Holy Xhovian Empire
This article or section is out of date. The country/countries relevant to this article have been removed from Sahar and have been retconned. Everything here can be considered non-canonical.
|The Most Holy and Sovereign Xhovian Empire of Alcia
Зъоӆакэ Ҳхсэцхэкх Зъоӆоҭго
Zjоľake Xhsechekh Zjоľoťgo
Unity in Majesty
Royal anthem: "XXX"
Song of the Emperor
|Recognised national languages||
|Ethnic groups (2015)||96% Xhovian
|Government||Federal parliamentary semi-constitutional monarchy|
|-||Emperor||Matja I Arsil|
|-||President (Senate)||Suči Raisani|
|-||Lord Chancellor (Diet)||Xali Icghaf|
|-||Upper house||Noble Diet|
|-||Decree of Unity (Yhael)||1387|
|-||Pacification of the Xong||1674|
|-||Submission of the East||1702|
|-||Xhovian Civil War||1856|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|Currency||Imperial Crown (XIC)|
|Drives on the||left|
The Holy Xhovian Empire (Xhorial: Зъоӆакэ Ҳхсэцхэкх Зъоӆоҭго, tr. Zjоľake Xhsechekh Zjоľoťgo [IPA]), officially the Most Holy and Sovereign Xhovian Empire of Alcia, is a country located in South Baredina. Stretching from the Gulf of Ishenar to the Saru Sea, the Empire borders Norjihan, Nevira, Settia, Ittohar and Xhodiar. The result of medieval conquests and diplomacy, the Empire has retained an archaic form of government, still prominently featuring nobility, royalty, and a highly decentralised administrative structure. Reforms since the 19th century have gradually introduced elements of democracy.
Throughout history, the empire's size, wealth, and military history has made it a regional and at times global power. In the 20th century, its participation in the Great Ekuosian War against Norjihan led to it being a founding member of the International Congress.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 2.1 Pre-Imperial Period
- 2.2 Formation
- 2.3 Early Years
- 2.4 Union With Yhael
- 2.5 The Child Emperor
- 2.6 Northern Expeditions
- 2.7 Pacification of the Xong
- 2.8 Submission of The East
- 2.9 The 4th Szezko-Norjihani War
- 2.10 The Szezk Acquisition
- 2.11 Emperor Yuszil I Seczki-Lahnstruzich
- 2.12 The Retribution
- 2.13 The Xhovian Civil War
- 2.14 Talis Iesin
- 2.15 Colonial History
- 2.16 Great Ekuosian War
- 2.17 Post War Era
- 2.18 The Dark Years
- 2.19 The Blossoming
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Culture
- 8 See also
The name Holy Xhovian Empire (Зъоӆакэ Ҳхсэцхэкх Зъоӆоҭго) was bestowed in 1387 upon the empire by the Hykiri of Inner Xhodiar after the union with Yhael, as a form of official church endorsement, and acknowledgment of its right to rule.
Main Article: Pre Imperial Alcia
Prior to the formation of the empire, in 1134, Alcia was heavily divided, amongst many disparate feudal nobles. In the North, the Lhivralan Sky Kings still reigned, effectively bottlenecking movement northwards. The old Xhorial Empire was one of the dominant cultural forces in the region, by merit of its transmitting the Xhiuist faith throughout Alcia. Amidst the fractured duchies, principalities and other regions, a few powers became notable, those being: Yhael, Szezkia, Kelor and Yaixong. Though constantly marred by feudal infighting and small wars, those four exerted their influence politically, economically and militarily.
By the early 1130s, the system of (NAME) had been established, where, via social and familial ties, as well as "gifts" and ceremony, lesser duchies would guarantee both protection by, Kelor, while maintaining autonomy and nominal independence. This close-tied alliance network only served to strengthen Kelor in relation to the other powers, and in the summer of 1134 (traditionally remembered as on the solstice, the date that has become the holiday, Day of Unity), then King of Kelor, and First Holy Xhovian Emperor, Jalén I Xhélà gathered the nobles of all those lesser duchies surrounding it (that currently mostly fall into the regions of Greater Kelor and The South, to sign the Imperial Covenant, the treaty that officially formed the Empire as one entity. By the end of the year, Emperor Jalén achieved official recognition from the Hykiri of Xhodiar, under the name of The Imperial Covenance of Kelor.
Initially, the formation of the empire served to worry the other great powers of Alcia, most notably Yhael, who now had no buffer between itself and the nascent empire. However, interior matters rocked Emperor Jalén with countless troubles. Throughout his reign, the foundations of many Imperial institutions were laid, mostly through revisions to the Covenant. Such revisions created the first Noble Diet, originally a small council of the heads of all regions, including Jalén's oath-brother Kabril, serving as representative for Kelor itself. It also saw to the unification of the disparate armies, at least in name, as in 1154, Jalén began the establishment of the Golden Road, where by sending large military escorts (with royal payment, and promise of nobility to the leaders upon their return), with merchants and traders, the Lhivralan bottleneck could be effectively bypassed. The process was still lengthy and dangerous, but trade with Ekuosia now became possible. The motivation for this move came from the Szezks. They had been growing into a strong trade and economic power, and since the formation of the empire, they had been doing all they could to limit Imperial influence, wealth and power, keen to maintain their own.
