Empire of Metamor:
Formal Name: Imperial Union of Metamor and Allied Nations
Capital: Metamor City
Government Type: Constitutional monarchy (metropole with subordinate peripheral states)
Chief of State: Majestrix Kyia, 989-1000 (regent), 1000-present (Majestrix)
The Empire of Metamor is the largest nation on Earth in MK2K, occupying most of the western half of the continent of Galendor. It is slightly larger than the combined areas of North America and Greenland on our own Earth. A constitutional monarchy, the Empire is run by a combination of democratically-elected parliamentary assemblies and unelected Avatars, all overseen by the immortal and benevolent Majestrix Kyia, the Spirit of Metamor.
The flag of the Empire of Metamor is divided into three broad vertical stripes, white bounded on either side by medium blue. In the center of the white field are three fairly large yellow, three-pointed stars, arranged in an equilateral triangular pattern with one point facing up. The three stars have several layers of meaning: while they refer to the three variants of the Curse of Metamor -- now a badge of pride and courage in the face of evil rather than a cause of shame -- the stars also represent the Three Races of Iluvatar's children (Dragon, Elf, Human), the three heroes of the Prophecy of Felix (Horse, Rat, and Hare) and the three great civilizations that joined together to form the Empire (Sathmoran, Pyralian, Northlander). The three stripes have, if anything, promoted even wider speculation. Kyia encourages a diversity of interpretations for the Empire's flag, so that each citizen may find his or her own meaning in it. Three is a weighty number in every religion and system of magic, and its repetition throughout the flag's design gives it a feeling of significance to most Imperial citizens.
The Seal of Metamor -- used on coins and currency notes, and modified in myriad variations to form the emblems of various government offices and ministries -- displays a shield with a stylized silhouette of the Citadel, white on a blue field, and surrounded by three tri-pointed yellow stars (one in each corner of the shield). In the full Imperial Seal, the shield is supported on its left side by a white hare and on its right side by a brown rat; a red stallion is poised above the shield. The animals are surrounded by and intertwined with laurels (for victory) and olive branches (for peace). Obviously, the full Seal is large, complex, and difficult to draw (or paint, or engrave), so for many applications the shield alone is used as the symbol of the Empire.
The national colors of the Empire are traditionally taken to be the three colors of the flag: blue, white and gold. These colors appear extensively in patriotic regalia, though the members of the peripheral provinces often show a marked preference for their provincial colors.
The Empire of Metamor is the dominant force in world politics, and its supremacy
is uncontested. While other parts of the world fell victim to the power plays
of the Earth-bound Pantheon or became embroiled
in internecine conflict, Metamor was expanding its vision of peace and order
throughout the lands of the West. When the Sathmore Empire crumbled and Pyralis
could no longer hold together its coalition of squabbling city-states, Metamor's
quiet influence moved in to pick up the pieces.
A key event that made this possible was Kyia's discovery
of a way to control the Curse that had hovered over
Metamor since 699 C.R. With the defeat of Nasoj and
his soul's entombment beneath the ashes of his citadel, the dark intelligence
that had guided the Curse and frustrated Kyia's efforts to control it was finally
broken. It took some time for her to work out the mechanics of how do to so,
but by the end of the 700s she had succeeded. With the Curse under control,
Kyia could offer the people of the Valley a choice of whether to be changed,
and in what fashion. As news spread throughout the Midlands that the Curse had
been broken, mindsets about the Keep gradually changed. While at first there
was a large movement away from altered forms and towards "normalcy",
later generations came to see the transformations as a kind of lifestyle choice,
a way to uniquely reflect one's inner self. Some entire family lines, such as
the Matthias clan, adopted the forms of their legendary predecessors (though
some exceptions had to be made because of the long-term effects of the Curse
-- see the Curse: High-Generation Effects for
As Metamor's population grew, it expanded from a Keep with a population of
a few thousand to a bustling city of over 50,000 people -- quite a significant
number in those days. The city quickly outgrew its walls and expanded to cover
the breadth of the Valley. Still the population grew, limited only by the surrounding
lands' ability to grow food for the many people who now dwelt in the Jewel of
the North. As transportation networks improved, Metamor became less dependent
on the Valley's agriculture, and the city was able to further expand. By 989
C.R. Metamor City stretched from one end of the Valley
to the other, with substantial populated areas to its north and south.
