A Song of Gods and Men
The Karimenian Empire
The Karimenian Empire
At the margins of the Namis river there were once two City states, facing each other across the major body of water: Karis in the northern banks and Menis in the southern. The cities both had grew from successful farming settlements at the banks of the Namis, both founded by the Askari tribes in an age before history, and as they grew in power, so grew their rivalry. Small villages to large towns and then walled cities, each city made sure to expand their influence on their side of the river, which became the natural border separating their domains. The commercial expansion that came with the growth and development brought the populations closer together. This was helped by the fact they shared a tongue and a mother culture. Eventually their rivalry led to war as the lands controlled by Karis struggled to support the growing city while Menis had more than enough for itself in their vast lands south of the river. The Karisian invasion was initially successful, pushing the armies of Menis from the countryside, to behind the city walls, and occupying most of the farmlands uncontested. But Menis eventually came to dominate the war at the sea, and eventually had forced the surviving Karisian fleet to retreat to harbor, and blocking any ships from crossing the Namis and supplying their troops on the other shore. The King that launched the Invasion, Modeos II, found himself forced to sign a peace treaty to end the blockade and withdraw his troops back.
p. Despite being victorious, Menis had much in the war. It’s population saw the invasion from their Neighbors as a reminder of Karis’ military might, and they were forced out of their lands and forced to rebuild when they were able to return. They perceived the war as diplomatic failure from their liege, King Astar. Meanwhile, Karis still faced the same issues feeding it’s population as before, aggravated now by the tensions that followed the failed invasion cutting the little commerce done with their rival. With King Astar’s death, his so far single Daughter, Asteria, rose to power and sought to find a peaceful solution for the issues plaguing both cities. With the Treaty of the White Rose, Asteria married king Modeos’ heir, Marcus, and upon Modeo’s death five years later, the rival cities united in a Kingdom known as Karis-Menis.
p. Asteria and Marcus ruled for three decades, but the Queen was undoubtedly the most influential of the Ruling family. Their reign was marked by the challenges of fighting those that opposed the unification along with many other issues that arose in either side of the river. For convention, it was decided Karis would be the seat of the Royal family, but the unification brought peace and stability, and that brought even more people to both cities. Queen Asteria reign was marked by prosperity, but also difficult challenges that she faced with cunning solutions and bravery as few Kings had show. And that’s why twenty years after her death, her grandson Aleksander gave her name to the new city that had born from merging Karis and Menis growing metropolis.
The rise of the Empire
Aleksander was the son of King Marcus Secundus, or Marcus II. Grandson of Asteria, the Iron Queen. He was born and raised at the Royal palace in Karis, but his mother was a noblewoman from Menis’ most influential family, a marriage designed to keep strengthening the bonds that years ago had forged the union of the rival Kingdoms. Despite fifty years being passed since the White Rose Treaty, the unification was still a recent chapter in the kingdoms long history and some believe it wouldn’t last. Aleksander rose to power very young at the age of eighteen, due to the death of his father to illness. As it wasn’t long until an uncle formed an army to press a claim to the throne, saying to whoever would listen Aleksander was a bastard and not entitled by blood to take his father’s throne. The war was won at great cost but the young boy proved himself as an apt commander. He fought less than two years later a minor rebellion of Menian nobles and again led personally their soldiers in battle and proved himself a great military leader in how swift he resolved the conflict. With all those early difficulties in his reign, it was expected Aleksander authority would be constantly challenged and he would eventually lose the crown and/or what the union be shattered by infighting. But with the support he had gained with his victories, and while his enemies where still hiding and licking their wounds, or pretending to be friends and waiting for a next chance to plot, Aleksander summoned all nobles families from both cities and gave them the title of Senators, in what became known as the Golden Decree. He stablished the basis of the Karimenian Empire, declared Karis and Menis to no longer be two cities, but one city named after his Grandmother, Asteria. Naming himself emperor, there was no longer a distinction between Karisian or Menian nobles. They all were Karimenian nobles, blood of the Askari, and servants of Aleksander the Golden one. This gave him support from nobles on both sides and the Authority he needed to to properly command his domains. A series of edits were passed during his long reign, stablishing the standarts for measures and currency in the ‘Empire’, and his military campaign to conquer the neighboring tribes and cities on the next three decades built the foundations of the massive continent spanning Empire we know today. King Aleksander coronation as Emperor marks the first year of the Imperial calendar, known as Imperial Year 0, or the 6th year of Aleksander’s reign. The official marking would be “6 Aleksander : YI 0”.
