|The Holy Ralgon Empire|
|Motto: Strength and Honor|
|Largest city||Glacier City, SAR|
|Official language(s)||Draconian (official)|
Standard (most common)
(revolves around a pantheon consisting of eleven gods)
|Government||Constitutional Elective Monarchy|
|- King||Emperor Shiro Ral I|
|- Crown Prince||Draeg'ar Ral|
|- Legislature||Imperial Senate|
|Establishment||Winter, 228 AN|
October 23rd, 2018 (est. in Micras)
|Population||124,254,005 (1665 AN)
|National food||crocodile meat|
|National drink||black wine|
|National tree||giant durian tree|
The Holy Ralgon Empire, or simply Ralgon is a quasi-feudal empire that has existed since 228 AN and remained closed to the world until recently. The Ralgon Empire has heavily influenced and/or governed the entire island of Dragos (known to the wider world as "El Dorado") for the last two centuries, the present nation been unified by the year 1270 AN. Having consolidated diplomatic control of most of the island, the Ralgon Empire has developed scientifically and medically to a point where they are confident of securing their place in the world order and bringing the rest of Dragos under a single government for the first time ever in recorded history. The Ralgon homeland is bordered on the eastern interior by a vast inland swamp inhabited by extremely hostile native life, and on the western interior by vast mountainous badlands. Because of the extremely dangerous fauna present on the island for millenia, the Ralgons, until very recently, found conquest of the rest of the inland to be a slow and very painful process.
They also find themselves beset with overcrowding issues in the south and west of the country, and so their current long-time king (Nobunag'an IV) slowly began opening the country to the rest of the world instead, before he abdicated the throne due to his age. His reign of 78 years (1595 - 1673) is, by a full 25 years, the longest tenure for any head of state in Ralgon history. The new Emperor Shiro has reigned since the first day of 1673 AN, taking the throne after the traditional election and post-election combat with other contenders for the title. He is the first Emperor in recorded history to use his personal name both as a prince and as the country's sovereign.
Outside of liturgy, the Holy Ralgon Empire relies on the same system many other nations of Micras use: the Norton system. Years on the Norton Calendar are equivalent to almost exactly a single Earth month. Although the Ralgon religious calendar begins on 228 AN (also their official founding date, 120 Earth years ago), they recently adopted the international standard shortly before Nobunag'an IV's abdication. This is mostly to unify Ralgon practices with those of their international partners, since their own yearly calendar so happened to align almost exactly to their current system. Since time moves much differently on Micras than it does on Earth, this span of time is truly significant to the people of that world.
After its opening to the world in 1665 AN, the nation has made epic strides towards breaking free of the wars against nature it has fought since before the beginning of their recorded history. The latest major conflict, the Great Swamp War, is drawing to a close after almost 225 years of continuous fighting. The war was triggered after the Great Atomic Bombardment of 1450, which was itself the close of a previous conflict fought to secure the coastlines against the Swamp's very hostile and very powerful fauna.
The first Bombardment served to kill only the weaker creatures of the Swamp, as well as mutating the already-problematic giant insects which inhabited its deep interior. Additionally, the smaller and weaker Dragon populations from all three known species were wiped out, allowing much larger and stronger breeds to quickly emerge. After a narrowly fought battle, a perpetual beachhead was established until 1674, when the Second Great Atomic Bombardment took place. Utilizing recently perfected and strengthened hydrogen bombs, the swamp's insect population was finally brought to heel, and enough hostile dragons destroyed for a front to move inland.
Upon the successful conclusion of the Great Swamp War in late 1675, the Ralgons have made themselves busy consolidating territorial gains at home, as well as attempting to secure a western border, which runs through the very heart of the Swamp, where the elusive red dragons are rumored to dwell. Overseas, the colony of Adrestia was recently annexed and has already seen rapid population in the wake of an almost unprecedented baby boom following the war's conclusion. With adult mortality from warfare being drastically reduced (from two in five killed in battle to only one in fifty) since then, the fully developed urban areas are being strained to the brink. With an already-high fertility rate (due to now-ancient cultural pressures) this reduction in deaths has led to a cultural and economic shock within the Empire.
