Rephan Empire
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Government: God-King Moloch and his Xantha Tribe

Population: Around 30,000,000.

Protection: Though made of up disparate tribes "modernized" by advanced technology, they are still kept tightly together by the totalitarian control of the Xantha.

Location: Much of the North Continent of Stara Ziema (North America). Much of Mexico recently taken from the Zabelians by conquest.

History

Ancient Stara Ziema was a place of diversity and total decentralization of power. Thousands and thousands of tribes across North and South America lived an agrarian existence, and cultivated their skill at dealing with their aggressive neighbours. Some tribes grew to empires and civilizations, and changed the dynamic, bringing smaller peoples under their yoke, often by force. But these were but small deviations compared to what was to come.

Panak'si and the Panther Tribe

Approximately 1000 years ago, a clan known as the Zanat'ka, betrayed an alliance of tribes against their mortal enemies and earned the hatred of generations. Wretched, despised and outcast, the Zanat'ka were cultural pariahs and bug-bears. More tribes than could be counted wanted to take revenge on them. It is said that before their enemies could enact their battle plans, a great and terrifying warrior called Panak'si came to the Zanat'ka and promised them the submission of all their enemies, in exchange for their own to him. The terrified clan agreed.

It is said that Panak'si used the blackest magicke of the blackest spirit to defeat the Zanat'ka's enemies, who were routed and demoralized after the first battle. He used the corpses of their dead against them, and called down terrible evil from the sky.

The Zanat'ka were victorious and demanded tribute from all the enemy tribes. Many fell in line, but for those who would not, Panak'si had to call down more magicke from the dark spirits. It is said the good spirits of the land could not withstand his sorcery, and fled. As the Zanat'ka spread across the land, so too did devastation. The sky darkened with black clouds and scorched the land. Crops failed, never to return, and many hundreds of thousands died, entire tribes wiped out by famine, disease and the conquest of the Zanat'ka.

The Burren

Over the centuries all of Northern Stara Ziema fell under their control, always under the watchful eye of one of Panak'si's male descendants. Though much of the Northern continent is as beautiful as it is in the real world, the central region where Panak'si fought his ancient battles are said to be barren and scarred with the exertions of his terrible magicke, the sky still horrified and dark. This area is known as the Bur'an or "Burren" coloquially, and serves as the capital of the Rephan Empire.

It is here that Panak'si's descendants placed their imperial city and vast fortress. Anyone in Stara Ziema seeking audience with the God-King must traverse the scorched and desolate land, their journey a reminder of the consequences of disloyalty to the Empire.

The uninterrupted line of succession leads to Moloch, the current God-King, who is said to have taken his name from the mythology of Easterners. This choice, perhaps, belies that his gaze has fallen on them, and it is a poor fate indeed to catch the eye of the God-King.

Who Are The Rephans

The Xantha tribe is the Empire's "First Tribe", and have veto power over all laws and government decisions. They are favoured by all God-Kings since Panak'si formed the Empire by official endorsement, and granted more power than any other tribe.

The Xantha tribe has ruled for a thousand years, but they are only a small minority of the population of the Empire, however. Many thousands of tribes still exist to this day, usually divided roughly among species lines, but often united by their fear and hatred for the totalitarian Xantha. These tribes will be made up any North American animals, though no wolves remain, curiously.

The Rephans are still a proud people, with conflicting goals at times. They are loyal to their empire, but with a desire to see the return of older, more egalitarian, pastoral, and peaceful ways. They mourn the replacement of their ancient naturalistic religion with state-enforced Monarch-worship. Though they wish to see the betterment and expansion of the Rephan Empire, many believe that the Xantha are the wrong leadership and always have been, and advocate their God-King revoke his endorsement of them as the First Tribe. It is often remarked upon that the Xantha and the larger Rephan population do not share a common culture, many of the latter still practicing their old ways under the noses of their ruling class. The Xantha, meanwhile, engage in aristocratic behaviour, forsaking their roots for the regalia and grandeur of a modern Empire.

The Bread Basket

Rephan civilization possesses more resources than any other kingdom in the world. Save for the "Burren", Stara Ziema has some of the most fertile and easily cultivated land in the world. The result is an abundance of food, fuel, and resources to fund expansion and rising population. This is not as simple as it sounds.

Due to this abundance, it is difficult to exert imperial control over regions that have their own significant supply of resources. This means that the Xantha must resort to more serious and brutal control, sometimes actually destroying vast resources to bring independent-minded regions under their yoke.

Landmarks

Much of the Empire is still fairly agrarian, but there do exists modernized settlements where the more powerful tribes live.

The intentionally fearfully titled Tower of Hatred and Hades Fortress are all said to exist within the Rephan Empire's "Burren", the central scorched-earth area where the Xantha and Moloch make their home. No Eastern explorer has ever been allowed to map out or explore this region and freelancers have never returned. Marlek's Tower was also hidden away in a remote section of eastern mountains before its destruction. Several areas along the eastern coastline, especially facing the Novari territories, are giant unnatural spires like mountains of teeth that form a foreboding wall against incoming ships, often accompanied my magically induced thunderstorms to ward of airships as well. It is locales like these that the "Dark Lands" gets some of its fame among the European world.

Dealings with the East

The Rephan Empire has had very limited dealings with Easterners. The attitude of real-life Europeans toward the New World was one of excitement, opportunity and exploitation, however, in the EC continuity this is vastly different. Primitive Eastern beliefs seem to paint Stara-Ziema as a place of wickedness, tyranny and dark magicke, spat out of Hell and planted in the Western Ocean, with all its devils intact.

None of these folktales dissuaded the Novari, however. While simultaneously colonizing Elysia, the Novari sent an expeditionary force ahead to scout the dark continent. At the shores, where Panak'si's devastation had not reached, they found a vastly different, utterly beautiful place. Curiously, however, what they found were not Stara Ziemans at all. It was the nomadic Arrym Horde they found, in their new settlement. They promised the Arrym help to defend their new home in exchange for exploration rights.The aging Arrym Chieftain, Ahk'tsiel, warned against this action. In his eyes, the Novari were not their saviors from the Rephans, but devils of a far worse kind. His successor, Lord Tyrraktal, however, saw the opportunity as befitting of his ambitions, and engaged the Novari. The marriage of Tyrraktal's bloodlust and the Novari desire for revenge would eventually become the War Plan for the Second Invasion of Elysia.

Seeing an opportunity to dispose of the Arrym squatters easily and simultaneously gain a foothold on Elysia, Moloch ordered his Xantha tribe to enter the Elysian war on the side of the colonials. Not known for any previous involvement in foreign affairs, the Elysians nevertheless accepted the aid in their hour of need, and a dispatch of Rephan warriors were sent to defend the South of Elysia, and were critical in several large battles.

During the Novari Occupation, however, the Xantha created a task force to hunt and remove leaders of the Resistance in order to quell the unnecessary violence and sought to accelerate the stabilization of the country through any means necessary. This created a new unease and distrust between old guard Elysians and the Rephan Empire that continues well into today.

Currently, the Rephan population of Elysia (at this point, predominantly Xantha), has representation in the Coalition government through the same members of envoy they stationed in the bay of Elysian City since their arrival, commanded by Lady Hel Mizrath and her esteemed escort Lord Dagan Scorpio. Nobody is certain why the well-possessed and powerful Rephans have taken an interest in Elysia, but anything that can get Moloch's attention is worrisome.

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