Derigi Empire (Origo Mundi)

From Constructed Worlds
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Derigi Empire
1055 - c. 1140
Flag
Flag
Map of the Derigi Empire in 1055
Capital Jaligena (de jure)

(Azoz, Neum, Edom, and Medan also used)

Languages Azozian, Mesallian, Edomite, Frasnokian
Religion Ulm religion (Official)
Ligerian Ulm, Yannian, Drokksidite, Reckoner, Mesallian
Government Absolute Monarchy
Emperor Treeman (First)
Legislature Senate
Historical era Classical
 •  Establishment 1055
 •  Disestablished 1140
Area
 •  1040 3,330,000 km2 (1,290,000 sq mi)
Currency Shekels
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mouri Empire
Kingdom of Neum
Syresian Republic
Reckoner Empire

The Derigi Empire was an empire in the continent of Letsia, formed in the year 1055. The nation was a continuation of the Mouri Empire and its primary component of Azoz, after the Mouri Empire collapsed. The empire was named for its founder, the monarch Treeman (from the Yannian name Derigianyan), who ruled as a co-monarch along a series of other emperors. The Derigi Empire was a decentralized state comprised of several large provinces, or satrapies, such as Azoz proper, western provinces such as Fotashe and Eskaladun, which would later form the nation of Garania, Umhlaba, and Fashnoq. As the nation fractured, the number of governors greatly increased, from its original vision of a handful of viceroyalties, to a patchwork of small, feudal holdings. The nation also eventually included the Kingdom of Neum and the Ankum of Edom, which were both loosely incorporated into the empire through royal marriage rather than outright subjugation; in both cases Azoz was considered the lesser partner of these diplomatic unions. The nation's capital was the city of Jaligena, located outside the city limits of the ancient city of Azoz. The capital was founded in the 1020s by Emperor Pauodegus in the aftermath of the Seven-Star War, which saw Azoz largely razed, and was necessitated by Ligerian tradition that prohibited the Emperor from stepping foot in Azoz. Additionally, throughout various periods of time, particularly during civil war, cities such as Neum and Medan, the later being used by the Edomite rulers in the Great Mouri Civil War, were also used as alternatives to Azoz and Jaligena.

Prior to the formation of the Derigi Empire, the Mouri Empire had come to be dominated by the Ligerian Neumites, a series of Yannian-descended monarchs who practiced a unique branch of the Ulm Religion known as Ligerite Ulmism. The empire came to be plagued by numerous rebellions and civil wars, often caused by tensions between the native Azozians and Yannian settlers and leaders. The nation also became split over the question of Edom, as the nation had come under the influence of the Ankum in an unequal union. Additionally, foreign invasions by the Reckoner Empire, and a complicated succession involving the Ligerians and the Edomites contributed to internal instability empire-wide. The Mouri Empire formally was dissolved in 1055 in favor of the Derigi Empire, and the latter emerged during a period of uncertainty. The Great Mouri Civil War and the Azozian-Reckoner Wars largely contributed to the creation of the Derigi state, and spilled over into its early history. The nation's first formal emperor would be its namesake, Treeman, who ruled within a triumvirate consisting of Prackyob the Younger and Farrajulen II, who together are largely credited with ensuring the Derigi Empire's survival in its formative years.

The nation would ultimately suffer the loss of much of its territory to separatists and foreign invasion, eventually falling susceptible to conquest by the Syresian Republic. Although short-lived, the Derigi Empire would be highly influential in the history of Ancient Letsia. In continuation of many of the themes of the earlier Mouri Empire, the Derigi Empire possessed a unique blend of Azozian, Edomite, and Ligerian Yannian culture, religion, and language. The empire would be the primary benefactor of the Ulm religion and the Azozian language, but was also home to a multitude of other faiths and languages, largely due to its vast territory, and its position as a crossroads of ideas in the ancient world.

History[edit]

Mouri-Edomite Union[edit]

The ascension of Thalut V led to an uneasy union between Azoz and the nation of Edom.

In the year 900 OM Xeracles II "the Impious" of the Mouri Empire was discovered dead in the palace of Azoz, having hanged himself in private. This was taken as a great shock across the nation, and an unprecedented event in human history, as he would become one of the only monarchs to commit non-coerced suicide. The monastic chronicles described this as an act of God, in judgment of his impious actions toward the religions of Mesallas and Eskaladun. One Apocist work of apocrypha, the "Avenging of the Savior", may have been loosely based on this event, otherwise describing a fanciful scenario of Nelrim post-resurrection enacting vengeance on all those responsible for his death. Many rumors would circulate over the next 2000 years of possible assassination, beginning with an investigation by the very next monarch, Thalut V. An autopsy of his body conducted in 2752 AR confirmed his death to be by hanging and not any known poisons, with no signs of struggle being apparent. Critical analysis of Xeracels' psychological state from the best contemporary sources seem to confirm a long battle against untreated medical depression, which he was generally too self conscious to share in any public discourse.

His death, nonetheless, signaled a new era for the Mouri empire with the royal marriage of Emperor Thalut V and Anka Alasana III of Edom. Upon the creation of the union Thalut would begin acting as the ruler of Edom fully, and would attempt to order a series of grandiose projects and changes in Edom. This would prove controversial and strain the union. Firstly, the shared crown of these two monarchs created a joint defensive army near the border to Mesallas, succeeding in several minor battles in the ongoing Phydinian-Edom conflicts. Likewise, Thalut would allow the introduction of Edomite military units into Azoz, particularly in the Valun region near the border. The emperor would also deploy soldiers to support Syres' war against Tamsebe, and further increase their presence on the Yannian continent. The growing naval presence in the farther Gabatrian Sea helped to support an alliance with Temayal. The naval expeditions in the north would continue to battle back the Zelonuma Emiresq away from the Zara islands, but not as directly, with the navy instead electing to gradually weather down their forces through a war of attrition. The local defenses on the Zara islands, especially on Castle Roneth, were heavily fortified, building up earthen walls right down to the coast.

Thalut would immediately order the expansion of the empire's navy in both Azoz and Edom, and also sponsored the creation of a special elite order of lancers, based in the city of Nerimos at the Great Ulmian Temple, known as the Templars. This unit was trained and consecrated as an order of monks, but also trained in military combat as a small but elite fighting force within the regular military of Edom. Their combat training was a mixed combination of styles, from the Erasidonian military, Valunian archery, traditional Azoz lancers and even the Zedumari mercenaries. Thalut took note of the gradual disunity and decentralization in Edom, and sought to offset it with plans for massive building projects. This included several large Basilicas in the Upper Meran and in Susalyon, but mainly in Iskandaria to expand the Great Library and construction of the Great Forum. A local mission Reduction was made in the city of Erahjema for the purpose of further pacifying and integrating the Apirun people.

Nerimosian War[edit]

Thalut V's army approaching Nerimos (2850 OM painting by Jair Themos)

Thalut's attempt to immediately influence the politics of Edom would prove controversial. Firstly, his creation of the Templars in Nerimos immediately caused protest, as the local population viewed the Azozian-backed creation of the Templars as an attempt to turn their temple into a military base. Riots broke out in the streets of the city, which saw many Ulmians, Azozians, and Templars alike killed in the chaos. The most zealous in the city viewed the decision by Thalut to move armed soldiers into the temple as a declaration of war. A full rebellion broke out, with the Templars being targeted by the locals. The governor in Nerimos ultimately caved in favor of the rebels, and ordered the Edomite army and navy to open fire upon the Azozian ships arriving. The event would become a major fiasco, with the nation’s navy turning on itself and losing one-half its strength, and a large portion of Nerimos population being killed. Edomite soldiers would need to be dispatched to regain order over the east, effectively being tasked with reconquering the Three Cities. Likewise, relations with Leviea reverted back to negative, and the city-state returned to its isolation.

The Azozians claimed that the Templar lancers had originally been organized to be trained in theology within the temple as the order of monks, while their stations and training as a military order were to be kept to military facilities outside the city, and claimed that the governor of Nerimos, Jaluth, had instead had the military stationed within the temple itself mistakenly. The Edomite sources would claim this was in direct order of the Mouri empire, and would instigate the Nerimosian revolt against Azoz. However, the Azozian sources would attempt to paint Jaluth as having made this error, and claimed that he had planned to seize the opportunity for establishing an independent state for himself. After the disastrous loss of many Azozian ships stationed in the city's harbor, Emperor Thalut himself elected to came east to oversee the aftermath of the battle, personally entertaining the grievances of the city from the royal progress.

In Edom, the sudden ordering of Ulmian basilicas across the nation was displeasing. In the north the non-Ulmian population was strongly against the order, because they remembered the harsh Ulmian-centered civil wars that had raged, and didn’t want to enable them further. However, the Ulmian population, of course, lauded the decision. In the far south the Ulmian religion was almost unheard of, and the sudden grandiose buildings disturbed the population greatly. In the former lands of Susanylon there were not enough people to visit or staff the basilicas, and their building was a seen as an insult to the careful integration done by the Edomite government. Azozian and northern Edomite missionaries would be dispatched to the south to maintain the basilicas in the region. During this time Thalut V wrote letters to express his favor to the people of Susalyon, citing their long-standing economic and cultural exchange that had existed under the Peace of Chatna. In Iskandaria, largely out of the multicultural policies of the former emperor, and with tensions rising, the Great Froum constructed had no religious basis of its own, and the forms of art and entertainment practiced there mostly drew inspiration of Zamian and Mesallian customs.

Regardless, the Anka was committed to her new found marriage, even if it upset the native population. Not entirely Ulmian herself, the Anka was later wed to a woman from the south named Abemala, further confusing the situation. The most zealous of Ulmians thought of Thalut as a hero, and called for the conversion of the Anka, or in the most hushed circles, her removal. The Edomites had no tolerance for such talk, and an equally as vocal opposition began calling for the Ulmians’ removal instead. Overall, the Edomites remained cautious of the Azozians and vehemently loyal to the Anka, who sought to preserve a balance in the middle of the two extremist factions.

The revolt in the east ended in Edom, with the Edomites suffering a costly campaign. One of the generals of the campaign, Nurumun, returned to the imperial court, and became an adviser to the Anka. He would serve as one of the most vocal opponents of the Azozians, and later the two began a secret affair. Having lost almost the entire Nerimos fleet in the chaos, including the loss of dozens of ships, the nation set about rebuilding the navy. The nation had cut its relationship with the city of Leviea completely, which would be a regrettable loss. Elsewhere the nation made considerable concessions to the Enulmian population, as that important relationship, needed for preserving the east, had been heavily damaged.

Edomite Cultural Exchange[edit]

An Azozian manuscript created using Edomite symbols and letters, dating to the mid 900s OM.

A cultural and artistic revolution would begin to unfold under the joint monarchs of Thalut and Alasana. The multicultural effects of emperor Xeracles, particularly the new forms of dance and music, would now start appearing in the royal court of Edom as well, and similarly the technology of papermaking was used in the Edomite monasteries. The Basilica of Susalyon would be among the first made in a floating dome style, ornately decorated in mosaics depicting allegorical representations of the royal court and the Seven Apostles. The Great Forum of Iskandaria was comissioned, creating a massive network of marble courtyards, gardens, and market places situated five km inland from the Library. This would also feature a colossal circus, the Shamanseum, where many sporting events of the Mesallian style would be held. The centerpiece of this Forum would be a large obelisk, created in the style of the Zeunite tradition but decorated in scenes from the Hagiography of Nelrim. According to modern estimates of the labor forced needed for this project, it gave sure employment to workers that had to come from all across the Edomite kingdom, as far away as neighboring provinces and Emalia.

Within the Mouri Empire, archaeology shows a subtle change in the cuisines used in the Capital of Azoz and elsewhere, as traditions of Edom take root. The Paltonic philosophers in Usinilago and Teman became greatly inspired from the matriarchal nature of Edom, as in the writings of Proculos for example, which advocated more equality of genders in both the military and administration. The pair of monarchs were raising two children of their own at this time, the oldest named Landrew and the younger daughter named Arenea. The union also saw a friendly rivalry between the two great centers of learning, the original Library of Iskandaria from the first empire and the more recent Library of Azoz in the second. In Iskandaria, Hypatia the Red developed the first theory on the five canonical solids, and described this as the mathematical basis for the physical world. In Azoz, not long after this, Gandhi the Dark published his work "Geometry of a Sphere", which challenged several previous assumptions such as the angles of a triangle.

Although he was loved by the Ulmian population of Azoz and Edom, Thalut V also attempted to win over the non-Ulmian population. He personally attended and organized rituals of the Zamian cult, seeking their recognition of his own rule as they traditionally had done for the monarchs of Edom. Even the Shamensean games were at least initially commemorated in by clerics of the Zamian tradition. Indeed, Thalut sought to use these massive sporting events, directly inspired from the Jafiads of Mesallia, as a means to bring the various sectarian groups of Edom together, as far off as Susalyon and Ghanis. Some of these games included reenactments of the wars of Leto and the romance of Nathon the Pious, stadion running, and javelin throwing, and the taming of wild animals such as lions and bulls. The Mouri military saw a great increase of female participation at this time, largely by the influence of the Paltonian philosophers as well as the increasing Edomite population.

Art history in Edom at this time takes a notable influence as a result of this union, as the traditional portrait king list in the capital city this time depicted both monarchs together, Thalut and Alasana, rather than the queen only. Both Thalut and Landrew were also known to participate in the ancient jubilee festival in Edom, the Sen festival, which was intended to reflect the youthfulness of the Edomite monarch. Studies of this art seemed to indicate that Thalut convinced the Zamists to depict him as the Son of the Sun, in union with his spiritual sister entity embodied in Queen Alasana, the daughter of the Sun. In the Mouri Empire, the art of Edom became more noticeably pronounced, with the most notable being the Thalutian Obelisk.

Holy Patra's Revolt[edit]

Controversy struck once more in 923, when the Holy Patra of Iskandria, emboldened by the growing Azozian presence and the large amount of funding going to basilicas, excommunicated the Anka for her four marriages, her homosexual practices, and her adultery. The Holy Patra’s followers took up arms, expecting that if they could begin a successful revolt, Thalut would arrive with an army as well, to overthrow the Edomite government for good. The Anka did not hesitate, and ordered a veteran army to purge the city. The soldiers successfully stormed the city, killing many armed peasants in the street. When they came to the basilica, the Holy Patra and a thousand followers barricaded the building, so the soldiers set fire to the basilica. The following day the violence had ended, and a military garrison now guarded the city. Knowing that word soon would reach the Azozians, the Anka dispatched a message to Thalut.

The letter stated henceforth Azozian construction in Edom would be illegal, on account of their construction projects commonly being used by extremists. Instead any basilica would need to be built by native Edomites at the approval of the Anka, and if Thalut would like to contribute he would be allowed to donate funds. Likewise, the Azozian would be warned not to meddle in Edom; they were two separate polities, and despite being united in marriage, for now the Anka would rule Edom herself. Meanwhile, the military was raised, prepared to fight the descendant of Thalut the Wicked, should the new Thalut prove to possess his ancestor’s temper. But it was hoped that such a war would not occur, and the Anka continued to try and mediate the situation. Despite fathering two children with him, the Anka tearfully expelled Nurumun to the south, hoping that would ease some tension in the capital. Afterword she married a fifth person, the woman Gedala, but after a year she too was exiled. Although enraged, the Azozians would not forcefully invade Edom. The Anka managed to cautiously negotiate with her own husband, under the pressure of dozens of belligerent factions in the imperial court, which allowed for some leeway. Having appeased the anti-Ulmian and generally anti-foreign influence factions, she would slowly approve many building projects anyway, eventually including some Ulmian basilicas.

Edomite-Syresian War[edit]

The military turned its attention to the north, cautious of a war with Syres over the rest of Mesallas. To this end the position in Lysandria was fortified, and Edom began making alliances with key cities in the northern Melopenes. Primarily, the Edomites allied with both Agira and Meshwati, putting aside their differences to combat a common foe. By this time Syres had taken greater steps toward influencing the region, such as went it dispatched judges to mediate disputes in the southern Melopenes. Their mediation did not succeed in removing Edom from the south, and to the other cities, it only spelled future conquest. In the year of the 183rd Jafiad (Year 932), the “Melopenesian League”, led by Agira and Meshwati, declared war on Syres, seeking to liberate the rest of the Mesallas region. Without Edomite aid the odds would be significantly against the Mesallians, and so the Melopenesians rallied their forces in the west, hoping to delay the Syresians for as long as possible, while the Edomites hopefully marched north.

28th century depiction of Boemanus defeating the Syresians in the Melopenes.

The governor in the nearby Gudumanes, Zolegesus, sailed for the east, along with a large number of Erasidonian and Mesallian levies and mercenaries. Initially outnumbered, he would win the Battle of Ozaras later that year, which saw the Mesallians handed a decisive defeat. This would turn the tide in the region, with the Yannian corner of the Melopenes largely switching sides. Fearing the possibility of a Yannian-Syresian alliance over Neum eclipsing Edom, the Anka warmly welcomed the delegation from Neum. Considered a cunningly beautiful monarch, the Anka would begin a secret affair with the King of Neum, which delayed his journey for quite some time. The result, she hoped would be secret Edomite control over Neum, which she would use to control politics in the region. As Edom’s own army assembled in the south, a Yannian army from Neum would be dispatched to aid Edom, and Edom would convince the northwest Melopenes to rebel once more.

At sea a crucial battle would take place near Isimos, which saw the Meshwati navy defeated by Syres. Meshwati would dispatch an army under the command of Boemanus, which successfully defeated Syres in a small engagement in the center of the peninsula. For over a year little headway would be made by Zolegesus, and he turned toward raiding the southern region, as more reinforcements were called from Syres. In the third year of the war, the strain of a trade embargo began to weaken Meshwati, and one of the chief components of its empire, the recently conquered Kingdom of Gabatria, rebelled from Meshwati control. This would tie up one-half of Meshwati’s forces, and also threaten the Edomite east. Around the same time two important battles would take place; an Edomite army would be defeated at the Battle of Ephenus, albeit not while at full strength, and the Battle of Pyla, which saw Syres defeat the Mesallian alliance north of Agira. Later that year one of the largest battles of the war would occur at Agira, and Syres successfully took the city. Facing harsh reprisal, the Mesallians made peace soon after, and Syres elected to divide the Melopenes and the remaining Mesallian states into a series of provinces and client kingdoms. In the east, having secured its independence, the Kingdom of Gabatria was left alone, albeit on friendly terms with Syres.

Rise of Ligerianism[edit]

The sudden Yannian conquest of Neum from the Mouri Empire in 838 had been a major setback for the Mouri, and had caused a major cultural shift in Neum. The Ligerian faith was created from the destructive end of the Yannis Empire, blending Yannian and Ulmian traditions into a new faith. At its core was the concept of "East and West", which would come together in a violent synthesis to form a new messianic kingdom, replacing the traditional Azozian and Yannian states. From this kingdom would be born the prophecised messiah figure that would create the "New Kingdom". To this end the Kingdom of Neum was forcefully carved out as this religious focal point, and came to encompass a unique blend of Yannian and Azozian customs as well. The region was settled by thousands of Yannians, many fleeing the destruction of the Yannian Empire in the east. The conquest would also be chaotic, laying waste to sites all across the region, and leading to a decentralized collection of cities ruled by a Yannian aristocracy.

Great Nathon Revolt[edit]

The 900s saw major rebellions occur in Neum that also spilled over into Azoz to some extent. First would be the "Great Nathon Revolt", which was a general slave rebellion. The Yannian population had acquired an unprecedented number of slaves during and after the conquest, with large portions of the population of the region being pillaged and sold into slavery. The early aristocracy relied heavily on slave labor, and even on the use of slave bureaucrats, usually eunuchs, in order to organize the early kingdom. With the initial slave population likely outnumbering the Yannian population, a rebellion broke out around the year 901, and would continue in multiple waves over the course of the next decade. The revolt escalated into a peasant rebellion in Azoz as well, in which armed dissidents attacked the ineffective governors of eastern Azoz, and supplied the rebels in Neum. The Knights of Jiff, an Azozian based holy order turned increasingly militant and politically influential since the Neumite conquest, would become a third faction in the war, when the Knight of Agaga led the order in a successful attack against the peasant army, after they threatened to overthrow the network of monasteries in Azoz and Neum.

Nathon preaching before an assembled mob of peasants, from a Syresian painting dating to the 29th century.

The Holy Patra Levian III took note of events unfolding among the Yannian population, particularly the religious revilement being led by "Nathon the Neumite" (although it is unknown if this was really his name, as "Nathon" was also the name of a class of slave in Yannian society), and condemned the actions of the peasantry. He viewed the religious practices of Neum as a legitimate philosophy that ought to be debated, as dictated by the previous Grand Council of Medan. A monk named Cassius the Palatable would be dispatched to Neum to lead an investigation into the philosophy and practices of the Neumites. According to Yannian sources, when Cassius arrived in Neum searching for "Nathon the Neumite", he had to be directed to the most delicate of teachers, who slowly explained to hum that such a concept was like asking where to find “Slave the Person”.

