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 The Empire: Overview

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PostSubject: The Empire: Overview   Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:07 am

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The Empire is a collection of formerly independent countries, provinces, states, tribes, cities, and otherwise that have been bound together through diplomacy or war. Managed by a central government composed of a reformed council containing all the best minds in the Empire who rule over certain aspects of daily life, however, even this council is second only to the Emperor himself - a being who is required to be stripped of all previous names, titles, and other worldly possessions so that he or she may rule to the best of their ability. Through the imperial authority of both the Emperor and the Council, the Empire boasts to be one of the last bastion for true freedom away from persecution of class, race, field of study, or any other classification. The Empire also claims to be the eternal enemy to the Alfar Dominion and their Concordic gods and plans to wage war upon them until they have won or until the Empire is no more. Though, recent treaties have called the Empire and its enemies to a very, very fragile ceasefire.

Since the foundation of the Empire, thousands have come to its borders to seek this promised life of freedom away from persecution, attracted by the stories of mythical victories and the glory of the Emperor. By and large, these pilgrims are Tieflings from Occitan, Sanctimonia, Sida, and Pycheko, though there are others that come as well. The occasional Vampire or cultist of a taboo religion also make their way to Maalik. In recent months, this has become more and more difficult, with a trade embargo locking down sea routes to the nation, and all land routes crossing through hostile territories.

The Empire is a greatly youthful nation, formed in the midst of war and disaster, and forged from many disparate peoples; as a result, the Empire has not yet by any means achieved its full potential. The land of Maalik alone contains plentiful bounties; further conquered territory, properly managed, would make the Empire an industrial powerhouse like anything in the western nations. As it stands, however, the youth of the nation works against it. The name of the Empire is despised in many corners. Its use of demons to persecute its wars is unacceptable in the eyes of Sanctimonia; others simply believe that the growing power of the Empire means that they must fight or die. The Empire has few allies, and fewer friends.

Structure of the Empire

The Empire is structured as a highly centralized, autocratic state wherein all power, political, administrative, or martial, is invested in the single divine figure of the Emperor, who then affords and invests power in those beneath him. Within the confines of the Empire, no organization, administration, or legislative body holds authority without the confidence of the Emperor; the right to govern itself is drawn from his will.

The Emperor

The Emperor is the supreme head of state in the Empire of Maalik, a unity of uncontested sovereign and supreme deity in the Empire. Once the Tiefling mortal Marcus Olm, sometime during the invasion of Sarkun by the Kingdom of Sanctimonia he ascended by unknown means to divinity. While Marcus Olm had been a person of great influence in the old order, having possession over both Muhsin and Qadir and a great popularity in both cities, his influence has done nothing but increase until the figure of the Emperor – Hero, King, and Supreme God – looms over every aspect of life within the Empire. What was once admiration has evolved into state-sanctioned worship; his personal influence over Muhsin and Qadir has evolved into an unrestricted authority over every aspect of the Empire and its citizens, including their lives.

The Emperor is the apex of authority in the Empire, possessing within his form both the head of state, commander in chief, head of government, and God. All other branches of Imperial bureaucracy answer to the Emperor, who with his divine powers often takes the time to physically be present in multiple locations at once to meet with his Prefects, Vicars, or Governors, or to command the armies personally. He often takes special interest in specific issues, often manifesting in a terrible divine form to destroy the enemies of the Empire.

The Prefects and the Imperial Council

Directly beneath the Emperor in authority and responsibility – though not praise – are the Prefects, each of whom lead an entire branch of Imperial Bureaucracy. Most of the Prefectures were formed following the dissolution of the first Council of Maalik, when the majority of the Council voted to ascend Marcus Olm to the position of Emperor in August of 791, with the exception of the Prefecture of the Shield, which was technically formed with the creation of the  Guard. The latest Prefectures to be formed is the Prefecture of the Sight, which was formed only in the last weeks of December 791, and the Prefecture of the Coin, which was inaugurated midway through January 792. Given the youth of the Empire and each of these offices, appointments are oft to change as the Empire acquires better men to serve in these offices.