With the death of Jalén in 1163, the Covenance faced a crisis. Jalén had no direct heir, and had not nominated his brother as such. This led to the Diet meeting, to discuss how to proceed. Here, we see the birth of the Imperial election system, as the agreement that was reached, was to revise the Covenant. This revision rendered the office of Emperor uninheritable, instead to be decided by collective vote of the Noble Diet. Intriguingly, for reasons unapparent, Kabril, Jalén's brother, declined the opportunity to run for Emperor in the first Imperial election, Instead, the second Emperor was Satro III Zolakka, the then Duke of Zyolta, a southern duchy.
Emperor Satro's reign was characterised by greater hostility towards the other great powers, especially Yhael, culminating in the War of Brothers in 1185. Whilst the Covenance won the war, and did gain three new members, Satro died shortly after, from wounds incurred in battle. After the war had nearly drained Covenantal coffers, the Nobles met, both to officially initiate the new members to the Diet, but also to elect the new Emperor. Here, Baril IV Xhélà, Grandson of Kabril, and thereby able to claim descent from Jalén, was elected into the office. Moreover, another revision to the Covenant occurred, ensuring that prior to any large scale military action (i.e. declarations of war), the Noble Diet had to be consulted by the crown.
Union With Yhael
By the late 1300s, the Covenance had become a true major power in Alcia in its own right, and had expanded to the point of a border with Norjihan, then the Mahirazan Empire, at its peak. This, as one might anticipate, led to frequent small scale conflicts between the two, neither really wanting to commit economically to an all-out war, and the Mahirazan Empire having more concerns with the Szezks.
Now having a mutual enemy threatening them both, the previously on-off rivalry between the Kingdom of Yhael and the Covenance turned into a blossoming alliance, under the leadership of Emperor Azril "The Unifier" I Azrili, and King Ghabro III of Yhael, who were related via their maternal grandmother, Saljine M'Xhinia. Trade between the two blossomed, and cultural transmission followed suit, the more puritanical Yhaellan culture slowly taking on the ceremonies and festivals of the central Alcian region, incorporating it into their more orthodox Xhiuism.
In 1383, the rulers sent Imperial and Yhaellan swords, armour and mercenaries to Lhivrala, to aid the resistance by the Lhivralan tribesmen, specifically sending "100 of the finest longswords" to Lhatvol, father of Garev, the man who would later expel the Baredans from Lhivrala.
In late 1386, Azril and Ghabro led an army together against a Mahirazan raiding party, famously capturing the force in a pincer manoeuvre, as captured in the painting "Brothers in Blood" by Saixhi. This act spurred the Mahirazan Emperor to declare war on the Empire. Yhael aided in fighting against them, in a war that lasted less than a year. Xhovian forces initially went on the offensive, but were repulsed. However, upon mounting a border defence, they proved successful in halting the Mahirazan army. A peace was achieved after the battle of Ghafga, where Mahirazan forces were fully encircled by a larger Yhaeelo-Imperial army.
In 1387, after the war had ended, the friendship between Yhael and the empire was high, and Emperor Azril put to the diet the idea of requesting Yhael to join the Covenance. Yhaellan sources give the impression that Azril and Ghabro had come to agree on a primitive version of the decree of unity before Azril even mentioned the idea to the Diet. After a month of debate amongst the nobles, a draft version of the Decree of Unity was handed to the Emperor, to send to Yhael. It stipulated:
- Yhael was not to have excessive overrepresentation in the Diet
- It would be retained as one entity, not split up, to again prevent overrepresentation
- The Yhaellan King was not to join the Diet, and instead must send representative nobles.
Azril sent it back to the Diet, with the compromise of 5 seats in the Diet, and the heightened independence, which they accepted. King Ghabro signed on within a week, and thus, the Empire was truly born. After an appeal to the Hykiri to recognise the union, she redubbed the Covenance as its current name. The Holy Xhovian Empire.
The Child Emperor
By 1547, the Empire had expanded further, reaching the Gulf of Ishenar, holding modern day Settia. The then Emperor, Déo IV Garzi, was an old man, and disdained by his Diet, but enjoyed popular support, for his reforms to the nobility, including writing the laws and using Imperial Privilege to pass them through, dictating a basis for the modern Imperial Noblesse Oblige, that nobles had to provide for their subjects. He died in 1548, at the age of 83, having fallen ill (potentially tuberculosis). The Diet announced the beginning of Imperial elections, and rapidly, 2 candidates came to the forefront.
- Gomen II Farzil, Duke of Nemmor
- Larci V Malsh, Lord-Mayor of Coren
Both of these candidates however, whilst enjoying popular support, were disliked by most of the Diet, due to many previous, public comments supporting Imperial Absolutism. It was at this point, that Alchixha Golenkrè, widow and Duchess-Regent of Xhixha, put forward her then 6 year old son, Bagol. The Lord-Chancellor, Satro VIII Zolakka, saw in the child opportunity for the Diet to retake control, and pledged his support to the child. He spent the 3 months leading up to the vote convincing as many of his peers in the Diet to agreee with him as he could.
When the vote came to pass, Bagol won with a 75% majority, apropos of Zolakka's machinations. He was crowned, however, much to his mother's dismay, and the Diet passed decision that there was to be no age restrictions for the Emperor to rule, as "a regent was not chosen by this house, but an Emperor. He may derive all assistance that he requires from us, his nobles and councillors."
