For the sake of maintaining the lore of Valorous Order for a long time, the roleplay will be run at a relatively slow yet steady pace, as the GMs are also busy with their personal responsibilities in real life. This being said, there will be a short interlude between chapters to give both the GMs and the players a bit of a break and to prepare for the next installment of Valorous Order. To those who quickly lose interest, this may not be the roleplay for you.
ARTICLE 1. POST CONSISTENCY
Players must post within the duration of one week. If busy, the user must notify one or both GM(s) and provide a reason for their foreseen inactivity. Those who are absent from the roleplay for a week or longer without GM notice will be removed from the roleplay and are not allowed to rejoin.
ARTICLE 2. LITERACY REQUIREMENT
Players are expected to write a minimum of two paragraphs and a maximum of ten paragraphs—no more, no less. This rule will not be strictly observed. However, this rule is implemented to avoid unnecessary monologue while ensuring there is enough content for someone else to respond.
ARTICLE 3. CHARACTER SLOTS LIMITATION
A maximum of five characters are permitted: ONE (1) main character and FOUR (4) supporting characters that fit a particular role. Remember that a 5-star character is equal to a major character, and a 4-star is equivalent to a supporting character.
ARTICLE 4. PERIODIC INTERMISSIONS
As stated above, the roleplay will partake in occasional breaks for approximately one week's time. However, players are also able to request their own individual break, in which they will be excused for up to one month. During this time, the player's character(s) will be voided while the roleplay continues, meaning that the other players and GMs will post on while they are away. The individual may jump back into the roleplay before the end of their break if they wish, as long as they write their character(s) to fit the current storyline.
The world of Empyria is split into twelve provinces, all of which are under the rule of a singular sovereign bloodline. Empyria is well-known for its abundant source of Vicarius energy which can be gathered from the Great Mountain of Agartha in Elesrith, and is powerful enough to power the planet in its entirety. Just outside of the planet of Empyria, also known as Agartha, lay fifteen planets or moons that orbit around it, labeled Sectors Zero to Fourteen.There are three tiers of rule within Empyria that work together to ensure their nation’s protection: the Collbrandes, the monarchs, and the Cardinal Caliburn Order (CCO). A Collbrande is a house of elevated nobility selectively chosen by the current ruler and the CCO, who serve as delegates to supervise, dictate, and represent their respective province. The monarch that rules the Collbrandes also governs the people through the system of constitutional monarchy, while the CCO triumvirate work endlessly to uphold and carry on the three revered ethics of Empyria: valor, revelation, and divinity.The rest of the lore can be found here: Google Docs
HISTORY (PART 1
I. FOUNDATION ERA
FOUNDATION OF THE AETERNA IMPERIUM
Eleanor Priscilla Ophelia is the name of the legendary revolutionist and former astronomer that founded and established the current world of Empyria, which later inevitably became the galaxy's fiercest empire to date. The beginning of the official Empire calendar began the moment Agartha chose its master on November 8, 2136, of the Gregorian calendar, establishing the royal bloodline and the beginning of the new age for humanity. The world began to build itself as people from all across the galaxy began to travel their way to Empyria, seeking refuge in the kingdom to depart from the factions they were once part of, for various reasons that included tyranny and substandard living conditions.Under the reign of Empress Eleanor, the distribution of literal and political power remained to be her general focus, as promised when she wrote the Aeterna Imperium, the founding documents. Among the documents was the Book of Icarus, a compendium of constitution that limited the power of the throne, while also establishing the grand laws in which both the government and the people would have to abide by. To counter against any future events that would nullify the effects of the constitution, Eleanor Ophelia graced and named three individuals to protect the Aeterna Imperium, while also granting them the power to aid with their cause. These powers were later termed “Cataclysms”, a mythical power of pure destruction in which only twelve exists.To reassure proper order, the progenitor of Agartha’s Blessings divided the half of her trademark powers into twelve, consecrating the first twelve Collbrandes of Ophelia that earned her trust and adherence. This would begin the tradition of faith between the ruler and its direct subjects, as the Cataclysms became the symbol of Empyria’s unity under one entity. Following these chain of events, under the recommendation of Solomon von Bismarck, Empress Eleanor graced the ranks of nobility onto those that vastly supported the advancements of the empire.Their efforts were noticed and thus came the fruition of the first line of nobility, consisting of 150 bloodlines who were blessed with magical powers of their own, which would later be recognized and named “Exousiarch”, a proof of one’s blood belonging to the large houses of nobility. Exousiarchs would later play a large role in preventing the destruction of the empire, as Empyria entered through stages of strife and sorrow, their unity never shattered throughout the countless wars. Eleanor later died on 76 EC, due to health complications that involved sharing her powers excessively.
HISTORY (PART 2
II. FIRST GREAT WAR
THE ELDERION CONFLICT
The first major conflict occurred after the Eldrion Dominion’s hostile threats, forcing the empire to arm their soldiers with advanced weapons as quickly as possible. The first contact of warfare began after the Eldrion’s series of attacks from space, later stating that the goal of their invasion was to usurp the ownership of the Vicarius energy, as predicted by the founding empress before her death.The Eldrions were common conquerors ruled by a deranged Warlord, their invasion tactics proving to be more than devastating and unethical, mercy was not in their nature. However, the Empyreans stood their ground and emerged victorious, after 12 years of raging wars.The key points behind the empire’s victory reside mainly on Exousiarchs and Empress Novalor’s demonstration of competence, the latter being the successor of the great Eleanor Ophelia, her younger sister. Nonetheless, Empress Novalor led her soldiers with an iron fist. With the Cardinal Caliburn Order, the counterattack against the Eldrion forces became successful overtime, along with Solomon von Bismarck’s great efforts in defeating multiple Eldrion commanders with his Cataclysm.The final blow that concluded the end of the war was made during the final conflict between two leaders, the Eldrion warlord pushing his luck by challenging the leader of his foe in a duel to decide the fate of the long war. While Novalor initially avoided the offer, she eventually accepted the duel and brutalized the Warlord into severe conditions, leaving him permanently crippled for the rest of his life. The Eldrions retreated shortly afterwards, bringing victory to Empyria.
FORMAL TITLE: ANCESTRAL RULER
Exousiarchs are unique arcane skillsets of great potential that are almost wholly exclusive to the Empyrian nobility with all nobles possessing one. As such, it doubles as the proof and validation of a person’s noble lineage even if it is not purely erudite due to intermingling between nobles and commoners. Commoners call Exousiarchs “Cataracts” because of a telltale sign of its activation that is usually in the form of glowing eyes that tend to resemble actual cataracts that are found in the medical world.
Exousiarchs are split into 5 phases that each denote level of development and power. 2 of the 5 phases can be reached with the wielder’s own power no matter the lineage which implicates that only a select few can ever reach the third phase and beyond in their lifetime.
These phases are the following:
Phase 1 denotes the infantile stage of an Exousiarch as it has only started manifesting within its wielder. This usually happens at puberty, but can prematurely manifest in rare cases, where it is indicated by a black crest known as the “Exousiarch Mark” that appears and remains on the wielder’s back. This Exousiarch Mark serves as an indicator that the wielder is now telepathically connected to Agartha’s core through a special arcane link. This allows them to channel the core’s energies that are collectively called “Vicarius Energy” and convert it into mana, or “Incarce” as it is called in the Empyrian context, which serves as a catalyst for spells. The Exousiarch Mark also glows alongside the eyes when the Exousiarch is being used, the color of the glow matches the color of the wielder’s incarce. The color varies depending on one’s magical affinity, depending on the color, the glow might not even be seen at all or is quite simply not there.
Furthermore, a certain magical affinity known as “Phantasma Affinity” is manifested during this phase. It is essentially the capability to generate, use, perceive, and manipulate their own incarce. This grants the capability to carry out low-level psychokinesis, increased physical strength and agility, better bodily control, and enhanced or heightened senses.
To expound on the aforementioned benefits...
Firstly, low-level psychokinesis is considered as the capability to interact with objects that weigh less than 20 kg without having to physically manipulate them. This is made possible by the incarce generated by the Phantasma Affinity engulfing an object, creating a sort of invisible hand that interacts with the targeted object or objects in place of the wielder’s actual hands. This invisible hand cannot be seen by the naked eye but can be seen by other Exousiarch wielders or certain technologies.
Secondly, physical strength is tripled.
Thirdly, the wielder’s body would become ‘lighter’ and more flexible, allowing for more agile maneuvers thought to be impossible in normal humans.
Fourthly, the wielder is also able to better manipulate how much force they can exert, possibly even down to the minute detail, allowing them a variety of abilities such as jumping up to higher heights or being able to use more or less force when punching or pushing and pulling.
Lastly, better spatial awareness is granted alongside the heightened senses which improves detection capabilities across distances by using the Phantasma Affinity as a form of radar.
