the Suzerainty was able to muster an effective resistance. The Kingdom thought victory was all but assured, but unbeknownst to them, the Suzerainty was merely falling back while its forces regrouped. Eventually they rallied and began to push the Kingdom back. By early 324, they held only Zhian, their original target. Fearing complete embarrassment by giving up their claim, the kithärd, Kakvun I, decided to sue for peace. The Suzerainty agreed on the condition their colonists be allowed to evacuate, which the Kingdom allowed.
Conflict with the ÁlfuríkiFrom almost the moment they encountered one another in 300 PC, the Kingdom and Álfuríki have been openly hostile. Two exploratory fleets met each other early in that year in the middle of an eddie. It's unclear which side fired the first shot; both have claimed that honor. What is known is that over fifty soraships were destroyed in the fighting in total that day, with neither side able to claim a victory. The Kingdom was roused, with many believing it had finally found a worthy enemy after what was widely considered an easy victory against the Bláthaofa Kingdom and the lack of Tanzit response to the conquest of Sambrit. Both sides massed their forces along their borders over the course of the year until, in late 300, the Álfuríki forces poured across the border into Koganush territory. The ferocity of the Álfuríki attacks caught the Kingdom off guard and, though the Álfuríki suffered heavy losses, the Kingdom was put onto the back foot. They were forced to cede several realms in the initial Álfuríki push, ultimately losing a dozen realms by the middle of 301, while nearly a third of their military had been destroyed. Kakyun I, just beginning his reign, was reluctant to sue for peace and admit defeat. The lack of intelligence about the Álfuríki's full strength was also a cause of concern; some military advisors believed the Álfuríki could not possibly continue the pace of their assault, while others feared they greatly outnumbered the Kingdom and would continue overrunning them. Regardless, the Álfuríki had made no overtures toward peace, nor had they sent any diplomats or made any offers to exchange prisoners of war. Ultimately the decision was made to continue fighting. All but token forces were taken from across the Kingdom, bringing them to the front against the Álfuríki. This move helped to stall the Álfuríki advance, though the fighting did not slow. Battles were fought almost daily throughout the rest of 301 and into 302, with neither side taking a clear advantage. Hundreds of ships were lost by both sides, sometimes a dozen at a time, with hundreds of thousands of casualties. Despite their best efforts, the Kingdom was unable to make headway against their foe. By this point, nearly the entirety of the Kingdom's economy was turned toward supporting the war effort, with entire worlds gearing toward producing military ships, equipment, and supplies. The industriousness of the Koganush people finally began to bear fruit in 302. While the soraships the Kingdom fielded were new and well constructed, the Álfuríki vessels had clearly been hastily constructed or retrofitted from civilian or older classes. It slowly became apparent that the Kingdom's economy and manufacturing capability far outstripped the Álfuríki's. This realization energized the Kingdom and it made a push to recapture the territory it had lost. The final battle came at the end of 302, when the remainder of the Álfuríki fleet met the Kingdom's around the realm Óksholmosh. The Álfuríki fought tenaciously, even going so far as to engage in suicide attacks when their ships were heavily damaged. The superior Koganush ships and numbers, however, won out in the end. Only a handful of Álfuríki ships escaped, leaving a battered but victorious Kingdom fleet to hold the field. Though the victory was widely celebrated throughout the Kingdom, Kakyun realized that the Koganush fervor couldn't be maintained for long, as millions had died and war fatigue was beginning to set in. He sent an offer of peace to the Álfuríki, though they never replied. Despite this, the Álfuríki showed no signs of attempting to reignite the war. The Kingdom claimed victory and enjoyed a period of peace.
To the Modern DayThe Kingdom hasn't engaged in open warfare with another nation since the end of the Zhianbiun War with the Tanzit Suzerainty in 324 PC. It's aggression has primarily been opportunistic, such as when it claimed a few Álfuríki breakaway realms during the Álfuríki Civil War in the 420s. However, it has found itself hemmed in by its neighbors, unable to easily expand through colonization. Though there has been the occassional border skirmish over the past century, it has largely maintained uneasy peaces with all of its neighbors. However, the imperialistic traditions of the Koganusân clan have strained against this peace strongly over the past decade and many believe it's only a matter of time before they launch an attack on someone.