Despite his youth, assuming the title of Emperor made Bagol assume full titulature, and the regnal name of Bagzil I Xhixha, which led to the abolition of the practice of not granting children their noble names until they reached their majority. Bagzil's reign was marked by slow, but steady economic and cultural growth within the empire, as the Diet ran the country in his name. Diplomacy also flourished, both within and without the empire. Travel between imperial territories became much more frequent for the emperor and other nobles, as, by way of winning over the child, nobles would throw elaborate parties, balls and feasts for Bagzil whenever he arrived. Equally, members of the Diet would conduct international dealings under the guise of these balls at the Imperial Palace, which became a frequent site to see not only the Imperial elite, but also royalty of the Xong, Szezk aristocrats, Eastern Sethans, and guests from even further afield in Ekuosia.
Personal relations with the Emperor were equally put to political use, as he, by sources Imperial and foreign, was a soft-spoken, and likable boy. Ifugim, the Yhael-born Lord-Captain of the Imperial Guard, served as a close confidant of the child, and sources suggest he may have had great influence over the Diet, by his connection to Bagzil. The relations of foreign and internal nobility, especially their children, would clamour to befriend Bagzil, in hopes of gaining influence in the Imperial household.
When Bagzil reached his majority, he began exercising his power, albeit in small ways. His personal decrees were mostly harmless, ordering construction of temples or repair of public monuments. However, he took a special interest in the justice systems of the Empire. Up until this point, they had been totally separate, and whilst Kelor had a court system, many other territories did not. The Emperor ordered the formation of the Imperial Judiciary Society, a meeting of judges from across the empire, as well as like-minded nobles, the most notable of whom was Crown Princess of Yhael, Cigha. They began working on a system which they believed could deliver justice across the empire in a fair manner. In 1562, the Society released their plans, in the book "On Justice", which was honorarily put as being written by the Emperor himself. Bagzil's legal reforms dictated that:
- Every Imperial territory was to establish a court system, presided over by learned judges, instead of the whims of local nobles.
- A Supreme Imperial Court was to be established, that issues of law may be taken to, should local courts fail
- Each Imperial territory was to contribute one judge to this Supreme Court, that it may be a fair body, seeing all perspectives.
- Civil, Criminal and Noble law are to be decreed as separate schools, and no one court may preside over all three.
- Therefore, the establishment of Civil and Criminal Courts, as well as the High Court of Noble Justice.
- Should nobles wish to partake in the justice system, they must serve alongside judges, not alone.
It also lay out characteristics a judge ought to have, and that courts were to be funded by the local governments, so as to prevent the poor from accessing justice. Ifugim, who after retiring from his role as Lord-Captain of the Imperial Guard, had become the Emperor's Master of the House, a role that gave him even greater political sway, ensured that copies of the book, as well as word about its content, was spread well before Bagzil brought his proposals to the Diet. This meant that they already had great pressure to pass it, as many prominent nobles, as well as members of the clergy, and the educated masses, were quite taken to the ideas put forth. Despite dislike for it, especially from the minor Dukes used to being able to dictate and enforce the law as they saw fit in their duchies, the reforms were passed, but this led to the beginning of tensions between Diet and Emperor.
By 1584, Bagzil's legal reforms had fully taken hold across the empire, and despite the political troubles it caused in the Diet, it led to much more stability, especially in the tumultuous region of Settia. However, in November, a conspiracy amongst members of the Diet led an attempt on Bagzil's life, with Anghaf II Cilgho, Dietary representative for Yhael and Count of Cilgho, stabbing the Emperor when he went outside to catch his breath at a ball in Yhael. The stab wound missed his vitals, and the Imperial Guards executed Anghaf on the spot, while Bagzil was rushed to his residency, the Icmagh estate, to recover.
During his recovery, Bagzil ordered an investigation to commence, granting four high-ranking members of the Imperial Guard the title "Inquisitor", and giving them authority to act in his name, by whatever means necessary, to uncover the motivation, and any potential conspirators involved in the plot. These inquisitors have had their names struck from all Imperial records, and are known solely by code-names: Lord-Investigator, Xhiu's Eyes, Hand of the Emperor and The Unwavering. These four proceed to travel the length and breadth of the Empire, investigating any and all opposition to Bagzil.
In spring of 1585, Bagzil had fully recovered, and returned to the Imperial Palace. His Inquisitors, via their campaigns of terror, had gathered that members of the Diet were involved, but had yet to ascertain who specifically. So, violating convention, he marched into the Diet, mid-session, flanked by his Imperial Guards, and the Inquisitors. Here sources have written what Bagzil said:
"My lords and ladies of the Diet, it has come to the crown's attention, that there are forces in these halls that would conspire against us, that would see the Emperor dead. Let it be known, that you have failed. Here I stand, and your assassin now haunts in remorse, his soul forever tainted by the sin you ordered he commit. My lords and ladies, I am alive, and intend to remain as such. Equally, I do not intend to forgive the crimes committed against my person. Those crimes, are to be judged, before a fair court, and punishment metered by the court, in accordance with the crime. Some of you may well be executed. I am not, however, an unfair man. I come here today, with an offer to the Diet. Surrender your co-conspirators, report on them, to my fine Inquisitors, my eyes and ears, and I will see to it that your service is taken into account. Those of you who would accuse in falsehood however, I shall warn. These men are excellent at their job, they can and will find any lie or falsehood told to them, and I will have no qualms seeing those lies punished. Moreover, if no reports have been made by the rising of the Equinox, then my Inquisitors will be afforded authority to investigate these halls, and all its members. That is all I have to say."
