Haedrasia and the Unchallenged City
Heart of empire, might of empire, fastness of the Imperator Eternal, seat of the earthly Divhi. The province of Haedrasia and the Unchallenged City might well be one and the same, because nothing in the capitol is not governed by the sprawling metropolis of golden rigidity that lounges at its heart, and all roads lead to the Unchallenged City. And along those roads throng towns and villages and vast plantations, growing fat and rich on the tide of wealth that ebbs and flows from the city.

Tech Code: 6
Governments: Totalitarian theocratic dominion administered by the Watch King and the Arch-Primate of Haedrasia.
Religions: Imperatry Temple
Industries and Trades: Trade with the Empire, weapons and armour, horses, agriculture (hemp, beef & dairy, wheat, flour), cloth and textiles.
Major Terrain: Flatlands, City
Primary Languages: Low Haedrasian, Cant.
Major Settlements: Ambaba, Cidetes, Haes, Kurin, Lucritio, Nakustra, Ottica, Quentabali, Tursis, Unchallenged City, Vantinius, Zulamis.

Geography


Physical Geography

The province of Haedrasia is one of the smallest territories in all of the Empire, sitting almost at the very centre of the Haedrasian lands. Haedrasia is a narrow band of rich pastoral plains, once roamed by herds of mustangs, but now defined by orderly settlements, imposing outposts, paved roads and neat rows of corn, hemp, barley and wheat. When an outsider pictures Haedrasia, it is the clement golden plains of the capitol province that they see. Pastoral, comfortable, rich lands, given to an almost uncanny sense of order and uniformity that borders on the unnatural. In Haedrasia the crops grow just a little straighter. The plains are a little flatter. The riverbanks a little more regular. The weather a little more predictable. As if even the spirits of the land bow to Imperial bureaucracy.

The core of the Imperatry Plains, beyond the mark of civilization there is little to distinguish the landscape of Haedrasia. In the west the land rises gently, and the Zulamani Hills are densely shrouded with orchards and rustling bamboo groves. Shallow brooks babble through the valleys, while white willows dip their long roots into the cool water. Deeper pools form in the higher lands, swelling in the rainy winter and spring months, and retreating to leave muddy banks bare in summer and autumn. Small forest areas are kept for game and timber, tended carefully by the small forester communities that make their living logging and hunting.

In the centre and east of the province the lands are almost completely flat. The floodplains of the Rivers Liceas and Umbra, which drain from the various waterways in the hills, wear living clothes of gold and green that shimmer in the breeze. Vast tracts of land are left bare for horses to run, where the tall grasses are trampled into broad avenues by the passing of hooves, and where dromah herds so large that they seem to stretch to the horizon graze. The Liceas and Umbra themselves are shallow and silty, and their banks are wide, broad and sandy. Though they are difficult to navigate, and fish are few and small, the barges that ply these waters carrying goods from town to town are still the lifeblood of the province.

An of course there are the great cities, all of which prove willing to invest in repair and rebuilding over expansion, making each of the great cities a clean, modern example of landsman civilization, and a testament to the wealth and influence of the empire. Protected by their castras - marvels of military technology - and each with a parade ground to house visiting legions, the settlements themselves are austere rows of mustard brick, divided by carefully planned streets, into blocks of almost militant equality, broken only by the indomitable magnificence of the temple of Haederas.

Political Geography

The centre of the Haedrasian Empire is the very epitome of everything the Empire is - a microcosm of Haedrasia as a whole. A militant theocracy serving an earthy divine, ruled over by his bloodline. An absolutist dictatorship, where favour with the Imperator, loyalty and piety, not heredity are the path to power. Ruled over by the Temple of Haederas, nominally governed by Haederas himself, the day to day governance of the empire is entrusted to the Imperator, who makes his home alongside Haederas in the Unchallenged City. All other members of the Imperatry bloodline are confined, on pain of death, to Royal Haedrasia, including his heirs, so all stations of any import are appointed by the Imperator from amongst the clergy.