Finally the teachers became fed up, and directed the Cassius to a nonspecific slave who had been made into an administrative clerk. First he claimed that no one would name their child “Nathon”, so that wasn’t actually his name, but rather his real name was Broppy. According to Yannian sources, which were likely written as a form of propaganda, locals attempted to show Cassius around the region, but they had to continuously stop to drag away Cassius, who was furiously pleasuring himself to depictions of Lucretia. In an effort to calm Cassius down a little, he was directed to a local brothel. There the party rejoiced, because they secretly were tempted from their celibate lifestyle when they were offered such an intriguing task. Armed guards eventually arrived to see the Azozian to a jail cell for the night, and they barged in on Cassius receiving oral sex from a young boy. The man was so shocked, the guards and the brothel owner burst into laughter. The owner immediately commissioned artists to depict Cassius as a fresco on the brothel wall, to forever immortalize that moment. Whether or not this event actually occurred, the Neumites spread this rumor to embarrasses the Ulmian church, and also as a warning to the Ulmians to stay out and not investigate further.

Around this time the Neumites would also engage in a feud with the Azozian philosopher and inventor Zeno. Building off of his earlier theories, Zeno postulated that the universe itself was actually spherical, analogous to the earth itself, and like the earth the universe was so vast that it merely appeared flat on one part of the surface. He ridiculed the Yannian theories of the Universe being infinite, saying if that was the case then the sky would be filled with infinite stars, rather than mostly darkness. Furthermore, if there were an infinite variety of planets then there would be planets in the universe with alternate versions of Nelrim or Levian, which he thought utterly impossible. Neumite scholars would retort that there were infact infinite Nelrims, Levians, and all beings, as the Yannian religion preached the existence of an infinite universe, as well as infinite worlds and timelines.

Ascension of Liger[edit]

It was during this period of chaos that the figure known as Liger is believed to have been born, although his origins are not entirely known due to the volatility of the region. Neumite scripture and chronicles of this time and after would heavily fantasize and embellish the rise of Liger, with Azozian sources also confusing matters in the region. According to Ligerian scripture, the Holy Patra of the Ulmian religion was residing in the "Rock of Abo" (possibly a stand-in for the ecclesiastical palace in Azoz), when he was approached by a mysterious woman from Neum. She identified herself as the "Holy Matra" and as "Lucretia", the mythological mother of Nelrim (and possibly a personification of the Ulmian faith or Azoz itself). The Holy Patra was immediately attempted by her beauty and attempted to force himself upon her, but fell and died. This event was likely influenced by the fact that around this time a particularly unpopular Holy Patra had indeed died mysteriously while tripping and falling within his palace, and to the Neumites this event metaphorically pointed to the Ulmian religion falling as a whole.

Lucretia is then said to have traveled back to Neum where she became pregnant, supposedly either by the ruler of Neum or perhaps through an immaculate conception, and married the ruler of Neum, called Lymou, son of the Bannerman, the mythological founder of Neum. Ligerian scriptures contend that the woman was Lucretia herself, having traveled across space and time to bear the child of Lymou instead of giving birth to Nelrim. Coinciding with the early reign of Liger, all alternative depictions of Lucretia were to be expunged from the historic and religious records. Whatever the case, a child would be born named Liger around the year 910, who eventually became king of all Neum. It is said that he demonstrated his strength as a baby by fighting and strangling to death a slave. When he became a young man around the year 930 it is said that he would marry "a million women" in order to produce an entire generation of children. In actuality Liger is known to have had an unparalleled number of partners, and promoted and encouraged multiple marriages and increased childrearing by the Yannians to increase the population, which likely gave rise to this reputation and legend. Conversely, Ligerian propaganda often used this fact to attack Thalut V, who the Ligerians claimed could not manage to keep even one woman by his side (in light of Alasana III's many other partners).

Liger centralized the nation of Neum and rebuilt many of its institutions. An edict passed in 931 emancipated many within the slave class and allowed to seek employment. His is also responsible for rebuilding and populating the countryside of the nation once more, after decades of devastation at the hands of multiple wars and rebellions. The power of individual chieftains would be curtailed, making it such that only the government in Neum could declare and wage war. A new military was created that integrated the styles of the former Yannis Empire with the native techniques of the Mouri Empire and other contemporaries, and defenses in Neum were rebuilt and expanded in order to better withstand a war with the Mouri Empire. Liger would personally travel to Edom on a diplomatic mission, bringing with him a parade of thousands of diplomats, merchants, courtiers, and soldiers, managing to seduce the Anka of Edom. The king would create a large garden in Neum, filled with lions and tigers, and some of these animals later gifted to Edom.

According to Azozian legend, many of the women attracted to Liger and his nobility were actually the prostitutes of Azoz, as they were attracted to travel to Neum to be with the eccentric monarch rather than continue their profession. The local of authorities took almost no note of this, and were probably all the happier to see that class of society to be leaving. Whether or not it is true that a procession of prostitutes marched into Neum from the west, a large number of people did attempt to settle in the east once more. After this initial event, one such prostitute convert named Lucretia the Lascivious became particularly zealous toward the Ligurian faith. After some time, she led a large number of other female disciples on a ship abroad, determined to spread the gospel of Liger to the former Yannian domains.

Post Thalutian Period[edit]

Thalut V died of natural causes in the year 946, and in accordance of his will the two kingdoms of Azoz and Edom were divided among his children. As his wife, Alasana III, remained Anka of Edom in her old age, with their daughter Arenea was likewise added to the crown as "Fautanka" (Junior Queen) upon Thalut's death. In Azoz, the younger son Landrew was crowned as the next emperor at the age of 16. Landrew was rather sickly, and often described in the monastic chronicles as very slow witted and easily confused. Many later scholars speculated if Landrew was suffering from a mental disorder of some kind, although there is not enough information to draw a certain conclusion. Now an elderly woman, the Anka became the de facto ruler for her son Landrew, and turned toward shaping the young king and attempting to teach him Edomite values. When discontent arose over this, an infamous assassination attempt would narrowly be prevented. This would leave the Anka greatly paranoid in the coming years. Hundreds of people, from former guards, soldiers, servants, and slaves, would be exiled by the Anka, as she became paranoid that plots were forming around her and her son.

Reign of Landrew[edit]

As a result of this state in the government, Emperor Landrew and the court in Azoz came heavily under the influence of both Ankas and their relatives. With the emperor's permission, the husbands of Alasana had purchased large sections of property within the cities of Azoz and Perea, which led to the patchwork of discontiguous feudal territory between the nobles of both nations. Many members of the court in Azoz were greatly discontent with this, referring to the influx of the Anka's relatives as the "invasion of Azoz". In one notable incident, one of the Alasana's body guards attempted to assassinate her in the royal chambers of Edom. Due to the immediate uproar of nobility in the realm, an investigation was heavily implemented on the court of Azoz, identifying the Satrap Desmon of Frasnoq as the traitor, leading ultimately to his execution with one-half dozen compatriots. During the Edom-Syresian War, Landrew sponsored the expedition of a large volunteer force on behalf of his ally, primarily consisting of Phydinian and desert nomad cavalry, Valunian horsemen and Khin mercenaries. Once the war was concluded, and peace was established for the new political order in the Mesallan region, Landrew's court sought to negotiate a continual non-aggression agreement with the Syresian Republic, both offensive and defensive, in light of the various agreements of alliance between their nations stretching back centuries.

As Azozian culture spread into Edom, Edomite culture also spread to Azoz. During this time the so called “Book of the Dead was compiled and written down, although its contents would have been around a thousand years old. The book would be compiled from the inscriptions of the walls of Necropolis, where the Lementarian priests carved their most important scriptures, spells, and prayers, and from Edomite burial traditions. Azozians were likely as superstitious the Edomites, and adopted many of their spells and jewelry, intended to ward off evil spirits. The Book of the Dead translated into the Azoz language turned out to be very key in preserving many of the passages that were lost in the original Edomite copies, and turned out to have some important impact on Mouri literature as well. The "Dream of Rodo", a significant late addition to apocalyptic literature, heavily described a visit to the realms of both Nelrim and Drokksid, which bore remarkable similarity to some of the depictions of the afterlife given in the Book of the Dead. At the same time, however, the Dream also names many of the demons in the service of Drokksid after traditional Edomite gods. This part isn't as unusual, of course, when one considers Orthodox Ulm considered all pagan gods as variations of Drokksid.

Thalut V would be entombed along side several other Mouri emperors who had been buried in Edom instead of the traditional mausoleum in Azoz, dating back to the original union of the kingdoms under the Chatna dynasty. Although Thalut V was Ulmian, his wife advocated for a traditional Edomite burial, which involved a stone coffin heavily ornate with writings and symbols. Large stone tablets would be commissioned by the Anka proclaiming edicts in the languages of Edom, but also Azozian, and these texts would later become highly prized by historians, as it would become one of the only deciphers for Edomite language at this time. Also some time after the death of Thalut V, the Anka would commission the “Pious Man Statue”, which would be a colossal stone statute of the late king in Azoz, created in a style modeled after the colossal Edomite statues of their temples.

A document of dubious origin discovered in the former Yannian Empire would later shed light on the death of Thalut V, supposedly written by one of the main companions of Lucretia the Lascivious, who later became an influential mystic in her own right. According to this account, she had been the secret surrogate mother to Thalut due to his parents being absent often. When he was wed to Alasana III, the woman became enraged at Alasana and Edom, and she orchestrated the entire assassination plot against the Anka, which she claims she then was forced to frame Satrap Desmon of Frasnoq for when it failed. As a courtier in the court at Edom, the woman instead managed to become a trusted caretaker of Landrew, but secretly abused him in order to get revenge, and allegedly helped create his deteriorated state of health. The Anka began to suspect that the woman was nefarious, and so she fled to the Yannian lands as part of Lucretia's contingent in order to flee being discovered and executed by the Edomites. According to the woman's account, Lucretia's missionaries were actually prostitutes, who attempted to win over and convert the Yannians by sleeping with the men. The contingent would later travel to the Zelonuma Emiresq with the baggage train of Xbalan when that state sent soldiers to aid against the Azozians.

Under the pressure of the Anka, Emperor Landrew began appointing female satraps over certain small regions of the empire for the first time, although for now it was more a symbolic gesture as their husbands took over most of the administration anyway. This was warmly received by the Paltonic philosophers, who at this point became prominent in both Usinilago and Iskandaria. At last, Anka Alasana III died a few months after giving birth to another son. Her daughter, Arenea, was crowned the new Anka of the Edomite monarchy. As the sister of the Mouri emperor, Arenea was more influenced by Azoz culture than her mother had been, as evident by the incorporation of some Ulmian practices at her coronation in Edom, including a blessing from the Holy Patra. Many people in Azoz had expected Landrew to propose marriage to his sister, as had been the case in monarchs of the Xera dynasty, but this was not the case. Emperor Landrew seems to have not married his entire life, except for two obscure manuscripts found in Bangui that implied the emperor was married to a woman named Luanda, but otherwise nothing is known of her. Some modern historians suspect Landrew was too mentally challenged to produce children, while others suspect he was homosexual, but neither of these theories are widely supported.

In Neirmos, another great library was constructed, on the same vein as those in Iskandaria and Azoz. This library, located in the far eastern part of the empire, would be much more heavily centered on Shanzian and Enulmian religions than that in Iskandaria, although largely sponsored from the Mouri empire. It would share the same spirit, however, in serving as a central meeting of learning and debate between Shanzian and Enulmian theologians, further opening a path for cultural exchange between the empire and the Enulmian nations to the south. Technology in the cities of Nerimos and Thalutia-Nys greatly improved during this era, including the construction of the "Kietheran Device" and similar technologies for navigation, as well as the final development of the "Mouri Arsenal".

Wars with the Zelonuma[edit]

In the farther north, a large military supported the invasion of the Khin into the Zelonuma Emiresq in the 940s, under the command of Chusiang the Younger. This invasion was coordinated under the umbrella of the Khin leadership, and primarily focused on cavalry tactics of envelopment before falling back in favor of full scale urban sieges. Archers would also be used heavily as skirmishers against the Zelonuma. Furthermore, in their attempt at improving relations with Syres, the Mouri Empire under Landrew decided to utilize their positions at Zara to open a naval front at Darna, attempting to liberate the long-oppressed population of the island. It was hoped that this would provoke a revolution in Darna that was concurrent with the Khin's attack, as to draw off military forces from the front near Azoz.

The war against the Zelonuma Emiresq would be a much needed distraction for the Anka and her nation, especially after the defeat in Mesallas, despite the Anka personally not having much taste for the expedition, or for war in general by this time. Edom would dispatch a large army to aid the Azozians, as well as follow the Azozian example at sea, greatly upgrading the navy. The nation of Syres would react to the war with alarm, as the Zelonuma Emiresq had been one of their most valuable trading partners, and also they feared that their new enemy, Edom, was silently removing opposition to a future war against them. As such the Syresians would secretly dispatch aid the Zelonuma. Their involvement would remain small, as the nation was cautious of a full scale war with the Azozians. The nation’s army stationed new bases in the south of the nation near Neum, and begin arranging deals to have a small number of soldiers in the nation, on account of threats to Syresian merchants from political chaos.

Zelonuma forces marching against Chusiang, from a contemporary Syresian fresco.

In the north, the military under Chusiang presses on the invasion of the Emiresq toward the center of the nation, sending scouting parties ahead of the main army to verify the location of the capital. Chusiang believed that the Emiresq would be forced to pull back forces to defend the heart of the nation, and thus relieve the front of the Khin's invasion. The navy closed in to disembark a landing force on the island of Darna, proclaiming an independent kingdom of Darna from the Emiresq as they had been generations ago. At the same time, naval attacks on the Emiresq coast continues to deplete their navy. The Azozians would manage to achieve and unparalleled victory against the Zelonuma Emiresq at the Battle of Dandolga, which completely crippled the ability of the Zelonuma to resist the Azozians. Chusiang worked to liberate the slaves of the occupied region, both Ulmian and non Ulmian. One writer who accompanied Chusiang, Milon of Gara, took an interest to study the history of the people of Darna and the Zelonuma Emiresq at this point, and heard stories of the sexual perversions and blasphemous acts carried out under previous monarchs of the realm. For this reason, Milon would take some of the scouting parties of Chusiang in search of the lost underground realm of the Nathonians.

When Liger came to the throne of the Mouri Empire he completely reversed the foreign policy being enacted against the Zelonuma Emiresq. Despite the Azozian army being highly successful against their enemies in the north, Liger ordered their gains reversed, and called those forces to be in rebellion. An army would be assembled from Yannian, Azozian, and Edomite units loyal to Liger. For light infantry, the nation employed three unique types of infantry. First there was the Nathon Bands, which were armed former slaves used in the front lines for their fierce nature in battle. The Nathons were typically not armored or well armed, but they specialized in skirmishing and shows of force. Next there were the Eunuch Bands, which were old Azozians who had been raised from birth to be eunuch soldiers. Lastly there were the Liger Women, a small group of former prostitutes turned warriors, and other women known for their sheer brutality. The heavy infantry consisted primarily of the famed Yannian Bands, which were heavily armored, well disciplines melee forces. They were accompanied by heavy Erasidonian-style pikemen, and the Liger Guards, who were handpicked soldiers with the highest level of training and armor. For cavalry the nation employed a large mix of armored heavy cavalry and horse archers.

The Mouri would be defeated at the Battle of Zezecula, largely due to the aid of Tesardyans and Yannians come to aid the Zelonuma. The Azozians would continue to control the seas, as at the Battle of Bresolas the navies of Tesardya and the Zelonuma Emiresq were defeated by the Mouri navy. However, the naval invasion of the island of Darna would not be successful, as the invasion force was eventually repulsed, causing major devastation and chaos in the process. Chusiang's forces continued to lead the military against the Zelonma, fully recouping their losses after the Battle of Zezocula. Reinforcements to the Khin were split into various battalions, coming up north from the western central parts of the border to strike against the Zelonuma forces on both flanks. Noting part of the Emiresq flank was covered by a lake, Chusiang ordered a large contingent of rafts constructed in order to establish an encampment behind enemy lines.

At sea, the naval forces pulled away from the island of Darna to entirely focus on supporting the invasion near the coast at Zezocula. Any forces and urban centers near the coast were targeted, to draw off any opposition from the invasion, and in addition a full landing party was disembarked as provide further reinforcements. Any remaining naval forces on the eastern coast were to be tasked with creating a blockade, with the hope being that reinforcements from the Yannian region would be prevented from landing across the sea. In the far west, the Mouri Empire had expected that Isimadia would not be involved in this war, and diplomacy was sent to negotiate peace with them. Seeing Isimadia's long-standing part in the trade network from Gara, the empire eventually launched a full embargo against them.

When Landrew died and Arenea claimed the throne of Azoz, rebellion further strained the war effort against the Zelonuma Emiresq, although the Azozians would later attempt to revise the strategy against the Zelonuma once the rebellion subsided. Invasion forces near Zezecula moved eastward along the mountains to seize control of the high ground, and use that vantage point to strike down on an unprotected flank of the Emiresq forces. Many scouting parties sent up the coast weregiven fake orders, leading the Zelonuma to believe the military was pushing for Zezecula the same as they tried the last two times, and thus falsely direct their attention elsewhere. Part of the military was diverted for this expedition to both fully immerse the ruse and lighten the forces needed to cross the mountains. The forces supporting the Khin ran short on supplies due to the confusion during the Temanite Revolt, and a bout of disease broke out one winter. In order to alleviate the lack of supplies, the forces turned to sacking and pillaging the Zelonuma cities, stealing any supplies they required as they pushed farther north. The monastic chronicles claimed that no Ulmians or Syresians of the region were harmed during these raids, but in actuality looting became fierce and brutal, with civilians of all walks of live being attacked.

When the Temanite Rebellion ended Liger became more adamant that war against the Zelonuma would cease. Chusiang was labeled a traitor and his forces in rebellion, and a Mouri force was dispatched to destroy its own army. Chusiang would continue to occupy sections of the Zelonuma Emiresq and defend against counterattacks, although his efforts became increasingly strained by lack of supplies and the constant loss of soldiers. Azozian-backed armies of Khin and Valun continued to invade northward independent of Chusiang's army, which attempted to move toward the capital of the Zelonuma once he learned of the happenings in the south. It was hoped that the condemnation of Chusiang would repair relations with Syres and other important allies, and internally the war would hopefully annihilate the entirety of Azoz’s old army, ensuring the region was now strictly loyal. The hunt to apprehend Chusiang began, with the fleets of Neum and Edom banding together to take the northern coast. Although, it was hoped that at sea bloodshed would be avoided to preserve the nation’s navy, as the Anka issued an edict of clemency for those who deserted from the blockade.

Chusiang's campaign would fail, and he would eventually become surrounded by Zelonuma and Neumite forces. He would launch a final stand in the north which saw his entire army either killed or captured, while he was killed himself. The empire then invaded its former ally, the Khin Confederecy, managing to take the nation from surprise while invading north to aid Chusiang. The expedition north against the Khins would also be approved by the Anka, as the expedition completed numerous goals in one. The Mouri Empire would expand greatly in the north, allowing new lands for Azozians to be sent into, and also satisfying the nation with spoils of land and captured goods.

Liger's Influence in Azoz[edit]

The Neumites would also take advantage of the death of Thalut V to further influence the Azozian nation. The Azozians had migrated their court largely to Edom, the Neumites took up the vacant positions in Azoz itself. Due to his relationship with the Anka of Edom, who was de facto ruler over Azoz, Liger stylized himself as ruler of Azoz as well, although he could not personally step in the titular city, as it was considered impure and against religious customs. Likewise he claimed the title of Mouri Emperor, as he was a descendant of the last Annointed One of the Yannis Empire, and also likely married to a more direct, fellow descendant, and therefore inherited the Yannian claim to the empire that de jure had existed since the Second Xeran-Yannian War and the subsequent Peace of Ema. Liger's influence led to Yannians being appointed across the Ashe River region, and led to Neum being declared the de jure capital of the Mouri Empire. Yannian colonies would be established all along the Ashe River, at the behest of Liger. The city of Ligeria was founded up river in a highly defensible location, and became home to a model Yannian city.

In the lands neighboring Neum itself, where many Edomites and various lords were now attempting to stake a claim, many decided to pay off Liger as he requested, and honor his ceremoniously claimed position at the head of the Mouri. In Edom the son of Alasana III and Liger, named Pauodegus, was proclaimed the rightful King of Edom and a co-emperor to Liger, and Landrew was acknowledged a royal bastard, who was granted governorship over Azoz. To solidify his control, Pauodegus was offered to be married to the new Anka of Edom. This would firmly join the empire, including Azoz, Edom, and Neum, together once more. Liger would declare Landrew his Noble Nathon, which made him decisively under the king’s wing. A great amount would be spent to ensure that Landrew had a Yannian education, and was well versed in Yannian theology. It is chiefly in Yannian sources the idea that Landrew must have been homosexual, as Liger apparently ordered a male consort to be given to the boy in an apparent act of generosity.