All of the Prefectures save the Prefecture of the Sight and Coin were conceived of and initially formed by Naji Qusay, Governor of Fadilla, who was appointed the task to renovate the function of the newly formed Empire. With severe limitations in every field, Naji Qusay has performed admirably in his duty.

The Prefects themselves form the current Imperial Council, the day-to-day governing body of the Empire. While distance impedes consistent direct meetings, through the Council the vast machinery that makes up the function of the Empire is administered. The Imperial Council also holds the singular legislative power within the Empire apart from the Emperor, invested with the authority to vote upon changes to the structure or the civil or criminal laws of the Empire. With a simple majority vote, these changes can be brought about solely within the authority of the Council - at the review of the Emperor. While the Emperor holds unquestioned veto power over any and all decisions the Council may deign to make, often the Emperor will let these trusted civil servants run things on their own, occasionally stepping in should a subject interest him or should the Prefects desire his greater input.

The current Prefectures and their Prefects are;

  • The Prefecture of the Land; Naji Qusay

    The Prefecture of the Land deals with the administration, allocation, and utilization of the Empire's natural resources. Prior to the reforms of January 792, the Prefecture of the Land directly oversaw production. Now, as the reforms take effect, the Prefecture simply oversees the granting of land to independant bodies, monitors the level of production and the allocation of certain goods via Imperial Edict, such as weapons and food. This Prefecture also closely monitors the agrarian situation of the Empire, as famine is a present and constant concern.

  • The Prefecture of the Sword; Abd Al-Rahman

    The Prefecture of the Sword administers the affairs of the Empire's mortal army, overseeing the draft and more volunteer recruitment efforts. This Prefecture oversees the details of troop deployment, rationing, and equipment, and thus works with the Prefecture of the Land to allocate proper materials.

  • The Prefecture of the Faith; Sar Sin-muballit

    The Prefecture of the Faith is concerned with the spiritual matters of the Empire, most specifically the growth and management of the state-mandated Imperial Cult. The Prefecture of the Faith is tasked with the development of Imperial rhetoric, and conducts rallies drumming up support for the Empire. These events can take simultaneously a secular and religious role, as this Prefecture often is involved in the recruitment of the Empire's higher offices, such as the Guard and Imperial Intelligence, while also aiding the army.

  • The Prefecture of the Scale; Jakar Nezul

    The Prefecture of the Scale is tasked with the administration of justice and the keeping of the peace within the Empire. Overseen by mysterious Judges, these figures ensure that the standards of morality and discipline as mandated by Imperial Law are kept within a tolerable level. This Prefecture is also concerned with the managment of the civilian Marshals and Constubalaries, who, in peace, form the martial arm of the law, including the seizure of criminals.

  • The Prefecture of the Shield; Gerald Alderman

    The Prefecture of the Shield is the office concerned with the management of the Guard, managing their deployment, recruitment, training, and equipment. In some ways, this Prefecture is merely a formality, as many of the Guard's affairs are managed directly by the Emperor or higher level Guard members. Few in the Empire would deny any of the Guard's orders.

  • The Prefecture of the Sight; Samsu-iluna

    The Prefecture of the Sight conducts the training and recruitment of the next generation of magical scholars and sorcerers, as well as the management of the newly rechristened Imperial Arcaneum. This Prefecture also oversees the arcane endeavors of the Empire as a whole, more specifically the perfection of the Emperor's form and other matters which are considered utterly secret.

  • The Prefecture of the Coin; Ibrahim Abd Al-Hamid

    The newest of the Prefectures, the Prefecture of the Coin was split off of the Prefecture of the Land following the reforms of January 792. This Prefecture concerns itself with the management of Imperial finances, including the Emperor's personal treasury, trade deals, taxation, and funding for other branches of the Imperial Bureaucracy.