989 is significant because that is the year when Thomas VII, Duke of Metamor, passed from this world, dead of a sudden heart attack. His sole surviving heiress, Malisa III, was barely fourteen years old. Overwhelmed by the enormous mass of humanity she was suddenly expected to govern, she cried out for help to the one person she thought most able to aid her: Kyia, the Spirit of Metamor.
Malisa's proposal was revolutionary: Kyia herself should take on the role of
regent, governing Metamor in Malisa's place until she felt ready to face her
duties as Duchess. While Malisa's advisors were leery of entrusting the nymph
with the duty of ruling a human kingdom -- a responsibility Kyia had never before
faced -- the Duchess was adamant. By law, it was her right to designate a regent,
no matter who -- or what -- that person may be.
Kyia was nervous at the idea of taking on such a great responsibility, but
also eager to take a more active role of leadership among her citizens. She
had been such a quiet presence for so long, and had become so lonely, that the
notion of being seen by her human denizens and relating to them face-to-face
had a strong appeal for her. Taking up the mantle of regent, she took on a familiar
human form and began to hold court in Metamor on May 23rd, 989.
After a few of the small false starts expected of any new ruler, Kyia quickly
adapted to her new role. The mages, clergy and other intelligentsia were impressed
by her long memory, her human compassion and her acute intellect, and she quickly
formed strong ties with many of these men and women. The nobility took longer
to come around, being unused to pledging fealty to a castle spirit, but eventually
they too fell into line behind the new regent.
Malisa watched and learned from Kyia's side, increasingly serving as the nymph's
right-hand woman in affairs concerning the Keep. On Malisa's 25th birthday,
1000 C.R., after eleven years as regent, Kyia took the Duchess aside and offered
her the throne. To everyone's surprise, Malisa refused. Kyia had served so capably
as regent, she said -- ruled so wisely and justly -- that it would be the worst
sort of crime for her to take back the throne. "Why should a mortal woman
rule Metamor?" she reasoned. "A mortal may fall ill, as my father
did. A mortal may be corrupted by power, or become distracted from the affairs
of her people. But you, my Lady, would do none of these things. Let my Lady
Kyia rule this land forevermore -- it is only right, and only just."
And with that, Malisa III bowed her knee and declared her fealty to Kyia, "the
rightful ruler of Metamor". After recovering from her initial shock, Kyia
tried to talk Malisa out of it. The Duchess stood her ground. Finally, Kyia
accepted the solemn duty of serving as the Majestrix of Metamor -- its ruler
now and forever. In turn, she designated Malisa as her prime minister, eventually
imbuing her with a portion of her own power to accomplish the purposes of Metamor
wherever she may go. Malisa III thus became the first officially recognized
Avatar of Metamor.
(This is not to say that Melissa was the first avatar, per se. Merai hin'Dana
had previously been accorded this privilege, but had never held any official
position of secular power. Her role had largely been one of serving as a quiet,
behind-the-scenes mentor to the Lightbringers and
Since then, Kyia has taken on additional human avatars to assist her in governing
the growing Empire. She has also accepted some of the gods and daedra as avatars;
these deities had gained control of their own kingdoms some time in the past,
but most of them agreed to be incorporated into the Empire in exchange for protection
from the powerful humans trying to seize their positions within the Pantheon.
This protection comes at a price, though, for these gods and daedra are now
held accountable to Kyia for the way that they run their respective territories.