All of these key roles are based in the Unchallenged City, and all of them have their own factions supporting them, and in turn supported by them, as under-priests quarrel and vie for favour, office, and recognition, be it through back room dealings, displays of devotion, or feats of statesmanship. The three branches of government under the Imperator each have a single overlord, with the King of Swords commanding the legions, the King of Souls seeing to the temple and the theocracy, and the Lictor Supreme overseeing the feared secret police. The province itself is then administered by an Arch-Primate, and each major settlement has a primate, who administers the settlement. Paladins under the command of the King of the Watch both see to the Imperator's personal security, and also assist the legions, forming a smaller, satellite branch of the theocracy that attaches itself to the greater branches as needed, and also dictates the security of the Imperator, and of Haederas, exclusively. All elements of the theocracy directly serves one of these branches, with legal and economic matters being handled by the temple alongside those more spiritual matters that would be their purview to in other lands.

In addition, much of the economic power in the province is divided between the Great Houses. Confined to Royal Haedrasia, the royal line induct outsiders into their extended family to form mercantile concerns that then compete with one another, extending the imprisoned royal family's reach and giving them something to involve themselves in without breaching their imprisonment. Of the seven great houses, all make a token presence in the capitol, but Grey House, Orange House, and Yellow House are undoubtedly the only contenders for a substantial presence, and they are cut-throat in their competition. Though no known member of a Great House can hold an office in the temple, there can be little doubt that they have purchased the loyalty of agents throughout government, and rooting them out has proven difficult, even for the fabled lictors.

The Garrison

No one has ever even attempted to lay siege to the Unchallenged City, and no unfriendly army has ever entered her walls, however the definition of friendly has changed on occasion while armies are in her bounds. Even the most crazed and megalomaniacal of despots would never dream of attempting to assail Haedrasia the city. All the men in the world would not be enough to bring down the seat of the immortal Divhi-Imperator and his regime. Yet still a massive military presence is maintained in and around the city, not least of all in the form of the faithful of the War Divhi. Every citizen of Haedrasia serves in her armies, and only citizens are allowed to live in the bounds of the Unchallenged City, thus the Imperator can raise a drilled and well-trained and equipped army from among the populace numbering over seventy thousand able bodied men before he even begins to assemble his regular army.

While most powerful rulers have their own formidable personal guard whose reputation alone acts as a kind of security the Imperator Haedrian has no such thing. His strongest soldiers, the Imperator’s Paladins, are charged with keeping the eternal city, and are more focused on keeping people away from Haederas, the semi-divine Imperator is formidable enough that he settles for whatever regular guard are maintaining the palace.

Setting Trait (3): An Earthly Divhi Few religions can point to a land, a city, a building, a room where their divine patron sits. Not figuratively, but literally, in the flesh, contemplating the universe with divine scope only he can comprehend upon a great throne. And so few can truly say what impact that has on the psychology of the Divhi-Imperator's faithful. Certainly one cannot doubt, or deny a faith where the Divhi can be viewed by the public on special holy days. And nor can one challenge that the regime that serves him truly speaks with the voice of Haederas' will.

Social Geography

There are precious few subject peoples in the capitol province - more naturally than by design, as subjects simply don't have the means to live in this wealthy region. A small irino in the Unchallenged City is the only substantial subject community. This means that labour in the capitol is almost entirely done by Haedrasians, and this in turn has resulted in a growing middle class of highly skilled labourers and farmers working small properties, or else communally renting larger areas for brahma or horses. Because a Haedrasian majority is common to most of the central provinces this is not unnusual, but the comparative wealth of even the lower classes is uncommon, and combined with high Imperial taxes, this has resulted in public programmes on an unprecedentedly grand scale. And minor government office being attainable by even the simplest of common citizen. Truly it is not hard, if one does not venture to the borderlands, to see Haedrasia as a beacon of freedom and civilization to the rest of the world.

However the people of the capitol pay a price for their prosperity beyond the much-maligned exciseman's toll. Nowhere in Haedrasia, save perhaps in the tense cities of Royal Haedrasia, is the draconic and totalitarian rule of the Imperator so apparent. Even the smallest township is policed by a cadre of armed veterans, who are empowered to turn to force at the slightest provocation, and do so frequently. Punishments for even minor crimes are heavy, and priests levy fines and enforce sentences, all the while taking a grim pride in the rigidity of their enforcements.

