Do not despair, for the Saints have chosen this great island and our Holy Empire to plant their roots. Their holiness will forever be with us.
-High Cardinal Orelin
Castellan [Cass-Tell-ann] has been the center of the world for centuries. The Empire was born on Rythe Island many centuries ago. Since then, Castellan has spread on all continents bringing culture, religion, writing and technology to its conquered nations.
However, today’s Castellan has lost power over most of its old Provinces. The Holy Empire still retains prestige and respect.
The History of Castellan
The Empire was born on the Rythe Island. It is believed that a great rythi chieftain known as Cassel the Provider peacefully united most of the tribes of the island. Then, the rest joined him. It is perhaps the oldest form of central governance to exist amongst humans. From there, Cassel and his tribes were known as the Great Island Tribes.
The young nation started exploring and settling the other islands. They became quickly known for their clever warriors and a certain habit of claiming every bit of land they could.
Prosperity led to a golden age during which writing, mathematics and other sciences were developed and perfected from within the Great Island civilisation. As they spread to the north, battling and mixing with the kelshis, their knowledge spread as well.
The founding of the Church of the Nine Saints marked the end of the Tribal Age and the start of a new one.
When the Church of the Nine Saints came to be, it marked a certain departure from the norm for the Great Island Tribes. Empowered by their newfound Faith, they suddenly went for a new approach when settling lands. To conquer was to bring light into a world of darkness. Faith pushed the Empire to conquer more land. The Church declared the rulers imbued by the divine will to bring mankind under one rule and one Faith. Chieftains became nobles and kings. The Great Island Tribe became Castellan.
Thus the Castle Age was born. Many nations signed treaties and were absorbed into the newborn Empire as Provinces and sub-Kingdoms. The others had to bear arms. Most were defeated and ended under Castellan rule.
Castellan’s greatest opponent was another Empire: Karbakis. The Nordic nation had gathered many allies – even old enemies joined them against Castellan. Karbakis turned to dark magics and demon worshiping to give themselves an edge against the Holy Empire. The Church of the Nine Saints called a Great Crusade against Karbakis that none of the kings of Castellan could resist. Even the far kingdom of Z’aor answered the call. After years of legendary conflicts, Karbakis was vanquished.
With the fall of Karbakis, the world had changed. Castellan could not claim land for the Church anymore. The Church of the Nine Saints was strong, alive and thriving. However, the nobles – stuck with a large army – started looking towards new lands to conquer. A conflict started brewing between Castellan and Z’aor.
The Exploration Age was born when merchants trying to reach the eastern Z’aor shores ended up on a brand new continent. Many believe that this was a godsend discovery that avoided a dire conflict between Z’aor and the Holy Empire. The army and Church now had a place to conquer and convert.
The new continent of Thaerna became the target of heavy colonisation by most nations of the main continent, especially Castellan.
The Land of Castellan
As the most spread out nation in the world, Castellan is a mix of islands, jungle forts and villages built on tundra. The sun never sets on the Empire.
The heart of Castellan resides in Rythe Island. It is a large body of arable land. Forest used to cover it, but the many military campaigns of the Empire have claimed most of them.
The People of Castellan
Castellains were born to lead. For them, it is a sacred duty. They respect authority. Despite their rigid demeanor, they are known for great compassion and generosity.
The Empire is led by a member of the Imperial Family. The nobles from all around the greater Castellan Empire have a say in the choice of the next Emperor, but they need to choose amongst the Imperial Family. Emperors serve for life.
Even if, in theory, the people have no say in the government’s affairs, a popular or powerful common man can be made noble by the Church or by members of the Imperial Family. These new nobles can then express the people’s concerns and represent them to the rulers. Of course, the true nobles do not consider them their equals and use the moniker Paupers’ Nobles for them. The expression is also used between true nobles to insult each other – a sure way to start a duel.