In response to this unprecedented crisis, the Ralgon military is complete their occupation of the island's western side. The coastal regions offer far friendlier places than the Great Swamp to move what excess population cannot (for whatever reason) make the journey to Adrestia. In the meantime, the largest metropolitan area in the Empire, Glacier City, continues to bear most of the load of incoming denizens who are being priced out of the real estate market in other parts of the country's other highly concentrated, coastal urban areas.
- 1 Government
- 2 Foreign Relations
- 3 History
- 4 Culture
- 5 Economy
- 6 Science and Technology
- 7 Education
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Geography
The Ralgons did not have a title for a monarch until the first explorers voyaged far enough to find a country that had a proper non-name title for their royalty. Wishing to emulate the world during the burgeoning nation's nascent years, the Ralgons in the country of Stormhold decided to call their monarch a "king," in line with much of what they saw in the wider world. This change began during the reign of Bael'an VI during the year 1260, supposedly in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first Ralgon king's adoption of the current national religion of Draconic. In reality, this action on part of their royal family firmly cemented both their religious and political power in this rising kingdom. Because of this move, the royal family bought enough early prestige for the highly religious Ral clan to consolidate their spreading power over the island's south-east portion. Eventually, the title of King became synonymous with any of the rulers of the large island's strongest kingdoms. Because of this religious influence, the island has been renamed Dragos, after one of their gods.
The Ralgon Kings, in the very earliest days of the nation, worshipped an odd pantheon of various gods. This practice persisted unabated until around 800, when the mainstream religion of Draconic began to take a foothold in Ralgon lands, located on the western mountainous region of the island. Having been founded in a collapsing nearby state, the disorganized religion's clerics got the chance to spread their faith into Ralite territory far to the east of the island. After the religion became immensely popular following the arrival of a charismatic prophet in the Nixtorm region, the royal family of Stormhold took advantage of the situation to establish a major holy site there and subsequently adopted the religion. At around the same time, their neighbors in Nixtorm similarly converted.
The religion of Draconic was officially taken over in the year 1178, when the chieftain Tormund converted to the religion late into his reign. Taking the name of Bael'ar in honor of the god of light and valor, he took the role of the head of the religion and used this to seize absolute authority from the nobility within Stormhold. During subsequent years, the country expanded and the chieftains of the Ral Clan were forced to cede authority, covering it in guises of delegation of responsibility, until the monarchs held naught but spiritual authority in the country. This changed by the year 1178 when the country fell into a series of bitter wars with the swamp peoples to the north that saw most of the nobility destroyed. During this same time, the country of Stormhold subsequently formed a union with Nixtorm through several generations of royal intermarriage. Subsequently, the merchants guilds ruling the country of Scarterra from Drag'nor unified with the other two in the name of self-preservation, since their borders with the Great Swamp at the time were considered by far the most hostile, and Scarterra lacked the military resources necessary to preserve itself in the long-term against any additional enemies on top of the dangerous inland fauna.
Since the year 1400, the Ralgon monarchs have enjoyed a balance of power between themselves and the nobility by using a Senate as proxy for their debates and struggles. In using the Senate as an effective puppet, the ruling classes of the country also effectively maintain a status quo while putting on a republican front to enfranchise wealthy merchants and major cities' political groups. The previous king, Nobunag'an IV, ruled the country from 1595 to 1673. When he stepped down, Nobunag'an Ral IV reigned for 78 years, the longest in Ralgon history. The King himself was more than 90 years old, and many of the eleven Crown Princes originally chosen as his would-be heirs had already died of old age and replaced by sons, grandsons, and in some cases even great-grandsons.
At the end of 1672, the King announced his abdication to speed the succession process while he still possessed a sound body and mind. Succession from a still-living King who voluntarily vacates his office is usually seamless, and succession upon death is the opposite: it tends to be a long, brutal, and frequently destabilizing affair for the country. Since his abdication, the King Emeritus has lived a relatively quiet life, and occasionally advises the current Emperor on weighty matters. He is aging rapidly, though; at over 100 years old, he may not have much longer left to live.
