The Empire of the Divine Sun
Capitol City: Shiyong Jiu (pro She-yawn You) – the City of Lasting Peace (Chuukan Region)
Relative World Location: Southwest Othonia, beyond the Periphery
Current Rulers: The Serene Empress Youso Kachiko (Eldest Daughter of the Former Emperor, Twin to Youso Takeda)
Type of Government: Empire
Guild Associations / Headquarters: None
Cultural Advantage: Start with 5 Mana total instead of 1
Half cost buy-in to the Dragon Style or Phoenix Style Martial School.
Note: Dragon Style is NOT available at Character Creation.
Association / Affinity: None
Sheng Tai is divided into five provinces, each of which are further divided into five prefectures, a Sixth province existed, but was dissolved nearly seven-hundred years ago after an attempted assassination of the Emperor Youso VI.
Chuukan (pro Shu-khan):
The Imperial Province, located in the northwestern center of the Empire near the headwaters of the great river, is filled almost completely with lush, fertile farmlands that produce roughly a quarter of the Empire’s foodstuffs and is the only “public” Province in the Empire. Small villages dot the entirety of the Province, with the Imperial City being the single largest area of civilization within the Province and the Nation. The Imperial Sigil is a rampant Phoenix in flame, in honor of the First Emperor, Fenikkusu Seitoushi. The Imperial Colors are Copper, Red, and Gold. The Imperial Gem is Citrine.
Ruler: The Enlightened Emperor Youso Arashi
Capitol: Shiyong Jiu
Other Cities: Unknown
Hagane (pro Hah-ga-nay):
The Southeastern Province is an extremely mountainous region that provides roughly sixty percent of the empire’s metal and ore requirements. Their main duty, historically, has been to guard Corsair’s Pass against incursions by bandits and Corsair Pirates, however a recently struck Peace Accord with the Corsairs has left their people without a clear direction and duty, a matter that is being further negotiated and rectified via Imperial Decree. The Empress has expressed a desire for the Province to return its focus once again to the production of ore and trade goods, and has recruited a number of its craftsmen to help with construction of the new Riverport and Imperial Fleet in Chuukan. Villages are sparse and well defended, with guard posts dotting every road throughout the Province.
Ruler: Matsu Hatori (Male)
Taiyou (pro Tie-you):
The Northwestern Province, due north of Chuukan, is a partially mountainous, partially lush plains region that provides roughly a quarter of the Empire’s overall foodstuffs as well as about fifteen percent of its metal ores. Villages in the region are spread out and consist primarily of large farming communities.
Ruler: Tanaka Atsuko (Female)
Other Cities: Unknown
Mokuzai (pro Mo-kuu-sigh):
The Eastern Province is home to a vast swath of rice paddies and farmland, producing nearly half of the empire’s foodstuffs. It guards the southern edge of the river, from the marshlands to the Stone Guardians and southward to Hagane’s borders. Villages are very small and sparse, more resembling encampments rather than permanent settlements. The bulk of the landscape is dotted with private farmsteads, vineyards, and orchards.
Ruler: Tia “Izumi” Kesh (Female)
Other Cities: Unknown
Yoru (pro Your-ooo):
The Southwestern Province is a melting pot of thick forests, rolling plains and high hillsides which produce various raw materials in small quantities without excelling in any particular area. The only exception is that its proximity to the For’ Seaa’r (the Forest of Sorrows) accounts for nearly three-fourths of Sheng Tai’s lumber supply. Villages dot the landscape but are usually quite small and regularly patrolled.
Ruler: Olithron “Shinigami” Valeth (Male)
Other Cities: Unknown
Yama (pro: yah-mah):
The Northeastern Province, closest to the Stone Guardians and the river mouth, has recently been reinstated by the Empress, and has been given into the care of the Heir Apparent as a wedding gift, per Imperial Decree. Previously, it had been split up amongst the neighboring Mokuzai and Taiyou provinces upon the death of its former ruler, Yumeiji Shiro (Male, Deceased) some 400 years ago. Lord Yumeiji and his wife met their demise at the hands of their daughter and only child, Yukina Shiro, who had become corrupted and driven mad by dark forces. Lady Yukina was sentenced to Death for her crimes, but instead Banished herself to the Mirror Realm before the headsman could swing his axe. She was later freed from that Realm and brought to justice, being finally laid to rest by the Heroes of Skyfall. There are those who still claim the Yama bloodline, but the family name officially died out with Lord Yumeiji. All of the family’s surviving relatives were female, and from the line of the Lord’s disgraced younger brother. There were no male heirs, nor any heirs at all, remaining within the direct lineage to pass along the family lands and title.
