Atop the Shoulders of Giants
The Nada’Ath empire is an ancient empire founded on conquest and coalesced by intellectualism and aristocracy. The Nadan Calendar, developed based on the work “On the Revolution and Progression of Time”, written by Nada, the empire’s second ruler, is used by nearly all peoples of the known world, and the influence of the Nada’Ath (literally “followers of Nada”) has touched every nation for thousands of miles from the Bali Desert where the empire was first founded.
The Nada’Ath empire has long been known for three things: its’ class division; its cut-throat politics; and its nigh-overwhelming military might. Only by three enemies has a Nada’Athi military campaign ever been fully halted: by the expert cavalry of what is now Kefran in the mid 7th century; by an impenetrable naval blocked by the Kingdom of Golir in the early 13th century; and by the ferocious guerilla tactics of the Plokar.
Only once has the Nada’Athi military been defeated, which was by the forces of the house of Lu Paei during one of the first successful uses of firearms in the course of a military conflict on the third day of the second moon of autumn, 1511. The Lu Paei family, having recently conquered the Obsidian Isles after being banished from their homeland during the formation of the Xio-Shin Monarchy, wished to make a grab for the Nada’Fan – the Nada’Athi homeland. A feigned assault on Musai distracted the Nada’Athi fleet, allowing 10 Lu Paei cargo ships loaded with over 400 armed soldiers to land outside of Lalsim, the Nada’Athi capital. The 400 Lu Paei soldiers met 700 of the most experienced and outfitted Nada’Athi soldiers on the field of battle, but the Lu Paei hand cannons punched holes through the armor of the Nada’Athi forces, and overnight the city of Lalsim was raided, the emperial family was killed, and the Lu Paei family took control of the city.
Less than a week later the remainder of the Lu Paei naval fleet rallied for a battle against the remaining Nada’Athi navy and though the Lu Paei forces suffered extreme casualties, the battle concluded with the surrender of the Nada’Athi admiral leading the fleet. One by one the cities and governances of the Nada’Athi empire, wishing to avoid armed conflict with this unexpectedly powerful family of usurpers, reached accords with the Lu Paei family which maintained the structure of the Nada’Athi empire under its new rulership.
The Empire of Convenience
The Nada’Athi people for some time were dissatisfied with the change, but many came to accept it over the following decades as many of the old, restrictive relationships between various parts of the empire began to relax and allow for more local control, an increase in trade freedoms, and in may areas the resurgence of previously suppressed local cultures. Never-the-less many citizens of the empire have held onto the idea of the “True Empire” and continue to look on this new political arrangement with disdain, often referring to it as the “Empire of Convenience”. Though their numbers are not few, the supporters of this ideal empire ruled by the true descendents of Nada are mostly poor, lower class citizens who reaped little of the benefits of the relaxed political relationships and broadened trading practices.
Every few decades since the Lu Paei invasion, a rumor will begin to circulate around the empire that the “Lost Heir” of Nada – some member of the imperial family who escaped the slaughter that day – is soon to come out of hiding and raise an army to reclaim the throne. Such rumors rarely last long, however, and are largely ignored by the Nada’Athi aristocracy as ludicrous rabble-rousing.
The Destiny of the Empire
Since their take-over in 1511, the Lu Paei family has largely done nothing to expand the holdings of the empire, even stagnating the long-standing on-and-off “wars” against the Plokar for control of lands east of Sef. However, in the year 1644 upon the ascent of Zhaon Lu Paei to the imperial throne she delivered a long and eloquent speech to the assembled aristocracy regarding the “Imperial Destiny” that she claimed to have inherited. She spoke of a vision that one day the Nada’Athi empire would claim the entire Merchant Sea and all its surrounding lands, when the fleets of the nation traveled the entire world over with their trade goods, and when every man, woman, and child would bow their heads in reverence at the mention of the empress. In the conclusion of her speech Zhaon Lu Paei, the newest empress of the most powerful empire in the known world, vowed to see this vision come to pass.