The Empire of Makhaira is a powerful empire located in west central Allyria and nothern Matarica. It is bordered by the Matriarchate of Periaslavl and the Middle Sea to the north, the Cuananiar Ocean and Qafric Wastes to the west, the Kingdom of Matara and the Gulf of Doris to the south, and the Transallyrian Mountains to the east.
The Empire of Makhiara is currently ruled by Emperor Nikephoros II, the eighth member of the Petraliphas Dynasty. He took the throne in 1692 MG following the death of his brother Nicholas III. The emperor technically holds all legal power, but most of the day-to-day decisions are made by bureaucrats and governors whose primary goals are to amass wealth and power in the ever-shifting snake pit that is Makhairan government.
Provinces of the
Empire of Makhaira
The empire is divided into provinces, currently 43 in number, including Basilopolis itself. These are led by a governor, who generally view themselves as complete rulers of their own domain. Rarely have emperors punished governors for their decisions, though it is quite common for a governor to find themselves out of favor because of other reasons. These could include their family suffering a loss of prestige, political maneuvering by a competitor, or simply the emperor's whim.
The major political divisions within the empire tend to fall on familial, not provincial lines. The major families of the empire lead the competition for power and prestige in a constantly swirling maelstrom of bargaining and treachery.
As the largest empire in Shijuren, the empire has little to fear from its neighbors. However, its relations with those neighbors depends entirely on the whim of the emperor. When an emperor, as in the case of Nikephoros II, aggressively wants to extend Imperial borders, their neighbors, especially Periaslavl and Matara, tend to be wary. Some emperors have seen the folly in such aggression and have focused on commercial growth, but these have been less common.
The Empire of Makhaira is huge and has access to almost any and all resources somewhere in its domains. Several provinces, notably Arbanon and Maximus Poenassorum, are known throughout the world for massive food production, so the empire generally exports food and knows little of famine.
Hence, Imperial trade tends to focus on luxury goods, such as Svellheimish amber, Amaranthine spices, and objects of art from throughout the world.
The empire can field the largest military force in the world, either on land or at sea. However, it is not efficient or consistent. Most provinces field military forces that reflect pre-Imperial origins adapted to modern technologies. Imperial families always have forces loyal to them, no matter their size, if only to defend what they have. Generals, admirals, nobles, and high-ranking bureaucrats gather units to their side whose loyalty is primary to its leader.
Every province has simple peasant militias available to it, but beyond that, there is no consistency in how these units are trained and armed. It depends upon local traditions and the money leaders are willing to invest into them.
Emperors, when they wage a major war, assemble these forces by levying demands upon their governors and leaders, who pass on these demands to their subordinates. It is almost feudal in arrangement, but even less organized. The armies, and navies, they muster in this fashion tend to lose more warriors than their opponents, but since they have many more than their opponents, tend to overwhelm their foes despite heavy losses.
The one organized force available to the emperors is the Imperial Guard. Membership of the guard is not restricted to native Makhairans, and in fact emperors tend to prefer outsiders whose loyalty is not already given to one of the Imperial families. Imperial Guardsmen are always fierce warriors and are paid well enough to purchase top-notch weapons and armor. They serve as regional commanders in crises.
Their loyalty is solely to the emperor, and many have been assigned by their superiors to keep an eye on anyone they feel are not serving the emperor's best interests.
However, this transition had been in motion for many years prior to the "official" date. The regions of the Old Empire, which ringed the Middle Sea and once included all of the Kreisens and much of what is now the Seven Kingdoms, boasted much less population and wealth than Basilopolis and eastern parts of the empire despite its vast territory. Basilopolis is also closer to trade lines stretching to the east, where vast amounts of wealth awaited in Amaranth.
The final nail in the coffin was the a family's attempt to usurp the throne from Alexius I. Since at the time, their power base lay in the west, Alexius, whose family's wealth came more from the east, simply moved his court, making both empire and his family stronger while weakening his enemies.
See Emperors of Makhaira.