The Kalhastian Empire is a large kingdom in western Atavar. It is one of the richest and most populated kingdoms in Atavar, and a major world power seen as a mediator and peace keeper among most nations. It is a hereditary monarchy, currently led by Queen Arenora Valemoon. The populace is primarily human due to the wars that emerged during the establishment of the nation that saw most elves in the region retreat to the surrounding territories; other races may call the area home, but human dominate most demographics.
The Kalhastian Empire is an expansive kingdom, spanning across the western peninsula of Atavar to its center. Its borders are primarily demarcated by mountain ranges, as are its seven major regions. The northwest peninsula that meets the nations of Ivosassick, Ilfayln and Midradir is known as Utheriath. The secluded but lush north-central river basin is called Naravern, and a large river valley between it and Utheriath is known as the region of Luvensor. The central region of the Empire is Runadine, the most populous region containing the capital. Nepoznato lies just south of Runadine, and is a somewhat contested border region neighboring the nations of Polpo, Nepoznato, Drurek Weir, and the no-man’s-land of Volesant. Meldas is a large region encompassing the mid-east, making up part of the valley that intersects with Utesh-Verik, and also bordering the contentious Free Lands. The sparse western region of Nepoznato borders the Free Lands, Volesant, Bok-Gren, Nepoznato, and Nepoznato.
The capital of the empire is Adalhast, a large port city located on the eastern coast in Runadine. Adalhast is famous for housing an enormous ancient bronze dragon, Hashastel, that lies resting in the center square of the city.
The Empire is home to a multitude of varying natural environments, from lush mountains to warm beaches to arid crags.
Kalhastia is a hereditary monarchy, with the monarch having been chosen by the previous monarch, ruling for life or until stepping down. Generally, this position has been known to stay in the line of a royal family, save for a few upsets over the passing centuries. Since 612 IaC, the position has been held by direct descendants of the Valemoon family. Line of nobility are generally married into the royal family, but generally only those carrying royal blood are considered to be named successors. This process is completely up to the whims and persuasions of the previous monarch. Currently, the nation is ruled by Queen Arenora Valemoon.
Rule is carried out in a line of command; while the monarch’s authority presides over all prerogatives, enforcement of her rulings is accomplished by way of high ranking nobility tasked by the crown to oversee the various regions and provinces of the Empire. In the capital, where the crown sits, the Crown's Bulwark oversees the seven regions of Kalhastia. These “Bulwarks”, each given a title unique to their region, hold the highest positions of non-royalty in the land, and are tasked with realizing the visions of whoever sits upon the throne. The seven provinces are further split into provinces, which are governed by Lords, Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses given power by the Bulwarks. The governors of a province will then appoint nobility of friends to oversee the larger settlements in the province as mayors, who handle the collection of taxes and the establishment of law.
While much of central Kalhastia finds this situation perfectly agreeable, the more remote provinces that benefit less from the influence of the crown often find themselves fending for themselves against the horrors of the wild. While considered treason by the crown, some settlements resort to establishing their own rule of law, sectioning themselves off from the provinces and regions that do not provide any benefit in return for the resources they relinquish. The punishment of these communities that mainly endeavor only to survive in harsh climates is a hotly debated subject in the capital.
In addition to the various courts and branches of the government, the Empire hosts a number of institutions to provide the crown with council and resources; the Church of Fectovarano and the Silver Eye each actively participate in government proceedings, as does the Aerathin Court and the Claw of Arali.
Law in the Empire is a hierarchical system; national law is primarily established by the ruling monarch, and thusly carried out by the regions and provinces thereafter. Regions may make their own laws as decided on by the Bulwark and the region’s Council of Reason, one of the 7 high courts. These laws must not conflict with or override decrees made by the crown in any way. These law are then enforced by the provinces, and the nobility presiding over them may establish their own laws, which again must not impose on the rulings made higher up the chain. Provincial law must be made in conjunction with the Lower Courts, which are appointed by the Bulwark of the region. Finally, mayors and town heads may make local laws, which generally must be approved by a majority from the Town Council.
