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the Holy Moti Empire
291 SR–725 SR
Moti600.png
Territorial Extent at 550 SR
Capital Gaci
Language(s) Uggor, Bisrian, Liealb, Satar, Seshweay, Hu'ut
Religion Iralliam (official), Aitahism, Ardavan
Government Monarchy
KingAyasi and Chief-of-Chiefs
History
 - Established 291 SR
 - Disestablished 725 SR
Warning: Value not specified for "continent"

Once one of the largest countries in the world, the Holy Moti Empire was the end result of the centuries-long process of unification which brought the Uggor under one ruler, and the subsequent subjugation of dozens of other peoples, including the Liealb, the Bysrians, and the Satar inhabitants of the Sesh by their swords. For much of its history it warred repeatedly with the Ardavai Exatai until finally defeating its primary foe in the War of the Three Gods. Its capital, Gaci, was sometimes claimed to be the center of the world; it was the main sponsor of the religion of Iralliam and during the period of its highest power the seat of the Grandpatriarch in Opios was formally under its jurisdiction. However as a result of a series of ruinous wars with the Vithanama Empire and the Karapeshai Exatai, and a series of repeated internal upheavals and revolts amongst the aristocratic godlikes, the Empire finally fell apart into a series of successor states in the reign of seventh-Frei, including the city state of Asandar and the Yensai Chiefdom that remain to this day.

History Edit

Founding Edit

As the name suggests, the Empire had its origins in the ancient kingdom of Moti. Among the oldest states in the world, Moti was a small regional kingdom under a number of dynasties, the northernmost of the Uggor peoples, and most notable, perhaps, for supplying fine bronzes to the rest of the peoples south of the Kotthorns. Its governmental and social structure mirrored that of the southern Uggor, with a Council of Chiefs ruling the country under a powerful Chief-of-Chiefs, though Moti tended to have far more powerful secondary families (the so-called Great Families) in the countryside, including the resilient Horse Family. Unremarkable through most of their history, the Moti allied with the growing empire of Krato to the south, and joined with them in several wars, most notably that against the Liealb Empire of Thearak.

Conquest of Bisria Edit

The small kingdom arguably began its rise to power under a young hero by the name of Kirost, who led an enormous army over the barely-explored mountain passes of the Kotthorns and into the valley of the River Had (events which would inspire the epic Tale of Moti-Hero Kirost). There, they easily toppled the small kingdom of Bisria. Its annexation, coupled with a newly opened trade route to the Hu'ut Empire introduced the Uggor to the highly developed bureaucratic apparatus of the eastern Hu'ut peoples.

These events shifted the center of the kingdom northeastward, into the valleys of the Kotthorns. Here, Chief-of-Chiefs Second Gaci founded the eponymous city of Gaci, which was declared by the priests of the state to have been the real center of the earth all along -- the place from which all good radiated, and thus a suitable site for the seat of the Chief-of-Chiefs. At the same time, First Gaci cracked down on various oppressive acts by the Moti great families, cementing his own power and status as a folk-hero.

Despite all this activity, Moti was still overshadowed by its larger neighbor to the south, Krato.

Wars and Transformation Edit

That changed with the arrival of the Satar in the River Sesh to the north. Under their Redeemer Atraxes, the Satar launched a long and destructive raid into the heart of Krato, pillaging the land to fund construction projects in Magha. This simultaneously set the Uggor on a collision course with the Satar, and shifted the balance of power among the Uggor heavily towards the Moti, who had escaped almost untouched by the raid.

Raiding escalated rapidly on both sides, and eventually boiled over into the War of the Crimson Elephant, a titanic conflict that embroiled both Uggor peoples, Seshweay exiles, and even the far-off Faronun and Empire of the Trilui. Either side scored several victories, but ultimately the enormous armies of Krato and Moti, primarily under the leadership of Moti Chief-of-Chiefs Third Gaci, who scored the decisive victory in the war at Magha against the Satar Redeemer, Xetares.

