The Valley of Oosular
A brief History of the Nokoyan Empire
While the Nokoyans had writing at the time of their founder, very little is known about him or the years before the empire. Legend has it that a human named Nokoy and his people came from a land beyond the sea on a fleet of ships. Some legends say to flee the Serpent Lords of Yiss, others that orcs had overrun his homeland to the west in what is now the Great Expanse. Little is also known of Nokoy himself, although tails tell of him having been raised in the wilds by elemental spirits who taught him secret crafts — crafts that would give his people the edge over all others. What is known for sure is that the Kingdom of Nokoya was founded 2695 years ago on the land of Sala, a large island several hundred miles across. A lush and bountiful place, the Nokoyans soon established themselves and prospered.
By the time of Nokoy’s death 50 years later, the Nokoyans had conquered or subdued all other tribes on the island. Nokoy was merciful in his conquest however, and most of the tribes were welcomed into the Nokoyan nation. A quote attributed to Nokoy says that “To be safe and prosperous, free of war and domination, all good peoples must be united under one banner, and that shall be of Nokoya”. On his deathbed, history tells that Nokoy decreed that he would be the last of the kings, and that while future leaders would carry the title of “emperor”, this emperor would not rule with absolute authority. To achieve Nokoya’s destiny as the united nation of the world, the people would have to have a say. Therefore the emperor would rule in conjunction with a governing body of senators elected by free citizens. The emperor would be elected by the senate for a single term of 14 years. He then detailed to his scribes how to make it happen and what laws needed to be enacted to guarantee this. Even though Nokoya was simply a collection of tribes at this time, his words were followed to the letter, as he was greatly loved by his people.
In the following decades the fledgling empire established colonies along the lands across the water as it slowly became a dominant power on the sea. Over the next ten centuries technology rapidly advanced within the empire, and it easily outmatched other nations whom it conquered and assimilated. The only foe that proved a thread to Nokoya was the ancient empire of the serpent lords known as the Yiss. It took a series of four wars over 500 years for the them to push this eastern empire of snake-peoples into the jungles and deserts of their ancient homeland Autus.
The empire itself would undergo changes at this time as well. At the dawn of the wars with the Yiss, around 1020 NE, the senate would elect an emperor that would prove its undoing, and change the very nature of the empire. The senate had been waning in popularity for over a century due to charges of corruption, infighting, and nepotism, and was seen as weak and ineffective. Meanwhile, the numerous military victories by a young, brilliant, and charismatic emperor named Naernor greatly increased his popularity with the masses. As the Yiss pressed their attack against the empire, a great amount of pressure was placed on the senate to keep the very popular emperor on the throne longer. As a result, the position of emperor became a life appointment via a vote in the senate in 1034 NE, and that laws that were written almost a thousand years ago were modified accordingly. During the 64 years of Naernor’s subsequent reign the empire prospered and expanded its boarders farther than it had in the previous 500 years.
However, after Naernor’s death, succeeding emperors were not as talented or loved, and the empire itself went into a slow, gradual decline. Technological progress stagnated and the class system, while having been in place for centuries, became all the more rigid as the wealthy became more and more powerful and isolated from other citizens. Eventually, around 1408, it was required that and individual needed to buy his or her citizenship. This, as well as other decisions, were greatly disliked by the people, the vast majority of whom could not afford to purchase their vote.
In the centuries that followed, five major attempts were made to overthrow the government. The last coup attempt (which took place at 2041) succeeded, although in the unrest many outlying provinces were lost. The empire went into a period of isolation after this takeover, breaking contact with all former colonies and distant provinces. It emerged a generation later as a necrocracy. The very coup leaders, popular and celebrated, were in fact vampires. They had been the survivors of the previous coup that took place 105 years earlier, and had used their new powers to overthrow the government and replace it with a New Order.
Rule by the undead was not readily apparent to the populace and these revolutionaries were hailed as heroes, their true nature unknown to all but a few. Furthermore, the vampire rulers had somehow rediscovered old technology that had not been seen for centuries. The benefits of this technology were opened to the public, and that at first wowed the populace. By the time it was widely known that the rulers were in fact undead, it was too late. The power structure was established and the populace mollified.
Heavy propaganda announcing that only criminals need worry about facing their vampire rulers, along with promises of prosperity, became a regular part of the cultural dialogue. Furthermore, long-standing class and racial restrictions were removed, and it was proclaimed that advancement within the empire would be on merit alone, all the way up to and including offers of immortality for the best and brightest. For the most part, with the return of ancient Nokoyan technology life for the average citizen improved markably — even if general freedoms were greatly curtailed, speaking out against the empire was a death sentence, and the poor and isolated sometimes simply disappeared.
The official line of government propaganda was that the Nokoyan Empire would cover the world, and its proud citizens would reap the benefits. With the lean and harsh years and long civil wars before the New Order was established, it seemed the populace as a whole was willing to look the other way.
This new order was officially established in 2078 NE, it is now 2695, and the Great Empire is on the move the claim one of the few remaining outlying provinces… Oosular.