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[Valerian Language is based on a mixture of Japanese with an influence of Latin, names and terms are taken from both]

Native Name

Valerians, named after the continent Valeria, the land beyond the western sea, and their original home.

Appearance

Their height is fairly average, ranging generally from 5’5 ft to 6’2 ft, built to be very athletic, and to withstand any punishment. Their skin is slightly darker than their distant Estridian cousins, due to being further north. They have dark hair, narrow dark eyes, and sharper features. Because of the centuries of mixing with the Silver Elves, some Valerians tend to have a few elven features. Lighter skin, hair, slightly pointed ears, and even lack of facial hair on some of the more mixed ones. Because of these years of mixing, the lifespan of the race as a whole seems to have been increasing steadily.

History

The Valerians are not native to Entheria, in fact, they’re one of the more recent arrivals to have established a place for themselves in the country, coming after Old Valeria fell to a great tragedy, brought equally by a demonic invasion, and the old Valerian Kensei. The strip of coastal land owned by the Empire was once elf land, but is now united under a great Empire.

Old Valeria’s origin and downfall is shrouded in mystery, with many puzzling rumors and happenings, alongside a mix of culture seemingly taken from faraway lands. Many customs, fighting styles, weapons and even magic seems to have originated from some of the lands in the far east, but the oldest Valerian history books seem to insist that these came from mysterious visitors, to the other side of the western sea.

The mark of their arrival, Year 1 in the Valerian calendar, was plagued with bloody conflict. The elves did not expect these never before seen invaders, and they dismissed them after the first failed attempt. That wasn’t the end of the invasion however, and the Valerian conquerors returned a year later, with the full invasion force.

This time they came ready to fight against the powerful elven magic, using their carefully crafted strategy, and foreign technology. With their rifles, weapons they brought from Old Valeria, and their strange occult magic, they eventually trumped the Silver Elf battle mages, stopping them from casting their impressive spells, or simply shooting them down the moment they started weaving a casting pattern.

After 100 years of war and expansion, they stopped their advance, and started to build their kingdom, on the back of captured slaves, mostly Silver Elves, and Orcs, the latter preferred for their resilience. The use of slaves was common on the Empire, and for some time, it was one of their main products. Training Elven concubines to be the most beautiful and talented in the market, and breeding Orcs to become the strongest, most resilient builders and manual labourers.

The trade of slaves was not uncommon in Entheria; in fact, the fact that Valeria had the strongest slave trade didn’t surprise the neighbouring provinces, due to their expanding nature in the first few years of conquest. What did surprise the other provinces was when the Empire declared slavery illegal across Entheria, creating an enormous rivalry between them and the other human races.

The reason behind this was an evolution of Valerian society, and a new way of thinking, brought by the Elves they had conquered. After the first years, the elves had most of their monetary and cultural patrimony ripped from them, but as time passed, bonds started to be forged, old rivalries were forgotten and the “humanization” of the elf in the human mindset started to set in.

The older elven families were the ones who seemed to never want to forget the conquest, never forget that the humans were beneath them, and that it was only a matter of time before they had their land and prestige back. They were the first to die out, refusing to recognize the new Empire that loomed over them, causing unnecessary conflict, and many failed, unsupported uprisings.

The younger elves, or the ones pertaining to the merchant cast of the old society were the ones who forged the new nobility, and an invaluable bond with their new neighbours. Trade routes were formed, marital alliances between the ruling classes, and the idea of segregation between elf and human started to quickly disappear.

The Elves received equal rights to the humans, were allowed to study in Valerian academies, enrolled in the Imperial Legion, took part in the senate, and eventually, the first High Elven Empress, with the full support of the Senate, passed the decree outlawing slavery, and breaking the last barrier between elves and humans.

After said barriers were broken, the trade and alliance with the elves became stronger and stronger, to the point where the Valerians grew to despise the presence of the southern and eastern humans. The stronger relationship with the Obsidian elf state also provided them with a stalwart ally, who aided them in the War of the Old Masters.

With the end of the Age of Heroes, Valeria was plunged into civil war due to Muramasa's rebellion. Now, 100 years later, Muramasa still rules the south with an iron fist, while the rest of the country lies divided among the powerful warlords and conquerors of the warring states.