Phase 2 is the intermediate stage of an Exousiarch. This phase is relatively easy to achieve. No new abilities are granted but existing abilities are granted a substantial increase in efficacy and power, diversifying some options that the wielder can have or already has with their abilities. The major improvement in this phase however is that the Exousiarch becomes second nature, requiring little to no concentration depending on the spell in question.
Phase 3 is the advanced development stage of an Exousiarch. It is denoted by the wielder manifesting a single special ability that is unique only to them with a variable cost. What this unique special ability is and what it does depends on which subgroup of the Noble Houses the wielder hails from – Valor, Revelation, or Divinity. Valor usually manifests special abilities with offensive or defensive purposes, Revelation manifests special abilities with great utility, and Divinity manifests special abilities that serve a support role.
However, there is a catch to this phase. It cannot be reached with the wielder’s own power and can only be achieved when a member of the Cardinal Caliburn Order “unlocks” the potential of the wielder’s Exousiarch. Those who wield special Exousiarchs known as “Cataclysms” can “unlock” this potential as well.
Phase 4 is the penultimate development of an Exousiarch and for most is the last phase they will achieve. While the third phase grants its wielder a single unique ability, the fourth further heightens the boundaries as additional abilities will bloom from the parent power. For example, if one’s Exousiarch gives them the ability to cast a fireball, the fourth phase will allow the wielder to control the heat and maneuver the flames to become solid, and burst into tiny particles. In other words, they have supreme control over their Exousiarch.
Lastly, the fifth phase is achievable but improbable for most. It unlocks the unbridled power of the Exousiarch and pushes the boundaries by siphoning an immense amount of energy from the core of Agartha. This enables the wielder to cast a catastrophically powerful spell that is devastating for the victim.
It should be noted that the last phase is considered improbable because it is a development that requires an immense amount of incarce control, which is usually only possible when one is qualified to be a candidate for the Collbrande seat. It is not about studying the science or understanding the method, but rather, the sheer amount of talent one has. Thus, unless someone has had dealt with a life or death situation numerous times or has been trained vigorously by one of the Symbols, it is an impossible feat for most common nobles.
Cataclysms, famously known as the Crimson Aegis of the Aeterna Imperium, are twelve world-class Exousiarchs formerly belonging to the 1st generation of Collbrandes. These are considered to be the most powerful Exousiarchs in Empyria with each having diverse abilities that can critically damage continents worth of lands. They are the weapons of mass destruction reserved only for international emergencies, as nine of the twelve Cataclysms are kept in a secret vault in Caliburn Vitos, with its whereabouts only known to the monarch and the Cardinal Caliburn Order, which holds the three for themselves as the rightful progenitors of the power. As of 709, the nine Cataclysms has been used once during the second Great War, the notorious Starpiercer being used against one of the Remnants of Ouranos, successfully playing a key part in pushing the Rythen forces away from the mainland. Due to its incompatibility with most people, the Cataclysms are considered to be worthless without the Cardinal Caliburn Order, as not everyone can wield them.
THE HEXENNACHT SYSTEM
Incarce is simply referred to as the mana that is used as a catalyst for casting spells. It also gives anyone a magical affinity from which they can cast spells of a certain school of magic. What is a mana circuit or magic circuit is simply called an “incarce circuit” in the Empyrian context. Individuals that are not of Empyrian origin are often exempted from this rule but are usually similar with only differences in context and perhaps even anatomical differences. Empyrians have an extra set of “blood vessels” in their bodies that act as the incarce circuit that flows throughout their body, this incarce originating from Agartha’s energies. Simply put, “incarce” and “incarce circuit” are other terms for “mana” and “mana circuit” or “magic circuit”.There are two kinds of incarce: “Regular” and “Corrupted”. The regular is simply put, the ordinary form of incarce or mana that is accessible to all Empyrians with the aforementioned characteristics. Corrupted incarce is similar to regular incarce but vastly different in the sense that it is tainted by a certain dark power in the form of Azmis Ouranos’s influence through her original realm and powers that give the Corruptions that she grants unto her Remnants and the weaker variants in some of the Demonoid ranks. This corrupted incarce grants its wielders immense boosts in power at almost no cost to themselves, giving them a wider range of magical capabilities and increased access to higher tiers of spells.
Once humans from Earth, they were groups of survivors from a long-over war that left Earth in more than just tatters, it turned it into an uninhabitable barren landscape in some parts while some others were stable, but that didn’t stop other survivors from further ruining it in one way or another as these stable regions were an extreme rarity at the time. These former humans have undergone some extensive form of augmentation to the internal systems of their bodies due to what they call “Agartha’s Blessing”, an occurrence in their history shortly after Eleanor Ophelia and her group had landed on Agartha.
On November 8, 2136, Eleanor Ophelia was chosen as Agartha’s master, blessing her and those who came with her with extraordinary gifts: mana, magical affinities, and most of all, the prized and famed Exousiarchs. On that day, they ceased calling themselves “Humans”, preferring to be separate from them with a new identity that they gave themselves, “Exhelians”.
The Exhelians have been given a number of gifts by Agartha, altering their bodies that made them more powerful than the humans that they once were.
1. They have been given mana, called “Incarce”, that flows through their veins which allows them to have magical affinities and be able to cast various schools of magic. This mana also improves them physically, granting them more stamina, durability and athletic prowess than their human counterparts.
2. They have an increased average lifespan, the average Exhelian being able to live up to 120 years old compared to non-augmented humans that only have their average lifespan hovering between 70 - 80.
3. Due to Agartha’s Blessing, they have a diverse gene pool to make up for their gifts, giving varying physical appearances such as hair and eye colors that aren’t seen in average humans. Despite this, they still look exactly like average humans on the outside.
Demonoids are the second dominating race of the Empyrian Empire, formerly an exclusive race of the ██████ before their daring escape from ██████. The race remains to be interstellar as not every Demonoid migrated into Empyria during the Foundation Era, some finding refuge in other societies in the galaxy. Approximately 89% of the Demonoid race is currently residing in Empyria, occupying around 30% of the population of the empire, making them common species. The general perks that comes with inheriting the blood of the Demonoid race includes increased longevity and organ regeneration, though the latter tends to be exclusive to pure-bloods with only a few hybrids inheriting the trait. Besides the common longevity that can span from 1,500 to 2,000 years, the Demonoids are also gifted with greater athletic capabilities compared to that of Exhelians.
Their appearance remains to be mainly humanoid, except majority bares demonic features on their body. From mixture of growing horns made of bones in the center wrapped around a thick-layer of keratin to feathered wings, the Demonoids are an odd race compared to the others. A Demonoid’s racial features are entirely dependent on their parents’ features, as the child usually inherits the features of their father or mother, sometimes mixed with both. However, rare occurrences often happen where a child is born with neither of their parent’s features and instead inherits their own demonic accessories, though these are considered to be birth defects as majority of them meet their fate to the sudden death syndrome. However, those that do survive seems to live shorter lives on the long run.
Hyzurians are a humanoid race that exhibit select physical, physiological, and behavioral characteristics (e.g., sleek tail, improved eyesight and nervous system, etc., equivalent to 'kemonomimi' in terms of looks). Hyzurians have a strong cold tolerance as a result of having to endure the freezing temperatures of their home world. Hyzurians have a life expectancy of 120 years, but are slightly more vulnerable to disease than Exhelians.
Hyzurians existed for many centuries before humans had set foot on Agartha, they lived on a moon known to Empyrians today as “Sector Zero” with a predominantly tribal society. Due to their animalistic tendencies, Hyzurians were seen as feral savages to the other races.
Sector Zero—currently known for serving as the secondary, but more significant, headquarters of the Imperial Army—was a moon that consisted of chilly climates. As the result of many natural catastrophes and records of poor agriculture in its history, there was a severe scarcity of food for its inhabitants. This scarcity incited infighting among the Hyzurians, be it between other tribes or their own.
Hyzurians would often gaze upon the mesmerizing supergiant of a planet that was Agartha. A large majority of the race admired it not only for its beauty, but also for their belief in the idea that a higher entity existed on it: a god of eternal judgment, who would strike only at night when the planet would grow to the peak of its luminescence, causing the natural disasters that would occasionally occur on Sector Zero. (This is false, however; the planet was much busier at night than during the day at the time, and the calamities of Sector Zero were due to natural causes.)
A very particular tribe believed the cause of the natural disasters was the idea that the gods were displeased with them, and believed they required a mass sacrifice to appease their god. As a result, the tribe would massacre some non-tribal members once every six months from sunrise to sundown.
100 years after the Exhelians settled on Agartha, they acquired Sector Zero during their initial conquests. It was the first of many realms to be colonized and have its inhabitants enslaved. The Hyzurians were eventually freed and uplifted in exchange for their loyalty to the Empyrian cause.
