Tanzit Suzerainty

The Tanzit Suzerainty (/tanzɪt/listen) refers to two closely related entities. Technically it refers only to the Miorangian Union and the realms which have fully entered a compact called the Accord of Union under which all agree to adhere to certain social and political ideals. In more common parlance, it refers to the collection of protectorate states who have agreed to begin adopting those ideals in exchange for military protection by the Miorangian Union. Consisting mainly of goblin-majority realms, the Suzerainty is one of the major powers in the Sora. The Suzerainty is known for its lack of hierarchies and formalized structure, relying on traditions and custom to keep society running over formalized rules and law enforcement.  
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Social Structure

The Tanzit Suzerainty is a collectivist egalitarian society defined by its complete lack of social or economic classes. The Suzerainty lacks money, instead operating on the principle of mutual aid. All members of society are provided with their basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare at no cost by the community. Individuals are incentivized to help each other with the expectation that they, in turn, will receive assistance when they need it. No individual in the Suzerainty can be said to have power over another; virtually everything is structured around democratic voting, so that while someone may temporarily be given authority to make decisions for the group, this authority can also be revoked as soon as the group wishes. Similarly, no individual is compelled to belong to a group, with free association of groups one of the central beliefs of the Suzerainty.   This social structure has resulted in a society where no individual is truly worse off than any other and quality of life is broadly equivalent for everyone within a community. While there are differences in quality of life between communities, these are largely subjective. While a city community may have access to more ammenities than a rural one, the rural community might be quieter and have more wide open spaces. As individuals are able to move between communities with minimal difficulty, they are able to find the community which best meets their personal needs.   It is difficult to say how the average quality of life in the Suzerainty compares to other empires. Many others claim Tanzit citizens are worse off than their own, pointing to the fact that most goods are local to communities, meaning most individuals don't have many luxuries. Compared to the middle class of most nations, the Tanzit are worse off. However, the Suzerainty counters that there are none who are destitute in the Suzerainty and when they are included, the Suzerainty is significantly better off on average than others.  

History

The Empire

Ancient Origins

The Suzerainty traces its origin back nearly four thousand years on the realm of Miorao. There, on the continent of Taoqui, the Feiyun dynasty successfully unified the disparate tribes of the Fatiemai goblins under one nation, Huashuwanlao ("Great Empire"). The empire existed in various states, under the rule of many different dynasties, over the following millennia. It was frequently a major power on Taoqui, becoming one of the great civilizations on Miorao.  

Empire's Fall

Roughly 700 years ago, a realm-spanning conflict destroyed many of the world's nations, throwing them into ruin and breaking down all social order. While Huashuwanlao managed to remain intact, the damage to the rest of the realm caused a collapse of trade and the economy. A massive famine swept through Huashuwanlao, leading to massive unrest. The ruling Tanxing dynasty attempted to suppress the unrest with force, which caused even further hardship for the people. Several open rebellions broke out in Huashuwanlao's largest cities, including the capital of Lünguanse. The Tanxing lost control as much of their military began to desert and were eventually overthrown by the Zhoulou dynasty.   The Zhoulou, however, never established control over the rest of the empire, only managing to control the capital and a few neighboring cities. The rest of the empire fell to various warlords, except for the city of Qiouranjing. Qiouranjing, formerly an important trade city on the Liangfiao River, instead established a citizen's council to create a democratic government. The council drafted a constitution which established a representative democracy with free elections every ten years. Their position on the river and fertile farmlands allowed them to thrive, while the democratic government ensured resources were not hoarded by elites.   Almost immediately, Qiouranjing came under attack from warlords seeking to claim it for its value as a port. The citizens of the city, however, were incredibly dedicated to its independence and fought ferociously to protect their city. The city never fell to an invader and dealt severe blows to several of the warlords. After their fifth election, 51 years after the democracy's founding, it repelled another invasion, routing the invading army so completely that the warlord's own territories rebelled and established their own constitution.   This was the catalyst across Huashuwanlao, as rebellions broke out in every major city within a decade. As they succeeded and gained momentum, the cities began to cooperate with rebel forces to bring down the warlords. While most warlords resisted fiercely and engaged in many atrocities to stay in power, a few accurately felt the winds of change and willingly stepped down. Among these was the Zhoulou Empress herself, who declared the dissolution of the monarchy as a governmental body (though it retained its personal holdings and continued to style itself in imperial terms) and reached out to the governing council of Qiouranjing to assume control of Lünguanse. In 225 AC, Qiouranjing and Lünguanse officially joined together as the Ikengchai Confederation.  