PoliticsPolitics in the Kingdom fall largely shares a structure with the clans. Each clan generally works for the interest of their chief family, while the various other families vie for power within the clan. Political divisions are thus defined largely by historical alliances and clan grudges rather than political beliefs. Even closely aligned clans can have massively different views on economics, social issues, and foreign affairs, while the most bitter enemies can hold very similar ideals. In the upper house of Rukomith, the Koganusân parliament, politics tends to be a struthi trading game, with clans agreeing to vote for their allies' measures in exchange for promises of future support. Clans rarely vote against their own interests (though it has been known to happen when the future issue is considered important enough), but votes against a rival clan's interests are commonplace. This has been changing over the past century due to the growing influence of the lower house of Rukomith. Since this house is composed almost entirely of elected officials from various burrows, their political beliefs carry more weight. However, because the lower house has lesser importance than the upper house, political parties have yet to solidify. Instead, their politics tend to be rather regionally focused, with little cooperation between members to introduce or advance legislation. However, as the population of the Kingdom grows and the clans become more scattered, the lower house continues to gain power, meaning the future may see significantly more political organization.
GovernmentThe Koganusân Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch continues to wield significant authority, while much of the daily legislative responsibilities are held by the Parliament, the Rukomith.
KithärdThe ruler of the Koganusân Kingdom is known as the kithärd. They wield great power in the Kingdom, having veto power over any laws passed by Rukomith, the rights to collect taxes, acknowledge new clans, declare war and pursue peace, nominate governmental ministers, and issue royal charters, among other powers. However, their power does have some limits established by the Sènnôlk, the Koganush constitution. Most importantly, the kithärd cannot unilaterally issue a decree or otherwise implement laws. Instead, they must present the law to Rukomith, which will then debate and vote on the law much like any other. The kithärd does have the right to put any bill before Rukomith without any prior discussion or debate, however, a power which is not possessed by any others. Additionally, the kithärd does not have direct control over the military. The only role they play in the justice system is to issue pardons; they do not oversee trials, direct police activities, or otherwise decide how the law gets enforced. The kithärd rules for life or until they are no longer capable of carrying out their duties (traditionally signified by the ability to call a session of Rukomith to order). The crown does not pass through strictly hereditary means. Instead, upon the ascension of the kithärd, a council of clan chiefs (typically the 100 eldest) gathers to elect the heir, the tök, from amongst the eligible members of the royal Koganusân clan. Eligible members include any children, cousins, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, or uncles of the current or previous kithärd. These relations can either be directly by blood or through marriage, so it is possible, for instance, for a kithärd's brother-in-law to be named tök. To keep any single family from accumulating too much power, it is rare for immediate family to be elected as tök. This is also the reason given for excluding the kithärd's spouse from being elected (as this would ensure the previous kithärd's eligible heirs was the same as the current one's). The council meets every decade to reaffirm the election, a process which is mostly ceremonial. If the tök dies or becomes incapable before the reigning kithärd, the council convenes immediately to elect a new one. Regardless, the tök immediately assumes the throne upon the death of the kithärd. This process helps to prevent succession crises, as the heir is typically known well before the monarch.
RukomithRukomith is the parliament of the Koganusân Kingdom, holding the majority of the legislative power. It is divided into an upper house, the Oworg Thûrímad, and a lower house, the Oworg Bis.