Since Emperor Shiro's ascension to the throne in 1673 AN, he has been known as Emperor of the Ralgons, in addition to his title as King of Drag'os. Although the title has changed, his temporal and spiritual authority (as a religious figure as well as politician) have largely stayed the same. His role in grand-scale strategy has taken a much more hands-on approach than his predecessor, Nobunag'an IV. Under his rule, the Ralgon Empire has expanded overseas to prevent total collapse in any case of a disastrous event befalling the homeland, such as happened during the dawn of recorded history.
Formerly designed to govern the entire country, the Imperial Senate of the Holy Ralgon Empire has recently been retooled to govern the Island of Dragos as a larger territory group within the empire, unofficially dubbed Realms. This means that major colonies such as Adrestia retain full autonomy and answer directly to the King of Drag'os (who also holds the title of Ralgon Emperor), so long as their laws do not conflict with Imperial laws or decrees.
As the senior-most legislature in the Holy Ralgon Empire, the Senate sets both the tone and pace for legislation in the Realm's other constituent countries, territories, and penal colonies domestically as well as abroad. The Senate directly governs the oldest and largest of the Empire's constituent countries, known as Drag'os, whose territory covers the island bearing the same name (and known to ancient cartographers in other parts of Micras as "El Dorado").
Within the Realm of Drag'os, the Senate serves to represent the several Provinces and Territories contained within. Because of recent major reforms, only three Senators instead of five represent each Province, and one represents every Territory. Three Senators represent Glacier City, S.A.R. due to the city's special status as the current King's main residence, as well as its sheer size in economy and population. The Senate represents several full Provinces, all located on the constituent country of Dragos. These include Scarterra, Aurora, Stormhold (post-fracture), Nixtorm, and Duro (the newest Province in Drag'os). The Territories represented include the sparsely populated Great Swamp lands (governed from the resettled city of Jento since 1675), the even more sparsely populated lands in the Great Divide (the interior of which is crawling with hostile elder dragons) and the much more hospitable territory of Dragon's Reach in the far southwest of the island.
The Nobility of the Ralgon Empire differ from province to province, according to local laws, customs, and traditions. Each province has its own unique way of appointing or electing members of its aristocratic classes as well as their rulers, and for a time even had widely disparate titles for these people. Since the Great Reformation that took place post-Unification, however, these customs have been, for the most part, streamlined over the years. Notably, the naming standards and conventions of the Empire's upper-tier nobility have been fully standardized and brought into line with much of the rest of Micras.
Presently, there are several standardized tiers to the Ralgon Empire's nobility. At the top of the social pyramid sits the King and the Imperial Family, who each have unique political and clerical powers within the nation. In addition to the King, the extended Royal family (consisting of the King's increasingly distaff relations) holds significant power in the country, and even rule half of Stormhold directly, having slowly usurped power over the years. Third on this social pyramid are the Grand Dukes, who collectively hold about as much power nationally as the Imperial Household (and are perpetually at odds with them). Fourth on the social stratum are active members of the Senate, as well as the Lords of Ralgon (themselves powerful provincial nobles).
Lesser nobles who (for the most part) answer to their own provincial governments fall on the lowest portions of the aristocratic pecking order within the Ralgon Empire. They are relatively common but proportionally powerless) in Nixtorm and eastern Stormhold. On the contrary, these lower-ranking, non-royal nobles are relatively scarce in Drag'nor and virtually nonexistent in western Stormhold, and thus influence great autonomy outside of restrictions placed upon them by their superiors.
Ralgon foreign relations have essentially been a non-issue for the last 1500 years. Up until Nobunag'an's reign, none of the world's great civilizations had any sort of official contact with the Ralgon government. Instead, the Ralgon government was perpetually occupied with their attempt at consolidating rule over the island, especially inland, where the vast swamps have played host to savage and un-subjugated peoples. The recent inroads made by Draconic missionaries and by local diplomats have made progress, although wars are constantly fought against various tribes located on or near the Empire's inland borders. Furthermore, the 1674 Ralgon victory in their Great Swamp War effectively eliminated pressing internal concerns, prompting a rapid switch of focus from internal land reclamation efforts to border expansion as a way of sustaining the recent explosion in population growth.
