Pride Lasacris, the New Zantine Empire
Galactic Basic, Zantine, Mhassari
Ruling Prince: Basil Lasacris I
Prime Vizier: Haifa Suleiman (Collaborationist Leader)
Marshal of the New Pride Legion: Montu Suleiman (Collaborationist Leader)
Mouth of Fire: Talana Koan
The Prince's Conquest (4746)
Various Iammelonian Species (3%)
Other Migratory Groups (2%)
Prince Basil Lasacris, ruler of Pride Lasacris.
The Empire refuses to fall, no matter how far it must travel for safe haven! And it has found itself such a place in the lands of the Mhassari. Pride Lasacris is now one of many Prides in the area, though is exceptional for its security and strange foreign heritage. Its ambitious ruling Prince must carefully walk the balance of appeasing his majority non-Iammelonian Mhassari population and maintaining the status (and loyalty) of his powerful primarily Iammelonian army. To anger either enough would be to lose his throne, and likely his life...
Recent History and Current Events:
Under the leadership of Prince Basil Lasacris, of the ruling Zantine Imperial Family back in Iammelon, remnants of the Zantine Army, defiant Rangian Vanguard, as well as other disparate elements of the Iammelonian Confederacy's Forces who fled the surrender of their faction back home, all teamed up to follow the Prince out of the country, taking their weapons to restore the Zantine Empire to glory elsewhere. They moved northwards after evading pursing union forces, to the highly fractured lands of the feline Mhassari and their prides. Prince Basil decided this area of space was far enough that the Union would not pursue, which was corrected, yet also not too far from Iammelon that they'd forget their origins, as well as still be close enough to receive other fleeing Confederates that may wish to join up. The overwhelming force easily overwhelmed three minor Prides, seizing three planets and firmly placing them under the Prince's control. He wasted no time in establishing "Pride Lasacris", whose legal structure was practically ripped directly from the Zantine Empire's style, although with some changes to accommodate the particular situation this new Pride was in.
Pride Lasacris was thus ruled by a powerful Iammelonian military force, and it quickly set to what it considered its real purpose; establishing a new Zantine Empire. Although it has not yet claimed to take on the full Imperial Mantle, it has the clear intent to do so later when it has the chance. But part of this is continuing important Zantine traditions of conquest; Imperial Assimilation. The Prince has set greatly to work to not merely just assert authority, but to assert culture upon the conquered populace. This has led to many tensions, but the Iammelonians hold the bigger guns, and the Prince used his charm to quickly build up an essential collaborationist movement, led by the former very popular model and singer Haifa Suleiman, who is rumored to also be a mistress of the Prince. Regardless of the status of their relationship, Haifa's quick willingness to accept the new order and encourage acceptance of the Iammelonization policies the Pride is currently experiencing has made quite the mark on the Mhassari populace, planting the very much needed seeds for the process to one day see some real progress. Though that is in the future, and the tension still remains, although the presence of Mhassari in the government ensuring that they still maintain many rights comforts the majority, even if all those felines in the governments are collaborationist cats who report directly to Haifa or even Prince Basil himself.
The Pride hungrily eyes its neighbors for weakness, as to reform an Empire one must be larger than a few meager planets. But it currently avoids this so as to not draw too much attention to itself, and instead subtly continues pressing other Mhassari Prides to fight among themselves and leave the "weak" Lasacris Pride to its corner, all while it gathers strength. The primary goal at the moment is to consolidate its gains and sway enough of the populace into at least accepting Iammelonian Long Term rule, even if they don't properly Iammelonize themselves in the process.
Relations between Conquered and Conquerors:
The relations between the Iammelonian Conquering Army and the Mhassari who have fallen under the rogue Prince's control are tense, to say the very least. Revolt is a constant threat to the new order as the felines do not so easily accept the supposedly justified rule of a foreign monarch, especially one that had just fled the place they had come from and reduced themselves to being a mere warlord! Already are the Mhassari a people who do not easily accept authority, so having to impose a foreign authority on them is another level of difficult. But wide-scale revolt has not occurred, as the conquered Mhassari were from different minor Prides themselves, and the grudges between them are still very close to mind. Rebels distrust eachother just as much as they hate the new Zantine rule. This has been used by the Conquerors, who make sure to make subtle reminders of those old grievances to keep them alive and well. In addition while Iammelonian minority is extremely small compared to the Mhassari populace, the Iammelonians are majority military personnel themselves with top of the line equipment, not to mention the power of the navy which goes uncontested by the planet-locked Mhassari majority. Still, tensions are growing, as the Pride continues to push Iammelonization policies upon the people. Trying to force them to act more Iammelonian themselves, as well as openly accepting any Iammelonian settlers to the Pride's borders, bolstering their ranks.