Alasana III would die of natural causes in the 950s, and Azoz and Edom officially came to be ruled by Landrew and Arenea respectively. Initially there were calls for the monarchs to be wed, especially from proponents of further integration between the new nations. This would be a double edged sword, as while the most extreme Ulmians wanted nothing more than the removal of the Anka in favor of an Azozian king, they also disliked incestuous marriage, and ultimately the idea would be rejected. Instead Arenea was wed to a woman named Lysara, who had been picked as a possible candidate by her late mother. In an effort to carefully navigate the political situation at the time, the Anka decided to accept the request of Liger of Neum. This was because the preservation of Edom itself was considered the highest priority, and the Anka did not want to risk a major war in and around Edom itself. Likewise, the idea was seen as the best way to aid Azoz as well, both in terms of increasing Edomite influence over Azozian politics, but also in preventing a war for them as well. As such Arenea was married to Pauodegus, but he took the Edomite name Pagarun. Later the Anka would also wed the new King of Gabatria, hoping to establish a good relationship with that former enemy on the eastern border.

Ascension of Arenea[edit]

Arenea II
Pauodegus

Landrew died suddenly soon after the death of his mother, causing chaos in Azoz. His will had stipulated that Azoz was to be left to his sister Arenea, as he had no children of his own. Some of the monastic chronicles imply that this was unaccepted by the court in Azoz, but at the very least a will made by the emperor would have had to be approved by the Senate of Medan. Most of the nobles in Azoz quickly invited the Anka to come to the capital city, where she was crowned Emperor of Mouri in the ancient Azozian styles. No female version of the title of Emperor existed in the Azoz language, so eventually the title would be adopted as a portmanteau between the Azoz title of emperor and the Edomite title of Queen.

The early phase of her reign would largely involve suppressing resistance of the more puritan factions of Orthodox Ulm in the empire, especially in the western regions of Fotashe, Eskaladun and Outer Valun where the opposition was most potent. Before the Anka even arrived to Azoz for her coronation, a conspiracy of nobles proclaimed Elixane the Light as the new emperor, arguably becoming the first actual female emperor of Azoz. Elixane was the wife of Basajaoun, the Satrap of Eskaladun and First Citizen of the Empire. Her reign only lasted two weeks, however, before she was forcefully deposed by the faction led by Oranomou, son of Nurumun and loyal supporter of the Anka. Elixane would flee from Azoz and move west with her supporters, basing her opposition to Aranea out of Eskaladun. Over the next two years she would instigate rebellion across the Empire, often referred to as the Temanite Rebellion, due to the largest battle took place in the city of Teman.

The Ligerites of Neum at this point had become a potent political force across Tuatha. Although traditionally opposed to Orthodox Ulm, the Ligerites were also largely in support of Arenea's claim as emperor, mainly through her marriage alliance to Liger's son. Basajaoun himself was supposedly killed by Liger at the Battle of Teman, and Oranamou was appointed to succeed him as First Citizen. Elixane lived out her life continuing to claim the throne, but after the initial rebellion she no longer had any local support. Liger and Pauodegus were officially acknowledged as rulers of the empire, essentially placing Azoz in personal union under Neum. However, in the sixth year of Arenea's reign a council of prominent clerics and the Holy Patra wrote an official petition to the Emperor, strongly pressuring her to comply with religious sexual norms and maintain only one husband. The request by the Mouri nobles that the Anka should only keep one spouse would be a difficult decision to make. The demand limited her ability to make political alliances, and it prevented her from marrying any other Azozian nobles potentially. Finally she decided she would agree not to wed again, and with Pauodegus as her husband, her two wives became less official. Her fourth spouse, the King of Gabatria, who was more distant from the Edomite court, was never officially divorced, but his relationship with Edom began to wane.

Neumite Rule in Azoz[edit]

The rise of the Ligerians quickly became an unprecedented chapter in the history of Edom, as well as the surrounding world. The sudden invasion of Neum had shocked the Mesallians, but also had been seen as a possible opportunity toward Mesallian independence or autonomy. Instead, the Yannian conquerors of Neum set about creating a colony for their people at the expense of the Mouri Empire, with the Mesallians on the coast caught in between. The northern region of Neum had seen the Mesallians caught in the chaos of the upheaval, with the governors of cities such as Salarinos becoming quasi independent entities within the kingdom. To the Yannians these local leaders were called “Nodoms”, much like the ruler in Neum itself, and the region was effectively split into a series of judges and military leaders. This independence was plagued by infighting and constant defense against the ambitions of various Yannian Nodoms, and eventually ended with the establishment of the Kings of Neum once more.

The ascension of Liger more so stabilized the region, as he became famous for his wisdom, influence, and cunning. After the death of Liger, Pauodegus became King of Neum, King Consort of Edom, and Emperor of the Mouri Empire, ushering in the first de facto Yannian dynasty in the Mouri Empire, despite centuries of uncredible claims by previous Yannian rulers. Much like her mother before her, the Anka retained control over Edom itself for the most part, and Pauodegus was to control Azoz, in theory. In practice the Edomites had made inroads toward influencing Azozian politics as well, and the majority of the Mouri Empire was reluctant to accept the Yannian as their emperor as well. From the Azozian perspective, they seemed more willing to accept a woman emperor than a Yannian male emperor, so they acknowledged the Anka of Edom as their ruler instead. In name Pauodegus was the emperor with supreme control, but in terms of de facto power, his wife was the true ruler.

Pauodegus would attempt to increase his power and affirm his position as the emperor, while the Anka sought to secretly control the nations behind the scenes. She found her power extremely limited in Neum, as that city afforded her no allies to speak of, so there was little she could do in the “official” capital of the Mouri Empire. As for the old parts of the Mouri, she retained authority and allegiance from most governors, and prevented the Neumite authorities from taking over in some places, at the expense of keeping the region cut off from integration to a large degree. But some effects would remain, such as the Neumites largely settling into their positions as hegemons of the Ashe River. There Yannians would constitute the nobility, or intermix among it, as the primary region influenced by the growth of Neum.

The city of Azoz itself slightly fell from predominance, as the Yannians considered it unable to be entered, the Edomites considered it too out of the way, and the Azozians considered it too uninfluential. Although, the city would still remain one of the empire’s more populous cities, as Azozians considered it a safe place to remain if one wished to avoid Yannians. Most of the court officials, the Senate, and First Citizen were gradually relocated to Edom, making it more convenient for the emperor to preside over both houses of government there. The satraps and administrators who remained more belligerent against the emperor's authority mostly migrated west, setting up a political league centered in the city of Fotashe. The large family of her immediate ancestors ensured that the Anka had a plethora of eligible cousins, which readily filled the role of political marriages that her mother's polyandry once did.

In the city of Neum, the Mouri citizens had long lived in oppression of the Yannian colonists that seized control of the city many years ago, and although some at this point had converted to the Liger religion, the native culture of the region still persisted. As a result many in and around the region recognized Arenea as ruler first in an act of defiance. The Viceroy of Tuatha would disparagingly call Liger "the first male queen", due to him being an emperor consort, owing to Azoz's differing attitude toward women and gender roles. The Second Council of Medan would be called in 977 to address the spread of the Ligerian religion, led by the newly elected Holy Patra Remu XIII. The council debated for quite some time on the status of the Ligerians, but ultimately decided that they should be considered a legitimate sect of Ulm. Furthermore, the Holy Patra offered a petition to Liger, and proposed that the orthodox Ulm would consider religious reforms to better appease and accommodate the Ligerians should they meet a number of conditions: their scriptures must be compiled together, in a plainly-understood language so that other philosophers can understand and critique it, and that they must focus on spreading their religion eastward among the Yannian population.

Arenea's Purges[edit]

The upheaval brought about by Emperor Pauodegus would be a defining moment for the nations of Edom and Azoz. Because of their marriage, the Anka of Edom enjoyed a greater level of control over the Azozian lands than ever before, and silently embedded Edomite governors and leaders into the many offices and administrations of the empire. The emperor’s purge of the dissident nobility would be disastrous for the old administration of Azoz, especially with almost the entirety of the nation’s army out of the country at the time, either in the Zelonuma Emiresq or being assembled in the Khin lands by the emperor. As such, the royal couple had dozens of noblemen killed, including the rebellious and insubordinate generals and governors who had sneered at them. The “Viceroy of Tuatha” was publicly executed, with him being the last governor of any kind in the former Neum province, as instead that was made imperial territory.

As Pauodegus was unable to step foot in Azoz, the Anka marched on the city with an army to restore order herself. First the Edomites came upon the city of Medan, where they influenced the Second Council being held there. The Anka had her wife’s second husband, Oaximeyetalus, appointed Governor of Azoz Province, and trusted him to remain extremely loyal, on account of their shared marriage vows. The Anka’s grand vision for Azoz would develop in a number of ways. In terms of polytheistic religion, they endorsed the implementation of Yannian customs among the Edomite customs, and in terms of Ulm, she promoted the Ligerian sect to overtake Ulm. A policy of migrating Azozians away from the Ashe River and into the northern regions, including north of the border wall, would persist, and Edomite people were settled in large numbers along the river. Ultimately her goal would be the complete subjugation of Azoz to Edom, permanently annexing that country, and apparently not caring about the old region she claimed. The Ligerians appeared to have a similar goal, likewise having begun settling of the Ashe River.

Public opinion of the new administration in Azoz completely shifted, with Azozian sources of this period painting the actions of Arenea as the ultimate betrayal, and a signal of the end of days. A period of time which they wrote had been expected to reach a golden age suddenly turned into that of a dark and perilous time overnight. The enemies of Ulm and the Azoz culture were now being supported, the only allies and friends of the Ulmian faith and of Mouri were now being attacked, and the entire empire was given over into the hands of a "madman". According to one contemporary account, "for so long the people of Azoz and Mouri saw to their rivalry against the Yannian culture, and sought after the footsteps of the apostles Prackyob and Landrew to spread the gospel of Nelrim on the Yannian continent. Now, by the deeds of one woman that paradigm was inverted, and harbingers of Drokksid are promoted on the Ashe river." The monastic chronicles ascribe Arenea the title of "the Malicious" or "the Destroyer", owing to her deeds in attempting to destroy the Mouri empire.

Although the administrators appointed by Arenea concurred with the emperor's title, most others in the empire would refuse to acknowledge it, evident by the monastic chronicles referring to the era as the reign of Arenea and not Pauodegus. Several peasant uprisings would occur over the next couple of years in the satrapies of Azoz and Tuatha, targeting any temple or religious institution of Yannis and publicly burning all copies of the scriptures of Liger. This would not only occur among the Ulmian population, but also the Mesallian people in the region, who saw the Yannis empire as the long-time adversary of the Mesallian culture, and remembered their wars against the archipelago from ages past. Even in the city of Neum itself, the Mouri population who had long lived oppressed under the Yannian colonization were now wrecking havoc in sympathy to the oppression in the rest of the empire. Several Yannian officials in the city were killed in one incident when their public reading of Ligerian scriptures incited an angry mob.

The monastic chronicles became increasingly sparse during this period, only attributing a few sentences for each year, usually consisting of lists of those killed by the monarchs, or those killed in retribution. As the Ligerians would cull the population of nearby cities for women, most of the peasant class learned to hide their daughters and wives in underground chambers underneath their homes, which were often considered a highlight of archaeology of the period. According to legend, many times when the progress of the Neumite king was announced, the people would completely evacuate the streets and roads entirely, so as not to have to see him at all. Banditry increased along the empire's many highways, leading to the legend of Fillion the Swift and the "Merry Men", a powerful group of bandits that opposed the Ligerians.

In the far west, distrust for the female monarch was compounded by disgust for the Yannian presence, and so resulted in an act of open rebellion. Gudian II, Satrap of Fotashe, seized control of all the imperial assets in the banks of Gara, on the grounds that he felt the office of emperor was now vacant. The imperial government would paint the rebellious governor as simply greedy, claiming that his action of robbing imperial funds had been an excuse to enrich himself. An army would be dispatched west to remove him, with the spoils of war promised to be granted to the soldiers and the citizens of the nation once he was removed. The Battle of Fotashe would see Gudian II decisively defeated by a combined army of Edomites, Azozians, and Neumites. The situation in the empire would continue to deteriorate, beginning the eventual civil war between the Neumite and the Edomite factions in Azoz. The military commander Prackyob, would led western soldiers in the subjugation of Valun and Eskaladun, would become known as the "Lord of the North", and acted as an important figure in western politics. After Telephama was crowned as the new ruler of the Mouri Empire, the western provinces largely supported her and contributed soldiers to her cause, largely due to the influence and persuasion of Prackyob.

After the rebels had been adequately silenced, new centers of learning would be developed by the Anka, which promoted more open discussions and research, rather than penned hit pieces. The Anka would take inspiration from the government systems of the Yannian states, which seemed more successful in holding together vast empires than the constantly rebelling Azozian model. The nation would consist of a smaller number of governorships, ruled by a civil servant handpicked by the Anka, but additionally each governor would have zero military power, as an equal figure from Edom was appointed as each governor’s military leader. Then each province would have a Yannian-style secretary; someone who answered directly to the Emperor and spoke on his behalf. Each province would be monitored by neutral committees and other imperial officials.

Cultural Revolution[edit]

Despite this uncertainty in Azoz, a cultural revolution would be seen across the core of Azoz and other places of the empire, most likely in reaction to the actions of Yannis. A new form of art would flourish across the cities of Azoz, Perea and Medan, in a clear archaizing style that imitated the Chatna Baroque. This and similar forms of music and literature make it clear that Azoz was working to emphasize and promote their own native culture, and completely counteract any attempt to compel the styles of Yannis or Neum. At the same time, other provinces in the empire saw this as a time where the Ashe river was bastardized by the Yannian presence, and so art historians also point to a significant decentralization of styles. The Valun, Eskaladun and even Frasnoq regions took on their own unique personality, although universally inspired from the same archaizing baroque, they took it in different directions. The new province of Zeun was particularly potent in this cultural phase, where apostles were sent to restore the Basilicas that once existed there from the days of the Xera empire, and many such colonies north of the Castilean Wall.

Arenea bore an eldest daughter named Wanda, who would be recognized as a bastard and formally disinherited after the birth of the Anka's later children, as not to displease the true born children of the Anka, but she would nonetheless live a comfortable life. Wanda would be primarily educated by an Apocist philosopher named Ptelamus in the Library of Iskandaria, raised mainly in the philosophy of the various sects of Ulm. Very quickly, contemporary sources noted how wise and clever she matured to be, even as a young child, with a certain sense of wit and charisma she also inherited from her father. However, almost all details of Wanda come from Azozian sources which attempted to later paint her as a hopeful candidate to the throne instead of the Ligerians. The legitimate children of the Anka would be Shuadna’al Tezculum (Shuadna the Heir), Lasebehun Zecesula, Nascemun Yagulonus, and Berena’al Rasletemuc. A struggle would be fought over the right to educate the children of the monarchs, with the belief being that whoever controlled the next generation could ensure whether or not the Ligerian takeover of Azoz would truly be permanent or not.

Within the kingdom of Edom, the largely Ulmian population felt tremendous sympathy for the actions in Mouri. Although it did not result in nearly as much destruction, there were still a number of open peasant riots that attacked two different Zamian temples. The Zedumari and Templar warriors, who for a long time worked in service of the empire, resigned and left to work as private mercenaries. The city of Iskandaria remained blissfully isolated from the chaos, and the debates of both Ulmian, Mesallian and Ligerian philosophers in the Great Library remained a voice of sanity and centrism. The Holy Patra Remu XIII died and was succeeded by Levian V, who largely returned to the earlier policies of Orthodox Ulm with regards to Yannian culture. Although he clearly still endorsed the actions of the Second Council of Medan, he did not make much effort to enforce it. Furthermore, both the Holy Patra and the Senate of Medan would express their disapproval of Arenea's actions, and stated they would never crown a Ligerian as emperor. Apocist philosophers such as Ptalemus attempted to tutor and influence Arenea's children. The Paltonic philosophers became the most vocal, utilizing their craft and influence to greatly criticize the actions of the Anka and the king-consort in all their writings.

One such philosopher, Abel of Isono, wrote this: "That malicious witch says she knows what is 'favorable' to us. Is that so? You blind and ignorant people of Azoz trusted someone you had no reason to. They lied to us when they offered to restore the Chatna empire, they lied to us when they offered to attack the Yannis Empire, and once again they lied to us about a fair and mutual union. Who would reasonably trust the Edomites now? Even now, as the sheep of this nation continue to trust her, she has made us a fool in front of our enemies, an enemy to our friends, and seeks out to destroy the religion of Ulm. Oh she claims it is out of the 'love' of her husband. We know love from the gospel of Nelrim, while she has no love for anyone or anything. As for you, O Yannis, we could have been friends. Your only friend in this world. As it says in the third chapter of Nelrim's virtues 'do unto others as you would have them to unto you'. So you treat us as wild animals? Then wild animals we shall be! And as sure as there are stars in the sky, no force in the universe will tame the Great Bull of Azoz"

Yannian scholars would rebuttal that the Azozian writers failed to understand the situation or the Ligerian government, citing their frequent references to Pauodegus' actions as being the actions of Liger as evidence that they didn't even know Liger had previously died. One school of thought was that the late king’s coronation of his son during his lifetime, and the pair being of the same origin, has led to the two being confused in historical records, or even called anonymously in a metaphorical sense. The issue was the use of clear historical facts from before the Emperor had been born to describe the emperor, causing the Azozian records to be confusing. The second well regarded theory is that the Azozian chronicles used the term “Liger” as an abstract idea rather than as a historical figure; the "nation’s proud history of ignorance and hatred toward the Yannians produced a literary monster that could be the butt of their jokes, and the symbol for their bitter resentment", according to Yannian scholars.

These critical writings are often best viewed through the Azozian biases of the time. For example, they proudly declared that “Liger is the woman queen”, which although alien to modern readers, was on account of Azoz’s heavy sexism against women. As the Yannians were more outspoken in their respect toward women, calling the king a woman would not have been insulting. Instead it would reflect poorly on the scholars themselves, as they filled their supposedly neutral accounts with crude humor and insults, which are considered inappropriate by today’s standards. The Edomite’s were even more matriarchal, so the Anka was not amused by such misogynistic comments from the Azozians. The boyish humor was likely in reaction to the fears of emasculated men, as they suddenly found their kingdom ruled by a woman for the first time.

Likewise, despite the panic-stricken old boy’s club famously declaring that a dark age would begin, the period would eventually be considered a cultural renaissance. Dozens of peoples converged on Azoz, bringing with them their innovations, ideas, and technology, and the empire no longer lived in fear of constant feuding with a Yannis Empire type or an Edomite nation. Beyond the hysterics of the vocal Azozian men, most people could recognize the Emperor for his merits and kindness. The Emperor did not take any more wives, and he had broken up such harem practices in the imperial palace. The Azozian chronicles of this time would ignore this fact, and cling to the myth that the Emperor was constantly kidnapping women and keeping a thousand wives, perhaps based on the clearly hyperbolic legends of his father, some as which written one-half century prior to this time. In that sense, the Yannian propaganda written to make the Emperor’s father seem powerful, was now influencing Azozian scholars to slander the current emperor, which no propagandists could have foreseen.

In reality, the Anka had never married another man after her earlier agreement, and the Emperor never took another wife. Ironically, the empire would be most harmed by these same detractors of the Emperor, as their slander turned to misinformation, and their actions turned to civil disobedience. On account of such xenophobic attitude, a certain group of Azozians set about disrupting their own nation, causing violence, and fighting for a supposed “lost ideal” that Azoz never truly had. Accounts of peasant revolts are believed to be heavily exaggerated by these same sources, because in reality the average peasant would have benefited from the charitable policies of the Emperor. The most heavily affected by the new leadership would be the old leadership, the Azozian governors, and other literate members of society, who wrote such histories to discredit the man who disenfranchised them from their own power, not necessarily to the detriment of the common man.

Across the empire, the average person would have benefited from the nation’s military interventions being ended across the world, which saw the Azozian levies returned to their families. The quick military campaigns of the Emperor, which utilized his own men rather than the Azozians, additionally resulted in enormous and quick plunder, which the Emperor would use to benefit the people and the empire, rather than himself. Across the empire the new administration worked to end religious violence. The church was reminded that Ligerianism was a legitimate sect of the Ulmian religion, and when churchgoers angrily burn scripture, not only are they committing a sacrilege, they are likely harming Ulm as a whole and its attempts to convert completely non-Ulmians. With the Edomite army garrisoning Medan in full force, the Emperor intended to have himself and his wife formally coronated as monarchs. In the meantime, the Emperor had a new Holy Patra appointed, and slowly had many of the Patra appointed to be loyal to him.

The monarchs gained an upper hand over the philosophers with the closing of major libraries, in the event known as the "Dissolution of the Arts". One lasting effect after this event would be the subsequent policies on media censorship, preventing contemporary literature from criticizing the government or other acts that could be perceived as treasonous. Fortunately, we know of the controversies that existed at the time due to later historians that wrote about this time retrospectively, albeit at times their sources are dubious. The literature that came after the Dissolution would see a few sycophants among the authors who agreed to the censor policies. Other literature, particularly among chiasmic and epic poetry, would continue to either satirize or lament the current foreign domination, but would circumvent the censorship by being steeped in allusions and metaphors, or take on mythical locations. At the same time, some of this more esoteric poetry would also take inspiration from Yannian culture and incorporate allusions to their religious scripture.

