Fire Emblem: The Age of Legend
The Frysolythian Empire is a large country in central-eastern Feryngia. It has been in decline for centuries but is still a very powerful land.
Region: Frysolythian Heartland.
Emblem: White dragon dominating a black field.
Capital: The Black City, Frysolythia, an enormous metropolis on both the Austral and Iborean Oceans with excellent ports on each. At upwards of 120,000 people it is easily the largest known city in the world.
Largest City: Frysolythia
Other Large Cities: Many including the original conquests turned allies of Sythmyr, Maryn, Ketal, Mynt, and Syra. Some others are Ogloan, their most important on Lake Kora, and Akira guarding the all-important pass nearby.
Currency: Glyr, currently a small and silver coin of fairly low value. Though the name has always been the same, what the coin actually is has varied greatly over time. Since ancient times they have been at the fore-front of anti-counterfeiting technology and have also been a boon to historians in that each has on one side the year of the minting displayed prominently and on the other the head and name of the emperor of the time.
Government: An empire of varying centrality over time. The country’s bureaucracy is dizzying in scope and complexity. There are vast arrays of appointed, elected, and hereditary offices governing all aspects of life. A convoluted table of ranks tells most people their relative status and accompanying rights and privileges. At the top is the emperor and the Kybral, a senate of sorts now largely hereditary but with occasional vacancies filled by elections from among other high offices. In general, things are at their most organized in the capital and far away from the capital in the west.
The system originated merely to help the emperor with administrative work and also to appease some prominent families by giving them a little bit of power in the Kybral. It bloated into its current form in the vast, long wars against the Savlan Empire and Savaritania. During these periods the emperors were often or always away from the heartlands of their empire and were in not infrequently killed in battle. With no time or knowledge to manage the goings on at home and often no interest as long as the war efforts continued to be fully supported, they appointed underlings in droves to handle their affairs, often not realizing they were creating redundant or useless positions or missing the purpose of previous emperors’ designs of the government and so on. Emperor Rythlan the Restorer improved things greatly in the late 2A 2600s. He reorganized most of the country closest to the front under a knightly system based on Savaritanias and abolished most of the cluttering positions. However, these reforms did not extend fully back to other parts of the empire. The reforms were generally successful, but eroded over time before taking a crushing blow when the War of the Uncles threw the whole country into disarray. The disorganization of trying to piece the empire back together after this has made things too confused to really tidy up the state, not to mention the bureaucrats and Kybral want to protect their power and the recent emperors have been decadent, weak, and increasingly stupid or even crazy.
Emperor Melryn the Mad of Frysolythia, the current ruler has shown little inclination to change things.
Population: Roughly 50,000,000, Slavery and serfdom are have been abolished in the west to garner popular support against Savaritania but persist among some of the very wealthy out in the east.
Area: Roughly 450,000 square miles, though some of this is disputed.
Geographical Features: The empire is very large and geographically diverse due to its size and the disparate nature of the lands it conquered. Both its original heartland and its prized claims in the Koran Basin are rich and fertile and watered by rivers like the long River Syramynt. Because the land is so heavily settled, trees are fairly scarce in many places but the empire makes an effort to maintain some.
Frysolythia also has its share of mountains; it includes the entire range of the Frysolythian Mountains, some of the Nimades and borders on the Tarakas and Kitatanis. It commands two extremely important passes into the Koran Basin: the Syrca Vale and Akira Pass.
To the north, the border is set at the River Seforibar, beyond which the Frysolythians have found the land too arid to be worth the effort of farming. They also share a watchful, well-fortified land border with the Koran Free Cities in the north, across which they may still hope to invade if their luck at home turns.
Their long coast on Lake Kora is a very dangerous and hard to defend one, the other two powers sharing the lake often have their large fleets of flying and sailing civilians and soldiers intermixed. It is frequent for some sort of fighting to break out that might someday lead to another real war.
To the west is their short but bristling border with Savaritania, one of the most militarized places in the whole world. Both countries keep something like 25% of their vast armed forces in the area and are just itching for a chance to overrun the other one of these years.
In the south is a mountainous border with Kimaga, once part of the empire and not well defended but not worth trying to control.
Finally in the southwest there is a mountainous border with Fortavir and a fortified lowland one with Migratoria. Both these lands cherish their fairly recent independence and are watchful lest the Frysolythians try to dominate them again.
Military: The bulk of the Frysolythian Empire’s army now consists of large number of conscripts mostly divided into regional militias and city guards in the empire’s heartlands and more tightly into the commands of many knights on the Savaritanian model in the west. They have something like 1,000,000 such troops called up at a time. About half are really just permitted to go about their daily business in the fields as normal but must be ready to march if the need arises. The other half, mainly the urban ones, are actually uniformed, armed, and training while the others are not. Thus the Frysolythians create an odd sort of middle ground between hastily called up conscripts and professional soldiers. Most of these are tied up fighting bandits or the occasional city in rebellion for more privileges in these troubled days.
