Nation Name: The Empire of Lautia
Race Description: Tall, slender, and incurably Elven in appearance, the Lauti are an oddity in that, despite their pointed ears and lovely features, they are not Elves. Indeed, the Lauti are something else entirely, and, while their legends would hold they are born from the intermingling of their chief deity, Dolibane, with a dragon – therefore allowing the male god Dolibane to give birth to a thousand Lauti -, the truth is not quite known. Still, the Lauti are content enough to suffer the name Elf from the uneducated of the world. However, their life-span of only seventy years does pose a problem to the theory of Elven roots.
A typical Lautius is tanned from the sun, and, at present at least, with beards making a fashionable return to Lautian life, the male Lautian will sport stubble across their face and chin. It’s rare to find a Lautian without dark hair, and equally dark eyes, but it is possible for blonde and even, rarer than blonde, ginger Lautian to occur. Despite this, a feature every Lautian shares is exceedingly long eyebrows, which stagger from the side of their head a good few centimetres, ponderously wiggling into emphatically expressional positions.
And truly, the Lauti are known for their expressions, indeed. The Lauti practise a fierce sense of ambition in their highly regimented societies. Social mobility is woefully difficult, but it does not serve to stop Lauti from scrambling to better their peers. A politician might battle in the courts with another to prove their grasp of rhetoric is superior; a soldier might push himself further in battle to reach promotion before his companions; a simple farmer might desperately try to outdo a farmer miles from himself. In everything that occurs in the Empire, there is a sense of ambitious pride and competition, where every institution of Lautian life exists solely to push and shove to greatness. Those who stumble are swept aside under the machine.
One might assume then, that from this competition and arrogance comes a natural distrust and distaste for the Lautian people and themselves. This is not the case. Indeed, the Lauti are almost as a rule patriotic, and unusually unified in this patriotism. A snobbish Lautius from the upper echelons might sneer at the peasant, and said peasant might resent the snob, but both are intrinsically linked by their adoration of the Empire, and especially by the knowledge that they both have a valuable, indispensable position in the society. Indeed, the snobbery of most Lauti mean that they revel in the fact that they are indispensable, and wholly necessary.
Perhaps the best words to describe the Lautian people would be pragmatic and disciplined. A strong sense of tradition ensures further obedience to the Emperors, and also that voters in the Empire often continue to vote for the same families for centuries – nothing is more likely to stir up support from Lautian people than a promise to return to the good old days of the past, or to maintain the familiar; brand recognition in Emperor electorates was rife.
The pragmatism of the Lauti extends to their magic and warfare capabilities too. Magic dominates Lautian society, and the Legions are, in truth, swathes of battlemages of different skill, armament, and direction. Steady, practical tactics are used by Lautian Legates, and the magi use well practised, traditional spells that have immediate and definite effects.
Population Scale: 800,000
It is a queer case, the Lautian government. At the head rests two elected Emperors, who serve for their entire lives. To become Emperor, a Lautian must climb a steep ladder of political manoeuvring and military proving, and also be aged 50. Age, to a Lautius, is something to be venerated, not shunned. Oddly, all Lautian offices are diplomatically assigned, though once in power, each office has total, unchecked power over their field.
The first political branch one must attain to reach Emperor is Magistratur. The Magistratur are the lowliest politicians there are: in charge of overseeing towns and villages of the Empire. This role is taken at age 24 and lasts two years.
The next is Praefector: in charge of the courts and legal proceedings of various towns and cities throughout the Empire. This role is taken at age 30 and lasts three years.
Following this is the penultimate office is Quaestor. This office is in charge of the treasury, and the distribution of the Empire’s wealth. Public games are funded and created through this office. This role is taken at age 38, and lasts two years.
The final office before Emperor is Governor. Here, the Lautian takes governance of a major city of the Empire, and rules it under the Emperors. A Governor also takes on the role of a censor, collecting information on all citizens, while also instructing the lower politicians. It is taken at age 43, and lasts 4 years.
At age 50, elections are held for Emperor. The title Emperor lasts for the rest of the Lautian’s life, but, once one Emperor dies, elections begin once more, and the surviving Emperor is cast aside, forced to stand again for election.
Politics are not the only way to become Emperor. A Lautius must prove himself militarily first, also.
From ages 20-24, 26-28, 34-37, 40-42, and 47-49, the Lautian men and women are expected to be actively serving in the Imperial Army. It is expected that an Emperor will be distinguished militarily, having a civili honora.
