The World Of Khoras - Civilization - Nations

"To fair Rukemia, bright jewel of the East,
cradle of civilization and
heir apparent to the glory of the Thullian Empire..."
- from the prologue to Rebirth of a Realm
by Timon Agrusi, Imperial Historian

Proper Name The Great Rukemian Empire
Ruler His Ever Illustrious Imperial Omnipotence, Radiance of the Eastern Realms, Ruler of All Ithria, Master of the Obsidian Throne, Serrax Thurin, the August
Population 28,560,000
Demographics Human 52%, Grum 16%, Ogre 12%, Orc 8%, Elven 4%, Dwarven 4%, Saurian 1%, Borrellian 1%, Baenite 1%, Other 1%
Adjectival/Demonym Rukemian/Rukemians
Languages Rukemian Official language of the state.
Capital City Aridorn (Population: 156,300)
National Colors Blue and white
Year Founded 1456
Currency Rukemian
Natural Resources Due to the immense size and varied lands of the Rukemian Empire, it has extensive natural resources. The top ten are as follows : wheat, lumber, fish, iron ore, marble, cotton, potatoes, pigs, sheep and cattle.
Manufactured Goods and Major Exports Foodstuffs, timber, forged iron goods, quarried stone, textiles, salted meats and fish
Wealth Very Wealthy
Government Type Imperial Autocracy
Government Stability Very Stable
Allies Kitar, War Vale, Ormek, Mercia, Carrikos
Enemies Duthelm, Rift Vale, Coalition
Technology Level Middle Ages
Primary Religion Imarus
Other Religions Barrinor, Vorkayne, Semorjon, Sarreth Kael, Mireldokar, Glavyris, Daramis, The Three Fates, Drenmoragin
Climate Temperate
Approximate Land Area 3,250,000 square kilometers
Arable Land 32%
Terrain Grasslands, Plains, Hills

Description

The Great Rukemian Empire is a sprawling political juggernaut that dominates the east completely. It controls more land and has more wealth and resources than any other nation. The Rukemian Empire is broken up into sixteen duchies : Asria, Clear Water, Eastlands, Great Plains, Jekur, Karkellia, Dellaren, Madrakia, Ossyria, Quar, Sarakor, Storm Bay, Thurin, Uthria and Vanir. In addition, the central duchy which holds the capital city of Aridorn is named Rukem.

Rukemia rules Kitar, Ormek, Mercia and the War Vale as subordinate kingdoms. In total, the Empire controls all lands from the coast to the Ice Rock Mountains and to the Baen Desert. The nation of Duthelm was formerly a subordinate nation, but has since fallen to the ogres and other forces. The Rukemian Standard is a white eagle on a royal purple background.

Geography

The geography of the Great Rukemian Empire is as varied as its many duchies. Rukemia is bordered on the east by the Sapphire Main with a wild coast punctuated by beaches and cliffs. Many small islands dot the waters just east of Rukemia. To the west, the eastern hills of the War Vale follow the path of Pacey's River and form an unofficial western border for the empire. The north and south borders are ill defined and always seem to fluctuate back and forth between the empire and her two subordinate kingdoms in those areas. Rukemia's climate varies greatly with location, but is mild and temperate throughout. The central region of Rukemia is dominated by the Emperor's Grove, a large forest through which several small rivers flow.

Notable Fauna and Flora

The lands, plants and animals of the Great Rukemian Empire have been thoroughly domesticated. There are very few predators or dangerous animals within this realm. Most of the lands are farmlands and forests. Livestock includes goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, donkeys and horses. There are some instances of flesh fungus in a few towns. Despite attempts to rid the empire of them, blood roaches maintain a foothold in some towns and villages. Koryn’s steeds are favored among the nobility, especially in Aridorn.

History

The great Thullian Empire was destroyed during the Great War. As the empire disintegrated, the fragments of the once great nation struggled to survive in the new world. Some formed alliances with other groups, some banded together and others fled.

In 795 CY, more than 300 years after the Great War ended, a wealthy guild master and shrewd businessman, Sindarian Rukemin, began to organize the scattered fragments of the dead Thullian Empire and gather them together under one political regime. His eloquent speeches that spoke of the glory of the Thullian Empire attracted many. He was well connected and traveled extensively. He set up a small court of faithful followers in the port town of Aridorn.