The Empire’s form of law is most similar to civil legal system, as the authority is established by the codification of legislature. Judges interpret this law when individuals appear to have crossed it, and provide a sentence that is deemed appropriate; in the law of the Empire, however, there is no specific severity of punishment that correlates to the law or statue that was broken, giving judges a fair amount of power in their sentencing. The exception to a judge’s power lies in the ability of the ruler of the province, the Bulwarks, or the crown to overrule them; provincial rulers may override town councils, Bulwarks may override the Lower Courts, and the monarch may override the Councils of Reason. Laws are broken up into four types; criminal, civil, public, and religious. Religious law is a bit of an outlier, and cases made in this category are generally considered to lie within the purview of public law, with the exception of a religious head or heads participating in the body of the court.
Most Empire law is based in honor and righteousness, and punishments are historically levied with an acute understanding of the crime committed; while the practice is somewhat archaic now, the standard response for thievery was once to remove a number of fingers based on the significance of what was stolen.
The Kalhastian Empire is one of the most powerful kingdoms in Atavar, and is often viewed as a foil to the Sufessian Dominion. While both are large autocracies, Kalhast is generally known to be the more humanitarian of the two, in comparison to Sufessia's cutthroat politics and long list of war crimes. Regardless, the empire is still organized into a very distinct class system where those of nobility and wealth tend to enjoy expanded powers over the weak and poor.
The Empire tends to act as a sort of mediator between hostile nations and endeavors to forge peaceful relationships with most major world powers. It relies heavily on the nation of Ivosassick for trade, and has a very healthy relationship with the nation. Among the Empire’s staunchest allies are Utesh-Verik, Caldenvald, and Astrilane.
The Empire has rocky relationships with the elven kingdoms of the Free Lands due to territorial wars from years past. Though the humans that waged the wars in the Empire have long since crumbled to dust, the long-lived elves have not forgotten the indignities they suffered at the hands of the Bronze Aegis. Despite Sufessia encroaching upon the territories in the Free Lands, the kingdoms have summarily refused the assistance of the Empire.
The Empire is one of the most advanced kingdoms in the Known World, leading in innovations of engineering and standardization. Many standards set by the institutions of the Empire are eventually adopted by other countries. Kalhastia is known to defer especially to the rulings of the Ereidin High Council, and tend to lead the continent on the adoption of its policies.
The nation is protected by a volunteer army known as the Bronze Aegis, who work as a peacekeeping force both within its borders and out. Applicants must overcome rigorous training and examination to be deemed fit to enter the army, which is regarded with prestige and honor throughout most of the kingdom. Aegis members will patrols heavily traveled roads, towns, and cities, as well as protect the Empire's borders.
Covert operations are spearheaded by a secretive operative group known as the Blinded Order, which establishes spies and agents across the world to provide untainted information to the crown.
The largest city in the Empire is Adalhast, which also functions as its capital. The location of the crown, Adalhast is mostly populated by humans, though the area is more diverse than others due to its sheer size and population.
For some centuries now, the national language of the Empire has been Common, ever since the language was designated the language of the world by the Ereidin High Council in Iron 32. Before, many citizens of the empire spoke a more obscure language known as Kharvat, which now only survives in texts and on the lips of scholars.
Certain ethnic groups may speak other languages, though most must converse in Common to some extent to survive in the Empire. The second most common language would likely be gnomish, though Drurek Dwarven and halfling is spoken more towards the southern border, and orcish to the north. A fair amount of people may speak elven in the east, close to the border of the Free Lands.
The speaking of Sufessian is banned within the borders of the kingdom. The punishment for proliferating this language has historically been removal of the tongue, though the study of the language purely in writing is tolerated as an academic endeavor, provided one is capable of proving they are a suitable scholar. The only people allowed to speak the language in the kingdom are specially mandated diplomats, and assumedly, spies of the Blinded Order.