Phenex are a race of innate fire elementalists whose blood allows for them to have a unique type of incarce. Instead of its standard blue hue, Phenex’s incarce are bright red or crimson in color. They are capable of flight using their natural wings of fire. Aside from these traits, Phenex seem humanoid in appearance and behavior.
Phenex are one of the earlier races of Agartha and are suspected to be a sibling race of the Demonoids, who had inhabited the planet shortly before them. Because the Phenex had lost their god, their customs, and their home, they had to search for a new realm to reside in. Upon discovering Agartha, they swore their allegiance to Empyria, who had welcomed them with open arms and provided them a place to stay. After years of migrating and intermingling with the other races, the Phenex found similarities between Demonoid blood and their own. However, no one could find solid proof of a racial connection between the two. To this day, the true origin of the Phenex race is uncertain, as the Phenex were created by a nameless god whose existence, in reality, was rather ambiguous.
Revenants are a race that bear vampiric characteristics, such as sharp fangs and a need for humanoid blood. Few other traits include horns and pointy ears, although they are stated to be birth defects. Revenants are currently the newest race in Agartha, yet their population is quite small. They are notoriously difficult to breed with as they are the most nutrient-dependent race, but their high nutrient consumption allows for them to have great quirks, which are most notable in their blood.
Because Revenants have very thick blood, they are able to withstand bullets and live very long lives. They tend to become weaker as they age, however, as their blood gradually becomes more feeble over time. Revenants are also able to use their blood to form iron and steel, which can then be used as a durable layer of protection for their bodies. Revenants are known to die in battle not only due to their role as a supersoldier, but also due to their philosophy that dying from battle is a more honorable death than dying from old age.
Revenants reside only within Sanguinum and parts of Ekranyth (the latter because the Collbrande of Ekranyth is a Revenant).
Revenants are not a biological race. In fact, out of the several hundred experimental races that the Eldrion race had tested, they were the only race to survive, giving the Revenants their name. Thus, for their durability in battle, the Revenants were tortured into becoming tanks for the Eldrion army, as the Eldrions would use their technology to turn Revenants into tools for combat. Because of this, the Revenants suffered from major psychological damage, so much as to be deemed complete socio- and/or psycho-paths.
The First Great War marked the Eldrions’ defeat against Empyria, who had invaded their empire to obtain resources for Agartha. The Eldrions were forced to become commonwealth for Empyria, and after finding the enslaved Revenants, were forced to release them. The Empyrians then gave the Revenants a planet to live in peace for hundreds of years, which allowed them to become a proper civilization and create their own warrior-like culture. Soon after, the Revenants migrated over to Empyria and began to populate the planet two hundred years before the current timeline.
When the Second Great War came to be, the Revenants came to aid the Empyrians who were fighting against the Rythens. Although Revenants were naturally able to hold their own, they had lost their homeworld because it had been invaded by one of Azmis’ more notorious Remnants at the same time that Empyria was being invaded by another. This caused the Revenant nation to fall entirely. To compensate for this, the Empyrians gave every surviving Remnant a citizenship to Agartha to commemorate their contribution to their victory. To this day, Revenants are considered one of the most respected races in Empyrian history.
The use of magic in the Empyrian context is not much different from the way magic is used in other settings, particularly ones where the system is soft. Magic, or “psionics” in the nomenclature of other contexts, among Empyrians require mana, or “incarce” as they call it, as a catalyst for spellcasting at all levels from the basic even to the most advanced at varying costs that can be significantly lowered down to practical nonexistence by any number of factors or reasons.
The magic in Empyria is notably diverse as well in forms of casting. Some spells or improved versions of them may also require additional or other elements for activation such as an incantation, a drawn rune, a magic circle, a literal consumable enchanted scroll containing information about the spell, and more. These other means have their niche where they can enable people of differing magical affinities or those that cannot use magic to cast spells of various schools of magic of limited power so long as sufficient incarce is supplied. It is also possible to channel magic for more focused or targeted use by virtue of mediums such as staves or anything that can assist a caster in focusing their spells.
On the topic of magical affinities, there are numerous types that fall into various schools of magic, either of their own or as the constituent of one. Some schools of magic also perform well against or with others depending on the situation. The most common ones that are found across all social echelons are elemental schools of magic such as pyromancy, hydromancy, geomancy, aeromancy, electromancy, and cryomancy. Other schools of magic exist, but are less common, examples of these kinds of schools are that of enchantment magic, which is usually a generalist school as enchanters are expected to have knowledge of multiple schools, shadowmancy, photomancy, and holy magic. More secluded, strictly regulated, or even outlawed schools of magic include necromancy and other kinds of dark arts. Some spells or powers don’t even fall under any formal school of magic at all.
To reiterate, here is a list of the aforementioned schools of magic:
Pyromancy – the manipulation of fire.
Hydromancy – the manipulation of water.
Geomancy – the manipulation of earthly elements such as soil, rock, and nature to an extent.
Aeromancy – the manipulation of air.
Electromancy – the manipulation of electricity.
Cryomancy – a sub-discipline of hydromancy, it is the manipulation of ice and the cold.
Enchantment Magic – a jack-of-all trades and mostly utility magic that imbue objects or people with magical power.
Shadowmancy – manipulation of shadows, and to an extent, darkness.
Photomancy – manipulation of light.
Holy Magic – a rare school of magic that is usually a mix of photomancy and pyromancy but is imbued with holy power that can allow more offensive, defensive, and supportive uses. This school of magic is common among paladins or priests or those analogous to the sort, essentially spellcasters that are effective against elements that are considered impure, that the magic owes its classification to.
It should be noted however that since there are multiple races in Empyria, a school of magic that is seen as heinous or nefarious by one race is the way of life or is the norm for another. A key example of this is the relatively common school of demonology or demonic magic which is widely found and used among members of the Demonoid race, the use of holy magic around them is even regulated for their safety and vice-versa. To say that magic is just a part of the Empyrian way of life due to its commonality is an understatement. Similarities can always be found in non-Empyrians like the existence of mana or ‘incarce.’ Empyrian citizens that cannot cast magic at all do exist, but such incapability can usually be easily compensated by technology that is sometimes paired with additional thought.
The Cardinal Caliburn Order are a triumvirate group of immortal individuals that rule over the three principals of the Empyrian Empire: Valor, Revelation, and Divinity. These three are the pillars that protect and maintain the prosperity and strength of the nation, the sworn protectors of the Aeterna Imperium and the Book of Icarus. Ageless and eternal, the Cardinal Caliburn Order are said to be the true rulers of the Empyrian Empire due to their immense influence over the culture and military, making them the most important group of adjudicators that cannot be easily replaced by the others.
The Order was able to maintain their political existence for the last 700 years since the beginning of the foundation era, as every Collbrande and provincial government figures are staggeringly loyal to the three, some seeing them as the real triumvirate monarchs, only answering to them. The group consists of the members Siegfried Ouroboros (Symbol of Valor), Zephyrus (Symbol of Revelation), and Asteria Fentris (Symbol of Divinity).
Formerly a singular position held by Zephyrus after the creation of the Aeterna Imperium, the quondam occupation served only one purpose: to influence the Monarch with their decision making when it came to the ceremonial rituals of knighting a Collbrande nominee. While Zephyrus managed to preserve her purpose for the last seven centuries, the position later migrated into an order to ensure the eternal prosperity of the empire, officially creating the Cardinal Caliburn Order under the ordain of Eleanor Ophelia. The first to join Zephyrus was Siegfried, who was already tasked with governing the Imperial Army to make certain that future rulers wouldn’t be able to abuse its military power. Afterwards, shortly before the imminent death of the first Empress, the sovereign positioned Asteria Fentris as the Symbol of Divinity to preserve and improve the socioeconomic side of Empyria.
Symbol of Valor | Siegfried Ouroboros
A brutal military tyrant known for their valorous testament, Siegfried Karleim Ouroboros, also infamously known as the Snowpiercer of Empyria, is the Sovereign General of the Imperial Army and the second member of the Cardinal Caliburn Order, symbolizing the valor of the Empire. She is undoubtedly one of the most controversial figures within the Empyrian Empire, notorious for the thousands of achievements that she garnered during her lifetime as the Imperial Army’s greatest and only leader. Along with her insurmountable rank, she is also the supreme leader of the Order of Eden, a prominent paramilitary group known for their chivalrous history of defending the interests of Empyria.
Symbol of Revelation | Zephyrus
Possibly the most influential member of the Order due to her ancient status as the first member to uphold a seat in the triumvirate group, Zephyrus is the ideal warrior of Empyria holding hundreds of achievements and influence under her belt. The Elerion soldier of revelation is tasked with savagely hammering down discipline into future candidates of the Collbrande’s round table, gaining her the reputation as the mentor of nearly 45% of the Collbrande roster both in the past and present. She is one of the most respected individuals in the empire with prominence that could rival the first Empress, though dislikes being compared to her first ever friend. Like the other members of the Order, she understands her purpose and does not act outside her boundaries, putting her trust to her other two associates. Due to her concealed status, she is rarely ever seen in public.
