The Tir Empire is considered by most historical scholars (aside from the Komai) to be the heirs to the original Kind culture which invaded the Cradle several thousand years ago. It is the largest nation, and despite it's age and the (comparatively) recent setbacks it has suffered, the Empire is still looked on as the greatest force in the land. It spreads from the Water of Adom to the West, Prenhai'z Forest to the East, and The Great Spine to the North. The city of Tir itself is the most populous settlement in the Cradle, with (at some estimates) over a million people living there. In short, very little happens in the Cradle without the touch of Tir upon it.
Tir was founded by Artus, first son of Adom the Firstkind, after the defeat of the Naga Lord Atrox the Butcher and the death of his brother, Toral, about 2,500 years ago. At this point, the entirety of the northern continent was liberated, aside from a few small holdout forts where the Greykin maintained active Gates. As a result, Artus claimed the entire continent as the Tir Empire, setting down a code of laws based on the principle that slavery, in any form, was intolerable. The nobility of Tir was made up of those who had fought with Artus and Toral in the war of Liberation, Fir'Thul's followers remaining with him in the southern wars. There were a few exceptions to the dominion of Tir however. The Greenkin were 'granted' free reign within the Cuongolin Wilds, the Darkwood, Tirfain and Ulfain vale, and Hoarwyrd, although this was not a negotiated settlement, and most historians view it as Artus recognizing that trying to rule over the Greenkin was unlikely. In addition, the Highkin cities, as always, remained under their own rule, as did the Holds of the Deepkin. Although Kith were welcome and plentiful in Tir, it was obvious that this was an Empire based on the needs and wants of the Kind, and it was not unnoticed that the Kith who fought with Artus did not gain noble titles. Nevertheless, the laws in place allowed for a great amount of freedom compared to the tyrannical reign of the Greykin.
The early days of the Tir Empire were not easy, given that a war was still going on in the Southern Continent. Much effort was expended over the first hundred years to safeguard the gains made by the Kind from the tricks and plots of the Greykin, periodic raids from the Orc Clans lodged immovably in the western reaches, and monsters emerging from abandoned Greykin settlements. The defeat of Falmak and the apotheosis of Fir'koma marked a dramatic change. Artus, the last of his brothers, was able to draw together the Kind, and negotiated the Dragonmount Treaty, which allowed the followers of Fir'Thul to head to the east and settle there, becoming the Skykind while the last of the Drake Riders were given the Dragonmount and became the Skykind. It was also at this point where the Tun formally left the rule of Tir. After this, a long, and prosperous peace ensued, Tir taking a leadship role in forming the nations of the Southern Continent.
Over the next one thousand years, Tir was governed well and peacefully, conflict rising only when other nations (particularly the Komai) attempted to expand their reaches. Eventually this interventionist standing became somewhat disliked by the people who lived in the southwestern province of Tir, near the Neck, since it was often on them that violence fell, being in a strategic position. The people of the southwestern province were millitant, feeding the empire's armies but reaping only a small portion of the benefits. It was in the reign of Culcuwecan the Greedy (as he was later known) that the people of that land - calling themselves the 'Volk', rose in revolt, no longer content to be the bonemeal foundation of the High King's empire. The breaking away of Volkir was resisted strongly by the Tir Empire, but it became soon obvious that a neutral state there would, theoretically at least, be of benefit to Tir anyway.
The breaking away of Volkir precipated something the High Kings of Tir could not have predicted however. While the Skykind and Tun left amicably, respected by the Great Lords, Volkir had raised the flag of rebellion. War of Kind against Kind, something hitherto almost unheard of in the history of the Cradle, had been unleashed and a thousand years had more than softened the bonds that should have held them together. The politics of the nobility came to the fore, bloodlines bound like glue into houses which warred with each other over land. The High Kings, their position weakened by the absence of the Volk filling their royal armies (or at least, without a high price) could do little more than administrate and deliver justice when it suited the local nobility. The importance of the city of Tir became even greater at this point, a steadfast island of stability in an unstable time.
Political Structure Edit
Tir is ruled by the High King, a direct descendant of Artus, with authority delegated through a semi-feudal structure - most places outside the big cities are part of some noble's parcel of land. The hierarchy of nobility is as follows:
- High King
- Prince of the Kind (A title granted to children (of any gender) of the current High King, and also historically a title granted to those who have given the highest service to the Kind race.)
- Danbrenin - Essentially a 'King under the King'
Within the Noble's lands, for the most part they have the primary say over matters, acting as magistrates. There are several Laws which exist above the Nobility however, primary among them being the bar against slavery and tyranny. While the specifics of what this means have changed over time, the current thinking is that no Noble can take more than 20% of the common folk's production as taxes, and prisoners cannot be forced to do labour (offering a reduction in sentence in return for labour time is allowed however)
Most of the nobility are bound into five Great Houses, rough combinations of bloodlines and fealty which were the last such alliances standing at the end of the warring period around four hundred years ago.
House Fainmarch - Based around the mountains bordering the north of the Empire, House Fainmarch were once the Lords of Armenwyl before that nation broke free of the Empire. Even so, the House had a reputation for steel, gold and cold. They are said to have contracts with the Deepkin going back to the first invasion, a payment of one third of all treasures taken from the Greykin in return for the steel for their swords. Their House Hall is Highhearth, in the Tirfain Vale.
House Brawdwater - Coming from the fertile lands between the Eastbrawd and Westbrawd rivers, and extending deep into the Tir Heartlands, House Brawdwater holds many links to the High King himself. They have their Hall in Caer Brawd
House Dragonthorn - Hardy and tough, the Dragonthorns of the far west provinces of Tir are said to have a touch of Orc blood in them (this is, of course, impossible.). Certainly it is their lands which are most deeply run with Orc Tribeholds, and a fair amount of intermarrage with the Volk has made the house well known for it's tenacity. The majority of their lands however are dry and scrubby, although the Waters of Adom provide some expanse of more fertile land. Their Hall is on the coast, at Brightcamp
House Avon - Named after the old Kind word for River, one could have forgiven those who believed that House Avon only held land upon the Tirav and the Waters of Tirol. In fact, the Avon hold land throughout the Tirav Valley and well into the Arthal Hills. They make their Hall in Avondef
House Vigil - Once this house spanned across Harkyn and Northguard, one of the largest and most powerful in all of Tir. Now it is reduced to the 'Treatywedge', the expansive, easily livable, but ultimately unimportant and rainy stretch of land to the east of the Empire. A house now known for it's religiosity and penitent nature, it is exceedingly loyal to the High King, and have a reputation for dourness and misery. They have no Hall, refusing to build a new one since their old one in Watchstone was taken by the Northguard Watchers.
Outside of the Nobility, there are a few Empire-wide institutions which have influence and power. The Ceisiwir, an order of Divine-ordained warriors who have the duty of tracking down and stopping Greykin incursions are permitted to overrule the Nobility and conscript warriors if required to deal with an opening gate. The Arwain are the hands of the High King himself, a secretive-ish organisation charged with the protection of the Empire and the Kind in general.