The current Emperor of Antara is Justin Valorian V, who has reigned for approximately ten years. Aurora Valorian, beloved of the Empire, is his Daughter-Heir; her future Consort, currently traveling to Antara for the engagement ceremony, is Farril Kalibanque, Third-Heir to Chail's Throne of Light.
The Imperial Family resides in the city of Antara.
History and Geography
After the magical disaster that destroyed most of Chuno and created the Waste, mages had been persecuted and hunted from human-controlled lands. Lar Teredal, Imperial Scribe, recorded how the young Lord Valorian, unsatisfied with being King of Antara, had set his sights on neighboring Burlen, a far richer state whose gold-minted coins had become the continental standard. Valorian offered sanctuary to the mages; suspicious at first, they soon took the chance to practice their craft openly. Valorian sent them into Burlen as sleeper agents, where they spent the next two decades fomenting internal chaos with their abilities. With this strain on Burlen's sociopolitical climate, Valorian's annexation of the state was received by its citizens as a welcome change, and he was lauded for conquering them without spilling a drop of blood.
Valorian also convinced the Triune's three branches that their faith could be spread better in a unified, centrally-protected domain. With their support, he proclaimeed himself Emperor and proceeded to conquer the surrounding area. After his death the Antaran Empire continued to grow, with mages eagerly swearing fealty to its Emperors in exchange for Imperial amnesty.
Notable events in Antaran history include the loss of Emperor Bennaren's beloved daughter and her fiancee on the ill-fated ship Cyrilan and the founding of the Museum of Antiquities in Ravenne by scholar-Empress Corlene.
Today, the Antaran Empire comprises the provinces of Antara, Chuno, Ghan, Januli, Ticor, and Pianda, spanning the game's entire visible map. Mehrat, lying along Antara's northwest border, annexed two of the Empire's provinces during instability caused by the Feeblepox epidemic; the two countries are currently at war and the border is under dispute. Antara treats with Chail, anticipating the impending alliance between the Imperial and Royal families. An ambassador to Grrrlfland, an unseen land north of Chuno, is appointed by the end of the game.
Politics and Law
The structure of Antara's government is laid out in Antaran Political Structure, a book that can be read in the Pernath Academy Library in Burlen.
The Emperor or Empress is considered the cornerstone of Antaran civilization. Succession rests with the enchanted Imperial Cloak, which "seeks out" the most suitable living descendant of Valorian I to take the throne. The Emperor manages "foreign affairs, relations between the sentient races, and the taxation of the Empire," and commands the Imperial army through the appointed Marshall. Any Antaran subject, no matter their station, can seek a personal audience with the Emperor to request a boon or seek redress for a grievance; as "the champion and embodiment of Imperial law," his verdict is the last resort of a wronged citizen.
The Emperor is advised by mages, ambassadors, and other dignitaries, and is personally guarded by the Emperor's Shadows, an elite cadre of mages specifically tasked with his safety.
The Jaegers, the "highest of noble Houses" whose families supported Valorian before the Empire, form the administrative staff of the Empire and the Imperial Palace; oversee the Shira; and monitor adherence to Imperial law.
The Grand Council (or Shira), a governing body "comprised of representatives from every guild, province, and House," manages public spending, legislation, and dispute resolution between provinces, guilds, or Houses. Members serve a set term: three months for guild members, six months for prominent Houses, and twelve months for provincial representatives. It is widely regarded as riddled with corruption.
Imperial Consuls, the Emperor's personally-appointed "eyes and ears," represent him in every major Imperial city; the Consul's office is often the city's Imperial intelligence center and the Consul "speaks with the voice of the Emperor."
Hereditary governors from prominent Houses oversee each Antaran province, a privilege awarded to them by the Emperor, enforcing existing legislation and dispensing justice for crimes not handled Triunally, such as rape and murder. Though it rarely happens, the Emperor can divest a House of governorship and bestow it on a different House. Known provincial governors are Lord Escobar of Pianda, Lord Caverton of Ticor, and Lord Sheffield of Januli.
Antara's Guilds regulate quality, set prices, and "lobby on behalf of their members and interests." Guilds can be organized centrally or locally to their city, but membership is mandatory for anyone wishing to practice a Guild-regulated craft.
Regional magistrates and mayors operate on a strictly municipal level, overseeing the cities and towns under their jurisdictions. Regional magistrates do not have the jurisdiction to try cases of treason.
The realm has, or had, knighthoods.
Roads and bridges are maintained by the Empire rather than the various provinces.
The Church of the Triune, disseminated by the descendants of enlightened Shepherds in the Harkune Mountains, is widespread throughout the Empire; the Sisters of Senaedrin in particular continue to have a major role in the recovery of the Chunese population after the Waste disaster and are relied upon by the entire Empire for their healing abilities. Priests of the Triune also officiate at weddings and funerals, and punish certain crimes.
The custom of fostering the children of nobles with the branches of the Triune "for education and spiritual indoctrination" is deeply entrenched. High Brother Vaughn, the Hand of Kor, has great influence with the Emperor, recently convincing him to turn down a plan to expand fostering to common folk which was put forth by the Hand of Henne, High Brother Fellich Marr.
Oaths both mild and severe are sworn in names of the three Faces.
Culture and Education
A Spring Festival marking Senaedrin's annual rebirth is celebrated in several Antaran provinces, with nobles, performances, and vendors crowding the streets of major cities. Antara also has a Harvest Festival and may have an annual Joyman Competition.
Theater is valued in Antara, particularly by devotees of Isten actress Maria Liana and the romances and tragedies she performs in the city's amphitheatre.
The Museum of Antiquities in Ravenne, founded by Empress Corlene, exhibits artifacts from before and early into the Empire's existence, including a bust of Valorian I, rare pre-Migration art, and the only known portrait of the famous mage B.
Chunese tree reverence, the care and protection of "family trees" over generations since the creation of the Waste, is deeply entrenched in Chunese culture. Tradition rather than religion, the practice associates the spirit of a living tree with the soul and life of a family.
Commoner children are educated in multi-age schools local to their cities or towns, such as those in Ormede and Teal, while high-born children are fostered with the branches of the Triune. Pernath Academy in Burlen is "the oldest and largest repository of knowledge in the Empire," including texts on human history and a Department of Vell Studies, and attracts scholars from all over Ramar.
Calendar and Currency
Timekeeping in the Empire rests on a year of twelve moons (months) divided into groups of four, each group named after a Face of the Triune. The Spring Festival starts the cycle, which runs from the First through Fourth Moons of Senaedrin through the four Moons of Henne in the fall months and thence through the four winter Moons of Kor.
An Antaran day is divided into twelve hours.
The standard monetary unit across the Antaran continent, dating to before the formation of the Empire, is a stamped gold coin, the burla. Named for the rich province of Burlen annexed by the Empire to gain control of its stable currency, the burla is the only coin seen or used in the game. It is a shared-inventory item, stackable up to 250 burlas and automatically added and deducted from shared inventory whenever a transaction occurs.
- "CONSUL" is the answer to a trivia chest found in the swamps east of Torlith: "In every city / The Emperor maintains his / Eyes and ears."