From the point King Nobunag'an IV (retrospectively called Emperor Nobunag'an IV) took the throne in 1595, he slowly took steps steps during his seemingly endless 78-year reign to ensure that the Holy Ralgon Empire became capable of holding its own on the international scene. He began in 1610 by secretly sending missionaries out preaching the tenets of Draconic to lands beyond the great oceans that surround the island that most within the Empire considered until recently to be their entire world. In 1655, he opened the massive port metropolis at Glacier City to both trade and open travel, in hopes of stemming the overpopulation crisis that has begun to affect the city's well-being during the last 50 years. Ironically, the massive influx of trade the nation saw spurred an rapid population growth that strained the country's luxury resources and habitable real estate. Until the end of Nobunag'an IV's reign at the end of 1672, though, tourism and business travel between the Ralgon Empire and the outside world still remained largely limited outside of Glacier City, S.A.R., Drag'nor, and their environs.
With the ascension of Emperor Shiro I, the Holy Ralgon Empire entered a new age in its foreign relations. Under the new Emperor's orders, vast fleets of merchant ships were either built or repurposed from existing coastal defense battleships to carry goods, ideas, and personnel throughout the world. This led to the foundation of the Ralgon Empire's current crown jewel in its blooming colonial empire, the Principality of Adrestia. Their prison problem was also rapidly solved with the foundation of penal colonies to the south of Corum, with the implicit support of their new Bassarid allies near that region. With the rapid growth of trade and the official end of the Great Swamp War, the Ralgon Empire has focused aggressively on countering what it sees as threats to its very existence from the encroachments near its territory by Batavia, as well as recent actions by the Iron Company, which the country is perceived by the Ralgon government to be heavy sponsors of.
The Holy Ralgon Empire has, since early 1675, been a full member of the Union of States around the Sovereign Oceans, a political, economic, and military alliance that consists chiefly of Jingdao, the Bassarid Empire, Krasnocoria, and other nations the Ralgons have rapidly come to see brothers in an otherwise hostile world. They have proven eager to lend arms, personnel, equipment and resources in the name of keeping the alliance at-large safe and stable, chiefly in the name of keeping Ralgon citizens living abroad safe and comfortable, as well as protecting their rapidly expanding trade networks around Micras.
Especially notable is the way the Ralgons at all levels of society view the people of Jingdao, which is as lost cousins of sorts. Agreements between the Jing and the Ralgons have historically proven to be extremely seamless as a rule due to strangely similar cultural habits, this being of immense mutual benefit to the respective nations' leadership. The Ralgon rulers and their affiliated governments, having already grown considerably wealthier from these agreements, have placed considerable effort into fostering an abnormally positive view of the Jing from the Ralgon commoners' perspective in as many ways as possible.
Abroad, the Ralgons have few enemies. They consider the Iron Company and all of its affiliates, subordinates, and persons who sponsor it to be terrorists and enemies of the state. Since the Iron Company Incident of 1675, though, this enmity has not seemed to produce any significant effect outside of Ralgon borders. The Ralgon government has also grown extremely wary, even paranoid, of Batavian expansionism, with repeated large-scale forays by Batavia and its client states ever closer to Ralgon territory being seen as a direct threat to its existence as a nation. This very concern was one of the primary driving forces that Emperor Shiro used to convince the Ralgon Imperial Senate to approve the country's efforts to join the USSO and volunteer to integrate most of its international security forces (as well as a sizeable portion of its famed and heavily armed merchant marines) into international USSO forces under their own company command by early 1676.