People of Importance: The Emperors, Marus Duronius Dio, and Opius Gabbinius Sidonius. From two incredibly distinguished families – the Duronii and Gabinii respectfully – Dio and Sidonius are, if not friendly with each other, well suited to each other on paper. Dio, aged 50, achieved Emperorship at his first election. He had devoted himself wholly to politics, and, while holding no military honours, was viewed by the public as popular and good, upholding true Lautian values of honesty and greatness. In contrast, Sidonius, aged 62, is well at the end of his career. Politically inept, Sidonius achieved popularity through an astounding military career, in which he successfully defending the Proculus’ Bridge from a week long battering from a slave revolt, before successfully, after six months, putting down the revolt entirely.
The Praefator Maximum, Titus Aurelius Natalis, the Grand Magus, is the leader of the Synod. At an age of 68, he is well advanced in age, and it shows in his boldness and lack of concern for his own wellbeing. He’s brash, and has no time for filibustering, preferring instead to use his last few years in being as direct as he can be. The Synod puts up with his bluntness purely out of veneration of his age, and the knowledge that, in his day, his magical capability was exceedingly decent.
Nation Size: Medium
SpoilerCapital: Lautia – The Imperial City of Lautia (commonly referred to as The City, Lautia, or The Imperial City), is the ancient seat of power, and capital of, the Empire. For at least 700 years, the City has stood, imposing and dominating as ever, and the Lautian people pride themselves that the city – with its grand, impossible architecture, and eccentric engineering – will last the rest of all time. To this date, the City has been occupied only once, and its most recent scene of battle saw it survive for a gruelling six months; it would be fair to say the City of Lautia is as sturdy and enduring as the people who built it.
The City is centred around the grand, fourteen story high tower in the middle, while the city expands outwards in a wheel. The tower – a marvel of architecture and magic, which bears the sign of centuries of improvement and renovation – is the Palace of the Emperors, and the area it sits in is known as Aula Via, where the Senate House and Forum is also located. Spreading out from the central reservation which houses the Palace-tower is six districts. It’s worth noting that the River Mara-Infantum which runs into the City is, through Lautian building, made into a rather elegant moat that spans the inner circle which houses the tower.
The Northern district of Lautia, which is also the biggest, and the one which foreigners are allowed to enter, is the Market District. It is here where foreigners are confined for their stay in the City, but also where the most traders are located. The streets are narrow, bustling, and filled with people screaming to sell their wares. There seems to be no planning to have been put into designing the area, and, instead, insulae dominate to create twisting webs of snaking alleys, all filled with different traders, and the odd inn.
The next district to the east is the Circus district, where public games are held. The area is filled with a huge ovular circus plaza, in which gladiator battles, chariot races, and drama occurs. Stalls and buskers dot the area, and the peasants, and even the noble families, make their way here frequently.
Next, going east again, is the Dolibane Square. Interestingly enough, it isn’t a square. The Square is, along with Septania Plaza – a district two districts west of the Market -, one of the two districts devoted entirely to residential areas, as such the two will be discussed here. The Square is, by virtue of being named after the King of the gods, the place in which the domus of the Imperial City lie. All the sprawling, individualist houses owned by the city’s elite. In contrast, the Septania Plaza, named after Dolibane’s treacherous younger sister, is the place of the city’s lower echelons. The lower middle class and working class live in hundreds of insulae, and, while there are at least six domus here, they are spaced far away, amidst a sea of crumbling insulae and wretched alley ways.
Between the Plaza and Square is the Southern district, which has the only entrance into the Aula Via. This district is the Loco Donarium, where the Temple of Dolibane stands. It also has smaller buildings, all neat and routinely maintained to be pristinely white, unlike the soiled near-grey of the other districts, which hold shrines to the plethora of other Lautian gods. The leader of the Lautian clergy is the Episcopus Maximus, who is in charge of the entire church, and deciding upon holy days, and discovering portents.
The final district, directly to the West of the Market, is the Judiciary District. This is a misnomer, as the law of Lautia rests in the six towers which dot the “corners” of the circular city. Instead, in the Judiciary District, sits the Synod of Magi. The Synod, who rest in the Imperial Cynosure in this district, are the head body directing all magic of the Empire. They have a presence in every village, town, or city of the Empire, employing buildings named Cynosures to station themselves in. These Cynosures act almost as town halls. The Imperial Cynosure houses the Synod, as well as the Imperial Academia, which trains the most able magi of the nation. Other universities exist, but the Imperial Academia has the most renowned.