The Confederation

Rise

Over the next few years, the Confederation absorbed the other Huashuwanlao cities, coming to cover the entirety of the former empire's territory. Much of the rest of Miorao was still recovering from the great war, leaving the Confederation as one of the few stable states. At first, the Confederation expanded its territory further, annexing many territories through both willing submission and conquest. The Confederation came to cover the majority of eastern and northern Taoqui, but the logistical needs of the state eventually caused it to halt its expansion.   Instead, it began exporting its democratic norms to the rest of the realm. This mostly occurred through providing aid to states which democratized, though it also aided a few rebellions in places where monarchs, dictators, or other authoritarians had seized control. As the Confederation's influence grew, so too did its economic fortunes and, by 10 PC it was considered the richest, most powerful nation on Miorao. Its citizens had a high quality of life, enjoyed tremendous freedoms, and rarely lacked access to resources. This led to a massive population explosion in the Confederation, increasing over the course of 100 years from 300 million to over 1 billion.   This increase in population led to an overall increase in wealth within the Confederation, but it became increasingly concentrated in the hands of an elite few. These elites used their wealth to exert oversized influence over politics and elections, eventually coming to dominate the Confederation's government. They pushed through laws that helped further enrich themselves at the expense of the masses. While at first the rising tide of the Confederation's economy lifted everyone (albeit unequally), eventually the economic growth slowed, halted, and eventually began to retract. This was exacerbated by the continued development of necromancy leading to increased usage of zombies for manual labor and other low-skill jobs, putting many Confederation citizens out of work. The wealthy continued to prosper, concentrating wealth even further in their hands while the majority of the populace began to sink into poverty.  

Collapse

By 117 PC, over half of the Confederation lived in poverty; the rest of Miorao was even worse off. As had happened centuries before, protests broke out across the Confederation. The Confederation at first attempted to suppress them through police action, but this proved disastrous. In 118 PC, a group of law enforcement mages detonated magical fireballs in the middle of a protest, killing hundreds. The mages claimed that the protestors had become violent and were hurling debris at them, but survivors of the protest disputed these claims.   Regardless of the truth of the matter, this incident sparked popular uprisings across the Confederation. Confederation leadership declared martial law, suspending elections, and mobilized the military to suppress the revolts. This led to tens of thousands of deaths in bloody clashes, spurring larger and more violent protests. Initially, public opinion on the protestors was mixed; a majority supported their stated goals of greater equality for all, but most opposed what they saw as needless violence. However, they achieved widespread support in 120 PC when the high priest of Langun, the massively popular Fatiemai goddess of mercy, compassion, and community, declared support for the protests. Mages dedicated to Langun began to work with protestors, counteracting mages loyal to the government. As widespread protests continued, the military increasingly refused to obey orders to disperse them.   Protests, some of them violent, continued for another two years until 122 PC, when the Confederation's legislative assembly voted against a tax reform which would have redistributed much of the wealth of the hyper-rich to those in poverty. Upon news of the vote spreading through Lünguanse, an enraged mob formed and stormed the assembly hall, dragging the legislators who remained in the building into the streets. A dozen, including three who had voted for the reforms, were executed by the mob, strung up by the ankles and with their throats slit, a parody of the traditional method of sacrificing an animal to the Niuhun, the god of abundance and commerce. The only thing that stopped further bloodshed was an impassioned plea from leaders of the local cult of Langun, rumored to have been backed with emotion calming magic.   The executions were widely condemned across the Confederation, even by those who supported the protests. Regardless, the deaths threw the government into chaos. Over the next several weeks, most of the elite class fled to other nations, taking the majority of their wealth with them. As the government had been composed mostly of these elites, it was suddenly leaderless. The national government collapsed entirely along with 90% of the larger municipal governments. The only governmental structures left standing in many areas were those in small towns, villages, and hamlets.  

The Union

Precursors

The collapse of the Confederation sent massive ripples across Miorao. Despite the unrest, the Confederation had remained the economic power on the realm. With the dissolution of the government, the world as a whole fell into economic depression. In Huashuwanlao, the limited local governments struggled to maintain order in the face of widespread shortages in food and healing. It was at this point that something rather remarkable occurred.   In communities one after another, the locals came together and began to share equally. Those who had extra food shared it with their neighbors, ensuring that no one starve even if it meant they had to tighten their own belts. Alchemists, clerics, and other healers attended to the sick and injured free of charge, while those of able body helped to gather reagents and other supplies. Buildings which had sat empty were filled with residents; the mansions abandoned by the rich were torn down for materials or converted into community housing. Money rapidly lost its value as everyone received what they needed to survive while supplying whatever labor, experience, knowledge, or resources they were able to.   While times were hard, they were largely survivable. Few lived in opulence for any extended period of time; those who did quickly found they could not hoard wealth to themselves and be accepted by their communities. At the same time, none lived in poverty either. Compared to the preceding years, outright bloodshed was uncommon. Those with a willingness to acquire wealth at the expense of their fellow goblins had largely fled; any who remained were either ostracized or quickly realized they could not get everything they needed to live without the assistance of others. Change was not immediate, but it was swift. Within a decade, most communities had adopted this communal philosophy and method of life, at least partially.  