In one such example, an anonymous author described a large ox with a star above his head. The star fell off and landed on the ground, and the ox’s eyes would start bleeding profusely. The blood fell down and covered the star, drawing the shape of an X. Another story took on a fanciful description of Nathon the Pious and the Pentangle of Perea, describing how he conquered all of Edom and Tuatha during his reign and was in the process of planning to invade Yannis before being betrayed by his half-brother. Many writers quit their job rather than continue under the censorship, while the Paltonians would instead intensify their writings. The Paltonic philosophers were emboldened by the execution of Abel, seeing the parallel to their own founder’s execution in the days of Diodine. They largely left the libraries to live either as hermits or vagabonds, where they continued their production of writings. Some sources described them as living in barrels in city streets, although this may have just spawned from a derogatory statement. At the same time, their writings slightly diminished from the more harsh criticism of Abel, as the satirist Diogenes noted: “well, she isn’t a monster, but we still don’t like it”.

A collection of philosophers of many different sects and backgrounds created a group petition to the Neumite king, headed by Ptelamus of Iskandaria. They said that an ancient tradition, stemming from the days when Nelrim walked the earth, stipulated the emperor’s court be filled with court philosophers and scientists to best advise and direct his rule, and any true emperor of the Mouri would surely keep this tradition for the sake of his people. They otherwise became very uncomfortable with the state of the emperor remaining isolated in the palace of Neum. The Emperor would be unamused by the comments of Ptelamus of Iskandria, and viewed his multiple attempts to tutor his children as simply a ploy to control the royal family, and he would remind the petitioners that the government did employ a large retinue of philosophers and writers in his court.

He wrote that the Emperor had been a major patron of the arts, employing hundreds of people to this effect. He simply did so in Neum, and from the people there, rather than the elitist schools of Azoz, where they praised only the most manly of conservative values. And furthermore, he refused to let these petitioning artists in, as they had simply not made the cut. If they wanted in to the capital, he continued, they would demonstrate their wisdom and knowledge by composing works worthy of a Neumite audition. He likewise accused the petitioners of being traveling vagrants, and likely tricksters and assassins. At this time some of the most groundbreaking works of art of this period were done in the capital. A series of epics were written, which linked the Yannians to the Mouri Empire, and their vast history. The most prominent epic would be the Ecetemid, which would draw heavily from Ligerian scripture, Yannian history, and the history of Neum, creating a consistent origin myth for the city and for the later kingdom.

Ptelamus retired in 1003 and was succeeded in his scholarly duties by Hyparchia the Younger. Hyparchia continued to petition the Emperor for the scholars of Iskandaria to come advise the king and his family. At the same time, her Azozian rival Theodore the Bald began petitioning for the same position. The Neumite secretary, Y'scoloumac, proposed to hold a competition between the two of them, as he spoke on behalf of the king. Each scholar had the chance to answer five philosophic questions, and their answers would be brought to the Neumite king to see if they are acceptable. The first question was: what is the heaviest burden a man can carry? Theodore answered that it was the burden of a great empire, while Hyparchia replied it was guilt, for no burden can be as great as guilt. The second question: what is the smartest part of the brain? Theodore answered it was the part that is in command, as the whole body depends on its wisdom. However, Hyparchia replied it was whatever part of the brain is able to fully understand what little knowledge it has, for that is invaluable. The third question: what is the hardest thing a person can do? Theodore replied it was a military victory in the face of certain doom, quoting a passage of the Ecetemid. Hyparchia, however, answered it was telling the complete truth, as nothing else is harder than that. The fourth question: what is the strongest thing on earth? Theodore answered it was the words of a great leader, which can move nations, while Hyparchia said it was patience, which can move mountains. Finally, the fifth question: who is the happiest person alive? Thodore answered it was the Emperor Palogous, who is the wealthier than any monarch before him. However, Hyparchia replied it was no one, for nobody can know how happy they are until after they are dead.

In terms of religion, a great controversy arose from the deposition of Levian VII. The new Holy Patra Eresmun proceeded with the coronation of Pauodegus as emperor, but many saw this as the act of a puppet leader. The heart of the controversy stemmed from the investiture of power in the nation, as although the emperor had the jurisdiction to install Patras since ancient times, no emperor had ever deposed any Holy Patra before, aside from the assassination during the reign of Thalut the Wicked. A council of clerics headed by Eresmun offered a petition to Arenea, suggesting that, as a compromise, the Emperor from now on may appoint members of a council known as the Farrapatra. Once the Holy Patra dies, the Farrapatra would vote for his successor among themselves. Meanwhile, Eresmun was determined to accept the Ligerian sect of Ulm more readily than his predecessor. As apostles of Orthodox Ulm were sent north to establish Basilicas in former Zelonuma territory, Ligerian apostles would be sent east to convert the Yannian population in their own way.

The Emperor heard the pleas from the two philosophers, but was thoroughly unimpressed by any of their answers to the five questions. He suggested that they return with another ten questions that are thoroughly answered, and then he would consider letting such upstarts into the academic circles of the capital. In Neum the philosophers and writers of the Emperor were promoted across the country, with the goal of disrupting groups such as the Paltonians. As the Paltonians waned in popularity and funding, critics would detract they were no longer needed, and often times confused for standup comedians, because of their only claim to fame seemingly being their ability to lambaste women and authorities for humor.

Another significant facet about this time period would also be a general fascination with cats. Cats had always been the most frequently domesticated animal in the city of Azoz since its founding, and gradually supplanted by many more practical beasts such as cows, pigs, horses, camels, elephants and bees. But after the Yannian seizure of power, cats were much more frequently seen among art and households in the Azoz core as one part of the achaizing tradition. One collection of scholars in the Great Library, known as the Felinorati, had specifically sought favor in the court of Neum as it became a more significant city in the empire, and so primarily offered their finest collection of well-bred, fluffy cats as tribute. They were primarily led by Lucilia, a local expert in both biology and geography. Whereas the keeping of cats as pets becomes popular among the Azozians of the Mouri Empire, the consumption of cats as food also arises in certain circles in Neum.

The philosophers and writers of Azoz continued to petition the Emperor for permission to tutor and train his children under the leadership Hyparchia the Younger until his death, never having been approved to teach within the capital city of Neum. Those within the city of Neum introduced some amount of Azozian literature, mostly consisting of the romances of Nathon the Pious and the Pentangle of Perea, which often times would mix in characters from the Yannian epics. The Ecetemid epic likewise began circulating in the Library of Azoz, with alternate versions of the story involving characters of Nathonian romance tradition being created.

Dissolution of the Arts[edit]

The Death of Abel of Isono by Jenai Sybalus.

The Library of Iskandria and any other such institutions were officially shut down in its entirety for the time being, as the emperor viewed the philosophers as childish and unable to act properly, having seemingly dedicated their time to attacking the Emperor’s wife, rather than the intellectual pursuits the institution had been founded on. He stated that only when they behaved themselves would such institutions reopen. Abel of Isono was arrested and executed, and made an example of as a rebel leader. Likewise the Emperor ordered all his children to not be tutored by anyone except those he approved of, and had the children moved to Neum immediately. Across the empire these "philosophers" were rounded up and imprisoned, as they have crossed the line from philosopher to rebel when they abandoned any pursuit of philosophy, and instead dedicated their time to writing slander and angry editorials, the emperor claimed.

The Anka of Edom would go along with the plan originally proposed by her husband, in which they would seek further legitimacy in Azoz. To this end they would achieve coronations in Medan, with the Holy Patra having been replaced by Holy Patra Esemun, an Edomite, and the rest of the city’s religious authorities reluctantly agreeing at the threat of annihilation. The entity of the church leadership would remain in Medan, held by the Anka’s army until such an arrangement was approved of. The Anka would also convert to the Ulmian religion, to further persuade religious authorities to support them. Insubordination was considered intolerable, and the Anka approved of the punishments being levied against the philosophers. Edicts would be passed in Edom that made slander or ill speech against the monarchy a crime.

In response, the philosophical idea of Freedom of Speech was talked in hushed circles among Edom’s elite, having been transplanted to the nation by the Syresian republic. Although, to them this hypothetical right was more so desired as an extension of aristocratic privilege, not as a general principle to be applied to all. Regardless, no such policy would take up root, and the closure of the philosophical dens was underway. The Anka would eventually decree that such a blanket ban was not needed, and allowed any philosophers or writers who were not publicly attacking her or her husband to come to Edom and write in peace. The court would pay lavishly for poets, writers, and other artists, fostering a new circle of discussion to replace the old. Eventually she planned that libraries would be reopened, but only after it was ensured the writers ceased their clear slander and attacks against the state, and as such the Library of Azoz would remained closed for some time.

Things began to gradually relax in the empire after the actions of Arenea and Palaugos to push forward their legitimacy. The initial closure of the libraries and centers of learning caused a tremendous crisis in the nation, referred to by later historians as "the Dissolution of the Arts". Aside from the destruction of the library after the Fall of Perea around 150 AR, the Library of Azoz had existed continuously from at least 250 BR, and over its entire history never once shut down by the monarch. As a result, gradually over the centuries the centers of philosophy and literature had become the chief cornerstone of Azoz culture, and the root from which the branches of science, mathematics, art, and music all stem. As the Dissolution of the Arts was brief, however, it is unlikely any major innovation was actually affected.

Fall of Oranamou's Government[edit]

In the late 970s Lucretia the Lascivious is said to have returned to Edom for the first time after years of missionary work in the former Yannis Empire. One day, Oranamou the First Citizen discovered Lucretia's unconscious in her room. At once, Oranamou was so struck by her grace and beauty that he became convinced she must of come from royal origin, so he attempted to seduce her and ultimately proposed they be wed. Although he realized later that she was a former prostitute and not of royal birth, Oranamou was overcome by his love for the woman, and stood by his resolve to help her regardless of her being royal or not. He allegedly went several months in the presence of the emperor and the court of Edom, bluffing as best he could to convince them that the woman was his wife and also a princess of a fictional country. Later Lucretia also came of note when she apparently stopped a plot to poison Arenea.

It would eventually become clear that any relationship between Oranamou and Lucretia was not consensual, which greatly tarnished his reputation with the royal family. The monarchs ordered him unceremoniously arrested and replaced without much initial explanation, and as such the arrest and deposition of Oranamou was a great shock across the empire. Oranamou had led the most powerful faction of nobles to be strictly loyal to the words of the Anka, and blindly followed her orders in support of the Neumites even through the Dissolution of the Arts. With his arrest, a large component of those nobles both in Azoz and Edom suspected they placed their trust too far, and began a secret conspiracy known as the Children of the Light. The Paltonians likewise worked to bridge the underground resistance in Edom, making alliances with the Edomite groups influenced by the Syresian Republic. Even while in prison, however, Oranamou continued to staunchly stay in favor of Arenea, and wrote many letters to his second son Erisoh instructing him to lead the moderates on his behalf, and diffuse any attempt at conspiracy.

The monarchs would reveal that Oranamou had been secretly engaging in illegal acts. His house was raided and a large dungeon was discovered, containing the corpses of dozens of small children. These crimes were published across the nation, and soon people praised the Emperor for acting so decisively against such an evil criminal. Before he can be investigated further, Oranamou suddenly died of natural causes in prison. Others hypothesized that Oranamou had been framed for disagreeing with the monarchs, and that he might have been assassinated in prison. A new First Citizen was appointed named Temetulcus, who was one of the most well respected administrators of Neum. He set to work increasing the productivity of the nation, and ordered many new changes to the administration of the empire, despite the uncertainty surrounding Oranamou's arrest and death.

Legend of Fillion the Swift[edit]

Woodcut of Fillion the Swift and his compatriots, from a 27th century broadside.

As banditry increased in the empire, Fillion the Swift emerged as an important folk hero and resistance figure against the Ligerians. Fillion was said to be a master of the bow and arrow, able to shoot a fly straight in the heart at a hundred paces, as well as a brilliant user of disguises and strategy. He was the second son of a former Satrap, recently deposed during Arenea's purge of administration, and lived much of his life in the wilderness where he was taught by Zedumari warriors. With his cadre of bandits, Fillion would pillage and rob various Yannian officials along the highways, and return the money to the Mouri peasants. The ballads of Fillion, written many years later, describe his schemes to consistently humiliate and badger the Yannian officials, especially the Neumite king himself. In one such incident, he had a number of confederates in disguise during a military exercise of Pauodegus' retainers, who would periodically shout confusing orders until no man could trust his fellow soldier.

Meanwhile, Oranamou’s son Garren was appointed to be the military secretary of the city of Teman. He is often given as the arch villain in the ballads of Fillion the Swift, tasked by the Yannian monarch to hunt down and capture the troublesome bandit and his merry men. In one such story, Garren proposed an archery contest in the city of Teman, knowing that Fillion would not resist the opportunity to show off his skill. Fillion did attend in disguise, and at the climax of the tournament, he tied for first place with Garren himself. At the final match, Garren's arrow struck the dead center of the target, instilling great admiration by the Yannian officials there. However, Fillion then flung his arrow which split Garren's down the middle, thus winning the contest. Because his compatriots had infiltrated the entire tournament while the audience was distracted, he managed to take the prize and make his escape.

Fillion the Swift continued to cause havoc as he robbed from Yannian nobles and gave to the peasants of Mouri, despite the efforts of the sheriff Garren. Fillion was known as charming and handsome as he was devious, and ultimately he fell in love with a daughter of Garren named Maren. Once the sheriff knew this, he used his daughter as bait to lure Fillion into a trap, where the hero was arrested and brought toward public execution. However, at the last second the rope of his hanging was cut by his compatriots who came to his rescue, and in fact proved that this entire event was part of his plan all along. Fillion managed to take Maren with him as they escaped back to his Merry Men outside of Teman. Tukh the Paltonian was also among this band, often noted in the ballads for his cynical wit and master swordsmanship.

Naked Rebellion[edit]

Star of Liberty, depicting Lucretia as a personification of Azoz, riding through the city naked during the start of the Seven-Star War.

At the turn of the eleventh century a series of conflicts arose in the city of Azoz, which was the center of numerous religions for varying reasons. Although the nation as a whole had stabilized to a Yannian and Edomite couple ruling the nation, a minority of more extremist Ulmians developed, especially in the city of Azoz itself, where Yannian culture was practically nonexistent. They would eventually take the name “Taurites”, after the popular speech by Abel of Isono which ended with the words, “no force in the universe will tame the Great Bull of Azoz”. Indeed the Paltonians would be among the most influential in shaping the ideology of the Taurites. After the appointment of a new Holy Patra, the group became increasingly more militant and anti-monarchy, creating training grounds in the city of Azoz, as well as increasing its efforts toward publishing anti-Yannian rhetoric. The organization would come to be dominated by a triumvirate; Be’elatei, leader of the Knights of Jiff, Abel the Younger, the literary mastermind of the movement, and Roshtam, the future leader.

As tensions rose a group of extremely poor citizens, mostly emancipated slaves, began to walk through the streets of Azoz in the nude, due to not possessing suitable clothes. The group marched through the streets preaching the message of the Taurites and shouting obscenities about the administration. The group eventually grew in number as the poor and other slaves joined them in solidarity. Finally, Father Be’elatei, a senior officer of the Knights of Jiff, was tasked with taking action. According to legend, he assembled a well trained band of monks, employing the most ornate sandwich armor. They dressed themselves in metal armor shaped into the form of bread, with leaves and food tied to their body, creating a sacred armor of sandwich material. They armed themselves in salami-clad spears and swords dipped in condiments. During a demonstration in front of the great library, in which hundreds of slaves gathered to pray and scream, the Knights of Jiff opened fire upon them, causing a slaughter on the steps of the library. Hundreds were killed in the chaos.

It is said that Be’elatei personally killed the rebel leader and carried him like a war banner. His forces pursued some people fleeing into the library, and there Be’elatei created a makeshift pyre out of a few hundred books and their bookshelves, throws the dead slaves onto the pile, and starting a great fire. The act would cause the entire city to go ablaze, destroying the library and beyond. The Ulmian zealots joyfully let the “corrupted”, non-Azozian quarter of the city burn. They are said to have found a naked eunuch boy and impaled him through the legs with a spear. Then they dressed the boy up in a long, blonde wig and the finest makeup they could find, and paraded him as an effigy of the Anka before burning him. By the next day the non-Ulmian temples of the city were looted and destroyed, and hundreds of homes were destroyed in fire. The Jiffians proclaimed zealous noble Roshtam the new First Citizen, and the founder of a new Azoz. He ordered further purging in the name of Nelrim.

Although the Raid of Be’elatei appeared to authorities as a completely random outburst, it would actually be heavily planned and backed by the other leaders. Roshtam's government acted as a highly zealous theocratic state, with Roshtam ordering an all out war against the citizens of the city who refused to follow his highly religious rules. On the other side of the spectrum would be the Ligerians, who believed that the city of Azoz would imminently collapse into the earth in a cataclysmic event. Although sparse in the city, a large population of Nathons, eunuchs, and other members from the lowest levels of society, would emerge in the city, comprised of converts and refugees from the east. Despite being referred to by a former Azozian king’s name, the Nathons of the time would be extremely un-Azozian, likely as the product of generations of slavery from distant lands. According to one Azozian account, “the escaped slaves had been so indoctrinated by the yoke of Neum, they had fully embraced the coming apocalypse as the only way to rationalize their personal torture and harsh conditions.

As the Ligerians within the city became more belligerent, these disturbances motivated Be’elatei to launch his attack, which culminated in a fire at the Great Library of Azoz. Although the damage would be highly exaggerated, he had nonetheless caused the destruction of countless buildings, and the death of hundreds. However, the zealots sought the complete rebirth of the city most literally and figuratively. Roshtam would be declared First Citizen, as a call back to the first king of the city many centuries ago. The spreading fire was seen as a purifying flame over a city corrupted by Yannian vices, and the slaughter seen as the cleansing of similarly unholy heretics. Despite their dreams of grandiose rebirth, the majority of the city, and the empire at large, had no such dreams, and found the rise of such extremists an issue. Despite creating a self declared empire in an old section of the city, the rest of the empire, and even the religious authorities of the empire, recognized a more qualified First Citizen and the Emperor. Even before any military response could be issued against the city from the national government, Roshtam’s dictatorship found itself contending with the people of the city, who desired no such revolution. The triumvirate would be initially successful, crushing those opposed, and attracting a small number of recruits from across the empire. In the Ashe River region, a number of people who had been pushed off their land joined the cause, making up the bulk of the city’s peasant army.

Ascension of Shuadna[edit]

As an army was dispatched to handle the small rebellion, the Anka would pass away in the east. The new Anka of Edom would be Shuadna’al-Tezculum, while her father Pauodegus remained Emperor of the Mouri Empire, although expected to eventually relinquish control of that to her. Having been raised in Neum, she would be well versed in Yannian customs and literature, as well as the Ligerian faith and the Emperor’s philosophy. She did not totally abandon Edomite customs either, as she would reportedly be wed to a noblewoman named Hesemonada, although she displayed little affection for her supposed wife. While ruling over a vast empire, the Anka would delegate control over large territories to siblings and other relatives, leaving Neum, Edom, and the west under the control over her three brothers and sisters, which would eventually diminish the centralization that her mother had championed. Berena’al Rasletemuc was appointed Deputy of the East, Lasebehun Zecesula was appointed Deputy of the West, and Nascemun Yagulonus was appointed Deputy of the South.

A brief military campaign had been carried out against the strong tribes and city states of the northwest. A large army would be dispatched to the region, where they discovered the natives to be extremely fierce and independent, using horse archers and guerrilla tactics to great effect. In order to continue the campaign, soldiers were called from across the empire, and the navy would be used to attack the coast. The Mouri invasion of the northwest would prompt the nations of the region to band together in a confederacy to resist the attack. On the west coast at the mouth of the Agripala River was the city state of Oceguna, which was the largest city in the region, dominating the southwest section of the confederacy. Along the northern coast and in the mountains were the Corocora, Flausigusti, and the Dasturani, who were renowned for their fierce guerrilla tactics. Collectively they become known as the Baenodia Confederacy. During the initial invasion the Mouri are decisively defeated, with the Baenodians repulsing the invasion.

The new Anka of Edom was technically left without proper authority over the Mouri Empire, allowing the Emperor to establish completely control in her absence, but nonetheless, the Anka would continue to exercise control over large parts of the region. In Medan, the Edomites had a large army garrisoned, and that city acted as the de facto center of the Edomite’s control. In the west a major army remained, and as a result the western provinces remained loyal, as the Anka worked closely with her brother, Lasebehun Zecesula. After news reached the Anka of the rebellion in Azoz, she ordered her army to return east and aid in suppressing the rebellion, while she moved to Medan personally with a large army. Although the Anka shared little of the views of her father, as it pertained to his mission to punish the Azozians, but she hoped to continue a policy of a strong Edom in the region. In Edom itself the so called “Syresian-inspired” faction did not contribute much to the overall civil war, as there wasn’t a serious movement to overthrow the Anka from them, rather they voiced their complaints about seemingly anti-intellectual policies, and the Anka listened. She would open the Library of Iskandria and other important institutions in the region, easing the tensions with the angered philosophers.

Seven-Star War[edit]

In Azoz, the Triumvirate of the Taurite revolt would start to immediately suffer from internal dispute. The most extreme within the faction solidly believed in the prophesies of rebirthing the city into a new golden age for the empire, and purging out all dissidents. Although Roshtam had initially been envisioned as a figurehead for the other elements of the group, he proved to be a charismatic leader and commander, and quickly became highly zealous and authoritarian versus the rest of the group. He saw the Neumite king and the Anka as the primary enemy of the revolution, and began raising forces to oppose their governemnt. Abel the Younger unexpectedly died when an attack by the slaves caused a building to collapse on him. This caused the triumvirate to split in leadership, with Roshtam and Be’elatei as rivals of each other.