What followed, after Bagzil left, was a period of Dietary disquet. Multiple members, of whom the most prominent was Crown Prince Otna II Xhélà of Kelor, one of the Keloran representatives, proposed ruling agaisnt the Emperor, and his "threats to the Empire". However, the Diet as a whole was divided, a loyalist faction quickly emerged, constituting even people who before had opposed Bagzil's extreme moves and reforms beforehand. Reports were made, accusing 11 nobles; (NAMES), who were swiftly arrested. The trials that were put on for them were one of the first major public showcases of Bagzil's reforms, as they went directly before the Supreme Court, who found them guilty on charges of conspiracy to murder and high treason.
Following the trial, they were all executed in the execution grounds in Zoxhresxhe, later to become known as Traitor's Square, being sentenced to devouring by hounds.
Bagzil spent the remainder of his reign promoting and overseeing his newly formed judicial system. He was renowned for being fair, but merciless to those found guilty.
In 1673, after the conclusion of the War of the Grand Coalition, in which the empire had officially remained neutral (albeit providing ships and weapons to Xhodiar), in hopes of a reduced Szezkia, and an easily justifiable second war with Norjihan, in which they could seize more of Isugza, Emperor Miriz V Tezkatsi was ready with an army. The war had seen the breakup of former Norjihani Lhivrala, and Szezkia (the Empire's primary expansionary rival) was in no place to interfere, as it was still recovering from the war itself. The former territories of Lhivrala were weak and divided, and the Xongic Kingdom (ultimately a Szezk puppet regime since the 1400s, when a cadet branch of the house of Seczki-Lahnstruzich became rulers) was equally as undefended.
An army of some 50,000 men, led by Supreme Lord-Commander Xali, the Yhaellan leader of the Imperial army, began their northern marches, facing little significant resistance from the Lhivralans, as they raised flag in each of the five capitals. Upon marching across the border of the Xongic Kingdom however, actual resistance was encountered. The Szezk trained, and funded army, had set up defenses at (PLACE), and a four day long battle took place, with severe casualties on both sides. At the end of it however, the Imperial forces emerged victorious, and proceeded through the rest of the kingdom, conquering, and this time looting many cities that they passed through.
Pacification of the Xong
After the conquest, the Empire faced two primary problems with regards to its new territory. Whilst Lhivrala was very cooperative with imperial rule, to the point of some of the less Baredanised princes remaining from the Viceroyalty era, the Xong was not. The Xongic royalty had fled to Szezkia in the latter days of the invasion, and so whilst the Empire had to deal with local insurgency and rebellions in the Xong, it also had the Szezks to contend with, who wanted their puppet kingdom back.
Emperor Miriz decided that the first issue to deal with would be the political one, and so, in a tradition set by Bagzil long before him, held a ball, inviting the Szezk royalty to Zoxhresxhe, for, in the words of the invitation "Festivity and pertinent discussion". The Szezks brought the Xongic former Queen, (NAME) with them, and amidst the revelry, political discussion was held. Miriz refused to back down on keeping the Xong, but was not eager to start another war, even with a weaker Szezkia. Instead, he offered a different term to King Jabloj, the Szezk ruler, a defensive pledge. It was widely considered at the time that, had the empire been involved, the war of the coalition would have ended much more swiftly. To that end, Miriz told Jabloj that, should he cease support of the former Xongic regime, and allow for Imperial control of the region, he would have the empire join Szezkia in any conflict in which it would find itself, indefinitely. This proposition was not actually Miriz's idea, but instead that of the Diet, who had, in discussion with the Emperor, refused to agree to any other offers Miriz had come up with, including monetary payments. Jabloj accepted this deal, and the Szezko-Imperial co-operation treaty was written up. This was, in turn, heavily publicised, as Miriz hoped knowledge of the treaty would actually prevent Norjihan or other powers from attacking Szezkia, thereby minimising any cost to the empire.
The second issue then, came from the Xongic people themselves. After the treaty was written up, whilst the former Xongic Kingdom was still occupied, the fact that the Szezks had acquiesced to the empire was heavily publicised, to try and further demoralise the populace. However, Imperial soldiers were still attacked in the streets, and bands of rebels had actually achieved some moderate success in taking towns and villages, as Imperial control did not extend much past the limits of the major cities. Here, Miriz actually created his own solution. By merit of it being under military occupation, he argued successfully, that the Diet had already handed power to the crown with their agreement to the start of the war, and so his authority should be accepted on solving "the Xongic problem". (The Diet likely only agreed to this however, due to Miriz having already announced that his plans were not to permanently assume direct control of the territories).