Oworg ThûrímadThe Oworg Thûrímad, made up of all clan chiefs, is an ancient body and for centuries was Rukomith. It retains the majority of the power in Rukomith, being the sole body capable of passing new laws. A new proposal can be introduced into the Oworg Thûrímad by any collection of ten clan chiefs, who collectively submit it in writing to the Fitaleb, the eldest clan chief. The proposal is then introduced into the next session of the Oworg Thûrímad, where it is voted upon by all present members of the chamber. Laws can only pass if at least half of the present clan chiefs vote in favor of it. Once passed, the proposal is sent to the kithärd for review. The kithärd can either then sign the bill into law or reject it. If rejected, the proposal returns to the Oworg Thûrímad and given the chance for a new set of ten clan chiefs to endorse it. If endorsed in this way again, the Oworg Thûrímad considers it again, this time requiring at least half of the all clan chiefs to vote in favor of it. If they do, the kithärd is obligated to sign it into law, regardless of their personal opinion. Failure to sign approved proposals into law in a timely manner is seen as an indication the kithärd is no longer capable of fulfilling their duties, thus stripping them of their title. The number of clan chiefs makes the Oworg Thûrímad an incredibly large body, with nearly 1000 sitting members and growing all the time. This is the primary obstacle to overcoming a veto by the kithärd. On most occasions, only a percentage of the clan chiefs attend any single session, usually around one-fifth. This enables sessions to proceed more quickly, but also means many proposals initially only pass with a small number of votes relative to the full size of the body. Those which are rejected by the kithärd that are endorsed a second time tend to die because not enough clan chiefs care enough to attend and make the affirmative votes necessary to overrule. There is always a small number of sitting clan chiefs who have never attended a single session, sometimes even those who have held the title for decades. The Oworg Thûrímad is in session for 5 days, followed by 40 days of recess. At the end of each 5-day period, the Fitaleb announces the agendas for each day of the next session. This allows clan chiefs to know if a particular day will contain a proposal they feel strongly enough about to support or oppose. Each day continues until every proposal scheduled for that day is heard and voted upon. On occasion, this has led to "days" which actually stretched for more than a single day. In such cases, the Oworg Thûrímad typically recesses for an hour, giving the clan chiefs a brief respite, before it is called back to order and the next day's agenda begins. Legendarily, in an extreme version of this, the proposals on the agenda were all so contentious that each one stretched over multiple days, causing the session to consume the entire 40 day recess. Several particularly stubborn clan chiefs, driven by their senses of duty (or at least unwillingness to miss a vote they cared about), attempted to attend every session. Five of them reportedly dropped dead of exhaustion toward the end. Whether this account is true or merely a legend is difficult to determine, as the exact details of when it happened and who was involved are sparse, but it is used as a cautionary tale to prompt swiftness and conciseness of debate around proposals. Notably, no change was made to prevent such an occurrence from happening in the future and, since its alleged occurrence, several sessions have breached the 10-day mark (albeit without any deaths).
Oworg BisThe Oworg Bis is a relatively newer body than the Oworg Thûrímad, but still traces its history back nearly six hundred years. It is composed of elected representatives from every large population center. The Kingdom is divided into 546 jurisdictions (traditionally known as burrows, after the term for the neighborhoods in dwarven mountainhomes), each of which elects a single representative to the Oworg Bis. These burrows vary greatly in size, some encompass entire realms, while others are the size of a large city. Typically, a burrow contains a maximum population of 250 million people; any larger and its borders are either redrawn to balance the population with neighboring burrows or are split into two smaller ones. Realms with permanent populations between 50 and 250 million people are considered a single burrow. Less inhabited realms are grouped together into one of two burrows; the Kollòshard, composed of realms which have been inhabited for at least 200 years without breaching 50 million inhabitants, and the Laht, for those more recent than 200 years. Representatives are voted on every decade and are elected by simple majority. Unlike the Oworg Thûrímad, the Oworg Bis has a limited set of powers. Historically, it acted only as an advisory body, making nonbinding suggestions to the Oworg Thûrímad. In 365 PC, the Burrowers' Representation Act was passed, which gave the Oworg Bis's suggestions the same standing as a proposal from the kithärd. This compels a vote on the proposal, giving the Oworg Bis the ability to truly propose laws. Nearly a century later, in 458 PC, the Direct Proposal Act was passed, allowing any proposal by the Oworg Bis which passes with at least 3/4ths of the vote bypasses the Oworg Thûrímad entirely and is sent directly to the kithärd for ratification. While this theoretically greatly expanded the powers of the Oworg Bis, in practice achieving the 3/4ths vote has been rare and there is no mechanism to overrule a veto from the kithärd. Procedurally, the Oworg Bis operates similarly to the Oworg Thûrímad. It meets for 5-day sessions followed by 40-day recesses. The main difference is that the entire assembly is expected to meet, though provisions exist for individuals to miss sessions due to illness, injury, or unexpected circumstance. In effect, at least 90% of the Oworg Bis needs to be present for a session for any of its proposals to be considered in force.
