Fridays in AEthrem returns once more! This week's episode: The High Kingdom of Thassyl!
Thassyl's history dates back to the liberation of humanity from ghond enslavement, beginning as a city-state in northeastern Pelifor. A long line of hereditary thandi warlords used the city as a base of operations, raiding and conquering the surrounding lands. As each successive warlord handed their territory to their child, early Thassyl expanded just a bit more, and the city itself became an island of stability in a tumultuous historical period.
The modern history of the High Kingdom begins with the Order of Establishment. As proposed by the city's merchants and craftsmen, the order suggested sweeping changes to how the territory would be governed. To appease the rapidly-growing Peloric Church and its devout adherents, who were uncomfortable with the idea thandi ruling over Thassyl, the warlord and their thandi lieutenants would be given civic and military leadership positions, while legislative and judicial authority would rest with the conclaves - bodies of non-thandi members elected by vote of the population. This would give those without pacts some oversight of the current leaders. In exchange, noble titles and rules of inheritance were established for thandi - most of whom were already passing their pact on to their firstborn children anyway - with the position of warlord becoming that of the High King or Queen. The Order of Establishment recognized pacts as a special burden personally granted to the nobility by Pelorus the Crafter, securing their power base and outlawing rogue thandi in a single stroke.
As the High Kingdom of Thassyl, the new nation expanded even further in power. The laws of inheritance eliminated most of the infighting over changes in leadership, and trade prospered in the resulting stability. Random raiding gave way to more organized military action, and the High Kingdom became a serious threat to neighbors which had previously only dealt with limited, sporadic raids from its lands. Noble military leaders began establishing the wesheni orders - elite units of battle-trained noble thandi that became the most feared opponents in their time.
Thassylian diplomats were the first humans to establish relations with the native acilon of the Sillindri Wildlands, to the east of the High Kingdom. They enabled the signing of the passage agreement, creating the only overland route to the Valerican subcontinent. This route was immesurably safer than travelling to the subcontinent by sea, and while Thassyl was not allowed to claim any territory within the Wildlands, their control of the western terminus of the route ensured a constant stream of taxes for those returning from the Valerican colonies in the east.
For nearly two centuries following the conquest of the neighboring Kingdom of Exelos, Thassyl became the dominant world power, with the High King taking on the title of Emperor. Its occupied territories and colonies gave Thassyl more territory than any human nation before or since, and rival even the holdings of the ancient ghond civilization.
Unfortunately, this height was unsustainable. The Empire eventually pushed its borders too far, and citizens in many of its colonies and occupied territories rose up against its local representatives. Constant fighting on multiple fronts exhausted even the Empire's colossal reserves. In the end, only a slightly-expanded High Kingdom of loyal territories remained, along with a patchwork of new and resurgent nations.
Today, Thassyl's former global prominence has left it as a center of culture, politics, and learning in the civilized world. Many businesses and causes headquartered themselves within the city of Thassyl itself during the height of the Empire, and still remain there to this day. Likewise, the foremost universities in the world lie within Thassyl's borders, and the Royal Museum is the foremost repository of archaeological relics in the world.
With the loss of their former territories, courtly politics among the noble families has turned particularly vicious - unfortunate outsiders a likely to find themselves pawns in a generations-long game between two or more families. While the wesheni still exist, many of their orders have turned from martial pursuits to the fields of politics or business. Those nobles without a pact often find their own manipulative niche in the High Kingdom's infamous diplomatic corps, maneuvering events in the outside world for their nation's greatest advantage.
While a shandow of its former self, most of the citizens of the High Kingdom remember its glory days, and fervently await their nations return to power.
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