|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.
Upon the successful conclusion of the Great Swamp War in late 1675 (in which a second thermonuclear bombardment against the region was brought to bear), the Ralgons 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. However, on the eve of the completion of Drag'os's conquest, a brutal Civil War broke out, in which the country lost most of its ancestral homelands to the island's most dangerous fauna -- and the natives that proved to be controlling the strongest of them.
In recent years, the country has gathered and expended considerable resources in what could be considered a miraculous recovery from near-oblivion after the Crisis of 1685. And, recently, the country launched its latest expedition to reconquer former territory and gain glory abroad, as a way of providing fresh resources for the country and a morale boost to a swiftly recovering population. This expedition has been billed as the Ralgon Reconquista, and the country is now embroiled on two fronts of conflict: the liberation of former Barbarian territories in western Cibola, and the reconquest of the Island of Drag'os.
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 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.
As traumatizing for the people as this series of unfortunate events was, it proved to be a defining moment in the country's history, as a unified national identity was finally restored to the remaining people of Drag'os. While the massive loss of land in 1685 was indeed egregious at best, the Emperor barely managed to save the country from complete collapse, as a moment of brilliant leadership stopped incoming enemy forces of all sorts to be held off at the southern coasts of the island.
However, the Emperor's popularity hit an all-time low as he authorized the transfer of lands to the far west of the island to the Bassarid Empire in a last-ditch effort to save his citizens there, as well. Ultimately, though, it proved to be the best decision available, as a strong ally to the west meant that a brand-new stable front was opened to keep the supremely dangerous enemy in the west (the elder dragons) at bay while the country could finally regroup from the single most demoralizing experience it had ever suffered since its foundation centuries before.
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 in the wake of new alliances forged between them and other mutual friends.
Industry on Mainland Cibola
Within the context of the 1686 alliance between ethnic Batavian peoples under the Jing banner, race relations have improved considerably. Unfortunately, the Reconquista collapsed in 1689. Now, industry in the region has been shifted to the Ralgons efforts to liberate the formerly civilized lands in the name of allies, its own strategic interest, and for the glory of a nation rising from the ashes.
Industry in inner Cibola is geared primarily towards the war effort. With the preservation of Jingdaoese and Barbarian industrial assets in newly liberated areas, the Ralgons have successfully preserved production deep in the Cibolan frontier, making the local economy self-sufficient, the Ralgon Army stronger, and liberation of lands deeper into Cibola much more expeditious.
In Nova Victoria, industry has proven much more diverse. Although naval movements and army shipments provided the impetus for the city's rapid economic recovery, the city has quickly regained its former status as a trade port in the region. Additionally, the city's status as a launchpad into the continent's interior makes trading for exotic goods near-effortless for merchants able to gain access to the city's quickly growing infrastructure.
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.
Science and Technology
Three types of post-secondary institutions exist in Ralgon: Private, public, and government-sponsored research institutes. A mixture of these schools rank near the top of the world's universities for factors including pedagogy, alumni outcomes, research output, and institutional financial performance. Most of Ralgon's best public universities also happen to remain self-sustaining in nature; that is, they do not need government funding and actually provide additional income to the government in some few cases. This remains the case even after the severity of the 1685 Crisis.
In recent years, focus on Ralgon's sole remaining overseas possession (pre-1685) by the colonial government has effectively driven a select number of schools onto the top of the global league tables. Among these are the elite University of Adrestia (known globally by its abbreviation of UA), which holds a massive endowment of its own. Other high-ranking universities in the de facto independent territory include the Gondolin Institute of Science (GIS), the Naval Academy at Alexandria, and the University of Alphaville (run as a UA satellite campus until 1690, in cooperation with Bassarid faculty).
(For a detailed list of major universities in the Ralgon, see the below articles.)
Glacier City University
Glacier City University (known by its acronym of GCU) is an elite university located in the Semi-Autonomous Region (SAR) of the same name. Founded as a university in 1076, GCU is the oldest institute of higher education in continuous operation in the Ralgon Empire, and the second-oldest university in the country. It is also among the oldest institutions of higher learning on the Cibola continent.
It is considered an "ancient university" -- that is, an institution of higher learning formed as a university (regardless of its purpose or existence before said formation) before the Draconic faith became the state religion in 1178. It is one of only three such institutions in continuous operation since that date, with the latest of its other six peers being claimed (at least temporarily) by the devastating effects of the long-term 1685 Crisis.
