The Empire of Makhavireth, or the Makhavirene Empire, or the Teluna Empire, was the most expansive empire in the history of Makhavireth. The empire expanded across the entire surface of the three continents, and incorporated many dwarven lands beneath, its borders stretching as far beneath the surface as they did across the lands above. The empire boasted a thriving economy with internal and external trading as the empire’s fleets expanding out to the other two landmasses both by air and by sea. The Makhavirene military was an unparalleled fighting force, with its organization and doctrines still used as prime examples in militaries the world over. The empire expanded mostly through diplomatic means, both by negotiation and threat, but expanded almost as readily by military force.
The conquered lands under the Makhavirene Empire were ruled by lesser royal families, subservient to the Teluna Imperial Family, with many noble houses beneath them. Those royal families who surrendered willingly to the empire were permitted to retain their thrones, but those conquered by more violent means were cast down and replaced as the emperor saw fit.
The major religion of the empire was the Pantheon organized and instituted by the emperor’s personal advisors, consisting of the dozens of various major and minor deities of the Makhavireth landmass, and headed by the triumvirate of Order, Void, and Chaos. The pantheon is known simply as the Makhavirene Pantheon.
The Empire of Makhavireth collapsed over three hundred years prior to the present day, in Ida 735, 313 BI. The collapse was determined official when the last child of the Teluna family line was smothered in their crib in a small village outside Makhiren as the last members of the family attempted to flee into exile.
Shortly before the empire was founded, the man who would be Tarekles Teluna became known throughout the kingdom of his birth as the first dragonrider. With dragons seen as paragons of sin and vile immorality, he was considered a hero who had conquered evil, and bent it to his will. As the young man fought and won battles for his king, he taught others his secrets and soon an entire force of dragonriders was born. A year or two later, the first dragonrider usurped the throne of his king, and used his dragonriders to conquer the neighboring lands.
Founding of the Empire
As the First Dragonrider’s forces marched through the neighboring countries, conquering in his name, the young man set up court and began to institute sweeping changes through-out his kingdom, declaring an administrative monarchy and enforcing new laws and regulations. As his influence and power expanded across the central continent of Makha, the dragonriders convened within the capital city of the fledgling kingdom and crowned the young man Emperor Tarekles Teluna, First of His Name. With the coronation of Tarekles as emperor, the conquests began in earnest.
Within a matter of years, Tarekles’ empire had expanded across most of Makha, absorbing dozens of warring states and peaceful cities. The influence of the empire was immense, and with simple trading embargoes the emperor expanded it even further before he began to consolidate power outside the borders of his home continent. Various coastal cities and island nations, especially those dependent upon trade to survive, began submitting to his will, and before the first decade had ended the Teluna Empire held power on all three continents of the landmass known as Makhavireth.
Tarekles II – Glitter and Gold
Tarekles Teluna I died at the age of 71, with over a hundred sovereign nations under his rule. His grandson Tarekles II took the throne, and the expansion of the empire’s borders slowed for the first time since its founding. Tarekles II focused more heavily on diplomacy, trade, and internal administration, enhancing the lives of his people and through their eased burdens bringing the culture of his empire to new heights. Teluna art and style spread to every corner of Makhavireth, with Imperial name passing the lips of even the greatest of lords and kings of distant lands. Dining halls as far as the farthest borders of Vengehar and the highest levels of the tallest spires in Cra’awrios held Teluna styled works of fashion, paint, and sculpture. Under the grandson of the empire’s founder, the empire expanded further in mind than in body, but in this way, it expanded to nearly every corner of the known world.
When Tarekles II died childless of a riding accident at the age of 37, his cousin Verinas I was crowned emperor. After a short succession war fought between Verinas’ forces and those of his elder brother, the newly crowned emperor set about relighting the fires of expansion and conquest in his empire. Within only a few short years, the Teluna military began marching across distant lands, and under Verinas’ guidance the empire won its first victories against a non-human race. Several elven cities on the continent of Rethil fell to the armies of the Teluna Empire, and it was only after months of negotiations that a truce was signed, ending the war. With the truce, the elven royal family became vassals to the comparatively newborn Teluna Imperial Family, and ceded nearly all elven lands to the east of the Orientis Mountains.
