Lysantho Empire

Stretching across the vastness of the Ambari desert in northern Aren Doael, the Empire of Lysantho is the oldest civilization in the known world, having existing even at the time of the High Lords of Dobrai. In recent decades, the physical reach of the empire has been limited to the cities that exist along the northern and eastern coast of Aren Doael; however, its influence is felt much more widely.

Government and Politics

Governed by the Achem-Re Dynasty for centuries, Lysantho is a despotic regime that rules from the capital city of Thoh. The Achem-Re are kings and queens who wield arcane powers that far surpass those of any other known force in the world. It is through this power that they manage to hold control over a dominion of cities and a harsh desert land. It is through their magic that they have brought life to the desert and many in Lysantho consider them divine.

The empress Het-Nefri rules from the Red Dawn Pyramid in Thoh, while her kin rule the other cities and regions. All power is held in the hands of the Achem-Re dynasty; however, they are helped by a large cadre of priest-administrators.

Crime and Punishment

Economics

Lysantho is rich in building and decorative stone, copper and lead ores, gold, and semiprecious stones. These natural resources allowed the Lysantho to build monuments, sculpt statues, make tools, and fashion jewelry. Ore-bearing rock formations were found in the distant, inhospitable desert require large, state-controlled expeditions to obtain natural resources found there. The Lysantho have also established small colonies along the northwestern coast to access the rich woods, flora, and fauna of the Bryl jungle.

With the resources provided by the sea and the annual flood cycles of the Lys river, Lysantho has a greater agricultural economy than one would expect from a desert region. In fact, they Lysantho export a great number of staple crop elsewhere, in exchange for the more exotic goods.

Society and Culture

Lysantho society is highly stratified, with one' status openly displayed. Slaves, as one would expect are at the lowest rung of society, followed by the unbound, slaves who have earned their freedom. At the pinnacle are the arcane masters of the empire. In-between are a myriad of interwoven and complex stratifications. Notably, however, the Lysantho allow any non-slave to petition the government for redress.

Farmer make up the bulk of the population, but all land is owned by the state. Thus, farmers are paid by the state for what they produce. A similar situation exists with regard to artisans and laborers. They are essentially considered employees of the state and all goods are purchased by them. The state then sells this to foreigners at a healthy profit.

Slavery is a common facet of Lysantho society and includes those conquered in warfare or enslaved due to debts. The life of a slave is harsh and brutal as they are considered little more than chattel; however, unlike other slave owning societies, those in Lysantho do have the possibility of gaining their freedom according to law. This, however, is a rare event in practice.

Arts and Academics

Literacy is uncommon in Lysantho, mainly limited to the upper echelons of society and the few slaves that are kept as educators and artisans. The language of the Lysantho. known as Asu-Ka is written in two forms, formal heiroglyphics used by the priesthood and administration, and a simpled cursive form used for literature, poetry, and everyday business.

As the nobility is the primary patron of the arts, most of it is focused on paying homage to the nobility or appeasing the gods. The Lysantho are renowned for their sculptures.

Religion

The Lysantho are a polytheistic nation with a myriad of gods, goddesses, and demi-gods. Over the last few centuries, however, the Achem-Re have elevated their patron deity, the sun god, Re. Though worship to other gods is not forbidden, many official ceremonies are directed toward Re than any other deity. The Empress is considered an intermediary to the gods and many people pray to her as much as to the gods directly.

Beliefs in the divine and in the afterlife areingrained in Lysantho from its inception; dynastic rule is based on the divine right of kings. The Lysantho pantheon is populated by gods who have supernatural powers and are called on for help or protection. However, the gods are not always viewed as benevolent, and the Lysantho believe they have to be appeased with offerings and prayers. The structure of this pantheon changes continually as new deities are promoted in the hierarchy, but priests make no effort to organize the diverse and sometimes conflicting creation myths and stories into a coherent system. These various conceptions of divinity are not considered contradictory but rather layers in the multiple facets of reality.

Gods are worshiped in cult temples administered by priests acting on the king's behalf. At the center of the temple is the cult statue in a shrine. Temples are not places of public worship or congregation, and only on select feast days and celebrations is a shrine carrying the statue of the god brought out for public worship. Normally, the god's domain is sealed off from the outside world and is only accessible to temple officials. Common people often worship private statues in their homes, and amulets offer protection against the forces of chaos.

Magic

Lysantho centers around the arcane; however, the practice of magic is severely restriced in the empire as a means of forestalling any challenges to the imperial household. Significantly, only elves are allowed to practice any form of spellcasting and must be members of the priesthood.

Military

coming soon …

Places of Interest

Imperial Cities

The major cities of the empire are found in oases along the northern and eastern coastline, and along the floodplain of the river Lys.

Thoh

The imperial capital city is the northernmost of the imperial cities, located at the Lys river delta along the coast. The lower part of the city lies on the delta itself and is often referred to as the city of canals, as the waterways and canals form an intricate web. Travel is often by boat as many of the neighborhoods of the lower city have grown to the edges of the canals and waterways. The lower city is home to the majority of the populace, and housing the merchant houses and the diplomatic officers of the foreign powers. The upper part of the city is on a plateau that overlooks the city. Here lies the grand palace of the Achem-Ra and their various homes. It is also the location of the grand temple to Re.

Lysan

The ancient home of the Achem-Ra, Lysan was once the capital of the empire; however, it fell in favor after the dwarven rebellion. Located in the far south and inland along the Lys river, Lysan remains a vibrant city even as parts of it remain damaged for the rebellion.

Ager

The city of Ager lies along the eastern coast. A small port town, it is slowly building in power as many merchant houses from Sheinar and Corelyan prefer to do business away from the epicenter of power that is Tho.

Maahdi

Maahdi, lies along the eastern coast, less than half a days journey south of Ager. As Ager has expanded, it is only a matter of time before the boundaries of the two cities merge. Maahdi lies in the shadow of Ager, which only serves to increase the ire of its ruler.

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