The University is world-renowned for its engineering and materials science programs, with graduates leading such projects as the construction of the Erazm Bridge Consortium. Its endowment is the second-largest in the Ralgonese state, at well over 30 billion Guilders. Housing notable global policy institutes such as the Chidao Emperor Institute for Jing Studies, the university's headquarters remain in the Mountain City after over 600 years. GCU remains the only institution allowed to own property within the Imperial City, and is also the only non-government organization allowed to operate within the city without an active permit. It maintains a rivalry with Temple U, and comes out on top especially in the fields of medicine, earth science, and biology.
Temple University (known simply as TU) was originally founded in 425 AN in what is now the city of Valeria by Draconic missionaries, as a religious institute for higher learning. Itself attached to the Holy Temple of Drag'os in the same city (and originally in the same building), the institution was founded to train high-ranking religious personnel in both theology and in statecraft (a skill badly needed at the time by such people). The institution formed into a University in 1046, and adopted its current name in 1298, after the City of Valeria took over the university on behalf of the Ralgon king's government.
The modern Temple University preserves is original 1046 name, and also serves as the flagship institution of the eponymous system (as a homage to the University's foundations with the Church). Thanks to a heavily increased endowment after the national government purchased the University, it has rapidly grown from an already-elite status to a world-class university in its own right. The modern university relies on a combination of a massive endowment -- the third-highest in Ralgon, at 28 billion Guilders, and its system of sister institutions to keep up with the never-ending pace of modernization in the country.
The University is known for its sheer number of graduates within the system, with nearly half the country's top 10% of income earners being graduates of one of the schools in the TU system. Most of the City of Valeria's leaders are graduates of the flagship campus, which is known for its strict admissions standards, despite its massive size of over 85,000 students (about 50,000 of which are undergraduate). The University maintains a rivalry with Glacier City U in materials science and engineering, but edges out in the fields of theoretical physics and mathematics.
As of 1695 AN, the Holy Ralgon Empire consists of two constituent countries. These are commonly known as the Principality of Adrestia (officially: The Holy Ralgon Principality of Adrestia]], and the Kingdom of Drag'os, (officially: The Holy and Imperial Kingdom of Drag'os). The two are centrally ruled in personal union by the same Emperor (currently Shiro I of Ralgon as of 1687), although each constituent country each as their own separate government and even military branches (in the event that the other collapses, as such a thing nearly happened in 1685).
Drag'os, during its territorial minimum, consists of four so-called "Regions" (also termed on official documents as states or provinces), with the rest being laid out for later liberation and/or conquest as the Army of the South returns from a string of triumphant, decisive victories following their direct participation in the so-called Cibolan Reconquista. The Principality of Adrestia, while ruled in a unitarian government, still has clear geographic divisions thanks to both its status as an archipelago country and its recent territorial expansions.
Drag'os, during its territorial minimum during 1687 AN, consisted of four so-called "Regions," each with their own unique identifier to reflect either current status or past history. These included, in order of precedence, the ancient Kingdom of Stormhold, the city-state region of Glacier City, SAR, the coastal Commonwealth of Aurora, and the heavily populated Dominion of St. Mara. Former territories included the "Imperial Republic of Scarterra," the "Grand Duchy of Nixtorm," and others that are now in Bassarid hands (at least until the country recovers its other territories on Drag'os). These four regions are detailed below. Regions claimed under current (local) irredentist thinking are not included in the list unless added on the official MCS Claim Map.
The first of these regions is the Kingdom of Stormhold. This is one of the two ethnic homelands of the Ralites, one of the Empire's several remaining ethnic groups who have their own distinct characteristics. The territory is bordered to the north by the remnants of the Great Swamp, and on all other sides by either wild areas or the coastline. It shares maritime borders to the west and east with other Regions, and across the Sea of Drag'os with Barbary and Nova Victoria, which still houses its only overseas military units. The region of Stormhold served as the core and only official headquarters for the Ralite tribe's ruling clan for countless generations, until the Emperor's recent permanent move of his Household to Glacier City in 1683. The region's central location provides the region with strategic importance, and it is an important trading partner with Barbary to the south due to its close proximity with Nova Victoria.
Its capital is Valeria, a name whose origins predate the political region that occupies it today. The city was named "Stormhold" when the area consisted of little more than the city of Valeria and its environs, and renamed to its original form in 1675 after Stormhold split into three different regions (one of which dissolved after 1685) to avoid confusion on official documents. The city served as the primary residence of the now-Emperor until 1683, when the Imperial Household completed its official move to Glacier City, SAR. Drag'os's Parliament (consisting of the Senate along with the Diet), is headquartered there. After 1685, most of the executive branch moved there from Drag'nor after its overrun by uncivilized natives from the western mountains. From 1685, the Valeria became the third-largest city due to increased immigration. It currently houses the second-largest international trade port on the island of Drag'os.
