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 Post subject: The glorious past of the Empire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:06 am
Posts: 1495
Location: Vienna, Austria, Europe
Recorded Imperial history stretches backward for far longer than that of other nations of the West, so I think it fitting to lie it down as a foundation for others to build upon. All precise dates effecting not only the Empire itself but also other nations are only ever taken directly from the core book, the first thin strips of flesh between theses dry bones have been placed by me. I am very keen on comments and also on suggestions.

A Short Primer to Imperial History,
as viewed by the Imperials themselves

Xanarians believe that, when the battle between Xanar Shardfinder and the Dark Betrayer shattered the west, a tiny band of close attendents of Xanar and some of his very descendants fled to the west and founded what was to become the Seat of the Xanarian Empire. They founded Xanarium, according to the legend in 3 Weyr, but it was at the time nothing but another city state, controlling only the immediate surrounding land.

The Xanarians hold that their conquest of the world started with the rise of the third moon, which they claim to have been a divine sign from their father Xanar to recreate his world-spanning empire of peace. But the beginnings of this conquest were very slow for Xanarium, it took them almost the entire Age of the Third Moon was required to gain control of their own peninsula.

The rise of the fourth moon and the subsequent devastation of the peninsula’s couastlines by high tides and floods was held to be a sign of wrath by Xanar, an encouragement to quicken the pace of conquest. Prodded on by their god, the Xanarians redoubled their efforts of conquest and put all their state’s ressources to this end. It was thus the Age of the Fourth Moon that saw the Xanarians becoming aggressive expansionists and actually founding their Empire in a short-termed effort of what can only be called religious fanaticism. A few earlier footholds on the islands of Helena were used as stepping stones for the conquest of the entire region (565 Weyr) and other nations soon followed suit in this wave of conquest – Dardanet (583 Weyr), Fauth (601 Weyr) and Yone (608 Weyr).
The conquest of Yone was a turning point in Imperial history. The Xanarians had fanatically conquered so much in such short a time that a slowing of this pace became now necessary, allowing also for a consolidation of what had already been gained, and for the spreading of the honour of Xanar. Temples of Xanar where built in the conquered lands an missionaries roamed the land. Xanarians view this time, and especially the year 610 Weyr, in which Xanarium was officially proclaimed the “Seat of the Xanarian Empire”, as the “Second Founding” of the Empire.
But the growth of the Empire was not halted after the conquest of Yone, only slowed. While missionaries and soon also inquisitors – for the second half of the 7th century was the time of the great witchhunts – roamed the conquered lands, the Xanarian legions pushed to the north, into the lands of Cyrinthmeir and Gelure, and eastwards into Taveruun. Until the turn of the century the three of them had fallen to the power of the Empire, whiched pressed on an on, conquering Oustenreich and Farrenshire and reaching the foot of the Irontooth Mountains. Here, a great battle was fought in 739 Weyr with the barbarians of Stahl and their Celtic allies from Angharad. The battle ended in a stalemate, but the Xanarians had trouble replacing their losses over so great a distance, and their conquests were for once brought to a hold. In the following decades, they made inroads into both Stahl and Agharad, but the prize of conquest seemed to high for these poor northern regions. Here as in Ehld to the south, another obstinate region, the Empire tried the approach of making diplomatic and missionary inroads and subduing the barbarians by those means.

And this new policy found the approval of Xanar, as shown by the rise of the fifth moon in 773 Weyr. The Age of the Fifth Moon started out as an age of peace, religion and enlightenment as the previous one had been an age of war. While the new policy of political, religious and cultural subversion did largely fail with Angharad and Ehld, it was completely successful with Stahl which had by 788 Weyr become a vassal state of the Empire. The Xanarians continued the missionary work beyond their borders, carrying the light of Xanar ever eastward. The 9th century was a time of cultural and most of all religious expansion, a glorious age of peace which saw the Empire at the heigt of its power. This state continued at first unabashed into the 10th century, but conflicts to come already cast their shadows into these times, even though they led at first to a further growth of Xanarian power. The reason behind this was the rise of the Followers of the Prophet in the East, which led many of the recently converted people of the East to ally themselves closely with the Xanarian Empire. The foremost of the young nations who thus sought the protection of the Empire were Sarmatov and Zhaorozya, forming an alliance in 957 Weyr. As this alliance was clearly aimed against the Followers of the Prophet, it aggravated the relations, and the small skirmishes of the past decades turned until the turn of the millennium into a full-fledged, yet intermittent war.
The approach of the end of the millennium and the anniversary of the Great battle inspired to outbursts of religious sentiment. Talk of the end of times was afoot, of the Followers of the Prophet being servants of the Dark Betrayer, becoming strong again due to the weakness of the faith in Xanar, of the Followers of the Prophet having found and defiling a Shard, of penance being necessary, and of the destruction of the Followers of the Prophet as a sign of faith in Xanar. A Great Holy War the likes of which the world had not seen since the Great Battle was prepared and launched in 1000 Weyr.
The following two cnturies are an age of neverending strife. The Empire, having become complacent during almost two centuries of peace, was for all its ressources unable to overcome the vigorous Followers of the Prophet, even though it had many successes and made great inroads into the enemy’s territory. The bitter resistance of the Followers of the Prophet fought the Holy War to a standstill and bled the Empire of people and ressources. At the very end of the 12th century, the Empire made peace with the Followers of the Prophet and restored them some of their lands.

