Sit a while, traveler, and share a cup of ale with us. How can it be that you have not heard the tale of how our Empire came to be the place of civilization and ease that it is today? No matter. If you you are to journey through the heart of the Empire, there are many things you will need to know ...
Many, many generations ago, more years than a man can count, our ancestors held this land. They farmed here, fished here, hunted here, and lived peacefully with each other. But then the Grrrlf fell upon us. The furred monsters swept across the land, killing without discrimination and without mercy. They drove us from our homes, across the deserts and mountains and oceans to safety.
And so we lived for many years, exiled from our homeland, until the day that we discovered that the magical forces of the world could be tamed and used. Armed with this knowledge, the new mages joined with massive human armies, and they marched upon the Grrrlf and regained their lands. The Grrrlf were driven into the mountains, and the Shepherds were set to watch them.
Many more generations passed, and the mages grew in power and stature, some ruling as kings in their own right. But a great magical disaster brought the golden age of magic to a halt. Seeing the destruction that a capricious mage could wreak, the common people began to fear them, and drove all mages from the cities and towns.
The provinces, now governing themselves by mundane means, set to bickering and warring amongst themselves. This continued for decades, until the ruler of the Antaran province offered the banished mages amnesty. He gathered them to his side, and (thus well-armed) declared himself Emperor. The surrounding provinces were soon subdued, increasing the fledgling Empire's lands.
And so the Empire has flourished through the careful guidance of Emperors and Empresses, ever since that day. The day-to-day governing of the Empire has been relegated to representatives and councils, since no one man or woman could possibly oversee the entire realm without assistance. The Jaegers, the oldest families of the Empire, provide all of the necessary administrative and managerial functions of the royal house. The grand council - called the Shira - creates the laws of the Empire and resolves trade disagreements. Lest they become too powerful, the Shira is closely watched by the Jaegers.
The Imperial Consuls act as the Emperor's eyes, ears, and voice in every major city of the Empire. The Governors of each city manage the day-to-day affairs and make certain that the laws of the Empire are heeded. The Guilds manage the tradesmen of the realm; therefore, the Guilds are powerful indeed. And the Church of the Triune watches over all, each of its branches representing a different aspect of the three-faced god: Kor (the champion of justice, knowledge, and duty), Senaedrin (the lady of compassion, simplicity, and healing), and Henne (the true child of innocence, creativity, laughter, and wonder).
But know this also, traveler: the Empire is not as it used to be. Bribery and corruption are rife at every level of government and trade. The common man has little voice in the land today. And matters have become even worse since the Feeblepox descended upon us. Two neighboring lands saw the decimation of Imperial troops by the disease, and they mounted a fierce offensive which claimed an entire province of Antaran land. With few troops to defend against them, pirates have also made an appearance, becoming a very real danger upon the seas. And their land-bound cousins the bandits now stalk the woods between villages.
This is a dangerous time to be journeying, traveler. Best of luck to you in your quest, and perhaps one day you will return to this inn to tell us tales of your own.