Be’elatei and the knights of Jiff seized de-facto control over a section of the city, and began his purge to rebirth the kingdom from the ground up according to his vision. He imposed a strict diet for all citizens, and suspected anyone who did not comply as a traitor. Suspected traitors to the kingdom were to be quickly executed without any due process of law. The purge did not last long, however, as the next week Roshtam instigated a conspiracy which accused Be’elatei himself as a traitor, and without due process of law he was apprehended and executed by his own men. Roshtam thus assumed complete control over the Taurites, and appointed his compatriot Proculous as the new leader of the Knights of Jiff. Roshtam worked to purge out dissidents, and appealed to the citizens of the city to support their common cause against the false emperor and the false Anka. He famously made a proclamation attempting to ban the term "Nathon" as a reference to slavery, instead reserving it for sacred remembrance of King Na-Thon the Pious.

Although Roshtam was chiefly in charge in the city of Azoz, in the countryside the ravaging peasant armies only loosely followed his commands, and largely acted independently. Although many Paltonians were among the Taurites, they eventually distanced themselves from the organization, especially after the death of Abel the Younger. Under the influence of the philosopher Diogenes, the Paltonians criticized Roshtam and the Taurites for their political aims, and saw them as no less of a tyrant than the Yannians they tried to overthrow. Instead, the Paltonians allied with the peasant army of Teman to form a third faction in the revolution, in contest against both the empire and the Taurites. Roshtam would make a series of alliances to various groups across the empire, all with a variety of backgrounds and goals, but united in the common cause of deposing the current monarchs of the Mouri Empire and Edom.

Inigo Montoya, the governor of Eskaladun organized several bureaucrats across Eskaladun and Outer Valun to raise militias of their personal retainers. In addition, the provinces of Inner Valun under the governor Prachyob likewise raised a militia to match the forces of Inigo, and he also declared his support for the third faction. Prackyob was a direct descent of native Valun tribes, and was greatly respected in the Near West for his faithfulness to their culture, as well as for being a strong military leader. He perceived it would be overall beneficial to unite the third faction of the revolt with the loyalists to the Anka, as the only way of tipping the scales of the war to her favor, and so offered a proposal of marriage between himself and the Anka Shuadna.

In Neum, a large group of Ulmian peasants rose up as a new mob against the Yannian overlords, headed by a charismatic cobbler named Rigel the Shoemaker. The Edomite bureaucrats who were largely influenced by the more free government of Syres were lead by Lady Shamenza. Erisoh, son of Oranamou, likewise headed the Children of the Light, a conspiracy of the Edomite nobles appointed over various positions in both Edom and Azoz who held loyal respect for Arenea, but saw the new generation as responsible for the imprisonment and murder of Erisoh's father Oranamou. The Ulmian religion under the Holy Patra remained strictly neutral during this entire conflict, hoping to create a strong precedence for later generations of religion remaining uninvolved with political conflicts. In fact, refugee and relief efforts organized by local Patras would encourage cooperation between Ligerians, Shanzians and Ulmians.

Collectively, this is referred to by historians as the "Seven-star Revolt", with each star representing a different faction. However, the "seven" aspect was more metaphorical in meaning, as the exact number varied depending on what was being counted. The confirmed factions involved with the revolt were: the Taurites under Roshtam, the Knights of Jiff under Proculous, the Northern Provinces under Inigo Montoya, the Children of the Light under Erisoh, the Edomites under Shamenza, and the Neumite peasants under Rigel. In addition, Roshtam reached out to the Baenodia Confederacy, stating how since ancient times the Mouri Empire had respected the free lands of their tribes, and only under this new regime who they are seeking to overthrow was that sanctity violated, and thus requested they too send an army to support their revolution. The nations of the Baenodia Confederacy harassed the retreating Edomite soldiers out of their territory, but after these soldiers left their lands, the Baenodia Confederacy decided to remain neutral in the ensuing conflict in Azoz, content with having defended their nation. Finally, Roshtam reached out to Berena’al Rasletemuc, the sister of Shuadna, for her support in the revolution, offering to make her the new Anka in replacement of the current government if she raised her own retainers. He believed that Berena'al had been the most influenced by Azoz culture compared to her other siblings, and thus Roshtam had hoped she would prove to be a much more favorable candidate of monarch to succeed Arenea.

Ligerian propaganda would play a rule during the civil war, with the government targeting many of the rebel leaders. Roshtam was criticized for changing the term "Nathon", which the Ligerians called "changing the dictionary simply because of your own insecurity". He was also called an anarchist who destroyed Azoz and the nation as a whole, and a traitor for eliciting foreign nations to invade Azoz, which attracted many aristocrats and wealthier citizens away from supporting him. The rebels in Neum under Rigel, disparagingly called "Rigatoni the Coffinmaker" by the Ligerians, was quickly defeated by the forces of Pauodegus, before he marched west toward the city of Teman. After a bloody siege the city was taken, and Pauodegus ordered the Paltonians put to death and destroyed as an organization, and the city to be sacked. He marched next on the city of Azoz, surrounding the city and informing its inhabitants that he would starve everyone within the city and kill them, unless they immediately revolted against Roshtam and allowed him entry.

By 1020 the Seven-Star War had begun to fall apart, as the success of the army from Neum convinced many in the population to surrender or remain loyal to the government. The peasant revolt under Rigel fled back into their homes and villages, giving up any appearance of sedition. Eventually, Rigel was betrayed by his wife and turned over to the local secretary for his crimes. The Edomites of Shamenza and the Children of the Light of Erisoh largely dissolved on their own, as the new Anka was amendable to their concerns. In the Battle of Azoz, the peasant army of Ishbak and the Paltonians of Diogenes fought against the Knights of Jiff under Proculous and the Taurites under Roshtam. Proculous himself fell off the city wall into a catapult, and was crushed between two pieces of breadwood. With their military largely destroyed, the Jiffians returned to the primarily religious organization of the monastery they originated from. In the west, Prackyob proved to be a very capable commander in fighting battles against Inigo Montoya, eventually subjugating both halves of Valun and invading Eskaladun as well. Often referred to as the "Lord of the North" in the monastic chronicles, he ensured that the last resistance against the Mouri empire was put down in these regions, while at the same time expanding Mouri's influence north against local Khin clan leaders.

Pauodegus' Azoz[edit]

When the Emperor arrived near Azoz the city's factions became overwhelmed and were defeated, allowing the Emperor's forces to march into the city. Although the rebellion in Azoz largely righted itself on its own, major damage had been done to the empire as a whole. The city of Teman had been sacked with harsh severity, resulting in an enormous loss of life in the process. Likewise the city of Azoz had been devastated as well, being the battleground for several militant factions for the better part of the decade. Certain factions such as the Paltonians had been innumerably destroyed, never again reaching the same level of prestige, as most of their membership had been killed in the rebellion, while the rest became labeled traitors for the foreseeable future. The city of Medan had served as the de facto capital of the Azoz Province in the meantime, but after the rebellion the Anka returned to Edom. The Anka’s forbearance for the region had largely run dry, so she returned to her homeland to focus on Edomite matters for a time, leaving her aging father in command of Azoz solely. Despite it being expected that she would inherit the Mouri Empire after her father died, the Anka became reluctant of such a thing, and it became clear that the Emperor favored a son over a daughter in that matter.

Now in command at Azoz, Pauodegus had Roshtam dragged out of the wreckage and captured, and according to Ligerian accounts the retribution against him was brutal. Roshtam had his name hereby stripped from him, and he henceforth was to be known only as Nathon, in an ironic twist of fate after his earlier proclamation. For days he was dragged through the streets by chariots until his body is badly broken and bruised. Every tooth in the man’s mouth was pulled out, and every hair on his body was removed. The High Lucretia donned a glove of hard iron, with black rocks embedded into the knuckles. She beat the Nathon’s disgusting genitalia until that member becomes a bleeding, mangled hulk of flesh. Then his tongue was cut off too, and his jaw was broken. Each arm and leg was cut off, but healed well, so that he was but a stump of man. Finally the Nathon was brought before the great throne of the Emperor.

The little boy was a plaything in front of that strong man. The Emperor took that stump and had his way with it, wielding him like a tool in his strong hands. The plaything was sodomized many times until the Emperor was satisfied, all while his bulging eyes watched, unable to speak a single word. When he was finally done the Emperor donned the iron condom, which was a fitted piece of armor suited for his hulking member, and encrusted with icons and jewels. The Emperor wore that as he sodomized the plaything again, slowly cutting open the thing’s insides. He took it out and scrapped his member all over his body as well, causing a thousand cuts all over the remains of his body. Finally, in one last thrust to climax, the Emperor impaled the Nathon through the heart, and the Nathon breathed his last breath. The plaything was then hanged in the city square, with vultures ripping off the rest of his flesh, and his blood and organs falling into a fire below. The Emperor ordered that all those despicable creatures would continue to be known as Nathons, and no longer would that name be used by any sane individual who was not a sexual slave boy.

Slowly from the inside Azoz was dismantled, with the occupying soldiers removing the rubble from the rebellion. Instead people moved to the new colonies built just outside the city limits, where the rubble was used to construct new homes for people. Miles east of Azoz was formed a new city, known as Jaligena, which was announced to be the new seat of government for Azoz. All who bowed to the Emperor were accepted, while the rebels were brutally killed. The city of Azoz was reborn, but not in the way the Taurites had expected. Extremists of both sides of the spectrum had been utterly expelled or destroyed. Instead, a new generation of leaders in the city sought for more positive growth and reinforcement. Culture, art, and literature were largely imported from Neum in the process of rebuilding the city's library and other public buildings. It was around this time that the colossal statue of Chatnaguri was most likely lost, with only its head and hand having survived to the modern day. On the same site, however, a considerably smaller icon of Pauodegus was constructed, not as a statue but as an abstract obelisk. Some of the monastic chronicles raised criticism of this, saying the monument had a blasphemous statement reading "to the Holy God Pauodegus". However, this was probably a mistranslation of the text in the original Yannian language, which actually read "to the Wise Pauodegus".

The archaizing forms of literature and art remained in a lesser extent. It was around this time that an anonymous work made a new, more mangled version of the earlier apocrypha the Avenging of the Savior, this time heavily incorporating elements of Yannian literary tropes and references. With the reforms to society done by the Anka Shuadna, the Library of Iskandaria returned to its usual state of producing critical philosophy from all religious perspectives, including now the Ligerians. Many of these philosophers had also migrated to work in Neum at this time as well, as Hypatia the Younger helped to expand the Great Library of Neum and add their astronomical observatory. As the Ligerian Apostles helped to expand cultural influence to the east, this also helped to increase relations with the nations across the strait, and allow the Mouri Empire to set up important trade routes for the Qeran spices and Sillan silk. The religious authorities, as they had maintained neutrality during the war, now work to promote cooporation in the empire. Eresmun dies, and the council of Farrapatra convenes to elect Remu XIV to succeed him.

Treeman[edit]

It was during the fall and rebuilding of the city of Azoz that the figure Treeman is believed to have first emerged. The exact origin and life of Treeman is shrouded in mystery, and heavily intertwined with local folklore and mythology, at a time when scholarly record keeping became scarce in Azoz. This has led some historians to posit that he may have been a completely legendary figure, or an amalgamation of multiple late Azozian leaders, however, most historians agree that Treeman was a real person in some capacity. The earliest records of Treeman paint him as a hollowed, mechanized vessel to be piloted by humans, thus rendering him more of a costume or machine than person. Yannian sources, particularly those routed in the Ligerian tradition of the Kingdom of Neum, describe Treeman as a harbinger of the late Azozian apocalypse, put into the world by divine intervention, and to this end the historical Treeman seems to have played an integral part in the city's devastation.

Great Mouri Civil War[edit]

Although the defeat of the Seven-Star Rebellion had confirmed Pauodegus and his daughter as rulers in Azoz and Edom, it was still not certain if this rule would last. Ultimately the seeds would be planted for a major civil war that would see the end of the Mouri Empire, which eventually came to generally consist of two sides: the Neumite and the Edomite factions of the royal family. When Pauodegus died a war broke out in the nation, as the succession was split between many claimants. In Edom, Shuadna’al Tezculum had ascended to the throne long before the death of the Emperor, so her ownership of Edom as a province was already well established. Nascemun Yagulonus had been made Emperor of the Mouri in the year 1025, but contended with his siblings and other claimants across the empire. Finally in 1039 he died, and his son Mizrecul’etemuc was declared Emperor of the Mouri. Two of the new Emperor’s uncles, Nascemun Yagulonus of the South and Lasebehun Zecesula of the West contended to become the new Emperor’s regent, leading to a series of battles in the southwest, known as the Bangui War.

The southern campaign ravaged across Fashnoq, before Nascemun Yagulonus won a decisive victory at the Battle of Bangui, which led to him controlling the court. Bangui became the de facto capital of Azoz Province for the next three years, before Nascemun Yagulonus died unexpectedly, and the court was moved back to Jaligena. The new regent would be Tuamecudi, a Neumite general and more distant descendant of Liger. He would prove a good administrator and commander while Mizrecul’etemuc came of age. The Emperor would be wed to the daughter of the Anka, once more solidifying the union of the two states. The Anka’s sister, Berena’al Rasletemuc, had a son named Yumanalun, through her marriage to Tuamecudi, and he then married the daughter of Lasebehun Zecesula, Lucumanala, posturing himself to become the heir to the Emperor. The attempt by the regent to have his son become heir caused discontent elsewhere. Edom had been alienated, as it was expected that Shuadna’al Tezculum’s line would ascend to the throne.

After the death of her father, Shuadna’al-Tezculum’s propping up of Nascemun Yagulonus as Emperor, and later that of his son, had failed to leave a lasting peace over the region. Despite her desire to abandon the Azoz region completely and return to Edom, she would return to the city of Medan, which functioned as the administrative capital for the Edomites by this time. The Anka remained unwilling to piece together the two nations once more, allowing Yumanalun to be crowned in the capital, but nonetheless many still supported her on the crown instead. Finally, if only as an act of self defense, the Anka responded to the other declared Emperor in battle, leading to a civil war in the region. Around the same time, the arrival of the Reckoner completely shifted the war, as now both sides were being assaulted from the south, especially the Edomites. The invaders quickly advanced to Bangui and the Upper Ashe River, preventing the Anka from vacating Medan to attack Yumanalun. Additionally, she learned that the Reckoners were even striking against southern Edom and the southeast of the Mouri Empire, causing a crisis in the region. The majority of Edom’s army would be dispatched toward defending the homeland. Then, while in the city of Medan, the Anka passed away. She would be succeeded by her daughter, Telephama. The new Anka would consider conquest of the Azozian regions a more pressing matter than her mother, and would continue the invasion of Azoz from Medan.

Although officially tensions were high during this period between the two sides, archaeological discovery in the late 28th century AR would make a profound change of opinion in regards of the state of Yannian rule in the Mouri Empire. An underground monastery apparently was run as a mix of Ligerians and orthodox Ulm. Most significantly, this monastery had chronicles similar to those used in other parts of the empire, but in this instance reckoned regnal years from the rulers of Pauodegus and his sons, rather than Arenea as in the other historians. As Shuadna’al Tezculum had very little motivation for ruling in Azoz, her brief tenure as ruler of the empire did not amount to much in the contemporary historians, and was largely treated as a late continuation of the same era of Yannian rule, despite the unprecedented growth in the empire's territory and power during that time.

As soon as the civil war reached its head in Medan, however, the focus toward Edom shifted considerably. All across the empire, various rulers and local administrators all flocked to the call of Telephama, even while she was a co-ruler before her mother died. Within the kingdom of Azoz, the center of cultural learning and social hierarchy remained in Medan, and served as a focal point for calling support all across the core kingdom. The people of Azoz and Ishbak had long since grown tired of the Yannian ruler, both the Ulmians and Ligerians, seeing the recent destruction in Azoz as God's judgment against the monarchy. For this reason, the general Ashkenaz led a large army, both professional and peasant, to leave the city and rally to support of the Anka in Medan.

Elsewhere, the governor Prackyob in inner Valun still held sway as the "Lord of the North" across the provinces of Outer Valun and Eskaladun, and managed to lead a hegemony of several different provinces as far as Gara and Fotashe to gather their armies together in Bangui in support of the Anka. Finally, other supporters of the Anka lead a volunteer force of fighters and mercenaries across the regions of Usinilago and Tuatha, particularly supported by the cultural centers in Neum and heavily financed by the Water Merchants. Only the original retainers of Yumanalun and significant military who were paid in his service remained completely loyal, with the rest all leaving for the Anka. The Zedumari warriors largely left the empire originally due to their disgust for the rule of Yannians over the heart of Ulm, and so they saw the chance of supporting the Anka's rule over Azoz. Haraun, a very charismatic Zedumari leader, rallied a large number of warriors to stage a mutiny against the Ligerians, although largely inconclusive, did significantly impact his advance. Even in religion, the clerics and Holy Patra all vocally supported the Anka, and encouraged all true followers of both the Ulmian and Ligurian religion to fight for Telephama as if they fought for Nelrim himself, reversing the earlier attempts by the church to remain neutral.

Reckoner Wars[edit]

The fall of Fashnoq during the initial Reckoner invasion of the Mouri.

Religiously, the nation’s prophets wrote that the line of Liger had been corrupted by Azozian style sin, and the disastrous state of affairs in that city was compelling evidence that God ought to punish the empire. In the depths of the far south that judgment seemingly arrived in 1042, with the emergence of the Reckoner Empire. According to primary sources, "There arose an Emperor, so infamous for his cold and meticulous science and math, he earned the title of the Reckoner. Each life he took was part of an elaborate equation, that would be decided by the computing of his Life Machine. He arose on the back of elephants and chariots, and elaborate moving throne carts, which hissed and churned. On their hairless bodies they painted themselves white from head to toe, and wore checkerboard-like pattern robes. They came across the border of the Mouri Empire and rolled a dice. Recording the statistical outcome in their notes, their god Math had spoken. The dice stated that Fashnoq would be razed. Then they flipped a coin to determine if any survivors would be allowed, and the coin said no. Their brutal rampage came upon the city and did as the math commanded."

In response to the sudden invasion by the Reckoner, the Emperor of the Mouri immediately gathered an army and marched south. The records would note that the Reckoners used hardened Zedumari soldiers in the thousands, which had never been seen before in such numbers. They also used deserts warriors and other feared mercenaries, all wearing clothes and armor colored black and white. The Emperor would be unexpectedly defeated on the plains of Bobaloam near the city of Medan, with the Emperor being killed in battle. With his succession unclear, the Edomite leaders of the nearby city of Medan declared an Edomite candidate as the rightful ruler, supporting Shuadna’al Tezculum and her daughter Telephama, while the Neumites declared Yumanalun as emperor in the city of Jaligena.

Tripartite Phase[edit]

In 1050 the Reckoner advanced on the city of Bangui, where the city's inhabitants had remained loyal to Emperor Yumanalun. The city's inhabitants offered to surrender, And the Reckoner flipped a coin, determining that he would accept the surrender. The following year, the army of Ashkenaz, loyal to Shuadna’al Tezculum’s daughter, Telephama, laid siege to the city, ultimately managing to retake the city from the Reckoner's garrison. Soon after, the Reckoner advanced on the city of Agemenus and managed to capture it from pro-Telephama defenders. The guerrilla army of Haraun managed to inflict damage against the attackers near the city, but was spurned after Agemenus fell, and after Haraun was killed in a raid.

As the Reckoner ravaged the south, both sides of the civil war sought to achieve a quick victory and unite the nation against the invaders. At the Battle of Teman, one of Telephama's armies under the general Diogenes was attacked by the Jaligena contingent and reinforcements from Neum, resulting in a costly defeat for Diogenes and the Edomites. The Siege of Azoz commenced soon after, as the army of Prackyob descended on the city from the north. Although the towns around the city fall after a grueling campaign against the defenders, with some inhabitants switching sides, the Azozians found their old city highly impregnable, especially after the defeat at Teman, and they are repulsed from the city. At the same time, the Syresian Republic launched an invasion of Neum under the command of Vanden, managing to capture one of the powerbases of Yumanalun.

Despite the initial setbacks, Telephama's faction elected to launch another siege of Azoz under Prackyob. The city became cut off from the rest of the Ligerian faction, with Prackyob paying of motivating many everyday citizens to launch acts of sabotage against the defenders. Many legends would be circulated on the nature of the Siege of Azoz, with many folk heroes and mythological figures from the last thousand years of Yannian and Ulmian history all supposedly arriving at the city at one time or another. The most famous of these was the appearance of Treeman, who supposedly had a major role in leading the attack against the city. The hero Cassander was also reported to be present at the siege, having been raised up in Azoz's time of greatest need as foretold in prophesy.

