The Empire of Honshu
|Size:||580 miles east to west by 500 north to south|
|People of Note:||Emperor Enoeda|
Places of Interest
|Provinces:||Dragon Province, Gryphon Province, Kirin Province, Naga Province, Ogre Province, Phantom Province, Sphinx Province|
The Empire of Honshu is vast, sprawling and split into seven provinces. It is a beautiful empire of rice fields, mountains and steaming jungles. It is very colourful and seems very peaceful, yet under this calm exterior it can be a deadly place. Honshu is a place of honour and of status. The smallest slight on a person above your rank can mean death. It can be a deadly place.
Places of Interest
Ido is the capital city of the Empire of Honshu and the jewwel in the emperor's crown. It is a military city, controlled with a tight fist, as the emperor controls his whole realm. The city is full of bustling merchants and visiting dignitaries. Inns and taverns abound and the place is often festive. Yet as everywhere in this land there is an air of subtle fear pervading the place as everyone knows that a simple step out of line can be fatal.
The Dragon province is situated at the far south western end of the empire. The Great Desert lies along its southern and western border. The province of the Naga clan lies along its eastern border. To the south east at the high mountains that separate Honshu from Rodinia. These are mostly impregnable apart from a few well-defended passes. To the direct west of the Dragon province is the Kingdom of Albion and this little country has been almost constantly at war with the Dragon clan since the clan was formed. The Dragon clan wear crimson lacquered armour and have a standard of a black dragon on a crimson background. Their samurai use niten (two-strike style) in which combatants use both katana and wakizashi to execute very fast strikes in rapid succession. To many observers, the niten looks more like a dance than actual combat, however, niten is a deadly art requiring a great deal of skill and coordination.
The Gryphon Clan is known as a very aggressive and honour-driven clan. They consider themselves agents of the Emperor's will, personally defending his causes above all else, even those of their own clan. Some of the finest generals of all Honshu have come from the Gryphon clan. The Gryphon Clan also has the biggest army in the empire, and it's known for its rigid adherence to the warrior code. Rumour has it that the Gryphon clan has started to plan for an invasion of the mysterious fey-realm of Hawkmoon, but it is also said this is a distraction and that their real target is across the Jagged Peaks - the Kingdom of Albion. The Gryphon clan wear blue lacquered armour and their standard is a white gryphon in flight on an azure background. The Gryphon Province includes the huge jungles that dominate the centre of the empire. These are perhaps the most untamed area of the whole of Honshu.
The Kirin Clan is known for their cavalry and horsemanship. They are considered barbarians by the other clans because the clan as a whole spent nearly 200 of the last 500 years outside of the empire. They hunt game and eat red meat and have adopted a number of other customs that are considered taboo by the rest of the Clans. However, the horses they brought back from far off lands are faster, stronger, and larger than any found in Honshu.
The Naga province is considered the most artistic of all the empire and many of the empire's great painters and writers come from this idyllic region. They are known throughout the empire and beyond for their trained courtiers and artisans. The Naga province is probably the prettiest one naturally, with many of the traditional cherry groves being here. The mountains to the south and east are stunning visually, and somehow the fact that a violent aggressor lies the other side of them just adds to their majesty. Naga samurai are arguably the finest duellists in Honshu. They are trained heavily in Iaijutsu (fast-draw technique) where the sword is drawn and a killing blow is struck with one, very fast movement.
The Ogre province has a reputation for producing brave and stupid warriors. The first point is undoubtedly true. The second very much depends on who you ask. They are charged with providing primary defence for the empire from the neighbours to the south and east. The mountains which separate Honshu and Rodinia are high and mostly impregnable. The few passes between them are thin and very defensible. The Ogre samurai lead many of the units that man those passes, even beyond their lands into the Phantom and a Naga provinces.
The Phantom Clan is known as the Underhand of the Emperor. They are known for their courtiers' abilities. Their ghostwalkers are experts in assassination and espionage. Phantom knowledge is not shared with outsiders, but is a true thing of power. Phantom architects have constructed many key structures throughout Honshu, and, as a result, many of those structures have secret passages and rooms unknown to all but the Phantom clan. It is a Phantom tradition to always be masked, or face painted.
The Sphinx Clan is known as the most skilled with magic in the empire, and also as the most peaceful. They have schools of magic associated with each element, including the empire's only school dealing with Void magic.
Honshu is a vast place. On the main continent, only the Empire of Rodinia covers more area. Much of Honshu is coastal and these shores vary from being rough and rugged to low and sandy.
The far north of the land is bordered by high, granite mountains. These are cold and usually impassable in winter. The plains of the Kirin horse-lords abut these high hills.
The east is bordered mostly by coastline with the Sphinx and Ogre provinces both facing that way. The northern part of that coast is lower and more sandy. The southern end in the Ogre territory is more rugged as it feeds into the mountains.
The southern border of Honshu is almost entirely mountainous and a permanent battle zone. Beyond the high and craggy peaks lie the lands of the Rodinians. All the passes between the two empires are heavily contested and disputed.
The western most border of the empire is most varied. It includes the Great Desert in the south west and a few forests and swamps. The main neighbour to the west is Albion and, though small in size it has proven very resistant to Honshu’s efforts to annex it.
The Empire of Honshu is a little over five hundred years old and has become one of the most refined cultures in the Known World. Honour is everything in this land. Position is all. Each and every person needs to be aware of their place in the order of things and how to respond to those around you.
There is a strong veneer of politeness in the realm and manners are hugely important to the way things are conducted day-to-day. Even the greatest lord will be polite to the lowest servant, in the ways that are accepted. The difference is, if the servant shows the lord even a hint of disrespect, the consequences would be severe, quite potentially lethal.
The basic culture here is one of a Feudal society where everyone swears fealty to the person above them on the chain. At the top of the chain is the Emperor. The seven lords of the Provinces each bend the knee to him. In turn each provincial lord has many vassals loyal to him. These vassals typically control the towns or villages of their region, though some live in huge fortified castles, separate from any settlements. Each lord has a number of elite warriors who swears fealty to him. These warriors are called samurai and are of an elite caste.
Beneath the samurai are the more common folk, normal soldiers, merchants and the like. There are many levels of caste below samurai and all the small folk know their place.
History of The Empire of Honshu
five hundred forty years agoThe lands of Honshu came under the control of one man, the Exulted One, Emperor of Honshu.