This has also been the primary motivation for the full colonization of Adrestia from 1675 AN, as well as the recent high-profile Expedition to Corum and elsewhere that saw the Great White Fleet and other Ralgon forces sail elsewhere in a scramble to establish colonies meant to keep the state secure as a whole, should disaster of some sort befall the homeland. Many of these settlements are meant, alongside Adrestia, to serve the country's privileged classes as well as expand trade within the continent itself between their allies in Jingdao, Krasnocoria, and the Bassarids. However, one island fortress far to the south of Micras serves as a penal colony meant to operate as a shipyard abroad, in order to relieve some strain on domestic infrastructure.
The Great Swamp War
The Great Swamp War is easily the defining conflict in modern Ralgon history. The war is itself a part of a far longer-lasting armed conflict between the Ralgons themselves as a civilization and the islands' non-sentient denizens, namely the dragons and in this phase of the conflict the giant insects and arachnids (collectively referred to as "bugs") populating the region.
Post-War Overpopulation Crisis
Following the conclusion of the Great Swamp War, the Ralgon Empire has continued to enjoy its extremely high fertility rate. However, a population crisis as resulted from centuries of deeply ingrained cultural needs to drive the number of capable soldiers as high as possible and thus contribute to the country's survival. Even before the Eastern Theater phase's conclusion in 1675 AN, the Holy Ralgon Empire had high growth rates due to international trade bringing an influx of resources into the country. The 1665 AN census showed that 124 million people lived in the Empire, during the final (and most brutal) years of the Eastern Theater phase of the Great Swamp War (itself part of an ongoing, much longer-lasting struggle for national survival). In 1675, the year of the Second Great Atomic Bombardment, the census recorded 159 million people within the Empire due to these same resource increases and improved artillery technology.
Now that the most brutal phase of the war is over, mortality rates on the battlefield have halved for the Ralgons. Modern demographics place approximately two females for every male born into each household. For every ten men and every ten women, half the men and a quarter of the women are reliably sent to the battlefield. Because of different combat roles being disproportionately allocated between men and women, men suffer far higher casualty rates than women and thus skew demographics further. For every male drafted into an enlisted position in the Army, half do not survive or are not considered fit for marriage after military service. Conversely, for women who are drafted into the Army in similar positions survival rates are usually around 3 in 4.
Nobility are always required to serve on the front lines as part of the basic qualifications for leadership. Most do not survive, and extinction (and subsequent replacement) of Minor Houses is common. Great Houses, with their many children and branch families, can afford to sacrifice large parts of themselves to produce the strongest possible leaders -- something that many commoner households are never able to afford rearing enough children for. Lower casualty rates in the last five years AN (post-1675) have seen Great Houses strain their otherwise stable resources to brace for the possibility of exponentially larger families in subsequent generations. Therefore, it is not common to see a Great House cast aside its less worthy scions, or else force extra members of their Household to serve in the military to balance out these rapidly rising numbers.
One male and one female child in each family is immune to the draft so that parents may have less socially capable children (and grandchildren) survive long enough to care for them in their old age. Additionally, in large families (which are very frequent) their most talented child is usually sent to university or one of the Ralgon military's Officer's Academies, while the rest stay near home and ply their parents' respective trades. Ralgon society prioritizes drafting a male child over a female child into the Army in those households unlucky enough to have three or fewer children. This is because it may only take one man with several women to raise an impressive household with many children, but one women with many men only produces enough children for one woman. Thus, women are considered extremely important in domestic society because of this as well as their much higher numbers. With the conclusion of the War's worst phases, it is expected that demographics will stabilize over time so that the male population will no longer be outnumbered by women nearly 3 to 1. (Currently, out of every three women, two are married off while one typically stays with parents until their deaths, after which they join any of the many relatives they have.)
While the endless Ralgon Empire's construction boom is in full swing, the central authorities in Drag'nor, the Central Capital District, and Glacier City recognize that populations will grow too fast to keep up with. Therefore, they have taken to colonizing other parts of Micras. Less desirable adult children are sent abroad with merchant fleets as laborers in Adrestia and elsewhere. Many prisoners now are exiled to the inhospitable penal colony off the coast of Corum that doubles as a defensive bastion protecting Ralgon interests in the region. Others still have taken initiative and moved to other USSO nations such as Jingdao, Krasnocoria, and other far-flung places in hopes their contributions to society will be better appreciated abroad.
