The Summer Heroes
The Sorian Empire, In Brief
The city of Soren was founded in -1056 BR athwart the gap between far-western Orem and the rest of the continent. The original city itself is an enormous and spectacular bridge built over the gap, held aloft through magical and mundane means and is a marvel of engineering. The oldest and most prestigious of Soren’s institutions and noble families maintain a presence on the bridge, though many of them also maintain buildings and houses in the “new city”, as space is at a premium, despite the enormity of the bridge. Sorian architecture is often characterized by the use of large, high pillars, tan stone, and the extensive use of Sorian Bronze, the product that first caused the city to rise in prominence.
Soren is famous for its connection to the advanced use and application of alchemy, which it extensively used to great and terrible effect during its rise to power. Over time, the city dominated the trade routes and regions around it, and by -490 BR the Empire had acquired enough power to wage a successful war of extinction against the dwarves. The War of Dwarven Extinction ended in -483 BR, with the self-destruction of the last dwarven city, Varcrist, and the subsequent suicide of the surviving dwarves, whom the Empire had enslaved. The Empire engaged in its next genocidal war against the Zacthar Kingdom of the trolls, which concluded in 58 BR with the departure of the very few trolls who survived.
Uninhibited by any remaining large, neighboring polities, the Empire continued its expansion to the east, eventually incorporating the cities of Darrova and Ystria, as well as annexing the Penwith Islands. The expansion eastwards was accompanied by significant settlement of new cities, as well as the imposition of a single language ( Imperial Common) and currency, the former of which is one of the Empire’s most enduring legacies across the continent. Following the rapid and dramatic expansion, the Empire began to suffer under its own weight, and by the accession of Krastus the Reformer in 626 BR, corruption was rampant and the Empire decaying.
Krastus was able to successfully leverage the dangers posed to the Empire to implement a series of sweeping reforms, among which was a total repeal of the Empire’s racist, anti-human policies. He created his wife, Hyperia, the first Tribune, and she ruled over the eastern half of the Empire from her newly-built city of Hyperion. Krastus and his wife bought the Empire some time, but in 778 BR the Empire broke apart as the Triple Throne War (and, then, the Strife of the Two Empresses) took hold. Orcs, in alliance with the ogres, from north of the Var-Aldun Range, eventually took advantage of the Empire’s weakened state and invaded en masse, an invasion which culminated in the destruction of the eastern capital of Hyperion and the fall of much of the city of Soren in 837 BR, the so-called Year of Conflagration. The remaining (and largely untouched) cities of Ystria, Darrova, and the Penwith Islands took the opportunity to declare independence.
Following the shock of the fall of Soren, the Empire eventually re-asserted its control over the western parts of Orem, expanding its borders in the east, once again, to the Iron River. The Emperor Lynceus decreed the Empire’s borders, at that point, as fixed, and his successors followed through with this promise and constructed the Great Wall of the Empire— usually known as the Empire Wall— around the eastern part of the Empire. Their successors, usually known as the Scholar-Emperors, have maintained the Empire’s borders, too, and it appears the Empire’s days of militaristic expansion have passed for good.
The alchemical heyday of the Empire has also passed, as a great deal of knowledge was lost in the sacking of Soren, and it is widely believed there is still much to be re-discovered. Despite this, Imperial alchemists are powerful and well-schooled, if somewhat rigid in their training. Aside from their influence, the Empire is ruled by the Emperor and the Dycastery, though the Dycastery is far more powerful than it was in the past, as they seized upon the fall of Soren to restrict many of the Imperial Throne’s powers. Worship of the war-god, Lagren, was the official and chief religion of the Empire prior to the Year of Conflagration, but since that time Imperial citizens have left the Church of the War God en masse, out of a belief that Lagren abandoned the Empire and withdrew his favor from it, an abandonment that led to the city and empire’s destruction.