The second of these two regions in terms of importance is Glacier City, SAR. A peninsula on the southeastern end of the Island of Drag'os is separated from the rest of the landmass by a steep mountain range at its northern border. The region is characterized by a lone, massive mountain near its center. By area it's the second-largest free-standing mountain on Micras known to Ralgon geographers, after the massive Great Red Mountain in The Hexarchy's Realm of Pyrax. The region is dominated by the massive city that engulfs the entire region, with populated areas even extending into The Green that is currently being hotly contested by liberation army forces. The Port of Glacier City is easily among the largest in the world, and the Glacier City Dockyards are thought to be the world's most extensive due to the city's sheer size and the vast coastline that it occupies. Despite the city's importance, its trade declined sharply during 1685 and 1686 during the Ralgon Civil War, but picked up starting in 1687. The city's Ancient Quarter (known by many other names) has served as the home of the Ralgon Emperor since 1683, and its strategic and economic importance to the USSO nations have buoyed its fluctuating economy and rich ethnic diversity.
The city is one of the most populous in all of Micras, with nearly 40 million inhabitants. It is currently thought to be the third largest city on the planet as of 1695 AN, with only Shirekeep and Gangdiguo surpassing its current population. Like the other two cities, the vast metropolis continues to grow in size. In Glacier City's case, this is thanks to a high fertility rate and excellent internal hydroponics infrastructure, natural and manmade defensibility against Drag'os's remaining hostile humans and fauna, as well as direct access on three sides to the sea that directly contribute to its port's sheer size. The city's growth continues at a steady pace, despite major events during Ralgon Civil War and the Crisis of 1685 that followed. After 1687, the population's movement resumed a steady pace, with the refugee shift in and out of the city from other parts of Ralgon stabilizing into its current form. It is expected that most the city's massive transient population (nearly 5 million individuals not counted in the census) will return to other parts of Drag'os as they are reconquered.
The third of Drag'os's political divisions is the coastal Commonwealth of Aurora. Having been a suburban offshoot from Glacier City during much of its history, it has since gained its own identity in the aftermath of the 1685 Crisis. The area was a part of Stormhold until 1675, when the region's cultural differences facilitated a split that formed the provinces of Stormhold, Eastern Stormhold (which dissolved in 1685), and Aurora. The 1685 Crisis dealt a devastating blow to the region, with its entire northern countryside being lost to invading fauna and dangerous natives from the western regions of Drag'os. However, the region has made a surprisingly strong recovery following a rally behind the leaders of Mashiro, which serves as the region's capital. The region serves as a technological hub for the country, and produces much of the country's private-based computer science research. The city of Mashiro is known for its technological advancement, and houses a disproportionate amount of the country's upper class.
The Dominion of St. Mara is the newest of the current regions in Ralgon. The region is named after the eponymous city Originally founded on the landing site of the first major expeditions into western Drag'os, a large city rapidly emerged in a national effort to control overcrowding in other regions. The city rapidly gained strategic importance as a domestic shipping route, and eventually took on a life of its own. Although it was never the capital of its region of Dragon's Reach during its early existence, St. Mara quickly became the largest city in western Drag'os by far. As Ralgon progressed with its conquests of the island, its military overextended itself and, as a result, was defeated and beaten back to the edge of annihilation at the hands of hostile, dragon-riding natives that used the island's most very dangerous fauna against their enemies.
With the destruction of the island came the resulting partition of Dragon's Reach. The western, more sparsely populated half became the Bassarid Penal Colony of Drag'os, along with the regional capital of Zamma. The eastern half, consisting of those regions the civilian forces of St. Mara managed to retain against the wild elder dragons still devastating the rest of the island, became the new Dominion of St. Mara. The inhabitants of the city were granted self-rule over the city and its environs, as well as jurisdiction over the nearby coastal peninsula containing the city of Sho'ri and its own environs along the coast. Today, the region consists of this coastal area, and serves as an important bulwark against hostile elements in The Green, and currently serves as the primary staging base for the imperial government's efforts to reclaim the western half of Drag'os for the nation.
Inner Cibola Regions
As of 1689, there are two occupied zones on mainland Cibola, each governed under their own authorities: Nova Victoria, and Yixing. The main similarity between the two regions is the military nature of their administration. Nova Victoria is governed by a retired general and serves as Ralgon's second-largest naval base (after the ports in Glacier City). As for Yixing, it is governed in tandem by the local city council and the Army's administration within the city's military facilities.