Symbol of Divinity | Asteria Fentris
A former human who traveled with Eleanor Ophelia during the great escape of humanity, Asteria Xerxia Fentris is the final member of the group symbolizing the Divinity of Empyria and the profound leader of the renowned templar knights, the Fentris Clandestine League. Not only is she the saving grace behind Empyria’s everlasting prosperity of moral positivity, she is also the polar opposite of Siegfried, making her the diametrical opponent that often engages in skirmishes with the dragon. Asteria lawfully owns every Agarthian church and social services located in Mainland Agartha, and partially owns multiple foreign-friendly organizations that helps the unfortunate outside Agartha by providing them with resources with no required defrayment from the foreign party. Because of her renowned status as the moral standpoint of Empyria, she is highly valued by the civilians of Empyria and is considered by many as the first saint of Agartha, though she often expresses discomfort by that title.
The legislative branch of the Empyrian Empire accommodates other major political powers that essentially makes them the second-in-command of the empire’s hierarchy. Every Collbrande is given a designated province of their own to stabilize and manage, having full control over the province they are granted by the monarch, overriding even the provincial government elected by the people of the land. However, Collbrandes cannot effectively go against the parliament or the provincial senate, as majority of the votes against the decision of the Collbrande can easily nullify their rule.
While the laws of every province may be decided on the decision of he senate, the Collbrande’s rule is absolute otherwise. The primary job of the Collbrande is to defend and exercise the constitution to make sure that their province does not act against the Book of Icarus. It is important to note that the seat of Collbrande is commonly hereditary, though can have their seat of power revoked by the monarch depending on the state of the nobility that holds the position as reigning power.
The Collbrande of Ophelia is an ancestral ceremony that was established by the founding empress ever since the beginning of the Empyrian Empire. The first generation of Collbrandes are considered to be legendary figures for their major influence over the construction of the empire, as even in death they managed to provide an immense amount of support to the empire during despairing events with their keen intellect in warfare and powerful Cataclysms that defended the empire from invaders multiple times.
Many of the Collbrandes after the first generation maintains the reputation of the group, as becoming a Collbrande is one of the greatest achievements an individual could acquire during their lifetime, especially if it was not hereditary. To become a Collbrande, however, is a challenging road that cannot be accomplished by the common folks.
The Imperial Security Directorate is the domestic intelligence and security service of the Empyrian Empire and its principal law enforcement agency. Because of the landmass of mainland Agartha, the ISD has a total of twelve identical branches operating in every province, excluding the fifteen territories located outside the mainland. The years of reputation and influence the ISD has accumulated during their countless centuries of service to the empire was the direct reasoning behind their current power, as they maintain the ability to breach the privacy of suspected individuals without needing the approval of their parent agencies, though they may require permissions if the investigation reaches the federal level of crime, especially against suspected corruption of nobility.
The history of the directorate is nothing special compared to that of most organizations that exist in Empyria. To combat the inevitable rise of crime, the ISD was formed under the order of the Symbol of Revelation, with the funding of House Bismarck and Zervictus during the time of its formation. It became the official law enforcement agency for Empyria on 125 EC.
The most notable historical background is no doubt their involvement with the Sishén Treachery, as the first responders to House Sishén’s infamous betrayal. They were the main forces that neutralized the threat before the arrival of the Hand of Agartha and joined forces to put an end to the national disaster caused by the Sishén treachery.
The “Ashen Embers” Special Task Force, or just the “Ashen Embers,” is a paramilitary organization that is founded by and under the direct command of House Cineris with the absolute authority vested in the House’s head. Its headquarters is located in a large barracks in one of the Cinereous Citadel’s wings. The organization comprises of operatives at least on par with military special forces that serve various roles such as those of spies, assassins, researchers, and other specialists suited to the needs of a House whose bread and butter revolves around espionage and subterfuge. They constitute the best that House Cineris has to offer for Empyria in its demands for security, complementing existing security organizations in their own ways. Members of the “Ashen Embers” usually operate within the bounds of Anterås to assist in internal security with a small token force covertly operating outside the province’s borders for external security and providing assistance to its contemporaries when ordered.
The “Ashen Embers” Special Task Force was originally part of the Anteråsan Internal Security Service or AISS as a covert operations unit created and commanded by the great grandfather of the current Collbrande of Anterås as a response to growing threats mostly at home and abroad, even threats to House Cineris’s interests. The unit and its members, chosen through very stringent and harsh methods, did not exist on the record formally. Those that did exist usually had whitewashed records with their respective true copies kept away in secure archives under House Cineris’s personal possession. This veil of official nonexistence granted the unit a wider degree of freedom that their contemporaries usually did not enjoy unless absolutely necessary. A freedom that it enjoys to this day.
Eventually, the unit was completely separated from the AISS by its creator’s successor, retaining its name and paramilitary status and being formally inducted as an organizational entity representing the House as its elite household guard and security agency as part of its legitimization and integration into the House as one of its arms. In practice, this has changed little about the organization outside of expansion of roles, popularity, and sources of funding. It kept much of its structure intact with no need for a reform. This lack of big overall change persists even today, the “Ashen Embers” from three generations ago still mostly present, their loyalty to House Cineris as unwavering as it was in the past. Their skill, cunning, and tenacity giving themselves and their liege a reputable and equally disreputable history that continues to be written.
The “Ashen Embers” Special Task Force’s operatives, in the general sense outside of the office or lab work delegated to researchers and more ‘civilian’ specialists, carry out the following as part of their internal security jurisdictions and responsibilities:
1. Covert operations that conceal the identity of those involved for plausible deniability.
2. Clandestine operations that are done in secret and are kept classified and must remain so. Also for plausible deniability.
3. Black operations which may be or are illegal and unethical to the point that they are either covert or clandestine and must not be attributable to those involved. Operatives or officials that are caught are immediately disavowed by the organization and House Cineris.
4. Household security for estates and valued properties under House Cineris’s ownership and control. These are usually joint responsibilities shared with special elements of the Anteråsan Imperial Garrison.
Covert operations aside, the “Ashen Embers” is also capable of conducting operations of the exact opposite nature if need be. It has the equipment and personnel required to do both kinds but the former is more preferred over the latter so as to not bring any unnecessary trouble. The organization’s doctrine also emphasizes its use as a spyglass, scalpel, and shield than as a sword.
1. Luria Augustine Cineris – Collbrande of Anterås and director of the “Ashen Embers” Special Task Force.
2. Xavier Iohannis Valmore – Executive Chairman of the Imperial Secretariat of Anteråsan Governance and assistant director of the “Ashen Embers” Special Task Force. Left-hand man of the Collbrande of Anterås.
3. Thessia Lara Tyrren – Elite operative and right-hand man of the Collbrande of Anterås.
Saygien Conflict Date: 15 June 700 EC – 14 December 701 EC Location: Sector Nine, Empyrian Sectors, Empyrian Empire
- Empyrian victory
- Significant damage to portions of Sector Nine
- Blockade around Sector Nine
- Heavy economic sanctions placed on Sector Nine
- Sectorial government dissolved
- Puppet sectorial provisional government established
- Martial law declared on Sector Nine
Belligerents: Empyrian Empire
- Empyrian Imperial Army
- Empyrian Paramilitary
- Order of Eden (Suspected)
- Hand of Agartha
- Iscariots of Solarian
- Saygien Loyalists
- Sectorial Provisional Government
- Saygien Auxiliary Corps of the Empyrian Imperial Army
- Indigenous Sectorial Security Forces
Saygien Liberation Army
- Liberty Corps
- Equality Corps
- Fraternity Corps
- Affiliated militias
Empyrian Rogue Echelons
- Pro-Saygien elements of the Empyrian military, citizenry, and nobility
The Saygien Conflict was an anti-Empyrian, anti-imperialist, and secessionist uprising staged in Sector Nine between June 700 EC to December 701 EC during the rule of the current Empress Aeryn Ophelia that started with the bombing of the Empyrian embassy in the Sector by the Saygien Liberation Army and ended with the capitulation of the remainder of the rebels following a series of devastating attacks carried out by the Empyrian Imperial Army using various superweapons, some even used for actual field testing. Sector Nine is a constituent of the mixture of planets and moons under direct Empyrian control that are collectively known as ‘The Sectors.’ The uprising is unanimously agreed upon by experts, the nobility, the military, and the general public as the most controversial event in Empyrian history to date and is the subject of many studies and investigations conducted by imperial authorities, the military, and civilian institutions that persist to the present day.