Local GovernmentEach realm in the Kingdom (save Sodushòs, which is the kithärd's personal demesne) has a governor appointed to the position by the kithärd who oversees the realm's administration. The power of the governor can vary greatly depending on how organized the realm is, ranging from mere figureheads in the core worlds to virtual autocrats in the periphery. Their official role is to serve as the administrator and organizer of the realm's elected assembly, but more recently colonized and less populous realms often don't have the infrastructure to properly elect and support an assembly. Conquered realms especially are ruled with heavy-handed governors, where unrest makes voting untenable. Realm assemblies are elected bodies and may number from only a few individuals to several hundred. They have no legislative powers, being primarily responsible for organizing and running various governmental bodies such as law enforcement, public works, administrations, courts, and the like. The terms, election criteria, and other aspects of the assemblies are determined by the realms themselves. Changes can be made to their charters once every decade, during the elections for the Oworg Bis. More populous realms may have additional levels of administration beneath the assemblies, such as mayors for large cities or small burrows. These vary greatly in shape and function, some being purely ceremonial in nature.
Laws and Criminal JusticeThe laws of the Kingdom are relatively straightforward and travelers through the Sora will find very little surprising in them. There is nothing particularly notable about what is legal or illegal compared to most other empires. The major difference between the Kingdom and other empires is their method of investigating crimes. Though police have the duty to prevent crime, once one has been committed the investigation of all but the least important matters is turned over to the priesthood of Kost, the Sodushòsan god of truth, justice, and law. Kost's priests are specially empowered, both by the government and their deity, to discover the truth to a crime no matter the methods. They are renowned for their ability to investigate and find perpetrators and boast a 96% rate of conviction on cases assigned to them. The priesthood is divided into three tiers. The first are the inspectors, who make up the majority of the priesthood. They lack any magical powers, instead relying on investigations, intuition, and interrogation to identify the culprit and facts of a case. The inspectors handle most of the mundane cases, such as theft or minor assault, and assist the other orders with their cases. Seekers handle more complex cases and serious crimes, including grand larceny, kidnapping, and murder. Seekers are mages, wielding divine magic bestowed upon them by Kost to compel suspects to tell the truth. This magic is quite powerful and, thus, very closely monitored. They are only permitted to use their magic on those whom they have reasonable cause to believe have committed the crime they are investigating. They cannot use it on witnesses or other potential sources of information (such as the friends and family of a suspect). The magic is difficult to resist and quite unpleasant to be subject to, even to those who willingly submit themselves to it. A confession extracted under the power of a seeker is considered beyond reproach. As such, trials are not held to discuss innocent or guilt but rather to determine the punishment for an offense. Most powerful and most feared are the retributers, who proactively seek out and punish wrongdoers. Unlike seekers, retributers need only suspect that a crime has been or might be committed to begin their investigation. They are also permitted to use their magic on anyone they believe may have information which could lead to identification of criminal activity. Because of this, retributers are given cases which cannot be otherwise solved, as well as the most heinous crimes, such as serial murderers. Most exceptionally, retributers are their own judges and juries, permitted to proclaim a judgement and issue a punishment on the spot. The powers held by seekers and retributers mean an incredible deal of trust is placed on their shoulders, as the opportunity for corruption is massive. To combat this, both seekers and retributers are subject to regular, random audits where they must submit to the same magic they wield. A panel of three powerful, retired seekers or retributers who each question the subject about each of their judgements since the last audit. Any misuse of truth telling magic is considered the highest of crimes, punishable by a slow, excruciating death. Punishment operates on a principle of double redress, such that any harm caused is visited twice as harshly upon the criminal. A thief not only has their stolen goods returned, they must pay the value to the victim on top of it, working the debt off in prison if necessary. An assault which costs the victim an eye is repaid by blinding the perpetrator. A murderer is not only executed; the family of the victim is given the opportunity to personally carry out the sentence. The Kingdom reckons that such harsh punishment deters crime, but its rate of crime does not differ significantly from other empires. It merely has a much higher rate of conviction.