The people don't bemoan their lot however. The Imperatry Temple teaches them that though one many may be strong, many are stronger. The people are assured that so long as they obey, the can only benefit by the Empire's protection. And with all that the Imperator gives them, where Haedrasia prospers, so do its citizens.

History


Timeline

YED -204 Haederas and Malar come to Neuboula to meet with the Kelorn Orators. Haederas is offered a piece of land where the Unchallenged City now stands.
YED 0 The cornerstone of the Eternal Palace is laid.
YED 232 The Lausian uprising is put down, the Imperator's heirs begin to be imprisoned in Royal Haedrasia.

YED 1364 Aulandor Rage imprisons Haederas and founds the Magocracy.
YED 1450 Rage dies. Marius Augustin retakes the Unchallenged City from the Fourteen-Hundred and refounds the Haedrasian Empire.

YED 1890 The ageing Kwamis Ghalaneous becomes Haedrian XC, succeeding his father before the Eternal Trone.
YED 1891 Red House agents begin a seditious campaign against the newly-named Haedrian XC. Haedrian removes Hamus Olinus Osgayne from the office of King of Souls and has him executed on the advice of an unidentified source.
YED 1894 Great House politicking turns to open violence. Many infiltrators are purged from the temple, but many remain.
YED 1895 Haedrian XC, increasingly paranoid, orders the murder of a number of suspected great house agents. The houses prepare a counter-attack.
YED 1896 Haedrian XC is assassinated by the ranking legion commander of the city, the Paladin Philip of Borast, during an assault on his palace by Tarasus Ulinias Phanos, formerly of Red House, who then becomes Haedrian XCI before the Eternal Trone. His first act is to name Lex Osgayne King of Souls.
YED 1906 Philip of Borast succeeds Darius Holus Nichomendus as Lictor Supreme, many respected lictors go rogue in response.
YED 1919 Present Day.

Tarasus' Rebellion, YED 1890 to 1896

In the year of our patron, the Earthly Divhi Haederas, warrior-poet of the Haedar, eighteen-hundred-and-ninety it came to pass that Kwamis of the house of Ghalaneous was summoned before the Trone of the Eternal Palace to take the Imperator's oath. Now, it was known that Kwamis was in the seventh decade of his life when he became Haedrian XC, and that his father, and his father's father before him had suffered a feverish madness in the final years of their lives, and though the conclave of the Arch-Primates had chosen him, and though he had met with the approval of the Divh-Imperator (for he was not struck down when he knelt before that Eternal Trone) there was great fear that such madness would visit the already mistrustful and intemperate Imperator. Many felt that the choice had been a poor one, made because no better candidate had the majority needed at the conclave.

As Haedrian XC's reign progressed it became evident that he had put aside his oaths to leave the Great Houses behind, favouring Yellow House, and filling his court with Yellow House agents, appointing the King of the Watch, King of Swords, and Lictor Supreme from the unblooded ranks of the house, and then allowing the appointment of a Yellow House affiliated Lictor General in Karmina. In what was considered the inciting act of the rebellion to come, the Imperator removed the popular and progressive Hamus Olinus Osgayne from the office of King of Souls. No longer willing to tolerate his abuse of the office of Imperator, Red House called for a new candidate, and Tarasus Ulinias Phanos, first cousin to Haedrian XC, began to speak out against the Imperator.

Haedrian's response proved less than temperate, and he ordered the execution of all Red House agents throughout Haedrasia, and that Tarasus be brought before him in chains. The executions were many, and mutters that the Imperator was mad began to roam the empire. Tarasus surrendered himself to Haedrian's agents, but his ally, the Paladin Sanus Palleus Kwomba liberated him from his captors, and smuggled him away. A Paladin in the Imperator's service had betrayed his lord in favour of another of the Divhi-Imperator's blood. From then there could be only war. Haedrian unleashed the lictors to purge any he suspected of betraying him from the temple, requiring neither trial nor proof, regardless of their office.

For two years warfare raged as the southern lands rose against the capitol. Sanus was slain by an assassin, but Tarasus defied all attempts upon his life. Meanwhile Haederas remained silent, allowing His empire to go to he who proved strongest, and so the legions on the borders followed His divine example, despite the commands of Haedrian. Eventually, when the army of Tarasus were mere days from the Unchallenged City, the head of the garrison at the Imperator's Palace, Philip of Borast, fearful that the Unchallenged City might be besieged, and being privy to the worst of Haedrian's crimes, slew the Imperator on the stairs of the Eternal Palace, as he marshalled his armies. Then he took the southernmost gates and held them until the armies of Tarasus arrived.

