From the ashes of the old world, he arose, and the Empire arose with him. The armies of the Aegrus Occisor had moved on, stripping everything of worth from the city and burning most of it to the ground. But the palace was well built from pink marble, and did not burn. It awaited Sulae's arrival, and it did not wait long.
Sulae the First entered the throne room alone - the first of his followers were already with him, but they stayed back. Underneath the great dome, he ascended the steps, and knelt before the throne. There, he beseeched the Jewel - which of the deities will stand with him, and build again what was lost? Which will allow us to rule ourselves, not force us to follow others' whims? Which will let us rise on our merits, and fall from our own weaknesses?
And before him, on the throne, appeared the answer. Kolero, resplendent in long robes of deep red patterned with gold, manifested himself on the throne. Sulae the First, the Great, looked up at the Father. He dared to look into the eyes of the deity, and Kolero was pleased - a man who would lower his eyes in the presence of greatness would only see mediocrity.
And so the Father stood, and told Sulae to rise. Sulae rose, and still had to look up to the Father, as was proper. The father smiled down at him, taking a step forward and resting his hand on Sulae's shoulder. "I will stand by your side while you stand, and I will lift you as you strive for new heights. I will let you make of yourself what you can, for good or for ill."
Sulae the Great smiled up at him, his heart filled with the divine knowledge of the great Father. He pledged himself to build in Kolero's honor, but for his own power. Kolero saw, and decided it was good.
The Emperor is the undisputed ruler of the Empire. His word is law, and while he has a council, they have no authority to override his decisions.
The high governors report to the Emperor and his council, and are appointed by the Emperor himself. the high governors appoint the governors, who rule at the city level.
The people of Sulae are varied, with a mixture of cultures as broad as the width of the Empire. The biggest commonality, spreading from the capital, is a competitiveness unknown to most nations. This both drives innovation, and leads to intrigue and backstabbing among the elite. The higher one rises, the more likely they are to be attacked by knives in the dark, both figurative and literal.
Sulae was founded shortly after The Shattering War. The city had been wiped out years before the end of the war, and was mostly in ruins. The fabled Palace of the Pearl was the only building standing in its entirety, and it was haunted by the ghosts of the royal family that was killed by the Aegrus Occisor. Sulae the First claimed the palace for his own, and established the Empire in the name of Kolero.
Sulae the Second, the Bard, ascended to the throne after the death of his father. He furthered the influence of Kolero, through the establishment of the various colleges of Sulae. The Empire, while still much grander in name than in fact, became a true Empire when they annexed the Kingdom of Savia. By immediately ordering the construction of a Bardic college, they won the loyalty of the Savians.
The Empire continued to grow, swallowing up the various small fiefdoms that had sprung up after the Shattering. Sulae the Seventh, the Oafish, was the first to lose territory. One of the westernmost provinces rebeled and split off from the Empire, its governor declaring it a free state. The Emperor was deemed unfit due to this, and Sulae the Eighth had him arrested, tried, and executed. Sulae the Eighth, the Wrathful, sent his armies to burn the breakaway province from one end to the other. Few survived, and favored members of the court swooped in to establish new claims.
The current Emperor, Sulae the Mighty, the One Hundred and First, has expanded more than any before him. While he has never seen the furthest stretches, and knows little about them, he continues to push to grow and consume more and more.
Demography and Population
The Empire is primarily a human one, with humans making up over 90% of the population in the capital city and surrounding areas. The farther from the capital one goes, the more diverse the areas become, although no cities larger than 25,000 people are human minority. Every governor, and almost every member of the bureaucracy, are human.
The total population of the Empire as of 888 Af. is approximately 62 million sapient beings. The total breakdown is:
The further from Sulae or New Sulae one gets, the more likely non-humans are in residence.
The Empire is in full control of the lands south of the Empire of the Storm, from the eastern coast of Helion to the Spring River, with the exception of the Hydra Swamps. They claim dominion over the swamps, but do not exert any actual control over the area.
They are currently occupying the easternmost reaches of the Plains of Devenir. For the most part, they have been uncontested in the area, although they are encroaching closer to the populated areas, and war is expected.
The official religion of Sulae is the worship of Kolero. In keeping with Kolero's teachings, no one is forced into worship, although members of the bureaucracy and leadership of Sulae are all at least nominal part of the League.
The worship of Shimin is a common one in Sulae, especially among the military and the westernmost stretches of the Empire. Several governors, most notably the governor of New Sulae, are rumored to be followers of Shimin, but they continue to publicly worship Kolero, and have not been brought to task for this.
Agriculture & Industry
The Empire has a varied economy, and with its size is mostly self sufficient. The southern, coastal regions are known for their fishing, pearls, and spices. Maize, wheat, and tubers are grown throughout the central regions. The coast around the swamps primarily grows rice, sugar cane, and fruit.
In the hills in eastern end of the Empire, south of the Fecund and Fertile Valleys, are a number of mines. Coal, iron, copper, and tin were common, and open pits leading to networks of tunnels were scattered across the landscape. Silver, gold, platinum, and gems were rare, but still a source of massive wealth.
Trade & Transport
The largest trading partner are the people of the Children and northern Tethys. Trade is done either by ship, or across the Seven Bridges.
Within the Empire, extensive roads connect all cities of notable size. These roads have been repeatedly paved with rock from the mines, and are now densely packed stone and dirt. Carriages and wagons can travel quickly along these roads, and internal trade away from the coasts follow all of the roads. The roads do not connect to any other nations, so trade between nations is not as common, and is done by ships leaving the closest port.
There is an extensive network of teleportation circles throughout, although it costs to use them. The cheapest way is to go to a circle, and pay the cost to travel from there. The cost is based on distance, with a trip from Sulae to New Sulae or back costing 10 gold Suleums per humanoid and 50 per beast of burden to pass through. These are scheduled trips, where people line up to pass through, and are rigidly adhered to to ensure that competing castings do not interfere with each other. An unscheduled trip, such as a person not part of the network opening a portal to one of the circles, is very expensive. These circles are all contained inside buildings that prevent easy movement once through, and are manned with iron golems prepared to hold anyone unauthorized travelers. The travelers will be questioned as to why they have entered in that manner; if the answer is sufficient, then they are charged a minimum of 100 Suleums each, although costs of 1000 Suleums or more is not unheard of. Refusal or inability to pay is considered a crime worthy of imprisonment and labor to repay all fees.
Education is a point of pride for the Empire. There are extensive schools throughout - Bardic Colleges, Wizard Academies, and general schools of all types. All citizens are expected to at least learn basic literacy, which means enough to read the simplified edicts that are posted for consumption. Most people have the opportunity to get more schooling than that, although the type of school and the amount available is tightly controlled - children of farmers can receive education in farming techniques, but it is incredibly rare that they would be allowed to attend a military academy, for example.
By My Own Hands
- New Sulae
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