Additionally, the Frysolythians maintain several professional military forces. The most famous and prominent of these are the Masked Riders, the world’s largest and best force of wyvern riders. Mastery of the air has long been at the center of Frysolythia’s strategy. Though the rest of the empire is in decline, this unique force remains in nearly perfect fighting trim. Their numbers fluctuate somewhat and are in fact kept secret but are often estimated at an incredible 3000 men and even more beasts, and are a tremendous cost to feed and maintain. The empire generally deems this worthwhile, even at the cost of not having a larger professional army of ground forces.
Though not theoretically part of the actual military, the Lions of Lykter, personal guards of the emperor, have a reputation topping the Immortals and even the Knights of the Rising Sun. They are said to be nearly invincible, but fortunately are so few in number (about 50) and specialized that they rarely have a chance to wreak much havoc on a battlefield. Their superhuman abilities though spark rumors of secretly collecting and training all the country’s Enth from birth or even of state-approved Hadran on a massive scale to produce this elite guard. The force has access to every kind of weapon, magic, or animal when they need them as well.
The Nachtite Cabal based in the capital itself is one of the worlds most pre-eminent magical organizations. While not part of the armed forces directly, they do maintain quite a sizable number of battle-trained wizards and might as well be during wartime.
In recent centuries elite Myrmidons hired out of Seforibar have become a common sight when the Frysolythians need to field a good ground force. The northerners care little for southern politics but do desire a good relationship with the mighty empire lurking right next to them and so often prove to be fine warriors.
Generally the Frysolythian Empire imports rather than exports mercenaries these days.
History: Despite claiming truly ancient roots, the Frysolythian Empire itself traces its proper beginnings to 2A 1495 when the city-state of Frysolythia made a major push to conquer or ally with all the surrounding states. Moving from this powerful, compact, and populous state outward with a number of innovations in military tactics and the breeding of the region’s first domesticated wyverns (inspired no doubt by the older Black Dragons ), they were able to expand at a steady pace for many years.
By roughly 2A 1730 they had met their first real rival: the Savlan Empire then controlling the entirety of the Koran Basin but expanding little further due to border conflicts with ‘barbarians’ and internal revolts against the oppressive imperial state. The canny Frysolythians did not strike before they were ready because the Savlans were a much, much larger and wealthier land than themselves, even if they lacked a certain youthful energy. The Frysolythians were ready twenty years later, having conquered much of the rest of their present area. Waiting for a minor provocation from Savlans on “their” side of the Akira Pass, they began the Lesser War of the Dragons in 2A 1751. This conflict was small in area and though not incredibly long would serve as an ominous warning of the shape of their conflicts to come. The Frysolythians spared no expense and no effort and shrank from no number of losses, through fighting harder and expending proportionally more resources they were able to fight the Savlans on equal footing. For their part, the Savlans were hampered by their stupid insistence on using larger and larger proportions of foreign slaves as the vanguard of their armies. Notably, the Peruvians showed a willingness to die before fighting for their oppressors in this war and the Savlans were occupied fighting their massive domestic rebellion a thousand miles away. The war finally ended in 2A 1758 with minor land gains for the Frysolythians giving them complete control of the lands east of the Frysolythian Mountains but leaving the Savlans the entire Koran Basin. The impact of this loss was more psychological than material on the enemy.
The Frysolythians were slow in recovering from their victory and they knew that their astounding imperial goal of subjugating the entire Savlan Empire, the mightiest state in the world, would take much time and effort. For a century they rebuilt and bolstered their armies and trained the Masked Riders in air to air combat against wyverns and secured their borders and watched the still awesome Savlan State sag and creak with its spreading rot and decadence.
One of the greatest, bloodiest, longest tragedies in history was to ensue as both sides grossly underestimated the enemy. The Savlan Empire had grown blind to their weakness and their rulers felt invincible even if the people and soldiers no longer did. In acts of astounding stupidity, they often diverted their forces to fight extra wars on the side during the ensueing conflict and thereby weakened themselves needlessly. For their part, the Frysolythians attacked too soon in their eagerness for world domination and so had a terrible stalemate on their hands when a few decades more patience might have yielded a much easier victory. Adding to the trouble was that neither state made any real effort to treat the people being pulled back and forth well. While the Frysolythian state was undoubtably less cruel than the Savlan one, they still kept slaves and did not offer proper citizenship to the first generation of conquered people, and would need heavy taxes to support their war efforts. Thus there were often 3 sides: the Savlan armies, the Frysolythian armies, and the people they were fighting over. Uprisings by conquered territories against both sides and betrayal for promises of better treatment negated any easy gains for a very long time. This had been the problem of the Lesser War of the Dragons and it was multiplied a hundred-fold in both the Greater War of the Dragons and the New War of the Dragons.