In 803 CY, a former duke turned renegade warlord by the name of Otho Trenyar, gathered forces loyal to him and went to war with Lord Rukemin. He successfully defeated and took three forts from Lord Rukemin before he was stopped at the Battle of Haygen Keep. At this legendary battle, Lord Rukemin led his forces from the back of a dragon, to the surprise and shock of all. The dragon's breath weapon and its claws devastated the ranks of Trenyar's soldiers and ensured a crushing defeat. Trenyar himself was devoured whole by the dragon along with his top lieutenants. After the battle, word quickly spread through region that Lord Rukemin commanded a dragon. Wild tales of the dragon and their exploits became magnified with time and soon there was talk that Lord Rukemin was favored by the gods. Aristocratic Thullian families, wealthy and powerful,  pledged their support and flocked to his banner.

As people flocked to him, Aridorn swelled in size. The dragon lived here as well. It's name was Tyranxikar and was a popular attraction with nobles and commoners alike. Lord Rukemin's popularity, wealth and political power continued to grow. Finally, in 809 CY, Lord Rukemin crowned himself King and declared the founding of the Kingdom of Rukemia. The silhouette of a dragon on a field of blue sky was taken as his royal standard. With his social connections and loyal knights, he united all the duchies and baronies of the old empire. This was the beginning of what would eventually become the Rukemian Empire and the founding of this Kingdom marked the beginning of a new Age. Lord Rukemin's son ruled after him and his grandson after him. Peace and propersity followed for several centuries. In 917 CY, Tyranxikar, weakened with age and dying, left the city and flew away. This was during the reign of King Sindarin IV, the great grandson of Sindarian Rukemin. The dragon was not seen again and it was widely believed that he left to die in peace. Because of Tyranxikar, dragons have always been closely associated with the Rukemian Empire and with its rulers in particular.

That peace was shattered in 1456 CY when Alfred Thurin, an ambitious duke, rebelled against King Sturtar the II, then-reigning King of Rukemia. What followed was a bloody civil war. Armies marched and clashed for weeks in several spectacular battles. Suddenly, during a battle for Helmsdale, there appeared Duke Thurin riding on the back of a mighty dragon. This sent shockwaves through the empire. The dragon crushed the Helmsdale guard and the army from Aridorn. The empire fell into chaos with news of a second dragon. Many allegiences faltered. It was said that if Thurin commanded a dragon, the gods favored him and it was his right to rule. Several noble families declared loyalty to Thurin and his dragon. Others remained loyal to the king. The dragon, named Kruelgimar, proved instrumental in the war. The civil war lasted for almost a year. After several battles and severe losses, Duke Thurin managed to take Aridorn itself. He executed the king and those nobles loyal to him. The next day, he declared himself Emperor. Emperor Thurin spend the next few years rebuilding from the civil war. A series of political reforms swept the nation, reshaping it into a true Empire. The formation of the Rukemian Empire ushered in the Age of Legends. The Rukemian Empire has grown steadily ever since. It is, in many ways, the rebirth of the Thullian Empire. Thurin's son and grand son proved to be good rulers that helped cement both the power of the empire and also help temper the residual animosity felt by the commoners toward the crown.

Kruelgimar was used to put down several rebellions over the years. He eventually died in 1598 CY. But by that time, the Empire had an iron grip on all of its duchies.

It is not known how either Rukemin or Thurin managed to gain control of a dragon. There are some historians that believe that they were not true dragons, but abnormally large firedrakes, which have proven more trainable and controllable than dragons. There are many who believe that the gods themselves granted their favor to both men. Others believe that some form of magical control may have been used. There are other theories as well. One thing is for sure... dragons have been associated with the Rukemian Empire ever since. It is the national symbol. The bones of Kruelgimar are kept in crypts beneath the imperial palace.

An outbreak of Stiffening began in 2124 CY starting in Ormek and quickly swept through the empire. It killed over 3 million people before it was finally brought under control in late 2128 CY.

