The Fall of Marath
Empire of Marath
Founded by Marath, a human of common birth, after he was anointed champion of the Nine Kingdoms and his victory over Malakor, the Empire is the pinnacle of civilization in Illmere. In the thousand years since Malakor’s imprisonment, the Empire has flourished.
From the city of Dor Parnassus, the Emperor rules his vast domain. The Empire is home to the many civilized races and all are, for the most part, treated with equality. It stretches thousands of miles for east to west and dominates the southern hemisphere of Illmere.
The Imperial Court has a hands-off policy of rule. The Nine Kingdoms, vassal nations, are governed by their own rulers. The vassal rulers only have to swear an oath of fealty to the Immortal Throne and contribute soldiers to the Imperial Legion for the defense of the Empire. The Imperial Court acts as a diplomat between the kingdoms and negotiates most disagreements between them.
Humans are the most populous of the Empire’s citizens. They are often in the positions of authority and most of the Empire is divided into feudal states ruled by a human noble with allegiance to a king and the Emperor. Humans also make up a large part of the Imperial Legion’s officer corps.
Dwarves call the kingdom of Holmstead their ancestral home, though they are spread out across the Empire, often as smiths or miners. A dwarf king rules Holmstead and is one of the Emperor’s most trusted vassals. Dwarves form an elite military formation named the Iron Vanguard and is one of the Empire’s most valued units.
Dragonborn are also populous in the Empire and live closely with humans. They form the majority of the Imperial Legion; in their honor, Marath made the dragon the symbol of the Legion. Despite some criticisms, there are many dragonborn in officer positions. They are almost as widespread as humans in the Empire.
Elves hail from the forestland of Madrassil in what is commonly known as the Feylands, where the border between Illmere and the Feywild is thin. Their settlements in Madrassil are few and far between, built in the high trees of the Silverpine Forest. The elf king is a loyal ally of the Immortal Throne. Bands of elves often travel across the Empire in times of peace.
Eladrin call the fey realm of Cedrefel their home. Other than Wildelea, the Gateway to the Feywild, the cities of Cedrefel are a rare sight. A traveler can walk from one end of the realm to the other without ever encountering an eladrin settlement because of the realm’s mystical relationship with the Feywild. Eladrin sages serve the Immortal Throne as advisers, but they are reclusive.
Small settlements of gnomes dwell in Ciphorus between the Thell ranges. They pay little attention to the human nobles who lord over the kingdom, save for trade or discourse of information. Gnomes often travel between Ciphorus and Cedrefel to visit the Feywild and are the Empire’s most reliable guides through the mysterious forests of the Feylands, despite their fickle nature.
Halflings roam the Wilderland Steppes and the flatlands of Galenta. Though the kingdom is nominally ruled by human lords, the halflings are an invaluable part of Galenta’s system. The halflings live in nomadic clans that wander the steppes and bring news, trade, and messages between the settlements of the sparse country.
In the savage lands of Grolmach, orc tribes intermingle with barbaric human tribes. This has created a large population of half-orcs in that realm. Shifters also call that savage frontier land their home and few are found east of Holmstead.
The Empire of Marath has flourished since the defeat of Malakor a thousand years ago. Relative peace between the kingdoms has created an alliance too powerful to challenge by outlanders and has allowed trade to prosper. Many citizens, especially those in the Imperial Heartlands, are fabulously wealthy.
Their wealth, however, has created a society that is slowly degenerating into hedonistic practices and values. Gold and power is seen as worthy ambitions, to the expense of morality and virtue. Many humans, particularly nobility in the Imperial Heartlands, have begun participating in orgies and other acts of pleasure once thought of as taboo. There are even rumors of cults to Tiamat appearing in the Heartlands.
Despite this, there is still honor in the Empire. The current Emperor, Atreus Elysion, is a morally upstanding figure, cut of the same noble cloth as his ancestor. The Legion, supported by dragonborn honor, are still free of the taint of greed and hedonism, thanks to their stoic, militaristic traditions. Noble families tied to the Legion are usually the same way.
The Empire of Marath, in its vastness and scope, is a land of contradictions. From the sunny climes of the north to the bitterly cold wastes of the south, and the primal Feylands to the east and the savage frontiers to the west, the Empire has stood for a thousand years. What could topple it now?