"On the third month of the year I found myself on the outskirts of the city of Okoro, and stumbled upon one of the famous Praesi field rituals. The throats of ten and three men were slit on dusty ground, and from the lifeblood spilled the earth turned from yellow to black. Granted audience with the lord presiding, I asked him the meaning of the ceremony. ‘Everywhere men bleed,’ he told me. ‘In Praes we get the full worth of it.’"
―Extract from “Horrors and Wonders”, famed travelogue of Anabas the Ashuran[1]
The Dread Empire of Praes, often referred to as "the Empire", "the Dread Empire" or "Praes" is one of the predominant Evil polities on the continent of Calernia. It was founded on the first year of the Imperial Calendar, some fifteen hundred years before the current events of the story. It's capital is Ater.[2]

History Edit

Early History Edit

Before there was an Empire, there was war. The lands now making up the Dread Empire were once several separate polities embroiled in conflict.

The Orc Clans, at the height of their power, raided the Soninke with impunity, enslaving many from their cities. The Soninke had several kingdoms centered around what are now the Wasteland's major cities, while to the south the Taghreb occupied the Hungering Sands as nomadic tribes, warring against the Goblin Tribes - and each other.[3]

Not much writing has been preserved from this forgotten age. What there is, paints a picture of a people bitterly at odds. So much so that even a threat of extermination by an outsider failed to forge a temporary alliance.

Miezan Occupation Edit

See: Miezan Empire

The Miezan Empire invaded the predecessor polities of the Empire some two thousand to fifteen hundred years ago in what is known as the War of Chains. Their conquest began with the Taghreb and the Soninke, following which they defeated the Orc Clans and the Goblin Tribes.[4] These people were subjugated and ruled as a single entity for several hundred years which had a tremendous impact on their culture.[3]

They eventually rose in revolt in the wake of the Licerian Wars, of which there were several. In many ways, this brutal union of people is what gave birth to the Empire.

The Declaration of Empire Edit

"And so Maleficent said: ‘Though you be god I am Empress, crowned of dread, and by my hand comes your doom. Rage in vain, for from your bones will rise a great tower whose shadow will be cast upon all the world.’"
―Extract from the Scroll of Chains, first of the Secret Histories of Praes[5]
The details surrounding the Declaration are sparse. We know that the woman who would become the first Dread Empress was called Amina. Though we don't know her exact origin, she was a Taghreb.[4] Presumably she was also one of the leaders who led the rebellion that overthrew the Miezans. She would become the Dread Empress Maleficent the First.

Based on the modern Empire, it's tempting to believe that she forged Praes by force, however this does not seem to be the case. The Orcs considered her a friend and it's mentioned she didn't break the promises of Declaration, implying the Declaration itself might be a piece of diplomacy and negotiations.[4] It's assumed she began the construction of the Tower in Ater as well a formation of the Imperial Government.

Her rule came to an abrupt end as the Soninke could not brook the less populous and powerful Taghrebi being in charge.[4] She was killed less than a decade into her reign by Subira Sahelian of Wolof, who took her place and became the Dread Emperor Sinister the First.

The Age of Wonders Edit

The Age of Wonders is never properly defined, though it hearkens back to a time when Praesi Tyrants wielded considerable influence internationally and their ability to mold the Empire was almost unfettered. This is something of a romantic idea as in practice the Tyrants were always bound by the needs of their nation.

For our purposes, the Age of Wonders starts at a point when Names which have traditionally been divided along ethnic lines - such as Red Fox or Grey Lion - were replaced by Imperial Names - such as Dread Emperor or Black Knight. One can think of this as a cultural transition point. According to Amadeus, this occurred over a thousand years ago.[3] It's end shall be defined to forty-five years before the current events.

Notable Events During The Age of Wonders Edit

The Attempted Theft of Callow's Weather Edit

The attempt of the Dread Empress Sinistra the First to steal Callow’s weather was an unmitigated disaster. It ended up turning the land lived in by Soninke into what we know it as today - the Wasteland. It also exaggerated the everpresent overpopulation problem by lowering the amount of arable land. It’s presumed Praes had food shortages prior to this event as otherwise, there would be no reason to steal the weather in the first place.[6]

Calernian Conquest Edit

Dread Empress Triumphant, the first and only of her name, conquered all of Calernia, barring the Kingdom of the Dead - her ally - and the Golden Bloom, which was relocated to Arcadia. Such a feat was unprecedented and has not been repeated since, though it did have a heavy cost:
"Triumphant had spent a generation of the Wasteland’s youth on foreign fields, forged the Principate through her massacres and managed to drive to war two empires separated from the Empire by an entire sea. It could not be denied that she had broken Praes so thoroughly that four decades had passed before war could be taken to the crusader kings that had carved realms out of the Wasteland’s meat."
―Dread Empress Malicia the First, First of her Name[7]</div>

Modern Era Edit

The Empire is currently ruled by Dread Empress Malicia the First. It had successfully conquered the Kingdom of Callow, though it seceded around 20 years later.

Ethnicities & Races Edit

The Dread Empire is made up of several different ethnicities and species, including Soninke, Taghreb, Duni, orcs, Goblins and Ogres. With the annexation of Callow, it now also includes Southern Callowans and Deoraithe.

Praes seems to be inspired by Africa, as denoted by names of cities, ethnicities, and languages the dark-skinned Soninke and the sand-colored Taghreb. Plus, the names of Praesi human ethnicities reference African groups, as Soninke is a West African ethnic group, and Taghreb might be a reference to Maghreb, the name of the Northwest Region of Africa (which is an Arabic territory). Also, the language used by Praesi Soninke is called Mthethwa, which was an African confederation of Eastern Southern Africa.

