Alsara: Requiem and Revolution
Government of the Shattered Empire
The Empire relies on feudalism to keep the country running. This causes a great deal of infighting between nobles attempting to expand their power. It also means everything remains very local, with little recognition of the outside world and most of the Empire acting autonomously.
The Emperor rules his Empire with nearly absolute authority. Cascading on down from him, power passes to each layer of the nobility until it pools atop the commoners.
From a legal standpoint, there are more laws that apply to you the lower you are on this Imperial layer cake. Commoners are restricted heavily by what they are allowed to own, do, and claim, and their punishments are limited mostly by the creativity of the judge.
The Imperial military is divided by caste, between nobles and commoners. Knights gray this line, as they are technically nobility but often are risen from among the common folk for their service.
The rank and file of the army are civilian levies, drafted from among a lord’s peasant population. As a result, the military training they receive is restricted to whatever compulsory training is mandated by their lord while not at war, the quick preparatory training received when called up to serve, and any direct experience obtained in battle. They are famous for their lack of coordination, poor morale, miserable performance in combat, and incredible numbers. In general, the combat ability of a region’s levies is a good indication of just how battle ready a region’s lords are.
Knights form most Imperial military strength in the average army. They are well trained and armed, and often have direct experience in battle. Some are even trained in magic, though such education is much rarer.
The Pact of Unification
This is a document, signed by a king or ruling body of a country, that formally recognizes the Empire as their superiors in all matters, and transfers absolute power to the Emperor. In return, they receive certain social concessions, such as religious freedoms and retention of property by the upper classes. It is, in short, a signed writ declaring a country’s surrender to the Empire.
The use of the Pacts of Unification is to encourage countries to join the Empire without actually having to fight them. It is by this method that the Empire was able to expand far beyond its military limits. It also is the moral justification for the Empire’s existence; Sanctuary is a perfect and ideal society. They have permission to attempt to enforce that tradition on others in order to save them from themselves. If those other peoples admit that this is true—even if only on paper—then it is further evidence that the Unification is righteous.
The concessions granted to nations by signing the Pact of Unification give the rulers of those countries the ability to continue to rule, as long as they are willing to suffer some interference from the Empire. This ‘interference’ can also be beneficial, such as access to advanced infrastructure and economies. And it’s a lot better than the fate of nations that choose to fight the Empire: enslavement of the population, redistribution of the land, and execution for the ruling class.
Kings that sign the Pact of Unification typically become Dukes or Archdukes, depending on the wealth of their province.