In 2376 CY, Emperor Stavos the II, rose to the thrown upon the death of his father. He was sickly man with wild mood swings and who prone to angry outbursts. He had a pathological fear of reptiles which included dragons and similar creatures. In 2380 CY, the town of Southwood began having problems with a firedrake. Despite the protest of several senators, Emperor Stavos sent one of his best knights, Andarius Kaeval, to kill it. Sir Kaeval rode south to do battle with the creature. He successfully killed the firedrake and destroyed its young... all but one. He returned to Aridorn with a firedrake hatchling in his arms. Upon seeing the creature, the emperor flew into a rage and ordered the knight to kill it. Sir Kaeval refused and a battle erupted in the throne room. Kaeval fled from the emperor's guards and managed to evade the guards and flee the city. As he had trained many of those same guards, it is believed that they let him go. The emperor ordered that Sir Kaeval was banished from the empire and stripped of his title. If he ever were to set foot in the empire again, he would be arrested and executed. The senate was almost unanimously opposed to this, but could do nothing. Emperor Stavos the II died from his illness two years later. Some say he was poisoned by the senate so that his son, a much more reasonable young man, could rule. Sir Kaeval went on to found the Order of the Drake.

The Empire has remained a solid economic and military super power in eastern Ithria for centuries.

Government

Rukemia is an empire. A single ruler, the emperor Serrax, controls the nation completely free from any restrictions. His word is law. But Lord Serrax is only the summit of the governmental structure. Beneath him is a vast and complex machine of committees, councils, offices and protocols. This massive government supports the emperor, carries out his decisions and runs the empire. It is these thousands that carry out the day to day tedious paperwork and do the emperor’s will. The administration is quite corrupt... open to bribery, forgery and more.

Each duchy is ruled by a Duke and these sixteen dukes are the highest ranking nobles beneath the Emperor. The Dukes come to Aridorn once each year for an annual council. At this meeting, they debate, make new laws and negotiate taxes.

The Emperor and the Dukes are supported by a Senate of 80 members that represent the various duchies. Each duchy has a five senators. These men are among the social elite of Aridorn. It is the Imperial Senators that argue policy, make laws, discuss matters of state and pass judgment on the nation. It is the Senators (and their staffs) who do the legwork, conduct the business and perform the research that fuels the vast bureaucratic engine that is the imperial government. But the final say in all matters rests with the Emperor.

A number of special offices exist in the government. Besides the Emperor and the 80 Imperial Senators, there is the Grand Magus (highest ranking official in matters of magic), the General Councilor (the Emperor's personal advisor), the Speaker of the Senate (the Senate Leader), the Commander General (leader of the military forces), the Fleet Admiral (commander of the Imperial Navy), the Master Castellan (administrator of the capital city of Aridorn) and the Master of Coffers (financial administrator of the Empire).

The emperor is a tall and well built man, despite his advanced years. He has leathery tan skin (as he is fond of being outside in the open air and sunlight) and snow white hair which is cut short. His regal nose and watery grey eyes are framed by a handsome face which is always composed in a calm smile. He has an air of authority about him and never raises his voice. (He never needs to). He typically wears a simple toga (a very traditional form of dress within the ranks of Rukemian nobility), silken slippers and the signet ring of his station. At social functions, he sometimes carries the Imperial Scepter, a magnificent short staff forged from adamantite and inlaid with rare gems and precious metals. It is known that this scepter is ensorcelled with potent magicks which protects its wielder and grants clear vision, but no obvious magical effects have ever been seen coming from it.

Legal System

Rukemian laws are quite strict. Weapons require permits. Armour is discouraged. However, like titles, the wealthy and social elite may purchase pardons.

Military

The military is divided up into several different sections: The Imperial Guard is composed of the most elite warriors. The Imperial Guard protects the Emperor and is always with him. There are only one dozen of these soldiers, but legends of their battle prowess are common. The Imperial House Guard patrols the Imperial Palace. This force is lightly armed and armored and equipped and trained for fighting within the great palace. The House Guard also performs more mundane functions, such as security checks, registering visitors, escorting officials and more. Exactly 100 members make up the Imperial House Guard. The Aridorn Guard patrols the city and monitors the walls and gates. This force, about 1,000 strong, is heavily armed and armed. They, however, receive only average training. The Rukemian Military patrols the country side and repels hostile invasion forces. It consists of two types of soldiers. The heavily armed and armored ground troop and the lightly armed and armored mounted cavalry. The former is trained and equipped for stealth and infiltration and sustained confrontations. The latter is lightly armed and armored, designed for mobility. Their primary function is reconnaissance and raids. The Rukemian War Fleet patrols the coast and is centered in Morcrest. The fleet consists of about twenty long ships (crew of 50 each) and 10 cogs (crew of 20 each).