After the successful liberation of Bangui, with the citizenry being relatively spared from destruction, Ashkenaz was celebrated as a hero and was able to recruit heavily from the region. The general would leave a portion of his army in the city, but marched with the rest north to hopefully aid in the liberation of Azoz. After the disaster at Teman, Diogenes managed to escape the battle and flee north, helping to raise forces to reinforce Prackyob's siege. After more than doubling their size from this campaign, Diogenes' men moved as a wedge southward, cutting straight between Azoz and Teman. He anticipated that, after their victory, the Ligerians would devote his military to defend the capital first, and thus he came in to intercept their attack. The Azozians would also send word to Edom requesting that they raise forces to aid the Anka, although Edom would be distracted by attacks by the Reckoner in the far south. The invasion of Neum by the Syresians was initially ignored by the Azozians, who saw the loss of territory as an unfortunate necessity in order to cripple the Ligerians.

According to legend Yumanalun arrived near Azoz or even entered it, becoming the first Ligerian to ever step foot in the city, prepared to make his final stand. According to one account, the Emperor ordered every single civilian to be thrown out of the city walls to preserve the city's supplies. The malnourished citizenry was now trapped between the walls and the attacking army, either starving in no man's land or being killed by either side, as neither side could ally the mob to pass through their lines. Within the city every effort went toward defending the city, with buildings being systematically torn down to build defenses. Slowly the most massive structures were cannibalized for building materials. During the pause in combat, after the attackers were defeated in their first siege, the Emperor had ordered thousands of pounds of food stockpiled, and springs within the city used to fill the old buildings like cisterns. Because of this the city, would be able to last years under siege.

Most of the army had left the city, and turned toward crushing the last of the rebel invasion. The Neumite army successfully preserved a connect along the Ashe River, controlling the entire route from Neum to Azoz, with the ruins of Teman in between. The army would launch its attacks on the many positions of the rebels, intending to siege Medan and take the city. According to legend, one night as the guards patrolled the city walls and looked out into the mist, they spotted the figure Treeman assaulting the city. No soldier could subdue him, and the Emperor finally requested that he come to the palace. There he decided that Treeman would be crowned Emperor as well, which the Emperor did not fear, on account of Treeman being unable to reproduce, so he thought. Alternatively, other sources posit that Treeman led the assault of the city and was crowned after.

Creation of the Derigi[edit]

However Treeman arrived at Azoz, this was commonly called the beginning of the Derigi Empire, named for Derigianyan, Treeman’s name in Yannian. Before he perished at Azoz, Yumanalun would issue a number of decrees from the city, reminding the people that he was the legitimate ruler, versus his peer who he called a foreigner and an opportunist. The Emperor would appeal to his people, speaking that he was Azozian and Ulmian, while the invader was an Edomite and a pagan. He stated how the Edomites desired to promote Edomite paganism, and even Yannian paganism, ironically more than the supposed “Yannian claimant”. Faced with war from the east, the Emperor would even renounce the throne of Neum, completely becoming an Azozian ruler. He begged his people, stop destroying the empire, stop allowing those who hate Azozian culture to have their way in our nation. The emperor would even not request aid from any Yannian nations, as they supported the Edomites for the most part. Whether or not these statements were actually made or not is disputed, as it may have been the case that these statements were propaganda or later inventions.

The Siege of Azoz would prove to be an extremely costly and long affair, and in the meantime several more battles would be fought. Diogenes' army of reinforcements would fall into almost the same trap as he did previously, with the general suffering another embarrassing defeat north of Teman. Attacking from the south, the Edomites managed to capture Ishbak in another costly battle, while in the south an army under Ashkenaz's second in command, Soterion, was decisively defeated by the Reckoner. At Bangui the Reckoner allegedly divided the entire population of men, women, and children into two, equal groups, then flipped a coin to determine which group would live and which group would die. After defeating Soterion, the Reckoner's army was now at the doorstep of the Anka's capital at Medan, but the Anka managed to achieve a desperately needed victory that defended the city.

The second phase of the Azozian siege would last two years, before a relief force temporarily repulsed Prackyob's army. After winning the battles at Ishbak and Medan, however, the Anka elected to dedicate the majority of her army toward one final push against Azoz, and the city finally fell after a third and final siege. Yumanalun would fight until the end and die in the final defense of the city against the attackers. Treeman was recognized as co-emperor and crowned officially around the year 1055, either after leading the final assault of the city, or for surrendering the remaining army to Prackyob. Telephama would also be crowned officially, taking the name Arenea II as an informal regnal name, while Prackyob was made First Citizen. The generals and commanders who were employed among the Ligerian personal retainers were kept confined under house arrest, with the exception of the guards of Treeman due to his Azozian heritage and loyalty.

Prackyob would famously give a speech calling for the reconstruction of the city, as accounts seem to indicate that the city by this time had essentially been diminished entirely to ruins. During this speech Prackyob would also order a mulberry tree to be planted, located in a special courtyard situated between the steps of the Great Library and the Garden of Pleasures. This tree was quite enormous, having been moved from a forest near Jaligena, and was described as having the distinctive shape of a human. According to legend this was a symbol of Treeman, or even partially where the legend originated from, and the tree would later be associated with the Emperor laying asleep and biding his time until his return long after his death or disappearance. Despite the pleas of Prackyob's speech, the invasion by the Reckoner delayed major rebuilding. The vast majority of the former city within the city walls had fallen into a state of abandonment or had been converted into farmland. Major buildings, from the Great Library to the old palace, had been cannibalized for building material, and those buildings were now pieces of rubble in hastily repaired walls, leaving behind nothing but fields and ruins. Other buildings had been turned into cisterns and pools, or storerooms for weapons of war. As the soldiers walk through the remains of old city streets, they find nothing of note to loot or capture. Aside from the few homes that the soldiers remained in, there are no other standing buildings.

Telephama's War[edit]

The forces of Soterion are sent to liberate the city of Bangui, with the commander taking on a far larger force than his previous attempt. His tactics focused on a central strike formation, utilizing cavalry and archers to skirmish the sides of the enemy and bring them closer to the middle. He swung westward in his invasion to ensure he took the high ground near Bangui before sweeping downhill. An additional set of soldiers were convoyed by ship by the Garan navy, invading from the Uriel islands to seize the port of Frasnoq by sea. All the armies appropriated from the Ligerians were sent to coordinate with the Edomite invasion of the Reckoner on another front. The army of Ashkenaz was sent to Usinilago, split into a three-pronged strike to retake the city from the last supporters of the fallen Ligerian emperor, and an army of Tesardyans that had come to aid him.

The remaining forces under Prackyob moved to the border of Neum to defeat the last of the Neumites, and meet the Syresian advance in case they continued their invasion. The nation of Syres would commit to the war in Neum more fully, dispatching an army to the region, and using its navy to blockade the region. After Vanden’s initial victory near the border, the Syresian state doubled the number of espions under his command, and he was dispatched to lay siege to the city of Neum itself. The city would be cut off by sea due to the blockade, and cut off by land, and it was expected that allied forces would soon assault the Ashe River, further cutting off the entire region. The invasion by Syres effectively split Neum and Azoz, separating the Emperor’s lands in two. As a result a second claimant came to the throne in Neum itself, Nelipeculun, who was another distant member of Liger’s dynasty. When a part of Prackyob's army crossed into Syresian territory, the Syresians immediately fought back and defeated Prackyob. Ultimately the Kingdom of Neum would become a client state of the Syresian Republic, and the Azozians would cede even more territory to them, leading to an uneasy peace agreement between Vanden and Prackyob.

Elsewhere, the Edomite movement had ordered an increase in forces to the west, but most pressing was now the the threat to Edom itself, beginning a period of great fear and costly investment into sending soldiers around the peripheries of the nation. The Anka would reject advice to flee Medan, instead ordering a second army to arrive from the east and take the rest of the Ashe River. Across Edom the war had a different effect, as largely the Edomite people turned against the war. With Edom itself at threat, the idea of sending so many resources to the Mouri Empire seemed futile. The court in Edom would be highly split, with a large portion of the nation not supporting the military action. This would lead to most forces being recalled. The Battle of Azoz largely ended the civil war that was taking place in the Mouri Empire, allowing the Anka of Edom to ascend to the throne of Azoz as well. The victory had come at a cost, and soon after victory was achieved at Azoz, the Anka would be returning to Edom, hoping to rebuild loyalty and administration there. Because of the threat of the Reckoner against the empire, the Anka would also send an army into southern Edom, hoping to defend against the invasion there. It was discovered that the lake region had become completely hostile, with the Reckoner having established control up to the Edomite border. A costly campaign would begin in this direction, hoping to push the invaders away from Susanylon.

By the 1070s the city of Usinilago had been recaptured by the Derigi Empire, pushing back the Tesardyan invaders. In Edom the southern army had also managed to defend Susanylon and push back the Reckoner's army. The city of Fashnoq would be captured by the Derigi's naval attack, although they failed to continue on to the city of Bangui. The region around Fashnoq would be pillaged, with the Azozians destroying bridges and roads to delay Reckoner attacks and resupply. Soterian would be launched on a third attempt to take Bangui, while Ashkenaz was dispatched to retake the city of Agemenus at the same time, supported by the troops formally under the Ligerian emperor's control.

Prackyob's forces fortified their position at the Ashe River as left from the previous campaign, not crossing any border established by treaty with Syres. A portion of his army would be ceded over to domestic jobs, with soldiers being used to rebuild cities along the Ashe River. The Paltonians had a minor resurgence after the fall of Azoz, with some writers moving back into the city officially and becoming prominent administrators during the rebuilding. Although the empire had benefited to some degree during the Ligerian domination in terms of territorial expansion and religious tolerance, in general the Paltonians' chronicles made it clear this period of deliberate damage and destruction in the kingdom was the darker era, and the post war golden age would begin.

At the same time Prackyob's vision clashed with the will of Treeman, who acted as the de facto ruler of Azoz at this time. According to legend he was distraught that the citizenry were heavily deforesting the region to rebuild homes, but tolerated it as long as the vulnerable were not taken advantage of in the process. He allegedly declared that private property was to be abolished, and all forests and fields were to be made into commons, to fight back against the oligarchic monopolies being created over rare commodities around the city. Treeman would also marry Telephama formally, hoping to bridge the gap between himself and the Edomites.

After an enormous wedding in Jaligena, the two retired to their private bedroom, and the court expected that they would consummate their marriage. Allegedly Telephama would be accidentally killed during intercourse, and Treeman fled the scene in shame. After the untimely death of the Anka of Edom, supposedly killed accidentally at the hands of her husband, a distant cousin named Grecanun arrived in the city of Azoz. He set about in secret to investigate what he believed was a political assassination by the Azozians, creating devices and armor to help him hunt down “Treeman” and bring him to justice, as well as any Azozian collaborators that were discovered. The new co-emperor of the Derigi Empire, succeeding Telephama, would be the Anka’s niece, named Lanemara. She would not be as interested in the west as her predecessor had been, as she had been raised fully in Edom, and unprepared to ascend to the throne. During her lifetime the Anka would avoid marriage completely, and she would be regarded as the “Virgin Queen”. After the Reckoner was repulsed in the south of Edom, most of Edom’s forces would remain there. However, an army would be sent to aid in the west. At the same time the Anka attempted diplomacy with the Reckoner, secretly offering peace as soon as possible with the invader. By this time the nation had been completely exhausted by war, and the nation was highly dissatisfied with the actions of the previous Anka.

Prackyob's Peace[edit]

The new Anka sought to focus on rebuilding and growth, and so pushed for the end to war in the Derigi Empire. During the 1080s a major famine was experienced across the Derigi Empire, especially in the Azoz region. The famine was spurred by the massive loss of manpower, either from deaths or from mass conscription, as well as a mass migration in the region, as refugees fled the series of wars taking place in the nation. A small but significant number of soldiers deserted from the armies, returning to their land in the north. The war effort would be heavily weakened, with the expedition at Fashnoq being surrounded and completely killed or captured. However, Bangui and Agemenus would be recaptured. In 1080 the Reckoner completed a series of equations regarding the war with the Derigi Empire, culminating in a series of three dice rolls. Because of the dice outcome, he decided to send an strict peace offer to the Derigi, demanding that they cede southern Fashnoq, and in exchange said they may retain everything else.

The new emperor enacted massive building projects across all the affected cities of the nation, offering simple jobs to any former military or refugees affected by the conflict. Relief for the famine was taken from agriculture spread from the unaffected parts of the empire, mostly Edom and Eskaladun, and was redistributed to more affected cities of the empire. New road systems were built to help further connect parts of the nation together, especially between the new cities and urban centers that were created during the Ligerian domination. The population further sprawled out to suburban districts away from the main cities, forming a bridge of lower middle class society between the central metropolitan and the rural farmlands. New farmlands were also expanded to relieve the famine, utilizing vast tracks of land in both Valun provinces, Zeun, Eskaladun and Fotashe. Further relief from the famine was achieved by extending foreign trade abroad, buying large amounts of food from Syres, Temayal, and Emalia in exchange for precious minerals of gold, silver, copper and alumite. The finances of the empire was projected to come up shorter than the expenses necessary to rebuild the nation. Therefore, the emperor gradually took out many large loans from the Water Merchants and Garan bankers, as well as lowering the amount of silver in the standard Azoz coinage. This controlled inflation would serve as a patch on the nation's reconstruction, with massive repercussions some decades later.

As large sections of major cities in Azoz and neighboring provinces became abandoned, they were largely replaced by Edomite migration coming from the eastern provinces. Many of the older, historical monuments in Azoz were damaged or destroyed. The larger, more significant buildings were planned to be rebuilt in a completely new architectural and artistic style, with a far more modern and grander scale than the archaizing tradition of previous generations. As the Great Library began rebuilding, new schools of philosophy took up residence, largely as various new branches and sects of the Paltonians, who had taken residence in the city. A large garden maze was added to the courtyard of the library, fitted around the Arboron Tree, primarily consisting of chrysanthemums and poinsettias. The first structures to be completed in Azoz and other cities would be the rebuilding of defensive citadels and walls, with the interior city they defended being disproportionately smaller in comparison. Many theologians and philosophers in Iskandaria began to speculate on the interpretation of the recent events in Azoz, especially in light of the criticism posited by the Ligerians. Some had considered this is a sign of the End of the World, pointing to numerous similarities between the Ligerian prophesies and that of the Apocalypse of Prackyob. Furthermore, the 1,000th anniversary of the Resurrection of Nelrim was only a few decades away, leading many to consider that the end of the human era.

The Emperor instituted a policy of general religious tolerance, accepting the vast religious diversity in the nation beyond the mere sects of Ulm. Despite this act of toleration, however, much of the population firmly held that the dark and chaotic era of the previous century had been the fault of the Ligerians. As a result, religious violence continued during this period, with monuments and temples across the empire being attacked by peasants and nobles alike, polarizing the population. Prackyob himself intervened with military action to restore order in sections of the Ashe River. The Ligerians, who had been recognized as a legitimate sect of the Ulmian religion, managed to survive and grow during this period, despite discrimination from the more orthodox elements of the church. The Ligerians would become thoroughly integrated in the learning centers of Azoz and Iskandaria. Even so, the chaos in the war and immediate aftermath prompted many Ligerians and Azozians to migrate out of the region to the Yannian continent, primarily in the regions colonized by the Mesallians, but also to various coastal cities of Xbalan and Tesardya. Many of these settlers, particularly in the Teleutic empire and Xbalan, carried with them the more eminent philosophers and theologians, integrating within their respective learning centers to appeal to the literary elite. They would succeed in creating a small minority in the Yannian lands, by preaching of the noble works and virtues of Liger, the wars with the Nathonians, the virtuous army of Pauodegus, and the great Treeman. Following these incidents, the gradual integration of Yannian people within the empire began as well, particularly in the suburban parts of the nation's core.

As the ten year truce between the Derigi Empire and the Reckoner came to a close, Prackyob would spearhead the upgrade and rebuilding of the military. Although most provinces of the empire, particularly Edom, acted independently in the raising and commanding of their military forces, he sought to consolidate and simplify command, with himself as the chief military magistrate. Although he was confident that a second war would be successful, the estates of Edom appreciated an end to the war, and would be adamantly against a second one. As a result, when war was declared in the Derigi Empire once more against the Reckoner, the Edomites refused to contribute major forces, bordering nearly on revolt. Anka Lanemara, who the Derigi called “Arenea II”, despite being the fourth Anka by that name, never married during her lifetime, leading the Edomites to plot her succession for some time. The closest relative to the Anka would be the plethora of Neumites in the west, but no direct heir presented itself in Edom itself. This would lead to a number of people competing for the Anka’s attention, hoping to gain the status of adopted heir.

In the far south of Edom the culture of the Reckoner became popular among the people of Susanylon, with his religion of mathematics and statistics becoming a curiosity. A major pilgrimage site would emerge south of Edom at the great lake, where the Reckoner constructed a complex temple. According to legend, the site would consist of highly mechanized devices, including labyrinth-like, moving walls, highly detailed observatories, and colossal time-keeping devices, which fascinated Edomite travelers. The Reckoner’s complex machinery would be regarded as powerful sorcery by the southern Edomites, attracting great interest and fear alike. According to an eyewitness account, the scholar Alaca’al Aavam of Susanylon, who was a rare Edomite occupant of the lake region, the complex was a sprawling maze around the lake, with solid white and black stones, checkerboard-pattern floors, and roofs that were twenty-sided.

In addition to housing a major portion of the Reckoner’s population, the lake would also become important to numerous other religions. The Water Merchants, who had desired the lake as a holy site since the fall of Susanylon, continued their attempts to infiltrate the south. They discovered that the Zedumari guarded the region even more fiercely, and with an alien demeanor inherited from the Reckoner himself. They elite members of the Reckoner’s army would slowly gain control over the central desert, which had remained an unclaimed region between the Derigi lands, Edom, and the Reckoner’s lands, as they fought with native Apirun tribes for supremacy. This would cause tension near the Edomite border, as many fled toward Edom, and others fought in and around the nation to defend against the Reckoner.

Meanwhile, after the death of Arenea II/III and the ascension of Arenea II/IV, her cousin Grecanun arrived to investigate her death, convinced that the Azozians had ordered her assassinated. He slowly infiltrated the royal court, becoming an adviser in the capital of Jaligena, and observed closely the inner workings of the state. Silently he would assassinate Azozian advisers in the court, as he searched for clues to what really happened on that fateful night. All roads pointed to the illusive Treeman, the emperor who no one had seen in years by this point. The investigation of Grecanun finally revealed that Treeman had a secret lair at the top of the Azoz Mound, and Grecanun began preparing himself for combat. Their legendary battle would be hard fought, and would lead to destruction in the streets of the city. Entire buildings were destroyed by Treeman’s enormous swings and punches. The Great Library, by this time almost completed, would accidentally burn down again, and the makeshift Basilica would collapse, killing everyone inside. Finally Grecanun was forced to flee, leaving the Emperor victorious in his city.

Whether or not this event truly took place, the legend spoke truthes about the slow and difficult process of rebuilding the city. During this time, Treeman decided that the people needed a form of entertainment, and ordered a new construction project. In the center of the city they would dig a gigantic pit. The pit would be a circle that was 200 meters across, and about 50 meters deep, with an additional gradient around the inner circle. The walls of the pit would be lined with stone, harvested from the decrepit buildings of the Azoz Ruins. Then walls would man the top of the earth wall, twenty feet in the air, and these walls would extend into the ground, with rooms and buildings underground all around the pit. The great pit in Azoz would become a major stadium for entertainment and sporting events, contemporary with the Shamenseum of Iskandaria. Likewise, Iskandaria also came to house the primary library within the empire, as the new Great Library of Azoz never reached the same height as its predecessor.

Second Derigi-Reckoner War[edit]

Immediately upon the passage of one decade, and the formal ending of the truce with the Reckoner, known as Prackyob's Peace, Prackyob prepared for war. He had used the nation's time at peace to thoroughly rebuild and replenish the military of the nation, and win over the nobility of the nation to trust their forces in his hands. He had become confident that he would be the hero that liberated the rest of the nation and finally defeated the Reckoner, so in 1090 he declared war and marched south with one of the largest Azozian armies assembled throughout the course of the war. Accounts on his army composition state that he assembled 28,000 Azozian hoplites, 27,000 Erasidonian-style pikemen, 28,000 heavy cavalry, 24,000 horse archers, 12,600 longbowmen, 4,000 crossbowmen, 7,400 camel cavalry, and 14,400 khin mercenaries (for a total of 145,400 men), split into two halves. One half was ordered move along the coast supported by the navy of 40 large warships and 80 smaller warships, and the other half was ordered to move against the source of the Fashnoq river further east. The first army would march along the coast, keeping the sea on their right flank, while the second army used a maniple channel formation, using the cavalry on the sides to drive the enemy towards the center. The navy was tasked with supplying the first army, and both armies were to employe the standard practice of traveling light and living off the land, while also receiving supplies over land from the north.

As Prackyob marched confidently southward, the Reckoner tasked the famed general Radata, who had been the mastermind behind the major Derigi defeat at the Battle of Fashnoq a decade earlier, with raising forces and defeating the invasion. He would meet the invaders at the Battle of Farrae in the east. Noting that the invaders placed a high concentration of heavy infantry in the center, with cavalry on the flanks, Radata designed his army to have a purposely weak center, with strong infantry and cavalry on the flanks. When he came into contact with the larger Derigi army, Prackyob charged forward and defeated the Reckoner forces in the center. Radata slowly pulled back the center, and the Derigi heavy infantry continued to push. However, this caused the defending army to slowly wrap around the attackers as they advanced, before completely enveloping them. The Derigi army would be almost completely surrounded, with those trapped being slaughtered by the Reckoner army. In total over 50,000 Derigi soldiers would be killed in that one day, compared to only a few thousand of Radata's army.