External Threats

This cooperative, egalitarian lifestyle did not go unthreatened for long. Those who had fled with their money still coveted what they had left behind. Additionally, the Ikengchai standard of living was, on the whole, higher than that of the expansive lower class elsewhere on Miorao. The leaders of these nations, concerned that the success of the Ikengchai cities would inspire revolutions within their own borders, set about to denigrate them. They launched propaganda campaigns and sent operatives to sow discontent within the Ikengchai communities. While many citizens of these nations bought into the propaganda, the infiltrators were ineffective and many found themselves drawn to the new Ikengchai way of life.   Not only did the foreign efforts fail, they also provided the impetus for the Ikengchai communities to band together. With knowledge from the turned operatives, the largest communities realized it was only a matter of time before foreign elites resorted to military action to force Ikengchai back under their heel. Representatives from the seven larges Ikengchai communities came together and negotiated an agreement called the Accord of Union in 128 PC. Under the terms of the accord, each community would maintain a standing militia in proportion with the size of the community. These militias would work together to protect the communities from any aggression.   Most importantly, this agreement was only to be entered into if the majority of a community agreed to it. Each representative returned to their community with the agreement to put it to a vote. Each community overwhelmingly approved it. In turn, the option to join the compact was offered to the rest of the Ikengchai communities. Each voted and the vast majority, nearly 19000 of the over 20000 communities, agreed to join, encompassing nearly a billion people.  

Great Preservation War

The signing of the Accord of Union proved fortuitous. In early 129 PC, the newly formed Union was invaded by the Federal Republic of Vespugga under the pretense that there was widespread corruption and collusion in the votes to join the Union. This was supported by those who had fled Ikengchai early in the revolution, before the Union has even been formed. The disciplined and highly professional Vespuggan army stormed through the Ikengchai communities, conquering over 500 communities in the first week without significant resistance. Their advanced slowed after this initial push, though it still appeared they would meet with little difficulty. For the next six months, they continued expanding into the Union, capturing roughly forty communities every day.   Despite the significant territorial gains, Vespugga found that resistance had hardened. The Vespuggan leaders had assumed the loss of nearly a third of its territory would have broken the spirit of Ikengchai. Instead, the lack of resistance early on had been part of the organized plan by the Ikengchai militias, who had merely used the time to fall back, combine, and better organize themselves. Combined with the lack of a singular leader or capital, the Union found itself still at nearly full strength despite the loss of territory.   The Vespuggans, on the other hand, found their morale eroding. They were forced to spread themselves thin, as the communities largely remained defiant of the occupiers. The Vespuggan soldiers, who had expected to be welcomed as liberators due to the propaganda of their leaders, instead found themselves viewed as oppressive invaders. Without a head to target, the Vespuggan army was faced with a long, difficult slog before it could hope to break the Ikengchai resistance.   By the start of 130 PC, the Vespuggan advance had been halted, having conquered roughly 40% of the Ikengchai communities. The highly-trained, disciplined, and well equipped Vespuggan army stood fast against the more numerous and more enthusiastic Ikengchai forces, bringing the war into a stalemate. Vespugga tried to sue for peace, but as each individual community in the Union maintained their individual sovereignty, it quickly became apparent that any treaties were more confusing than anything.   The stalemate lasted for six years, each side sometimes taking territory and sometimes losing it, though Vespugga never advanced further than their early gains. As the war dragged, it became increasingly unpopular at home for the Vespuggans. Protests against it broke out, as soldiers had remained on the front lines for years, separated from family and friends. The death toll rose daily, with a constant stream of casualty reports further sapping the Vespuggan spirit.   In 137 PC, the war weary Vespuggan army finally began to crumble. The war had drained the government's coffers, leading to an economic downturn. This fueled dissent inside Vespugga, as those soldiers who had returned from the front lines brought stories of the Ikengchai resistance and way of life. By the end of the year, they held only about 100 border communities. They finally fully withdrew in the first month of 138 PC.   The Ikengchai Union had persevered, proving that their new way of life could stand strong against even a powerful, wealthy foe.  

Sweep of Revolution

The Vespuggan army returned home to widespread unrest, much of it directed at the political and social elites who had pursued the war. The soldiers were exhausted and demoralized, their belief in the righteousness of their country having been stretched to the limit. Tensions within the nation began to boil over, mirroring what had happened in Ikengchai 20 years before. Much as before, the Vespuggan government tried to enforce martial law, but the army mutinied almost immediately, refusing to oppress their fellow Vespuggans. Instead, they initiated a coup, overthrowing the head of state, suspending the legislature, and arresting many of the wealthy elites.   Public trials were held for those who had prosecuted the war against Ikengchai. All were found guilty, as were numerous wealthy individuals who had not been involved or had even openly opposed the war. They had their property seized by the military, then were executed or imprisoned in labor camps. The military leadership then attempted to seize power, installing a dictatorship. The rank-and-file soldiers, whom had seen the prosperity in Ikengchai, once again mutinied, forcing their leaders to create a direct democracy.   This sparked revolutions across Miorao. Over the next century, the "Ikengchai Way", as it came to be known, spread across the realm. While a few were peaceful reforms, many more were achieved through violence as those with power clung to it as tenaciously as they could. In the end, however, the gale force winds of change swept across the entire realm, impossible to resist. By 250 PC, no vestiges of the old hierarchies remained.  

