Tiralth, Quest for Freedom
Vir Sidus Empire
The Vir Sidus Empire comes from a planet whose name is Arth. On this world the Empire they hailed form was supreme and none could challenge their might. So it was that soon they had conquered their little world and began to populate it at a prodigious rate. The Emperor’s son, Princeps Marcus Gallus devised a pla to spread the Empire’s might across the universe and the stars (They were a very educated species of Humans) and used the famed College of the Magi to create a portal to a similar world. This world was Tiralth.
The Princeps marshaled a full ten legions of men with all of their Auxilia, creating an army of nearly seventy-thousand men and women and then came running through the portal in precise Empire formations and engaged the residents of this strange new world. Here they waged war against a foe that fought like none on their home world, as they were humanoid, but with their wings, and use of innate magics were vastly different. Soldier to soldier these strange residents might have won this first furious battle, but the invaders had the edge of surprise, numbers and superior military leadership. The fall of the capital that the Empire soldiers crossed into took less than a day and with the head of the enemy crushed and the majority of their army disorganized and leaderless, the Kin Kingdoms were powerless to stop rampaging Legions of the Empire.
In a bold move, the Kin defenders sacrificed many of their remaining top mages to seal the portal. This move was likely a selfless act of the Kin Kingdoms to protect the rest of Tilarth’s races from suffering the same fate as them. This moved forever cut the dimensional rift from Tilarth and Arth, and trapped the invaders forever. It however did not stop the Empire’s forces from simply crushing the Kin Held territory and enslaving the entire race. The Princeps declared this place a new Empire and named it Vir Sidus, which on his old world was the Ancient Language words for “Constellation of Hereos”.
The new empire had its fair share of problems to begin with. The first being pockets of resistance from the remaining armies of the Kin. But these were small and insignificant and eventually either fled the new Empire’s borders or were enslaved. The next was sustainability. The vast majority of the Empire’s residents were male, and soldiers. They had an over abundance of slaves to work the fields and feed these soldiers but they just didn’t have the ability to remain a species. It was quickly learned that they could not mate with the Kin, ( Though the act was certainly pleasing and kept the Soldiers happy) so the Princeps devised a new plan. All women of the Empire who put down their arms, married and bore the Empire a child, was considered a full Citizen with full legal rights. This also allowed the abolishment of the dominant male in the society and put men and women on equal terms in less than a generation. Deals with local slavers for Human women willing to live and serve the Empire were made in exchange for Kin Slaves and Eggs. Through this act, the Empire began to flourish and the ruins of the old Kin cities were remade to become new Empire cites and provinces.
The current Vir Sidus Empire is akin to late era Rome here on Earth. Public displays of affection are not only ignored, they are commonplace. It is quite normal to enter a spa or a café to have a couple (straight or homosexual) having sex in a corner. Usually to teasing from the shop owner or other patrons. Except for slaves, the normal resident is a human supremacist, though there are a few non slave other races in the empire these are considered third class citizens. It is interesting to note that the likelihood of a citizen of the empire being punished for crimes against a non-citizen is directly proportional to how much other citizens care about that non-citizen.
Slaves are a daily part of life, almost every citizen owns at least one slave, and may more own multiple slaves. Most of these are Kin, but there are slaves of other races, even humans. Although all of them are treated as property none more so than the Kin who are not only treated as property but generations have been spent breaking them down and trying to crush their cultural identity. The largest example of this is the wing ripping ceremony. When a Kin slave reaches the age of fourteen to fifteen the Master can decide that they do not wish for their slave to have wings. Either they decide they do not need them for the work, or are worried they might try to escape. Regardless the master has a professional called a Winger remove the wings. Great pomp is made, securing the Kin to a pedestal in a submissive kneeling position, and the kin is then stripped of their clothes in a violent manner. Usually ripped violently from the body, but they can also be torturously cut from the individual with sheers or a knife. Then the Winger will begin first with the left wing by breaking the bone by hand, and then breaks the right. He slowly, meticulously begins to rend the flesh by hand, all while using healing potions and sometimes spells to keep the Kin not only conscious but alive. Once the wings have been ripped from the kin’s back, a hooked knife is then dug into the shoulder blades and the joints of the wings are removed. Again great care is taken to go slowly. Once the ordeal is finished, the Hooked knife is placed in a forge to heat the metal to a red hot temperature and then laid over the holes created by the wing removal cauterizing the wounds and cleaning off any stray bits of flesh that might remain. The whole process takes about six hours.