Economy

The Rukemian Empire has an extensive network of paved roads the span all provinces of the empire. These high quality roads help Rukemia maintain a thriving and varied economy. The Rukemian system of currency is stable and well established. It serves as the standard for most of eastern Ithria.

Rukemia also has a very organized tax system which insures a healthy flow of wealth into imperial coffers. The reigning emperor sees the wisdom of taxing all citizens fairly and consistently. Overtaxing the empire would only led to revolt.

Culture

Definite classes exist within Aridorn. Imperial, Governmental, Gentry, Commoners, Slaves. Titles and offices can be purchased. As in Vogue, cosmetics are used among the nobles of Rukemia, most especially in Aridorn. This is more true for the ladies than for the lords. Perfumed oils, powders, paints and wigs are all used.

Goldsmoke brandy is a very popular drink throughout the Empire, especially amongst the wealthy and the nobility. It is strongly associated with the capital city of Aridorn and is the official drink served at all imperial and senate functions.

Rukemian Mail Service

The Rukemian Empire has a crude mail service. It is nation wide system that involves, cargo wagons, Imperial Letter Bearers, checkpoints and way stations. It takes anywhere from a day to a few weeks for delivery, depending on the distance between the start and end points. The Rukemian Mail Service is the only functioning nationwide mail system of its kind. Anyone, noble or common, may give a package or letter to a rider and the system can deliver a package anywhere in the Empire. However, it is expensive and usually only middle class and nobles take advantage of it. The price starts at a silver piece for a single letter and goes up from there. The long distance transport of a heavy package may cost several dozen gold pieces. It is an offense against the crown to attack or rob a Letter Bearer. This hasn’t stopped some bandits, but the Imperial Guard will go to great lengths to bring those bandits to justice. The Emperor himself is particularly interested in making this postal system work and the Imperial Guard has been making an example of mail thieves to deter the crime.

Magic

The Rukemian Empire embraces all facets of magical  lore and training. There are several excellent schools of wizardry scattered across the vast empire graduating several hundred new wizards each year. There are dozens of well known wizards across the empire as well.

Cuisine

A Rukemian noble might dine as follows: 

bullet Prawns with a spiced mustard sauce for appetizers.
bullet Mangush - An extremely rich beef broth.
bullet Rukemian Pod Salad - Fresh salad with cream filled pods and herb & bread crumbs.
bullet Roasted pheasant - the main course.
bullet Sarian Pulth Rice - Very small white rice kernels with a sweet flavor.
bullet Tea, coffee and mints. Coffee is exceedingly rare as it must be shipped all the way from Qeshir. But the wealthy can afford it.

Towns and Duchies

Town Name Town
Population
Duke Duchy
Name
Duchy
Population
Notes
Aridorn 156,300 Aros Pramule Rukem 5,980,000 Rukem is the largest of all the duchies and is the central duchy deep in Rukemian territory where the capital city of Aridorn sits.
Kandare 45,900 Thomas eindrech Great Plains 3,710,000 Kandare is a beautiful city situated on both banks of the Thule River. Several taverns and other business hang over the banks and river travelers can pull boats right up to the balconies and back porches of these establishments. Kandare operates a business of river barges that transports people and goods between Nordrun and Aridorn.
Haygen Keep 38,800 Matthew Haygen Asria 2,750,000 Haygen Keep is a major Imperial military town. It is built around the keep for which it is named. This large fortress was built upon the ruins of a castle that was built before the Great War. Imperial troopers are trained here and most patrols originate from this point. Haygen's Keep is charged with defending the entire western border of the Empire.
Southwood 35,200 Frederick urdoch Karkellia 2,180,000 Primarily a logging city. The Duke of Karkellia is supported by the Forest Warden who is responsible for the logging and security of the Emperor's Grove. A small force of twenty rangers patrol the Grove.
Helmsdale 32,000 Arik Kalwyn Madrakia 1,940,000 A city of smiths and miners that produce armor for Imperial troopers.
Thornwood 31,000 Josef Ultzer Arboria 1,750,000 Thornwood is a logging town that has been harvesting nearby forests for generations. It is named for the tuskweeds that grows in abundance in the regions forests and must be cleared before logging can be done.
Seapoint 29,900 William Stuart Ossyria 1,470,000 A naval port with a very good shipyard. Seapoint houses supply depots and repair facilities for Imperial ships in the Sea of Storms.
Nordrun 28,200 Lady Katherine Hemrich Jekur

