Arguros

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The Empire of Arguros is situated in northern Cyrasia. The isle of Kulbrenna lies to the north, Belavaer to the northeast, Marperio to the south and Govadia to the southeast.

Geography and Climate

Located on a peninsula, Arguros is largely covered in rainforests, and while largely mountainous, contains lowlands formed from erosion. Early summers are warm and humid and as autumn approaches, the country enters a monsoon season which results in regular flash flooding. To cope with this, much of Arguros' sewage system consists of trenches running parallel to their paved roads. Winters, however, come very suddenly with plenty of snowfall and brutal cold.

Government

The Empire of Arguros follows a parliamentary government which consists of numerous noble families or houses who all compete for the throne of emperor.

Emperor

The current, yet intensely ill emperor is a member of House Amethyst which took control following a major internal conflict between House Carnelian and House Sardius. Having lived for over 200 years, the emperor prolonged his own reign and life by using a miraculum machine which was continuously modified as technology progressed. The key ingredient to this machine are the cells of those afflicted by the curse of the Grand Idol as those with the curse show no visible signs of aging after their forties. While the Emperor himself does not have the curse, his vitality gets continuously renewed by modified versions of the cells of the cursebearers.

Many of Arguros' resources are poured into medical research to specifically prolong the emperor's life to perhaps one day make him truly immortal without the need of the machine. Have him long lived like the Sardius and the Carnelians, but without the associated nightmares and the urges to kill others.

Religion

The state religion is Unorthodox Asmosism. All deities besides Lord Asmos are regarded as false gods, and the practice of witchcraft is generally not tolerated. However, the practice of new magic to generate miraculum is accepted and even encouraged.

Prior to Amethyst's ascension of the throne, black magic was allowed in very limited areas. Its disallowing was more for political rather than religious reasons because it was a means of essentially disarming House of Sardius.

Military

While each of Arguros' houses has their own military, the empire's centralized military force is known as the Militia formed as a gesture of good will to all houses. Essentially, the Militia is the government's solution to the ongoing poverty and crime. The majority of the Militia consists of runaways, petty criminals, former mage slaves and refugees looking to serve their country. Compared to the house militaries, the Militia is very lenient and casual, but receiving minimal training. However, the Militia is often used for frontline defense against enemy invasions and ghoul outbreaks. As such, the Militia is considered expendable as it serves as a form of population control.

The Militia doesn't actually have a uniform aside from distinctive neck collars, the color of which associated with what division the militiaman is associated with. Land forces wear green collars, naval wear blue, the airmen wear white, while the Elite Militia - the most experienced and skilled of all militiamen - wears red.

List of City-States

Whitestone

Whitestone was the capital of Arguros for over 1,000 years ruled by a line of kings descended from Vasargos the Conqueror. Today, most of the original city is in ruins due to a large-scale attack by a group of occultists although numerous, more modern administrative buildings rose up on top. Today, Whitestone is more of a tourist location and has largely become decentralized with the Amethyst family seizing control of the throne.

Whitestone got its named from the heavy use of marble in its architecture. One of its most famous landmarks is white pyramid with four obelisks, modeled heavily after ancient Leirian architecture. Most of the obelisks have crumbled away, but the pyramid itself still endures to this day.

Whitestone is also famous for its coliseum where fights with exotic animals were once staged. With modern cultural shifts, the bloodshed is nowhere near what it was in the past, although the arena is still used as a training ground for the Militia.

House Carnelian

Main article: House Carnelian

House Carnelian lies around Arguros' northern borders in the Magenta Peaks, known for its high altitude and year round snowfall. Carnelian tends to be highly independent, almost acting like a country of its own. It does more trading with other nations than it does with other city-states. Many suspect that House Carnelian is planning to secede, although it still receives financial support from the central government.

House Carnelian has its own personal guard known as the Carnelian Knights, or just the knights. They uphold traditions of honor and respect, and have a very strict, almost self-righteous lifestyle. Their knighthood traditions remain largely unchanged over the years, the only significant changes being their armor and weapons to keep up with progressing technology. Today, most knights don blue and silver long coats with a high collars avoiding body armor entirely due to their preferred reliance on miraculum force shields.