SpoilerSettlements: Lautian architecture is generally dominated by two sets of stone buildings – the Insulae, and Domus.
Insulae are largely tenements providing economically practical housing where land values are high and population dense. The insulae, compact and austere as they are, are inhabited primarily by the labouring class. Insulae are constructed of brick covered with concrete and were often five or more stories high. The street level characteristically houses artisans’ workshops and commercial establishments. The residences above are reached by an interior common staircase, receiving light and air from the street and an inner court. Many insulae are encircled with open or enclosed balconies of wood or concrete. Pumping devices can raise water only to lower apartments; tenants of higher apartments have to use public water and sanitary facilities. Cheap construction and a limited water supply causes frequent collapses and serious fires.
In contrast, the domus are dealings of the social elite. Whereas the insulae are great, sprawling tenement blocks for a plethora of people, the domus were for families solely, and are based around the atrium, and the peristyle.
Public functions and activities of the family take place in the atrium, generally a square or rectangular area subdivided around the perimeter into different spaces for conversation and relaxation; it is reached from the street through an entrance passageway. Lautian social custom dictates that a house’s atrium must be open throughout the entire day, and the more popular, influential families often have lines of the family’s clientela making their way towards this house, to exchange gossip and pleasantries with the owners.
In comparison, the peristyle holds the private area of the family: bedrooms, dining halls, and work spaces where the Lautian family can relax. Only the most intimate of guests enter the peristyle.
SpoilerNation History: Lautian historians have divided the history of Lautia into several distinct periods which share common features. The Imperial Library’s expansive repertoire of books holds the exact history of the nation, notably altered to be biased into the Lautian’s favour.
The first era is the fabula. This was the time before records began, and is largely, if not wholly, based upon oral tradition. The story goes that Lautia was created by the gods in the Creation Story. It began when the Primordial Deities, Anius, Jehulianus, and Fulfarra, first made contact. The brothers, Anius and Jehulianus, each represented two opposing forces – change and stasis. Each existed in the void of nothingness until they met and began a companionship that, despite their fundamental differences, was fruitful and lasted an eternity. It happened that Jehulianus, in his infinite capacity for change and passion, fell in love with Anius, whose infinite capacity for stasis meant he could not reciprocate his companion’s love. It happened, anyway, that the two intermingled, and Jehulianus bore the two god’s daughter, Fulfarra. She was a perfect intermingling of her two fathers, and, capricious as he was, Jehulianus fell in love with her. Unfortunately, she loved her other father, Anius, who rejected this wholly, troubled by seeing his onetime companion ignore him for his daughter. Jehulianus took this time to ask Fulfarra to marry him, but she refused, claiming she loved Anius. In a storm of rage, Jehulianus drew his sword and went after his old friend, and the two battled for another eternity, before both fell. Fulfarra, lamenting over their bodies, cried furiously, and her tears mingled with the blood of her fathers, creating the gods which the Lauti now worship. Through their birth from the blood of the Primordial Deities of change and stasis, as well as the tears of an intermingling of both, these new gods had a finite capacity for both change and stasis. The first to emerge was Dolibane, who pronounced himself King of the Gods. Another eternity passed, and the gods and Fulfarra grew bored in the void, and it was Tubliano, a god made of more blood of Jehulianus than Anius, who first acted on this boredom. He rallied the other gods, including his brother Dolibane, and convinced them to pour their magic into the creation of a world. They agreed, and the Architect Praefus drew the schematics to this new world. Thus the world was made.
The Lauti believe their city, Lautia, was made when Dolibane becoming pregnant with a dragon creating the first Lautian. Their history has it that the dragon created Lautia to house these people, famously citing “For so long as my love to you, my god, should burn as brightly as does the sun which rises softly in the morning to blaze gloriously in the noon, then so shall my love for our children, and their children and their ancestor’s, forever burn as strongly, and so let them have, for their own designs and plans, to cradle them through infancy and glorify them in adulthood, a fitting and most powerful city with which to hold.”
And with the first Lautian given birth to in the Palace of the Emperors, the fabula era ends.
The next era is the sequestrationis, where the Lautian people were confined in their city and left to their own devices. At this stage, the Lauti had a single Emperor, and none of the other political aspects seen today. Their military was rag-tag, and similar to other islanders’. They were a city-state which was regularly attacked and owned by foreign city states. Still, their magics began to take shape here, and the Imperial Cynosure was built at this time.
Little is known of the sequestrationis, only that it was a time when enchanted items and almost clockwork wonders which ran on magic were created. This practise of clockwork automaton creation has never been rekindled.