1,187,000

Nordrun is the largest town in between Snowy Timber and the Emperor's Grove. Many small villages log the forested hills there. Nordrun serves as a focal point for the hilly region.
Corrak's Perch 26,400 Stuart Greshin Sarakor

1,100,000

This town derives its name from a mated pair of corraks which nest on a high bluff overlooking the town. Local folk tales going back centuries mention corraks on the bluff. It is believed that there has been a group of corraks living in the region for hundreds of years. The rangers from Southwood keep an eye on the birds and have established a stiff fine for any woodsfolk disturbing the nest.
King's Port 25,500 Nebul Tarkas Quar 1,000,000

At one time King's Port maintained the Empire’s aging fleet and was originally the town that built them. Now, the contracts to build new ships have been moved to Mercia and the shipyards of this small city sit abandoned. The town has lost about twenty percent of its former population as men are forced to find work elsewhere. In fact, it's often joked that rats outnumber men here. The shipwrights who remain produce smaller boats, perform repairs and strive for technological innovations.

Stony Hill 25,000 Fargas Touser Dovoral

940,000

Stony Hill is a mining town that made its fortunes on a number of gold mines in the hill for which it is named. The mines all gave out long ago. Several quarries still operate here though and cut stones are a major export. Recently, a number of beasts - bears, cave trolls and other things - have been found living in several of the abandoned mine shafts. Hunters and adventurers have been coming round lately to help clear out the mines and take sport in the hunting.
Barrik 24,300 Cromwell Farrghen Thurin 874,000 Barrik lies just north of the Emperor's Grove at the crossing of two major imperial roads. Several of its wealthier citizens have planted magnificent flower gardens and arboretums. Within the town walls and throughout the valley, the fields are awash with color as roses, rhododendrons, carnations and more wave in the wind. Many of these gardeners take their gardens very seriously and compete with each other at a yearly floral festival. 
Morcrest 22,100 Eduard Belison Uthria 785,000 Morcrest is home to a small magical academy of high caliber. Every Grand Magus for the last century has been an alumnus of this school. Connected with the academy is a wizard's guild, also in Morcrest.
Ceranth 21,200 James Brolinar Vanir 703,000 Ceranth is mainly a farming community. Located near Ceranth is a cluster of Forest Lord trees, one of the few groupings to exist on the eastern half of the continent. Ceranth has a small thieves guild that sends out small groups of bandits to prey on pilgrims and travellers on the roads. They often attempts to elude pursuit by venturing into the cluster of Forest Lord trees. The bandits have a few well concealed tree houses in those giant trees.
Wavehome 19,700 Simon Black Dellaren 653,000 Wavehome is known for the farming of pearls from large oyster beds beneath the waves.
Saltspire Point 17,000 Mykul Yager Saltspire 603,000 Saltspire Point is mainly a fishing town known for its light house. At the base of the sea cliffs here are a number of "salt caves" which naturally produce a number of remarkably colored and flavored salts. These flavored salts are one of the town's chief exports.
Windcove 15,500 Victor Arminus Clearwater 507,000 Windcove is a town of beautiful beaches, chalky white cliffs and incredibly clear blue water. Many wealthy imperial citizens have summer homes here.
Bollus 8,200 Charles Adrian Storm Bay 428,000 Bollus is a quiet town of fishermen and farmers. It has only one real claim to fame... a retired wizard named Demetrius has settled here. Demetrius was once the Grand Magus of the Imperial Court and advised the Senate on magical matters. But that was long ago. Now, Demetrius runs a small apothecary and spends his free time combing the beaches and listening to the waves. Quite often, nobles from Aridorn and sorcerers from other lands will journey to Bollus to seek his counsel. On occasion, Demetrius will be invited back to Aridorn to lecture or attend a state dinner and he will be gone for several weeks. But always, he returns to this sleepy little town.