Modern History

Expansion into the Sora

Soraflight was discovered on Miorao in 216 PC by Einish mages. They quickly shared their discovery with other communities following the Ikengchai Way, ushering in an age of cooperation between the hundreds of thousands of communities spread across the realm. While initial exploration was muted, due to a widespread belief that entering the Sora was an affront to the gods, the discovery of exposed veins of tiaoyuezhu on Bangrsan spurred them on. Dozens of soraships were created over the following decades as brave and curious explorers reached out into the new frontier. By the time the entirety of Miorao was following the Ikengchai Way, colonies existed on nearly a dozen nearby realms.   The first Miorangian contact with another inhabited realm came in 254 PC, when they came across the primitive world of Arsiquoi. Inhabited by a number of feudal kingdoms, the explorers made contact with the natives, attempting to spread their egalitarian message to the people. Unfortunately, the strength of the aristocracy remained high on Arsiquoi, rendering the Miorangian message ineffectual. The explorers retreated and a great debate began among the people of Miorao about how to handle this situation. The great majority of individuals opposed the autocratic rule of the Arsiquoian monarchies, but they also greatly believed in the right of self determination and non-intervention. The prospect of launching a war to depose the monarchs was largely viewed with disdain by the people, though many wondered if it was a moral imperative to do so.   The question ultimately became moot as, in 257 PC, Miorangian explorers made contact with the Dranomyr Archive, which warned them about interference with primitive realms. This decree resonated with the majority of the Miorangians, prompting them to refrain from further contact with Arsiquoi or any other primitive realms.  

The Tanzit Suzerainty

In 264 PC, Miorangian explorers made contact with Shaundi, a small realm which had reached the Sora only a decade prior. Shaundi was far from the core of the Miorangian-settled worlds, but peaceful relations were established. Miorangians soon arrived to spread the Ikengchai Way. It was through Shaundi that Miorao learned of the Koganusân Kingdom as, in 268 PC, the Kingdom attacked and annexed Shaundi into their territory.   This hostile act shocked the Miorangians, who had thus far not encountered any sorafaring people who still engaged in military conquest. Even the Shaundi, while lacking the full democracy of Miorao, still possessed a representative democracy. The Miorangians had believed that achieving soraflight required at least some level of democratic enlightenment. The existence of the monarchical Koganusân Kingdom clearly disproved this.   Faced with the prospect of a foe who was anathema to the Ikengchai Way, the many communities of Miorao and the worlds it had colonized came together as the Ikengchai had centuries before and revived the Accord of Union. All communities had ratified it within a year. The newly formed Miorangian Union immediately began outfitting soraships for combat.   Once more, this proved fortuitous, as the Koganusân Kingdom conquered the colony on Kanenao in 270 PC. The Union was able to counterattack and liberate the colony after a few weeks, then repelled a series of attempts by the Kingdom to recapture it. Eventually, the Kingdom ceased its attacks, though it made no attempt to forge an official peace.   The success of the Union attracted the attention of several smaller realms which had just recently reached the Sora, similar to Shaundi. Led by Wandrit, the realms requested the Union's protection from the Kingdom. These realms each possessed differing levels of democratic governments, though none approached the nature of the Ikengchai Way. As the Union lacked a centralized government or leadership, the negotiations were initially slow, as different communities had vastly different opinions on the matter. Some were willing to offer protection to any who wished it, others believed taking on such a role would lead to further wars, while some opposed the concept of becoming a protector of anyone due to the power imbalance inherent in such a relationship.   Because of these delays, Sambrit, a colony of Wandrit, was annexed by the Kingdom. This swung support in the direction of accepting the protectorates, though many communities still objected. A compromise was eventually reached, with the Union agreeing to protect any other realms who voluntarily agreed to make efforts to adopt the Ikengchai Way, with the caveat that either side may exit the agreement at any time for any reason. This agreement was named the Tanzit Agreement, after the Wandriti word for "guardian". As the Miorangian Union and its protectorates continued to expand into the Sora, they became collectively known as the Tanzit Suzerainty.  

