The South Wind brings with it only death.
The Berghi Empire, (Falaus Berghi Amsaru in Berghi, Akhiu Berghesik in Ghesite), is a semi-decentralized confederacy of absolute monarchies centered around the Chigere ("Broad Flood") River Valley, with a broader domain stretching from the Ghesite Basin at its absolute northern extent to the Kiadan ranges in its southwest- the same ranges that the proto-Ghesites once called home. The nation's de-facto capital, Amsirash, lies within this valley, as do the nation's greatest holy sites. It borders the Alechi territories, the Khadusik Ghesite clan, and a number of smaller city-states and breakaway powers largely culturally homogenous with the Empire itself.
The Berghi Empire itself is governed in name by the Lord-Berghi, a hereditary position wielding absolute power over the appointment of governors, generals, and other heads of the Empire's various organs. The current Lord-Berghi derives their claim to power from a supposed divine lineage traced back to the summer-god of the sun Amsaru, a lineage that the Empire claims can be extended in some degree to the entirety of the Berghi folk. In practice, though, the Empire is governed by local heads of state and governors whose families are most commonly directly related by blood to the Lord-Berghi's own line. These governors are functionally lords over their own, smaller city-states and regional administrations bound together into the larger patchwork of the Berghi people.
As mentioned above, the Empire's heartland- the Chigere valley- is a broad, flat plain centered around the river of the same name that every spring with the ice-melt in the Kiadan ranges to the south and to the east swells its bounds and floods the surrounding area. This, of course, gives the river its name- when flooded it appears a broad, rolling flood of water, a wide, smooth body of water flowing up to the sea in the north. As this water is freshwater, and relatively clean water at that, the Berghi people have long been able to ensure a regular crop-growing season and thus have ensured their food supply through the majority of the year. The impact of this regular food-supply on the Empire and its precursor states cannot be understated- they have been able to prosper while early drought struck other powers down with famine and starvation.
From this, one could correctly infer that the Chigere is the focal-point of Berghi society, and it has ever driven the empire's expansion; as the Chigere flows north, so too did the Berghi migrate north so many years ago and meet the Alchi peoples, the fisher-folk, and so too do the empire's trading-ships ply its waters and tie together the disparate city-states along its banks. From the capital at Amsirash and the Palace of the Four to the river's northernmost delta, the ruddy sun-banner now waves, and the river has well and truly become the artery by which the Berghi body is sustained. The crops it irrigates feed the striking arm of its armies, its waters carry the life-giving artifacts of trade, and messenger-craft cross its length safe from bandits and the dangers of the road, keeping the mind of the Empire wise to the actions of its component parts.
But the Berghi do not subsist on Chigere's waters alone. In past years their people wandered far across the known world, and the dominion of the future Empire was sown. On the Khadus' borders in the far north, once-grand Khevisarash looking unbowed out over the barbarian steppe and prosperous Aldonuash welcoming the northmen's caravans with arms wide and beautiful wares displayed in its bazaars and markets, the Empire makes its stand. At the foot of the mighty Kiadan, the herders and their flocks graze by the headwaters of the Empire, and to the far east where lush ground gives way to grass that crunches underfoot and sand that chokes the air with haze, yet the banner waves- for there too did Berghi settle in days past, and thus there too must the sun-god's children be welcomed into the fold.
The Berghi Empire spans an area of a little more than one-point-five million square kilometers based on claims given, but de-facto can only exert its control over a small fraction of that. The far southeastern sub-arid climate, for instance, is uncontested Berghi territory- but only because there are few foes there barring a selection of disorganized, wayward tribesmen. Its nearest foe in the region of that desert-scape lies over a hundred leagues away from its borders, and has no real cause to contest a claim over what amounts to inhospitable desert that holds no value to either party. Furthermore, while it is a heavily agricultural society, it has not yet become so skilled at the transport of water from place to place that its northern or eastern territories are able to maintain the population density of its heartland, and the majority of the Berghi population remains centered around the cities lining the Chigere- all told the Berghi's effective area of territorial control is approximately one-fourth of that of its claims, the empire's actual ability to enforce its rule fading away swiftly outside the roads and rivers binding its cities and breadbasket regions together.