Villages (Population less than 1,000)

Abakon, Abijan, Corinar, Cybora, Dorestt, Edophia, Gathering, Gryphon Hill, Hammerville, Hartwood, Itamar, Kabor's Port, Leeds, Long Hill, Long Meadow, Luristan, Madile, Omar, Otakon, Palmer, Pigott, Rinodar, Saraton, Southwall, Tolami, Vereid, Vesanto

Travel and Distance

The Great Rukemian Empire is a sprawling region encompassing millions of square kilometers and hundreds of towns and villages. Due to its enormous wealth, the Rukemian Empire has a network of the highest quality paved roads connecting all parts of the empire, from the docks of the capital city to the most far flug border village. Due to regular patrols by imperial soldiers and local militias, the interior of the empire is actually quite safe. Travelers and merchants won't encounter bandits until they get to the edges of the empire.

For more information, see the Travel and Distance page.

      Typical Travel Time
Route Terrain/Road Conditions Distance Walking Wagon/Cart Horse Riverboat Ship
Aridorn - Helmsdale Paved Road 397 km 16 days 12 days 8 days    
Aridorn - Wavehome Paved Road or sea 507 km 21 days 15 days 10 days   6 days
Aridorn - Windcove Paved Road or sea 473 km 19 days 14 days 9 days   10 days
Aridorn - Bollus Paved Road or sea 225 km 9 days 7 days 5 days   4 days
Aridorn - Kandare Paved Road or river 184 km 8 days 6 days 4 days 3 days  
Aridorn - Seapoint - by ship Sea 1169 km         12 days
Aridorn - Saltspire Point - by ship Sea 1195 km         12 days
Aridorn - Stovikar - by ship Sea 1879 km         19 days
Aridorn - Myranor - by ship Sea 2204 km         23 days
Helmsdale - Windcove Paved Road 326 km 14 days 10 days 6 days    
Helmsdale - Harvest Keep Paved Road 444 km 18 days 13 days 9 days    
Helmsdale - Nordrun Paved Road 350 km 14 days 10 days 7 days    
Barrik - Bollus Paved Road 228 km 10 days 7 days 5 days    
Barrik - Nordrun Paved Road 521 km 21 days 15 days 10 days    
Barrik - Southwood Paved Road 336 km 14 days 10 days 7 days    
Barrik - King's Port Paved Road 613 km 25 days 18 days 12 days    
Southwood - King's Port Paved Road 283 km 12 days 9 days 6 days    
Ceranth - Southwood Paved Road 391 km 16 days 12 days 8 days    
Ceranth - Kandare Paved Road 394 km 16 days 12 days 8 days    
Ceranth - Haygen Keep Paved Road 400 km 16 days 12 days 8 days    
Seaport - Wind Cove Paved Road or Sea 356 km 15 days 11 days 7 days   4 days
Seaport - Harvest Keep Dirt Road 702 km 30 days 23 days 13 days    
Nordrun - Haygen Keep Paved Road 614 km 25 days 18 days 12 days    
Corrak's Perch - Haygen Keep Paved Road 392 km 16 days 12 days 8 days    
Corrak's Perch - Ceranth Paved Road 474 km 19 days 14 days 9 days    
Corrak's Perch - Southwood Paved Road 446 km 18 days 13 days 9 days    
Corrak's Perch - Battleford Dirt Road 288 km 13 days 10 days 6 days    
Haygen Keep - Crossroads Dirt Road 514 km 22 days 17 days 10 days    
King's Port - Stony Hill Dirt Road 215 km 10 days 7 days 4 days    
Stony Hill - Thornwood Dirt Road 445 km 19 days 15 days 9 days    
Stony Hill - Gull's Cliff Dirt Road 416 km 18 days 14 days 8 days    
Stony Hill - Saltspire Point Dirt Road 664 km 28 days 22 days 13 days    
Bollus - King's Port - by ship Sea 846 km         9 days
Seapoint - Timber Point - by ship Sea 925 km         10 days

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