It was also under Verinas I that the dragonriders were lost. As the years passed, the dragonriders had lost many of their number, and with the death of Tarekles I, the First Dragonrider, the knowledge of their training was lost even to the riders themselves. The last effort of the dragonriders was an expedition into the Orientis Mountains, to a lost resting place of the dragons. The dragonriders were not heard of again, and the empire, though mourning the loss of their famed champions, moved on.
Verinas II – Bad Apple
When Verinas I died at the hands of an elven assassin at age 50, a regency was declared until his son Verinas II violently grabbed power at the age of thirteen and enacted harsh penalties on the entire elven race. All crimes committed by elven hands were punished through slavery, and within decades half the elven race in Makhavireth was enslaved under the Teluna Empire. The elves fought bravely against the enslavement of their race, but with the vast military and trading power of the empire at Verinas II’s disposal it was only a matter of time. Before the end of the young emperor’s adolescence, every elf on the continent of Makha was enslaved, and by the age of 35 he had seen all but the royal and noble houses of the elves on the continent of Rethil enslaved as well.
Verinas II was quickly seen as a far harsher and ruthless ruler than his forebears, and the reputation did not end with his mistreatment of the elves. Most of the military expansions and conquests of the empire’s history occurred at the young emperor’s whim, beginning a long period of death and torture at the hands of the empire. Verinas II’s first goal was the conquest of the western continent Vikar, and he set about his goal with an animalistic hunger. The empire’s armies broke through the Allarian Mountains in the west, and sailed south across the Godwave Sea, striking in a dozen places at once. With the military spread across the borders of Vikar, Verinas II relied upon an offensive wall against any counterattacks. Despite a slave uprising in Rethil that eventually threatened the capital itself, the aggressive conquests in the west were largely a success and Verinas II was to be the first emperor to expand the empire into the lands of the dwarves, conquering many of their subterranean strongholds.
With many dwarven clans under his rule, Verinas II ordered a new city to be raised in Makha, great highways of stone built connecting the far corners of his empire, and the vast networks of rivers that flowed through the three continents to be redirected into a system of massive canals, acting as a highway of water alongside the highway of stone. Though Verinas II did not live to see the completion of these monumental wonders, his name and image are chiseled into many of the stones themselves, with the foundation stone of the Imperial Estate bearing his likeness to the present day.
Camilia I - Woman King
As Verinas II campaigned in the plains nations of central Vikar, his daughter remained at home. With the emperor away on military matters, he had left a regent in charge, considering his daughter an incompetent and fanciful child. This was soon corrected, however, as communication to and from the capital was cut off, disrupting the flow of information vital to a military state and throwing the hundreds of regiments, dozens of military operations, and the very structure of command into chaos. Believing his city to be under attack, Emperor Verinas II broke off the campaign, organized what scattered forces he could, and marched on the capital.
What Verinas II discovered was not an external force slaughtering his people but his own daughter, Camilia, standing on the gates of his city with the head of the regent in hand, geared in the very steel armor her grandfather had worn. It was only hours later the emperor learned of the regent’s attempt at a coup, taking the city by force with the aid of traitorous nobles, aristocrats, and merchants’ guilds. His daughter had discovered the regent’s plans but was too late to outmaneuver the man, instead joining him in the attempt. As the city fell to the regent’s manipulations, Camilia built up a base of loyalist forces and when the time was right, threw a coup of her own. Before the emperor had even begun his march on the capital, Camilia had executed the regent, imprisoned many of the traitorous noble families, and reconsolidated power in the name of the Teluna Empire. It was only shortly before the emperor arrived that she had sent out messengers to the various military forces that order had been restored at home.
Emperor Verinas II stayed only a few short days at home before crowning his daughter as his rightful heir, entrusting her with the security of home, and marching once more on campaign. When the emperor died at sea only months later, Empress Camilia Teluna, First of Her Name, took the throne. Enacting quick diplomatic and administrative reforms, Camilia I reorganized the empire and ended the vicious conquests to the west. Though she claimed her rule would be one of peace with only friendly interactions with foreign nations, Camilia I never entertained the idea of ceding back the lands her father or his father had taken. Indeed, under Camilia I’s rule the borders continued to expand, this time by diplomatic niceties, influence, and veiled threats, rather than brutal military power.