Homeland

The Valerian Empire is set in a coastal strip of land, named New Valeria after their conquest. It extends various miles of plains, forests and gentle rolling hills. In the north, the forests grow thicker, nearing the border with the Yifferhim. Further north the jungle forms the natural border between the two countries. However, now the Empire lies divided after Muramasa's rebellion, and War tears the country apart.

There are two major cities in the Kanzō northern province, Umibe and Shinrin. Umibe lies closer to the capital, and is known to be a national patrimony of culture, a beautiful seaside sprawl, and one of the main ports in Entheria. Umibe is home to a majestic lighthouse, which serves as a bright mark for incoming ships. Umibe is now ruled by the living Goddess, the Golden Queen Saarkani, taken at the end of the Age of Heroes. Shinrin, a smaller city, was granted by Saarkani to the Half-Titan warlord Arepo, and it is now a small Half-Titan stronghold. It stands at a checkpoint near the territory of the Yifferhim, and leading to the east, deep into the forest.

In the south, the hills rise higher as the border approaches the old Obsidian Elf state, and the city state that stands near the Great Chasm. Kansatsu-sha and Seifuku are the most prominent cities of the Oshū province. Kansatsu-sha is quite possibly one of the most fortified cities in the whole continent, an old bastion of Silver Elven military. After its conquest the Valerians saw the value of its walls, old monuments, enchanted with ancient runes... Today, it is the main line of defense from southern invaders, and it watches over the Great Chasm, as the ancient Valerian name suggests. After it was passed along to the Warlocks however, the city was yet again renamed, to Yuli. Seifuku is a smaller city, but it holds significant historical importance. It was the site of parley when peace was made between man and elf, and it was the site where the God emperor ended the war of the outworld by gravely wounding one of the primeval demons. The Southern province lies divided, as Seifuku stands as Muramasa's fortress, and Yuli lies under the protection of the One Eyed Dragon.

The western province covers a large span of grasslands that border the Black Gold Desert, and has no great cities to speak of. The people of the Saracen province, because it is so close to the desert raiders, were forced upon a different lifestyle, all to preserve their patrimony. The towns that do exist are formed away from the desert, closer to the eastern province and the capital city. The people who choose to dwell closer to the desert live a nomadic lifestyle, moving frequently to throw off the Vile Orc raiding parties, and often ambushing or downright hunting them down. The Saracens never follow them into the desert however, as they know anyone who enters those sands, never comes back. The plains fell under the domain of the rider general, Lu Bu after years of conflict between the warring states.

Yūhi is where the sun sets on the Valerian Empire, the great capital is home to the Imperial Palace, which in turn was built around the highest tower in all of Entheria. The Porcelain Tower rises above any construction or hill on the far west of Entheria, so that the sun may only set for the Emperor after it has set for all others in the continent. The city is the last bastion of the old Empire, ruled by Hakuoro, the Son of Heaven, born under the sign of the south star to rule all under the sun.

The Empire has a temperate climate, with heated summers, and the rare snowy winter, though the latter is only present on the southernmost part. The Empire engulfs all land that belonged to the Silver Elves before the landing of the settlers of Old Valeria.

Religion

The Valerian pantheon is divided on four prime deities. God, The Archangel, The Archdemon, and The Nefilim.

God, or Kami, know also as the almighty father, is revered by the Empire as the perfect being, the first event, and the supreme watcher. God gave us free will, and with that, he chose to simply watch his creation, without intervention. God is perceived as a being so perfect, that his appearance is unreachable, incomprehensible by us mortals.

The Archangel, Amaterasu (Her original Valerian name before the religion became popularized) is the embodiment of kindness and righteous virtue. Above all, she remembers that humans are exactly like her, beings capable of great kindness, tasked with upholding righteousness. The Archangel is perceived as a winged woman, of great beauty, and even greater stature.

Her hair is silver, her skin is fair, and her wingspan is greater than that of the mightiest dragon. Her fury is righteous, and her’s is the duty to strike down all that is evil. Her eyes are Gaikokan, known popularly as the diplomat's eyes, the eyes that bring peace. She wields an artifact of legend, the Yata no Kagami, a divine mirror that reflects one's true nature, helping another to uncover the true desires of their hearts.

The Archdemon, Susanoo (As was his original Valerian name before the religion became popularized) is the embodiment of wrath, pride, lust, envy, greed, gluttony and sloth. Above all, he remembers that humans are exactly like him, creatures made up of base desires, in need of being taught to control them, or risk being punished.