One thing boosting relations however is the major collaborationist movement headed by former very popular model and singer Haifa Suleiman. She heads the "Progress and Unity Movement", which is not too subtly a movement that believes the rule of the Zantine Prince is good for the Mhassari, and that the Iammelonians bring progress. It insists that if the Mhassari populace just opens up and accepts the new into their lives, they can still maintain the old and forge a new combination culture that will propel them into the future, while resisting this progressive change will just see the old damaged in the process. And nobody, including the ever so benevolent Iammelonians, wants that. While this Movement is largely seen as a bunch of traitors and scum, it has still managed to get some following due to getting some cult-appeal personalities, such as Haifa herself, who use their personal followings to help legitimize the movement. Not to mention there is a little bit of reassurance in the fact that Pride Lasacris often takes prominent members of the movement and places them into important governmental positions, including the "Minister of Culture", meaning there are still Mhassari there. Though, even then, many have a hard time believing that these Iammelonians who brutally and swiftly put down revolts could possibly really be doing this for benevolent reasons, and the Prince is still largely viewed by the Feline Majority as a power hungry Warlord taking advantage of military power to control them, and these attempts to Iammelonize them are simply his efforts to shape them into compliant subjects. Thus, while the Progress and Unity Movement is not totally without influence, it remains pale in comparison to discontent.
The military of Pride Lasacris is entirely reliant on the Confederate Veterans and Zantine Soldiers who followed Prince Basil to these new lands. They make up the core of the force, making it a hardened, experienced, and deadly fighting force. It has styled itself after the Zantine Military of Old, but due to its position it does really have any sort of uniform equipment policy. Instead, soldiers just use whatever they brought with them from Iammelon, or from the storage of weapons that were also brought from Iammelon. Still, this situation has caused some issues for the Prince. His army, by its very nature, is not exactly the most compliant. It follows his orders, but he is required to make a dance to keep them appeased. The power to remove Prince Basil, should he ever displease the army, is entirely in their hands, as its not like he could raise a force from the Mhassari that could ever hope to outmatch the Iammelonian Veterans. These men were the same ones who conquered the Mhassari in the first place, they could do it again. Thus, the military is rather political in Pride Lasacris, with high ranking officers holding their own bits of territory and political positions, and ensuring the portion of the army or navy that is theirs is loyal to them first. It is thus broken up along certain lines for these reasons. Old OMNI Security forces for instance have generally stuck with their old officers, Confederate Soldiers from Avalantus often stick to Avalantine Officers, and so on.
The only forces that Prince Basil can say are really reliable are his personal detachment of Rangian Vanguard, who are the loyal household guard of the Prince and are loyal to him and him alone, and also the Zantine Portion of the Pride's Navy. The Zantine ships in the navy all hail from original Royal Fleet Prince Basil had at his disposal in the war, and have been with him since the start. As such, they have become quite loyal to the Prince they've served so long and he who has kept them alive and prosperous. The Loyalist Rangian Vanguard thus serve as Basil's personal bodyguard force, ensuring his direct defenders are loyal and not in the pocket of any ambitious military official, while the Zantine Navy ensures that Basil can exert his authority on any of the three planets in the Pride's territory, not to mention the "inspiration of loyalty" one gets from seeing a well armed spaceship that will happily fire on any traitors it sees.
The Commanders of Basil's Iammelonian Forces are an interesting lot. All veterans of the Iammelonian Civil War, and while all are impressive, there are a couple of them who stand out. These outstanding figures deserve recognition due to the fact that they are quite willing to leverage their skills and clout for political reasons, and so they stand as figures to be appeased and held in balance by Prince Basil.
