The Myzanshan Empire Information
The Myzanshan Empire is an utterly massive, sprawling country far to the East of Haltbent, bordering Chandra-Veh on two sides. It is led from the massive capital of Istantacostol, named after one of its first rulers, Istantian. The Empire leads to the Holds in the Southwest and to the sea in the North, East, and South, while the other side of the Holds is owned by their archenemies, the Madoles.
The Empire is led by a high council, known as the Triumvirate (a group of three equal leaders). The current members are Lathritus the Third, who takes a moderate and educationally inclined stance, Dioclesius, who takes a conservative and militarily inclined stance, and the only woman in the higher levels of Myzanshan politics, Irodotora the Fifth, who is a liberal with a focus on culture. Members of the Triumvirate are either elected or, in the case of a draw or someone who especially wants the spot, war.
Myzanshans wage war a lot, in fact; the Empire is so vast, and so diverse, that some part of it is always warring with some other part, including some vicious age-long rivalries that involve stolen territory, assassinated nobility, and unfair policies. When an outside threat appears, however, the Empire is unified in their hatred; their patriotism is a powerful force.
The Myzanshans worship the same gods as Haltbent and the Praiye Isles, though their pantheon is led by Kailo, the goddess of war and justice. Myzanshans have a big focus on justice, in fact, and those convicted of the "Ten High Treasons" are promptly exiled from the country, no questions asked. The only exceptions are for recognized war heroes, who are denoted by a tattoo of three blue stars on their right shoulder. As colored ink is almost impossible to manufacture, it's considered a good way of identifying those who have been honored by their country. The people are given special privileges and power, as they are considered the best the warmongering country has to offer.
Despite not focusing greatly on higher education, The Myzanshan Empire is home to some of the greatest scholars and philosophers anywhere other than Chandra-Veh. Philosophy should be expected, considering the country's somewhat bloodthirsty nature and reputation- there is so much suffering juxtaposed with so much power and prosperity that one would have to be a fool not to stop and think now and then.
The Empire is also famous for its utterly astounding architectural feats, though these are born almost entirely out of a sense of competition- Myzanshans are a proud people, and they do not like being shown up. Logically, many of these amazing displays of human ingenuity are centered in Istantacostol, which is known countrywide simply as "The City."
Nothing more needs to be said about it; the Myzanshan word for 'city' is synonymous with Istantacostol, and simply saying 'the city' is enough to let everyone know exactly where it is you are talking about. Istantacostol is larger than some small countries, stretching from the sea with its endless ports in the West to the sky-piercing silhouette of the Hagia Polemos in the East.
Istantacostol is a center of commerce known the world over, though it's also known for being in varying stages of decay- such large things are difficult to preserve, and the Thousand Mile Wall that used to surround the shining city has been crushed into the dirt over the years, only visible peaking above the soil in areas the least traveled.
The city is renowned for its places of worship, which are referred to as 'cathedrals' instead of 'temples.' The most notable of these is the Hagia Polemos, which translates roughly to the "Holy War." It is the city's cathedral to Athena, goddess of war, and it is perhaps what people remember the most about Istantacostol. No matter where you are in the city, you can see the spire of the cathedral, and the sight of it in full is imposing and awe inspiring in equal measure. The Hagia Polemos isn't the city's only place of worship, of course; the church to Hera (Hagia Mater, "Wise Mother") is set on a hill overlooking the city, and Zeus's (Hagia Paternalis, "Wise Father") is three triplet towers rising to a little more than half the height of the Hagia Polemos. The temples for the other gods are all much smaller, and of little note.
Myzanshans as a people are of the vocal and opinionated kind, and not-so-friendly debates are a common fixture of interpersonal relationships. They have little respect for personal space compared to other peoples, and foreigners often feel uncomfortable for a while upon visiting. They mean no harm by this, however, just as they mean no harm in horseplay and roughhousing.
Myzanshans are hardly judgmental, allowing most people to be as they wish to be; so long as it doesn't harm the public good, they don't care much how you live. As such, the country is a refugee hotspot for people fleeing persecution, whether it be for their chosen profession, their religious inclinations, or their sexual orientation.
In contrast to their openness, Myzanshans are proud and patriotic people, and they hold national grudges for a very long time. Madoles, for example, are absolutely forbidden from entering the country, not only during times of ongoing war with them (which is most of the time) but also during bouts of peace (those hardly ever happen, honestly. That hatred runs deep).
Myzanshans adore the thoughts of democracy, and almost every large business, religious organization, and other group is led by either popular vote or a council of elected representatives. This system is occasionally corrupt, of course, but they do their best, and attacking this approach to governing is the best way to start an argument.
Questioning their battle-centered ways is another way to get verbally mauled. Every male citizen is immediately sent on the eve of their sixteenth birthday to spent two years in the military, and quite a few take up careers in the army. Half of the ships in the ports are naval vessels, and half of the horses are warhorses; armor and weapons are made for battle, not protection, and every single town, no matter how small, has a guard outpost.
Geographically, the country covers a wide range of terrains solely due to its size. It only snows in the North, while parts of the South are covered in jungle closer to the mountains and in plains and valleys nearer to the sea. Rivers run down from the mountains, overflowing in the summer, and prairies of wild flowers bloom madly in the spring. Some of the trees change color in the autumn, others do not; some villages have buildings made of mud and grass, others are made of wood and others still of stone. A few rise up on the slopes of the lower mountains, and a few are partially under the earth; some are based on islands in lakes, others are huddled around small natural springs. Some have major exports of hunting, others focus on mining, others still on farming or fishing. All of these things are sent directly to Istantacostol, which in turn send out what other villages need and keeps the rest for production- for crafting, designing, building, and selling.
Tradecrafts are rarely seen in the smaller townships, unless a former Istantacostollan with the training for it moves to one of them and opens a shop there.
The Empire is also covered in ruins and relics, forgotten remains of inventions, buildings, and cultures long passed. New examples of these are always being found.
The Myzanshans also have their secrets, however. Deep under the earth, in cave systems explored by enterprising adventurers, other things have been found. Temples. Not to Zeus or Athena or Hera, not to Poseidon or Hades. Temples to Cronus. Though long abandoned at first glance, they are not as crumbled as they should be, and the country's answer to these uncomfortably frequent discoveries is to destroy every record of them and block the entrances.
The Empire is also a fan of statues, often of the gods and sometimes of famous heroes and leaders. Though mostly concentrated in the areas around Istantacostol, these sculptures, called the "Idol Series," can also be found in some of the larger settlements in the nation, as well as at places of triumph or hardship, or of areas mentioned in the more famed of Myzanshan literature.