Miriz's solution's first step was division. The old ducal lines of the Xongic Kingdom were taken, each to become one duchy (later Northern Duchies), so as to prevent the complexities of another whole Kingdom entering the Empire, as had Yhael. Next, the pacification proper. The Emperor appealed to the Diet for funding to build fortifications and military posts throughout the Xong, in which soldiers could be posted, both to prevent movement of insurgents, but also to intimidate. These were made to be imposing structures, even in some cases at the cost of practicality. The third step was to convert the population to the Empire's side. Rewards in money and in land were offered to anyone providing valid intelligence with regards to the rebels, and their plans, and a rumour was started (by the Imperial government) that noble titles would be afforded those who captured and handed in rebel leaders. This proved successful enough in isolation the rebels, however, they still held a few major towns, in which they were seemingly unassailable.
The solution Miriz posed to these "Black Cities", as they were called, is one of the most controversial acts taken during the Northern Conquests. Forces were marched to the cities, and one warning given, to surrender, or be crushed. The first city they tried this with, Lizkaja, did not surrender. So, after a relatively short battle, instead of taking prisoners, the city was set alight, and its gates locked, trapping the population inside. Word quickly spread, and no other rebel settlements resisted. By the end of 1676, after only 2 years of pacification, the Xong's new nobility was put in place, the honours being awarded to military commanders, and to locals who had handed in rebel leaders, as promised.
Submission of The East
The 4th Szezko-Norjihani War
In the summer of 1818, the Norjihani army began a march across the Szezk border, beginning the 4th Szezko-Norjihani war. Szezk King Amata Kiri'ima e Seczki-Lanstruzich made an appeal to Emperor Betso II Marishk, for aid in the war, however it was refused. Betso did not wish to enter a costly war, on behalf of the Szezks, who had been contesting Imperial trade and dominance over the Ishenar Gulf. With the Empire remaining neutral, by 1820, Szezkia was risking total dissolution, and conquest by Norjihan. The King sent messengers to Zoxhresxhe, complete with a very enticing offer for the Emperor. In exchange for Imperial protection and aid in repulsing the Baredans, he was willing to sign Szezkia on to the Covenant, and have it join the Empire.
This document was presented to the Diet, which very quickly accepted the proposition. The army was readied, however, Emperor Betso had a plan before the military needed to be mobilised. He sent word to Listosord, requesting for negotiations with the Norjihani King. Specifically, he worded it that he had been given "sufficient incentive" to join the war, yet did not want any needless bloodshed. The precursor to negotiations was that troops be withdrawn for the time at least, from Szezkia, which the Norjihanis accepted.
A meeting between the two rulers was arranged, to take place in the Ducal Palace at Anasta, the former Norjihani capital of Lhivrala. Over three days, discussions were held, which culminated in the Anasta Accords. Norjihan would permanently withdraw all troops from Szezkia, and sign on to a 10 year peace agreement with Szezkia, and the Empire, in which time the three would not be allowed to undertake any acts of aggression against one another. In exchange, Szezkia and the Empire would permit a set number of Norjihani vessels through the Ishenar each year. This number was significantly smaller than would be ideal for Norjihan's trade wishes, however, under fear of their small war escalating into one with the Empire, with its significantly larger army and navy, the Norjihani King accepted, ending the war.
The Szezk Acquisition
Emperor Yuszil I Seczki-Lahnstruzich
The Xhovian Civil War
Main Article: Alcian Civil War
Great Ekuosian War
The Impenetrable Wall
The Gulf War
The Eastern Uprising
Battle of Niofe
The Return of the Marquis
Post War Era
The Dark Years
By the end of the war, not only was industrial fuel consumption up to an all time high, but personal usage was shooting upwards, nearly every house was powered, and large coal and oil powered power plants began to open all over the Empire. The elections of 1962 saw a government dominated by a coalition of the Xhiuist Democratic Party and the Greens. Both had a strong religious-left wing, that effectively orchestrated party policy. In response to the environmental effects of the rapid industrialisation, and with Hykiral approval, they passed the Energy Sumptuary Laws. These laws restricted public access to power, by instating a maximum mass of fossil fuel that could be legally imported, extracted and burned per annum. The quota caused rapid shutdowns of mines across the country, as well as a rapid hike in electricity prices, barring it off to most of the public, and even some of the nobility. Naturally the economic effects of this were rapid and devastating as well. The Imperial Economy imploded, with hyperinflation kicking in and countless jobs being lost. Instead of backing down on their environmental policy however, the government pulled the Empire into a period of isolation, relying on Xhodiar and domestic products to achieve some meagre semblance of autarky.
In 1963, the government recalled the currency, issuing the Imperial Xhovian Crown (instead of the former Keloran Crown), as a means of trying to counter the inflation. To a degree it proved successful, certainly stopping the downwards spiral, but growth had yet to really pick up. In the next few years, the Empire would mostly stagnate, but survive. Organised crime was rampant in this period, with the Great Families coming to prominence by controlling both the illegal fuel imports, the drug trade and running protection from the lesser criminals and from their own lesser operations.
By the time the elections of 1967 came around, the people were sick of the rampant crime, and the current government's inability to do anything about it. In an attempt to keep the peace and their governmental position, the Xhiuist Democratic Party shifted policy to a much harder, more authoritarian one, increasing police powers and arming them, to try and promise an end to the reign of the criminals. The elections saw a massive increase in the newly formed XTP, a reactionary party that opposed the environmental laws of the government. In becoming the main opposition party, the XTP initially tried to repeal the environmental laws, holding to ransom their votes needed for the XDP's proposed increase to police powers. Eventually a compromise was reached, wherein the XTP voted in favour of the police reforms, when 5% of the national budget was assigned to R&D for alternate energy sources.
