The Empire of Murmanityed
The Rise and Fall of the Empire
The Empire of Murmanityed was established in the year 5449 PN, well after the fall of Naduum. The Bronze Elf Murman established the Empire by conquering and enslaving a massive barbaric tribe of desert dwelling humans. A priest of Hylarr, Murman established a massive pyramidal temple to his patroness, and began sacrificing slaves to her. Rewarded by his dark goddess, Murman led his Bronze Elves - and their enslaved barbarians - to conquer the rest of the central desert. For four hundred years the sword of Murman cut across the continent. Thousands of barbaric peoples were ground under his heel; enslaved and absorbed into the growing Empire. By Murman's death in the year 4999 PN, the Empire had englufed the great desert and numbered over twenty million slaves - ruled by less than a hundred thousand Bronze Elves.
Murman was a strict ruler. Every city of Murmanityed was built on the same plan. Every military unit founded exactly like his Great Legion. Every city was centered around four temples - Gathal, Phane, Hylarr, and Shalokar.
News of Murman's success brought other children of Naduum to the Empire. Two powerful Bronze Elves took over the Empire after Murman's death, passing their titles down into history - the Shadow King, a Paladin of Gathal, and the Witch Queen, a Priestess of Phane. The Shadow King rules over the military conquests of the Empire, while the Witch Queen governs the home lands.
So the Empire endured and expanded over the next five thousand years - expanding slowly and steadily, establishing new cities in the interior. By the year 1 TC, the Empire ruled every living soul on the continent, except for the Dragon Kingdoms, the Realms of the Free Kings, and the distant and weak Kingdoms of the North.
The invasion of the Kingdoms of the North - in search of the magical Crystals Nagul believed had been lost there - brought about the end of the Empire. Though the Northern Kingdoms were conquered, they rebelled - won their freedom - and heroes of those lands invaded the Empire, assassinated the Witch Queen, and destroyed Murdamiya. The Empire shattered into a hundred fragments, each trying to reclaim their lost power.
Culture of the Empire
Murmanityed is ruled by the dual monarchy of the Witch Queen and Shadow King, both powerful figures in their own right. The Witch Queen oversees the church and religious affairs, the courts system, all aspects of magic, and the educational system. In short, domestic affairs. The Shadow King holds sway over the military and conducts all affairs of foreign policy, including the waging of Murmanityed’s constant wars. The Shadow King is also charged with enforcing the laws and protecting the church and institutions of the Empire.
The most pervasive aspect of Murmanityed’s society is their religion. Based around the worship of four prime deities, the temples of the church are in every town and outpost. They are large, basalt pyramids surrounded by large moats and four looming statues. The capstone of the pyramids are always made of a single huge crystal. The witch-priestesses and warlock-monks administrate the daily affairs of the temple, including ritual sacrifices of everything from animals to monsters to citizens – though it is said that all those sacrificed are traitors or criminals or other rubbish. The earthly remains are disposed of in the wide moats, which are inhabited by gigantic crocodiles.
Unbeknownst to the populace, the crystal capstone captures the life energy of the sacrificial victims. The dark clergy of Murmanityed draw upon this power for their spellcasting, and a tithe is pulsed through the ether to the pyramid of the Witch-Queen, the most powerful spellcaster in the whole Empire. All magic is controlled by the clergy, be in wizardry or clerical in nature, and all of it is powered by the lives taken on the basalt altar.
The four deities worshipped by the people of Murmanityed are Goz, Phet, Lyrra, and Lokar. Goz is the Lord of Warriors and Battles, patron of the Shadow King and warriors. Goz is actually Gathal, the evil god of chaos. Phet is the Lord of Nature and Wild Things. Phet is actually Phane, the evil god of death and decay. Lyrra is the Goddess of Fertility and Magic, patron of the church. She is actually Hylarr, evil goddess of the moon and darkness. Lokar is the most popular of the Murmanityedi pantheon, the Lord of Luck and Fortune. He is actually Shalokar, a minor god who oversees treachery, lies and deciet. Shalokar himself subverted the ancient religion of the Bronze Elves, and replaced it with his own creation. It delights him to no end that he is worshipped on the same level with the three great powers of evil, and to have hoodwinked an entire Empire into his false faith is one of his greatest achievements. As for the three evil gods, they give no aid to their worshippers, often taking pleasure in visiting the worst fates upon those who are the most devoted to them. The irony of Shalokar’s triumph is not lost on them, and so they allow it to continue.
Murmanityedi society is dominated by the Bronze Elves, a race of cruel, stern and wickedly brilliant Elves from the great deserts. Bronze Elves are long-lived, skilled with magic, and utterly ruthless when it comes to the Empire. It is their belief that they were created to rule the lesser races, and rule they shall. It is their lot in the universe to enlighten the more primitive races by bringing them under their protection, and if a few million of them must perish to maintain Bronze Elf dominance, then it is a small price to pay. Only other Elves are considered near worthy of respect, and even then they are considered unfortunate ‘lesser’ breeds of Elf, fit only as consorts or breeding stock to be ‘uplifted’ into the Bronze Elven race. Bronze Elves control the church and the aristocracy, and through those two arms the army.
It is against the laws of Murmanityed for a non-Elf to meet an Elf’s eyes without permission.
The Bronze Elven witch-priestesses accompany every warrior of note into the field, to observe them for signs of disloyalty. The Army of Murmanityed is the only outlet to a rigid caste system, allowing members of any race or class to rise in rank by merit. However, high command is always held by and Elf, and every important officer has a spiritual advisor to watch over them.
The Murmanityedi Army is massive and powerful. Due to the vast size of the Empire, Murmanityedi Legions are standardized, each being ten thousand troops strong. One thousand light cavalry, two thousand archers or slingers, three thousand light infantry and four thousand heavy. Forces of mercenaries from the outlying provinces are often employed as shock troops, and are allowed to follow their own command structures so long as they accept the spiritual advisors with their officers. Murmanityed is vast, and many regions support specialized mercenary units that serve for decades away from home.
The Legions are always in action on some front. Murmanityed has enemies on every side and foes within.
There is some small resistance to the heavy-handed Bronze Elf government. Bandits eke out a living in the countryside, and thieves guilds lurk in the dark corners of every large city. Periodic efforts of the ruling class to wipe these elements out come every century or so, but the last seed of resistance is difficult to kill.