The Guard

Below that of the Council, and arguably above it in some aspects, is the might of the Emperor’s elite Guard. Tasked with the protection of the Empire’s more important assets, imposing strict discipline, eliminating corruption within the upper echelons of the Imperial Court, and assisting local authorities and Imperial Intelligence whenever needed, the Guard each share a unique connection to the Emperor himself. The Guard itself is superficially managed by the Prefecture of the Shield, which handles requisition, and the Guard is represented in the Imperial Council by merit of two Senior Agents serving as Prefects of the Sword and Shield. While this gives them direct influence into the legislation of the Empire, ostensibly the Guard could be outvoted by a 5-2 vote.

Current Supreme Commander of the Guard: Zalkoth Visz

The Vicars

The Vicars are a step below the administrative units of the Prefects, and represent the greatest expanse of land a single person can be responsible for in the Empire – save the Emperor. Vicars rule over clusters of Provinces, and receive reports from Governors concerning the needs of the Provinces. There is no Vicar of Maalik, as the Emperor prefers to meet with the Governors of Maalik directly as of yet.

  • The Vicar of Sarkun

    The Vicar of Sarkun is a probationary role filled by a young but bright Aranek named Chicxulu. As one of Chalcatu’s nephews, the Emperor chose to honor his fallen ally by appointing one of his kin a title. As of yet, Chicxulu is meeting with a number of regional Aranek leaders in the north, to choose among them Governors and try to both encourage greater integration with the larger Empire, as well as cement his legitimacy as Vicar.

  • The Vicar of Ever-Rain

    The Vicar of Ever-Rain is the only Vicar which functions as the title was imagined to. Being in control of a working nation turned into a system of provinces, the Vicar is able to manage the Governors and bring issues to the Emperor directly. The Vicar of Ever-Rain is the former Khan of Kalimantan, Suwardi Suryaningrat, previously the largest nation in the Ever-Rain Isles. Although Suwardi himself is not an extremely strong supporter of the Emperor, he is a believer in the unity the Empire brings. Suwardi believes that the course of history is with the Empire, being a restoration of the Empire of the Summin-Nin. Suwardi, thus, has been nothing but cooperative to the Empire’s demands, and has been allowed to attain Vicarship of the entire land of Ever-Rain.

  • The Vicar of Estivon

    Like the Vicar of Sarkun, the Vicar of Estivon is a probationary role, as only one province has been created out of lower Estivon. A vampire by the name of Samuel Wilt, his existence has been kept a secret as of yet, to avoid upsetting the local populace who still think annexation by the Empire would be a betrayal of the fight against the Dominion.

The Governors

The Governors are the regional leaders of the Empire, in every case elected from existing rulers from the annexed lands. The Governors are meant to act as a connection between the average citizen and the vast, seemingly unapproachable Emperor. While many local rulers are appeased by this continuance of authority, in many ways their power would be diminished, and their sovereignty is removed. Even the Governors would need to approach the vast bureaucracy of the Prefectures or their Vicar to seek some sort of aid from the Empire. However, given the extreme youth of the Empire, the Prefectures have not yet been able to fully expand into the Provinces in any meaningful way, meaning that the Governors largely maintain their lands just as they did before, just with Imperial protection. This is expected to change over time, with the passage of the Reforms of January 792, a series of legislative reforms designed to loosen the economic control by the Imperial Bureaucracy, increase economic output, and lessen the burden upon the Prefecture of the Land.

Last edited by Pat on Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:22 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Empire: Overview   Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:09 am

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The history of the meteoric rise of the Empire is one that is both clouded by the mystery of time and deliberately obfuscated by the apparatus of the Empire itself, whose foundation rests upon a pervasive national myth centering upon the mysterious figure of the Emperor, and the chaos of the year 791. Those who were in a position to know the truth about the Emperor’s rise have either been exiled, expunged, or themselves now support the cause of the Empire - no matter what they were witness to in its infant days. The vast majority of the Empire seems more than willing to accept the official story penned by the fanatics of the Prefecture of the Faith - either ignorant enough or simply trusting enough to believe.