Though the Moti campaign into the Sesh proved untenable and the northern river valley would be lost to a Satar reconquest under Macrinus, it had entrenched Moti as the more powerful of the two Uggor states, especially after the overstretched Empire of Krato collapsed into a long civil war immediately after the War of the Crimson Elephant. A long series of campaigns against the warring Uggor clans finally united them under the imperial umbrella of Moti, which adopted the new title of the Holy Moti Empire under its first Ayasi, First-Sirti.

Even before the unification, the Empire had supervised a series of religious reforms, reconciling the ancient animist beliefs that had persisted even in the face of nominal conversion to the faith of Iralliam with more orthodox practices. A Church Council under Third Gaci at Gaci confirmed various books as canonical, and effectively marked the end of official sanction of some of the more unacceptable religious rituals among the Great Families. A sense of religious leadership only redoubled when the Moti annexed the River Kiyaj, along with the holy site of Opios. This Iralliamite universalism was eventually coupled with the ancient tales of the Great Family, an idea of pan-Uggor feeling that provided the Empire with several paths to legitimacy.

The economy of the new Empire blossomed under unification; trade routes snaked to every corner of the world, and the great cities of Gaci, Krato, and Opios flourished. Expeditions were dispatched southwards, while attempts to convert the western Dulama Empire met with moderate success.

All the while, though, the Empire would fight a protracted series of wars along its northern frontier against the Ardavai Exatai, neither side ever gaining much traction.

The Height of Empire Edit

The endgame of these wars would come in the War of the Three Gods, another enormous struggle, this one very nearly a repeat of the War of the Crimson Elephant, with a rather different end result. Forces under the Moti conquered the Sesh Delta and marched on Magha, destroying most of the remaining resistance at the Battle of Karhat. The assault on the fortified city of Magha cost thousands of lives, but ultimately destroyed the hated Ardavai and left the Holy Moti Empire as the most powerful state in the center of the world, able to proceed with its many imperial projects.

Moti

The Holy Moti Empire, ca. 550 SR

Immediately, the Ayasis launched a series of expeditions to the south, hoping to relieve the beleaguered Clan of Kogur, a group of Kratoan exiles who had unsuccessfully attempted to conquer Putra some time before, but were beaten back every time. Further attacks subjugated the city of Shentha, and the Ayasi took faraway Parna as a vassal under his wing.

With the south easily in hand, the Ayasi Fifth-Frei launched an attack westward, hoping to obliterate the Hai Vithana khaganate, which had recently become an ally of the new Satar Karapeshai Exatai, and presented a dangerous flank to the Empire. A quick expedition conquered the trading cities of Karamha and Eshirath, and moreover sacked the Hai Vithana capital of Amhatr. This was almost concurrent with a massive Hai Vithana migration south into the collapsing Dulama Empire. The net result of this confusing situation was the utter victory of the Moti and the elimination of this threat, though later actions by the Karapeshai would put the region under renewed Vithana control (the Eha Vithana khaganate).

At this point, the Empire was generally regarded as invincible on land, and by far the greater threats came from internal sources. Religious tensions rose, especially after the scandal raised by the populist rogue clergyman Sokar, and an increasingly aggressive Church response under a strictly orthodox Grandpatriarch Aisen. While the Ayasi managed to negotiate the first hints of danger fairly well, underlying problems were mostly ignored -- among them, the increasing intolerance of the religious hierarchy for the odd brand of quasi-ancestor-worship that reigned among the Great Families.

Still, the Empire was the premier power in the traditional cradle of civilization. The Ayasi flexed his geopolitical muscles fairly frequently, negotiating an end to the war between the Farubaida o Caroha and the Kothari Exatai, putting the latter under his protection, and following this up by taking Kilar and Jipha under his wing as well. By 600 SR, the Empire had only one natural rival left -- the Karapeshai.

