The Humans of the Empire

Your Grace, with all the respect my unworthy tongue can muster, the Humans baffle me. They are barbarous short sighted, vengeful creatures, no more capable of enlightenment than they are of scrapping the excrement that stains their shoes. And yet, despite all of their weakness and shortcomings, I believe they are capable of greatness.

– Sagrell, Ambassador to the Human Territories, dated prior to 1:1

human-borderAccording to the Elves, Humanity came from the East beyond the Midland Sea. There is evidence for and against it, as the oldest Human settlement is vastly outdated by the oldest known Elven colony. However there are no traces, writings or rune stones regarding any sort of mass exodus. That is not to say that such an event never took place, but the idea that all traces of such a momentous historical event was lost and forgotten is a little tough to swallow.

So Humanity is in one of two positions: visitors that have overstayed their welcome, or a race much older than it has ever realized. While that may unsettle philosophers and historians the majority of humanity seems unaffected by this quandary. Indeed it seems more focused on its day to day existence rather than the grand scope of things.

One would think that the short sighted nature of Humanity would limit its potential, but Humans have proven up to the task and becoming the dominant race on the continent. In each Age Humanity has risen to a political force that the Dwarven Collective and the Elven Kingdom could not underestimate. Despite the fact that each Age brought about the inevitable downfall of the then current Human government, Humanity would rise up from the ashes and rebuild itself every time, either equaling or surpassing the prowess of their predecessors.

In the 13th Age the Empire of the Dragon, or the Dragon Empire, or the Darvosii Imperium (so named for Darvos the Conqueror) is the current kingdom of Man. It stretches across the entirety of the continent, giving room to the other races when politically necessary. Humans are found in every inch of the known world, dominated by the Imperium or otherwise. Many are merchants and pioneers, expanding the boundaries of the Empire mile by mile. A rare few are adventurers, using their expertise and desire for adventure to explore the uncharted lands that lurk within the world.

The Kingdom of Man that dominated the 12th Age was known as the Republic, and it was split asunder by infighting. No one man ruled it, and the Senate was elected into office every twenty years. This caused instability as every politician was out for his own interests and the Republic was split into hundreds of different factions. Eventually the final Civil War was the end of the Republic and the great kingdom found itself as hundreds of city-states. Some were larger than the other, some had more influence than most, but none of them were great.

When Darvos the Conqueror, of Axis, united the city-states he swore off the weakness of the Republic. The only ones who would rule are those that proved themselves capable. He declared himself Emperor and ascended to the Enkindled Seat, an ivory seat filled with fiery enchanted rubies that never went cold. The Seat was never meant to be comfortable, just like the position it represented. Below the Emperor were the many dukes and barons that ruled the many provinces.

However, none of this is inherited. To earn your power, you must steal it. If you can take it, you deserve it. If you lose it, you have grown weak and obviously have no right to rule. To give something is to deserve to lose everything. However that is not to say that funds and men cannot be borrowed. In a way the rules have been bent, but even then that is not guaranteed success. A fool with the mightiest equipment and mountains of gold can still fail to a capable leader with nothing.

In the Empire, blood has value. Not power – after all, blood does not entitle you to lands or political sway. But there is value in your ancestry, in your upbringings. So is it any surprise that the Tragedy is the most treasured story in the Empire? Nothing is greater, more valued, more emotional, more true than a Tragedy. Many Tragedies end in the death of the protagonist, an event that he could have so easily avoided if he was only wiser. But not all Tragedies need end in blood. Some end in the death of the Soul, and those are the most heartbreaking. To linger on as nothing.

Nothing is worse than to be a shade.

Vengeance is sacred in the Empire. To call for Vengeance – true Vengeance, the kind that ends in the spilling of hot blood – is a sacred, holy rite. To call upon Tutrethos to give you the power to do what needs to be done, no matter the cost, even if your own life be made nothing? That is a dangerous road. But every man, peasant and lord, soldier and Emperor, has that right. And it can never be taken away. To even suggest it would be madness.