The true origins of the figure known as the Emperor are with a convicted murderer named Marcus Olm, formerly a bounty hunter plying his trade within and around the city of Surna, Sanctimonia. For a great many years, Marcus coveted the darker secrets of demons, and the power of Hell which, as a Tiefling, flowed in his blood. In tutelage to a Lich named ‘Mirage’, he made his first forays into the power forbidden him by the Sanctimonian state - the pursuit of Demonology. In one of his first summonings, he made a Blood Pact with a demon, a Reviler, a cunning breed of demon who delighted in taking the form of others. To this demon he signed away the life of Commander of the Surna Guard David Halberry, in return for greater power.

Marcus’s first foray into the power of the demons severely backfired, and instead of power, he was left to die, his hands bloodied with the murder of Halberry. Marcus was imprisoned and sentenced to death for his crimes; but instead he slipped the grasp of justice with the aid of the Archivists of Light, whom secretly provided an illusory doppelganger to ‘die’ in his place. And so for the next several months, he hid under the auspices of the Archivists, appointed with studying the secrets of Demonology further. Only weeks after his brush with death, he leapt headfirst into the pursuit of darker power once more.

After weeks of waiting, Marcus managed to make progress towards his goal. Using a fake suit of Stygian, he managed to attract the attention of a Cult of Bane, whom he offered his services to. After proving himself by arranging the murders of a pair of Archivists, he was permitted entrance to this secretive cult, operating out of an isolated town in the southern stretches of the Talibarian Remnant. There, he made his desire clear - he wished to commune directly with Bane and offer his service, in exchange for power. With time, he finally managed to pay the price of an audience with Bane, and it is here, truly, that Marcus entered into a dark pact from which there was no turning back. Bane made him his Champion, with all the associated rights and powers therein, in return for a series of tasks, of which one stood above the rest - the creation of a Tower, a Tainted Spire, connected to Bane, to allow him power and influence that had been denied him. With this new power and the price looming above his head, Marcus turned his eyes to Maalik for the first time.

It is well known that Maalik was and has been a land of rivalry and strife. The attempts by any ruler to establish a hegemony over other states had been eternally blocked, stymied by an endless power struggle. Maalik itself was built upon the backs of ten thousand slaves and more, and this, more than perhaps anything else, established the foundation for Marcus’ ascension. Through his newfound, raw power, and a tenacity which drove him to dare fate itself to stop him, Marcus orchestrated a massive slave uprising in Muhsin, the largest slave-holding state, while simultaneously inspiring a populist Tiefling movement in Qadir. Within a matter of weeks, Marcus had placed himself in control of two out of seven city-states. The other city-states looked on in mistrust, anger, and more than a little fear. Even as Muhsin and Qadir emerged from the ashes of revolution, however, Marcus, along with his newfound allies in Atiya and Saffiyah, announced the creation of a pan-Maalikan Council, to which all state leaders were invited.

The Council was envisioned - at least, in Marcus’s words -  as an open forum for increased inter-state cooperation within the Maalik sphere of influence. In effect, however, the Council was designed as a way for the ascendant Marcus Olm to exert increasing measures of influence upon the Maalik city-states as a whole. From early on, he adopted a role of leadership, attempting to guide the Council as a de facto Chairman. Despite resistance, eventually the Council became just that - a collection of supporters, cronies, or otherwise kowtowed members threatened into submission. Anyone that even harbored ambitions of independence or, even worse, thoughts of sedition, were marginalized and eventually killed or removed. The first of these was the venerable Shah of Rashid, Sulaiman Perish, who openly questioned Marcus’ newfound authority.