Moti600

Holy Moti Empire and neighbors, c. 600 SR

In time, the Ayasi First-Lerai sought to eliminate this threat as well. Though in 601 he launched a minor border war against the western Vithanama Empire as a feint, in 603 he redirected his soldiers to march alongside those of the Farubaida in the Moti's third great war against the Satar.

The expedition north would meet with unmitigated failure once again, as Lerai met the Karapeshai Redeemer Talephas in pitched battle in the valley of Vesadevas. The Satar army pummeled their Moti counterparts, and Lerai would be killed in the action.

Crisis of the Seventh Century Edit

In the chaos that followed, the position of Ayasi would be filled by one Sixth-Gaci, who would be mostly dominated by his advisers and the famed general Birun, but it had lost its aura of omnipotence. For the first time since First-Sirti, the Godlikes and other elements of Uggor society began to challenge the ultimate authority of the Ayasi.

This was coupled with a complete paradigm shift in international politics -- in the wake of Vesadevas, Sixth-Gaci was compelled to sign a treaty recognizing Talephas as his equal. The Moti and the Karapeshai had never -- officially -- been on equal footing; this treaty declared that the Karapeshai would be the rulers of the north of the world, and the Moti that of the south.

But this new geopolitical order was immediately challenged from two sources. The Godlikes went into open rebellion, taking with them almost the entire southern half of the Empire. At the same time, a vast force arrived from the west: the Vithanama had arrived to claim revenge for the earlier Moti assault.

Quickly, an alliance banded together to save the Empire -- Talephas, the Farubaida o Caroha, and the Kothari Exatai. Despite the vast armies they could bring to bear, the Vithanama were not ejected from their foothold in the west, and things went from bad to worse when Talephas' lieutenant, Sianai, betrayed the alliance and seized Sixth-Gaci and the capital, sacking Gaci. Immediately, Talephas turned and attacked his former subordinate, but his best efforts could only dislodge Sianai from the center of the old Moti Empire -- its imperial strength had already been completely extinguished.

The End of an Empire Edit

Talephas war succeeded in destroying the nascent exatai of the warlord Sianai, but tragically for the Empire the Redeemer was assassinated, which swiftly led to renewed war between the Karapeshai Exatai, and the powerful Farubaida o Caroha which stood accused of arranging the assassination, the Kothari Exatai, and the Holy Moti Empire. Although the war was won, and spared the Empire immediate conquest by the Satar, the Holy Moti Empire, stumbled out of the war barely intact. The Empire by this time has been terminally ill for decades now, and things were bleak.

Indeed the Satar, despite failing to defeat the alliance in war remained in control of the upper Sesh it had usurped during the previous decades. This region an immense and fertile land that in normal times might have paid a third of the Empire's taxes, yet barely on the other side of a mountain pass from the heartland of the Moti Empire it was occupied by Erphelion, the self-styled Prince-Chief of Magha.

Despite efforts by the Kothari Exatai to exterminate the nascent Ardavai princedom, with an army of forty-thousand crack troops invading the region with the intention of returning it to the rule of the Ayasi. Through a combination of guerilla tactics and unwillingness to face the vastly superior Kothari forces in open combat the region remained under Vedai Satar rule, with even the reduction of Magha not quelling the bloody conflagration.

With Kothari victory in sight in the year 651 SR, Elikas, Prince of the Shield and now Redeemer of the Karapeshai, having reunited his country only after a bloody war and observing the weakness of the Holy Moti Empire which left an opening to end a four centuries long rivalry, organized an alliance with the Emperor Satores of the Vithanama Empier which advanced upon the Empire. Weak and financially broken from war, the empire could offer little resistance with the ancient city of Krato falling to the united Vithanama-Karapeshai army before they finally marched to Gaci and burnt the city to the ground for the second time (the first being the sacking by Sianai). Only the return of Satores to his own Empire, satisfied with his gains, and renewed civil conflict in the Karapeshai Exatai spared the Empire immediate ruin there and then.

