Empires of Twilight: Ayrdonya
Empire of Illion
Governing Body: power equally divided between absolute monarchy and absolute theocracy
Current Ruler(s): Amir Khalid (secular ruler) and Amar A’isha (religious ruler)
Capital City: Illion
Standard: red background with two crossing silver scimitars at center
Currency: gems (diamond, emerald, opal, jade, and garnet)
State Religion: Sha’alid
State Language: Osiri
Majority Populace: human (Osiran)
Due to the meticulous records kept by the Nizah (the scribes of Sha’alid), the history of Illion is well documented. Established the 31st day of Imber (April), 1397 P.K., the Empire of the Sands was first known as the Kingdom of Osiri after the founding father who led his people “from the land of evil into the land of light.” Many contemporary scholars believe the Osiran are descendents of the last refugees from the Timerixian Empire. The Nizah, however, began their recordings on the day the kingdom was established and will not speculate on what transpired before that date. An Osiran legend states the people were nomads until Osiri began receiving visions from Sha’alid who guided them across the Diamond Cliffs, through the Great Sorno Desert, and into the serenity of the Salvation Wood.
The Kingdom of Osiri experienced a thousand years of peace and prosperity as they reaped the benefits of the abundant natural resources to be found in the region. Gems, precious metals, and ores were quickly discovered and immediate access to the Aforian Sea allowed for a vast shipping industry to be established. Unfortunately, the naivete of Osiri would be shattered in 357 P.K. when the Sarzioch Empire, under Ravan the Bloodless, invaded the kingdom and destroyed the capital of Lartonea. Amar Bakr, and what remained of his army, fled to the small port city of Illion where the new empire was formed. Unable to grapple with military, religious, and internal matters, Amar Bakr appointed a young officer named Hommod as Amir. Hommod proved to be a brilliant general and reorganized the nation, and her resources, toward the Illionic War (357 P.K. – 213 A.K.) with the Sarzioch Empire. A short-lived alliance with the Kingdom of Trillium, known as the Warza Pact, was made in 284 P.K, but quickly fell apart due to cultural differences. Naval skirmishes and small wars continued off and on for the next three hundred years as neither empire made any substantial gains. Eventually, in the spring of 37 A.K., Illion successfully mounted the Vursa Invasion and came within miles of Sarzioch’s capital. By 213 A.K. both sides were exhausted and the Sarzioch Empire was on the verge of collapse. After commandeering Sarzioch’s navy, the Illion forces returned home to find their nation on the brink of civil war.
After nearly a decade of subtle political maneuvering, Amar Baleed had successfully undermined the authority of Amir Abassid and attempted to have the secular ruler murdered by the Vihhad, a group of religious assassins, in 220 A.K. Eighteen years of civil war would follow as the Empire of the Sands was ripped apart at the seams. Amar Baleed eventually lost the favor of the people as he grew increasingly fanatical by claiming to be the son of Sha’alid. By 238 A.K. he and his closest followers were forced out of the Salvation Wood and into the Sorno Sands where they became desert nomads following the doctrine of Baleed (later known as Baleedism).
As the Empire of the Sands grew into a trading and naval power, the nation was exposed to the views of the outside world that often went against Sha’alid beliefs. The Nu’ish Act of 574 A.K. limited foreign traders to certain ports and districts of Osiran towns. This act continues to be in effect as outside influences are seen as a very serious threat to Osiran culture and society. The only exception to the Nu’ish Act was the Seljuk Treaty of 1294 A.K. between Illion and Trillium. This treaty allowed Trillian traders complete access to Osiran ports and the Empire of the Sands supported the Kingdom of Trillium during the Blood Coast War between it and the Consolidated Regions of Tesh although Illion did not get directly involved. However, the cultural differences between the two nations climaxed at the Corrinth Incident of 1558 A.K. when a hundred Trillian missionaries were murdered by a mob of Sha’alid followers. The missionaries had been clerics of Auronius who demonstrated their clerical ability much to the surprise of Sha’alid followers who receive no powers from their god, but rather continue to worship as a matter of faith. The Seljuk Treaty was broken and clerics, as well as mages, were warned against traveling in Illion.
The Empire of the Sands is largely an isolationist nation, but maintains connections with foreign powers as a matter of commerce. Although not as secretive as the Kingdom of Veldruth, Illion is nonetheless a culturally and environmentally far different land than most of Lower Corrinthius. The nation currently has no alliances, or treaties, but has a strong economy and a powerful military, which keeps the Consolidated Regions of Tesh from considering a second Illionic War. The City-State of Boskoir has approached the Illion Empire in hopes of an alliance, but religious differences pose many problems.
The Current Government
Despite the civil war begun between the Amir and Amar a thousand years before, the Empire of the Sands maintains a duel rulership. A’isha is the first female Amar and has served her country well for over forty years. Amir Khalid, however, is new to the throne, but appears patient and competent in his duties.