Prior to the Saygien Conflict, it’s a well-known Empyrian tradition that the less favorable or desirable Sectors according to many an administration to always be on the receiving end of lackluster care, management, and investment from their Empyrian suzerains, leading these Sectors to become prime breeding grounds of poverty, famine, disease, corruption, crime, and dissent that has long since become the subjects of concern of many monarchs and their governments with emphasis on the latter three where a wide range of solutions were planned and employed with varying effects and implications. Moreover, each Sector is mandated by law to supply a designated portion of its able-bodied male population to the Imperial Army as conscripted auxiliaries in exchange for their home Sector receiving remunerations and incentives by the imperial government that would come to form a few but notable controversies involving the mistreatment of these auxiliaries that were and are still deemed by some mainland Empyrians as outsiders, not the good kind, and treat them as such despite standing laws that were supposedly implemented to protect the auxiliaries. Furthermore, additional controversies emerged throughout Empyrian history that some Sectors did not receive proper remuneration and incentives or worse, never received any at all.
Sector Nine was one of these less desirable Sectors even before the reign of Aeryn Kure Ophelia with a long history of dissatisfaction among the populace and with the Sector in general because of its state that resulted in tensions between the sectorial government and the imperial government. These tensions reached peaks at certain times such as the loss of Sector Seven but would reach a critical point with the Invasion of Raignork in 697 EC where Sector Nine was the biggest supplier of conscripted auxiliaries for the Imperial Army during the war and has suffered the largest number of casualties and fatalities among all the Sectors that supplied auxiliaries combined. Unfortunately, the home Sector of the Saygien auxiliaries was not given proper compensation and rewards for their service and sacrifice which enraged the sectorial government and the populace with the outrage reaching as far as mainland Agartha in small pockets, a rebellion in the Sector was imminent and the Empire now had to do something to stop it.
Tensions finally boiled over when a group of suspected Saygien insurgents were massacred by sectorial security forces, allegedly a group of unidentified Empyrian soldiers from one of the bases in the Sector tasked with the suppression of rebellion. The identities of the culprits have not been identified as of the present day and is still a very crucial subject of investigation by the government and the military as it was this event that, according to them, lit the fuse. The sectorial populace, government, and militia all expressed outrage that produced protests, violent or peaceful, and skirmishes with the Imperial Army around the Sector. A week into the protests and skirmishes, the Empyrian embassy in Sector Nine came under a terrorist bombing attack where a movement known as the “Saygien Liberation Army” came into public eye as the entity that claimed responsibility on June 14, 700 EC which earned the support of the sectorial government, populace, auxiliaries, and militia to the utter dismay of the Empyrians who, later in the day, would receive a message from Sector Nine stating that they will secede from the Empire with the Saygien Liberation Army as their military.
This was the final straw for the Empyrians, the Empress herself declaring war against the now rebellious Sector and an imperial decree charging Draigh Kaiser, presently the Collbrande of the Province of Aucteraden, command of all imperial troops and Saygien loyalists partaking in the conflict on June 15. Some Sectors and provinces pledged their troops for the effort such as the Province of Anterås that would pledge a large number of troops and even a high-ranking government and military official, the renowned Xavier Valmore, to form the rearguard and intelligence backbone of the Imperial Army in the conflict.
As soon as the sectorial government relayed its message of secession, the Saygien auxiliaries and indigenous sectorial security forces already began mobilizing for war against the Empyrians, openly collaborating with the Saygien Liberation Army, now a ‘legitimate’ military, that they would supply, train, and fund for the rest of the war to accommodate the growing number of locals that wanted to join. They were the ones to make the first move in the conflict, openly attacking several imperial military bases including the bombed embassy after the Empress’s declaration. Additional imperial troops were still en route to the Sector, giving the rebels more than enough time and power to push the imperial garrison troops back in a massive offensive despite their preparations, taking over a number of bases laden with equipment, munitions, and information that couldn’t be destroyed in time that the Saygien rebels would use against the Empyrians to good initial effect. The Saygien auxiliaries were the most devastating, especially the ones that survived the Invasion of Raignork and returned home with invaluable experience and information that molded them into an elite fighting force that the Imperial Army would have difficulty dealing with throughout the war.
Imperial troops under Kaiser’s command, partially composed of veterans of the Invasion of Raignork, arrived on June 20 to relieve the imperial garrisons and the Saygien loyalists, stopping the massive offensive of the Saygien Liberation Army on June 23. Plans for a counteroffensive were immediately put on the table but there was one crucial complication, they were fighting on the home turf of their enemies where there would be no front lines where the information provided by troops and assets stationed in the Sector prior to the conflict and by the loyalists can only do so much, especially on a world where they were almost universally despised and hated which means that even the local populace was a very valuable asset of the enemy. The Empyrians predicted that they would have to fight tooth and nail for every square feet of land and water in a protracted conflict that would cost them time, manpower, resources, and most importantly, public support. The fourth was already in jeopardy due to investigations of the Invasion of Raignork that revealed key issues in the Imperial Army, most notably its treatment of auxiliaries, especially auxiliaries from Sector Nine in particular. This problem with public support was also aided by the fact that they weren’t fighting against their sworn enemies, the Rythen Empire and its remnants, but second-class citizens of the Empire as a result of institutional and societal issues so more aggressive tactics and strategies were out of the question unless the ones commanding Kaiser willed it. Somewhat obviously, this would change.
The Empyrians’ prediction on the course of the war were proven correct as their planned counteroffensive was making slow progress at putting down the rebellion with the rebels’ skillful use of their home’s terrain and surroundings and the cooperation of the locals who were integral to their network of informants, soldiers, laborers, and experts. The Empyrians enjoyed barely more successes than failures across multiple fronts for the next 5 months, their successes however, only won battles but not the war, and the war was already looking to take over a year with the war effort potentially looking to be eventually stopped due to social and political reasons with the possibility of the imperial government reluctantly accepting Saygien independence according to some experts. This would’ve left a serious dent in the government’s reputation, credibility, and power that would cascade into any number of crises at the mainland and abroad, this was deemed unacceptable.
The Empress and the Symbol of Valor, Siegfried Ouroboros, the supreme commander of the Imperial Army, authorized and pressured Kaiser and other participating Imperial Army officers to bring a swift end to the Saygien Conflict with any means necessary which meant that any limitation is now off the table to Kaiser’s, Valmore’s, and some officers’ dismay including that of Asteria Fentris, the Symbol of Divinity. The aforementioned argued that there had to be another way. Some officers, particularly the younger ones, taking part in the conflict suggested that the Imperial Army conduct tactical low-yield nuclear strikes on key enemy strongpoints and the usage of newly-developed weapons of mass destruction such as newer heavy railgun systems and high-power laser cannons mounted on starships for planetary bombardment. Unfortunately, the list of enemy strongpoints included civilian centers such as cities that pledged themselves to the rebellion, this made several officers and soldiers, Kaiser and Valmore included, wary and even outraged at such a suggestion as this meant directly harming civilians which they tried to avoid as there would be lasting implications and consequences.
However, that did not stop the proposal from getting approved by the Empress, the Symbol of Valor, and several other Empyrian officials even with explicit statements of disapproval by Kaiser, Valmore, the Symbol of Divinity, and many officials and officers who preferred to fight and negotiate their way through and suffer the consequences of decades of mismanagement of the Sector. The strikes were carried out after a sectorial broadcast warning the rebels on December 10, 701 EC with the added misfortune of the whole Empire watching. Whether they saw the example made out of Sector Nine or not, many believed that the military or government could never hide the traces of WMD and superweapon usage. Cleanup operations after the strikes were carried out between December 10 to 13 where the Empyrians received a message from the remnants of the sectorial government and Saygien Liberation Army stating that their chain of command was almost fully wiped out by the strikes and cleanup operations and that their position was untenable and can no longer keep up the rebellion effort, they wanted to surrender. Kaiser accepted the rebels’ surrender which was then officially relayed to the mainland on December 14 where it was ratified, formally ending the Saygien Conflict. The remaining rebels were then tried on December 21 to 24 with most being executed for high treason on December 25.
Following the mass executions of the rebels, the imperial government declared martial law to be in effect on the Sector and established a sectorial provisional government consisting of loyalist officials to aid in the transition after dissolving the previous sectorial government that rebelled. However, this provisional government would find itself in an exceedingly difficult situation with the Imperial Army blockading Sector Nine and the imperial government imposing heavy economic sanctions but has, at the very least, agreed to assist in reconstruction and recovery with notable assistance from the Hand of Agartha, the Symbol of Divinity’s personal guard and paramilitary. Reconstruction and recovery are still being done in the present day and are expected to take ‘an indescribably long time’ because of the government’s stance on the Sector as the blockade and sanctions are still in effect. Significant damage to the Sector’s environment has also left lasting effects on several regional ecosystems that has and still will take a toll on the local populace. Sector Nine remains as one of the most impoverished and underdeveloped among the Sectors.