Yet the ruin of the Empire was not long in coming, despite the Kothari eventually bringing the Upper Sesh back under formal Moti rule. Yet the region was rife with conflicts between the various minorities, and the historically Kratoan lands were increasingly autonomous. Into this scene the Ayasi Seventh-Frei emerged, he who might have revitalized the Moti. Seventh Frei, an idealistic man who had ascended to his position despite, or perhaps because of his lack of political affinity passed a series of reforms through the Council-of-Chiefs in an attempt to reign in the wayward elements of his Empire, with the intention of restoring national unity through war with the increasingly fractured by this point, Vithanama Empire.

Yet Seventh-Frei over-reached his power, and managed to alienate the Council-of-Chiefs and almost all the disparate factions of the Empire. The first to rebel was a newly procalimed Prince-Chief of Magha, one Ephkas, who swiftly won the allegiance of a disgruntled Sataran population, even among many of the non-Satar. Soon after this a half-Uggor, half-Satar Chief in Yashidim, Saranas, proclaimed the founding of a Kingdom of the Pass. With the dominoes continuing to fall various chiefs around the Galas declared their own independent chiefdoms, eventually coalescing under the auspices of Krato in a so-called “Yensai Republic” which would later become the Yensai Chiefdom. Yet more rebels rose in practically every part of the Empire. The Kothari Redeemer of this period, Belobarxes seeing the end of the Empire was near and having no interest in attempting to conquer the entire Empire annexed Bysria and the Had valley as the Empire proceeded to dissolve into its constituent factions. Finally with only the core of the Empire remaining under the nominal rule of the Ayasi, the assasinatino of Lord Fish, head of the godlike Fish family who claimed to speak with the voice of Aitah, sparked a rebellion amongst the Aitahists that had gained a presence in the region over the seventh century, which managed to depose the last Iralliamite Ayasi resulting in the establishing of an Aitahist state, that despite the efforts of the Grandpatriarch Riyaki II and the Kothari Exatai, remained unconquered. Thus the Holy Moti Empire fell.

Post-Fall AnalysisEdit

The primary cause of the Empires fall was hubris and unresolved internal divisions. In the first case pride in the "invincivility" of the Empire saw the Empire initiate an ill-advised series of wars, firstly against the Vithanama Empire and then against the Karapeshai Empire which, upon First-Lerai's defeat against the Karapeshai's forces In the north and the ravaging of the Yensai basin by the vengeful Vithanama left the Empire weak, and the authority of the Ayasi in tatters. This resulted in the breaking of the unity of the Empire as factional rivalries between the godlikes and the ruling Elephant family opened up into outright civil war, which, combined with renewed war with the disastrous sacking of Gaci by the treasonous Sianai, and renewed wars with the Karapeshai Exatai and the Vithanama Empire finally saw the Empire slide into oblivion. In the end the final dissolution of the Empire that came about due to widening religious and factional divisions, was a mere formality.

Yet the Empires legacy endures to this day, with the Aitahist Kingdom centred on Gaci making a claim to the title of Ayasi. The Yensai Chiefdom too continues with the old Uggor customs it has inherited from the Kratoan and Moti Empires. The system of Imperial system of primacy established in its near five hundred year period, with the Ayasi as first amongst equals amongst the cradles rulers likewise remains to this day, with the Kothari Redeemer holding claims to primacy to this day as the heir to the Moti Empires status as the regions paramount territorial Empire. Perhaps the most powerful legacy of all however is the spread of Iralliam in the west into the ruins of the Dulama Empire and south. For the Empires southern colonization, and expansion to the west brought those regions into contact with the faith, resulting in it becoming overwhelmingly the dominant faith in these regions, a state of affairs that remains to this day.


Government Edit

Since ancient times, the Moti Kingdom was ruled by the Elephant Family, who led a whole menagerie of the Great Families under its rule -- most notably, their longtime rivals, the Horse Family. The Great Families existed almost as semi-independent clans, with power nearly equal to the Chief-of-Chiefs himself. Almost all of the action as a kingdom, then, had to be approved by a Council of Chiefs, a cumbersome process that led to very little getting done.

