The Astorina Imperium is the oldest and greatest of the human founded nations. It has existed for over a thousand years, ruled by the Astori Dynasty in an unbroken line from oldest child to oldest living child for centuries. It was founded by the Emperor Dyash Astori, who took warring human factions and tribes and forged them into a unified force, pushing out the other races of the goblinoids in the south and the Ophiduans of Seshmishta in the north. For centuries, the empire conquered more and more land in a controlled and cautious campaign of expansion.
Prior to the breaking, the empire was unfortunately past it's glory, and in decline. At their peak, they controlled almost the entire western half of the continent of Senithax, and had eyes on the remaining half. However, a succession of foolish rulers, decadence and hubris weakened the empire, allowing some smaller states to break away in some shape or form.
A great blow was when a civil war broke out, and the arcane council of the Northire declared independence. a bloody war followed, but the Astorina could make little inroads against the arcane might of the Northirans, and the Northirans lacked the manpower to push into Astorina. After three decades, a peace settlement was agreed to, making Northire a vassal state, self governing, but required to pay significant tribute. This nearly proved to be the undoing of the Astori family, but a year later, the Emperor Domar died, and his formidable daughter Empress Derlara ascended. She managed to halt any further sedition, and began investment in arcane colleges around the empire, even hiring some disaffected Northiran mages. She also tripled the size of the standing army through forced conscription of every low born citizen for 5 years of their life, and ensured they learned a trade should they choose to.
However, Derlara was a brief shining light of the Astori. Another blow struck when her grandson, Mivar, split the empire between his two beloved twin sons, Aexe and Amvar. No one was certain of which of the twins was firstborn, and divinations to discern this came up ambiguous. To prevent civil war, he declared them both heir, Amvar to the west, and Aexe to the east.
Aexe was grateful, but Amvar was furious. When he learned of this, he and his supporters struck. He imprisoned his own father, and attempted to do the same with Aexe. However, Aexe and his mother managed to escape, and fled to the east, garnering their own support. Amvar is said to have tortured his father to have him change his decree, and successfully provides an imperial decree. However, the broken emperor is a shell of himself, and many of the noble families turn from Amvar to follow Aexe's banner.
The war was bloody, but was brought to a head by single combat in the fog of battle between the brothers. In the end, Aexe stood over the broken body of his twin, victorious and full of sorrow. Hoever, instead of pressing to the capitol, he simply shored up his borders, and founded the Duchy of Aexe. He allowed his infant neice, Nimara, to be crowned as Empress, over an empire now reduced in size.
Since that time, the Imperium was in slow decline, the nobility grabbing more and more power, bickering amongst themselves for whatever influence they could. They still believed the Empire to be the cradle of civilisation, and in many ways, it was.
The breaking was a third powerful blow to the Empire. The isle of dreams, with it's rich gemstone mines, was cut off in a raging cyclone. The large stone mesa of the Noble Estates was cracked, many families being wiped away in the disaster, and the summer palace of the Astori left teetering on the edge of the break.
However, the worst effect, and the effect still felt to this day, was the Rotting. A vile disease, the Rotting could be transmitted via a single touch with infected flesh, and ripped through the empire in a matter of weeks. Funerary pyres burned night and day, and without the gifts of the divine, their was almost no way to curb the spread of the plague. To this day, minor outbreaks of the Rotting still arise in the imperium, changing the society from a hedonistic one to a cautious and calculated people.
The Empire is now a constitutional monarchy, though both the Emperor and the Imperial Parliament wield equal power. Each Noble family is given a single seat in the parliament, and all legislation must receive a majority vote. However, the Emperor must approve any legislation, and can veto any laws that come to him. The veto can be overturned by a 3/4 majority in the Parliament. To add a further complication, the emperor can Title any family should he wish to, granting them a seat in Parliament in perpetuity, but only if 1/4 of the parliament approves. The only way a family may lose their seat is treason or if no heirs remain on the death of the title holder. At present, there are 213 seats in the Parliament.
The Astorini, as the people of the empire are called, are a cautious and somewhat modest people. They wear long clothing, with high collars, long sleeves and are covered to the ankle. Most will also wear gloves, except in the warmer months, they may allow their hands to be free. This is actually a holdover from the height of the Rotting, to prevent accidental skin contact. Men will also have short trimmed beards, male hairstyles tend to the functional. Female hair styles, however, tend to be works of carefully sculpted art; braids, woven ribbons, wigs, and even art objects woven into the hair. Even commonfolk will carefully attend to their hair and grooming, and some will forego food to ensure they can save face to their neighbours and appear as more successful.
Language and Names:
Imperial is the dominant language of the Imperium, and many citizens choose not to learn any other language. Imperial is an expressive and florid language, and in the imperium it is common to use many embellishments and metaphors during the most mundane of conversations.
Humans of the imperium have a first and last name, and generally have one to three middle names. the following are some examples of common names.
Male names: Astor, Bonare, Davor, Francan, Godare, Ivor, Justone, Menthar, Natane, Ovor, Quastar, Rogare, Testor, Victare, Zonare
Female names: Astoria, Chelia, Davina, Envaria, Glorianna, Honouria, Justina, Nevarrine, Ovora, Pellaria, Pellarina, Rannia, Savine, Visania.
Last names: Bortista, Comulach, Fortistis, Garoustas, Hidalgis, Imperostis, Kimarost, Lustari, Menithirus, Ostarim, Penthire, Quom, Rovairan, Tastoris, Westarin.