Under Camilia I’s rule the capital city of Makhiren was finished, and the Imperial Court was moved to the Imperial Estate within. With a new, centralized city designed from the ground up as a seat of power over the entire landmass, Camilia I’s influence expanded rapidly. The trading power of the empire grew by leaps and bounds, and the first true trade agreements with foreign continents were signed. Embassies were built up, housing the envoys of other nations and powerful organizations, and greatly speeding up the various diplomatic negotiations Camilia I was so known for. An academy of magical study and science was founded in Camilia’s name, the first of its kind in human lands, and the power of the arcane in the empire grew unimpeded.
Camilia I’s personal life was one of great speculation, especially as the first woman to rule the empire. Joining in a political marriage with the High King Guldarik of Rethiln in northern Vikar, the couple remained far from each other and had only two, sickly children by the time Guldarik was lost on an expedition to the northern islands. The children did not outlast their mother, and by time Camilia I, first Empress of the newly dubbed Makhavirene Empire, passed from an illness just shy of 150-years-old, the line of succession was in dangerous upheaval.
With the death of Camilia I her cousins Heriax Teluna, Angelus Nemesius, and Volcatia Teluna, along with her nephew Palaestrio Teluna, and her aunt Caesetia Speratus, all laid claim to the throne of the Makhavirene Empire. Each claimant held strong legal ties to the throne and the influence to see it through, and so within months of Camilia I’s passing the empire was in a state of civil war.
With her longstanding political agreements, experience, and past military service, Caesetia Speratus was the first to gain the approval of the capital’s magistrate, regency, and populace at large. Caesetia took up residence within the Imperial Estate and, in all but title, became the first non-Teluna to sit upon the Imperial Throne.
Enraged by the blatant message Caesetia was sending by taking up residence within the estate, the other claimants increased their efforts. Armies of the claimants clashed against one another, skirmishes taking place across the great empire and the fortifications standing since the reforms of Tarekles II were turned to rubble by the empire’s own forces. Lasting twenty-five years through the death of three of the five claimants, including Caesetia herself, the succession war was a long and bloody reminder of the power afforded to even the least of the Imperial line.
It was at the Battle of Saicoa, when the armies of the last two claimants fought for the final time, that Tarekles III led a force of two hundred and fifty men against the armies of two thousand each and won. According to legend, Tarekles himself took the life of both claimants, causing their armies to route even as the unknown claimant and his forces bit at their heels. Rising from anonymity, Tarekles III rode to the gates of Makhiren, marched through the great streets of the city, through the halls of the Imperial Estate, and sat upon the Imperial Throne.
It was soon revealed by Tarekles III and the companions that led his army that Tarekles III was the last child of Camilia I, who gave birth on her death bed at the old age of 150. Thought to be the son of a celestial who had blessed Camilia I with a child only weeks before her death, thus naming the mysterious illness that had killed her, Tarekles III was named Emperor of the Makhavirene Empire.
Working immediately to consolidate his power, smoke out the remaining forces of the dead claimants, and repair the damage the war had caused, Tarekles III seemed tireless. The newly crowned emperor was quickly immortalized in song and legend as a hero who led an army of angels across the field of battle to cast down false kings and reclaim his rightful place as emperor. Tarekles III used the myth and legend that surrounded him to begin the formation of the Pantheon that would become standard for centuries after his death.
Tarekles III was an emperor known for his religious and administrative reforms, but was also a remarkable military leader. Defending his empire against the scavengers that sought to pick at the wounds that the succession war had left, Tarekles III proved himself entirely capable of holding his power. The military structures that had remained relatively stagnant since the days of his great grand uncle, Tarekles II, were reformed into a defensive force as the first indication of Tarekles III’s non-expansionist policies. With almost the entirety of the Makhavireth landmass under the empire’s rule, the young emperor saw no need for a standing offensive army.
Outliving even his mother’s respectable 150 years, Tarekles III passed at the age of 187. Leaving a host of children, a solid line of succession, and a clear set of laws for the possible eventuality that the Teluna family line would fail, Tarekles III was laid to rest beneath the first Pantheonic Temple of Makhiren, and his eldest son Casitus I Teluna was crowned.
Casitus I was the first in the line of the Silent Emperors, those rulers of the Makhavirene Empire that focused solely on administration, reformation, and internal rule. Despite the name, the Silent Emperors era was an era of foreign outreach and imperial strength. Vast movements in diplomacy and foreign affairs took place within the empire from the rule of Casitus I to the end of his grandchild’s husband Lydus VIII Aventius’s rule, and several alliances, trade agreements, and magical breakthroughs were the result. The era of the Silent Emperors was perhaps the golden age of the empire, and its people held the Teluna family as saints.