Additionally, it really only subsists on the Chigere basin, as mentioned before- its inability to irrigate its surroundings effectively means that its expansion over the past several hundred years has largely been unnecessary empire-building that with the exception of Amsirash's initial subsumption of city-states along the great river itself have caused initial falls in prosperity rather than gains. The Berghi are forced to expand their infrastructure to support territories that are in turn forced to be largely self-sufficient, especially in the more arid north, where wells rather than rivers often support cities' immediate populations and irrigation is a matter of the rains and not the rivers. Thus their population is in such regions incredibly diminished as compared to the Chigere heartland, and their ability to exert force in such areas equally lessened.
The Berghi faith centers around the worship of a quartet of deities, two "divine pairs" composed of a ritually-betrothed god and goddess each. These four deities are associated with the seasons, each divinity and thus each season symbolizing an important aspect of Berghi life. Amsaru, for instance, the summer sun-god, is associated with life and its glories, and is thus considered the chiefest of the Berghi gods thanks to his fury, whereas his divine counterpart, Tejisi, the winter moon-goddess, is connected with coldness, apartness, and death, thanks to her position as an opposite face to Amsaru's own divinity. Cosmologically these four divinities are believed to exist both as personifications of aspects of nature and as distinct entities; interestingly, the two goddesses are considered to be more passive than the two gods in terms of interacting with mortals, Tejisi particularly being noted as relying on servants to interact with the human sphere- a reflection both of the Berghi belief in a strict delineation of society along gender norms and roles and of the faith's having intermingled over time with other religious traditions. TBA... Amsaru- sun god of summer, Tejisi- moon/sky goddess of winter, Kehija- [SOMETHING] goddess of fall, [TBA]- [SOMETHING] god of spring. The Lord-Berghi, oddly enough, actually figures in this cosmology, playing a divine role as a personification of the Berghi people. Each new Lord-Berghi is expected to accept to themselves their divine heritage by nature of assuming the role of Lord-Berghi, partake in a number of rituals throughout their tenure on the throne in order to both solidify the monarchy's relationship with the priestly upper classes and to reflect the realm's fortunes- i.e., engaging in ritual cutting in the wake of a crushing defeat, or donning sackcloth and forgoing rich food during times of famine- and to most importantly support the nation's efforts in reuniting the scattered Berghi. As he claims to be both a personification of the Berghi people and of divine heritage, the Berghi Empire thus extends this perception of divinity to the entirety of the Berghi "race", justifying their continued conquests and expansions over the centuries under this pretext of creating a heavenly kingdom on Earth for Amsaru's children and uniting them under the loving sun-banner.
TBA... Amsaru- sun god of summer, Tejisi- moon/sky goddess of winter, Kehija- [SOMETHING] goddess of fall, [TBA]- [SOMETHING] god of spring.
The Lord-Berghi, oddly enough, actually figures in this cosmology, playing a divine role as a personification of the Berghi people. Each new Lord-Berghi is expected to accept to themselves their divine heritage by nature of assuming the role of Lord-Berghi, partake in a number of rituals throughout their tenure on the throne in order to both solidify the monarchy's relationship with the priestly upper classes and to reflect the realm's fortunes- i.e., engaging in ritual cutting in the wake of a crushing defeat, or donning sackcloth and forgoing rich food during times of famine- and to most importantly support the nation's efforts in reuniting the scattered Berghi. As he claims to be both a personification of the Berghi people and of divine heritage, the Berghi Empire thus extends this perception of divinity to the entirety of the Berghi "race", justifying their continued conquests and expansions over the centuries under this pretext of creating a heavenly kingdom on Earth for Amsaru's children and uniting them under the loving sun-banner.
❂ Arts and Sciences
❂ Daily Life
of the Lord-Berghi
❂ The Lord's Court
❂ The Governors
Berghi society is oddly militaristic for its time, with the Lord-Berghi by precedent placing a great emphasis on military matters. The Empire's message-runners, its enforcers, and a large percentage of its workforce are expected to adhere to military standards, and in addition to any and all slaves within the Empire's borders being eligible for forcible seizure and conscription into the Empire's armies, its nobility is largely composed of military veterans when not immediately related to gubernatorial or royal courts, particularly among the "nouveau-riche" warfaring class.
TBA ...due to the Berghi Empire's centuries-long, steady expansion under the justification of reuniting the divine peoples under their cosmic parents.
❂ Foreign Relations