Fact: Popular rhetoric spread by enemies of the state declares the Perfected Empire the largest (by geography) or second-largest (by population) nation in the Mother Countries. In truth its population dwarfs that of the Diamond Isle, and more significantly our citizenry is vital and energetic, while theirs is effete and tired.
Fact: the Perfected Empire controls roughly ninety percent of the landmass known as the Island of Word, the largest and most central of the islands which make up the Mother Countries archipelago. The remainder of the island — wasteland and wilderness — is not worth the administrative overhead that would be required to force civilization into the hands of its unruly population of bumpkins.
Fact: the Perfected Empire is separated from its principal rival, the Diamond Isle to the north, by the Sea of Blood, which a skilled captain may cross in three to six days and nights. The Perfected Navy patrols the Sea and remains ever vigilant for treachery from the Diamondite aristos.
Fact: the Perfected Empire is divided into eight provinces: Southerly Rivers Converging, Rrerrshbarr, Branches Bend in Submission, Homefires Searing, Nine Open Gates, First Steadfast Plantation, Death From the North, and Second Steadfast Plantation. Each province has sworn unending loyalty to the standard of the Prefect Cenno II, and marches in lockstep to our glorious future.
Fact: the Perfected Empire’s population is gloriously heterogenous, including humans, litorians, faen, giants, and even verrik from far-off Habadad. Leadership is a syncretic mix of a living Prefect and Undying councillors. While the treacherous aristos depend on geased serfs to support their tiny leadership, we stand in harmony and strength.
Fact: the Perfected Empire must strike quickly to prevent the decadent Undying aristos of the Diamond Isle from realizing their ambitions and invading our fair land. Our strength must be utilized.
(From “A Few Facts About Our Empire,” distributed in major Perfected population centers on the eve of the Last War, in 1103.)
“I write my story because I do not trust the sorcery that minds memories into rocks, or the postcognition of witches, or the veracity of historians. I write my story that it will be found and read.
“I tell you of the warlord Yellow Teeth Remain Sharp, mojh and murderer, whose rosepetal banner is stained with blood. I was its advisor and its assistant, its valet; ‘boy,’ it called me.
“Two hundred and twenty-five years ago we lost the Last War. I write this, because I present my view. Officially it was an armistice that Cenno III signed in 1124, and offically we had grown sick of war after twenty years and could not countenance a third invasion of the Diamond Isle after the first two failures. But I have read the private journals of Cenno III and his privy council, and I believe it was a humiliation for the Empire.
“Two hundred and sixteen years ago the Empire sickened and died, the First Dissolution. I write this, because I present my view. Officially the provinces fell to infighting after Cenno III died without an heir, but I know Cenno II was not Cenno I’s son; the Empire survived worse. It was the loss of will, the loss of the Last War, that killed the Empire.
“Sixty-six years ago the warlord Yellow Teeth Remain Sharp laid siege to the Citadel of Rosepetals and declared itself the eighth Prefect. I write this, because I present my view. Officially the inhabitants of the Citadel opened their doors to it, and it rode in treading on petals and hearing sweet songs. I have seen the mass grave in which Yellow Teeth Remain Sharp laid its enemies, the four hundred men, women, and children who were executed once the Citadel finally fell. I have visited the prison in which Yellow Teeth Remain Sharp secured the four Undying who occupied the Citadel, and who it was loathe to destroy. I know that all four were eventually released; I have seen three of them since then, and have it on good authority the last is now somewhere in the Storm Peaks.
“Forty-nine years ago we fought the Spice Wars, and they were a civil war. I write this, because I present my view. Officially the Spice Wars were –”
(Fragment of Journals of Da-Waller the Younger, dated around 1349)