Expansion and Wars

The Suzerainty has continued to expand through the Sora, albeit more slowly than the other major empires. They colonize slowly and deliberately, frequently spreading across an entire realm before moving settling on a new one. More frequently, they grow through providing protection to inhabited realms which are relatively new to the Sora or have not secured enough strength to protect themselves. Once these realms have adopted the Ikengchai Way, the constituent communities are all offered the chance to join the Miorangian Union.   Over the 246 years since its founding, the Suzerainty has been involved in several military conflicts with other empires, most notable with the Koganusân Kingdom and Álfuríki, whose territory it borders. Most of these conflicts have been minor flare ups, usually with one attempting to claim a colony or protectorate on the outskirts of the Suzerainty. For the most part, the Suzerainty has been adept at protecting its people, usually recapturing any lost worlds within a few months. Its few losses have come from either settlers abandoning their colony, thus willingly forfeiting the realm to the invaders, or from a protectorate willingly submitting.   The Suzerainty has been involved in two full wars against its major rivals, however. The first was against the Koganusân Kingdom, in the Zhian War. In 322 PC, the Kingdom laid claim on the realm Zhian after the discovery of old dwarven ruins on the realm. Miorangian settlers had been living on the world for nearly 30 years at that point and, despite Koganish claims to the contrary, there was no evidence that the ruins had any connection with the Kingdom. The Kingdom pressed their claim despite its flimsy provenance, invading late in the year. 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. This war in many ways resembled the Vespuggan invasion of the Ikengchai Union, as the Suzerainty lost territory early, then managed to slowly repel the invaders with its overwhelming numbers and superior morale. The Kingdom was pushed back to holding only Zhian by early 324 PC, at which point the Kingdom sued for peace, offering to cease the war as long as they were allowed to keep Zhian. The Suzerainty put the vote to the colonists, who largely voted to evacuate the realm to prevent further bloodshed.   The second was the Álfuríki-Tanzit War, which lasted from 396 to 410 PC. The war was instigated by the Álfuríki invasion of Odaisa, a small realm which was, at the time, on the border of the two nations. The Álfuríki claimed it lay within their borders, though it was uninhabited, within a day's travel of the nearest Tanzit-held realm, and more than three days from the nearest Álfuríki realm. When the Suzerainty recaptured the realm, the Álfuríki launched another invasion, this time targeting numerous realms along the border. The Suzerainty was better prepared for this than in their earlier war with the Kingdom, but was not prepared for the ferocity with which the Álfuríki fought. While the Suzerainty held off the initial push, second and third waves eventually forced their forces back. The Álfuríki continued to push forward, grinding the Tanzit forces down.   The war proved very costly to the Suzerainty, as Álfuríki forces stole personal property and drove Tanzit citizens from their homes. Those who were unable to evacuate the occupied realms were forced to flee into the wilderness or be pressed into forced labor camps. The Suzerainty were able to regroup and slowly push the Álfuríki back, reclaiming worlds but finding them devastated by retreating Álfuríki forces. By 404 PC, the Suzerainty had reclaimed its worlds, but the Álfuríki did not surrender. Rather, it rebuilt its forces, taking advantage of the Suzerainty's reluctance to take the offensive. It turned into a war of attrition, with the Álfuríki spending ships and lives that the Suzerainty was forced to combat with ships and lives of its own.   Though the Álfuríki was unable to retake any Tanzit realms, the constant assaults drained the Suzerainty. The quality of life in the Suzerainty suffered greatly, as resources were diverted to the war effort. The Suzerainty came the closest to falling it ever had, as discontent and weariness set in with the populace. Many advocated for surrender, abandoning the colonies under constant assault by the Álfuríki. Those who opposed such a measure feared this would signal the end of the Ikengchai Way, as it would represent a rejection of communalism and an embrace of selfishness. At the same time, the prospect of invading the Álfuríki seemed anathema to many.   Finally, in 408 PC, a majority of Suzerainty communities voted to invade and they finally launched an attack on the Álfuríki itself. The invasion was slow and steady, done to minimize casualties. The Álfuríki tried to stay on the defensive and just gradually wear down the Suzerainty, but the Suzerainty had been hardened to action by the vote. Finally, in 410 PC, the Álfuríki surrendered and the Suzerainty withdrew to its borders, significantly better fortified than before the war.  

Politics

The Tanzit Suzerainty is quite complicated politically with an informal heirarchy of political affiliations due to the democratic method of government. The Miorangian Union appears to be unified from the outside, but each realm has its on political character which can vary quite significantly from one another. These realms each appear to have a single character, but the communities which comprise it can also have significant differences. Similarly, these communities are made up of individuals who can disagree with one another quite strongly. However, there is little in the way of unified political parties as such organizations are socially discouraged with the belief that no two people can agree completely on every issue, thus membership in a political party is akin to selling out your principles in some sense.   Each political entity in the Suzerainty (from the Union down to the individual) tends to agree on the big issues, those core beliefs which set it apart from the other sorafaring empires. The disagreements tend to come in the details, in what ways are best to meet these ideals. It is only the communal belief in the rightness of the Suzerainty's ideals that keep the system working, as the losing side in a vote has little recourse other than to try to convince people to change their votes. This has led to many outsider criticisms that the Suzerainty is just as tyrannical as any other empire, being a tyranny of the majority where any minority group is doomed to marginalization. Unlike the Kamakari Mandate, the people of the Mandate do not have a psionic link with one another, thus they can't simply feel when their choices cause pain. And unlike the Daren Hegemony or Bláthaofa Kingdom, where power is centralized in much fewer hands, those minorities who are aggrieved can't simply try to convince a single ruler, but instead a large number of people.   Some seem to think the delicate balance of the Suzerainty's politics makes them fragile. However, the Suzerainty and the ancestor entities on which it is based have existed for centuries, all while defending itself from hostile outsiders. It's perhaps the threat of outsiders which have held them together despite the internal differences.  