With the end of the Silent Emperors era at the resignation of Lydus VIII Aventius, his son Verinas IV Teluna rose to power, the twelfth ruler of the Teluna Empire since Tarekles I in the year IDa 712. Emperor Verinas IV Teluna is infamous as the Last Emperor of Makhavireth, for his hand in its downfall through manipulation and horrific experimentation through magic and forbidden sciences. With the death of Verinas IV, the Makhavirene Empire collapsed and historians in the present day declare the date of his death, IDa 735, to be the official end date of the Empire.
Verinas IV Teluna, Last of His Name
Verinas IV’s mother Volcatia I was a greatly loved and deeply religious ruler. Through-out her entire 32-year-rule, Volcatia I solidified the power of the Pantheon, granting tremendous legislative influence on the heads of the temples. The Pantheon’s various temples began raising hundreds of knightly orders, monasteries, and standing armies, with the Pantheonic Temple in Makhiren holding a standing army within the capital city itself. When Volcatia I passed away at the age of 110, her husband Lydus VIII Aventius, son of one of the royal families subservient to the Teluna family, acted as emperor until their young son came of age.
Lydus VIII’s rule and his son Verinas IV’s young life were smothered by the continuous growth of the Pantheon’s power. Wherever Lydus VIII attempted to enact reform under his own command, the Pantheon would step in and use its own influence, heightened by the man’s own wife, to counteract the emperor’s will and use the momentum to enact their own reforms in the name of their temples, citing Lydus VIII’s effective regency as cause. Despite the sitting emperor’s protests, political and diplomatic ties, and his best efforts, the Pantheon continued to grow both in size and power with many of the strongest military factions taken over by religious knightly orders. By time Verinas IV was old enough to take the throne the Empire was barely short of a theocracy, and his rule was threatened by the very organization his mother had helped raise.
As Verinas IV came to power, his first order was the execution of his father, under charges of conspiracy to assassinate the emperor. Instead of showing his hand and taking the offensive against the Pantheon, he worked with them to take out the man who had struggled the hardest against their rise, and accused his father of poisoning his own wife, Verinas IV’s mother. Regardless of Lydus VIII’s sparse declarations of innocence the man was put to death and hanged by the Pantheon’s forces. Verinas IV was hailed as the rightful king, triumphant over a traitorous father, and the royal Aventius line was dethroned, disinherited, and dismissed, with all its estates, lands, and assets seized by the Imperial line. This added nearly another third of the emperor’s already considerable holdings to the Teluna family, but what Verinas IV valued most was the political connections.
With the entire Aventius family disinherited, Verinas IV, as emperor, inherited all debts owed to them, as well as all treaties, trade agreements, and all standing military forces. Situated among the coastal mainland of the Coxani Archipelago, the Aventius royal family had held the most powerful trading force in the empire. Under Verinas IV’s personal attentions the economic power of the Imperial estates grew by orders of magnitude unseen since the early days of the empire. The Pantheon, the religious heart of the empire, now had the material heart of the empire to contend with. However sure the leaders of the Pantheon were of Verinas IV’s loyalty to the church a shiver of fear would run through their hearts as the people of the empire looked to material gain before their religious duties.
With the empire’s treasury filled to bursting, Verinas IV began investing in endless projects across the empire, from arcane research, to infrastructure, to rebuilding the empire’s own military forces, even incorporating many of the Pantheon’s own works into his own. One of the most infamous of these works was the creation of the races known as the gnolls, goblinoids, and the Forged. It was the discovery of these creations, and the endless horrid experiments that wrought them, that saw Emperor Verinas IV Teluna declared a heretic by the Pantheon, creating a schism between church and state that caused the empire to erupt in civil war for the final time.
War of False Gods
As the Pantheon declared heresy upon the name of the emperor, the various knightly orders under control of the Pantheon went to war with the knightly and military orders under control of the emperor. With the shattering of the ties between church and state, the various royal and noble families joined sides, or declared independence, and the empire fell into chaos. Still holding large swathes of land in the central continent of Makha, maintaining the loyalty of many noble families, and fielding the monstrous creatures he had helped create, Verinas IV stood his ground and waged a terrible war with the Pantheon. Due to his disinheriting of the Aventius royal family, most of the remaining royal families either joined the church or broke away from the conflict entirely, declaring their ancestral kingdoms as sovereign nations once more.