The conquest of Bisria, however, took place almost entirely under the aegis of the Elephant Family itself, which allowed it to dictate the government of the new land -- the large cities there, they decided, would be independently governed. As a result, they were far more beholden to the Elephant Family than the rest of the Great Families themselves were. Moreover, they supplied a new bureaucracy to the Chief-of-Chiefs, one which could allow him to govern the empire far more effectively and directly than he had before.

Seshweay influences, which became more prominent after the conquest of the Sesh, encouraged a centralizing of power under the Chief-of-Chiefs, who additionally adopted the Seshweay derived title of Ayasi (from Aya'se of old), though little of the functional Seshweay ideas of government -- with its vibrant strains of republicanism -- actually filtered through.

Culture Edit

The size of the Holy Moti Empire meant that its various regions had distinct regional coloring. The central region of Moti itself was dominated by the city of Gaci, situated in a valley of the Kotthorns. Here, significant Bisrian influences could be felt, though it was a distinctly Uggor city, with numerous churches, clan palaces, and, of course, the Council Hall (or, officially, the Feast Tent) and grand palace of the Ayasi. A native glassblowing industry had achieved a high degree of sophistication here, unrivaled by any in the world.

Outside Gaci, the countryside of Moti was dominated by the estates and farmland of the Great Families, which monopolized the upper social echelons. Anciently, almost all Moti were expected to be under the rule of these families; those who did not were declared to be bandits outside the social fabric of the state. Renegade peoples would gradually be adopted by the Elephant Family, who settled them on the very fringes of the expanding Empire to give it a powerful presence there.

In the south, the twin influences of old Krato and Thearak could be felt throughout the land. Krato is primarily a land of clan castles and estates, each with a strong independent streak, frequently only kept in line by the raw power of the Ayasi; left to their own devices, they would doubtless have squabbled over the whole of the south. The Liealb, by contrast, reside in a much more urbanized environment around the River Kiyaj, and the omnipresence of the Church ensured that this is the most religiously-conscious land, even in the pious Holy Empire.

Bisria and the Sesh are both urbanized river valleys, though with very different characters -- Bisria more closely resembles their Hu'ut neighbors than anything else, while the Sesh retains a thoroughly Satar character, despite efforts by the monarchy to subtly push their rebellious subjects out of the cities and into the countryside. Seshweay and Satar influences alike remained throughout the period far more prominent than the Uggor, in terms of everything from language and religion to cuisine, music, and dress.

Religion Edit

Iralliam was the official faith of the Ayasi and the Empire, and was heavily patronized throughout its territory. Indeed, though the Church is headed by the Grandpatriarch, the Ayasi in the days of the Empires peak had a considerable say in its affairs, not least due to his enormous pocketbook, but also owing to a long history of interference and reformation of religious custom dating from the reign of Third Gaci.

Still, a few other faiths were followed in the Empire, some more tolerated than others. Pockets of worshipers of Indagahor still lingered for a time in the southern coastal cities, while in the Sesh, a diverse array of peoples retained their old beliefs. Aitahism was not merely tolerated, but even somewhat patronized in these northern lands, while Ardavan, the religion of the former Satar rulers of the valley, was persecuted for some time before gaining official toleration under Lerai. Throughout the period it held a huge following, especially in the plains outside of Magha and the foothills of the Kothai.

During the fall of the Empire, the subsequent collapse of the dual authority of Church and State in the seventh century saw Aitahism grow increasingly prominent in the heartland of the Empire, to the point that eventually the entire region would come under the control of an Aitahist state, which largely suppressed Church influence. In the north, where Moti rule proved tenuous at best states, Ardavan reversed the gains previously made by Iralliam and consolidated its position as the upper Sesh's dominant religion, a situation that became permanent with the establishment of a series of small Satar Exatais in the region when the Empire finally breathed its last.

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