Government

Central authority in the Suzerainty, such as it can be said to exist, lies with the Miorangian Union, a decentralized confederation of goblin communities native to Miorao and their colonized worlds throughout the Sora. These communities mostly consist of small cities and towns, along with their surrounding populations. Each community is self governing, with residents participating in a semi-direct democracy called the Ikengchai Way. The community elects administrators to handle the day-to-day functions of government, but vote on any other issues which affect the community at large. This includes topics ranging from changes to written law and application of communal resources to smaller matters like constructing new housing units or creating new roads. Administrators serve until they either retire, die, or are voted out by citizens. Voting occurs on a regular schedule, set by the community in their charter. Common schedules include yearly, quarterly, and monthly; shorter schedules tend only to occur in smaller communities due to the logistical difficulties of organizing the vote.   These communities are banded together through mutual agreements to form the Union as a whole. Each community can technically freely leave the Union at any time, but in its 300 year history none have actually done so. Twice a year, the entire Union votes on collective issues, such as whether to admit new protectorates, appoint officials such as diplomats, or make changes to the Union Constitution. Votes only pass if a majority of voters and a majority of communities agree to it. This supposedly prevents a few larger communities from forcing their desires on everyone, while also ensuring less populous communities cannot determine everything.   The Union holds the majority of the de facto political, military, and economic power in the Suzerainty, though by agreement they are equal in stature to all of their protectorate states. The protectorates maintain their sovereignty, but are required to either maintain a direct or semi-direct democracy or be in the process of implementing such a system. There is no required time frame for this transition to take place, though protectorates who do not appear to be making a serious attempt are generally voted out of the Suzerainty. Upon completing the transition, the protectorates are able to participate in voting.  

Laws and Criminal Justice

The laws of each community in the Suzerainty are set by that community. Due to the nature of Tanzit society, many crimes which are common to other nations, such as theft or trespassing, are extremely rare in the Suzerainty. The majority of laws proscribe actions which impinge upon the health, freedom, or safety of any other person, including prohibitions against assault, murder, kidnapping, and the like. Unlike in many other empires, the Suzerainty has very few restrictions on the practice of magery, allowing people to cast whatever spells they want as long as it causes no harm to others. This includes necromancy, magic largely considered distasteful at best and outright illegal in most places. Within the Suzerainty, however, the body is considered to be no different than an inanimate object after death, no different than a stone, free to be utilized freely for the betterment of society.   Contrarily, the Suzerainty largely holds mind-affecting magic to be completely repugnant and its use one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. While covering obvious cases such as mind control, it also includes reading minds, altering emotions, modifying memories, and anything which compels a person to act a specific way. Using such magic, even in the enforcement of law and order, is forbidden. Those accused of crimes cannot have their minds read or any magic used to force them to tell the truth, even if they would agree to it. The Suzerainty considers allowing them to be used a slippery slope, thus they are not to be used in any event. The only exceptions to these broad bans on mind-affecting magic is for therapeutic usage, such as allowing for the removal of a traumatic memory or the unlocking of memories lost to amnesia. In such cases, the person being affected must explicitly consent and the use will still be investigated by the authorities to ensure nothing untoward has occurred.   Crimes are typically investigated by elected officials who are beholden to the community. Their job is to uncover evidence, not decide if charges will be pressed, and are typically forbidden from making accusations in any case they are investigating. Accusing another of a crime is enough to trigger an investigation and trial. While this can lead to a lot of inefficiencies if there are a lot of accusations being cast about, in practice this doesn't happen often as most communities also have laws against making false accusations which carry stiff penalties as well. Evidence collection is a difficult matter as well, as the right to privacy is held in high regard, so an investigator cannot simply search a person's house and property.   Once they have collected all evidence they can find, they present it to the public. All members of a community vote on the innocence or guilt of a person as well as their preferred punishment. Capital punishment is outlawed in the Suzerainty and imprisonment is considered an extreme measure only taken in the most reprehensible of circumstances, such as with serial murder or instances of repeat, unrepentant violence. Thus most crimes are punished either through mandatory service to the community or enforced exile.  