The Pantheon, for all their influence and righteous indignation, were little more than a figurehead in the war. The church held only as much power as the noble families and landowners granted it, and the knightly orders were loyal to their gods and country before the leaders of the Pantheon themselves. Despite this, the Pantheon rallied a considerable amount of support and matched the emperor in force and zeal.
With the power of the church at the back of Verinas IV’s enemies, the emperor turned to deific power himself. Beseeching a myriad of gods for aid, Verinas IV’s armies were granted the blessing of numerous gods within the pantheon. Realizing their own gods were playing both sides of the conflict, the Pantheon’s power waned as the nobles relied less on the false security of the church and more on their own force of arms. As their own power fell out from under them, the Pantheon collapsed, and the War of False Gods became little more than the dying gasps of a shattered empire.
Verinas IV’s life ended not in glory, and not by the edge of an assassin’s knife, but at the hands of his own son. It was never discovered why Verinas V took his father’s life, but in the end the last Emperor of the Makhavirene Empire was smothered in his bed at the hands of a child who fell from the window moments later.
With the death of the emperor the war became nothing more than petty skirmishes between neighboring nations, newly freed of the once unifying force of the Teluna Empire. The collapse of the empire lasted for another century, with the Teluna family line hunted down man, woman, and child, until the last child to bear the Teluna name was smothered in a crib as his mother lie dead in the next room, both mere hours from boarding a ship towards an eastern island chain, into exile.
Little of the political power that was the empire continued after its collapse. Hundreds of sovereign kingdoms declared independence, with many more smaller duchies and lordships declaring the same. Makhiren stood as its own nation under the rule of a pretender family, falsely claiming descent from Tarekles I himself, and became a powerful nation of its own. No empire rose from the ashes of the last, only smaller kingdoms with hunger for independence and personal power.
The Teluna Empire lasted for 735 years from its founding by Tarekles I Teluna, to its fall at the death of Verinas IV Teluna. Long enough to see the three continents of Makha, Vikar, and Rethil consolidated under its power, to form the singular landmass empire of Makhavireth. United as a singular power, the people of Makhavireth grew to astounding heights of military, economic, and diplomatic strength, and unparalleled in education of the sciences, arcane study, and its infrastructure.
The Teluna family itself was a wonder, claiming the first dragonrider since the Primordial War, celestial heritage as of Tarekles III in its sixth generation, and though it was one cause of its own downfall, the creation of entirely new species. Unmatched in personal strength and ability, any member of the Teluna family line was a force to be reckoned with in either the political sphere or on the battlefield.
The empire itself left its mark on every corner of the three continents, with its culture reaching even the far shores of Vengehar and Cra’awrios, as well as countless other lands and nations. The culture of the empire was rich and beautiful, with works of art and architecture to rival the gods and celestials themselves. Incorporating every race of Makhavireth and every class from richest to poorest, the empire’s ghost haunts the present and will surely haunt the future for centuries to come.
At its greatest height shortly before its collapse, the Makhavirene Empire held the entirety of the Makhavireth landmass under its rule. All three continents of Makha, Vikar, and Rethil, from the smallest town to the largest capital city swore fealty to the Emperor until the War of False Gods. Several island chains, small townships, minor duchies, and foreign embassies existed in lands apart from the mainland as well.
Makha is the central continent of Makhavireth, holding the capital city of the empire, Makhiren. The continent is a hilly, forested region, with several large rivers coursing down from its eastern Orientis and western Allarian mountain ranges which separate Makha from the other two continents. Bountiful farmland covered most of Makha in the time of the empire, with rich towns and villages scattered along various trade routes. Makha was home to only one major kingdom at the founding of the empire, and that was the kingdom to which Tarekles I had been born into and later claimed for his own. All other cities and settlements were either independent or only very minor nations.
Vikar is the Western continent of Makhavireth, and has been home to the surface strongholds of dwarves since the race first interacted with the surface world. Along with the dwarven strongholds, babarian kingdoms claimed the north, pirate, mercenary, or criminal bands claimed the archipelago of the south, and lesser human tribes claimed the plains between. Aside from the Allarian Mountain range to the east separating the continent from Makha, the Orschtenvein range runs along the entirety of the western coast, meeting the northern coast with sheer cliffs and falling into the sea in the south, creating the Coxani Archipelago. The reign of Verinas II saw the great canal highways of the empire run through the entirety of the continent, connecting the major cities with great man-made river systems that exist, damaged and in disrepair, into the present day.