The newly armed and reorganised police, combined with the newly formed IIA began the "War on Crime". Members of the criminal families, their known associates and even members of the nobility were brought in, with large scale raids on properties, bearing more resemblance to sieges than anything else, being commonplace. The families, or what was left of them, ended up either washing their hands and going into hiding, or fleeing the country, many heading into Ekuosia via Szezkia, or fleeing to Boroso.
The Empire has a very significant range of flora and fauna present within its varied ecosystems, including the largest population of wild Alcian Lions (Panthera leo melanochaita) on Sahar.
The Imperial Government is a large, complex machine, but in theory, everything comes back to the Emperor, at the top.
The Emperor is the Head of State of the Holy Xhovian Empire, and resides at the top of the proverbial food chain. In law, his or her power is derived directly from Xhiu, via the Hykiri of Xhodiar. The Emperor has the power to veto any decision made lower down the government (with some limitations due to the Imperial Code), selects judges for the Supreme Court, is the only person to whom the Free Imperial Cities are answerable, is Commander-In-Chief of the Imperial Army and appoints Imperial Officers.
The Emperor is elected, not hereditary, and comes into power via the Imperial Elections. An Imperial Election traditionally begins on the day after the previous Emperor's funeral. The Senate and Diet both nominate 12 members, who convene to vote on which candidate for Emperor they support. Usually in the modern era, these are preceded by a public campaign, and voting, to see which way the general public leans, however these votes are not binding upon the council of electors. This council of electors retains the same composition for the entirety of the emperor's reign, with new members being nominated only if one dies, or in the senatorial representatives, loses their position on the senate. This council of electors has the power to impeach the emperor at any time if they believe him to be in violation of the Imperial Code, or otherwise unjust.
The other binding factor on the Emperor is the aforementioned Imperial Code. This document, dating back to the Xhovian Civil War, imposes a set of limits upon what the Emperor can and cannot do without consultation of the Parliament. In brief, the Emperor is forbidden from:
- Declaring War
- Imposing or collecting taxation
- Imposing trade tariffs
- Calling Elections
- Dismissing the Parliament
Without governmental consultation. In addition he is expected to:
- Be a Xhiuist
- Have all religious rituals of State (funeral, marriage etc) be conducted in the Orthodox tradition.
Theoretically, the greatest power afforded to the Emperor is the appointment of Imperial Officers. Imperial Offices are equivalent to Ministries or Departments in other governments, and cover a wide area of topics, including but not limited to:
- Home Affairs
- Foreign Affairs
- Baredan Affairs
- Xhorial Relations
- The Environment
- Culture and Sport
- Eastern Affairs
- Northern Affairs
- Work and Pensions
- Trade and Commerce
Main Article: Imperial Xhovian Parliament
The Imperial Parliament is a blanket term, used to refer to the two sub-Imperatorial houses of government, the Senate and the Diet. Notably, dependent on which house proposed the legislation, they can both function as either lower or upper house, as both has power of proposition, but requires the approval of the other to pass a bill into law.
The Diet is older than the Empire itself, dating back to the Imperial Covenance. In its modern form, it is a gathering of nobility, with the number of representatives afforded to each administrative division depending on the specific type of division it is. Equally, the Senate is the same but democratically elected from the general populace, with each subdivision electing however many senators they are afforded. The Diet's leader is referred to as the Lord-Chancellor, and the Senate's as the President.
Elections to the Senate are held every 5 years by tradition, whereas a Noble's Dietary position is for life.
The Imperial Parliament, combined with the Emperor has the power to overrule local governmental decisions, and Imperial Law always takes precedence over secondary legislation.
Local governments in the Empire make up the majority of legislation, and each administrative division has its own. They are given relative freedoms to how they wish to organise themselves, and are allowed to assign differing amounts of power to democratic or aristocratic legislators. Most areas find some sort of balance, but there are exceptions, such as the Kingdom of Yhael, which is purely run by the nobility, or the Republic of Niofe, which as the name implies, has no nobility.
The Imperial system of Administrative Subdivision is one of the most archaic and confusing to follow for outsiders. In effect, there are 7 types of division, each with different degrees of autonomy, rights, privileges and restrictions. The divisions are as thus:
Kingdoms are the largest, and most independent of the Imperial territories. Currently, there are only three territories granted this title: Kelor, Szezkia and Yhael. The Kingdoms have more representation in both the Senate and Diet than other types of division (Each being entitled to 5 seats in the Noble Diet, and 5 in the Senate). They are permitted the greatest degree of legal freedom as well. Whilst like all other subdivisions, Imperial Law takes supremacy, the Kingdoms are allowed to legislate independently on all matters except for foreign affairs. This thereby makes them quite a different landscape from the rest of the Empire. (Notably the Yhaellan faith laws, as an example of extra laws, or the Szezk birth registry). Whilst not required by law, the noble leaders in Kingdoms all style themselves as King, as the name may imply.