Diplomacy

The Suzerainty formally holds no singular diplomatic stance toward anyone. Each community within the Suzerainty is free to form alliances, make trade deals, or otherwise set their relationships with outsiders. In practice, the majority of communities agree on most major matters, setting a de facto diplomatic stance for the entire Suzerainty. They view most other nations as imperialistic and authoritarian, enforcing unjust hierarchies and power imbalances to some degree or another. While the coercive power structure of the Daren Hegemony may be less restrictive than those of the Confederation of Doflein Realms, they are no less harmful and undesirable.   The disdain expressed by the Suzerainty is mostly returned by other empires, none more so than the Heshian Syndicate. The Syndicate views the Suzerainty's rejection of wealth as anathema to their own beliefs and they regularly work to discredit the Suzerainty across the Sora. They refuse to trade with the Suzerainty and pressure the other empires to do the same, offering favorable trade deals in exchange. They paint citizens of the Suzerainty as lacking freedom, doomed to live basic, unfulfilling lives without the hope to better oneself where hard work is neither appreciated nor rewarded. The Syndicate also regularly interferes with realms attempting to become protectorates, offering to build soraports on their worlds at significantly favorable deals compared to their normal operations if they withdraw from the Suzerainty.   Of the major empires, it is only the Kamakari Mandate that the majority of the Suzerainty has a favorable view of and, even there, the prevailing sentiment is that the Mandate ignores its non-kamakari citizens to a harmful degree. The Mandate also has a decently positive view of the Suzerainty as well, considering it the closest to them as is possible for a nation without psionic citizens.   The most important diplomatic affairs of the Suzerainty are internal, between the full communities of the Union and the protectorates. In general, the Union allows its protectorates to behave as they please, as long as they do nothing considered utterly vehement (such as practicing slavery). It realizes that fully adopting the Ikengchai Way cannot happen overnight and cannot be forced, as even those who are oppressed can be resistant to change or find it difficult to adjust to a new mode of life. However, any protectorate which appears to be regressing or not making a good faith effort to progress put themselves at risk of being expelled by popular vote.  

Territory

The territory of the Suzerainty can be grouped into two categories: the Miorangian Union and the Tanzit Protectorates. The Union consists of those core realms which follow the Ikengchai Way entirely. This comprises 56 major realms and 128 minor realms, most of which are colonies of Miorangian settlers. A total of 18 major realms and 32 minor realms were originally sovereign entities which were accepted into the Suzerainty as protectorates, then adopted the Ikengchai Way to become full members of the Union. The remaining 110 major realms and 134 minor realms belong to 73 protectorates, ranging from the 12 world strong Republic of Vants to the tiny Principality of Rhim and Ibich Commonwealth, which share a single minor realm between them. The Suzerainty does not gain new territory through conquest, even considering the protectorates. Instead it grows only when accepting a new protectorate, which has become relatively uncommon in recent decades, or through colonizing newly discovered, uninhabited realms.  

Trade and Economy

Discussing the economy of the Suzerainty is difficult, as each community maintains it own. The Union doesn't use money; all citizens of a community contribute what they can to the needs of that community. People are allowed to choose what work they perform, but receive no direct compensation for it. Instead, everyone in the community receives what they need to live comfortably such as a home, food, clothes, and medical care. Much of the work that is considered undesirable, such as garbage disposal or construction, is performed by undead raised. Many Union communities have zombie street sweepers and skeleton brick layers as common sights. Any job which can be performed through routine and doesn't require significant manual dexterity or creativity is performed by these undead workers. In those communities which lack enough mages to create the undead, the cultural attitudes of the Union ensure someone will pick up work that needs to be done.   Communities trade with each other, typically exchanging goods the other doesn't have. For instance, one community may produce excess food, while a neighboring community is situated over an iron mine. The two agree to trade their excess to one another, ensuring both have what they need. Of course, actual agreements are far more complex than this. Most communities have hundreds, if not thousands, of agreements with other communities that outline specific exchange rates, periods of delivery, and many other details. These agreements often form complex webs, moving raw materials from one community to be refined in another, with the final products being made in yet another.   The Suzerainty engages in little trade with other nations due to the machinations of the Heshian Syndicate. The Syndicate has an embargo against them and has agreements with the Daren Hegemony and Koganusân Kingdom to limit trade with the Suzerainty. The Bláthaofa Kingdom is fairly distant from the Suzerainty, thus trade is limited. It also refuses to deal with the Álfuríki or Confederation of Doflein Realms due to moral objections. Some communities and protectorates have managed to find trade partners, however. The Suzerainty has no use for money, though they may sell goods and then use the money to buy other items to bring back into the Suzerainty.  

Demographics

The majority of Suzerainty inhabitants are goblins, most of them originally from Miorao. They make up 73% of the population, accounting for just over 234 billion individuals. Humans are the second largest demographic, making up roughly 13% of the populace (40.6 billion). Most humans are descendants of the Wandriti natives who were the first protectorates of the Suzerainty, though small numbers come from other realms. The third most populous species are varanid, making up 5.5% (17 billion) of the Suzerainty. Varanid live in small communities throughout the Suzerainty, usually in enclaves within larger Miorangian colonies. Dwarves follow closely behind at 5% (15.5), mostly living within the protectorates rather than the Union. The remaining 4.5% consist of a smattering of other species, most notably a large settlement of doflein who have rejected the totalitarian Confederation of Doflein Realms.   Citizenship in the Suzerainty is fairly loosely defined. The Ikengchai Way mandates an assumption of open borders; individuals are allowed to move between and into communities as they please, including from locations outside of the Suzerainty. A person is considered a citizen of whatever community they live in, which is usually determined by the location of the domicile in which they spend the majority of their time. Legally, an individual is only supposed to be a citizen of a single community, preventing them from engaging in voting in more than one place. For the most part, however, if the citizens of a community are consider an individual to be a member of their community, they are treated as such.  

