Western Isles – The Fallen Emperor

Although often maligned for his deeds in later life, the fallen emperor actually played a crucial role in uniting a fractured empire.

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Western Isles – The Red Zealots

Similar to the Yellow Turban rebellion of ancient China.

Where a lot of books spend time outlining prophecies that inform emerging story arcs, here is a prophecy that immediately comes to pass.

The Western Isles are caught in an expansionist war, leading to the death of the emperor. He is succeeded by his grandson who is emperor when the novel starts. Believing himself to be divine, acting on a mandate from the Gods, he led his forces east in a zealous campaign.

This was uniformly crushed by united Heartland kingdoms, dominating them on-land and eventually at sea with the help of the elves.

Those who suffered most came from the highly populated east region of the western isles. Men were conscripted in the army, forced to give up their belongings and lands to aid the crusade eastward.

A terrible famine following the war would push the disparate populace west towards the capital. It is here that the power brokers and elite would – those who had decided to support the war to begin with. Land was expensive and taxes needed to be raised in order to rebuild. What you essentially had was a lower class of people who spent their lives working, paying, and dying for an emperor and those noble families that supported him.

At the same time you have another dead emperor, his two sons surrounded by a court of power-hungry lords.

Rebellion was inevitable, as much as these lords had tried to surpress it through force and fear. The northern warlords had waged campaigns of terror though this would only strengthen the resolve of these rebels.

The final catalyst would be the rise of a power sorceress. A Flamesinger, as prophecy fortold, sent to cleanse the realm. She would become a God Queen, a figure around which the common people rallied.

The West – Despot

Loosely based on Dong Zhuo. A northern warlord who, through his military might and shrewd advisors, managed to win favour within the Imperial Court. Would play a hand in the death of the emperor who would gradually fall ill.

  • Won his influence through participating in a war against a religious uprising. Instead of just pursuing the zealots and militias, his forces would attack settlements. One such settlement, a monastery, was attacked. It’s citizens were raped, tortured, and forced to kill each other among other unspeakable acts.
  • A general intercepts him on his return,

 

  • Is ultimately pushed all the way back to a fortress he had previous razed to show an example to his enemies. His men put up a feeble defence, manning the charred walls. Deserters face. Knowing the enemy army was soon approaching, some kill civilians to get their clothes and blend in with the non-soldiers.