The five Principalities making up the region of Lhivrala are granted special status in terms of administration. In terms of representation, they get 3 in the Diet and 3 in the Senate. For their legislation, they are allowed to pass laws similarly to the Kingdoms, but their caveats are foreign affairs, religious affairs and Baredan matters.
The most numerous of the divisions, the duchies receive 1 and 1 on the Senate and Diet each, and their governance privileges are some of the most restrictive. They are not allowed to legislate on: Foreign Affairs or Trade, and in practice, they tend to only really vary massively in terms of taxes, military contribution and welfare programs.
The Northern Duchies are an oddity, effectively operating under the normal duchy rules for legal freedoms, but also being forbidden from Religious or Baredan matters. However, they are much larger than the duchies, and since the Talisian Reforms, they have been allowed 2 and 2 on the Diet and Senate respectively.
All of the lands acquired in the Submission of the East were given this title. They, despite being very large territories, are only allowed 2 and 2, in Diet and Senate. Legally, they operate with relative freedom. Forbidden from foreign affairs and international trade legislation independently, but, they are unique in two regards. One, they are subject to a much lower rate of contribution to the Imperial Armed Forces, and two, their law enforcement agencies have absolute supremacy in their land. Without Imperial Warrant, even the UIPF cannot overrule them. These rules stem from when they were acquired, and subjugating the locals was of utmost importance. The noble leaders here style themselves Marquis, and are granted rank in the Imperial Army equivalent to (RANKHERE).
A title unique to Niofe, but theoretically grantable to others, should they desire it. The Imperial Republic is a territory without, or that has abolished, its nobility. This poses some unique difficulties given the Xhovian system, as they cannot have representation in both houses in this case. In exchange for having no nobles and thus no Diet presence, Niofe has been granted 5 senatorial seats, as much as the Kingdoms. In addition it is given a great deal of legal Freedom, only forbidden from International Affairs.
Free Imperial City
The Free Imperial Cities (FICs), are few and far between in the Empire, but have unique function. Theoretically governed directly by the Emperor, the FICs have no direct representation in Senate nor Diet. They are however, completely exempt from massive areas of Imperial Law. They tend to be specialised, and very wealthy. For example, FIC (NAME), is where the Court of Noble Justice, and Supreme Imperial Court are located, and is rendered exempt from all military contribution, as well as paying barely any Imperial Taxation. Conversely, FIC Ossetia, the largest FIC, is where some of the largest Imperial Navy bases are, as well as being a key position for control of the Gulf of Ishenar. It is utterly tax exempt, but is bound by its military contributions.
Main ArticleLaw of the Holy Xhovian Empire
Imperial Law is a complex entity, by merit of the decentralised nature of the Empire's structure. The basic Court Hierarchy is tripartite, with Criminal Law, Civil Law and Noble Law (to do with constitutional uses and abuses of power by the nobility) each having their own sets of courts. From an analytical perspective, Imperial Law employs a mixture of Civil, Common and Feudal Law.
The Empire's foreign policy is usually to try and maintain friendly relations with many foreign entities, with a small handful of exceptions. It takes an interventionist standpoint on many issues, seeking to protect "The Freedom, Rights, Dignity and the Honour of Nations". Following are summaries of the "Special Cases", nations with which the Empire's relationship are different.
- Norjihan, Istan and the Sovereign Order of Hajenired
These three nations are considered "enemies of the Xhovian people". Trade with them is minimal, if allowed at all. Norjihan's border is kept heavily armed, as are the waters outside of territorial water range. The Sovereign Order is considered a terrorist group by Imperial Law, and is forbidden from owning any property.
Main Article: Imperial Xhovian Army
Militarily, in terms of foreign policy, the Empire's official stance is that of "Consensual Interventionism". That is to say, that they will send the armed forces on duty abroad to intervene in other nations, but only in support of, or at the request of what the Imperial Government believes to be the "Legitimate State".
On the Home Front however, the border with Norjihan is almost always heavily militarised, and in recent years, since the election of Govegz Rona II, the armed presence there has only increased.
Though not as wide-ranging nor as well funded relative to GDP as the Xhorial equivalent, the Empire does have significant public transportation networks. At a national level, there are multiple large scale train lines, and two HSR lines (The Zoxhresxhe-Micita line and the Akara-Szoszt lines). Locally within Szezkia there is also one HSR line, however due to Szezkia's geographic location, and difficulties negotiating with Norjihan, this line does not leave the kingdom. Internal flights are the most common methods of transport across the Empire, however, ferries are often used between coastal areas, especially on the Ishenar.
The Empire has embraced green energy technology since day one, the strong religious lobbies in government ensuring that protection is afforded to Xhiu's creation, to the point that today, the Empire is a world leader in the field of green energy. From the moment the negative effects of fossil fuel energy were shown, Alcians have worked to find an alternative. Initially, the Sumptuary Energy Laws were introduced, in the 1960s, enforcing limits on the amount of fuel that was allowed to be burnt. This had two effects. First of all, it started the Xhovian Dark Years, where the sudden restrictions on industry totally crashed the economy, and governments refused to back down on their environmental policy. Secondly however, from the ashes of the Empire's economy, did the world's green power rise. With the advent of affordable wind turbines and photovoltaic panels in the 1970s, (the latter invented by a Xhovian scientist), the Empire underwent a green revolution of sorts, rapidly adapting, upgrading and re-industrialising with various eco friendly measures. Now, discounting the military (which still primarily runs on oil), the Empire is nearly carbon neutral.