Many great nations stood within Vikar, claiming great swathes of land and a massive populous. The barbarian tribes of Rethiln, who fled from the fall of their old kingdom in the continent of Rethil, claimed a great mountain on the northern coast, and built an empire to rival the Teluna Empire upon their first meeting. Human kingdoms and duchies called the plains and forests of the central lands of the continent home, trading and warring among themselves through history. Wealthy city-states stood within the archipelago to the south, claiming great naval superiority in the Godwave Sea. Orc tribes claimed most of the Orschtenvein mountains as their own, warring with the sparse goliath tribes who preferred the milder Allarian mountains to the east, but clawed out a living where the orcs didn't dwell. When the dwarves made first contact with the surface world, they did so from the Stondruic Peak, the tallest mountain on Makhavireth, and claimed the mountain itself as their surface stronghold. All would be conquered under the Makhavirene Empire, before claiming independence once more with the collapse.
Rethil is a diverse continent in culture and land. The continent holds the forest lands of the elves, great marshlands, mountainous strongholds, and the large, grassy plains of the Tyraig peninsula. Kingdoms of man, elf, and dwarf claimed the lands of Rethil, with the largest cultural convergence in the lands of Dergomal. A few human kingdoms carved out their borders around the forested northern lands of the elves, and the mountainous eastern lands of the dwarves, with a dozen or so lesser duchies besides. All were consolidated under the rule of Verinas I and II, and the elven slave trade was instituted under the latter. Of all the great man-made river systems of the empire, Rethil held only two, and of the great highways it held only three, each one crossing just far enough to reach the elven capital of Imeána and the dwarven kingdom of Quizon.
The major settlements of the empire varied as much as the people who lived within. Mighty human capitals, sacred elven forests, and deep dwarven strongholds, all swore allegiance to the Teluna family by the end.
The seat of the empire, Makhiren's construction began under the reign of Verinas II, and finished under the rule of his daughter Camilia I. A mix of human, elven, and dwarven build, the capital has stood strong since the second century of the Empire, and has remained a center of trade and political power in the days since its fall.
Its old name long since lost to the purging of information by the current hobgoblin rulers, Dergomal is a strategically powerful city in the mountains of the Rethil continent. Originally ruled by humans, the city was a hotbed of cultural interaction in the time of the empire, and has remained so ever since.
The capital city of the elves in all the landmass, the city and surrounding forests fell to Emperor Verinas I before his assassination by one of its peoples. The assassination was repaid with the enslavement of the elven race, gradually from criminals to all elves save the royal family itself. With the collapse of the empire and resulting wars, the elven people freed themselves, and a period of on-and-off counter-enslavement began until the Collared Truce was signed between the most powerful human kingdoms and the elven royal family in the capital itself, ensuring the freedom of either race under the other.
New Tempest stands as the largest city in the Coxani Archipelago, and the largest port in Makhavireth. Holding over a hundred ships at any time in the day, New Tempest is a bustle of trade, mercenary work, naval power, and intrigue, with all shades of person from royalty to petty criminal walking its wooden docks and city streets. In the time of the Empire, New Tempest stood as a little sister to Makhiren in terms of commerce, and saw more people pass under the twin statues of its largest inlet in a week than many other cities saw in a year.
Rethiln had always been a barbarian city, even under the rule of the empire. The stronghold itself fell not to the armies of the empire, but to the arms of its daughters - Every major noble of Rethiln had a spouse related to the emperor, and the king himself had a Teluna for a wife. It was with these marriages that the mighty barbarian kingdom fell, not through fire and steel but with beauty. This is the reason the statue of Deliah, Goddess of Love and Beauty, stands in the center of the city, rivaling the tall mountain peaks that surround the city walls.
Stondruic was the first surface stronghold of the dwarves in Makhavireth, and the strongest. Boasting a mighty entrance set within the largest mountain peak of the Orschtenvein Mountains, with a gate half the size of the mountain itself, the great stronghold was thought to be impregnable until the coming of Emperor Verinas II. Using espionage, assassination, and military might only near the end, Verinas II's forces opened the gate from within, and the first human conqueror of the dwarves in Makhavireth marched into a city that welcomed him. The city remained loyal to the emperor until the War of False Gods, when their deity Borlum declared themself against the empire, and the city isolated itself until the collapse had run its course. It remains to the present day a solitary but tempered city.
