The Dragaeran Empire is the largest political entity on the planet sometimes referred to as Dragaera.
The Empire's main purpose is to ease trade among its parts, protect safety of the roads, and administer the feudal society that in turn nurtures it.
The Empire's nature is tied in with its 17 Houses, who rotate dominance and the Emperorship over the years as dictated by the Cycle, which is in turn watched over by the gods. The causal relationships between the Gods, the Cycle, and the politics of the Empire appear to work in all directions simultaneously.
The Empire is covered by the Enclouding.
The Empire is ruled by the Emperor or Empress with the help of The Court, which includes the Warlord, the Prime Minister, various other ministries (including Finance, and a Minister of the Houses) the Court Wizard and the Imperial Discreet.
Important persons within the Empire are also given various titles, signifying rank or status. Titles are sometimes (but not always) associated with feudal land holdings. Landed titles signify not only privilege, but also responsibility; both to the Teckla inhabitants of their fief, and to the well-being and protection of the Empire.
The Empire is broken down into several major duchies. (Exactly how many is unclear, we know the names of quite a few, but there are likely to be many more. Possibly more than seventeen.) There are also at least a few principalities, though these have never been named.
Known Duchies of Dragaera
- Highland Reef
- Two Rivers
Note: Since the names of these duchies are taken from a variety of different historical time periods, it's possible that some may exist by different names, or even that more than one of the aforementioned names might refer to the same geographical location.
Duchies are divided into Counties, which are further divided into Baronies, and then Baronetcies. It is unclear whether there are Shires, or similar smaller subdivisions by any other name.
The Pre-Interregnum capital city of Dragaera City existed outside of any of the duchies, and was presumably situated on land controlled directly by the Emperor or Empress. It is unclear if Adrilankha is a part of any duchy, although it was at least nominally inside the County of Whitecrest at the beginning of the reign of Zerika the Fourth.
Economic and Social Structure
In the Empire, the Teckla, by far the most numerous class of the population, are the serfs. Most are uneducated, and survive by working the lands owned by the nobility, or as servants in their manor houses. Occupations of the Teckla include primarily farming, but also other menial tasks such as mining, unskilled construction work, and lower-level household servants.
In the few large cities, some Teckla are allowed to scratch their own livings, if they can manage it, by providing services to the wealthy, or by begging. Many of these are also employed in various factory industries such as meat-packing plants.
The lesser nobility of Dragaera, (most notably, members of the houses of Chreotha, Jhegaala, Orca, and Jhereg) are the closest thing that the Empire has to a "middle-class". These individuals are typically employed as clerks, tailors, merchants, or minor craftsmen. Many Jhereg are also involved in the criminal elements of the cities, though the majority of this house do earn their living legally.
The middle nobility (notably the houses of Athyra, Yendi, Tiassa, Tsalmoth, Iorich, Vallista and Issola) are more often employed as skilled labourers in a service industry. Typical occupations include magician or magical educator (Athyra), diplomatist or minstrel (Issola), advocate or justicer (Iorich), architect or artisan (Vallista), or security services (Tsalmoth).
The high nobility of Dragaera are typically the landholders and aristocracy. This is primarily made up of members of the houses of Dzur, Hawk, Dragon, Phoenix, and Lyorn. While many of these individuals are true aristocrats, and do not labor to survive, the younger sons and daughters of these families sometimes do work, often in bureaucratic or military capacities.
The Empire is governed according to a multi-tiered system of legal codes. These are long and quite complex, administered primarily by Iorich justicers and advocates. Each tier of law has its own rules regarding when, where, and to whom it can be applied. As with any government, the application and administration of the laws are not always in strict accordance with their theoretical ideals.
The known levels of Imperial law are Imperial Edicts, Codified Traditions, and Statutes.
The highest level of law. These are direct decrees from an Emperor that are not subject to reinterpretation. If an individual is found to have committed acts in contravention of an Imperial Edict, that person is automatically guilty. The first Imperial Edict issued was a ban on human sacrifice. The laws against Elder Sorcery are also Imperial Edicts, also among the first enacted at the founding of the Empire. Edicts can be assumed to deal only with the most serious crimes, since their application is not subject to review by the Council of Princes. Political crimes such as treason are likely covered by edict. Traditionally, edicts are only loosely applied (if at all) to powerful nobles whose houses are at or near the top of the Cycle.
Presumably, these laws are more involved with rules of appropriate behavior. Imperial Duels likely are governed under the codes of a Codified Tradition. Unlike edicts, these laws are subject to re-interpretation as times change, and certain practices go out of fashion. Most property laws are likely handled this way, as well. Rules on inheritance, hereditary peerage, border disputes, military service, and tax codes are likely handled under this level of government. Prosecutions and convictions under Codified Traditions are subject to review by the Council of Princes, who can sometimes use their authority to overturn the results of a trial at this level of law.
These can be assumed to deal mostly with civil ordinances and minor crimes. Unlawful killing, robbery, arson, vandalism, and fraud are likely covered at this level. Unlike Imperial Edicts, statutes are enforced at the local level, with only the authorities of whatever Duchy, County, Barony or district in which they occurred responsible for their application and enforcement.
The Imperial Courts are administered by the House of Iorich within the Iorich Wing of the Imperial Palace. It can be assumed that most legal proceedings held here deal with the cases brought by or against nobility, while Teckla and Easterners are generally handled by a separate system administered by whatever local Lord has jurisdiction over the territory where the offense occurred. (When those offenses are handled at all.)
From time to time, the courts may also aid in Imperial Investigations into important matters of concern to the Empire.
The Empress is guarded by the Imperial Guard (named after the position of the cycle, such as Phoenix Guard or Athyra Guard), which has a division that acts as a police force within the capital city of Adrilankha.
Geographically, it dominates the major continent of the known world. It is bordered on the east by the Eastern Kingdoms, and on the south and west by the sea. To the north are the Forever Plains, the Paths of the Dead, and the Greater Sea of Chaos.
The interior consists of a wide variety of landscapes, from the grasslands of the Pushta, to the jungles of Southmoor, and further, from the mountainous regions of Kanefthali to the arid Suntra desert.
For more information, including a great deal of informed speculation, see Bryan Newell's Unofficial Map of Dragaera for a detailed look at the specifics of Dragaeran Geography.