The Empire expansion began with Aleksander annexing the neighbouring tribes into the Karimenian empire and conquering most of what we know today as the central provinces. His sucessor Augustus continue his legacy of conquests annexing the neighbouring kingdom of Stroya, but he lacked the military genius and charisma of his father, and even with superior numbers and better equipament, saw himself hard pressed fighting the Stroyan warriors, hardened foresters that wielded axes for deadly effect. The war dragged itself for a long time and dissuaded Augustus even in victory to further military ventures agaisnt his neighbours.
There are currently five provinces in the Empire, each ruled by one Grand Duke, except Centralia, who is under direct control of the Emperor. They are:
- The Northern Reach:
The province of the North, stretching from Sarra to the frontier with Tera and the Northern Elves tribelands. Borea is Ruled by House Balker.
- The Southern Peninsula:
The small souther province on the Varadeci Peninsula, it main cities are Asandra and Callian. It make border with the Orcish Khanates in the North. The rulers are the Lords of House Jornan
- The Eastern plains:
The eastern outer province, a militarized region in constant war to push out the Orcish raiders and invading Khans. It’s makes borders with the Orcish Khanate in the East and north. The capital is Millien, and their are ruled by House Varanzi.
- The Western Highlands:
The West-most province, a main naval and mining region that produces olive oil, wines and iron. The capital of the west is Veinn, and the Grand duke is Rudolf Stella. The whole western provinces used to be a single Kingdom called Thelas, and ruled by the time of it’s annexation by House Skywatch, the royal family, from their massive castle near Veinn. Although the Skywatch are no longer the rulers of these lands, they still wield a lot of power, because the Western are a stubborn people with a long memory, and they still respect the blood of kings, even if now they were counts under a traditional Imperial family, House Stella. Thelassi people are taller than the average imperial, and they usually have fair or pale skin. Blond hair is the most common, and there is a greater concentration of redheads. Their facial features are sharper and stronger than the imperials. Thelas is a land of proud who enjoy drinking and merrymaking but at the same time can come of as stern and stoic to outsiders. Veinn is a important commercial city that trades with the whole world from it’s massive ports. The ancient religion of Thelas, now banned by the Faith, still can be felt in their halls, cities and castles: Sacred woods where once they believed they could go to speak to the gods that lived in the creeks, old trees and stones. In warfare, the Thelassi use big swords and axes with two hands, and often wore warpaint and masks to the battlefield. Now men from the west fight in the Imperial Legion with the same tatics and equipament as anyone, and their nobles adopted the way of the Knight, using heavy armor and fighting mounted. But when they are fighting on foot, the western nobles still favor big two handed weapons over sword and shield or pole arms.
- The Heartlands: The small province surrounding the capital Asteria, including it’s main neighbouring cities.
As a constantly growing Empire, the Karimenians organized their military into legions that mix knights of noble origins and soldier recruited from the common men into flexible all-round units. Most of the legions infantry are formed by a mix of pike-men, sword-and-shield infantry and troops armed with crossbow, or in some cases, the new and expensive firearms. This legions are trained to fight in units of 300 men called ‘Tricentia’, each leaded by a captain. The Tricentias form square formation on the battlefield with the pike-men keep enemy cavalry at bay while the crossbowmen or gunners harass the enemy with missile. In a offensive situation, the swordsmen with charge across the lines of pike-men to disrupt the enemy formation when close enough. Ten Tricentias form a legion, led by a general. The Imperial Marshall is the commander of all legions and the most prestigious war title. Usually along with the Tricentias, heavy cavalry composed by nobles, as well as auxiliary troops of mercenaries cam be employed for tactical advantage, but the core of the Empire success in battle lies within the Tricentias. When deployed along proper support, the infantry is used normally to hold key positions and force the enemy to shift or hold his line, while the heavy cavalry either charges against the center in a attempt to disrupt it, or against a flank in the rope to provoke a rout. When fighting defensively, the legion can be deployed in a long line of pikes protecting the long-range troops, while the swordsmen are left behind them in the reserve to join the fight where and when the pike lines threaten to break,
This tactics have proven themselves with time against most of the empires enemies, with the exception of the Northern elves and their swift ranged cavalry, where the slow moving Tricentias are at disadvantage, and the heavy cavalry can’t give proper chase to lighter mounted units. But against the all out attacks of the orcs khanates and disorganized rebel armies, the discipline of the legion almost always stands.