The most loyal yet incredibly important of these individuals is Narses Ducalalis, the Admiral in Command of Pride Lasacri's fleet. He holds official authority over the entire Pride's navy, though on a smaller basis many of the Zantine vessels are rather loyal to him. Thankfully for Basil, Narses is an old veteran and a staunch loyalist to the Lasacris family, and entirely believes in Basil's goals. So he is loyal and requires the least watch over, but Basil is still keen not to anger him. Secondly is the Great Mage Sazzalin'Keazu, a Golden Dragoness. While she was born on Heord, she was a Dragon dissatisifed with Tyfrondor, and moved to Avalantus. She joined with the planet's forces in the Confederacy, adding her magical might to the cause, eventually joining up with Basil's forces shortly before the Confederacy's surrender. She felt the young Prince had a certain fire in him that made him suitable for a great leader, and thus Sazzalin felt following his exploits as a close adviser would be good for her own personal fortunes. In Pride Lasacris, she stands as Prince Basil's Head of Magical Affairs, which includes military magical matters. She trains the Pride's prospective mages and psionics users, and of course covers her bases by making connections through them to many other military officials. The Dragoness is loyal to Basil as well, but she is a very smart lizard, and should it become too obvious that Basil will lose power, she may become the kingmaker. Her favor is thus essential. Finally, Anna Michalidis is a Meloshokouan Centaur, who previously served as a military adviser to the Zantine Empire during the Civil War, who joined with Basil as left, mostly due to the fact that he promised to continue making good on her paycheck, with a nice little bonus added on. She has since ended up in charge of one of Basil's military divisions. While on the surface this seems not too significant, but this Centaur has ended up in charge of one of Basil's most elite formations, his Meloshokouan "1st Might Bringers". This division is a highly experienced one, containing within it a special force of Meloshokouan Cataphracts and Exemplars, very heavy units. They are an essential piece of his forces, for as their name implies they are able to bring a great deal of power to bear when they enter battle. Thus, Anna is somebody who needs to be kept placated, for the rebellion of the Might Bringers would likely set off a chain reaction of other rebellions. Not merely because they'd sympathize, but simply because not many would be willing to face them.
However, these veteran forces, while making up the bulk and main core of the army, are not the only parts of it. The Prince has been creating a "New Pride Legion", or NPL, to act as the main military of Pride Lasacris in the times to come when the experienced Iammelonians eventually need to retire (or, rather, when the New Pride Legion can take over the role safely without risking revolt). The NPL is a force composed of new Iammelonian settlers as well as local Mhassari who are willing to join the new regime, either because they share the goals of the Progress and Unity Movement or just because they pay well. Of course its officers are composed almost entirely the former type of Mhassari volunteer or Iamelonian settlers, just to ensure loyalty among its officer core. To help satisfy relations, the NPL's official leader is actually the brother of Haifa, Montu Suleiman, another collaborationist leader. He has some military experience, primarily in less than legal raiding, but what is most important is that he is just as loyal as his sister is, and happily reports directly to Prince Basil on all matters regarding the NPL. Its forces are made up of Mhassari Auxiliary Warriors and the newly created "Lasacris Legionaries" whose equipment is all produced in the Pride itself with the intention of updating the gear past that of what they brought with them from Iammelon, and whose members can be any kind of Iammelonian Species or Mhassari.
The NPL's forces are limited, but intend to expand and diversify once it grows in strength, and of course funding. For now however, its primary purpose is to garrison the capital, Basilandria. Its stated purpose for doing so is to maintain stability, but in reality it is so Prince Basil can have a military force loyal to him close by at all times, and prevent any ambitious Military Official from maneuvering their forces to garrison the capital, and thus be in the position to quickly commence a military overthrow of the Prince. The NPL currently lacks any naval elements however, and is still reliant on the Zantine Naval Forces to control space. Still, while it may not have the experience of the Ex-Confederates, the NPL are not pushovers, and represent an important assertion of authority by Prince Basil. An army that is loyal to him and his pride instead of a conglomeration of disparate forces.