This is where differences between the two cities begin to emerge. Due to its close proximity to ancestral Ralgon territory, Nova Victoria already serves as a rapidly emerging center of commerce, culture, and technology following the founding (or relocation) of several major companies and even universities within the city. The port is rapidly growing due to constant and ever-intensifying shipments and trade, and also serves as a freeport for denizens of many nationalities to come and ply their respective trades in peace.
Yixing, while still a major city despite the anarchy of much of 1689, is a frontier city nonetheless. Its survival depends on Ralgon efforts to reclaim surrounding territory and open new avenues of trade and resource generation for the townsfolk. While industry is on the rise within Yixing, the city's danger of attack outside of its sphere of immediate military control is too much for prospective wealthy migrants to ignore. Thus, civilian economic growth remains slow, except for an adventurous few.
The Principality of Adrestia is ruled in a unitary format, and its regional divisions are of little practical concern to the Imperial Crown's prerogative, limited as it is. The country consists of three main subdivisions outside of its capital area. This latter, the so-called Capital Region, is directly managed by the Crown by way of the Duke of Gondolin's government, contains the far southern portion of what is known to the MCS as South Island. This includes the large, very wealthy city of Gondolin, its metropolitan regions, and their environs. It is bordered to the north by self-governing regions belonging to the principality, and has no immediate maritime boundaries with other nations after the purchase of Alphaville's territory from the Bassarids in the 1680's.
The Capital Region is bordered to the north by the constantly expanding region of Avalon. Their emerging government maintains the Old Forest Ruins, among numerous other landmarks found from previous unknown civilizations. Most of these old, formerly abandoned cities are now inhabited with a mix of islander natives and Adrestian settlers, who are already in the process of intermingling. The region is the result of a vast tract of land granted most of the rest of South Island's Adrestian holdings by princely decree. With the island hosting a docile environment complete with a friendly climate, expansion for the islanders was easy for them, even if slow due to the Adrestians' slow pace of expansion until 1687 AN. The region is sparsely populated for the most part, but settlers have started large, sprawling settlements beyond the traditional northern borders.
One of the most economically important regions in the area by far is the Realm of Alphaville (also known as Alphaville, SAR). Most of the landmass of this territory was purchased in the 1680's AN from the Bassarids in a separate deal. The surrounding islands to the northwest (previously also part of Adrestia) were incorporated into the new territory. The purchase has already yielded its price back in value: the Adrestians now enjoy a near-monopoly on passing trade through the region thanks to their freeport-style trading policies and open stances on religion in the area, and the territory has surpassed Gondolin as the primary international trading hub for the principality.
The most sparsely united of Adrestia's regions is simply known as Storm's End to the central government. However, it consists of more than just this: this census region hosts all of the rest of the eastern outlying islands of Adrestia. Major cities include Alexandria and Storm's End (the first settlement on Adrestia). One of the region's large islands also hosts the headquarters for the Great White Fleet (Adrestia's equivalent of the Merchant Marines). The region has no real central government, with each island governing itself and representing their collective interests in the Principality's government at various levels, mostly though a small council of barons that meets every quarter.
Most of Drag'os in 1687 consists of coastal plains punctuated by either mountain ranges north of Glacier City, or the Great Swamp north of the rest of the outlying coastal regions. Otherwise, they are bounded by the ocean. The Swamp itself is known for its difficulty in navigation, as are the western mountains. St. Mara is the only region in Drag'os without some sort of natural border on all sides. The entire region instead is hilly, with the mountains to the north serving as the only natural land border. The west is a no-man's land being fought out between Ralgonese troops and remaining local fauna.
Adrestia consists of an archipelagic region, except for the mainland of South Island. Most of the islands are hilly, with the interior geology on most of these islands being less friendly for farming but better suited for cityscapes, air and space ports, and so on. Alphaville is known for its vast infrastructure in that regard.
Ralgon's status as a spread out nation gives it various climate types. At its peak when the Ralgonese government controlled most of the island of Drag'os, the large island's varying elevation as well as the mountain ranges to the west gave the country several distinct climate zones. At the beginning of 1687, when the country was at the low point of its home territorial holdings, there were three main climate zones in the country. Glacier City, SAR is characterized by a coastal climate on its edges with the sea, as the entire region is in a peninsula. The small region's beaches is known for the black sand produced by the massive volcano that was active in times long gone. Most of the city-state's coast experiences subtropical climates year-round, with the temperatures being lower in the higher elevations in the north. Stormhold has a similar coastal climate, as do most of the rest of Drag'os's south-eastern coastal regions.
Most of Adrestia has a warm temperate climate, with mild winters on the mainland regions that allow for the growing and processing of temperate fruits such as cherries, apples, and the like. The southern islands have tropical climates and are known for their grapes and citrus products.