Empire of Gard
The Empire of Gard is one of the four major powers in Orthon. Its core is located in the northeastern portion of Orthon, but it has territories and holdings throughout the super-archipelago thanks to its campaign of conquering islands not already claimed by any of the four major powers.
The capital of Gard is Gideon City. In Myrion’s classical period, Gideon City was also the center of a massive empire. When the Gideonese Empire collapsed, it ushered in a dark period for humanity. After several generations of warring amongst itself, humanity came under the dominion of dragons for 500 years. That period is now called the Middle Ages.
After the Last Dragon War, the dragons were no more, and the world was torn asunder. Now free to seek their own destinies, the humans of the Empire of Gard are trying to reclaim their lost ancient glory.
The current Emperor of Gard is Emperor Rudovictus. He is 39 years old. Within the empire, he is known as a brave fighter, a wise and just leader, and a patron of the arts. Outside the empire, he is often called a tyrant. Like his predecessors, he was officially appointed by the Celestial Father, the spiritual leader of Celestialism. The appointment is ceremonial – the Celestial Father or Mother has only ever appointed the designated heir of the previous Emperor to the throne.
The Empire of Gard includes hundreds of islands of varying sizes. Each island is ruled by a governor appointed by the Emperor. In the core islands, the governors have the title of Prince or Princess. Outside the core islands, the governors have the title of Duke or Duchess.
There are also several officials with the title of Lord or Lady who run the imperial bureaucracy in Gideon City. Despite these titles, there are no feudal lords below them. There are several knightly orders in the Empire, but membership in these orders does not necessarily confer power the way it did in the feudal age.
Princes and Dukes have direct control of their territories, though they must obey their Emperor in any decrees he makes, and follow his laws. The Imperial Navy defends the entire empire, but each governor is expected to raise and maintain a militia for local defense and law enforcement.
The Empire of Gard is expanding rapidly. The Gardish want all humans to join them in the new human renaissance. At first, they were content to control the remants of what used to be Gard before the Shattering. But in the Arcish War, the kingdom of Arcland was completely conquered, and ever since then the Empire has set its sights on growth.
Non-humans may benefit from human domination as well, at least in the more noble Imperial aspirations. But the empire is very much a human civilization. In the core parts of the Empire, the Gardish do not respect the ways of other races. When elven, dwarven, or other races are conquered by the empire, they suddenly find themselves relegated to second-class, unable to do business or travel freely. While humans who fight against occupation are usually given the benefit of legal trials, non-humans who resist the empire are killed on sight.
The Empire of Gard finds itself in constant tension with the Holy Episcopate. Both powers are in competition for many of the same islands. They both compete for dominance in trade with the regions to the east. And they have religious differences, too.
Both nations follow Celestialism, and are tied together by a shared sense of a new post-dragon future. The Celestial Father anoints each new Emperor of Gard, and Gard officially designates the 13 Celestial Gods as the One True Faith. But Gard also does not grant any jurisdiction to the Episcopal Inquisition, and it refuses to prosecute followers of the Ascendants.
The Eustace Magocracy is strictly independent, although it has sided with the Empire of Gard in the past. Eustace has a near-monopoly on sugar and an extensive trade network, but that is not enough a rich enough prize to make the Gardish want to go up against an entire nation of mages.
The Free City of Dragonfall has a peace treaty with the Empire of Gard. The Imperial dream is to bring “uncivilized” islands into the empire, but Dragonfall is too powerful, too wealthy, and too cultured to pretend that it needs conquering. Besides, Dragonfall is an extremely wealthy trading power with a substantial navy. That said, if Dragonfall were to side fully with Gard, it would grant a serious advantage in the contest against the Holy Episcopate.