Third Empire

Introduction

May this book bear the imprimatur of his glory, the Emperor of Miles, Duke of Hearthland, Lord of the Avars, King of Thyrnesse, Tamerin the First. It is at his beset that I, the smallest and most humble of historians, set forth on this monumental task. In this work you shall find the compiled histories of Miles and all the lands about it. From the Third, the Pillar, Age to the very hours of the Tenth when I sit here writing shall I endeavor to inform you of this land, its customs, and its peoples.

My work shall be ceaseless, for the Emperor has commissioned me not only to write what is, but what shall yet be. Thus, new revisions shall be added to this, my humble book, as events unfold in the wide world.

Let the reader then begin, with sufficient knowledge in my humility, to read the work of my poor pen.

-Willeam Escraes, Court Chronicler

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History

Orvius Kavalson writes in his unfinished history that Miles was founded at the beginning of the Third, the Pillar, Age by refugees fleeing Zesh. His work glosses over the important fact that the lowland basin (which we now call the Hearthland) was inhabited by a race of giants in that time; they stood fifteen feet tall at least, and built monuments of white stone. The three brothers Manumé, Nedévo, and Nywhelé led the first men to settle in and around the Milean Hearthland.

Manumé, Nedévo, and Nywhelé had been (according to Kavalson) the palace guard of the sorcerer-king Zesh and it was from those brothers that he claims the first fighting-nobility of Miles were born.

The men who went north from Zesh were divided amongst three houses. The first house were those that followed Mero, the chief wizard of Zesh, second to the Sorcerer-King alone. Those that followed Mero were named Elsoín, which signifies rulers or kings. These they made their chiefs, for the men who allied themselves with Mero went ever first into the north and theirs were the greatest risks. The second house that journeyed northwards were those who followed Konom, who was the chief builder of the palaces of Zesh and who had fled for fear that his life would be forfeit for the secrets he knew. Those who followed him were of the artisans of Zesh, and they were known as the Faberlaine, the Makers. And when they reached the north, Konom took a new name which was Artefax, which signifies the artisan. The third part of the men lingered behind, and they followed three brothers called Manume, Nedevu, and Nywele and these were the captains of the palace guard of Zesh. Those who followed them were also skilled in arms, and they ever trailed behind the Elsoín and the Faberlaine. They were called Sotílas, which means warriors.

He does not dwell on the wars (called the Bloody Wars by biographers and historians of the Fifth Age) between the first men and the giants that still lived in that region. Legend has it that they were so horrific that the whitestone quarries were stained red with the blood of the slain, hence the Empires fascination with that red rock.

This led to the foundation of the First Empire, which was strongly rooted in the friendship of the elves. There is hardly room here to enumerate the known Emperors of Miles in that time or the deeds of its people. Kavalson writes…

The magistrate Severon was named Emperor after Haerus; then again the Mindaille took the seat, for Severon named Samior Mindaille as Ardon Ry and Samior passed the rulership to his own son Malleor the second. But in III1044 Malleor was smote down on the field of battle during the war against the fire giants. Thus the Empire was shattered, for there were no strong contenders for the throne and instead every man went his own way, and the realm tore itself to pieces. Each province took its own leaders and put forward its own candidates for Emperor, and all the world wept.

Yet, the Empire was not dead,

For after the turning of the Age, in IV119, a great truce was struck between the warring shards of the hearthlands of the Empire at the field-of-battle where the last Pretender was slain. This place became known as Bataille, and a city was built there in after days. A new Emperor was chosen, though his realm was much reduced; only around the waters of the Inner Sea did he have power, and also in the realm of Dorlinum in the north. But to the west, in Kelinum and along the Sea of the Sun, he had no sway. And so the second Empire was fashioned from the ruins of the first. The Emperor chosen was the Avarine duke who was called “Blacksword,” for his weapon was blackened as though by fire. It was a potent blade, given as a gift from the dwarves of whom he was a staunch ally. His name has been stricken from the sources, but the title Blacksword remains, and for this scholars know him as Naranor Blacksword, that is “He who is unknown.”