At home, the conflict is regarded by many as the lowest point of Draigh Kaiser’s whole career thus far for his role as the leading commander of all Empyrian and loyalist forces in the Sector despite his disapproval of the methods that his superiors sponsored and approved that he reportedly failed to stop. This was a short time after his being a highly renowned and celebrated individual for his achievements in the Invasion of Raignork where he and a group of his comrades defeated a Rythen Remnant. His appointment to his role by imperial decree has also been a subject of debate and questioning with explanations ranging from purely political to purely personal ones with the latter being more incredibly vague due to lack of information.
Aside from Kaiser, blame has also been placed on both Empress Aeryn Ophelia and the Symbol of Valor, Siegfried Ouroboros, by virtue of command responsibility and authorizing the usage of weapons of mass destruction. The Symbol of Divinity, Asteria Fentris, was not exempt from blame for her alleged negligence and complicity despite her disapproval. Several protests condemning the conflict, the conditions that bred it, and those involved with such destructive decision-making were widespread, demanding for action and accountability of the Empire’s failures that led to the conflict. The Empress’s popularity polls showed her at a slight net negative for her and her administration’s strategy in dealing with the rebellion while supporters claimed and argued that the usage of WMDs and lethal force were justified as to them, it showed the Empire’s unwillingness to tolerate rebellion and draw out the conflict which would’ve costed the Empire more. The Saygien Conflict has just merely added another tally to the Symbol of Valor’s records, she is already known to many as having a very brutal history laden with controversy and is regarded as a monster or necessary evil by some and the ideal political and military figure by others. A figure that cannot be legally dealt with easily because of her prestige and value to the Empire. It is also believed that she has heavily influenced the Empress, making the latter a firm supporter of her mindset and methods.
Many soldiers, officers, and officials who partook in the war, most notably the Raignork veterans, became disillusioned and increasingly doubtful and cynical of the current Empress’s administration and reign. Some of them even knew the Saygien auxiliaries that they fought alongside with back in Raignork and against in the Saygien Conflict well and were convinced that they were good people backed against the wall for mistakes that they did not commit. To them, they simply chose their people and families over the Empire that clearly showed that it did not value them and instead belittled them, abused them, and looked at them with scorn and derision. Investigations of the conflict and the events leading up to it were called for and were approved with investigations continuing still.
According to government and military investigations of the Invasion of Raignork, most of the auxiliaries were placed under the commands of inexperienced, reckless, or bigoted military officials that contributed to Sector Nine having the largest amount of casualties and fatalities among all the Sectors that supplied auxiliaries for the Invasion of Raignork, rumored to be part of a plot by the imperial government to cull the numbers of potential dissidents from the Sector. Some of these officials, including those involved in the Saygien Conflict that supported the lethal approach, were put on trial and were charged accordingly, but some people remain unconvinced as they only saw it as a ‘standard appeasement tactic of throwing some disposable supporters to keep things under the rug.’ Military and government reforms were put out to solve or remedy the problems brought to light by the investigations and in response to certain growing sentiments albeit with dubious overall effectiveness.
Generally, the Saygien Conflict remains the most controversial war that the Empire has fought to this day, leaving a permanent stain on many high-ranking figures aside from the aforementioned that permanently damaged their reputations and that of the Empire’s. Public support for the Empire has decreased substantially following the war and many infer that it will be difficult to regain favor and support for the next several years, the difficulty mitigated and offset by the large number of imperial supporters. A number of civilian and military veterans groups commemorate the war annually to remind the masses of the Empire’s shortcomings and warn them of future ones that may be made by the current administration and make a stand while discouraging the approach that the Saygien made.
Invasion of Raignork Date: 8 February 697 EC – 6 January 698 EC Location: Location Raignork, Rythen Space, Rythen Empire
- Empyrian victory
- Immense planetary damage
- Stationing of troops on Raignork to hunt remainders and gather information
- Rythen Empire reduced to navarchy
- Evacuated Rythen POWs and civilians placed in internment camps in Empyrian space
- Ongoing Rythen illegal immigration crisis
The Invasion of Raignork, also known as the “Third Great War” in historical documents and as “Operation Downfall” in archived military documents, is a large-scale offensive of the Empyrian Empire against the Rythen Empire, the latter considered to be the arch-nemesis of the Empyrians, between February 8, 697 EC to January 6, 698 EC during the infancy of the current Empress Aeryn Ophelia’s reign that started with the Empyrian declaration of war. There was no major confrontation until May of 697 EC due to the mobilization and coordination of extremely large numbers of troop, the considerable interstellar travel time, and initial Rythen defenses. It was also the first time that the Empyrians have partaken in a military campaign since 553 EC.
The war is considered to be one of the greatest, and one of the most devastating, in Empyrian history as the Empyrians felt that they had finally achieved vengeance for the prior invasion of the Rythen Empire into Empyrian territory, even reaching mainland Agartha, between 553 EC to 557 EC that led to a catastrophic loss of life and near total loss of the Empyrian Empire. Albeit at significant losses. The war is also regarded as the most notable and famous achievement of the current Empress to date. Another figure who rose to fame during the war is the current Collbrande of Aucteraden, Draigh Kaiser, for defeating the commander of all Rythen forces on the planet, Reinkurey Eldridge, a Remnant of Ouranos, with the aid of a few trusted companions.
There are controversies surrounding the conflict such as the Empyrian treatment of its auxiliary force and a series of war crimes committed by Empyrian soldiers on Rythen prisoners of war that were motivated by many factors with revenge being the top motivator according to investigations and opinions by experts. Discourse on the war continues to the present day in the forms of investigations conducted by various government and non-government institutions and lectures and discussions in educational institutions.
Raignork is currently occupied by a sizable garrison of Empyrian troops to hunt down remainders of the Rythen military and to gather information on other remnants of the Rythen Empire that the former are allegedly in contact with.
Official sources have stated that the primary motivation, among others not known to the public eye that are likely closer to the truth, for the Invasion of Raignork was revenge for the Rythen invasion of Empyria, the Second Great War, that occurred between 553 EC to 557 EC where the Empyrians suffered massive losses of life and territory in catastrophic losses that almost led to their total defeat and destruction under the incompetent leadership of the 5th monarch, Eusford Ophelia. A coup d’etat was staged and led by his eldest son, William Ophelia, where they succeeded and took power, immediately establishing an interim transitional government and implementing rapid reforms to the Imperial Army and the remnants of Empyria from top to bottom. However, these were only stopgap solutions that delayed the inevitable as the damage had already been done.
With no other options left on the table, William Ophelia reportedly reached the full potential of his Exousiarch and organized a counterattack with him as the spearhead, this was seen as a huge gamble due to the decisive nature of the campaign by William’s staff, officers, friends, and even family but given that there were no other choices left, they relented, submitting to William’s plans. The counterattack went into motion and was a success after William dueled the commander of the Rythen invasion force, Reinkurey Eldridge, a dreaded and powerful Remnant of Ouranos who goes by the moniker “Gilanein,” and was victorious, severely wounding the Remnant days after a prior engagement with the Symbol of Revelation, Zephyrus, that left him permanently weakened.
The outcome of this duel would be an instrumental factor in the future Invasion of Raignork. This victory effectively decapitated the head of the Rythen invasion force, forcing them to retreat and leaving the Empyrians triumphant in a confrontation that has made the Rythen leadership reconsider and reevaluate their situation against the Empyrians. William Ophelia would die a peaceful death shortly after the war’s end, his cause of death widely agreed to be the price of reaching the full potential of his Exousiarch. William’s Exousiarch and his death are two of the most studied topics in Empyrian arcana that persist to the present day but a lack of primary sources and further research have hampered efforts.
Since the Second Great War, a key Empyrian interest at large is ascertaining the location of the Rythen Empire’s homeworld, Raignork, which would open the possibility to a retaliatory strike in the far future after reconstruction, recovery, and redevelopment. Initial efforts were difficult as the Rythen retreat was orderly enough that they had enough time to purge or sabotage almost all relevant data, including star charts, from infrastructure that cannot be taken with them in time, leaving the Empyrians with only corrupted and incomplete data that took almost half a century to recover and piece together with the assistance of expeditions outside of Empyrian space that scored a few rare engagements with encountered or shadowed Rythen military vessels prowling space, the real reasons of which are publicly unknown. These engagements yielded little results except for two where the Empyrians successfully boarded the Rythen ships and managed to acquire more comprehensive fractions of the Rythen star charts that were then cross-referenced with intercepted communique and intelligence to put together a rough estimate of where Raignork was likely located. A small fleet was then dispatched in 605 EC to the estimated location to determine if the intelligence was correct. It was, to the surprise and joy of the Empyrians.