The one victory the Kin did have against the Empire came over the course of time, years after the fall of the Kin Kingdoms. This victory being the one of religion. When the Empire first invaded this planet they were helped by their gods and their Clerics proved every bit the match for the Kin Clerics that attempted to defend their homes. However once the Portal closed, the Empire’s Clerics lost their power, as the portal connected them to their completely different pantheon back on their home world, and with the portal’s sudden and violent closing, that connection was forever shattered. It took a few years, but eventually the Empire recognized that their gods no longer could help them and to turn to these new gods for help and spiritual protection. It is rumored that those that died after the god’s were cut from them have their souls cursed to forever walk the plane of Tilarth as Tarenth would not take them until blessed by one of his Clerics. In the end, the Empire now follows these gods, and while they have built temples to the Old Gods, and follow some holidays of old, it is more out of tradition and a sense of loyalty to a planet they will never see again.
Instead the Empire follows these new gods and built sprawling temple districts in their cities. The primary deities of the Empire are those of Jintar, Haruk, and Tarenth. Though any and all of the gods of Good and Neutrality find temples in their cities. It is interesting to note that both the Temples of Ishnara and Tirdra do not allow their priests/priestesses to keep slaves, and those slaves that are either brought to worship or come to worship themselves are not only treated as equals, but are not allowed to be treated as slaves by their masters. This is not to say a Kin could run to a Temple of Ishnara to hide, as they would be compelled to keep the law of the land, but they would treat the slave kindly while they were in their care.
Earning Citizenship in the Empire is both difficult and easy at the same time. There are three ways declared by the Emperor Marcus Gallus for any resident of the Empire to earn the right of a Citizen. The first, and most common is through serving in the Legions of the Empire. Every male between the ages of sixteen and twenty five is required to serve at least two years in the Legions. This can be fraught with danger as the Empire is constantly dealing with brigands and other races in violent manners. However if they sign up to serve a second term, and they manage to serve the full two years, then they become a citizen of the Empire by right shared blood. The second method is the simplest and only allowed for the women of the empire. Any human female of the Empire who marries and has a child is automatically a citizen of the Empire. This harkens back to the declaration made by the first Empire, and has never been changed. What this translates to is that the Senatorial Council (Not to be confused with the Senate which is comprised of Nobility), is comprised mostly of women. Many towns, villages and even a fair number of Cities are run by a council of only women. The third method of earning one’s citizenship is to purchase it. The cost of becoming a Citizen of the Empire is three yearly payments of twenty-five thousand gold crowns. A missed payment will bring the prospective citizen to the Slave pens to join the few Human slaves in the Empire or worse yet, one of the many arenas that dot the Empire.
Life in the Legions is not an easy thing. Many Legions are sent forth to harass the other nations that surround them, or to do guard duty in the out lying Provinces of the Empire. Still others are sent into Garenthel, the free kingdoms of the Gnolls, to do battle and hopefully gain yet more territory for the Empire. This usually does not end well with the Legion or Legions that are sent there, as the Gnolls, fight much like the Empire does, and the two sides slam into each other on a regular basis. Not since the great massacre of the Emperor Tobias Gallus over two hundred years ago have any Legion been sent against that of the Mountain Dwarves to the East. To date this has been the greatest defeat of the Empire, and not one any Emperor or Lord Commander has wished to repeat since. The desire to not fight the Dwarves is so great that limited trade exists on the border, and during the Vaxian War the Dwarves didn’t bother to ask permission to move troops through the Empire. They just did.
The capital of the Vir SIdus Empire is the once great capital of the Kin, it’s true name stricken from any Imperial record that may have mentioned it, and renamed to Adfere. Its once great lanes and majestic buildings have been rebuilt with an Imperial flair, and the great meeting stone at the center of the city the location and power source for the portal that allowed the Empire access to this world, still stands, but is now a memorial to a lost world. It is considered a great pride to pilgrimage to this stone and pay homage to the ancestors that may or may not reside on another planet. Here in this great city resides also the grand Imperial Palace, a monolith of a structure that stands over three hundred feet in height, is quite possibly the center of opulence in the entire world of Tiralth. Grand gardens are owned by the House of Gallus, as well as some of the finest art galleries and libraries. All of which reside on the grounds of the Palace. Indeed it is here in the Imperial Palace that a huge percentage of the Empire’s mages are trained as the Empire’s College of Magic is one wing of the Palace itself.
The current Emperor of the Empire is a young man named Octavius Gallus and is only thirteen years old. He is the son of the previous Emperor Remus Gallus and the eight child. The Empire, while very progressive compared to the rest of the world in that Women can be a part of both the military and even lead, are not chosen as descendents to the throne unless there are no male heirs to take up the crown. As such, Octavius currently has seven older sisters and there are no end of rumors that his eldest sister, Caria Gallus is pulling the strings of the young Emperor as until such time as Octavius can produce a Male heir, she is the next in line for the Throne. However none are brave enough to even whisper this rumor except in the darkest corners or in private talk at home for fear of being heard by one of the Emperor’s Secret Police.
There exist, mostly in the noble families, Pure Blooded Imperial humans. These humans are actual descendants of the original invaders and have not mixed their blood with any of this world. As such, they do not have the racial memories the rest of Tiralth do. This means that should they come across a Dragon they will suffer double the effects of the Dragon abilities.