The Great White Fleet
Establishment of Adrestia
Ralgon Civil War
The Ralgon Civil War took place from 1683 to 1685 AN, and led to the Destruction of Dragos, an event in which conflict between the natives, imperialist, and rebel factions led to disturbing the island's most violent elder dragons enough to destroy most of the island's cities and infrastructure.
The war was triggered during the great expansions and conquests into the remainder of the Island of Dragos by the Ralgon military. While considerable progress was made after the Second Great Atomic Bombardment (in which the eastern half of the Great Swamp was nuked and its giant insect population all but destroyed), headway into the Western Badlands met with extreme resistance from the local fauna. After first contact was made with an ancient race of dragon tamers in the mountains, a mix of respect and hatred formed between both Ralgons and Natives. This made fighting the wild dragons more difficult and complicated, as nuking the mountains was now out of the question.
During the same period, economic strain was beginning to very much be felt in the country's powerful economic center of Drag'nor, which was heavily financing these conquests -- with increasingly little financial gain due to the costs of advancements. Bribing some native tribes and fighting others added two additional fronts to an already costly war effort. Although training soldiers and sending them off was a usual (and low) cost per person, gathering sufficiently advanced equipment to combat the increasingly hostile dragons grew to strain the country's coffers.
The sheer effort to build the [[|Erazm Bridge Consortium|Erazm Bridge]] brought a critical amount of strain to the vast metropolis of Glacier City itself, another of the country's two major economic and cultural centers. By late 1682, the addition of vast lands to the rest of the island, while helping greatly alleviate the country's population control issues, proved to be little helped to the economically strained people of the country's massive urban centers. The central government, eager to add "Liberator of Drag'os" to their titles, merely traded one set of problems with another.
(War with natives --> Dragon attack --> Drag'nor and Nixtorm leave --> Adrestia moves --> Front line stabilizes near the coast)
The conflict's catastrophic aftermath led to the country's massive reduction, the departure of most of the country's cultural and military elite, most of its upper class, almost half of its massive population, and the western natives along with their dragons. While the country was used to population losses and shocks, it had never lost land on this scale.
WIP (dates: 1683 to 1685)
Draconic is the primary religion practiced on the island of Dragos, the land upon which the Ralgon Empire situates itself. The religion is extremely widespread, being practiced by well over 90% of the island's population, with the exception of the vast, savage swamps in the vast island's interior. The Draconic religion is thought to have been founded in 228 AN, around the same time as the Ralgon Empire's predecessor state (the Kingdom of Stormhold) also first originated with a quasi-legendary warrior-chieftain. The religion espouses generally simplistic beliefs hinging upon living a virtuous life in pursuit of growing closer to the Gods, and upon death achieving reincarnation in a spiritual state closer to being divine than the previous life.
The religion is very highly organized, and is centered around the Draconic Church, which is currently based in a holy city in southern Nixtorm, on the border with eastern Stormhold. Draconic temples and clergy are everywhere, with dozens of full-sized Temples and thousands of consecrated shrines located throughout the island of Dragos, both in and out of the Ralgon Empire. Even the King of the Ralgons is a devout practicing member, and is officially considered to be the nominal head of the Draconic Church (although a council of elders exercises real ecumenical authority within the Church).
The Ralgon people have an interesting way of naming important figures, gods, and other things throughout their nation. In their early days and contrary even to their surrounding tribes, the Ralgons denote the most important things in their society by using possessive suffixes, and use a hard syllabic stop to denote the importance of what is being mentioned. The -gon suffix is the primary exception, and denotes an absolute possession of something. Therefore, the name "Ralgon" means "Eternally belonging to [the] Ral [Clan]."
