In the South they do things differently. The Island of Word, across the Sea of Blood — who named these places? Why “word?” Bizarre! — the Isle of Word is of course the largest single landmass in the Mother Countries. Three times the size of the Diamond Isle, the Isle of Word is so large a mounted rider would require eight months to circumnavigate its coasts, and that’s assuming the rider has no trouble cross the Southern Peaks or the Wordwood. Riding across the Isle at a central point, perhaps through the Steadfast Plantation regions, would require nearly three months. Compared to the tiny parcels of land that make up the Yomno Islands, or even to the Diamond Isle, it is an almost unimaginably huge expanse of land.
And its people! From the urbanized Wordwood to the herders of the Southern Peaks and the plains, from the poor fishing villages on the southern coastline to the marshy headwaters of the Elekan or Southerly rivers where only the poorest live: the Isle of Word hosts a variety of cultures unimaginable to the stodgy Diamond Isle. How, a reasonable observer might ask, can so many disparate cultures exist without turning on one another and ripping throats, burning fat, and salting ground? What is this thing, this Imperial Peace?
It’s a big damn axe, is what it is. The Perfecture is a military junta. Fear keeps the provinces in line, fear of the Prefect’s armies. One of every twenty infants is taken from their parents in the Empire, and carried off to one of the army’s training camps. These people grow up slaves of the Prefect, loyal directly to the central government and only to the central government. They live better than anyone else in the Empire short of the Prefect and the aristos. They take them young and move them as far from their homeland as possible, to instill loyalty to the corps. A litorian herder from the Southern Peaks is raised in a camp within the Wordwood, that sort of thing. The result is a ruthless machine for controlling the internal affairs of the Empire.
This is a system developed by Yellow Teeth Remain Sharp. Before that — the original Prefecture, up to the Dissolution — before that, Living Memory tells us the Empire of Perfection was more like a federation. The provincal governments were largely feudalized and autonomous, and paid tribute to the power of the Prefect for defense. Then of course that fell apart once the threat seemed less, and it took Yellow Teeth Remain Sharp and unending bloodlust to revive the Land Free From Giants.
SEE ALSO The Empire of Perfection, the Prefecture, Yellow Teeth Remain Sharp