The Archdemon’s appearance is not certain. He can assume many forms to appear before humans, laying trial after trial to those that have sinned. Contrary to the more popular belief, Susanoo is not in fact a being who only desires the destruction of mankind. He is a god of trials, contrary to his sister, he does not think men can become better being shown acts of kindness, but instead they should be forged in fire to be honed and perfected. His true form is thought to be of a man wearing a magnificent armor, surrounded by the essence of his own thought, rendering him untouchable. He carries the Kusanagi, the blade passed down to the Kensei of old, said to be able to cut through anything, representing the unending determination of the Bushi. His eyes are the Kuchikukan, the mind flayer eyes, but their pattern is ever changing, said to evoke madness to anyone who gazes into them.

The Nefilim, Tsukuyomi (His original Valerian name) is blind, and upholds balance. Above all, he remembers that humans are exactly like him, living. The Nefilim is perceived as a being of duality. He is perceived much like a man, although deathly pale, hollow cavities for eyes, and an open gap in his chest, where his heart is supposed to be. At his right, he holds a scale in his hand, and has a white, feathered wing. At his left, he holds a scythe, and an ethereal, transparent wing of thought. He carries the Yasaka no Magatama, the jewel of life. The Magatama is a powerful jewel, as it is a symbol of all things that make up a human, both their benevolence and valor, their kindness and their determination.

Society

The Valerian Empire is both a military and economic powerhouse in the Country. They’re known for their thriving, prosperous economy, and well-trained army, with talented military commanders, both human, and elf.

Valeria has since been a nation versed in many languages. Ever since their landing they have fully embraced the common tongue, but poorer citizens with no real access to education still stick with the language of the old continent. Scholars and the higher classes of society also study the language from the land beyond the western sea, though that one isn't commonly spoken, terms from that language are however, common throughout the country.

The militaristic nature of the Empire still hasn’t died out, and even on times of uneasy peace, not counting raids from the south and the north sea, the martial arts schools and military academies are filled with scholars and warriors alike, always seeking to improve themselves. The most prominent organization in this area is The Black Lotus, a group whose main objective is to conserve the Old Valerian culture, passing on customs, texts, ancient magic, martial techniques, and even holding great events and festivals, all in an effort to keep the ancient culture alive. The group has heavy ties with the central army, commonly referred to as the White Lotus, as entry into this group is awarded to individuals with flawless skill. The ranks of Kensei and Sage for example, are awarded to individuals with exceptional abilities within the Black Lotus.

Concerning their history, it comes to no surprise that the warrior's profession is regarded as the highest possible calling for any Valerian. Valerian warriors are held in high standards inside their society, and are expected to follow a code of moral laws, which are a combination of frugality, loyalty, mastery over the martial arts, and honor when faced with death. Born from Old Valerian philosophy, it allowed the violent existence of the warrior (or Bushi, from the language of the old continent of the western sea) to be tempered with wisdom and serenity. The way of the warrior, or Bushido, was expected to be learnt and memorized by all Valerian citizens, as the fearsome warrior class would not be the only one able to better themselves by living by those virtues.

The Way of The Warrior is arguably the most important piece of text in Valerian history. It has shaped Valerian society since before they arrived in Entheria, and continues to serve as inspiration and guidance to all citizens of the Empire.

The Bushi, while considered the centerpiece of the Empire, aren't the only ones who work to serve the Emperor and keep the country safe. The Shinobi clans, while never having commanded respect like the Bushi have, always played an important part of Valerian military history. They were originally the only ones in the Empire to wield magic, the occult Figment school of the old continent, and the ones who quickly learned the secrets of the elven mages. Shinobi Sages were also famed for their research of alchemical properties, crafting impressive elixirs, poisons, and drafting some of the earliest theories concerning homunculi. Shinobi were also known to be excellent fighters, developing many martial arts styles that proved their effectiveness time and time again, but never quite surpassed the Bushi who fully focus in that department.

Economy

Valerians have a prosperous economy, keeping lucrative trade routes with most elven nations. Their main produce is rice, cattle and fish, though after their conquest they took control of many territories rich in iron, and have taken to trading in the ore and many alloys derived from it. The Valerian smithing techniques are unparalleled, and they are famed for creating the most powerful swords in the continent.

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