Since then, preparations for a retaliatory strike were underway. Spies and reconnaissance hardware were planted across Raignork over the course of at least a generation to map out key locations, gauge the strength of the Rythen military, and formulate plans that would influence military and political developments at home. No date was immediately established on when to lay siege to Raignork as the planet was too well-fortified and too well-garrisoned until the early 680s EC that saw many elements of the Rythen military, nobility, and citizenry, including the sovereign of the Rythen Empire, the Empress of Calamity, Azmis Ouranos, depart the planet for reasons unknown, leaving only half of the Rythen Empire’s total strength on Raignork. This was an opportunity that the Empyrians would never allow slipping, military preparations to mobilize were already underway as early as the late 680s EC, a few years before the ascension of Empress Aeryn Ophelia to power, a development that she would come to inherit and come to use under the advice of the previous Collbrande of Elesrith, Zereos Bismarck, one of the most powerful Empyrians of all time and the head of a Noble House closest to House Ophelia, the royal family.
Mobilization was almost complete prior to the Empyrian declaration of war, only requiring additional manpower and training of somewhat lesser quality upon mobilization being rushed after the Empress’s ascension, time was of the essence as there was no telling when the half of the Rythen Empire that left Raignork would return. Upon declaration, mobilization would take another 21 days to fully complete before the largest Empyrian fleet ever assembled left Agartha for Raignork, a journey spanning a few months into what would be an equivalent of Hell.
The Empyrian fleet reached Raignork’s orbit on May 3, 697 EC after breaking the outer Rythen defenses in orbit and on some neighboring moons a week prior. Unfortunately, the Raignork garrison was long aware that the Empyrians were coming and the planet remained on heightened alert especially after the mass departure of Rythens from their homeworld and the capture of some spies. Raignork was protected by a network of 8 magitech spires that generated a planet-encompassing shield that made the Rythens immune from orbital bombardment while still being able to fire at Empyrian vessels from the safety of the shield. This made the Empyrian fleet move away from the firing range of the planetary defenses after a skirmish with a large Rythen defense fleet to consolidate their blockade of the planet and to devise a daring plan of extremely high risk but extremely high reward.
The plan was eventually drafted and immediately approved. A combined special formation consisting of members from the Order of Eden, Hand of Agartha, and Imperial Army special forces was to be made with one mission – to destroy the 8 magitech spires. It was hypothesized that the destruction of one would weaken the shield and the destruction of more would weaken or destroy its integrity, allowing for planetary bombardments and landings to take place so that the invasion can formally begin. The combined force, split into 8 regiments, went underway on March 10 under the cover of electronic warfare countermeasures and decoys meant to distract or deceive Rythen defense networks as the heavy dropships containing the force flew close enough to the shield and released the combined forces in drop pods to landing zones a considerable distance from their assigned magitech spires and work their way from there. Unfortunately, many pods would be intercepted en route that substantially culled the numbers of the individual regiments. That would just be the beginning.
Afterwards, they would have to make their way to their assigned spires and become subject to heavy fire and staunch resistance from the Rythen defenders after the extreme difficulty of having to avoid direct contact prior. Many Empyrians died in the process but that would not stop them from achieving their objectives. The spires were eventually destroyed after almost a week with the regiments turning them into improvised strongholds with which they can hold out from until they could be reinforced and resupplied. Empyrian forces would be able to rendezvous and extricate the remainder of the 8 regiments later into the invasion with more than half of these regiments effectively wiped out. The spires’ destruction not only weakened the shield, but completely removed it from play, allowing the Empyrian fleet to commence bombardment of the planet and subsequent landing efforts. On March 16, the invasion had finally begun.
Empyrian landing efforts on Raignork and its closer moons were met with extreme resistance with multiple ships being destroyed by planetary defense emplacements and the Rythen fleets in spite of immense supporting fire and orbital bombardment from the Empyrian ships. Casualties were already in the hundreds of thousands immediately as scattered troops barely made it to the surface only to be picked off by ground-based defenses for the next 3 days until a series of concentrated orbital strikes cleared a few regions enough for them to be somewhat safe for massed deployment, still woefully exposed to Rythen defenses and sorties. However, their real problems had only begun.
The Rythen planetary garrison was already well dug-in with most civilians evacuated to safer areas, a fraction of which evacuated from the planet entirely, while every able-bodied male was drafted into service. The evacuation allowed cities and other terrain that makes up the planet’s various environs to be fully utilized to the defenders’ advantage. Orbital strikes were limited because they could not be easily conducted as the ships that would be launching the strikes themselves were preoccupied with Rythen naval sorties and planetary defenses from densely-defended areas that the Empyrian fleet could not reasonably strike and were deemed priority targets by the Rythen military compounded with the risks of friendly fire as not many troops were brought to the planet’s surface yet, increasing the value of each pair of boots on the surface. Aerial strikes were also in a similar situation added with problems like interception and the presence of Rythen air defense networks. The Empyrians were almost completely grounded beyond their large landing zones, leading their commanders to commit to more dangerous ground-based offensives where the Rythens enjoyed their defensive advantages and air superiority, planetary defense emplacements were even directed against the Empyrians on the ground that contributed to the loss of multiple landing zones and the highly tenuous situation that those lucky enough to remain and survive the first few hours to days shared.
The initial fiery exchange lasted for several weeks where the Empyrians quite literally lost millions of men and women, commoner or noble, for little gains. Eventually, the Empyrian fleet gained the upper hand at great cost after scoring multiple victories against Rythen sorties and counterattacked, striking key regional facilities in a barrage of orbital and nuclear strikes that substantially hurt Rythen capabilities, giving much-needed relief for the Empyrian combined forces to finally make their push against the Rythen defenders lasting from August 697 to October 697. November 697 to 698 saw the push grind to a very slow pace due to mounting difficulties, most notably the appearance of one of the Rythen commanders, a Remnant of Ouranos, on the front lines which inflicted severe damage on the Empyrians. The Remnant’s personal intervention prompted the Empyrians to respond with all three members of the Cardinal Caliburn Order that are the Symbols of Valor, Revelation, and Divinity facing the Remnant in one of the decisive confrontations of the whole invasion. The Cardinal Caliburn Order defeated the Remnant with sustained injuries for the former and substantial collateral damage on both sides due to the nature of the engagement. After their victory, the Empyrians continued with their final push on December 698. The Rythens would steadily lose more ground but not without inflicting considerable losses on the Empyrians.
The last of the Rythen commanders, Reinkurey Eldridge, then came into play to protect the last key Rythen facilities and personally command the scattered remains of the Rythen planetary garrison near the end of the invasion. Retreat was not an option for the Rythens as well mostly due to their own decision to defend their home and die fighting, albeit they would make exceptions. Eldridge had sent multiple transmissions to the Empyrians that revealed where the evacuated civilians were being held, requesting that they take them in as refugees. He also informed them that the small garrisons protecting the evacuated civilians were ordered to surrender immediately upon seeing the first Empyrian soldier and any Rythen military formation to leave all routes towards the evacuees open and undefended in spite of general Rythen concern of what may happen to their people as they knew that Empyrian units were far too different from each other to reasonably trust them following reports of various Empyrian units committing any number of atrocities on captured Rythen soldiers and civilians who couldn’t evacuate in time alongside reports of units that treated them humanely and properly. The remaining Rythen leadership eventually gave in and let Eldridge transmit his demands due to their priorities, taking a huge risk in the process.
In exchange for such demands, Eldridge would step out into the field and fight the Empyrians personally with the intention of sacrificing himself but never stated where exactly he would be. The Empyrians accepted the demands out of the necessity of ending the invasion as soon as possible with another decisive confrontation as the risk of loss was increasing with time in spite of opposition from a large fraction of military officials who, like their Rythen counterparts, relented because of priorities and the need to take a risk in what was an opportunity to dent the Rythen war effort.
A small contingent under the command of Draigh Kaiser, the would-be Collbrande of Aucteraden, encountered Eldridge with Kaiser fighting the Remnant with the assistance of a small team of handpicked members of his contingent after sending a call for help to the nearby House Bismarck troops under the command of the would-be Collbrande of Elesrith, Evelyn Bismarck, and House Kaiser troops under the command of his late father, then Collbrande of Aucteraden Zekram Kaiser. It should be noted again that Eldridge was already severely weakened following his losses against the Symbol of Revelation and William Ophelia in the Second Great War, but the Remnant still possessed considerable power that could outmatch the weaker Collbrandes of Ophelia in a one-on-one engagement. Kaiser and his team defeated the Remnant with no fatalities, but the fight left him and his entire team incapacitated for the rest of the war and some time after due to injuries.
Eldridge’s sword was taken as a trophy by Kaiser after the fight. Rythen troops under Eldridge’s personal command would retreat to the evacuation centers before Kaiser’s reinforcements arrived. The retreating Rythens relayed the news of Eldridge’s defeat, cascading into an internal crisis within the planetary garrison as there was now a power vacuum within the command structure that left the garrison highly inefficient for the rest of the invasion.