Soon after this, in 1200 Weyr, another moon rose, ushering in the Age of the Sixth Moon and ruin for the Empire. Its tides devastated the fertile coastlands, drowning tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands and making many more homeless. The Empire was shaken deeply, and many sought penance in the temples. The Imperial Church preached the disaster to be a punishment sent by Xanar because of his people making peace with the Followers of the Prophet, the servants of the Dark Betrayer. In a huge effort, the Empire renewed its Holy War. Driven by the need to redeem themselves in the eyes of Xanar, the legions pentrated ever deeper into enemy lands, making more progress than ever before and bringing the equally exhausted enemy almost to his knees.
But new, mutliple disasters struck the Empire before the year 1250. Obscenely increased taxes led to peasants fleeing their lands in the thousands and becoming outlaws, and to military commanders all over the land trying to capitalize on the people’s dissatisfaction by revolting and declaring themselves Emperor. In the years between 1246 and 1318, more than 100 different Emperors are recorded.
In the meantime, the war against the infidels grounded to a standstill and provincial governors ruled independantly from the Empire, sometimes for decades on end, before they could be brought back into the fold. Various semi-barbaric people from past the borders used the weakness of the Empire to penetrate deeply into it, mostly as raiders, but some also as settlers displacing other people.
In 1302 Weyr, Stahl broke away from the Empire. Stahl wasn’t the first to do, other eegions had tried this already half a century before and also succeeded at it, but only ever temporarily: Stahl was the first country to shake off the yoke of the Empire – for a yoke it had become – permanently. Dardanet followed suit in 1317, and Helena in 1338, after mor than a decade of war. Soon after 1350 Weyr, the Empire was reduced to little more than its core lands, and by 1400 Weyr nothing but the peninsula and a few islands remained of thr Empire – and of course the name. By that time, at least the domestic affairs of the Empire were once again in order, a new and lasting dynasty having already taken the power in 1319 Weyr.

Today, the Seat of the Xanarian Empire is mostly respected for its past. The animosities of the wars of independence are long since forgotten – at least by those who won their independence – and the Empire is mostly admired for what it was, for its past achievements both politically and culturally. The nations of the West are well aware that they owe their societies, their civilisations, their culture and their entire ways of existence almost exclusively to the Xanarians, and even today nobody in the West can claim to be truly educated and cultured without having spent some time in Xanarium. Imperial emissaries can be found everywhere and are recorded great respect, both for the famous name they represent and the high education and actual political acumen they possess. Imperial noblewomen and princesses are highly sought after as spouses by major nobles and royalty all over the West, granting a huge boost in prestige; these princesses have in fact become major diplomatic playing stones for the Emperor. Diplomacy is by and large the Empire’s most important protection against Uglub of Gelure, and a powerful protection as well.
While everybody still respects the Imperials for their past, some do so only grudgingly. They see the streets and aqueducts and and temples and thermes and fortifications built by the Xanarians and cannot deny their unsupassed greatness, but they point out that these are achievements of the past, before the Holy War bled the Empire dry. “Honour the Imperials’ grandfathers”, they say, “but don’t crawl before their grandsons”. They would like to see the Imperials relegated to the minor rank they would actually hold without their former vassals lingering reverence.
But it will be decades or more probably centuries before this happens. People may snicker about Imperial arrogance, but the Empire’s actual achievements and a millennium of world-domination have left deep impressions upon entire peoples’ consciousnesses.

My real name is Michael; use it, if you like.

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