The breadbasket of the empire, Traktiera has stood as a rich and prosperous city-state for centuries, falling to the empire's armies through force rather than attrition. The city rose from the ashes of a tyrant king's rule long before the empire was founded, and was nothing less than a boon to the empire when it was conquered, feeding the empire's vast armies and becoming precisely what its title suggests - The breadbasket of the empire.
The fortifications of the Makhavirene Empire spanned the entirety of the landmass, from the simplest of watchtowers to the mightiest of citadels, with great gates standing to block access to vast canyons and dwarven strongholds defending against the might of the fallen elves. Even the smallest township held some form of fortified point in its lands to keep law and order in the name of the emperor.
One of the first sights that comes to mind in the eyes of the average scholar when the topic of Imperial Fortifications is raised is the wonder known as Camilia's Gate. Commissioned by Camilia I's son Tarekles III, the massive fortification stands as a wall connecting the two sides of a great mountain pass within the Allarian Mountains between the continent of Makha and Vikar. The wall holds a single immense gate at its feet, over seven stories tall and thirty-five feet wide, controlling one of the few passes between the two continents. The gate itself stands open in all but the direst of circumstances, with the last closing of the gate taking place during the infernal invasion itself. With no proper empire to maintain it, the gate in the present day is a worn and weary thing, defended by a small order of knights, sworn to the goddess Alana Sjalfili.
The Imperial Estate stands in the former capital of the empire, Makhiren. Built by the dwarves in a mix of human, elven, and their own architecture, commissioned by Verinas II, and finished in the days of Camilia I, the Imperial Estate is an impossibly unassailable citadel in the heart of the city. With walls taller than many of the city spires, and towers taller still, with a multitude of baileys forming nothing short of a maze, tight turns nearly impossible to navigate with siege equipment, and a complex of storage cellars large enough to feed half the city for a year, the Imperial Estate was perhaps the most defensible point in the empire. Even in present day many rooms are rediscovered and others are lost, with relics from the early days of the empire found almost regularly. Without the empire at its head, and with the blueprints of the estate lost, navigating the estate in its entirety is impossible, and thus the eventual fall of the estate was possible through intrigue, espionage, traitors, and hidden networks. It is said the estate could only ever fall as the empire did - From within.
While not the most extravagant or remarkable of fortifications from without, Fort Daleheart was a fortress against the powers of the outer planes. Believing the celestials and infernals fully capable of dismantling his empire, Erinhak I son of Tarekles III built Fort Daleheart in the region of Dergomal and placed it under the command of the Daleheart family, a halfling noble line under the elven royal family. The fort was built with a specific purpose in mind - The combat and capture of extraplanar beings. Arcane, holy, and unholy magics were worked into the stones of the fortress, and every rock and tree held glyphs, runes, and sigils against anything not of the material plane. Though appearing to be a normal fortress, if a bit large, Fort Daleheart was perhaps the most remarkable fortress in the empire's hands, capable as it was of holding and combating any force then known to imperial minds. Outside of the bastions themselves, Fort Daleheart was one of the last fortifications to fall to Infernal forces during the invasions, and fell only when the Daleheart family and their forces lost heart and fled.
At its height, the Teluna Empire was a mass of royalty, nobility, bureaucracy, guilds, and military power, all wrapped up under the unifying rule of the Teluna Imperial Family. In the simplest telling, royal families swore fealty to the Teluna Family, noble families swore fealty to the royal families, bureaucracies rose up under the nobility, guilds rose up under those bureaucracies, and the military stood loyal to whoever filled its belly. This is far less than the whole truth, however, as various noble families stood independent of royalty, guilds claimed whole cities under their rule, several city-states stood under the power of republics, and many other such complications besides.
Above all, the Imperial Teluna Family stood at the head of the Makhavirene Empire. It was Tarekles I Teluna who founded the empire, and it was with the death of the last Teluna child that the empire itself was declared dead. Through-out the seven centuries of imperial rule the Teluna family held the reigns of the empire in every aspect of its existence. Every military power swore fealty to the Emperor Teluna first, and their respective employer second. Every trading company conducted business in the grace of the Emperor. Every magistrate passed judgement in the name of the Emperor. The Pantheon itself bowed first to their gods, and then to the Emperor. Every day of their life, every citizen of the empire saw the power of the Imperial Family at work, from their schooling as children to their funeral at the end of their lives. It was only when the last emperor Verinas IV was declared a heretic by the bloated Pantheon that the imperial family's legitimacy, rather than their ability, was called into question.
