They say the Imperial citizen has a heart of fire and mind of stone. Like the volcano by the Imperial capital.
The Empire of the Black Reach hugs Dróttargard's southwestern coasts, draped in almost endless jungle. It holds numerous provinces and a million households. The Empire claims rule over its free men, from Amberstern to subjugated regions across the Princely Land.
The Empire's heartlands lie in the province of Amberstern. It was named so for the amber-like igneous rock formations sprouting from the Volcano Leethen. Past activity had deposited blacked lava by the reach flowing westward to the Brietenmere, lending the name 'Black Reach'. On the way westward sits the city of Roomylough, holding the Imperial Household and associated cityworks.
Amberstern has a humid subtropical climate, with rainforests sprouting throughout the province. Trade winds bring warm, moist air to the land, with hot summers and mild winters going forth. Lands around the Volcano Leethen are rich, and Amberstern’s greatest tribes and kingdoms sprouted there. Rich lands go on through the Black Reach, and the Brietenmere delta hosts a large port city.
By 456 of the Third Sun, Hefner Wraithsbane had raised an army of loyal retainers, huscarls, and mercenaries. A northern man, he was born in the Free City of Mistvale and newcomer to the petty kingdoms of Eisenheim. Aiding his army in the front with skills in galdersong, Hefner conquered the warring tribes of Amberstern and asserted his rule over them.
Hefner’s army fought like Eisenheim’s custom, wedged men charging after galdersong. The first Amberstern tribes fought with bows and javelins, and fell fast to Hefner’s cunning. The Eisenheimer promised peace if the tribesmen joined him, and he found quickfooted men who could throw shots at his foes before retreating. Hefner now sought the tribes near Volcano Leethen. These tribes fought like Agantyrians, men in lockstep shieldwall with horsebows supporting. Hefner placed his shields in front, getting his foe’s horsebows to loose there. His new bowmen loosed at charging horsebows, cutting them down before fiendish men could march forward. Now the foes in lockstep surged to Hefner’s wedges, who themselves charged into the wall. The line held strong till Hefner’s bows and javelins hurled to his foe’s flanks. The new tribes swore to Hefner, and he rallied his stronger army into the East. His galdersong cleared three mountain passes, letting his men through.
War of Grain
To secure Amberstern’s foodstock, Hefner first conquered Hucbertsrealm, crushing the Hucberting House and securing yearly tribute in food. His army met King Boso Hucberting by River Keiler. Galdersingers led the attack, and drew the Hucberting shieldwall into disarray. Hefner led his berserkers to flank them, and slew King Boso himself. Boso’s slaves swore to Hefner, and his sons and brothers agreed to yearly tribute.
Hefner now added Hucberting cavalry and crossbows to his army. He carried into Caldebec, where his army faced its fiercest test. Ambush and waylaying caught Hefner’s army unawares, and he lost hundreds of men in his trek. He fell upon the first Caldebacian army with full force, and hung the survivors in view of the capital. As Hefner marched his army into , Caldebacian skirmishers and axemen rushed into the city and cornered them. Hefner focused his galdersong against the waylayers’ leaders, and he himself cut a path through the foes for his army to flee. At last, he came upon a Caldebacian field army of swords, axes, and spears. Hefner’s wedges charged forwards, the line still not buckling. Galdersingers loosed their fury, checked by druid song. At last, Hefner rode and led his Hucberting cavalry into his foe’s flanks. Bodies littered the fields outside that day. Hefner took the Caldebacian leaders’ noble slaves to clean and cook in his palace in Roomylough.
Now Hefner marched for Grestain, leading a smaller yet more skilled army.
The Fourth Sun
Hefner’s conquests gave his men cause to acclaim him Emperor, an old southron word for one who commands. Many feared that Hefner embodied the choleric race’s return to the Grosserland. Hefner, however, kept to himself, his palace, and his slaves after the war. He would not interfere in Amberstern or the provinces outside of important matters. His rest after war let his subjects rest themselves, for no choleric had conquered these lands - only a skilled and iron-willed melancholic.
Hefner declared his acclamation as the Third Sun’s end and the Fourth Sun’s rise. On the New Year, he showed himself in front of the palace. His subjects cheered him, for he had commanded his men across Amberstern and the provinces. A new Sun thus began.
Hefner ruled for twenty more years, dying surrounded by his wifslaves and kept slave daughters. Hefner’s commanders elected his third son Frotmund as Emperor.
A New Divine
Yet these past twenty years saw Hefer in active rest, for he wished to transcend his material existence. He meditated on the Absolute, on the world’s matter, and after long years he found himself able to shape the world. He achieved true royalty, and brought his kept slaves with him on his transcendence.