Ruler: Nagaihi-uta Seitoushi (male)
Rhukichia (pro: Roo-key-she-ah):
The Rhukichiin Nation is considered its own completely separate Sovereign Nation, however its own borders are held within those of Sheng Tai, creating a lasting alliance of cooperation and trade between the two new neighbors. The Rhukichiin people have recently been granted a return to their ancestral homeland by Imperial Decree, in exchange for their assistance in helping to defeat the ancient enemy of both Nations, Hoshito Seitoushi, elder brother and rival of the First Emperor, also known as the Lord of Dragons, or the DragonLord. It was in skyward battle with Hoshito that Fenikkusu fell and was thus Banished from his Kingdom, resulting in his brother’s tyrannical manipulation and terrorization of the Sheng Tai population and Royal Family for nearly a millenia. Hoshito has since been Redeemed by the Heroes of Skyfall and his love for the Ancestral Avatar of Light, Ki’irin, and has been returned to his Elemental Form of the Star Phoenix. As such, he has willingly cast aside his former titles and mantle, and has sworn to live according to local laws and customs, per Ki’irin’s wishes. The Rhukichian Nation has built their capital city around the Black Tower, home to Hoshito and Ki’irin, with their Blessing. Their territory was once the DragonLord’s domain, containing the most heavily wooded region and Sacred Groves of the For Seaa’r, the Forest of Sorrows. Now that its People and the Lady of Light have returned though, the area has been renamed by the locals to For Jakaa’r, the Forest of Joy. It was a quarrel with Fenikkusu’s son, Kujaku, the Peacock Emperor, that initially drove the Rhukichiin people out of Sheng Tai, fleeing for their lives. As such, the Empress saw fit to welcome them home with open arms in exchange for the alliance and guidance in dealing with the outside world’s unfamiliar trade system and customs. In so doing, both leaders fulfilled an Ancient Prophecy about the Rhukichiin’s eventual return to their homeland, and helped them to break the Wanderer’s Curse upon them.
Sheng Tai has no particular allies or enemies at this time; it has been isolated for over a thousand years. Numerous trade routes exist through the Empire with all roads leading primarily to the Imperial City. Provincial roads lead between provinces, but are heavily patrolled and require permission from the regional ministries in order to pass. The so-called “Emperors Roads” are the most well-traveled passes in the Empire. Sheng Tai specialises in various Wooden Items, Pieces of Art, Weapons, Steel, Foodstuffs, Alchemical Components.
Sheng Tai’s primary religious belief is that of Karma and Ancestral veneration, that is, the belief that good deeds are repaid with good fortune and wicked deeds are repaid with bad fortune and that their ancestors watch over them, guide them and, when necessary, judge them.
Elementals will sometimes breed with humans, bearing or siring half blooded children. These so-called “Spirit Folk” or “Imbued” exist both within and without the Perfected Hierarchy and are considered holy to the people of Shent Tai; many such people become village elders or members of the bureaucracy. Elementals play a major role in almost every story in Sheng Tai, usually as the villain of the piece, but just as often as the hero or the one who trains him.
In general, the people of Sheng Tai believe that all things come to those who seek them out; if not in this life, then the next one. Thus, they will seek to do their duties to the best of their abilities and seek perfection in all things so that they may be rewarded in the next life with a higher station within the Perfected Hierarchy. Others prefer a more secular approach and actively seek to perform above their ability in hopes of being noticed by those of a higher tier and offered advancement.
With very few exceptions, the people will be unfailingly polite and accommodating to those of a higher station than themselves, friendly to people of the same station and at least tolerant of those beneath them. Speech is often very formal and stiff to those who do not understand it.
People of Sheng Tai tend to have a very black and white view of outsiders. If they do not recognize a person, that person is to be considered a threat until they can prove trustworthy or, at the very least, should be treated with a good deal of indifference until they can prove themselves.