It was during this period of ascension and political intrigue that Marcus continued the work of his true master, Bane, who ordered the elimination of a well-known Drider, Shelob Razel, herself the wife of the infamous hero of Aeria’s past, Thorn Razel. Through connections to a commune of Vampires, the deed was done - and in so doing, sowing the seeds of what was to come. For the ageless warrior and Banespawn was very much alive, and, after learning of the death of his wife, committed himself to vengeance. He made contact with the Shah of Rashid, and, after devising a method for Thorn to escape Hell, planned to remove the troublesome Tiefling.

The assassination attempt, against all odds, failed, and Marcus retaliated by striking the Shah in his home of Rashid with a contingent of demons entrusted to him by Bane. In revenge against the Shah, who fled soon after their arrival, Marcus conquered the entire city, purging a portion of its populace, and enslaving the rest. When Marcus was done, the city was emptied, left as an hollowed monument to the depths Marcus was willing to go in order to punish his enemies and ensure his power.

The subjugation of Rashid polarized the Council. The few remaining independent delegates - Adrahal of Tisuuk and Naji Qusay XII were horrified, while the newly arrived Ha’dri delegation, having apparently discovered the looming construction and soon-to-be complete Tower, declared their intent to resist. However, Chalcatu, the nephew of the reigning High Shaman of the Im’posi League, was impressed, and over the next few weeks, forged an alliance of power between the two of them, as Chalcatu usurped his Uncle’s role as High Shaman by right of honorable combat, pledging a more unified Im’posi League to Marcus’ cause. It was not long after this that Marcus would finally eschew all attempts to appease the rulers of Maalik; and, in a session of the Council, declared his ‘nomination’ for the position of a unified, monarchical ruler over all the states of Maalik - the Emperor of Maalik. Using his alliance with Atiya and Saffiyah, and his own control over two states, Marcus had already amassed more votes than could have ever been brought against him. Thus, with the further support of Fadilla and Chalcatu, Marcus became the Emperor of Maalik.

His newfound power in his grasp, he then brazenly made a voyage into Hell, where he sought out Bane in the ‘flesh’. Coming upon a titanic battle between the Blight and Bane’s Spawn, he impressed the Tyrant enough to grant him his wish - a new Pact, and a unique artifact - an addition to an ebonbone blade gifted to him by Mirage, tainting it with the unfiltered blood of Sylornath, creating the Blade of Sylornath.

More and more during this period, Marcus embarked upon aggressive, expansionist movements, the most prominent of which was the expedition to Estivon, where he made contact with the ‘Lord of the Forests’, the Prince of the Hunt, Voar, and arranged the first movements which would eventually lead to the freedom of Estivon and the expulsion of the Dominion rule.
It was while he was on this expedition that the long-delayed penalty for his crimes finally came. Masquerading as one of Bane’s Spawn, Thorn Razel managed to infiltrate Marcus’ palace in Muhsin and murder his wife, Morigen Esmer, and kidnap his son, Marius Olm, in revenge for his own wife’s murder. It was only a few weeks later that his freshly unified nation was at war on every front. Arriving in a hidden fleet off the southern coast, a Sanctimonian invasion force 55,000 strong had arrived, with the aid of more than seven million Ha’dri in open revolt, intent upon destroying the Tainted Spire before it reached completion.

The struggle was bloody beyond measure. Every city in Maalik soon fell under seige by the Ha’dri. Adrahal of Tisuuk organized an open revolt in his province, while demons and a single Archangel wrestled for control of the coasts. Thousands of Sanctimonians died in the initial landings, but Aqil. Rashid, and Qadir were all taken captive, and Chalcatu was possessed following the use of an ancient To’mire mask containing an unknown soul. Marcus himself fell back towards the Tower, pursued by the returned Shah and Thorn Razel. What resulted was a desperate struggle that would completely change the course of the world with its conclusion. Facing the ascension of Bane as the Tower activated, Marcus betrayed his former master with a hasty alliance with his hated enemy, and after an exhaustive fight, the two managed to slay the Prince of Tyranny, the Bane of Aeria. In the chaos that followed, Thorn agreed to let Marcus claim Bane’s soul and thus, his divinity.