Science and technology
The empire enjoys a reasonably high rate of tourism, [NUMBERS], apropos of its rich history, number of historical monuments, bustling cities and natural beauty. Some of the more famous tourist attraction centers are Jorzrá, in Niofe, [OTHER TOURISTY PLACES AS I MAKE THEM].
Tourist visas are relatively easy to acquire, only imposing restrictions upon Norjihanis, other Baredans, and unstable nations (those currently in a war, or experiencing great civil unrest).
Imperial Citizenship is rather unique, insofar as it is of two parts. From birth, by jus soli (with exception of landed noble families owning titles in a region different to the place the child is born) applies for one's local citizenship. An official document, but only recognised within the empire, it ties the individual to their place of birth, and serves the purpose of both rendering them subject to their regional laws of permanence (for example, if a Szezk couple were to go to Arimani (Lhivrala Region) to have a child without government notification prior to the birth, an act illegal in Szezkia, but legal in Arimani, they could still be made to face charges upon returning to Szezkia), but also to be used as a piece considered in proceedings for violations of local law. (Here, if a pregnant Arimani woman went into labour in Szezkia, she likely would not face charges for unlicensed childbirth, as her Arimani citizenship would be considered, and given the effectively victimless nature of the crime, and its legal nature in her home, she would be excused, or let off with a warning if she was a long-term resident of Szezkia). One's local citizenship can be changed, but requirements vary based on location.
Secondly, there is the Imperial Citizenship. This operates by jus sanguinis and jus soli. Any child born to at least one Imperial Citizen is eligible for Imperial Citizenship, and equally, any child born in Imperial territory to non-Imperial parents is eligible. Whilst it is granted from birth, and certificates proving it can be granted, passports are only claimable after one year's residency, as per the law On The Transport and Nationality of Infants (1996). (In special circumstances, infant passports can be issued, but they are only valuable for a short duration, specified by their need, and must be approved on a case-by-case basis). Imperial CItizenship is the important factor considered abroad.
Should a foreigner wish to apply for Imperial Citizenship, they also acquire a local citizenship, of the region in which they reside or intend to reside. Imperial Citizenship is mostly non-exclusionary, allowing multiple citizenships. However, holding citizenship of a few select countries can void an Imperial Citizenship. Specifically, citizenships of:
The requirements for gaining Imperial Citizenship are:
- Proficiency in one of the official languages of the Empire (Xhorial L3 Qualification, SKPT (Keloran), YFL2 (Yoesal), CSF (Szezk), LLLA3 (Lhivralan), CAT (Torrjeli))
- Renounce citizenship of any excluded country, if they have it (usually the same as the voiding countries mentioned above, but the exclusion list changes much more frequently, usually based on war, or global unrest)
- Renounce Gennism, or convert to Lhivralan Gennism, should they have stated themselves as a believer. (Currently undergoing debate in the Imperial Parliament, but in effect at time of writing)
- Have resided in the Empire or Imperial Territory for a period of at least 3 years.
- Pass the Imperial Citizenship Test; a test constituting mainly broad questions about Imperial History, Culture, and knowledge of the Empire. (A pass mark counts as at least 50%)
- Also fill out requirements for your preferred local citizenship (usually linguistic and residential. Some have tests, like Szezkia)
Once one acquires their citizenship, they are granted audience with a member of local nobility (the specifics of who exactly varies by region, as with the nobility system. In the Republic of Niofe, they are simply sent documents by post), where they are officially bestowed with their citizenship, and the documents therein entailed. From that point they can do as they wish, as an Imperial Citizen.
Yeyoh fiction was a short-lived genre of controversial pornographic literature that flourished in the 1950s and early 1960s in Szezkia and the islands, and stopped after the passing of the law On the Publication of Indecent and Offensive Text 1967, because of a ban by the Szezk Crown government. These books featured hypersexuallised depictions of female soldiers from the GEW, usually humiliating and sexually abusing male victims. They are no longer available for a reading today in terms of traditional publication, although the advent of the Internet has allowed for peer-to-peer file sharing, and a resurgence of their popularity.
The Holy Xhovian Empire is home to a rich artistic tradition, dating back before its foundation. There were two primary periods in which Alcian art, in all its various forms, were well-known internationally. The Naturalist period (~1500-1750), best characterised by its vivid landscape work, melding the real with the supernatural, and the Neoszessic period (~1850-1890), characterised by more focus on the human, lots of portraiture, and a more mundane, earthy use of colour.
Xhovian theatre is a wide and varied, with not only many different playwrights, but also multiple theatrical traditions, most notably the Lhivralan Theatrical Tradition, which still retains its religious dimensions. However, the most famous of Xhovian Playwrights was doubtlessly the Kelor-born Pakkil Ufsarn, who wrote many classics of Xhovian theatre, including "The Stonemason", "Snow of Summer" and "The House at the End of the World".
In broad terms, Interior Xhorial theatre, in the school of Ufsarn and other similar playwrights, is close to somewhere between standard theatre and poetry. Verse has always been a key part of the Interior tradition. However in more recent years, the Szezk theatrical tradition has achieved much greater prominence, being what one can call standard theatre, with little restriction.