While there is no religion or worship that is mandated by the crown, a large majority of the populace either worships or reveres the god Fectovarano to some extent. The influence of Fectovarano is strongly maintained by the efforts of the Church of Fectovarano, which has incorporated itself into vital aspects of Kalhastian society, such as healthcare. Priests of Fectovarano are often the sole practitioners of higher medicine in a given community, their positions strategically managed by the Church in order to maximize their effect and spread. Additionally, the Church employs their own soldiers of faith to keep the peace, becoming much more common in larger cities and settlements.
Unavaranu is also widely worshiped in the country, with many temples being led by the Silver Eye. However, the influence of Unavaranu is much less organized than that of Fecto’s, and as such temples and places of worship are less consistently found. Still, the temples can play a large part in any community they are part of, and supplicants will often bring offerings of texts and art in order to earn the goddess’ favor, which is rumored to be quite powerful, should she appreciate their gifts.
Regardless of leading religions, the worship of other gods is generally not considered blasphemous or ill in any way, especially for smaller gods with more specific domains. Yeroda, the god of travelers and Waralur, the god of trade are often prayed to and given offerings, and it is not uncommon to offer the occasional gift to fickle gods such as Durzick or Elevarani, though their abject worship is generally frowned upon. The worship of more evil or duplicitous gods, such as Ragil, Batrax, Irashi, or Jylurm, can lead to religious raids by the Church or even the Bronze Aegis, should the situation get out of hand. The tendency for the Church of Fecto to take these matters into their own hand is a hot topic of debate among many communities that might fear religious persecution should the church choose to expand its definition of evil worship.
In general, only major deities as designated by the Ereidin High Council are cleared for abject worship, and in the Kalhastian Empire, these are further limited to: Fectovarano, Unavaranu, Elevarani, Durzick, Hatatch, Merrav, Onyr, Tyrix, Zadara, Patalir, Erudia, and Aeltra. The worship of Kalar is seen as highly untrustworthy, and those that openly worship the God of Souls may find themselves often detained and questioned. Generally, those who worship other gods quietly and peacefully are generally respected and left alone, but if they are found to act out, their faith could be used to quash their voices.
Kalhastia is rich in resources, but still relies heavily on trade with other nations, primarily in cultural imports. While the kingdom is well known for its mountain ranges full of copper and tin, the nation actually has an abundance of iron and gold, which accounts for its wealth more so than the bronze it is famous for. In legend, it is conjectured that the first rulers of the Empire sought to ward off other conquerors by making the land seem unfertile and poor in resources, crafting their weapons and armor out of bronze to fool others into believing there was nothing worth taking in the once small kingdom.
Due to its size, the Empire is home to a number of differing climates and environments, though on the whole land in the kingdom is fertile and farmable. Much of the open, controlled flat land of the kingdom is dedicated to farming and the raising of livestock. The Empire is famous for its large boars, known as tinguts, which are especially delicious and full of nutrients. Tinguts are raised on large reserves with abundant forests, as small enclosures stress the animals and apparently turn their meat sour. The crown has its own special reserve dedicated to the raising of tingut and Iverhorth deer, for which trespassing is punishable by immediate execution.
The Kalhastian Empire was formed in earnest during the end of the Broken Age, alongside the creation of the Claw of Arali. The two structures grew alongside each other, the Claw eventually becoming a supportive institution as the Empire began to spread across the western waters of Atavar.
As the empire expanded its influence, it eventually began encroaching upon long-disputed territories held by a contingent of elven kingdoms. With a number of different parties claiming sovereignty over the land with varying legitimacies, what followed was a bloody war that eventually saw the majority of elves retreat to the Free Lands with the Empire signing a still-honored treaty not to expand past the mountains of the river basin. Due to a number of deep-seated grudges and cultural biases, elves are incredibly rare in the Empire, though they may be found more commonly in the borders of Kalhastia.