Their titles are also suffixes, and carry a peculiar duality within their society: for every title-suffix there are always two forms that may be used in a person's name, and these titles always consist of only two letters: a vowel followed by a consonant. (If a person's name ends with a vowel, the vowel is replaced with the suffix. If it ends in a consonant, the suffix is added as normal.) The mandatory dual nature of their titles makes identifying figures in the kingdom beyond gods, and royalty confusing. For this reason, title-suffixes fell out of actual practice after 800 CE, and stopped being used by non-royal nobility by time the island united c. 1172 CE. In modern times, Ralgon nobles and rulers have few suffixes to denote anything at all beyond their highest classes. Currently, the only suffixes in active use are as follows (listed in order of precedence):
Gods: 'on and 'os (No true equivalent; loosely translated as "god")
Goddesses: 'as and 'na (see above)
Kings/Emperors: 'an and 'ar (No true equivalent; loosely translated as "supreme leader")
Queens: 'ai and 'ni (See above)
Outside of gem manufacturing, the Ralgon Empire has only recently begun to open trade in earnest to outside entities in recent decades. The Great White Fleet, formed in an effort to speed international relations and trade (in goods, knowledge, and culture) as well as find new merchant-based colonies to establish, set sail westward out of Glacier City beginning in 1660. Massive trade convoys with military escorts were directly responsible for founding such important overseas centers of culture and commerce such as Adrestia and WIP, as well as the military base of Zathara (which doubles as a small penal colony). As of 1680, major trading partners include Jingdao and the Haifo-Pallisican Imperial Trade Union, as well as Krasnocoria.
Chief Ralgon surpluses include advanced construction materials, precious minerals, flawless manufactured gemstones (discussed below), advanced medicine, and precision artillery, as well as cutting-edge anti-air weapons technology (as a result of the Great Swamp War, among other events). Additionally, the Ralgon Empire faces severe overcrowding issues and seeks to find convenient ways to colonize other places in an effort to spread their strained population to places other than the Great Swamp of Dragos.
Ralgon and the Iron Company signed a contract of cooperation in 1671. An entrepot and trading station was opened in Ralgon in 1670. The Iron Compound, heavily protected to avoid attacks by indigenous predatory animals, was located in Glacier City until early 1675. Upon Ralgon's decision to join the USSO, the Iron Company immediately announced it would leave the nation. Within a week, all Company personel had left, taking all stored trading goods in the Compound they could lay their hands on before they were seized by Ralgon customs agents.
Only two hours after the Iron Compound was deserted, its fuel depot mysteriously caught fire, resulting in the destruction of compound as well as parts of the Glacier City docklands closest to it. Noting that the Iron Company was leaving the port en masse and attempting to avoid outgoing inspections, the Ralgon Coast Guard managed to intercept close to three-quarters of the outgoing fleet, relieve their crews of all cargo on suspicion of smuggling illicit goods, and sent them on their way. It was only later the local Ralgon commanders were informed that their quarries were declared terrorists very shortly after their release.
Official Ralgon reports state with disappointment that the Iron Company likely anticipated that the building, located on the fringe of the metropolis, would be destroyed anyway after departure out of spite, so they kindly did it for their hosts instead. The deserted wastes of the compound and the damaged infrastructure surrounding it were replaced with similar facilities before the year was out, with updated defensive capabilities in case the Iron Company decided to attempt a reclamation of any former assets.
Ralgon sentiments against the Company have since taken a very sharp turn for the worse because of the way they left the country. For example, it was less than a week after the Iron Company destroyed their facilities in the Glacier City dockyards before the Imperial Senate declared the entire Company as well as all subordinates and affiliates to be terrorists or terrorist sponsors, respectively. Batavians within Ralgon-controlled waters were thoroughly searched regardless of suspicion, and Batavians living within Ralgon territory have either been expelled from the country following refusals to renew visas, or kept under heavy surveillance by the Ralgon government. Fearing the avoidance of being perceived as unjustly persecuting others, the Ralgon Imperial Senate has continued (as of late 1676 AN) to successfully keep their operations secret from the Imperial household's eyes and ears.
After 1683, however, with the demise of the company at the hands of its erstwhile allies, negative Ralgon sentiments towards Batavians dissipated considerably. And, within the context of the 1686 alliance between ethnic Batavian peoples under the Jing banner, race relations have improved considerably.
