Kalentoi Empire

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The Holy Kalentoi Empire is the greatest single power in Ruvera, whose provinces, allies, and client states span much of that continent and parts of Near Ruleska as well. The Empire is nearly synonymous with the Kalentoi Church, and even where it does not hold political sway it considers all lands that follow the Kalentic faith to be within its spiritual dominion. It holds itself to be the successor to the Ruveran Empire of classical times, and though it has lost some of its ancestral lands to its rival the Sirdabi Caliphate, as well as to a number of increasingly independent kingdoms and republics, it is still a large and powerful force to be reckoned with.


Inheritor of the lands and authority of the ancient Ruverans, the Kalentoi Empire is neither so powerful nor so centralized as its predecessor but is still one of the great powers of Avaria. The Elukoi people make up the core of the Empire and have infused it with many elements of their own ancient culture and worldview, but the Kalentoi population is as diverse as it is widely spread.

The Kalentoi Empire, also called Calentium after its capital, spans much of central and eastern Ruvera and parts of Near Ruleska, serving as a bridge between East and West and a conduit for goods and ideas between them. Although Calentium itself is one of the largest and most magnificent cities in the world, Kalentoi society is otherwise largely agrarian. Most people live close to the land, in loosely-spread rural communities or small towns, and even those places marked as cities on the map would scarcely be thought to deserve the name by a more urban people like the Sirdabi. Traditional rural life is idealized, while city life is often deplored as decadent and corrupting. However, this does little to prevent ambitious individuals from across the Empire from packing up and heading to Calentium in search of greater opportunity and a more exciting life.


Considered both decadent and tyrannical by some, the Kalentoi Empire embraces a classically medieval view of the world, where all things and people in creation are set in an immoveable hierarchy within a static, self-contained universe. Beauty, ceremony, and ritual are valued, along with the submission to authority which represents a proper knowledge of one's place in the cosmos. An excess of individual ambition is frowned upon, and intellectual questioning is considered dangerous for its potential power to disrupt the status quo. On the other hand, this has contributed to a highly stable society and one in which individual ambition is channeled into approved and heavy regulated spheres of activity, and the poor are cared for both by the church and by the feudal landlords who have been taught to embrace a paternal sense of responsibility for the people beneath them.

Overall Calentium is a deeply conservative society that emphasizes adherance to tradition, believing that this is the foundation not just of their identity but their success. Kalentoi also tend to view the universe as fixed and hierachical, with people belonging by nature to different levels of society. As a result there is little opportunity for upward social mobility within the Empire, though some lateral movement is possible between the different aristocratic groups. The two exceptions to this are the imperial army and the Church itself, where even the lowliest of peasants may receive education and advancement based upon their own personal capabilities, and thus may rise to positions of power unthinkable outside those two domains. All this being the case, it is still most common for leadership roles in Church and army to be filled by individuals of aristocratic standing.

In valuing continuity above all else, the ruling classes and the Church are concerned with maintaining stability across the Empire, and this is accomplished not solely by repressive measures but through more beneficent means as well. Since each class of people from the highest to the lowerst is judged a natural and inevitable part of the Great Chain of Being, poverty is not considered a personal failing and aiding the poor is a moral imperative, even if this ideal is just as often honored in the breach. A bread dole is carried out throughout Calentium, ensuring a basic means of sustenance for even the poorest in the city, and the provincial capitals do the same on a smaller scale. On an individual level it is common for all who can afford it to give alms to beggars and vagrants, who sometimes are also holy men and women or pilgrims. Poverty is also still considered one of the greatest virtues according to the teachings of Kalen, although clearly most members of the Church do not themselves follow a life of poverty, and the example is one which only a few people strive to emulate. In general charity combines with self-interest to keep the lower classes quiet and docile, except when poor harvests or disruptions in the supply chain cause stocks of food to falter, or extraordinary events cause unrest despite the best efforts of the elites.


The Kalentoi consider themselves the people of the prophet Kalen and the upholder of the Kalentic faith, and they tend to be both dogmatic and disputatious in their belief. On fine points of theology even ordinary people often hold stubbornly opinionated views which they are not afraid to express, and the Kalentoi Church is frequently engaged with hammering out disputes among its various holy sees. But however much the Kalentoi argue among themselves, they are a deeply spiritual people whose faith illuminates their art and architecture, their music and songs, and their daily lives. In addition to Kalen, whom they consider last and foremost among prophets as well as the divine incarnate, the Kalentoi also honor a vast array of saints. These include Kalen's sister St. Elen, who is considered the patron saint of Calentium and, to a disapproving subset of Kalentic purists, the subject of an inappropriate amount of devotion.


The Kalentoi Empire is officially ruled by the imperial couple in secular affairs, and by the Church patriarch in religious matters. In practice, however, the potential overlap between these divisions is extensive, leading to a perpetual power struggle between the Emperor and the Patriarch and continuous accusations of meddling in affairs beyond each one's jurisdiction. The balance of power between the two waxes and wanes according to the personality and the personal influence of each individual who fills the role.

Between the Emperor and the Empress it is the former that wields the true power of the realm, and is considered divinely appointed defender of the faith. Although a semi-representational body exists in the form of the Imperial Senate, its members hold little power beyond debating and ratifying the Emperor's decisions. Some dissent may occasionally come out of the Senate, but this seldom amounts to serious opposition unless an influential Senate member is able to capture the force of popular dissent and channel the anger of the people against the rulers. While such incidents were capable of causing significant unrest in the early days of the Empire, such large-scale disturbances are seldom seen in modern times.

For her part, the Empress is supposed to oversee what are considered to be women's affairs, including support of widows and orphans, other charity for the poor (not including the bread dole), support for pilgrims, and observances pertaining to the life and works of Elen. This last item is itself a perennial sore point between the Empress and the Patriarch, as the Church considers this another infringement on its preorogatives. However, since the Church eschews involvement with exceptional devotions to Elen, this creates a vacuum which the Empress and various Sisterhoods of the Empire fill.


The Kalentoi Empire is divided into smaller political units for purposes of governance, each of which is considered a province ultimately under the direction of a single governor. In practice, however, much political authority has devolved into the hands of petty princes or, in the case of Cadenza, an arch-duke with connections to imperial Kalentoi bloodlines.

  • Elukos, the home province of Calentium, which spans Ruvera and Ruleska and includes the imperial capital itself.
  • Kyparos, the maritime realm of the Copper Isles, where fishing and commerce furnish the lifeblood of a sea-loving populace.
  • Iskandria, a wild landscape of mountain peaks and deep valleys, home to numerous self-sufficient peoples whose chief bond is their faith.
  • Ravennika, also known as the Ravenni Principates, consisting of numerous petty princedoms and independent communes that exist in a ferment of conflict and competition
  • Ruleskos, the easternmost province of the empire, a land of rugged hills and fertile plains that grows much of the empire's food.
  • Cadenza, a semi-autonomous archduchy with a strong martial and equestrian tradition, whose cities still retain a multicultural character after the end of centuries of Azadi rule.