Around the same time as Farrae, a smaller Reckoner army in the west was tasked with slowly down the other half of the invasion, preventing them from aiding the army in the east. This distraction would work, although at the Battle of Deramunoq the Derigi army would achieve a decisive victory. Overall, the campaign would prove to be a disaster, with Prackyob's army already being diminished by half for relatively little in gain. Major opposition to his reign and to his military ambitions broke out across the empire. In Edom the Anka continued to refuse aid to his schemes, and in Azoz protests and revolts broke out equally among the peasantry who were being drafted, and the nobles who were being forced to fund these expeditions. A major rebellion in Azoz would be crushed and subsequently blamed on the Ligerians, and violence against the religion escalated once more. In response, an organized sect of theologians, known as the Preterists, began to preach that the the Ligerians were partially inspired by Nelrim himself, sent to usher the End of the World. Over the course of five years, the Holy Patra of Edom himself became sympathetic to this cause, and sought to sponsor the Ligerians preaching and spread across the Yannian continent.

The Garan navy in the west, which had supported and supplied the southern invasion, managed to take up positions near the coast of Fashnoq, but their counterpart on land would ultimately never arrive there. Prackyob would be forced to retreat, suffering attrition and constant harassment from Radata's army throughout the withdraw. The Reckoner would pursued with fierce retribution, reaching the city of Bangui and sacking it in 1091. Despite being highly successful in his advance, threats in the south of his realm postponed a full scale invasion of Azoz, and the Reckoner instead demanded tribute from the cities of the Bangui and Azoz provinces. He would go on to fight a four year war in the far south, which prevented him from taking advantage of the defeat at Farrae further. Likewise, a coup would be launched in the city of Jaligena, which saw the unpopular Prackyob deposed and replaced by his cousin Roneth as First Citizen. In 1092 the Garan fleet under the command of Darien would raid the Fashnoq, destroying the Reckoner fleet there and pillaging the city, achieving one of the few major victories of the campaign.

The Reckoner would return north in 1094, managing to easily occupy and seize Bangui and Umhlaba. In Bangui he would declare a puppet kingdom, the Kingdom of Bangui, under the rule of a relative named Abecus. Abecus would invade the western provinces, raiding as far north as Eskaladun before being pushed back by western forces. At the same time an army would also march on Usinilago and captured the city, also intercepting an Edomite-Azozian army that was attempting to march from Azoz to aid Edom, preventing reinforcements from arriving. The disavowed Prackyob would partially redeem himself by traveling to Eskaladun and leading the defense of the region against Abecus. With his support recovering and his army growing, he marched on the city of Jaligena and had Roneth deposed after a brief skirmish, regaining his position as First Citizen in 1095. That year the Reckoner personally returned from the south, attacking southern Edom and successfully capturing Susanylon while en route.

Once in the north with his army reunited, the Reckoner launched an ambitious invasion north into Azoz proper. His unprecedented campaign would be successful at defeating the armies of Prackyob and others in battle, and in 1096 he sacked the city of Azoz itself. The Reckoner would install another relative, Gambli, as a puppet Derigi Emperor, although without the Reckoner's army to occupy the region, Gambli withdrew to the more defensible city of Teman. The disaster at Azoz would prompt a northern noble, who was supposedly a distant descendant of Daran the "Northern Mouri Emperor", to declare himself emperor as Farrajulen II. Proving to be a competent military commander, Farrajulen II liberated the city of Azoz in 1097. That year Lanemara "the Virgin Queen" died without a direct heir, and the empire came to be ruled by a triumvirate of the allied commanders Farrajulen II, Prackyob and Treeman. Farrajulen II's daughter Sarai would be married to Treeman in absentia, while Prackyob had earlier married Farrajulen II's sister, Roxanne.

Farrajulen II continued the war against Gambli, launching an invasion to retake Teman and Medan in late 1097. With the western provinces cut off from the rest of the empire by the Reckoner's domain, and with the empire in Azoz seemingly destroyed, the governor of Fotashe and son-in-law of Farrajulen II, Jamshid, declared the western provinces independent, as the Kingdom of Garania. Jamshid would be crowned in the city of Fotashe, where he gathered any remaining Azozian armies in the west to come to his command, as he now defended against the Reckoner and any Derigi attacks as well. A war known as the Derigi-Garanian War would commence, as the various Derigi claimants continued to claim ownership over the western provinces, and ordered Jamshid to be deposed and replaced. The war would continue largely indecisively, as neither party had the forces required for a prolonged campaign in the other's territory. At the same time Farrajulen II would become distracted with other matters, as at the end of the year he successfully put down a rebellion of Ligerian and Yannian settlers in eastern Azoz, who rose up in support of the imperial claimant Zegedali. By 1100 Farrajulen II would also successfully liberate the rest of Azoz province, taking Teman and Medan.

Edomite Civil War[edit]

The death of Lanemara "the Virgin Queen" in 1097 had allowed the triumvirate of Prackyob the Younger, Farrajulen II, and Treeman to seize control in Azoz, but in Edom a civil war would begin over who her successor would be. As the Reckoner had seized the provinces positioned between Azoz and Edom, the two halves of the empire became cut off from one another. The civil war would begin brewing several years before the death of the Anka, as it became clear that she would not marry or produce any heirs directly. She formally adopted Larasca'al Benul, a granddaughter of Liger, as her daughter and preferred heir, but in 1093 a conspiracy would have her assassinated. The plot was orchestrated by the anti-Azozian Grecanun, who sought to sever the nation from Azoz and have his desired heir on the throne. His grandmother Descara would be declared governor and co-ruler under threat of force, with Descara's granddaughter Hesamena becoming heir. Grecanun's plot would polarize many other nobles within the nation, and other claimants began preparing to contest Hesamena.

After the death of Lanemara, Hesamena III became the first person to be crowned as Anka. Elsewhere, Alasana IV, Arenea's granddaughter through her marriage to Haliecles VII of Gabatria was also crowned. Alasana IV managed to gain the support of the Gabatrians and some cities in the east, and she controversially granted Sephimora independence in exchange for that region rising up to support her against Hesamena III. Another claimant would be Shabaza, who was the head of one of Edom's most powerful clans, and a granddaughter of Medesa II, who held sway particularly in the south of the nation. The brother of the late Derigi Emperor Yumanalun, named Zegedali, would also press his claim to the empire, as he was technically the most senior claimant to the throne, and he was crowned emperor in Neum. A revolt would break out in Neum and in eastern Azoz in support of Zegedali, mostly consisting of Yannian settlers and Ligerians living along the Ashe River, which would be defeated by Farrajulen II. Hoping to avoid conflict, the Syresian governor in Neum ordered that Zegedali leave Neum, however, seeing an opportunity to increase Syresian influence in the east, he supplied Zegedali with supplies and ships to flee Neum.

The war would begin with Grecanun launching an invasion of southern Edom on behalf of his sister Hesamena III. The Shabazad army that countered him would be outnumbered and under equipped compared to the invaders, and under the command of Shabaza's young granddaughter Jacara. At the Battle of Ousem Jacara would achieve an unexpected decisive victory, proving herself to be a capable commander, and causing the tide to turn in Shabaza's favor. Jacara would attempt to lure Grecunun's army away from Edom by feigning retreat toward the southwest, however, unaware of this strategy, her ally Máthama, the Reckoner's puppet king in Susanylon, attacked and defeated Grecunun, and he fled north instead of falling into Jacara's trap.

In the north an army of mostly Emalians and Gabatrians invaded northeast Sephimora in favor of Alasana IV. Her use of foreigners to liberate Sephimora caused some division among her supporters, as the Edomites left her cause in favor of Hesamena III and Shabaza, while natives of Sephimora launched a revolt under the command of Eraisander in her support. Alasana IV managed to liberate Sephimora by the end of 1098 with the aid of Erisander and the rebels, to whom she promised Sephimoran independence once she took Edom. Now outnumbering the northern garrisons, she marched on the capital and laid siege to Edom. Seemingly on the verge of capturing the city and Hesamena III, Grecunun returned north, having been repulsed by Máthama and learning of Alasana's invasion as a result. Grecunun would relieve the city and majorly defeat Alasana IV, who fled east with a fraction of her initial army, and only Sephimoran support, which she secured by marrying the elected king Xares V.

Concurrent to the siege at Edom, Zegedali landed in eastern Sephimora with only a small contingent from Neum at his back. He declared that he would repulse Alasana IV's foreign invasion, which sought to cede Sephimora away, which piqued the interest of the Edomite elite within Sephimora and in the west. Despite hardly possessing an army, Zegedali repulsed the Emalians and Gabatrians, seizing eastern Sephimora in a hard fought campaign. Slowly many Edomites and Sephimorans defected to his cause, leading to his army growing in size as he marched. By 1099 Alasana IV was now being attacked by two sides, although her forces would manage to kill Shabaza's oldest daughter and heir, Medesa, in battle in eastern Edom.

By this time Azoz province had been liberated by the triumvirate emperors there, and the various sides of the Edomite civil war sought to gain their favor and support. Treeman's wife-in-absentia Sarai, who was also the daughter of Farrajulen II, had been married to Sybalumun'al Shabaza, Shabaza's son, with whom she gave birth to Jair. Treeman would adopt Jair as his son, and he later became Derigi Emperor Jair II. Although Treeman would return to exile around that time, limited support to Edom from Azoz largely favored Shabaza. With this support Jacara would manage to invade Reckoner-occupied Umhlaba and gain the support of many rebellious nobles there, and Shabaza had her granddaughter declared a junior Anka and ruler of the "Southern Ankum". After this victory, Jacara would solidify an alliance to the Azozians by marrying Jair II.

In late 1100 an assassination attempt occurred against Prackyob's son Tahmurs. Having recently returned to Azoz after his marriage to Jacara in Umhlaba, Jair would lead an investigation into the matter with the help of the newly appointed First Citizen, Bahram. The pair discovered that Farrajulen II had apparently ordered the assassination to ensure that his line would continue on the throne without multiple competing claimants. Eager to have Farrajulen II brought to justice, Jair marched into a noble assembly in Jaligena with Bahram and his city guard backing him up, ordering that Farrajulen II surrender. However, Bahram suddenly betrayed Jair and had his city guards arrest Jair, having caught him seemingly committing treason. It would later be revealed that Grecunun had secretly orchestrated this entire plot, from the fake assassination attempt against Tahmurs to the framing of Jair, as a means of getting revenge against his nemesis Treeman, and to change the Azozian support of Shabaza to his cause instead. Early in 1101 Jair would be convinced to falsely confess publicly to plotting to depose the government in exchange for clemency and safety for his family, however, Farrajulen II had him executed anyway.

Azoz shifted its alliance to Hesamena III, and Jacara countered by marrying the Syresian client king of Iouneosas, Oranmanou, bringing native and Syresian soldiers to the Shabazid cause. In 1102 Treeman returned from exile and discovered the death of Jair, causing a falling out with the other leaders of Azoz. Farrajulen II would leave Azoz to avoid Treeman, never again returning to the city or residing in the same place as Treeman. Farrajulen II would marry Hesamena III, declaring his intention of leading an army east to liberate the eastern provinces and end the Edomite civil war. Azozian forces would continually be defeated by Jacara, who managed to liberate all of the land between Azoz and Edom from Reckoner forces. In 1102, while attending a celebration in Isono, Jacara was suddenly betrayed and stabbed to death. Oranamou had been paid by the Syresians to betray her in exchange for the ransoming of his son and autonomy in Iouneosas returned to him, while the Syresians were promised the transfer of Lysandria to them from Edom by Grecunun.

After the Battle of the Hexarchy northern Sephimora would be seized by Zegedali, while the south and west of the region was occupied by supporters of Hesamena III. Alasana IV and her husband Xares V would be pushed back to only Nelgistis and a few other loyal towns in the far south, while also being supported by the enclave of Leviea. After orchestrating the assassination of Jacara, Grecunun continued his invasion of the south, pushing back the Shabazad faction and capturing the city of Erisoha. As Farrajulen II attempted to liberate Umhlaba, Prackyob attempted to capture Eskaladun from the Garanians, but at the Battle of Mamphes he would be defeated and killed in battle against Jamshid I. The prompted Farrajulen II to return west, as he would be forced to finish the war against the Garanians. Prackyob's son was declared Emperor Tahmurs II and First Citizen by the Azozian nobility, who saw an opportunity for to have an easily controlled young monarch on the throne once more.

In 1103 a Khin noble named Ghesbasid "the Crimson" managed to unite all the Khin nations in the north of Azoz, launching raids southward to take advantage of the defeat in Eskaladun, and reaching the city of Azoz itself. Farrajulen II would spend the next two years contending against him, until finally at the Battle of Nhars, Ghesbasid was decisively defeated and repulsed from Azoz and Eskaladun, prompting the Eskaladun governor Ramjevid to defect to the Derigi Empire. Farrajulen II would continue the invasion of Garania to liberate the rest of the province, but after being defeated by Jamshid I he agreed to peace. The Treaty of Fotashe would recognize the independence of Garania, and also split Eskaladun between the two powers. The following year, in 1107, Farrajulen II returned to Azoz and began preparing to resume his plans in the east, but suddenly became ill and died unceremoniously in Medan to disease. His son Iskandar "the Young" was proclaimed Emperor, while Abecus of Bangui married Iskandar's sister, Lucretia, and pressed a claim to that title as well.

Religion[edit]

The state religion of the Derigi Empire was the Ulm religion, which it inherited from the Mouri Empire before it. The Ulm religion centered around the city of Azoz, having originated in the city in the early second century OM, and by the time of the Derigi Empire had grown to a major religion around Ancient Letsia, especially in the chief components of the Derigi Empire, namely Azoz province. The highest authority within the Ulmian church was the Holy Patra, centered in the city of Azoz, who was elected by a council of high ranking church leaders, called the Farrapatra. Additionally the church operated a hierarchy of church leaders across the empire in the form of Patras, who were centered in metropolitan areas across the empire. Although the Azozians were primarily practitioners of the Ulmian faith, the empire also included a wide variety of other religions, especially in more distant provinces of the empire.

The Ligerian religion was another prominent religion, having been imported to the nation by the rulers of the Kingdom of Neum. Due to its status as the faith of the Neumite Emperors, Ligerianism was de facto the official state religion of Azoz from approximately 946 to 1063, although it never experienced sway over a majority of Azoz's population. The Ligerian faith was created from the destructive end of the Yannis Empire, blending Yannian and Ulmian traditions into a new faith. At its core was the concept of "East and West", which would come together in a violent synthesis to form a new messianic kingdom, replacing the traditional Azozian and Yannian states. From this kingdom would be born the prophecised messiah figure that would create the "New Kingdom". To this end the Kingdom of Neum was forcefully carved out as this religious focal point, and came to encompass a unique blend of Yannian and Azozian customs as well.

Lady Lucretia and the infant Nelrim is a common motif among religious art in Ulm, and became the most common subjects of art in all western tradition.

In addition to the Ulmian and Ligerian religions, the nation also included a number of religions from across its empire, which were many polytheistic. The most religiously varied region of the empire would be the region of Edom, which in addition to the Ulmian religion, possessed the ancient Edomite faith as its official religion. Particularly in Edom, but also elsewhere across the empire, several less popular sects of the Ulmian religion also persisted, which were considered heretical by the chief religious authorities in Azoz. Many of these groups would be grouped under the category of Aposicism. The popular non-orthodox sect of the Ulmian religion, particularly popular in Edom, was Shanzian Ulmism, which conformed more closely to Edomite culture than traditional Ulmism. Additionally in Edom was the religion of Zamism, which had been made the chief religion of the nation in the fifth century, and emphasized the divinity and unquestioned authority of the Anka in all Edomite affairs.

Mesallian polytheism was also popular, which was known for its great number of deities and varying customs. A great number of cults were also imported into the empire from Mesallas, which emphasized or exclusively worshiped particular Mesallian deities, which were sometimes the product of multicultural syncretism from across the pagan world. The Lementarian cult is particularly infamous for its secretive and manipulative practices, although by the time of the Derigi Empire it had fallen into obscurity and near extinction. In Edom the Cult of Ioxemander, which revered the famed general and king of Erasidon, had a minor presence. Other syncretic religious movements included Soronisism, which combined elements of Mesallian and Edomite worship. The Mesallian faith was particularly influential in northern Edom and northern Sephimora, especially the region of the "Three Cities" and the Ema Delta. It also had a foothold in eastern Neum, especially in cities such as Salarinos, Alipos, Setia, and Igounematis.

Less popular religions within the empire included the Drokksidite faith, which was a heretical group opposed to orthodox Ulmism, primarily practiced in sections of Fashnoq. The religion of the Reckoner Empire would gain a foothold in the south, and with the conquests of Fashnoq and Bangui by the Reckoner it became the official religion there. It would also spread into Garania and parts of Azoz province. In Sephimora the Enulmism religion was the dominant faith, which centered around the cities of Nerimos and Nelgistis, and also had a presence in the city of Edom.

Administration[edit]

First Citizen[edit]

The office of First Citizen was the office of the chief magistrate of the Derigi Empire, beside the Emperor, and served also in the role of prime minister, regent, and commander-in-chief, depending on the needs of the empire. The title of First Citizen first developed from an honorary title used during the Mouri Empire, bestowed upon any citizen who acted in extraordinary service of the realm. As such it was initially not uncommon for there to exist more than one First Citizen at a time, but later it evolved into a formal title, and was passed down in a quasi hereditary manner. By the time of the Derigi Empire, the title of First Citizen was almost always held by one individual at a time de jure, although the chaotic nature of the empire's succession, which led to multiple claimants to the throne coexisting, often led to multiple First Citizens being declared, as each Emperor favored their own second-in-command for the office.

In the later days of the Mouri Empire the office of First Citizen had become hereditary in nature, held by the House of Erisoh, as each Emperor tended to appoint the head of that house or one of their descendants. At the time of the union between Azoz and the Ankum of Edom, the Anka had one of her chief advisers and husbands, Nurumun appointed to the office. He would be succeeded by his son Oranamou as First Citizen, although Oranamou would be suddenly deposed and imprisoned in a controversial move by Pauodegus and Arenea. The line continued to Oranamou's son-in-law Temetulcus, a Yannian who was favored by Pauodegus, while Oranamou's intended heir, Garren, Secretary of Teman, is more remembered for his role in battling with the folk hero Fillion the Swift. One of the heroes of the Great Mouri Civil War, Prackyob the Elder, was eventually bestowed with the title of First Citizen, and he would reunite the office with the House of Erisoh, as his son, Prackyob the Younger, who later was declared Derigi Emperor, was wed to Lucretia, a descendant of both Garren and Temetulcus.

During the rule of the Triumvirate, which consisted of the emperors Treeman, Prackyob the Younger, and Farrajulen II, the title of First Citizen was bestowed upon Mahara of Azoz, as she was the most powerful noblewoman in Azozian politics, and an ally of Farrajulen II, who she married. She would become the first and only woman to serve in the role of First Citizen, and as such her hold of the title would be controversial. Treeman's adopted son Jair II would also be bestowed the title of First Citizen, despite Mahara still possessing the title.

Bureaucracy[edit]

Azoz had traditionally been a feudal state in practice since around the the first century OM. Feudal titles were associated directly with major metropolitan city states, and later became hereditary, allowing each city to build up independent wealth and military forces. Although the Chatna Dynasty had prohibited the creation of private armies in the third cenury, by the time of the Derigi Empire this ban had completely lapsed. The nation was largely divided into provinces, or satrapies, which were headed by a governor, or satrap. Depending on the province these offices were appointed by the Emperor, but often became hereditary as well after the initial appointment. By the time of the union with Edom, Edomite nobles increasingly gained a foothold in Azoz, with the Edomite ruler often favoring their appointment, or granting them the ability to buy or acquire land formerly held within bigger conglomerates. As such as feudal patchwork emerged, with hereditary offices within satrapies being recognized for the first time.

The chaos of the late Mouri and early Derigi empires also led to a confusing array of titles existing. Often times satrapies were subdivided into more and more satrapies, but the governors to these positions could be non-existent or contradictory, depending on the outlook of the differing emperors. Prominent military commanders or strongmen within the nobility were often granted honorary titles of satrap, but the degree to which the title holder exercised any rule within the nominal title location varied wildly. Within Azoz province, for example, titles such as Satrap of Medan and Satrap of Teman existed during various points in time, but these cities were hardly ever organized as independent provinces. After provinces within the empire were lost, particularly to the Reckoner, titles such as Satrap of Bangui and Satrap of Fashnoq continued to exist, without those governors de facto ruling over their provinces.

In provinces where the satrapies were hereditary governors were often able to build up impressive power bases that rivaled the Emperor's. In the west the "Western Provinces", chief among the Fotashe, often acted independently of the Emperor's wishes, and that region became a hub of anti-imperial support during periods of discontent, as evidenced by multiple rebellions during the reign of Arenea being centered in the west. These provinces would later successfully revolt under the leadership of Jamshid I, who formed the independent Kingdom of Garania in 1097. Other irregularities included the province of Umhlaba, where the title of governor was elective, based on the earlier traditions of the independent nation there, and the Emperor largely did not interfere with the office there, only occasionally influencing the election or superseding the outcome of the vote, to great controversy.