DiplomacyThe Kingdom maintains only loose relations with other empires, using their embassies primarily for intimidation purposes. This is due in part to the fact that the Kingdom's neighbors are mostly broadly antagonistic themselves. Both the Álfuríki and Confederation of Doflein Realms are xenophobic. The Tanzit Suzerainty is generally peaceful, but first contact between the two came as a result of Koganush conquest, which has soured relations ever since. The Bláthaofa Kingdom generally opposes the Kingdom's treatment of nature, often objecting to their mining and industrial activities as needlessly destructive. Among its non-neighbors, the Kamakari Mandate is seen as strange and unapproachable, offering little in the way of value to the Kingdom. Though the Heshian Syndicate has a neutral take on the Kingdom, the Kingdom in turn paints the Syndicate as uncultured and far too concerned with wealth for its own sake. The Dranomyr Archive is seen as an obstacle, more a force of nature than a nation to engage with. Surprisingly, the only empire Kingdom gets on rather well with is the Daren Hegemony. Even though both share expansionist goals, this common outlook allows them to appreciate one another. Coupled with their rather small border, the two sides are content to let the other go about its business. The two have a nonaggression pact and, despite predictions that one side would betray the other at the first sign of weakness, the two maintain a demilitarized border and show no signs of breaking their treaty.
TerritoryDespite being one of the first modern empires into the Sora and having an expansionist mindset for most of that history, the Kingdom is of a rather modest size. While it grew rapidly its first 200 years of soraflight, it has slowed significantly over the past two centuries due to border friction with its neighbors. It has fought numerous wars with the Bláthaofa Kingdom, Tanzit Suzerainty, Álfuríki, and Confederation of Doflein Realms, trading territory back and forth with each for decades. Only recently has it concluded that warfare is an ineffective method of expansion and turned its eyes back toward exploration to find new realms to colonize. Because it is so hemmed in by neighbors, it has had limited success. It currently consists of 159 major realms and 218 minor realms, broken into 546 burrows. Of these, 58 realms and 112 minor realms are single-burrow worlds. 32 realms and 64 minor realms are part of the Kollòshard burrow and have had populations under 50 million for at least 200 years; only 3 realms have populations that are trending upward and appear destined to eventually become their own burrows. The Laht burrow contains 18 realms and 32 minor realms; of these, 8 realms and 4 minor realms appear to be on track to grow beyond the 50 million threshold in the next century, while 3 realms and 7 minor realms will join the Kollòshard in the next 20 years unless there are significant demographic shifts. This leaves 51 realms and 10 minor realms to contain the remaining 374 burrows, the densest number remaining on the Koganush homeworld of Sodushòs with 64 burrows.
