The Ferdiad Cycle
” To realise the inherent superiority contained within the Beloved Empire one needs only to gaze at the gleaming spires of Her mighty cities, to hear the awe-inspiring melodies composed for Her glory, to see the lesser folk offering their crowns at the divine emperor’s feet. Ours is the purest and oldest bloodline among men, suited to rule others with grace and wisdom. ”
- ‘Brief history of the Empire’, written two years before the Skyfall.
The Ellysians are a people with an ancient history. Once the rulers of eastern Drystan they are today contained within a small area at the shores of the Southern Sea. Yet they are a proud people whose culture extends far into the past. They had achieved great feats of engineering and art long before other nations even began to form. Even today Ellysia’s influence can be seen and heard in most cultures, a testament to the former might of the Empire.
Many myths have been formed regarding the beginnings of the Empire. The most enduring ones tell of two nameless brothers born in the ancient times before written word. They carved a kingdom out of nothing through wit and strenght of arms but had a falling out after both asked for the hand of the most beautiful maiden in the lands.
This first kingdom of man ended with both of the brothers separating, one disappearing to the west and the other travelling east to find the rolling hills of today’s Ellysia. The oldest Ellysian noble families track their bloodlines to those warriors who travelled here in the service of the nameless king.
The Ellysian scholars have dictated that the Imperial Cycle began when the mythical Egornael appeared for the first time to sow the seeds for the emerging Empire. He was the fairest and tallest of all and possessed martial and cerebral skills beyond any other. The mere sight of him brought the proudest to their knees and his booming voice could level whole mountains. He was the chosen one: a saviour sired by the sun god Tethos.
At the time the lands were ruled by a murderous warlord named Isvafton. He was a ruthless tyrant who took great pleasure at torturing anyone who opposed him, often nailing his enemies’ babies to the walls as warnings. Egornael gathered the oppressed people together and stormed Isvafton’s fortress. He slew the tyrant, hanging his dismembered body parts by the palace’s gates.
In only 33 years Egornael forged the base for the Ellysian Empire, creating it’s laws and armies which have survived more or less to this day. After this was done he ordered his subjects to bring forth enlightment to the savages surrounding Ellysia. His last act before ascending to the heavens was selecting the first emperor Lavinus the Fair to rule in his stead.
The Ellysian warmachine quickly swept over the neighbouring lands crushing all resistance with little effort. In a few centuries the empire’s grasp extended from their capital Andaria to the shores of the Endless Sea. Their power and wealth held no rivals and their pride and arrogance was such that all “lesser” people were held as primitive barbarians. All this was lost in a moment when the empire was driven into a massive war with the Visiroths and the catastrophe called the Skyfall laid waste to the armies of the Ellysians. Soon after they lost their irongrip of the conquered nations who drove them back to their ancestral heartlands.
The Ellysians still regard their remaining lands an empire though in their hearts they know it is dying. The once mighty cities have fallen into disrepair as the oldest noble families must pay tribute to roaming bandit lords. The last emperor sits on her throne dreaming of an era long ended while her people must stoop to bartering with the upstart nations once held under their thumb.
Hierarchy and the Tiers
Ellysians have a strict and complex set of hierarchy also known as the tiers. Basically it divides the nobility into seven different categories. The higher you are within the tiers the more power you wield. As the Ellysians see the power to wield magic a divine gift, those families whose members are certified magic users often rise high within the system. It is forbidden for a noble to marry outside their tier unless granted a special permission by emperor himself.
Above the tiers is the emperor/empress who wields absolute power over all things. The commoners are below the tiers and basically have no way of ever rising even to the lowest levels of nobility. Despite this even they have a certain pride and the oldest families often order around newer ones even if they have little material posessions.
Religion and mindset
See also: Imperial Cults
Ellysians are widely known (and loathed) for their pride and arrogance. When they conquered other people they sought to turn their cultures into a reflection of their own, destroying many old traditions in the process. They have not come in terms with the decline of their rule and still expect others to show them the proper respect as the more civilized folk. This mindset has understandably left them bitter at the world as few pay them any heed in these days.
The Imperial Cults are perhaps the oldest organized form of religion in the world and have had an immense influence to Corwynt among others. Some say the clerics of the Cults are as powerful in the ways of white magic as those of Corwynt. It’s unique aspect is that wizards are highly respected within the clergy and often serve as spiritual leaders.