And that Empire endured for a long time. They became fascinated with bloodstone, and built many monuments of it; castles, walls, palaces, and the famed Pillar that now stands at Miles. But the Second Empire fell also, for there was war with the elves.

For centuries the hearthlands were divided, small warring duchies and kingdoms. It was not until the 9th Age that the regions near Miles were united under the Elsoín crown again. The kingdom was called Avarine, and the men there re-settled the lands south of the Inner Sea. But with the murder-suicide of the king and queen at the close of the ninth age, Avarine was plunged into chaos. It was not until the folly of the Peppinids and the ascension of the Watch-masters of Galoen that Avarine truly became Thyrnesse.

The Galoens ruled new Thyrnesse with cunning and skill and, in X501, Tamerin III proclaimed his birthright; not to rule over the hearthlands alone, but to reclaim the territory of Avarine and the lost Empire. He declared himself Emperor, and set his armies against the rebellious nations of Byrne and Meirenia.

The war finally ended with the Miracle at Byrnam Wood. In the late summer of 501 the armies of Miles and the Byrnish clashed at Byrnam Wood, fifty miles from the city of Gwyr. The slaughter was immense, both sides losing hundreds of knights and countless foot. The crown of the Avars was knocked from Tamerin’s head and he fell from his horse; the Emperor was presumed dead. His nephew, Balduen Galoen, prince of Westreth and Lomere, recovered the crown and found his uncle kneeling before a smith’s hammer that emerged from a solid stone.

The sky was filled with golden light, and Tamerin rose from the earth, suffused with a heavenly glow. In the firmament there appeared a golden hammer, and the sound of a thousand trumpets blared across the fields. A great wind rose up and blew away the smoke and mists of slaughter. The King of Byrne knelt then and there and swore fealty, and the hand of his daughter in marriage to Haeron’s chosen, the Emperor of Miles.

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The Third Empire and its People

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Religion

Religion in the empire is wildly diverse. There are several cults which remain dominant, however. These are the cults of Haeron, Eleia, Akem, and Fortuna. While they are the major players in politics, it is really the cult of Haeron (known as the Hierian Temple) that wields the most power.

While all this may be true, there are other things that must be kept in mind. For example, almost no inn, tavern, or boarding house in the empire (or in most of the civilized north) exists without a shrine to Heimir and Vaela located somewhere within it. These can be as simple as small wooden idols or as complex as entire chambers devoted to honoring those lesser gods.

Roadshrines to Vaela are also common along the roadways

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Geography

Old Thyrnesse

  • The County of Run

Imperial Provinces

  • The Grand Duchy of Byrne

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Political Structure

Comital map northern empire

The imperial system is cobbled together from generations of older states that were only finally consolidated in the year 501 after the brief but immensely successful War of the Shield. The heartland of the empire was the kingdom of Thyrnesse, which was composed of the Dynasren of Maretract and Auruxol as well as the great Sociare of Moirons, Montrose, Serpentin, Tournése, and Coer as well as the numerous small baronies of the so-called royal demesne.

After the incorporation of New Avaria and Westreth at the urging of the Conclave, literally hundreds of magnasren as well as the two granted territories of the Lamp Country and Clayland fell beneath the crown. The manner in which each region is incorporated beneath the throne depends greatly on the time when it was joined to the body of the Third Empire.

The Dynasrenir of Maretract and Auruxol, for example, command the loyalty of no socii or magnasir of their own. Auruxol is completely dependent on the throne but Maretract (Seareach), which is protected by the dangerous and nearly impassable Mountains of Morn, has a much more developed internal structure and in fact mimics many of the older imperial forms in miniature.

It is important to note that magnasren exist in each division, whether they are held of the throne or they are held of the regional Dynas or Socio.

The great families of the empire thus cannot always be identified by the size of the land they rule. While, most generally, the great landowners are members of the great families, one could measure Maretract and discover that the Sociare of Coer is of similar size; however, Maretract is much more powerful as it commands the largest access to the open sea in the empire.

The great families generally look to the throne for advancement and preferment. However, as of the declaration of the Third Empire, the emperor has been advancing his loyal magnassi with new appointments and powers in the colonies.

Great Imperial Families

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Third Empire

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius