Holy Orenian Empire
- This page is about the Holy Orenian Empire. For Oren as a general concept, see Oren.
The Holy Orenian Empire, or simply Oren or the Empire, (High Imperial: Sacrum Imperium Orenanum) is one of the largest and most powerful nation of humans or of any race upon the continent of Axios, and historically any past worlds as well. The most recent iteration of the Empire dominates the center of the continent, from the northern hinterlands of Haense, the eastern forests of Curon, and the heartlands and bustling trade cities upon the River Leuven.
Oren is a hereditary constitutional monarchy, with a medium degree of autonomy given to its vassal states. The current Empress, Anne I, and the current Emperor, Joseph II ascended to the throne after the death of the previous Emperor, Peter III. Since Empress Anne I's elevation to the Imperial Throne, she has co-ruled with Emperor Joseph II 'jure uxoris'. The current seat of power of the Holy Orenian Empire lies within the Kingdom of Cascadia and its capital, Providence.
The relationships of Oren and other realms, including those predominately human, have changed over time. Following the accession of Sigismund to the Imperial throne on the new year of 1431, Oren and the central dwarven nation of Urguan have shared a bitter rivalry, fighting numerous wars against each other in vying dominance over the other. Ties between of the orcs and Oren have changed depending upon the policies of the current Emperor and orcish Rex, though have recently had a lukewarm relation at best. The Elves have had the most interesting affiliation with the Empire, having formerly been subjugated and granted liberty on numerous occasions, with the current elves staunch allies of the current empire.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Pre-Imperial
- 1.2 The First Empire
- 1.3 The Second Empire
- 1.4 The Third Empire
- 1.5 The Fourth Empire
- 1.6 The Fifth Empire
- 1.7 The Sixth Empire
- 1.8 The Seventh Empire
- 2 Culture and society
- 3 Politics
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Geography
Main: Kingdom of Oren
Before the rise of King Daniel of Oren, the pre-Godfreyian humanity was split between a variety of independent kings and dukes, not unified under any common banner. In fact, after the burning of Pontia in 1000, many human lords had deviated from the original Creatorist faith, some of whom had took up Aengulic worship. Many before King Daniel had attempted to take up the title as King of Man, most notably the Prince Baldwin IV of Balain in 1231 and the Horen-scion King Edmund of Mzen in 1235, both of whom were denied (Baldwin by his assassination en route to Jrent and Edmund by his defeat at the Battle of Harwock). King Edgar of Aaun, father of Daniel, had also attempted to claim the title, having the support of numerous lesser lords yet could not find the support among the fractured clergy.
The Phoenix Revolution
Main: Phoenix Revolution
The Phoenix Revolution of 1341 was a country-wide revolt in Oren against the rule of King Enor of Oren, rallied under the banner of prominent nobleman Eze'kiel Tarus, a Harrenite. Before any true fighting occurred, however, King Enor abdicated in favor for Gaius Marius, Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order and long-time enemy of Oren. This was a hugely unpopular decision, with the Phoenix Rebels refusing to accept the Hochmeister's rule. After brief conflict, the Kingdom of Oren was split two-ways between Tarus and Marius, creating the seperate realms of Renatus and Hanseti respectively.
The First Empire
The Holy Orenian Empire was established on Asulon, following the expansion of the Kingdom of Renatus. Following the abdication of King Eze'kiel Tarus and a brief regency, Godfrey I of House Horen came to the Kingdom of Renatus and took his place on the throne, claiming legitimacy as Exalted Horen's direct-most pure-blooded descendant. Under his rule he believed that all Human kingdoms were to be reunited yet again under Orenian rule and so he began a series of conquests, beginning with the fall of Seventis after suffering an outbreak of the Plague. The nation of Salvus was then annexed having been defeated in a war that pitted them against a large coalition. When the Realm of Hanseti surrendered in war against Renatus, all of the human kingdoms were therefore reunited. The new unified nation of humans was to be the First Empire. Godfrey is also credited for ushering in a revival of the Canonist faith, which had fallen to the wayside in the decades since the abdication of St. Daniel, then known as the Church of the True Faith.
The Holy Oren Empire continued to expand. It was ordered by Emperor Godfrey that any Human settlements that refused to submit to the rule of the Oren should be taken by force.
The Empire was forced to flee Asulon along with the other nations.
With the collapse of the dynasty of Horen and the Order of the White Rose, the Empire was severely weakened, resulting in the Great Orenian Exodus to the distant lands of Aeldin around the year of 1415. A coalition of Dwarves, Elves, Uruks and other lesser races were able to seize the advantage and launch an invasion of the crumbling First Empire, causing its capitulation and the ascension of the Carrion dynasty, whose leadership over Orenian affairs would later be referred to as the Second Empire.
Collapse of the First Empire
The Second Empire
Established by the Exalted Sigismund, the last of the Prophets of the Canon, with his coronation in 1431, it was the Second Empire that reunified the disparate states of the old empire and restored the faith of the Creator to the human people, ending the last serious institutions of the pagan faith as well as crushing the ambitions of the Harrenites, who had up until that point played an integral role in human society. The Second Empire was dissolved with the death of Sigismund, with his successor and nephew, Henry I, refusing to adopt the style of emperor, instead returning to the previously held designation of King of Oren.
The Harrenite War
The Third Empire
The Third Empire is marked as the polity established by the famed war hero Peter Chivay, crowned as Peter I, after the assassination of the incumbent King Francis I of the Carrion dynasty in 1456, lasting until the deposition of Peter's successor Robert I in 1467 by Vibius de Sola. Heavily nationalistic and imperialistic, it was characterized by several wars fought towards the goal of total nonhuman subjugation, as well as the establishment of several military, political and social reforms. It was during the Third Empire that the concept of a centralized Imperial Army under the direct authority of the Crown first emerged.
The Fourth Empire
The Fifth Empire
The rise of John Frederick to the throne of Oren after the assassination of Guy de Bar is marked by historians as the Fifth Empire, or the fifth reestablishment of the Imperial Throne. This period is known as the Johannian Era. Six emperors served during this period: John I, John II, John III, John IV, Robert II, and Philip I. The Fifth Empire has seen the Eighteen Years' War, the Anarchy and the War of Orcish Submission between the Empire and the Kingdom of the Orcs.
Main: Horen Restoration
During the political instability after the bloody Dukes' War and the controversial election of Guy de Bar as King of Oren, the Aeldin-inhabitant Charles Henry Horen (known as the Old Pretender) created a plot in order to overthrow the Ashford monarch and place his own son to the Oren throne: the Horen-claimant John Frederick Horen. Main factors behind the plot included Guy's lack of support among the newly exiled Adrian nobility, such as the Houses of Vanir, Barbanov, and Vladov, and his waning favor with the non-Savoyard nobility (such as the removal of Publius Bracchus from the privy). Charles was joined in his endeavor by his brother-in-law (John Frederick's uncle, as well as Guy's father-in-law), Titus, Duke of Istria, the Aeldinic nobleman Helton Chivay, and the bishops Edmond de Montfort and Renauld of Metz. Later supporters included John, Count of Kvasz and Guy's nephew, Baldwin de Bar, who both joined after Guy's refusal to concede his second son Sergius de Bar to clerical trial for his actions in desecrating the Brelus Cathedral. Using Baldwin's personal connection with the House of Ashford, King Guy was brought forth unprotected into the royal palace gardens, where he was stabbed repeatedly by both Bishop Renauld and the priest Iosif of Roiye.
Days prior, John Frederick had landed upon Istria with a small host commanded by Athirius Roke, where he was joined by Duke Titus and Titus' youngest son, Vanderus de Sola. Before John reached the capital city of Felsen, Prince Gereon of Savoy (former King Olivier's brother and Guy's first cousin, one removed) had locked down the city and reestablished order while being declared Lord Regent.
Reign of John I
Eighteen Years' War
Main: Eighteen Years' War
The Eighteen Years' War, 1529 to 1547, was a series of punctuated conflicts waged between the Holy Orenian Empire and the Grand Kingdom of Urguan and their various allies for dominance over the other - dwarves wishing to see the reunified human empire divided and split, and humans desiring to break the Urguanite realm and protect against further dwarven incursions and military interference. The war dominated the reign of John I for the entire majority of his rule, only ending after his death at the Siege of Dunland in 1547.
The majority of the reign of John II saw a major backlash against Imperial authority, combined with negative post-war sentiments and his own rapidly declining mental health, a period which is given the title of the Anarchy. The period was not a set timeline of events, but multiple separate uprisings and plots in sequence during his rule. The Anarchy was ended shortly after the ascension of John III to the office of Prince Regent and eventually to the throne itself.
Due to many of the problems created by John II, compounded by problems which arose under Philip I, as a result of his inability to effectively rule, the Holy Orenian Empire faced off once more against many of the enemies they'd made in the past. What had started out as a simple war against the Grand Kingdom of Urguan, ended up as a war against all of Oren's old enemies. This war lead to the destruction of the capital city of Johannesburg and the collapse of the Fifth Orenian Empire.
The Sixth Empire
The defeat of the Kingdom of Courland in the Greyspine Rebellion paved the way for John Frederick, son of the late Emperor Philip I, to rally the disparate human states around the Horen scion and form the Sixth Empire. Unlike his namesake, however, John V was unable to establish his own Imperial authority as ruler of humanity. It wasn't until Peter II took the mantle of Emperor of Humanity, wherein he would go on to restore the Holy Oren Empire's economical and military might. Three Emperors ruled this iteration of the Empire before its collapse: John V, Peter II, and John VI. The Sixth Empire came to a brutal end during the Adelburg Coup, led by Aurelius Horen, in which the child Emperor John VI was killed and Imperial authority fell apart. The coup immediately resulted in the balkanization of the Empire into separate Kingdoms, namely the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska, the Kingdom of Marna, and the Kingdom of Renatus.
The Seventh Empire
The Seventh Empire, initially known as the Empire of Man rather than the Holy Orenian Empire (and later as the Imperium Renatum), had seen five Emperors during its tenure that span from 1678 to 1721.
Aurelius I, Emperor of Man, 1678 - 1694
Augustus I, Emperor of Man, 1694 - 1706
Antonius I, Emperor of Man, 1706 - 1715
Godfrey II, Holy Orenian Emperor, 1715 - 1724
John VII, Holy Orenian Emperor, 1724 - 1725
The Empire was established by its progenitor Aurelius I, and his council of Horens who all excelled at warfare. With the conquests of Aurelius I starting in 1653 and culminating in to an Empire just over 20 years later. Initially, on its foundation, it was hailed as the dominant force of the continent(s) for over thirty years, although heavily criticised for its intensely war-like nature exerted by its progenitor, Aurelius I.
The reign of Augustus I was vastly different from his predecessors, for the nation built upon war had its longest period of peace under him, as no war was waged during this period.
The issues of the Seventh Empire had begun to fester beneath the third Emperor, Antonius I who was criticised for a lack of tact and respect in regards to his vassals, prompting them to rebel and begin the War of Two Emperors after the Renatians deposed of Antonius I in favour of Godfrey II - renaming the Empire of Man to the Imperium Renatum.
Thus, the War of Two Emperors began and is hailed as one of the most prolific military showings of all time - with the Renatians reigning victorious in the infamous siege of Helena; despite being vastly outnumbered.
After the War of Two Emperors, the Empire once more rebranded itself; this time to the Holy Orenian Empire - where it received little backing, until eventually being ceded by the young Emperor, John VII.
Culture and society
The Holy Orenian Empire is a human nation, and as such, revolves around the culture of mankind. Its ruling caste, the infamous nobles and ladies who descend from ennobled blood, come from predominantly Heartlander and Highlander backgrounds, and as such as create a melting pot swath of numerous identities, modes of life, and languages.
The Holy Orenian Empire follows strict semi-absolute primogeniture succession, where only males and sons of females may inherit. Succession would follow first to the firstborn son of the reigning Emperor, then to his sons, and the sons of his sons, and so on and so forth. The secondborn follows, continuing to all male members of the dynasty. If there are no males of the Imperial line, then sons of females would then follow. However, females cannot inherit the crown in their own right.
The succession of the Imperial Throne within the House of Horen is limited only to the progeny of Prince John, Duke of Marna, the secondborn son of Horen I, Holy Orenian Emperor, firstborn son of Exalted Godfrey.
The Privy Council is the highest authority within the Empire aside from the emperor himself, from whom they derive their power, managing the country's day-to-day affairs in his name. It consists of a body of highly skilled individuals, each of whom hold jurisdiction over a particular aspect of Imperial governance. The most powerful men in the realm, their jurisdiction is practically absolute, forming the instrument of government with the emperor at its core. They are chiefed by the Imperial Archchancellor, and are mostly aristocrats, however noble blood is not necessarily required for appointment, which is done singularly by choice of the monarch. To sit upon the Privy Council is the highest any individual without a blood claim to the throne can ascend in the Empire's complex political structure.
The upper classes of the Empire is dominated by the ancient noble aristocracy- landowners and bureaucrats originating from large clans or families, typically called Houses. Membership into these houses or families are by blood only, and so the only prospect for a non-noble individual (called commoners) to raise themselves is either through marriage or by being elevated to nobility by the Holy Orenian Emperor himself. The majority of nobles own fiefs throughout the Empire, and it is through the nobility that the Empire grows and maintains its borders. Nobility delivers the Emperor taxes and soldiery in times of war, while the Emperor grants the nobility protection and secured succession.
Some of humanity's most important personas have come from the ancient noble houses, many of which can derive their lineage back generations.
Noble Houses of Oren
House of Pruvia
House of d'Azor
Throughout the different periods of the Holy Orenian Empire, its military forces have adapted and changed dramatically from its original state. The Empire still relies upon levies of its vassal states and allies, however majority of its forces have been consolidated into one central military hierarchy and command. The current Imperial Army is headed by the princeps, which currently consists of two legions led by its respective legates. Lords of the Empire are typically given command of their own company, or if large enough, their own brigades within the legions, allowing the nobility to maintain control over their men without diminishing the strict chain of command which the current structure provides.
In addition to a complex, large-scale levy-auxiliary system drafted from the landed nobility, the Holy Oren Empire was protected by several professional military organizations. These included the Order of the White Rose, a religious-militant group that defended and served the Empire and Church, the Teutonic Order, an ancient Order of warriors living in Hanseti that date back to Oren's early history. and the Chapter of the Lion, a sect of knights and footmen that protected the Crownlands.
Regarded by some detractors as aggressively expansionist, the Empire enjoyed the most success of any conquering power in history, adding several territories to its expanding borders. Incorporating them into the state's administrative structure as provinces, Imperials regarded these annexations as beneficial for their targets, bringing law, culture and peace to otherwise uncivilized lands. This sentiment is in part justified - the Orenian annexation of the High Princedom of Malinor in the latter part of the 15th century brought an extensive level of order and stable government to the otherwise anarchic and volatile wood and dark elves, allowing for a cultural revival and a resurgence in prosperity at the hands of pro-Orenian elven leaders such as Tristin Tresery and Artimec Camoryn. This reconstruction of civilization culminated in Oren's granting of independence to the elven states and creation of the Dominion of Malin in 1548, which has since acted as the Empire's most stalwart ally.
The Imperial counter-invasion of Urguan and Vandoria in the Eighteen Years' War led to the annexation of the provinces of Cascadia, Esterwick, Avar and Ard Ghorrock in Vailor. Similarly, the counter-invasion of the signatories of the Axis Treaty, a document proposing a coalition towards the goal of Oren's destruction, has led to the total destruction and absorption of the nation of the Dreadlands and the Orcish state of the War Uzg. Now stateless, the orcs have wandered aimlessly since, their former lands becoming incorporated into the province of New Cascadia.
The Church of the Canon was the state religion of the Holy Orenian Empire, with nearly every human within the Empire adhering to it. Small minorities of Owynism and Ruskan Orthodoxy, both branches of Canonism, also existed. Local groups of Iman al-Rashidun followers can be found in the Empire's enclaves near the Sultanate of Haria. Aengulic religions are considered heretical by the Church of the Canon, however numerous clerical orders in the past and present have been allied with the Empire or even sworn under its banner with promise of religious freedom.
Old paganistic faiths were once dominant in the humans, however majority of the old beliefs systems have died out after the refounding of the Empire by Exalted Sigismund and the defeat and exile of the Highlandic Old Faith worshiper King Lachlan Mor at the victorious Battle of Kralta.
The Empire was spread across two islands, Tahn and Asul, covering vast swathes of plains, forests and mountains. On the island of Tahn, the Kingdom of Hanseti-Ruska lies on the northern fringes, with the Archduchy of Lorraine to the south; bordering the Dominion of Malin, the Grand Kingdom of Urguan and the vassal Province of Haelun'or in the far west.