Trade and EconomyThe Kingdom has a largely insular economy based on manufacturing. The majority of resources it needs are sourced from inside its own borders, including lumber, metals, and elemental crystals. The economy starts with the harvesting of these resources and these jobs, though consisting of a large amount of manual labor, are considered very prestigious within the Kingdom. Miners and lumberjacks are very well paid professions, contrasted to most other parts of the Sora where they are generally seen as undesirable jobs to be taken only when no others are available. The Kingdom not only widely understands the great importance of these jobs, but how much skill the work actually requires. Generally speaking, the closer one comes to working with raw materials, the more esteem they hold. Koganush goods, particularly those made of metal or stone, are considered to be of exceptionally high quality. The Kingdom prides itself on meeting an ideal combination of form and function, reasoning that anything worth making must work effectively and efficiently while being pleasing to look at. This commitment to high quality means there is a fair amount of waste in production. When faced with even a minor manufacturing flaw, most Koganush businesses would rather scrap the finished product rather than place an inferior good to market. This commitment to high quality does cause goods to be higher priced, but since most are made to last a lifetime, this is largely seen as a necessity to ensure manufacturers are able to make enough money to survive. One of the highest boasts a Koganush craftsperson can make is to claim they put themselves out of business. Agriculture, which tends to be one of the largest industries in most empires, is a secondary concern in the Kingdom. While plenty of people continue to farm and raise animals for food, the Kingdom has long made efforts to shift resources toward other fields. This has put strains on the Kingdom's food production in the past, but these issues have been solved at least partly through improvements in golem production. As such, while agriculture remains important in a practical sense for the Kingdom, a smaller percentage of people work in it than can be found in most other empires. Trade with other nations is a relatively small part of the Kingdom's economy. This is due to a combination of their nationalistic views, belligerent stance, and scarcity. The Kingdom's high quality standards mean there is rarely a surplus that can be shipped abroad, while the prevailing attitude is that external goods simply aren't as good as the Kingdom's and are thus not worth the cost of importing them. Terev kithärdith Shótek ("Made in the Kingdom") is commonly stamped on goods as a reminder that they are domestically produced, even though foreign-made items are difficult to come by. Even in the cases where the Kingdom would want to import things, such as to cover material or agricultural shortfalls, it struggles to find trading partners who don't hold a dim view of them.
DemographicsThe Kingdom is home to around 187 billion people. The population is fairly homogeneous, with the large majority (87%) being of dwarven heritage. Most of these are of Zasodushòs decent, though many of the worlds the Kingdom annexed early into its history had large dwarven populations. Thus of the roughly 163 billion dwarves in the Kingdom, around 75% can trace their family trees back to Sodushòs. Of the remainder, just over 11% are of Shirzhi, 6% are Wapsen, and 4% are Nyhtyyn. The remaining 4% come from a broad array of ethnicities. Outside of dwarves, the Kingdom is home to a very large goblin population, the largest by numbers outside of the Suzerainty at 18.7 billion (10%). They come from a great number of worlds, though just over half are Pyatban. Aside from goblins, the Kingdom contains small groups of humans, elves, and varanids, as well as numerous minor species. None make up more than 1% of the populace.
LanguagesSálti is the official language of the Kingdom and is spoken fluently by the large majority (92%) of the populace. All Kingdom business, laws, and communications are issued in Sálti and Sálti alone; no other language is given even minority recognition. The Kingdom argues that havign a single official language makes things more efficient and helps to ensure solidarity between the clans. The only dispensation is made for newly annexed realms, though it is expected that they begin to transition to the official language. Despite this, there are a large number of secondary languages spoken in the Kingdom and many local municipalities may operate mostly or even entirely in these languages. Even though the Kingdom promotes Sálti as the official language, heritage and tradition remain important concepts, so being able to communicate in the language of your ancestors is considered important. Thus many speak one or more secondary languages, even if they do not personally identify as the language's native ethnicity. The largest of these align mostly with the non-Zasodushòs ethnicities: Shirzhi (15%), Wapsen (12%), and Pyatban (12%).