Languages

Due to the distributed nature of the Suzerainty, there are a large number of languages spoken within its borders. There is no official language and even Miorangian, the native tongue of the Miorangian Union, is spoken by only 46% of the population. Many ethnic Miorangians do not even speak the language, having adopted other tongues throughout the centuries of expansion and settlement. Daren is spoken by 5% of the population, being mostly immigrants from the Hegemony. Other human languages include Aktesan and Kokhwi, both at approximately 3% of the population. Zheguesian is spoken widely among varanid communities, also at 3% of the overall population having fluency. Sálti is the only other language spoken in significant numbers at 2%, mostly by Koganush settlers who remained on worlds reconquered following the Zhian War.  

Religion

Within the Miorangian Union, every person is allowed to worship as they please as long as it does no harm to another. This liberty is one of the core beliefs of the Union and they pass this on to the Suzerainty itself. However, this acceptance does not extend to any religion which engages in coercive activities. Individuals may practice the rites and rituals of such a religion, but any attempt to force another person to follow the religion or keep them in a religion against their will is considered to violate the core precepts of the Ikengchai Way. No nation which practices or allows religious oppression is accepted into the Suzerainty as a protectorate.   Because of this tolerance, hundreds of different religions and pantheons are followed within the Suzerainty. Most worship tends to be fairly relaxed, without strict adherence to scripture or dogma. Religious practice in the resembles folk tradition more than any organized practice, often varying significantly between communities, even between followers of the same religion. In truth, individual communities tend to have their doctrines gradually syncretize and become virtually indistinguishable.   If one religion can be claimed to be the most widespread, it is the Miorangian pantheon. Over the centuries, it has absorbed the pantheons of several other realms, though even before this it counted hundreds of gods of various stature. However, only eleven are regularly revered, headed by Yinuo, with Langun holding a position of importance as well. Temples to both can be found in nearly every Miorangian community, with temples to other deities scattered throughout based on local preference.  

Education

Education in the Suzerainty is free to all citizens, but it is not compulsory. Most children attend school from a young age until they reach adulthood. Higher education among adults is less common, but still readily available. Many study only what directly interests them; some drift from subject to subject according to their whims. Since the basic needs of life are guaranteed to all Suzerainty citizens, many take the opportunity to study more chimerical subjects. Others focus entirely on purely practical topics. Most find a medium between the two, sometimes learning less concrete topics and other times pursuing artistic or scientific pursuits.  

Military

The Suzerainty is primarily defended by a highly decentralized volunteer militia. Each community in the Miorangian Union is expected to maintain its own militia, ranging from only a few individuals in the smallest sovereign hamlets to several thousand within large cities. How these militias are organized, maintained, and equipped vary greatly depending on the locally agreed upon methods. Larger militias maintain their own soraships, which provides the Suzerainty with a fleet. Due to the structural nature of the armed forces, determining actual numerical strength is difficult, even for the Suzerainty itself. Estimates have placed the Union fleet's strength at anywhere from 200 soraships to as many as 1000.   The Union forces are supplemented by the armed forces of their protectorates, though it rarely calls on them to assist in anything other than direct defense of the protectorate itself. These supplementary forces can be significant, with the largest fielded by the Republic of Vants, consisting of 23 soraships. However, establishing the total combined strength of the protectorate forces is difficult as well, due to the fact they rarely work directly with one another. The general concensus from experts puts their numbers at no more than 300 ships.   Due to the dispersed nature of the Suzerainty military, it is rather slow to react when attacked. Mustering forces often takes several days, during which invaders have more or less free reign, with only the local community forces able to respond quickly. Additionally, the military lacks a true command structure and relies on improvisation and agreement between the militias of different communities. This means complex plans are difficult for the Suzerainty to execute, but it also makes them difficult to completely defeat. As they lack a central command, it is impossible to take out their leadership.
Type
Geopolitical, Empire
Neighboring Nations

Friendly

Of all the nations in the Sora, the Suzerainty and Mandate are perhaps the most alike in values.

Wariness

The Suzerainty dislikes the regressive monarchy of the Kingdom, but otherwise the two sides find the other relatively inoffensive.

Dislike

The Suzerainty finds the Archive's noninterference decree to be an unjust demand, though the Archive has no strong feelings in return.

Ideological Opponents

While the Suzerainty and Syndicate do not share borders and are relatively distant from one another, their operational outlook is vastly different. The Suzerainty considers the massive income inequality in the Syndicate, as well as their willingness to deal with groups like the Confederation and Hegemony, to be completely immoral. The Syndicate sees the Suzerainty as an existential threat, promoting values that undermine their social hierarchy, and actively make efforts to isolate the Suzerainty economically.

Hostile

The Hegemony sees the Suzerainty as weak and passive, while the Suzerainty hates the Hegemony's imperialistic ways.

Hostile

While not at war, the two neighboring nations have fought in the past and are not friendly.

Hatred

Both sides hold views antithetical to the other.

Hatred

Both sides openly despise the other and are frequently on the edge of war.

Articles under Tanzit Suzerainty



Cover image: by Denis Khusainov

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