So ended the reign of Haedrian XC.

People


Citizens of the Capitol

Overwhelmingly Haedrasian, frequently of ancient and storied lineage, proud, pious, and uncompromising in their views on justice and propriety, the people of the capitol are the very epitome of the Haedrasian race. Most are dark skinned and statuesque, and many have names in the high cant, signifying the antiquity of their genealogy. They are educated, mostly literate, and they wear the yoke of empire as if it were a crown.

The people of the capitol think themselves a notch above those of the rest of the empire, and the rest of Haedrasia quietly resents them their pride. Quietly because in many ways their lofty opinion of themselves is deserved. Physical proximity to their Divhi has both given these Haedrasians a zealous loyalty to Divhi and empire unlike any other, and has allowed even the least of them regular pilgrimages to the Eternal Palace. They arte usually wealthy professionals, who work land or perform some skilled craft, and command good coin for their goods or services. Many are surprisingly politically literate, and most have ambitions of upward mobility, to add to the prestige of their family name, and contribute to the wonder that is the Haedrasian Empire.

Flora and Fauna

Haedrasia is a vastly civilized province, surrounding the roads that reach in all directions from the Unchallenged City as it does. As a result little that is wild truly remains here. Brahma and horses dominate the plains, though foxes and deer make comfortable homes in the wooded regions. Powerful yak are used as plough animals, and occasional flocks of sheep provide wool. Geese and fat pigeons roam the back streets of towns near wild, until it comes time to wring their thick necks. The only real threat in the province is an abundance of small, sometimes venomous, serpents, who are in turn drawn to settlements in search of the rats and mice that frequent them. These creatures often slither into homes, where they secrete themselves in rafters and under furniture.

Crops of hemp, corn, barley and wheat thrive in the moderate climes and frequent rains, except for the locusts that swarm across the Haedrasian heartlands once every decade or so, decimating all in their path. Haedrasians have actually come to capture and roast these locusts during the leaner times of their predation, but this does nothing to reduce their devastating numbers.

Generous groves of lemon and turmeric grow without encouragement where the opportunity arises, while towering copses of dense-timbered red Haedrasian cypress fare less well save when they are free of the jostling of crop or wilderness. And along the sandy river banks, where lumbering turtles of ancient lineage lay their eggs year after year, and the walking-fish burrows for them behind those armoured monsters backs, flowering succulents of all hues blanket the sand, while gnarled bottlebrush trees leer over them.

Notable Individuals

The Mighty and Glorious Divhi-Imperator Incarnate, Haederas, War-Divhi of all Haedrasia
Haederas, earthly divhi and patron of the Haedrasian people, Divh-Imperator and War Divhi both, he is worshipped as a part of the old Kelorn Pantheon as divhi of war and nobility, and while his rank amongst the other divhides is unclear he is supreme to the Haedrasian people as their patron. Millennia ago Haederas led his people from the Isle of Men as it sunk below the sea. He alone is the last being in this world who remembers this time. Old beyond the imagination of men, mighty beyond the measure of mortals, the earthly divhi Haedreas sits alone on his immense golden throne, his legendary mace war-child and his burnished shield at his side, waiting, almost sleeping, lost in contemplation beyond the scope of mere mortals.

Imperator of all Haedrasia, Glorious Avatar of the Divhi-Imperator, Haedrian XCI
Haedrian is the ninety first Imperator of Haedrasia to bear that name and rank. Born Tarasis, he has not heard that name in many many years, his identity now merged with an almost uncountable number of ancestors, creating the illusion of their line’s founder’s own immortality. Haedrian has, for the most part, proved an able Imperator, willing to let the behemoth that is the theocracy manage itself, and making wise and forthright choices for the key offices of his tenure. Haedrain has been particularly successful in quashing some of the more unpredictable elements of the Haedrasian regime, especially in taking an uncompromising stand against the great houses, and placing an outsider in command of the Lictors. However many fear that Haedrian has made too many enemies, and now that he is late in his reign there is talk that he is making a difficult task for his successor.