When a personal union was formed between the empire and the Ligerian Kingdom of Neum, that province was ruled directly by the King of Neum, although he appointed a hierarchy of lesser lords within the province. Neumite rule introduced a Yannian style of bureaucracy to Azoz, that sometimes confusingly mixed with the already existing local hierarchy. Yannian tradition was such that governors of each province was the supreme judge and civil administrator of his province, but otherwise had no authority of the military, as he split his office with a royal official who was in charge of non-civil affairs. Additionally both men answered to a royally appointed secretary that acted as a direct line of communication with the Emperor. No province outside Neum would see this system fully implemented, although in regions where there were Yannian colonies, particularly within Azoz province, this hierarchy was implemented as subordinate to the already existing satrap.

The legislative committee in the Azoz kingdom had been the Council of Senior Scholars, also known as the Senate of Medan. The Senate was composed of the most eminent scholars from across the core kingdom, nominated by a vetting committee and affirmed by the monarch. When it was originally founded around in the fourth century, it was composed entirely of clerics from the Ulm churches. However, over time it gradually accepted more secular scholars and laymen. The Senate collectively had legislative powers over internal policy and economic regulation, superseded by the monarch. The head of the senate was the Viceroy of Azoz, who acted as second-in-command to the realm under the rule of the king, before the creation of the office of First Citizen. As the Chatna Empire expanded to other realms, the title of viceroy also spread to other reaches of the empire. By the time of the Derigi Empire the senate had shifted to a large body of primarily secular nobility and aristocrats, centered in the city of Azoz, and the title of Viceroy of Azoz had become superseded by the title of First Citizen.

Territories[edit]

Derigi Territories (1055)
Flag/Symbol Territory Name Capital Largest City Population Years owned Succeeded by
Derigi Flag OM.svg Capital Region Jaligena Jaligena 50,000 1055- Syresian Republic
Flag of Azoz.png Azoz Province Azoz

(Also Meman and Jaligena)

Medan 1055- Syresian Republic
Catholic League (Germany).svg Kingdom of Neum Neum Neum 1055-1063 Syresian Republic
Ankum of Edom Edom Edom 1055- Ankum of Edom
Bangui Province Bangui Bangui Claimed Reckoner Empire

Kingdom of Bangui

Fashnoq Province Fashnoq Fashnoq Claimed Reckoner Empire
Eskaladun Province Eskaladun Eskaladun 1055-1138 Kingdom of Garania

Ouxodid Empire
Nyshenate of Eskaladun

Fotashe Province Fotashe Fotashe 1055-1097 Kingdom of Garania
Gara Province Gara Ioxemandaria-Farthest 1055-1097 Kingdom of Garania
Umhlaba Agemenus Thalia 1055-1104 Reckoner Empire
Iouneosas Usinilago Usinilago 1055-1105 Reckoner Empire
Inner Valun 1055-1138 Ouxodid Empire

Nyshenate of Eskaladun

Outer Valun 1055-1138 Ouxodid Empire

Nyshenate of Eskaladun

Zuen 1055-1063 Syresian Republic

Demographics[edit]

Population[edit]

The population of the Derigi Empire is estimated based on a number of factors, including several censuses conducted throughout various parts of the empire at irregular intervals. For most of the Derigi Empire's history the population of the empire was in decline, which is understood to be due to numerous wars, famines, and mass migrations. Out of all the Azozian-based empires, from the Derigi to all those before it, the region is estimated to have peaked in population around the year 1000. It is estimated in this year that the population of Azoz proper was 4,400,000 people, a number that the Derigi Empire would never reach, nor would any polity in the region in the immediate future. A number of major wars in the eleventh century stagnated the population of Azoz, with the cataclysmic Azozian-Reckoner Wars and other conflicts ultimately causing the Azozian population to decline by approximately 40% over the next century. The loss of large portions of the empire's territory also contributed to the rapid loss of population as a whole, with Azoz proper declining by 65% overall when compared to its height in the year 1000. During the union with the Ankum of Edom, the Edom region far surpassed Azoz in population, especially after the loss of its southern and western provinces, with the latter forming Garania.

Estimated Provincial Populations
Province/Region 900 950 1000 1020 1040 1055 1060 1080 1100
Total Azoz Region 3,200,000 3,750,000 4,400,000 4,200,000 4,100,000 3,000,000 2,700,000 2,500,000 1,680,000
Azoz Province 1,650,000 1,900,000 2,170,000 1,915,000 1,830,000 1,780,000 1,770,000 1,700,000 1,650,000
Bangui and Fashnoq 1,120,000 1,340,000 1,620,000 1,655,000 1,615,000 665,000 600,000 - -
Umhlaba 550,000 635,000 720,000 700,000 700,000 685,000 678,000 480,000 -

Initially the capital city of Azoz was the largest and most populous city within the Mouri Empire, but by the time of the Derigi Empire it had begun to steadily decline. The frequent need to raise armies, which were disproportionately taken from the Azoz region, caused the population of the capital to stagnate from a peak of about 250,000 people, before rapidly falling in the early eleventh century. The Naked Rebellion and the Seven-Star War majorly affected the city, with almost half the city being destroyed during the rebellion or the immediate aftermath. During the Great Mouri Civil War, the Neumite faction occupied the city and withstood several sieges, with were disastrous for the native population, which largely fled to other sides or out of the nation. It is said that when Emperor Yumanalun made his final stand at the city he cast out every last civilian from the city, leveled every building, and turned the ruins of Azoz into a fortress. The population of the city effectively dropped from 48,000 to around zero, and the majority of the city's land area would be abandoned or turned to farmland in the coming years. The city would be ordered to be rebuilt after the civil war, but due to the effects of the conflict the city of Azoz would never again rise to prominence during the Derigi Empire. The city of Jaligena largely replaced Azoz during the subsequent era, although it too failed to reach the same population that Azoz held prior to the conflict. Other major cities include Fashnoq and Bangui, which were both eventually lost to Reckoner forces, and the city of Medan, which also served in some capacity as a capital.

Estimated Urban Populations
Province/Region 900 950 1000 1020 1040 1055 1060 1080 1100
Azoz 250,000 230,000 220,000 116,000 48,000 5,000 13,500 35,000 20,000
Medan 76,000 105,000 150,000 125,000 118,000 115,000 100,000 95,000 80,000
Teman 83,000 100,000 136,000 65,000 55,000 70,000 75,000 80,000 40,000
Bangui 90,000 120,000 150,000 180,000 170,000 150,000 80,000 70,000 45,000
Agamenus 80,000 95,000 110,000 115,000 110,000 100,000 95,000 30,000 45,000
Frasnoq 160,000 172,000 200,000 195,000 150,000 70,000 40,000 45,000 30,000
Laogui 80,000 92,000 105,000 120,000 128,000 65,000 55,000 45,000 60,000
Saraita 75,000 93,000 113,000 122,000 130,000 85,000 68,000 60,000 54,000
Jaligena - - - 20,000 60,000 40,000 70,000 85,000 50,000

Notes[edit]

New Family Tree (Claimants after the death of Lanemara in bold)

  • Alasana II, Anka of Edom
    • Medesa II (-884) - Anka of Edom
      • Xamatun --Shabaza
        • Nolada
        • Shabaza
    • Shedama (-895) - Anka of Edom
      • Alasana III, Anka of Edom --Liger
        • Pauodegus --Arenea
          • Berena’al Rasletemuc -- Teumecudi
            • Zegedali
            • Yumunalun, Mouri Emperor
              • Lanemara, Anka of Edom
        • Arenea -- Haliecles VII of Gabatria
          • Haliecles VIII
          • Morinala
            • Alasana (Affair with her brother)
            • Thalut (Affair with her sister)
      • Sanasun
        • Descara
          • Shedoma
            • Hesamena
            • Grecanun
  • 1077 - Telephama, Anka of Edom and Derigi Emperor, dies under mysterious circumstances, and her niece Lanemara is crowned. The late Anka's cousin, Grecanun, departs for Jaligena, suspecting foul play by the Azozians.
  • 1080 - A ten year truce is called between the Reckoner and the Derigi, nicknamed "Prackyob's Peace".
  • 1085 - Approximate date of the Grecanun-Treeman duel according to legend; Grecanun flees Azoz for Edom.
  • 1090 - The Second Derigi-Reckoner War begins with the Battle of Farrae, in which the Derigi attack the defenders in the east, near the mountains. The mastermind behind the Derigi defeat in Fashnoq a decade earlier, Radata, is placed in command of an army to repulse them. Noting that the invaders place a high concentration of heavy infantry in the center, with cavalry on the flanks, Radata designs his army to have a purposely weak center, with strong infantry and cavalry on the flanks. When the Derigi engage, his center is defeated and slowly pulls back, and the Derigi infantry continue to push, however, this causes the defending army to slowly wrap around the attackers as they advance, before completely enveloping them. This leads to a costly defeat for the Derigi, with the Derigi suffering 51,430 casualties, and the defenders suffering 6,700 casualties. The Derigi attack in the west, the Battle of Deramunoq, which takes place around the same time as Farrae, results in a decisive Derigi victory, with the Derigi pushing the defenders back toward the city of Fashnoq. The Derigi suffer 10,350 casualties, while the defenders suffer 19,950 casualties.
  • 1091 - The Bangui region is sacked by the Reckoner, however, dice rolls and an impending threat in the far south result in the Reckoner not pursuing further. The Reckoner departs Bangui, having been paid a large sum of money by local officials.
  • 1901 - A coup is launched in the city of Jaligena, which sees First Citizen Prackyob ousted in favor of his cousin Roneth.
  • 1092-1095 - The Reckoner Empire fights a prolonged war in the south, while a back and forth with the Derigi remains largely inconclusive.
  • 1092 - Darien's Raid occurs, in which the GaranF fleet decisively defeats the Reckoner garrison/navy in and around Fashnoq.
  • 1093 - A secret conspiracy is launched by the anti-Azozian Grecanun and his supporters in Edom. Lanemara's preferred heir, her adopted daughter Larasca'al Benul (a granddaughter of Liger), is assassinated. Grecanun's grandmother Descara becomes governor and co-monarch in Edom under threat of force. Several distant cousins claim to be Lanemara's successor, including Descara's granddaughter Hesamena, a descendant of the last Gabatrian king living in exile, Alasana, Lanemara's uncle Zegedali, and a descendant of Medesa II named Shabaza.
  • 1094 - Reckoner forces occupies southern Umhlaba and Bangui, this time installing a subordinate king named Abecus to create the Kingdom of Bangui.
  • 1095 - The Kingdom of Bangui launches a campaign to conquer northwest, but fails to take Eskaladun. The Reckoner marches on Usinilago and takes the city, defeating an army that was attempting to restore order to Edom.
  • 1095 - After leading a successful defense of Eskaladun, Prackyob's popularity recovers. He marches on Jaligena and forces First Citizen Roneth to abdicate after a brief skirmish near the city. Prackyob begins a second term as First Citizen, and later is proclaimed co-emperor.
  • 1095 - Having concluded the war in the south, the Reckoner personally returns to the war with the Derigi and Edom, and launches a successful conquest of Susanylon.
  • 1096 - The Reckoner captures southern Azoz and sacks the city of Azoz itself. Lanemara flees the city, and the Reckoner installs a relative named Gambli on the throne of the Derigi Empire. After the Reckoner departs however, Gambli abandons Azoz for the city of Teman. A man claiming to be a descendant of Daran the Northern Emperor declares himself Farrajulen II, and reluctantly receives the blessing of Prackyob the First Citizen, and also the support of the more zealous Ulmian factions of Azoz.
  • 1097 - Lanemara "the Virgin Queen" dies without a direct heir. Her forces under Treeman manage to retake Azoz, while Farrajulen II invades Teman and Medan. Farrajulen II's daughter Sarai is married to Treeman in absentia, while Prackyob had earlier married Farrajulen II's sister, Roxane. This effectively leads to Azoz being ruled by a Triumvirate: Treeman, Farrajulen II, and Prackyob.
  • 1097 - Hesamena III is crowned Anka of Edom, however, Alasana IV is also crowned, receiving aid from the Gabatrians, and granting Sephimora independence in exchange for aid. Shabaza's faction gains control over half of Edom, while Zegedali is crowned king while in Neum.
  • 1097 - Jamshid, an Azozian governor and son-in-law of Farrajulen II, seizes control over the western half of the Derigi Empire, declaring the independence of the Kingdom of Garania. The Derigi-Garanian War begins, as the Azozians continue to claim ownership over Jamshid's domain.
  • 1097 - A Ligerian/Yannian revolt occurs in eastern Azoz and western Neum, in support of Zegedali as emperor. Although the capital of Jaligena is temporarily occupied by his supporters, the revolt is put down by Farrajulen II.
  • 1098 - Grecunun leads an invasion of southern Edom on behalf of Hesamena III. Despite outnumbering the Shabazad army, led by Shabaza's young granddaughter Jacara, at the Battle of Ousem the Shabazads are victorious. Jacara attempts to lure Grecunun's army further southwest and away from the capital, however, unaware of this strategy, Máthama, the Reckoner King of Susanylon, marches against Grecunun and repulses him.
  • 1098 - An Emalian army invades Edom in support of Alasana IV, who hope to appoint her as a puppet ruler, and/or to expand their rule over Sephimora. This divides the Sephimoran population, with one noble, Erisander, leading a revolt in Emalian Sephimora in favor of secession.
  • 1098 - The Siege of Edom occurs, when Alasana IV attacks the capital. After defeating the army of Hesamena III in battle and seemingly being on the verge of winning the civil war, Grecunun returns, having been repulsed by Máthama, in time to lift the siege and drive back Alasana IV. Alasana's few remaining supporters return to Sephimora, where she marries Xares V, the elected King of Sephimora.
  • 1098 - The Syresian governor of Neum orders Zegedali exiled from Neum, hoping to avoid open conflict between Neum and Azoz, and to decrease the chance of further revolts. However, the governor also sees this as an opportunity, and sends Zegedali east with Syresian ships and funds. Zegedali lands in eastern Sephimora claiming to repulse the foreign invasion of Sephimora and restore the territory to the empire, piquing the interest of the Edomite and Azozian nobility.
  • 1099- Shabaza's oldest daughter and heir, Medesa, who is also the mother of Jacara, is killed while leading an army in eastern Edom.
  • 1099 - Zegedali wins an unexpected victory against an Emalian army, which had crossed the border in support of Alasana IV. This leads to many Sephimoran nobles defecting to his side, bolstering his small army.
  • 1099 - Treeman adopts his son-in-law, Jair, who is the son of Sarai with her first husband, Sybalumun'al Shabaza, the son of claimed Anka of Edom, Shabaza. Later in the year Treeman returns to exile, while Azozian support is given to Shabaza.
  • 1099 - One of the leaders of the Ligerian revolt in Neum, Nilhiegus, who is also a grandson of Liger and a relative by marriage of Zegedali, leads a mercenary company across southern Edom, oftentimes with support from Grecunun's government or various other nobles. He receives a reputation for extreme brutality, earning the nickname "Lord of the Flies".
  • 1099 - Under the leadership of Jacara, numerous warlords of Reckoner-occupied Umhlaba rise up in support of the Shabazads. Shabaza has her granddaughter Jacara, who by this time is a popular general and leader, crowned junior Anka of the "Southern Ankum".
  • 1099 - After being technically vacant for some time, the position of First Citizen is given to Bahram.
  • 1100 - The entirety of Azoz province (Medan and Teman) is retaken by the Azozians under Farrajulen II.
  • 1100 - The Shabazad faction is recognized as the legitimate claimants to the throne of Edom, after Jacara is wed to Treeman's adopted son Jair.
  • 1100 - An assassination attempt occurs against Prackyob's son Tahmurs. Jair personally leads an investigation into the matter with the help of Bahram, and they uncover that Farrajulen II ordered the assassination to ensure that his line continued on the throne without multiple competing claimants. Jair marches into a noble assembly in Jaligena, along with Bahram who leads the city guard, to have Farrajulen deposed, however, Bahram betrays Jair instead and has the guards that were seemingly backing Jair instead arrest him for treason. This turns Azoz against their former ally Shabaza, in favor of Hesamesa III. (This plot would later be revealed to have been completely planned by Grecunun, as a means to get back against his arch-nemesis Treeman, destroy the Azoz-Shabaza alliance, and gain the trust of Farrajulen II.)
  • 1101 - Jair is convinced to falsely confess publicly toward plotting to depose the Mouri government in exchange for clemency and safety for his family, however, Farrajulen instead has him executed afterword.
  • 1102 - Jacara marries the Syresian client king of Iouneosas, Oranmanou, bringing native and Syresian soldiers to the Shabazid cause.
  • 1102 - Treeman returns from exile, but having discovered the death of Jair, has a falling out with the other leaders of Azoz. Farrajulen flees the capital, never again residing in the same place as Treeman at the same time.
  • 1102 - Farrajulen II leads an army to Edom and marries Hesamesa III of Edom.
  • 1102 - At a celebration in Isono, Jacara is suddenly betrayed and assassinated. Oranmanou was paid by the Syresians to betray her in exchange for the ransoming of his son and autonomy in Iouneosas, while the Syresians were promised the transfer of Lysandria to them from Edom by Grecunun. Lysandria is ceded later that year to Syres.
  • 1102 - Zegedali decisively wins the Battle of the Hexarchy against the Sephimorans and Edomites. Much of Sephimora would fall to either Zegedali or Hesamesa III, while Nelgistis in southern Sephimora and the enclave of Leviea remained loyal to either Alasana IV or Xares V.
  • 1102 - The city of Erisoha is taken by Grecunun from Shabaza, leading to the Shabazad faction's territory being highly diminished.
  • 1103 - At the Battle of Mamphes in Eskaladun, an invasion force led by Prackyob is defeated by Jamshid's army. Prackyob is killed in battle, and his forces retreat from Eskaladun.
  • 1103 - The Syresian Conquest of Emalia begins, with an invasion along the Ema River.
  • 1103 - Prackyob's son Tahmurs is declared First Citizen and Mouri Emperor by the Azozian nobility, who wish to see the throne in the hands of easily controlled young royalty once more.
  • 1103 - A Khin noble named Ghesbasid "the Crimson" manages to unite the Khin nations north of Azoz. Later in the year he launches raids south, conquering Azozian towns up to Azoz itself.
  • 1105 - At the Battle of Nhars, Farrajulen II manages to repulse Ghesbasid from Eskaladun, and the new governor of the territory, Ramjevid, defects to the Derigi Empire.
  • 1106 - An invasion of Garania by Farrajulen II is repulsed by Jamsid. The Treaty of Fotashe is signed later in the year, recognizing Garania's independence.
  • 1107 - Farrajulen II dies of disease while in Medan. His son Iskandar "the Young" is proclaimed emperor. Abecus of Bangui formally claims the Mouri throne as well, after marrying the sister of Iskandar, Lucretia.
  • 1107 - A combined Bangui-Azozian fleet, loyal to Abecus and Iskandar, attempts to reconquer the Uriel Islands, however, they are defeated by famous Azozian admiral Darien, who is elected the first consul of the Uriel Republic. He is later proclaimed Mouri Emperor by members of the Azozian nobility opposed to the Farrajulen dynasty.
  • 1107 - Treeman formally adopts a noble named Zadashim, after he distinguished himself as a commander during the campaigns against the Khin.
  • 1111 - The Reckoner dies, halting all armies of the Reckoner Empire. One of the Reckoner's sons is crowned Emperor.
  • 1112 - The Derigi-Garania War resumes when Zadashim launches an invasion of Eskaladun. The invasion is taking advantage of Garania's attack against Bangui, leading to Bangui and the Derigi fighting on the same side.
  • 1113 - Emperor Darien lands in Fashnoq and instigates a rebellion against the Reckoner Empire.
  • 1114 - Opposing the war against Garania, Iskandar marches on Medan and begins raising forces for an army to retake Bangui instead, and to oust Zadashim.
  • 1114 - Reckoner forces pay Darien a large sum of money and supplies to leave Fashnoq. With his rebellion already proving unsuccessful anyway, Darien agrees to this arrangement and marches on Medan to deter Iskandar's war against Zadashim. After the Battle of Medan, Darien is viewed as the head of the Derigi Empire, while Iskandar goes into exile.
  • 1115 - The Khin Confederacy is decisively defeated by the Syresian Republic, leading to the end of the Crimson King's raids against both Syres and Azoz.
  • 1120 - According to legend Treeman dies, although sources are unsure of the exact circumstances. According to one account he is fatally wounded in his final battle, while others believe that he was accidentally poisoned by his wife. However, local legend says that Treeman lives on at the top of the Azoz Mound, and will one day return when Azoz is in its time of greatest need. A detailed memoir written by Treeman, containing a cryptic and prophetic last will and testament, is used for generations to justify the claims of numerous pretenders to the throne.
  • 1120 - One of Treeman's adopted sons, Xeracles, claims the throne based on the final commands of Treeman, despite Zadashim being considered a more senior claimant to the throne.

Footnotes[edit]