House Jacinth

Main article: House Jacinth

House Jacinth has most of its influence in portside trading with Marperio and Chrysanthos. Powered by a series of large miraculum reactors, Jacinth the city is a modernized metropolis with skyscrapers separated into multiple districts. While Jacinth is a bustling, economic hub, the city infamously has a brutal, militarized police known for going for extreme methods to put disgruntled citizens in their place.

In the 1920s, Jacinth became a hotbed for rioters against the use of mage-produced miraculum, and the 1920s saw the peak of unrest. An explosion induced by an occultist group unto a reactor begun a ghoul outbreak in the city. Seaside trading saw a sudden halt when the reactor begun leaking into the ocean, preventing ships from leaving or entering the port. The whole city was put under quarantine, and the only means of leaving and entering is by train.

The Jacinth Military Police are highly disciplined, borrowing ancient Leirian war tactics such as the phalanx. Because of the ongoing ghoul outbreak in some of Jacinth's numerous districts, the military police dons heavy black riot armor and gas masks.

The remains of an ancient colossus said to be the Grand Idol lay at the bottom of the sea only mere miles from the coast in a region known as the Despair Circle, which in accordance to the legends, overlaps the area where the lost, ancient kingdom of Nebu lays beneath the waves. No attempts have been made to move it because of the numerous superstitions surrounding it. Many believe the Grand Idol to be a cairn for the tortured soul of the ancient king Nebu constantly screaming in agony due to the feelings of dread sailors get when passing over it by ship.

House Amethyst

The city of Amethyst sits at Lake Kosmima, the largest freshwater lake in northern Cyrasia. This lakeside city is the current head of state as a member of the Amethyst family currently holds control over the throne. Of all the houses, Amethyst is also the wealthiest and most powerful. Amethyst desired to preserve the natural aesthetics of their landscape by having their reactors placed further away from the main city, although a large share of miraculum comes from imports from Jacinth.

Amethyst's Royal Guard consists of elite trained soldiers known for their stunning drill and ceremony practices.

House Sardius

Main article: House Sardius

Located in the Eastern Badlands, Sardius experiences very little precipitation due to the rainshadow created by the Magenta Peaks. The land sharply transitions into a plains, then a desert eventually leading to the border of Govadia.

House Sardius is a long time rival of House Carnelian because at some point, they were actually the same house, but later split off from one another after diverging beliefs about the use of black magic which relied on souls as opposed traditional miraculum which relied on mental energy. The Carnelian family intensely opposed it, but Sardius supported it as a possible alternative to the use mage slaves, suggesting that the sacrifices be unwanted members of society.

To settle a potential civil war, the former Whitestone dynasty made very specific laws about the use of black magic, but since Amethyst seized the throne, black magic was altogether outlawed - some believe it was an attempt to diminish Sardius' overall military power. Sardius has since waned in power, although they have since begun covert operations to potentially change the laws about the use of black magic which has since resulted in more infighting among the other houses.

Sardius' military is similar in style as Carnelian as both use a chivalric knight system. Sardius colors tend to be red and gold, and as a result, are often casually nicknamed dark knights. Despite the laws against the use of black magic, Sardius knights still practice it in secret.

House Agate

Main article: House Agate

House Agate was one of the most pacifistic houses, to the point where they refused to have a standing military. They were highly diplomatic and idealistic, but they perished during the Arguros Civil War. It is not known if there are any remaining heirs to House Agate left.

History

Pre-Whitestone

Prior to the formation of Arguros, the First Leirian Empire occupied the region, but financial troubles and reallocation of resources led to the destabilization of the region, leaving it to be reclaimed by roving tribes. The region proved to be very unstable for hundreds of years.