Praesi Duni, who are paler-skinned due to being descendants of Callowans that settled in Praes during the age of the Crusader Kingdoms.

Government & Politics Edit

The ruler of the Empire is called the Dread Emperor, Dread Empress or Tyrant, a title that is also a Name. There are several High Lords, to which lesser lords are sworn.

While the Tyrant is in theory an absolute dictator (and at times this has been true in actual fact), there are currently practical limits to their power. The Lords have a substantial amount of influence, meaning that to some degree the Tyrant is forced to pander to them or risk losing their control over Praes. They are also kept in check by concerns of popular uprisings, as sufficiently angering the general populace could lead to rebellion and even the appearance of heroes.

Cities Edit

  • Ater
    • Known as the City of Gates, it is the captial of Praes. It is ruled by the reigning Dread Emperor/Empress, currently Malicia.
  • Wolof
    • Currently ruled by High Lord Sargon Sahelian (Books 3-present). Ruled by High Lady Tasia Sahelian (Books 1-3.
  • Okoro
    • Ruled by High Lord Jaheem Niri.
  • Aksum
    • Ruled by High Lady Abreha Mirembe, now empress-claimant as Dread Empress Sepulchral. Her appointed successor is Isoba Mirembe.
  • Nok
    • Once ruled by the Yeboah. It was deposed and the Sesay were installed. Currently ruled by High Lord Dakarai Sahel.
  • Thalassina
    • Formerly the biggest sea port in Praes, it was destroyed in the Tenth Crusade. Some scholars believe it to be the first Praesi city. It was ruled by the Kebdana, with the last ruler being Idriss Kebdana
  • Kahtan
    • Ruled by High Lady Takisha Muraqib. According to Wekesa the Warlock, it may be the oldest Praesi city.
  • Foramen
    • Currently ruled by High Lady Wither. Until its capture by the Confederation of the Grey Eyries, it was ruled by the Banu.

Past Dread Emperors/Empresses Edit

  • Dread Emperor Abominable, the Thrice-Struck
  • Dread Empress Atrocious, best known for comprehensive tax reform and having been eaten by man-eating tapirs. They were later executed by her successor for treason after a lengthy trial.
  • Dread Emperor Benevolent I
  • Dread Emperor Callous
  • Dread Emperor Foul I, the Frugal
  • Dread Emperor Foul II, the Forthright
  • Dread Emperor Foul III, the Linguist
  • Dread Emperor Heinous
  • Dread Emperor Imperious
  • Dread Emperor Inimical, the Miser
  • Dread Emperor Irritant I, the Oddly Successful
  • Dread Empress Maledicta II
  • Dread Empress Maleficent I
  • Dread Empress Maleficent II
  • Dread Emperor Malevolent I, the Unhallowed
  • Dread Emperor Malevolent II
  • Dread Emperor Malevolent III, the Pithy
  • Dread Empress Malignant I
  • Dread Emperor Malignant II, the Particularly Petty
  • Dread Emperor Malignant III, also known as Dread Emperor Revenant
  • Dread Empress Massacre I
  • Dread Emperor Nefarious
  • Dread Emperor Nihilis I, the Tanner
  • Dread Emperor Perfidious
  • Dread Emperor Pernicious, the Imperiled
  • Dread Empress Prudence I, the Frequently Vanquished
  • Dread Empress Sanguinia I, the Gourmet
  • Dread Empress Sanguinia II, best known for outlawing cats and being taller than her
  • Dread Empress Sanguinara
  • Dread Empress Regalia I
  • Dread Empress Regalia II
  • Dread Emperor Reprobate I
  • Dread Emperor Sinister
  • Dread Emperor Sinistra II, the Coy
  • Dread Empress Sinistra IV, the Erroneous
  • Dread Emperor Sorcerous
  • Dread Empress Sulphurous, the ‘Technically Correct’
  • Dread Emperor Terribilis I, the Lawgiver (also known as the Thorough)
  • Dread Emperor Terribilis II
  • Dread Emperor Traitorous I
  • Dread Empress Triumphant, may she never return.
  • Dread Emperor Venal
  • Dread Emperor Vile I
  • Dread Emperor Vindictive I
  • Dread Emperor Vindictive II
  • Dread Emperor Vindictive III

Praesi Names Edit

The Dread Empire is one of the three human nations that has a common number of Named associated with it.

Names that are nearly constantly in use are Dread Emperor/Empress, Chancellor, Black Knight, Heir/Heiress and Warlock, with several other, less frequent names following, depending on factors.

- Dread Emperor/Empress, also referred to as "the Tyrant". Currently held by Dread Empress Malicia.

- Chancellor (currently outlawed)

- Black Knight. Previously held by Amadeus.

- Warlock. Previously held by Wekesa.

- Apprentice. Previously held by Masego. Currently held by a hero from Ashur.

- Hierophant. Currently held by Masego.

- Assassin. Current holder unknown

- Captain. Previously held by Sabah.

- Scribe Currently held by Eudokia

- Squire. This Name was historically shared between Praes and Callow, used to train both Black and White Knights. Previously held by Catherine

- Adjutant. Currently held by Hakram 

- Heir/Heiress. Previously held by Akua.

- Diabolist. Previously held by Akua and Dread Empress Truimphant.

Sources Edit

  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3
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