The sequestrationis ended abruptly when a foreign power invaded the island which Lautia rested on, thus starting the interregnum.
The island which Lautia resided, called Lapillus, was a patchwork of different city states. Before the beginning of the Lautian interregnum, the foreign presence of Arvale took to Lapillus’ shores and began to conquer the cities with alarming speed. Of them all, however, it was unlikely Lautia which proved the most troublesome. Unique in its use of magic, Lautia was able to keep the Arvalians out of the city for three years, before finally sustaining too many causalities and failing. The First Armistice was signed, and thus began 200 gruelling years of occupation, whereby Lautia became a protectorate of Arvale. Interestingly, Article 4 of the Armistice regulated the previously unregulated Synod, who now had a member cap on who learned magic, and were directly controlled by the Arvalian Governor. It was Article 4, and others, which rallied support under the rebel Publius Gabbinius Aufero, who successfully, over a year long War of Independence, deposed the Arvalians from Lautia, and, taking up the old title of Emperor, which hadn’t been held for 200 years, lead the Lauti into the next age: the age of sarcio.
The sarcio was a glorious, if staggered, age of Lautian history. In a nutshell, it saw the Lautian people establish their current government system, refine their army, and expand their magi. It also saw Lautia engage in a system by which it actively opposed Arvalian expansionism, inciting other Lapillus cities to rebel, or – as the case of South Lapillus – simply steamrolling the Arvalians and the other islanders. The beginnings of the Empire were set, and Lautia was firmly dedicated to removing Arvale. So much so that, soon, Arvale was removed from Lapillus entirely, which sparked Arvale to muster a great Armada to invade the island – that was in the process of now becoming entirely Lautian, as Lautian forces now betrayed the islanders and fought for a united island – and remove Lautia.
The invasion was a flop. The Arvalians established a beach head, and even took the North-Western city of Nolichi, but the Lautian military, headed by the enigmatic General Titus Narci Ursus, routed the great Arvalian war host, and sent them into retreat. It was here that Ursus’ ward, Legate Sulla, decided to attack the Arvalians at sea, using the ships the Arvalians had not managed to salvage and flee on. With no prior experience of naval combat, the Lautian fleet was destroyed, but Arvale did not return to attack for many centuries, allowing the age of sarcio to continue, until the tragic death of the Emperor, and another bout of Arvalian interference.
The Emperor at this period of time – known as the simulacrum - was, despite the sarcio reforms, hereditary. Elections were held for other political posts, but not the Emperors. As such, when the Emperor died heirless, a succession crisis began. Arvale was quick to capitalise on the chaos, and cited their previous rule of Lautia as an excuse to declare their own King as Emperor of Lautia too. The Fifty Year War began, and Arvale – which met no real resistance as the Lautian factions vied for control – had the Imperial City under siege, and the island’s north under control. The siege lasted a year, and the Imperial City starved, and reports detail Lautian stopped would eat the dead. Tides turned when the provincial Marcus Julius Cato and the urban Gaius Tullius Curio each took the field and, styling themselves both as duae imperatores, the two set off to unite the squabbling, disparate Lauti against the Arvalians. With Cato spearheading the political scene outside of The City, Curio took to honing his military skills, winning several victories over Arvalian armies on the island. Within several months, relief came to the City, and the people welcomed the two Emperors. While Curio fought and eventually removed the Arvalians once more, thus ending the Fifty Year War, Cato altered the Emperor-system, ensuring that two Emperors would rule, and also that they were to be elected.
Peace lasted for many years after the end of the simulacrum, and this peace was broken by a brief, yearlong war with Arvale known as Proculus’ War. This peace and war was called the cataphasis period, and is marked by Lautia reaching political, judicial, and military stability, as well as achieving a severe victory over Arvale.
The most noteworthy aspect of the cataphasis was the building of the Proculus Bridge by Emperor Sissena Aburius Proculus. The Proculus Bridge was a masterpiece of Lautian design. Suspended by fantastic architecture that has never – can never – be replicated by Lautian people, as well as wondrous magic, the Bridge stretches a total of fifteen miles, and is a huge fifty metres wide, and has a garrison of soldiers planted firmly in the middle. It’s a wonder of an ingenious, often called mad, Emperor, and one which struck a severe blow to the Arvalians, while raising Lautian morale. The Bridge was, of course, designed to stop Arvale from crippling Lautia through naval blockades. With their fear of navy – due to their spectacular loss in their only naval battle – the Lauti instead sought to create another manner of reaching the mainland. Thus the Bridge was formed. In response, Arvale began a yearlong series of attempts to destroy it, but ultimately failed.