Empyrian troops eventually reached the evacuation centers, some being still-intact cities untouched by the war aside from underground bunkers, with some of the garrisons surrendering as ordered and the civilians inside safely extracted alongside the few garrison troops. Most of the centers’ respective garrisons opted to resist alongside any civilian volunteers which led to them being completely ignored and bypassed, left to their fate at best and massacred by angered, disgruntled, jaded, and vengeful Empyrian soldiers at worst. Eldridge’s death prompted few Rythen units to surrender, this number of units included the troops and officers under his personal command. Most other Rythen units kept fighting, especially those that were remainders of much larger units that were felled by the Empyrians and witnesses of atrocities committed by the latter.
With their command body beheaded and reduced to smaller numbers, further resistance became even more decentralized, turning into guerilla warfare that prompted the Empyrian command to finally decide what they would do with the planet. They have already achieved their strategic and tactical goals for the most part, none of which include the planet’s conquest, trying to meet any more was found to be extremely costly with current means as the Rythens were still large in numbers with multiple locations of the planet remaining relatively intact, even untouched. Because of this, the decision was made to subject the whole planet to a planetary barrage using weapons of mass destruction on December 30, 698 EC. All Empyrian assets planetside were given 2 days to evacuate themselves and as many Rythens with them as they can. These 2 days saw a peak in mass executions or releases of Rythen prisoners of war with very few units agreeing to take captured Rythens with them back to Empyria. Thankfully, the Empyrian fleet could still afford to house refugees with occasional overloading primarily because most of the manpower and materiel onboard the surviving vessels that now only constituted about half of the invasion fleet, many of them large, were lost to the invasion. However, not all the refugees that the Empyrians took in would be taken off-world due to the expedited process.
The rushed evacuation saw an abundance of Empyrian materiel left behind, materiel that would be destroyed in the barrage that would start on January 1, 698 EC and end 2 days later on January 3. Raignork was bathed in nuclear, starship railgun, and laser cannon fire among other deployed weapons of mass destruction that were aimed at not only the areas where Empyrian bases once stood, but also key areas where Rythen military and civilian remnants were confirmed to be gathering and operating in and any part of the planet that simply housed remainders such as intact civilian centers and military installations.
The last day of the barrage saw the Empyrian fleet drop the largest nuclear weapon in their arsenal to date on a continent of the planet where the Empyrians had the least progress that included several small to medium military installations that remained relatively intact and a few evacuation centers and civilian centers that were ignored or bypassed. The continent was incinerated in a matter of minutes, taking millions of Rythen soldiers and civilians with it. A sweep of the planet was carried out on January 4 to 5 and determined that planetary damage was extensive enough that any survivors would not pose any serious threat anymore. The Empyrian fleet withdrew almost entirely from Raignork and its orbit on January 6, 698 EC, leaving a small token garrison to continue sweeping the planet for remainders that would be periodically replaced to this day. The departure of the Empyrian fleet marked the end of the Invasion of Raignork.
Thus, the flaming beacon of the Rythen Empire that was their homeworld of Raignork was now all but fields of ash, cinder, dust, and radiation.
News of the Empyrian victory reached Agartha upon the fleet’s triumphant return, prompting a month-long celebration that would be concurrent with a time of mourning. Empyrian losses were in the millions and this included a good fraction of its noble echelons, leading to some noble bloodlines being completely wiped out and some of those that barely survived later being subsumed into larger noble bloodlines, further increasing their political, social, and economical power and influence.
The Rythen Empire, having lost its only homeworld and capital, was now supposedly reduced to nothing more than a navarchy consisting of multiple large fleets that had left the planet years before the invasion prowling the deep and dark depths of space, their purposes unknown. Empyrian perception towards the Rythen Empire has shifted notably following the sacrifice of Reinkurey Eldridge in exchange for the acceptance of his demands of saving many Rythen civilians and soldiers, though some would argue that his sacrifice was in vain due to post-war circumstances.
The Empress, the Cardinal Caliburn Order, the Collbrandes that had died and survived the invasion, and the many other Empyrians that partook in the war were deemed as heroes by the general public with all of them experiencing a burst of popularity and support. This was especially true for Draigh Kaiser whose achievement had been widely publicized, garnering him critical acclaim that would be an instrumental factor to his ascension to Collbrande a few years later. Albeit the popularity and status as heroes of some Empyrian officials and soldiers would be put into question later on after the celebrations had concluded.
Investigations conducted by the Imperial Army, other government institutions, and some non-government institutions revealed some substantial inefficiencies in the Imperial Army’s planetary invasion doctrine that would’ve prevented an estimated tenth of all the losses in the invasion at most but these findings were comparably nothing to what would come.
Further findings revealed that the Imperial Army had grossly mistreated and neglected its auxiliary forces, citing very high relative casualties and poorer quality of equipment when compared against their native Empyrian counterparts. Soldiers, junior officers, and surviving auxiliaries also testified that their superiors, found or thought to be reckless, inexperienced, and bigoted, often used the auxiliaries as meat shields or throwaway troops for highly dangerous operations that rarely succeeded. There were also cases of discrimination and abuse from the rank and file all the way up to the officer corps that were involved. Months later, some of the worlds that the auxiliaries hailed from, collectively known as ‘The Sectors,’ would not be given proper recompense for their contributions, escalating tensions between the mainland and the aforementioned. Sector Nine would receive the shortest end of the stick which contributed to growing anti-Empyrian sentiment that would escalate further beyond a boiling point, leading to the Saygien Conflict of 700 to 701 EC.
Furthermore, there were also confirmed and alleged war crimes that some soldiers, officers, and officials committed against Rythen prisoners of war such as mass executions, mistreatment and abuse during incarceration. Rythen refugees were also reported to have experienced and are experiencing cases of discrimination and abuse from the minor to the egregious during and after their evacuation by the Empyrians. All of which reported to have revenge as the primary motivator.
A fraction of the soldiers and officials found guilty of any of the aforementioned wrongdoings have already long since been jailed or executed, accompanying changes in policy that the imperial government has implemented albeit the latter having a rather questionable impact. However, public opinion of the government and the military has not changed positively substantially, citing that the government is only doing a standard appeasement tactic that produces little actual change and fails to fully acknowledge the problems at hand such as those that are actually guilty of crimes still roaming free and retain their posts in the government to the public’s dismay, albeit temporary except for certain groups. Faith in the government has decreased only to decrease further after the Saygien Conflict. The effects would be relatively offset by the sheer number of supporters of the imperial government. Even during the future Saygien Conflict.
Post-war, the Rythen refugees, currently numbering at less than 5 million, were not immediately tended to upon their arrival in 698 EC and as of 709 EC, are currently kept in large internment centers in Sector Twelve and the Commonwealths where they are reported to be living in subpar conditions and treated as lower than second-class citizens. The garrisons of these internment centers are also changed frequently for security reasons according to state sources that up to this day, still refuse to elaborate on or verify the aforementioned in spite of a slew of expert and public opinion. The presence of the Rythen refugees and their conditions would breed the circumstances that would bring forth the Rythen illegal immigration crisis.
The Rythen refugees and the controversies associated with them are also a hot topic of discussion, such as why the Empyrians truly agreed to bring them in, doubting that it is mainly to accept the demands of a now-deceased Remnant of Ouranos that led to a decisive confrontation. A number of mages, researchers, and scientists have already cited in the past that the Rythens have certain properties that favor some scientific and arcane undertakings which have garnered both support and criticism that persists, using any number of arguments from the ethical to the personal. There are very few legal experimentations and examinations on Rythen volunteers but even then, these are strictly and highly limited. However, there are suspected to be a number of organized illegal activities involving the refugees as victims than the perpetrators.
Questions have also been raised as to what the true purpose of the invasion was, some claimed that the sole motivation of revenge was not enough to justify a full-scale planetary invasion of the Rythen homeworld, leading some to theorize that there were a number of secret operations conducted on the planet during the invasion to fulfill this mysterious true purpose. Questions were also raised as to why a massive number of Rythens that equaled half of the Rythen Empire’s strength had left Raignork over a decade before the invasion, leading some to speculate that the Rythen leadership were preoccupied with something else prior to the invasion that was deemed more valuable than their own homeworld much like how the Empyrian upper chains were suspected to be preoccupied with something more valuable than revenge.
Regardless of its impact and all the aforementioned, the invasion is remembered as one of the greatest and most devastating wars in Empyrian history due to its impact on both Empyria and its arch-nemesis, the Rythens. To this day, the invasion is widely taught in civilian and military educational institutions where discourse on the topic is rich with more information on the invasion being highly sought after, especially by investigative bodies who are still performing their duties and conspiracy theorists who highly doubt state sources. Memorials to the invasion are widespread with important dates being highly celebrated annually. However, some don’t see cause to celebrate as is with all important historical events, instead stressing that lessons brought by these events be learned and valued so that they may not happen again.
As the Rythens are far from completely defeated however, many speculate that another war with them is just a matter of time and that any preparations made would never be enough as the most powerful of the Rythen Empire would make themselves known. Deemed as a final decisive confrontation that will define not just the fate of Empyria, but also that of the galaxy’s, or potentially even the universe’s.