Kulbrenna Raids - Rise of Whitestone

From the island of Kulbrenna, barbarians invaded seeking to expand their territory. Faced with a powerful enemy, the families signed a temporary truce to defeat the invaders while under the leadership of a gifted strategist named Vasargos the Conqueror. A loose alliance was formed until a Vasargos was crowned, officially annexing all of the families into one state. For a time, a treaty was formed, but the system was not perfect. The new dynasty flourished would for approximately 1000 years. Vasargos' heirs would take the name of Whitestone after the new city they built - the spot where the truce was forged to defeat the barbarians.

Overtime, as the concept of surnames grew in popularity, other noble families begun to form, and the chose to name themselves after precious gems, symbols of Arguros. Each family gravitated towards specific geographic regions and eventually developed as city-states on their own with the Whitestone dynasty still remaining as a form of central government.

Decline of Whitestone

The times of peace would not last forever as the other families grew jealous of Whitestone's lavish lifestyle, and class gaps grew broader as poverty increased. Particularly, the study of miraculum became increasingly difficult for those not considered prestigious in nature. The Carnelian family formed a splinter house known as Sardius after some internal conflicts over the use of black magic. The increasing chaos as well as the declining quality of Whitestone's leadership led to a group of Sardius occultists murdering all of Whitestone's remaining heirs creating a vacancy in the throne. But the throne did not go to Sardius.

First Arguros Civil War

Civil war occurred as the Carnelians did everything they could to prevent a Sardius emperor. The Amethyst family took advantage of the confusion and lay siege to Whitestone and spread slander about Sardius which lead to Quartzarius Amethyst becoming the new emperor. Immediately, he disallowed the use of black magic. Coupled with the bad publicity, Sardius was forced into obscurity leading to a shaky truce between the city-states.

There were initially dozens of noble families, but over the years, the number got reduced to four: Carnelian, Sardius, Jacinth, Amethyst. After the death of the Whitestone bloodline, the Amethyst family became the first to seize control of the throne.

Miraculum Revolution

The reign of the current emperor Aenian Amethyst IV took over. With advancing technology, the Amethyst family prolonged the life of the emperor using a miraculum machine. However, the emperor soon became incapacitated, but still kept alive. Still insistent on ruling, he banished his son so that he couldn’t seize the throne. This prompted more infighting from the nobles.

Rise of Alder Carnelian

Main article: Curse of the Grand Idol story arc

Alder Carnelian managed to lift the curse of the Grand Idol by unleashing the idol itself to destroy House Jacinth. As a result, he along with House Sardius was no longer required to make human sacrifices to drive away hallucinations. As such, the Sardius threat became reduced by 95% leaving only the true fanatic criminals that killed for pleasure - the vast majority of Sardius only killed because they had to.

From the remains of Jacinth, Alder started a new House Carnelian that eventually garnered enough support to become a true political rival to House Amethyst. He had recaptured large portions of where Arguros' former houses once stood.

Second Arguros Civil War

Despite Alder's rapid rise to power, his success was short-lived. When the empire revealed to the public that Alder was the one responsible for releasing the Grand Idol, public opinion divided sharply. In the ensuing tensions, Alder was betrayed by a close friend and he was "assassinated". Not truly killed by reduced to a form where he could no longer stay as a human. With Alder out of the picture, Arguros plunged into another civil war, and the entire country became a battleground with neighboring nations starting to take sides in the conflict. The chaos escalated further shortly after a mass-scale power outage shut down all of House Amethyst cutting off life support for the Immortal Emperor. A group of terrorists later finished the job by destroying the backup generators that had kept him alive.

The war lasted for twenty-two years as neighboring nations begun to take sides. The end result was that Arguros directly split in half. West Arguros was created as a republic when the last heir of Amethyst came out of exile after hearing of the Immortal Emperor's death. He elected to create a democracy seeing as his ancestor had abused his powers, although the citizens remained uneasy.

East Arguros was reformed as a theocratic state by Minerva Sardius who was both a lover and worshiper of Alder Carnelian, believing him to have been the incarnation of Asmos. As such, they consider any documents and letters he wrote to be divine text. However, Alder never actually married nor did he ever fall in love with anyone, so most of what Minerva preaches to her subjects is her own interpretation.