Outside, thousands died. The Ha’dri assaulted the Tower in waves of thousands or tens of thousands. But the act was done, and a secret, bloody compromise made between the two enemies. Thorn appeared to the Ha’dri and convinced them to leave - a lie which may have cost the Ha’dri thousands more.

In the weeks to come, the increasingly monstrous Marcus - who had taken to calling himself simply ‘The Emperor’ - waged unrestricted war against the Sanctimonian invaders, driving them back to the coast, and the unrepentant Had’ri left behind. Over the next few weeks, Marcus - the Emperor - began a relentless purge of the Ha’dri race, killing almost a million more. It was Thorn himself who finally arranged for the end of the killing, convincing the Ha’dri to end their fighting and leave for the safety of Sanctimonia, and Marcus himself to allow them to leave.

Whether this newborn divine, this self-proclaimed Emperor, had lost his humanity, or truly believed in what he was - increasingly, the apparatus of this Empire of Maalik - this Empire of Sarkun - this EMPIRE - began to build a cult of personality around this man, inspiring the fanatic worship of thousands. More and more who Marcus was vanished beneath the propaganda, the story, the brilliance of the divine Emperor who could do no wrong. With the immense armies now under his control, the Emperor began the annexation of Ever-Rain at the tip of a sword, and initiated a brutal invasion of Sida.

In his ascension, however, he had inherited the burdens of his predecessor, including the war against the Blight. By the mere fact that he was not Bane, he managed to convince the remaining free Archfiends of an alliance of equals - disturbingly similar to the first ‘intent’ of the Council - against the expanse of Bane. And just like before, he sought allegiance to himself, personally - selling the souls of the land of Sida itself to the hunger of Sionath, Prince of Torment, and Vayrath, Prince of Envy. On December 14th, at the head of 40,000 demons each, these Archfiends began the bloody conquest of Sida with the total annihilation of the city of Patmos, the butcher, torture, rape, and wholesale slaughter of its inhabitants. Next to fall was Kirrukh, and Pashtan, whose entire populace fled for the open desert while their defenders remained behind, hoping to hold off the horrors just long enough to save the rest. On the 20th, he urged these Princes onward to the capital, to severe the head of the entire nation and leave it defenseless. As they marched, he then unleashed a series of virulent plagues upon half a dozen major cities, infecting thousands, while simultaneously assassinating the Sultan of Nasii, whilst murdering the Sultan of Torah’s entire family.

The people of Sida were not ready to surrender to their fate, however, and thousands rallied to the defense of their people. It was the Archivists, who had first spared this man who became the Emperor, and the venerable Demon Hunters, who struck first. They ambushed Sionath’s army in the open desert and decimated it with mage-fire and the infamous Gun’iib Sakneed, the Sand Worms. The Demon Hunters moved in to take the soul of the Prince of Torment, only to suddenly be set upon by the Emperor himself. This, however, was where he made his mistake. In entering into open combat against a creed of warriors whose natural prey was the demon, and whose abilities he knew nothing of, he overextended himself and was gravely wounded. What’s more, the master of the Hunters reached into his soul and ripped open a void, cursing his soul with a wasting cancer, before the Emperor could escape. This would be the first loss the Empire faced, but a loss which struck at the very heart of the Empire.

Regardless of his defeat and the retreat from the conquest of Sida, he has nonetheless continued his campaign against his enemies,orchestrating the widespread release of disease across Sanctimonia as well. While the details of the peace that followed are common, recent knowledge, it has shown that the man-become-Emperor is on a single track towards his goals - whatever they may truly be. It is unknown whether the man, Marcus Olm, has been subsumed beneath this new persona, this new identity as the Emperor, but already a trail of destruction has been left behind a thousand thousand bodies wide. It can be assumed that the Emperor is by no means finished in his conquest - his reshaping - of the world.
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