With the cataphasis over, Lautia entered the era it’s in now, which has yet to be named. So far, Lautia has had relative stability, and an embassy to Arvale has been opened once more.
Nation's Trade Resources: Exports: Iron, silver, lead, wood, literature, slaves, stone.
Imports: Gold, tin, copper, bronze, slaves, stone, coal, precious metals, wine.
SpoilerMilitary: The Lautian Imperial Legion is highly regimented and disciplined. It is highly dependent on magic, as well as heavy and light infantry, but has a very small cavalry and no archers. There is also no Lautian Navy. The Legion is made up of 20,000 men.
Hastati: Often the youngest in the Lautian Legion, they are also the most disposable, and the first the battle. They have a basic magical knowledge, and were armed with two throwing javelins and a sword, as well as a large ovular shield. They were the first into battle, the least experienced, and they suffered the highest causalities. Still, they’re cheap to deploy, arm, and train.
Principes: Armed in much the same way as Hastati, the Principes were experienced from war, and were given more training in magic, enough to be vaguely effective in a slow-paced battle. They were expected to move in after the Hastati had tired an opponent, and win the day then.
Triarii: The cream of the legion, the triarii are made up of men approaching middle age. These are hardened veterans from other wars and battles. The triarii, behind the other two lines of infantry, are not always required to go into battle, but when they do, their enemies have reason to be worried. These men carry a long thrusting spear and a sword, and have ample magical talent to be able to perform basic spells in the midst of a standard battle. There are also less of them than of the other two lines.
Magi: The Magi are Synod magi who have devoted themselves to war. They are decked in light leather and cloth, styled to look typically Lautian, but it is an accessory only. They carry a dagger for defence, and are supposed to rely on their magic for all else. They are powerful, but truly defenceless should they become involved in a melee.
Equites: The cavalry. It is small, underfunded, and almost useless. The generals will typically make up this section, using a horse to quickly traverse a battlefield.
SpoilerMap of Lautia:
With "Mare Nostrum" meaning "Our Sea", which is the river the Island's in, and "Imperii Lautiae" meaning "The Empire of Lautia".
Time Line of Lautian History. BI = Before Interregnum. AI = After Interregnum
Fabula Era – The Beginning of the World to 300 BI
Lautia and Lautian people created - 300 BI
Sequestrationis Era – 300BI to 0 BI
Imperial Cynosure created - 143 BI
Arvale arrives to Lapillus - 34 BI
The Interregnum – 0 BI to 200 AI
Lautia conquered by Arvale - 0 BI
Rebellion against Arvale successful - 200AI
Sarcio Era – 200AI to 243 AI
South Lapillus unified - 203 AI
Arvale repelled from attack on Lautia - 204 AI
West Lapillus conquered - 212 AI
Grand Coalition against Arvale formed by Lapillus' states - 217 AI
Arvale removed. Lautia owns South, West, East, and North-West Lapillus. - 224 AI
Lautia conquers North-East Lapillus. Island unified. - 231 AI
Arvalian Armada formed to reconquer Lapillus - 235 AI
Arvalians conquer Lautian City in North-West - 235 AI
Lautian military destroys Arvalians who flee back to ships. - 235 AI
First and last naval battle of Lautia. Lautian defeat. - 235 AI
Emperor dies heiress - 243 AI
The Simulacrum – 243 AI to 298 AI
Lautia fragments into old city states as crown is contested. - 243 to 245 AI
Arvale claims Lautian crown - 245 AI
Fifty Year War begins - 245 AI
Arvale attacks and takes the north of Lapillus - 245 to 247 AI
Arvale takes East Lapillus - 247 to 254 AI
South Lapillus states surrender to Arvale - 254 to 269 AI
Arvale is held back from Lautia, the last free part of Lapillus - 269 to 276 AI
The Imperial City of Lautia sieged by Arvale - 276 AI
Lautia City relieved by Cato and Curio - 278 AI
Arvalians removed wholly from Lapillus - 291 AI
Government reforms -291 AI
Cataphasis Era – 298 AI to 324 AI
Proculus' Bridge begins construction - 307 AI
Bridge War with Arvale - 307 AI
Bridge completed - 309 AI
War ends. Lautian victory - 309 AI
Modern Day – 324 AI to 372 AI
Slave revolt - 341 AI
Slave revolt ended - 349 AI