2A 1875 – 2A 2077, 200 years of conflict. While the Greater War of the Dragons was hardly continuous and sometimes stopped for decades at a time when pressing domestic matters or just the need to rebuild crumbling economies distracted both sides, it was the longest period of official or technical war in Feryngia’s history and the most destructive war of all time. Tens of millions of people may have been killed over this period, counting both soldiers slain and civilians massacred and people killed indirectly by disease or famine. Even the astoundingly rich and populous lands of the eastern Koran Basin could not withstand so much slaughter without long-term harm and it is said that sometimes some of the rivers flowing into the great lake were choked with the heaped and twisted bodies of men and wyverns so that ponds formed and the lower sections ran dry. Both the Glaenroong and the Emperor and their armies demonstrated utter ruthlessness and determination to succeed no matter the cost because all were aware that this was a war that would annihilate one of the world’s two greatest countries and catapult the next toward rule of all Feryngia. It is commonly said that 80% of the fighting was done over the first 10% of the land, and this is fairly true. By the time Frysolythia had taken 10% of the Koran Basin and secured revenues from it, this gave them an unbeatable advantage in the war. The final 20 year stretch saw them take over half the basin, obliterating the Savlan Empire entirely. This phase was presided over by Emperor Augyth the Conquerer of Frysolythia and from it comes his title. The last ten years were in fact so easy that he had his armies simultaneously sweep into what are now Fortavir, Migratoria, and Varibaldir to the edges of the Serpenvir Mountains and thereby brought the Frysolythian Empire to its greatest size ever. Historians remain divided over whether he was a genuine military genius seizing such vast areas in record time or merely lucky that his predecessors had taken care of the hard work for him.
Either way, in 2A 2077 the city of Savlan fell at last and the great war was over. Frysolythian history was to be impacted profoundly by it. Positively, they had a chance to absorb much of the highly developed culture, philosophy, and art of the basin peoples including their remarkably beautiful cathedral churches of Fundin. Furthermore, this exposed at least the western parts of the empire to the institution of knighthood that was to prove excellent for organizing both their military and peacetime operations. Finally, slavery began to be abolished in Frysolythian-conquered lands mid way through the war as the notion of cultivating the goodwill of the people by being better than the enemy finally took hold. However, they also absorbed many of the vices of the conquered lands. Besides that the slaves they did keep began to be treated worse than ever after the Savlan model, the till then fairly frugal and sensible emperors and Kybral members were awed by the extravagant, wasteful, shameless splendor of the Glaenroongs and higher-ups of the conquered cities and began to model their own lives on theirs. Moreover, several generations of emperors had scarcely seen their homeland. Born on the battlefields to fathers more general than peacetime ruler and often dying upon them a few decades later they had no time for affairs of state or managing anything themselves. And so they delegated and delegated and created many new offices to run the state, often with little idea what they were doing or had already done or what previous emperors had put in place, thus a rube-goldberg machine of a government took misshapen, bloated form in their absence and began miring the country in inefficiency, disorganization, and poorly designed legal systems full of loopholes. Success thus sowed the seeds of later failure.
Making the stupidest mistake in imperial history, Emperor Augyth ordered an invasion of Peruvia less than two years after the Greater War of the Dragons ended. Certainly his forces outnumbered those of Peruvia but they had been gutted by the wars and needed more time to reorganize and rebuild morale as well as actually secure the lands they had conquered. The Peruvians for their part already had a fairly large, highly disciplined, and extremely motivated fighting force. Worse, the Frysolythians attacked in late autumn and in the Peruvian Hills, a heavily fortified region that they did not know. The Peruvians held out gallantly against the superior force for a few weeks until cold weather set in and crippled the wyverns of the Masked Riders, heart of the imperial forces. This short, bloody, but decisive campaign called the Glorious Winter sent the Frysolythian forces running for the safety of the Koran Basin before a month was out. They never recovered their momentum or confidence. In a single, foolish cast of the dice Augyth had wasted centuries of work and sacrifice of his countrymen and forefathers. Fittingly, he died only a year or so thereafter of complications from a mere broken nose.