ReligionWorship of the Sodushòsan pantheon is the most important religion in the Kingdom, though it lacks a codified dogma or structure outside of the priesthood of Kost. Instead, people follow a number of folk practices and rituals that often vary in details from clan to clan and community to community. The Kingdom does not officially promote the worship of this pantheon, nor does it discourage the worship of other pantheons. However, the Kingdom does syncretize it's pantheon with those of other worlds as much as it can, focusing on the similarities between their gods and others. Through association, the Kingdom slowly conflates the worship until the Sodushòsan has mostly supplanted the native one in effective beliefs, if not name. As noted, the major exception to this is the priesthood of Kost which, through its function as an investigative body, has a far more unified structured church. They possess their own scriptures, set rituals, and organized priesthood. It largely keeps itself separate from the folk traditions of the rest of the Sodushòsan pantheon. They additionally don't engage in much syncretization with other gods, even those who match Kost's aspects closely. This has, in a large part, led to the church of Kost being the most powerful religion within the Kingdom if viewed as separate from the larger Sodushòsan pantheon and an increasing number of people worship him exclusively.
EducationEducation is largely seen as a community issue within the Kingdom and thus its quality varies greatly. Public schools are a rarity, mainly existing in large cities where the demands outweigh the inertia of tradition. Children are mostly educated by their families, usually a parents or elder sibling, until they reach late adolescence. At that point, they tend to become apprentices and learn a trade from older experts or masters nearing retirement age. Most people stay local for their apprenticeships, so those who live in more populous areas often have more options about what trade they take up. Further education among adults is rare, typically restricted to those engaged in intellectual fields such as magery or engineering.
MilitaryThe Kingdom maintains a strong military, second in size only to the Daren Hegemony's. As the Kingdom is much smaller than the Hegemony, however, this means it must devote a much higher portion of its resources to maintaining this large military. It maintains a fleet just over 2000 soraships, most of them highly specialized for various missions. The Koganush navy is organized by realm, which each possessing one or more military bases, typically situated in the largest port cities on the planet. Each base is overseen by a captain who handles the day-to-day operations, while command of the realm's associated fleet is handled by an admiral. These admirals answer to the Koganush Naval Command, a council of 12 appointed by the kithärd, one of whom is selected to act as the supreme commander. By tradition, this council consists of 10 experienced admirals and 2 civilian appointees, usually clan elders. The civilian appointments are largely considered ceremonial, positions to be given out as favors or rewards for a long life of distinguished service to the Kingdom. However, there is no mandate requiring this distribution of seats, nor even the number of members of the council. The previous kithärd notoriously continued to seat additional clan elders in an attempt to curry favor with them until there were nearly double the civilian appointees than military. Upon his death, his heir immediately dismissed the civilian appointees and continued with an all-military council for a decade. There is no distinction between enlisted and commissioned personnel in the Koganush military. Nearly all service members begin at the lowest ranks and are slowly promoted up the ranks according to service time until they reach the highest non-officer ranks. Promotion to even junior officer ranks follow significant performance reviews, with higher ranks undergoing more and more intense scrutiny. The Kingdom does have a military academy, but it is largely considered optional and of distant secondary performance compared to hands-on experience. There have been numerous senior command officers who have never set foot in the academy throughout the years.
Blood, Gold, Earth
The Kingdom and Hegemony appreciate each other, sharing similar attitudes toward the world.
Contrary to what most people expect, the two major dwarven empires don't get along too well. The Syndicate views their kin as a bit simple and basic, but otherwise harmless. The Kingdom holds a stronger view of the Syndicate, considering them haughty, greedy, and lacking in many proper dwarven attributes. They often think that dwarves from the Syndicate gives dwarves in general a bad name.
Despite the attitudes of both, open warfare has never broken out between the Confederation and Kingdom. Neither is fond of the other, however, and the merest spark could ignite war.
The Bláthaofa Kingdom dislikes the way the Koganusân Kingdom treats its realms, strip mining and exploiting resources without care for nature. The Koganusân Kingdom views the Bláthaofa Kingdom as fanatical interventionists who need to face the reality of the Sora.
While not at war, the two neighboring nations have fought in the past and are not friendly.
These two militaristic, nationalistic powers would love nothing more than to utterly annihilate the other.