Royalty and Nobility
Over a hundred royal families existed in the empire, and well over a thousand noble families besides, many of them independent. All swore fealty to the Emperor and conducted business within their realms as they saw fit under imperial law. Those royal families who surrendered peacefully to the emperor may trace their lineage back long before the rise of Tarekles I, but many royal lines ended and began with a refusal. The youngest of the royal families in Makhavireth may trace their lineage back to smaller noble families or lesser families of note that were raised to their position by a conquering emperor when the former royal family refused to yield.
The Royal families of the empire normally ruled freely, so long as their rule was in accordance with imperial law. Wanton torture and slaughter were forbidden under the rule of the Emperor, in most cases, but almost all else was at their own discretion. Everything from the shining freedom of republics to the grueling serfdom of feudal barbarity existed under the rule of the Teluna Empire. Most fell under the system of a feudal monarchy, with a royal monarch at the head of several noble families, each ruling their own settlements and provinces under the other.
A level of aristocracy existed under the rule of the empire. Wealth bought most everything in the lands of Makhavireth, and so long as one's purse was heavy they could live as free as the emperor himself. It was perhaps this aristocracy, some argue, that led to the corruption and disloyalty so prevalent in the final days of the empire, with the highest class of low blooded citizens holding as much power as some royal families. Others still argue that it was because of this aristocracy that so much of civilization survived through the collapse of the empire, with the coffers of the most generous of the aristocrats bleeding almost dry in keeping their fellow man alive and safe in those dark times.
Most aristocrats of the time earned their fortune and influence through the great trading guilds and bureaucratic offices free for the taking to those who were capable. Any with a silver tongue and quick wit could grow in wealth and power quickly enough under the rule of the empire, and those who had the best of either would command great respect, running entire trading empires beneath the empire proper.
Under the emperor, a legislative system was brought up in the form of the various ruling houses that had sworn loyalty to the Teluna Family. Passing laws through vote and debate, the system was often called a Congress, a Senate, and a Parliament, consisting of the royal families and independent noble houses, all of the most influential in their respective circles. In the closing days of the empire, even the greater aristocrats held seats on this council.
The purpose of the legislative system was to create and pass laws in the name of the emperor, so that a uniform level of humanity and order may be held across the lands of the empire. The most basic of laws were passed for the empire as a whole, and signed by the emperor himself, consisting of the treatment of citizens of the empire, such as a law against murder or the torture of innocent men. Others were more specific, in location and subject, such as the treatment of one noble family's serfs, who had been murdered and beaten in such a way that shocked every corner of the empire.
Largely, the legislative system was followed by the greater portion of the empire, with the members of the council swearing to uphold the laws to the best of their abilities. Each royal member upheld these laws by charging their nobles, and each noble by charging their landholders, and so on. Whatever law was passed by the legislative system was, effectively, the law of the empire, often signed by the Emperor's own hand.
The lowest level of Imperial Official, a magistrate saw to the business of individual cities and towns, bringing the emperor's justice to the farthest corners of the empire. Whenever a major law was broken, normally those passed by the legislative system or the local ruler, the offender would be brought before the local magistrate and tried for their crimes. The magistrate would normally sentence the offender within the day, with only the most complicated of offenses sentenced within a fortnight. All other, lesser offences such as theft were normally resolved by local militia and city guard, with punishments such as lashings or the stocks.
The most notable of the Magistrate's powers was the Right of Dismissal. In the event that a ruler of a city or town was considered incapable of rule, or declared a traitor, a magistrate held the right to dismiss such a ruler and institute a new one, selected by either a higher authority or, in the most dire of circumstances, the magistrate themselves. To enforce this power, the magistrate was given a squadron if elite troops stationed within the magistrate's own home.
Society and Culture
The most widely recognized national emblem of the Makhavirene Empire is the Dragon's Eye, a single white eye with a black pupil, normally on a background of crimson and royal blue. This eye symbolizes the dragon of Tarekles I, which was conquered and subjugated by the soon-to-be emperor in his youth, just as he would use the dragon to conquer and subjugate the continent of Makha. It remained a part of the empire's banner even after its collapse, and is in the present a part of the crest of the Makhiren bastion.