The Frysolythians enjoyed less than two centuries of tenuous control of the Koran Basin, trying to assert themselves properly and simultaneously rally their overextended forces and reform their domestic situation. The damage had been done by that one great defeat though, while it had been fought a few survivors of the house of the Glaenroongs escaped and began to mount a resistance. By 2A 2231 they freed themselves and tried to re-inaugurate the Savlan Empire under Glaenroong Iaeth the Bold of Savaritania. Even when the Peruvians smashed this flailing, stupid threat for them and ended the disastrously ill-planned Wars of the Mad Empire, the Frysolythians were too much in decline and busy just trying to hold on to the other half of the great valley to take advantage of the situation. Once again some semblance of their old foe survived, now calling itself the ‘Immortal Savlan Empire’ but known to everyone else as Savaritania because the capital had been moved to Savaritan with Savlan utterly destroyed and the connection to the old royal line was tenuous at best.
Whether to treat the long, dark years that followed as a single period of conflict or several individual wars punctuated by longer, but not bloodless peaces is not agreed upon. The whole struggle between Savaritania from its inception to the modern day is sometimes all called the New War of the Dragons, but no one seriously treats the whole thing as a single war or conflict. Indeed, according to others the New War of the Dragons ended somewhere in the 2A 2700s and the current period is something entirely different. Either way, the Frysolythians were often fighting tooth and nail to hold on to lands they had not so long ago fought tooth and nail to seize and once again the tides of the wars crept slowly back and forth and devastated a wide swath of the land. At least this time it was another section of the valley and that that had taken the worst fighting before was finally able to recover. The Frysolythians were fortunate to have few serious other threats to contend with. They had to put down an independence movement in the south now and then, but never even a big one. The general trend was one of the at first small Savaritanians winning ground for more than 300 years of war and peacce.
That changed briefly but dramatically when Emperor Rythlan the Restorer took the throne in the late 2A 2600s. Seeing that spending more resources winning a few battles would cost them the whole war, he neglected the Koran Basin for some time to use his considerable energy whipping the imperial heartlands into shape. Gone were the useless, redundant bureaucrats, gone was decadence and corruption, gone were internal conflicts and bandits. He lowered taxes significantly to give the suffering people a chance to recover and become prosperous and funded all his considerable reforms by selling the province of Varibaldir to its governor, King Vrardrik of Varibaldir, who he correctly predicted would soon be overthrown. With the spiritual decline of the empire at last ceased by these and other reforms, he finally flew back to the vast valley in which so much blood had been shed and led a re-energized, re-organized, and re-armed Frysolythian Army in a campaign of crushing victories that threw the Savaritanians back almost to their gates and kept them there a long time.
Now the real scourge of the empire set in however: bad emperors who drove the country into the ground. To preserve their supposed purity and grandiose claims of descent from Ashkantir, the imperial line had become quite inbred. Moreover, they had become enamored of the many vices of the Glaenroongs and so unbeknownst to him, all of Rythlan’s sons were drunken, whoring, carousing imbeciles able to put on the merest show of decency when he was around before lapsing back into their old ways. Such men could not run a single household, let alone an empire. Their profligacy ruined all he had worked so hard for and before long the empire was in decline again. This time though, there were new powers to contend with. The wise and craft young Satran Pirhan the Great of Peruvia was able to create an entirely new state in the basin, the Koran Free Cities, in 2A 2758 and somehow do it (almost to their own surprise) with the support of the Frysolythian diplomats as their armies again retreated out of the area! With a new buffer state created and under the tacit protection of one of the most dangerous countries on the continent, the balance of power fundamentally shifted. No more could the epic standoff of two countries continue without fear of outside intervention against the winner. A period of greater peace and stability might well have followed.
This chance was lost in the great civil war known as the War of the Uncles which began in 2A 2815. When a fairly minor attack on the Koran Free Cities nearest their border went sour and resulted in the death of Anglan the Unfortunate of Frysolythia, then the heir apparent to his dying father Emperor Glyrol the Sodden of Frysolythia the succession passed to a mere boy, Emperor Augyth the Lesser of Frysolythia. Too young for the throne and by all accounts weak willed and already a drunkard, he quickly made it apparent that whoever controlled him would be the real emperor. Promptly, his father’s brothers fell to fighting one another for the power and sparked a massive but fairly short civil war. This cost the emperor all its southern provinces who broke free in an avalanche by 2A 2820 or so and left it permanently divided and disordered when it finally ended and one faction re-absorbed the others messily. They had also, humiliatingly, been pushed completely from the Koran Basin, though they muscled their way back in when the Savaritanians again overextended themselves by attacking the Koran Free Cities in the Reconquest only to make the same mistake themselves in the 2A 3080 Midsummer War.
What has followed has been a period of peace, but uncertainty and doubt over the future. There is now widespread consciousness that something has to give. Either the empire will collapse utterly and never rise again or it will have to be transformed and become something different.
Rather than embrace the new world though, the people turn toward their glorious history and the past. The Frysolythians have always had a great reverence for their founding fathers and other great figures and rulers of the past, now it has become almost idolatrous and smacks of Heresy to some in mainstream Fundin.