With so many colonies and nations under its flag, Castellan has one of the strongest economies in the world. While it is clear that the treasury of the Holy Empire is more important than the wealth of their subordinate nations, siding with Castellan does bring prosperity.
Castellan’s culture is deeply rooted in Faith. The Church of the Nine Saints still holds great influence on its people despite a recent atheism trend that swept the nation.
Still, a very large number of people go to church on the last day of the week. Stores and amenities are closed on that day. It is even illegal to consume alcohol until noon – traditional time at which mass is over.
Castellan takes law and order very seriously. The penalties for convictions are stiff and the likelihood of being found not guilty of a crime once charged is slim.
The Castellan Legal System has been exported to many other countries and is deemed the basis for most modern laws in the world.
On Castellan soil, what constitute a crime is fairly classic and based on the tenets of the Church of the Nine Saints: do not steal, do not kill, do not do to others what you would not want to be done unto you.
However, some laws of Castellan stand out.
Lack of respect towards the chain of command – in the military, at work or within a family – is a crime according to the Castellan legislation. While being disrespectful towards your parents might lead to a few days of youth jail, refusing an order in the military usually ends up with penalty of death or years in jail at best.
The centuries old tradition of dueling is tightly regimented by the code of law. abc
Cities and Landmarks
Castellan, the Imperial City
The Imperial capital is a maze of fortifications upon fortifications, constantly being expanded and rebuilt. Most military orders and companies are trained around the capital.
The largest imperial settlement on the new continent is a thriving community of over 600,000 souls. It is the main port of entry of the continent, even for other nations.
Islands of the Nine
This holy group of islands is located in a large bay in the southeast end of Rythe Island. It basically is a large monastery built on an island, surrounded by nine smaller patches of land. Splendid shrines – each dedicated to a specific Saint – are built on the nine islands.
It is a very private place of pilgrimage. Only the extremely worthy are allowed safe passage there.
Orelia, the Holy City
If the Imperial City is the heart of the Empire, Orelia is its soul. When the prophets founded the Church of the Nine Saints, they first built a shrine that would one day be the site for the actual Great Cathedral. Orelia grew around the shrine as the Faith became stronger and gained followers.
Nowadays, Orelia is – hands down – the most beautiful city in the whole Empire. Pilgrims from all over the world visit its shrines, cathedrals and monuments. Men and women of the Faith are born and die without ever leaving its walls, spending a life of dedication towards the Saints and the Holy powers.
External Relations of Castellan
Since each nation became aware of each other, cultural exchanges and trade took place. When times became dark and dangerous, they became allies and fought Karbakis and have been ever since.
The main military concern of Castellan, Karbakis is still viewed as plain evil. Some of the wisest nobles see in Karbakis a warning about the lure of power.
Despite the fact that the Great Crusade took place centuries ago, there is still a grudge between the two nations. Trade simply does not exist with Karbakis, and the rulers of the Holy Empire have been known to impose heavy consequences on whoever trades with them.
Towards the end of the Exploration Age, a few Provinces of Pellan and Quevillan grouped up and fought Castellan, winning their freedom. Vale is one of the resulting nations.
This hit Castellan hard and marked the end of an era of total control for the Holy Empire. Following Vale’s lead, more Imperial Provinces and Kingdoms became hungry for freedom.
Despite over a century of strife and tense relations, Vale and Castellan are now able to trade and talk. Some say this has to do with the fact that Vale has become too powerful to ignore.
Key Figures of Castellan
Straight descendant of the first Emperor of Castellan, Xavier is a stern and humourless ruler not unlike the chieftains of old. He is known to be fair and generous with his people, but brutal and ruthless on the battlefield. Xavier is currently 44 years old and has ruled since he was 25.
Factions and Organisations
Order of Trystebald
Born from the need for the expanding Empire to face the threat of the magical creatures roaming everywhere, the Order has been in place for roughly two centuries before the Great Crusade. The Order is still managed from the Imperial City and is still sponsored by the Church of the Nine Saints.