King of Swords, His Radiant Right Hand, Cadius Kanas Valadun
The Right Hand of the Imperator is that in which he bears his sword, thus the King of Swords is Haederas’ Right Hand. The King of Swords is the weapon that the Imperator wields, to defend against the enemies of the faith. Chief of the Imperator’s Paladins, and Commander of His armies, Cadius Kanas Valadun governs the military arm of the Empire. He stations the legions, levies their number, arms them, and announces the Imperator's command to march against a foe. Cadius is not the most successful to hold his office. Bolstered by years of expansion, the borders of Haedrasia have been forcibly pacified for generations, and expansion via enclaives has proven more effective that conquest ever did. But Cadius is an old hand, and has proven all he has to prove, and works to remain ready should one of Haedrasia's neighbours show some backbone. As yet, even the Beast of Baragau Gul has not tested his strength.

King of Souls, His Radiant Left Hand, Lex Osgayne
The Left Hand of Haederas is that in which he bears his shield, thus the King of Souls is Haederas’ Left Hand. Like the King of Swords, Lex Osgayne is a defender of the faith, but he does this not by striking out against those who oppose the faith, but by strengthening the hearts and souls of those who abide by it so they may better weather attacks upon their conviction. Lex has served a long tenure as King of Souls, and has used his time to make faith and coin the inheritor of cold steel in Haedrasia's dominance of the world. Celebrated as a scholar and a leader, the temple owes much to Osgayne, and the decline of the Great Houses is a testament to the strong, united temple he has built. But where Haedrian's foes would not dare strike at the Imperator openly, Osgayne lacks the protection divine blood affords his lord.

King of the Watch, Kailas Pianus Lasaar
The guardian of the Unchallenged City, and the personal champion of the Immortal Divh-Imperator is the veteran Kailas Pianus Lasaar. The former paladin-commander of the Bloody Legion, there are few with better credentials for the role than Kailas. Still young enough to be strong of arm and back, Kailas is not a cunning strategist, but a blunt weapon, exemplifying the strength, determination, and domineering might that is the essence of Haedrasia. Kailas puts great stock in shows of overwhelming strength, with regular parades through the major cities of the Empire, and entourages in the thousands when the Imperator chooses to leave the bounds of the Unchallenged City.

Lictor Supreme and Master of the Mage-Finders, Philip of Borast
The current leader of the Empire’s semi-secret police was the King of Swords until a few years ago, but when the position of Lictor Supreme became available thanks to Nichomendus' madness the Imperator granted the career soldier the post in place of his previous role, in the hope that he might bring some order and discipline to the lictors. Unfortunately, Philip's militant rule has only resulted in fewer reports from his lictors as they avoid being ordered about like soldiers on a battlefield. Gruff and pragmatic to a fault, the sinister mystery that surrounds the office of Lictor Supreme seems ill suited to this old soldier, who does not care to waste words or resources.

Arch-Primate of Haedrasia, Solomon Eminus
The ruler of the Unchallenged City, and its chief churchman, Solomon Eminus must be the paragon of the piety, virtue, devotion and strength to which all servants of the War Divh aspire, and Solomon does not shy from his duty. A stony example of forbearance, wisdom, and loyalty to Divhi and Empire, Solomon serves as more of an example of proper piety than a leader, with the greatest influences dominating the city with which he is charged.

Today In the Might of Empire…


maintain formatting

The Imperatry Plains of Mighty Haedrasia
The Frozen North Cosarian Islands, Perca, Lekia, Illyum
The Ghan States Khalavic-Ghania, Trazdek-Ghania, Dragolchok-Ghania, Royal Haedrasia
The Central Flats Haedarium, Icarium, Lukaria, Haedrasia and the Unchallenged City, Roetia
The Drak Frontier Black Ice Bay, Maldrakaneum, The Salt Flats, Turana
The Kelorn Districts Gamon, Marisarn, Cal-Tolun, Trodur, The Three Cities
The Southern Soldatry Pannonium, Sacraminium, The Bair
Director's Miscellany Amenities, Culture, Gear, Prices, Professions, Random Encounters, Sample Characters, Series Loglines, Small Settlement Generator, Supporting Cast Generator