Mining and Production
The Ralgons have notable gem manufacturing industries in the provinces of Aurora and Nixtorm that are partly based off the Glacier Mountains that form the epynonymous city's northern border with the rest of the country. The massive gem manufacturing industry has two major sources of natural stones: the geologically stable foothills in northern Adrestia, and the aforementioned mountains. The Great Divide in the western half of Drag'os Island's territory are still heavily infested with dragons, and the active warzones in most of the mountain ranges' interior regions render the mining of raw gems extremely difficult and dangerous at best, and a suicide mission at worst.
The gemstones, although mined in large numbers, are mostly kept off the market and stored in the country's various treasuries in Drag'nor, Glacier City, in Gondolin, and in the massive supply base that administers the colony of Arumen far to the west of Adrestia, which is otherwise removed from most of the nation's infrastructure. To control the market prices for both natural and artificially grown gemstones,
Artificial gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and other commonly found precious stones are manufactured in Glacier City's massive infrastructure hubs, where such feats of engineering are made possible due to the city's sheer economic and industrial strength. These stones are rendered flawlessly, and are made with the same processes that real gemstones are made from. These massive, flawless gemstones are made in extremely small quantities and are only sold at extreme prices to those deemed worthy of purchasing such treasures directly from the Ralgon government. On very rare occasions, they are given as gifts to other nations, such as during the Ralgon Emperor's state visit to Daocheng. Once or twice a generation, such stones are also given as rewards to those who perform feats worthy of such glory that the only possible reward is one of these massive, priceless artefacts that come directly from the Ralgon Emperor's own hand.
Every few months, a batch of these gemstones goes on sale directly by the State. Sales by private entities are almost unheard of, because of the sheer expense involved in selling and securely transporting these artifacts from one owner to the next. These difficult-to-purchase gemstones rank only next to the natively-found fire gems in terms of value, and are often seen as the most valuable piece (even counting for land, other forms of wealth, and titles) of most middle-ranked nobles' Houses and attendant estates.
One extremely rare type of gemstone not able to be manufactured is the fire gem, which is a stone of unknown material that forms through processes not yet understood by science. Fire gems are found in many different colors, with perfectly clear gems being considered by most as the most valuable to be found. Other traits include the stone's luminosity (they give off their own light), clarity, size, cut, and flawlessness. The stones are so rare that they may be individually numbered and ranked according to the aforementioned traits. The birghtest, clearest, largest, and most flawless stones are carefully examined immediately upon discovery, before they are either sold to the State by the discoverer or kept (as they cannot be sold without the direct approval from the highest authorities). Immediately upon its examination, any stone is given a number (always in chronological order from the first fire gem ever found) and given a rank the moment they are certified as authentic and returned to their rightful owner(s).
Fire gems are only found in the interior region of the Island of Drag'os, where the Great Swamp and the mountains forming the Great Divide converge. The process of the highest ranked stones are considered national treasures and in nearly all circumstances cannot be sold except to the authorities or to other holders of these same gems, as they are usually acquired only through extreme effort (and loss of life) and/or in state-sponsored expeditions. Prospectors must brave the remants of the giant, especially aggressive insects that still swarm the mountainous regions of the Swamp (and those rare few strong enough to survive the second bombardment of the Swamp during the Great Swamp War), as well as the elder lightning dragons that fly in these regions. Some gems might also found in fire dragon territory, but these areas are considered to be a strict nature preserve (due to the proported intelligence displayed by the oldest of those creatures), further restricting mining activities to the most dangerous possible areas. A fire gem is typically discovered every five years or so.
Only one such stone has ever left Ralgon hands: a yellow stone ranked fifth on the list. This was given to the Jing as a gift of friendship by Shiro I, who coincidentally commanded the very expedition that resulted in the gem's almost unprecedented discovery during the heat of battle deep in the island's interior. The Ralgon Emperor always wears the first-ranked stone as part of their ceremonial roles, with the stone itself changing only when a higher-ranked gem is discovered.