Aduria » Yikarian Empire
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The Yikarian Empire is an mountainous Adurian realm mainly populated by yakmen, but escaped human slaves and herdsmen can occasionally be found there.
The yikarian people are very religious and superstitious. They associate the great storms that batter the mountains with the Seven Sages riding forth. The huge temple bells are rung, asking the Sages for mercy.
Sacrifices are commonly made to their god based on one of the four elements. Offerings may be burnt, drowned, buried or thrown from a cliff. The outcome of these harsh treatments is not clear but some say it is to help further empower the Forgotten God and reinforce his regency.
Most trading is controlled by the provincial regents. It ranges from yak butter, fine rugs, excellent incense and bells, to spearpoints, arrowheads, and armor cast in bronze by human and dwarven slaves. Some say that the yikaria also accept slaves as payment, as slavers are a regular sight within the empire. Sometimes the yikaria use outsiders to act as their representatives when trading with distant societies.
The size of the yikarian population is not large. However it recognises that even the young have their uses. When a male yikaria matures at 12 years old (14 for some), they are sent on the Hallong. This means the "begging bowl" and is a reconnaissance mission in the realms around the empire. For young yikaria have the strength and flexibility to shapeshift into the form of any humanoid. This allows them to travel forth and gather information and items from outside the empire. No-one can return from the Hallong without gaining something of great worth.
One of a yikaria's greatest abilities during the Hallong is to use the yikarian magic jar. This enables any yakman to possess the body of any creature, and thus gain knowledge and power that might otherwise be unavailable. All the yikaria must do is hold the subject still for two turns. Great use is made of such spies but as with the normal spell, there are great risks involved.
The Yikarian Empire consists of Sanctuaries (provinces with major temples) and Strongholds (provinces without temples). Tall walls surround the structures with the temple being at the highest point within. The cities consist of massive stone buildings with a multitude of long hallways, creating a confusing mazelike interior. Outside there are few streets due to the lack of small buildings. This whitewashed architecture is unlike anything else on Aebrynis.
The concept of personal space is not clearly defined. However, areas of the cities tend to be segmented. The yikaria will live separately from human slaves. The priests will work and live in the temple. The nobility will live in a different area to the trades. However all guilds will use the same workspace. All will use the same stables. If anyone asks about ownership, the common responses are that "All belongs to the Forgotten God" or "The Emperor watches over it for the Faceless One". If disputes arise then priests are always there to decide.
The mountains rise up above the coastal plains 7,000 to 17,000 feet high with 4,000 to 5,000 feet high passes. Regardless of the presence of the yikaria, they would be formidable to most climbers. Warm sea breezes sweep up the plains to moderate the cold conditions up high. The main rainfall is in the northeast, south of Lipo, creating the Blackwash Fens at the mouth of the River Ruin. The brackish water levels in the Fens are controlled more by the tides than the river, as the river is dry for half the year. It really only exists during the rainy season and when the snow melts during the spring. Then it runs fast and strong and is used by traders to bring down goods from the slopes. When dry, the river bed acts like a road with caravans bringing slavers and goods up to the empire. Thus the tracks are renewed every winter and spring.
The mountains are home to others, though they are much harder to find than the yikaria. Snow leopards hunt the mountain goats, musk oxen and yaks that are found in herds as well as wild. Some humans live outside the cities though they are most likely to be in service to the crown or escaped slaves. The land was once home to a large dwarven community, but most of them now serve the empire as slaves or soldiers. Yetis and marrashi live in the higher peaks but are occasionally called upon by the emperor to join his army.
There have been long-standing rumours of a yikarian outpost having been set up near a major river in the jungle west of the Bronze Falcon province. The rumours conflict on whether it would for trade or military purposes. Either way, it would be far from any other yikarian settlement and outside of their normal surroundings. However, given the Mountain Prince's concerns in that area, there may be some truth to the tales.
The Gate of Heaven is the highest province in the Yikarian Empire. A small province, it is home to the Lotus Emperor and the Lotus Court.
Nathong: The capital city
Emperor's Quarters: The royal palace in Nathong, including the Whisperer's Tower and the Tower of the Faceless God
The Sun's Eye stretches north-east from the foothills below the Gate of Heaven to the coast.
Lipo: The coastal town through which most of the interaction with the world outside the empire occurs.
Shrine of the Jade Monolith: The main temple in Lipo.
West of the Gate of Heaven, the Fiend's Wing is a set of smaller peaks and escarpments. The terrain makes it a perilous place to travel in. The Cloud Wizard's castle appears atop one of the peaks as if it is an island amongst the clouds.
The Red Goat province is on the slopes to the south-east of the Enlightened Ring.
Lake of the Emerald Eye: The Old Goatbeard's main residence and site of water sacrifices.
The Yak's Horn is in the foothills of the Red Goat province, with the mud flats between it and the coast.
The Red House: The main temple outside of Nathong.
Mud Flats: Lowlands said to have strange creatures and enchanted substances.
The mountains of the Bronze Falcon are far south of the Gate of Heaven and are one of the easiest to traverse.
The slopes of the Ghost Leopard are east of the Gate of Heaven, separating Sun's Eye from Red Goat province.
< ADD HISTORY, IF KNOWN >
The Lotus Emperor is the figurehead of the empire. Every twenty years he sacrifices his body to the Forgotten God and takes on a new form. As a result, he is always seen as a young yakman. He brings his wrath down on those who question him, but will make no major decisions without the counsel and strong influence of Mother Millstone and his rarely-seen consort, the Whisperer. At his righthand is the Storm King who controls his armies and strikes at any sign of trouble. The Storm King acts as the emperor's lieutenant yet never shows any ambitions to sit on the Lotus Throne himself. This concerns the Whisperer who is not sure whether he is just biding his time.