The Matter of Faith:
Religion in Pride Lasacris is an odd matter, for a number of reasons. First off, the Zantines have never been a people to aggressively impose their religion upon others. The primary faith for Zantines are their secret cults, which are an incredibly personal matter in accordance with how Zantines treat spirituality. So these would never be forced on another, for it just doesn't work like that. So local Mhassari faiths are not being forced out, per say, but they are still in a troubled spot. They remain in the firing line, for Prince Basil is concerned with them interfering in his mission to Iammelonize the population. They are instead monitored, watched over by the authorities for any sign of encouraging dissent. This position of suspicion yet not total suppression leaves the Pride in an odd spot spiritually speaking, leaving an opening for others to try and spread their own beliefs to the population, often with the state's approval. This mostly consists of Iammelonian ones, such as Delvitinaou, the Ialao life religion. But the odd one out among the newcomers, and strangely the most successful, is a faith not from Iammelon, but instead from Shyr; The Religion of the Eternal Fire.
The Eternal Fire's history with Pride Lasacris has simple origins. Preachers saw the Pride's limbo of faith, and saw the chance to get their oppressed religion a way out. What particularly helped them was the fact that Prince Basil actually took some personal interest in the religion, with its concepts of rebirth and more relative morality appealing to the Prince. But he did not instantly take to it, for he was cautious, though he was willing to give them a chance. He allowed some Eternal Fire Temples constructed, and watched the preachers work. The Fire Worshipers were quite persuasive and quickly were able to gain the approval of multiple Zantine Secret Cult leaders, a rather important step to convincing the Zantine-filled upper classes. What was most important however was that they were willing to work with the Prince should he lend them his support, offering him some major promises of aid. And so was forged the bond between the Eternal Fire and Prince Basil. He officially converted once he was sure nobody in the military would take issue, which they did not. These were Iammelonians, and for the most part they simply did not care about these things so long as it was not forced on them. And with the Secret Cults deciding the Eternal Fire was acceptable, his Zantine compatriots would have no issue with their new Imperial Liege taking on this faith. After all, so long as it was not dangerous, it was not their business. With that conversion, Basil set to funding the construction of more temples, aiming to convert the Mhassari and his own Iammelonian allies alike.
Zantines, and the other Iammelonian groups Basil had with him, actually took well to the Eternal Fire. They, like their Prince, were very interested in the rhetoric of rebirth. Not only to apply it to their own souls, but the soul of the Zantine Empire. After all, it was the mission of Pride Lasacris to recreate the Zantine Empire, to give it new life as a mighty force on the galaxy again. There were political reasons in play too. As the Prince has personally converted, Iammelonian members of his court and military that seek his favor are inclined to follow his lead. This has seen many in the upper ranks converting, genuinely or otherwise. This includes two of the very important officials mentioned prior, those being Lord Admiral Narses Ducalalis and the Dragoness Sazzalin'Keazu. The former merely in name, as the admiral is simply doing it to follow his Prince and show his loyalty. Sazzalin meanwhile is more interested in the faith itself, especially after she learned where the alternate name for it, "Draconianism", came from, piquing her curiosity and making her invest a more genuine effort into following it.
The Mhassari of the pride are more delicate, but Prince Basil has an interest in getting them to convert. The Temples have agreed to support the Prince, so should their influence increase, so does his own. He has to this matter even granted them a presence in his court, the position of "Mouth of Fire", whom is to act as the main envoy between the Prince and the Clergy of the Eternal Fire, and to give the Emperor advice. This spot is historically relevant as well, since the Mouth of Fire has historically been an adviser to the Ghashyr Talmyrs as well, and so adopting the role for his own kingdom is a major show by Basil of his confidence in the new religion. Of course, who occupies this position has to be amicable to the Prince, to as to show how loyal they are, and show how good the relationship between the two of them are. Which means accepting some orders the Prince might have for the Temples, like adding to their lists of good deeds some Imperial-approved acts, like supporting the state in a more physical manner. The ability to leverage faith and the ritualistic requirements of the Eternal Fire is very useful to Prince Basil, for both his more material missions and his desire for cultural shift in the population.
The inclusion of the Eternal Fire also offers access to a third interesting group; Ghashyr. With this entrenchment of the Eternal Fire, Prince Basil is able to rely on more immigration from the Shyrite Realm of Fire Worshipers seeking to find life in a state that supports them, which is of course now offered by Pride Lasacris. These Shyrites would further help off put the numbers advantage of not yet assimilated Mhassari, and of course they could be pushed on for assimilation as well. After all, they are in a new land, with a chance for a new life. With a little prodding and the support of the Fire Temples, perhaps those new lives will be more Zantine in nature...