World of Wu-Yu
The Glorious Purple Empire of the City-states of the Tathatan, commonly truncated to “The Empire”, is a state spanning the continent from coast to coast. Officially the Empire includes all lands in the world of Wu-Yu. In practice, control extends from the west coast to the Anga Mountains near the east coast, and from the Imperial Highlands in the north to the Southern Islands in the south. Within this range, some lands are only marginally controlled by the Empire. Control of the Southern Islands, for example, is largely limited to coastal regions near ports.
The Empire was founded in ZY0 when Dwarves of The Tathatan crossed the Tianshu Mountains and conquered the plague-ridden Goblinoid civilization of the East. Further lands were added gradually over the course of a thousand years, till the borders reached their present state.
The government of the Empire is a limited monarchy. At the top of the hierarchy stands the Emperor, but close on his heels is the Council of States, a body composed of councilors from each of the seven city-states of The Tathatan. Both the Emperor and the Council can pass legislation, and they each have veto power over the other. In this way, checks and balances are maintained.
The Empire is composed of three types of bodies: city-states, tributary peoples, and provinces.
First, there are the city-states. They are more or less autonomous, each with their own distinct style of government retained from days before the Empire. They send representatives to the Council of States.
Second are the tributary peoples. These are peoples who maintain their own independent governments and laws but owe annual tribute to the Empire. Examples include the Iron Kingdoms, the Plateau of Trulkor, the Apsara Desert nomads, the Anga Mountains clans, the so-called “Pirate Kingdoms” of Liu Dong, Jia Ying, and Yu Shi, ports of the Southern Islands, and numerous pocket kingdoms in the Tianshu Mountains.
Third and finally, there are the provinces. These are under the direct control of the Emperor. The Emperor’s will is doled out according to a dual system of administration, composed of the Nobility and the Bureaucracy.
The Nobility consists of aristocrats, each with their own lands and armies. Each owes allegiance to a liege who in turn owes allegiance to a higher liege. Ultimately, all owe allegiance to the Emperor. The system is hereditary and exclusive, and accounts for about a third of the land in the Empire.
The Bureaucracy controls the remaining two-thirds. The largest bureaucratic unit is the province, subdivided into commanderies, in turn subdivided into prefectures, and then into wards. At each level is a staff of officials and military personnel reporting to superiors higher up the chain, which ultimately leads to the Emperor. In this respect, the system resembles the Nobility. But in contrast to the Nobility, the Bureaucracy is a meritocratic system. Anyone, regardless of birth, may rise through the ranks based on talent.
Although the dual system of Nobility and Bureaucracy may seem inefficient at first sight, it does have its advantages. It ensures that no single class, neither the aristocrat nor the commoner, wields too much power.