The Seven Sages rule their provinces fairly independently but heed the word of the emperor. They were appointed by the Forgotten God himself and must give one-fifth of their tithe each year to the emperor. Failure to do so will give him cause for severe retribution.
The Forgotten God is very rarely seen. All his messages are delivered by his churches. However, he is not afraid to show his power. Occasionally he will require the Whisperer to do his bidding as his lieutenant.
The emperor, the Storm King and the Cloud Wizard are accomplished mages who make use of the parasitic Blood Leech realm spell. This draws bloodline strength from a target regent, increasing the power of the casting mage.
The military is lead by the Storm King but Little Fox and Mountain Prince have important positions. The Whisperer has a small force of enforcers who help maintain religious observance as well as her spy network.
The main army consists of around 5,000 soldiers, most being yikarian warrior monks. The emperor also uses 1800 human heavy infantry, 800 human archers, 400 yeti auxiliaries, 500 marrashi archers and 400 dwarven artillerist/sappers. Most of these troops are in Bronze Falcon, Ghost Leopard and Yak's Horn.
The Mountain Prince is an experienced warrior and a great field commander. He is often seen in control of the infantry forces and watches the jungles near the western borders of the Bronze Falcon province for incursions. The Little Fox is mainly in control of the lighter units, like the archers and marrashi, using them for scouting and quick strikes against the opposition.
The entrance to the Gate of Heaven is guarded by 900 Faceless Guards who wear blank masks in honour of their god. All being yikaria, they are an elite infantry force equivalent to the best knights from Anuire but with the added bonus of being able to cast spells.
Being mainly mountain folk, the yikaria don't care much for sailing. As a result, the empire only has a small navy of two galleases and three dhouras. They are docked at Lipo and are mainly used to protect and transport the yikaria when needed. The largest of the galleases belongs to the emperor but is rarely used by him. Twelve new keels have been constructed in the shipyards but no-one outside the Lotus Court seems to know what the emperor intends to do with them.
- Forgotten God - (MAwn Sor 12/Clr 12/Ftr 18; Azrai, true; NE) the awnshegh regent who is worshipped as a god. Blood abilities: Bloodform (Minor, yak), Divine Aura (Great), Invulnerability (Great), Long Life (Major)
- Lotus Emperor - (MYk Clr 10/Wiz 10; Azrai, great; NE), the Forgotten God's figurehead and high priest. Blood abilities: Invulnerability (Great)
- The Whisperer, Tamalynda - (FMr Ftr 8/Rog 15; unblooded, LE) the emperor's Marrashi consort, leader of the spy network, lieutenant of the Forgotten God, a skilled archer and assassin.
- Storm King - (MYk Ftr 14/ Wiz 11; Azrai, major; NE) the general of the armies, the emperor's right-hand man and lieutenant. Blood abilities: ???
- Lords of the Seven Heavens - nobility of the Lotus Court, the most powerful being the Whisperer and the Storm King.
When the Lotus Emperor travels with his court, they are accompanied by a guard of marrashi with the emperor and the Storm King atop griffons. The nobility ride in flying bone chariots being pulled by enslaved djinn. The emperor's entourage will always have at least 30 nobles and 1,000 servants.
The Seven Sages are the regents of the provinces. A secretive lot, they prefer to stay in their castles, unseen by the populace. When visiting each other, they ride rocs.
- Cloud Wizard - (MYk Wiz 16; Azrai, major; NE) the most powerful mage in the empire. Blood abilities: Long Life (Minor)
- Coral Princess - (FYk Clr 10/ Wiz 10; Azrai, major; NE) the most liberal of the sages, an albino who is a master of disguise and bloodtheft, but untested on her magical abilities. Blood abilities: ???
- the Elder - (MYk Clr 14; Azrai, major; NE) possibly the Forgotten God's first son. Blood abilities: Invulnerability (Great), Long Life (Major)
- Little Fox - (MYk Ftr 12; Azrai, major; NE) a young warrior who manages the scouts and strike force of the Imperial army. Blood abilities: ???
- Mother Millstone - (FYk Clr 19; Azrai, major; NE) the regent of the Red House (temple holding), the most powerful priest in the empire: Blood abilities: Long Life (Major)
- Mountain Prince - (MYk Ftr 15; Azrai, major; NE) an experienced old warrior. Blood abilities: ???
- Old Goatbeard - (MYk Clr 12/ Rog 12; Azrai, major; NE) a shapeshifter who fills his palace with beautiful courtesans and courtiers. Blood abilities: Long Life (Minor)
Gate of Heaven (4/5)
Sun's Eye (3/4)
Fiend's Wing (3/4)
Red Goat (3/5)
Yak's Horn (3/4)
Enlightened Ring (2/4)
Bronze Falcon (2/4)
Ghost Leopard (1/4)
This page is partially based on the article in Dragon #241, '"The Roof of the World"
- Law: Each province is individually governed by its regent but all bow to the word of the Forgotten God.
- Temples: The Forgotten God is the only deity worshipped in the empire. Of all the provincial regents, Mother Millstone has the most control over the temple in her lands as she is its high priestess. The Lotus Emperor is mainly a symbolic high priest who does not concern himself with church administration.
- Guilds: There is little organised trade in the empire. What organisations do exist belong to the Emperor or the Coral Princess. However Old Goatbeard profits from smuggling, much to the annoyance of the Coral Princess. The Elder has devoted many of his slaves to mining.
- Source: The sources are divided between the Cloud Wizard and the Storm King.
, 08-05-2009 at 06:43 AM|
Last edited by , 02-21-2012 at 12:15 AM
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