Unlike many political entities that have been called "Empires" in SF and fantasy fiction, Metamor is a true empire; i.e., it is a coalition of countries with diverse ethnic or cultural backgrounds, in which one country (the metropole) controls and directs the operations of the other countries (the peripheries). The imperial system has nothing to do with tyranny or dictatorship; many empires in RL Earth history have grown from metropoles that had some degree of representative government (e.g., Athens, Rome, Great Britain). So it is with the Empire of Metamor.
The metropole in the EoM is, of course, the Kingdom of Metamor itself (though it is rarely referred to by that name any longer). Geographically, this includes the territory from the Marchbourne River in the south to Caralore in the north, which were the traditional boundaries of Metamor's kingdom from the time of Prince Ovid to the rise of Nasoj. Metamor's national sovereignty is invested in the monarch, Majestrix Kyia, who delegates power and authority to the agencies beneath her.
The Metamorian government is divided into three branches: legislative (headed by the Senate), executive (headed by the Cabinet) and judicial (headed by the High Court). All of these branches derive their authority from Kyia herself, and she could dissolve or reform them at any time if she chose to do so (though common law tradition demands that she receive the approval of the peerage, the Metamorian nobility, before making any drastic changes in the organization of the government).
The Senate: This body consists of 500 individuals, 100 of whom are chosen by the peerage (peer seats) and the remainder of whom are elected representatives of the general population of Metamor (common seats). The Senate writes laws and sends them to Kyia, who may sign or veto them as she wishes. Kyia may also write laws, if she chooses, and send them to the Senate for validation. While she can issue decrees without reference to any outside authority, common law tradition demands that she receive the approval of the majority of the Senate when instituting new laws concerning the Kingdom of Metamor. In matters concerning the peripheral provinces the Senate may provide advice and counsel, but it has no legal authority over the peripheries. The Senate's common seats are typically divided among three or four parties of varying political ideologies, which must form coalitions in order to have a working majority. The leader of this coalition, and thus the leader of the Senate, is formally called the President of the Senate, though he is usually known simply by the informal title of Speaker. The Speaker has substantial administrative power within the Senate, which allows him to control who is able to speak and which bills are voted on, but he has no executive power over the rest of the government.
The Cabinet: This is Kyia's inner circle, the ministers who head the various bureaucratic divisions of the government. It includes the Minister of State (also called the Prime Minister), the Chancellor of the Exchequer (also called the Lord Treasurer), and the Ministers of Defense, Intelligence, Justice, Trade, Agriculture, Health, Ecology, Culture, Transportation, and Education, as well as the governors that Kyia has appointed to lead each of the peripheral provinces. Kyia meets with the Cabinet regularly to discuss the issues facing the Empire and formulate policy, which it is the duty of the ministers to implement. Cabinet ministers serve at Kyia's pleasure, and may be appointed or removed whenever she sees fit. Kyia chooses only people she trusts greatly to be Cabinet members, and as a result she gives them a wide degree of latitude in handling their respective areas of responsibility. Cabinet members cannot make law, as Kyia can; they must abide by the laws established by the Senate and the provincial legislatures. The provincial governors, however, do have the power to sign or veto laws that are sent to them by the provincial legislatures for approval.
The High Court: This is a council of nine judges, called Lord Justices, who are appointed by Kyia to interpret the laws of the Kingdom of Metamor. The Lord Justices appoint the members of the courts immediately below them, which are called the Courts of Appeal; the judges of the lower courts are popularly elected, though they must meet certain requirements of proficiency and experience in the practice of law in order to be eligible for election. The High Court of Metamor has no authority over matters in the peripheral provinces, each of which has its own High Court (though these are sometimes called by different names). Cases decided by the High Court may be appealed to Majestrix Kyia, though she only chooses to hear perhaps four or five cases a year, and issues summary judgment on perhaps a dozen more. Members of the High Court serve for life, and while Kyia can remove them in the case of great malfeasance, common law tradition holds that the monarch should not interfere with the Lord Justices once they have been appointed. A Lord Justice is considered a member of the peerage, regardless of whether he is of noble or common birth; however, they are not eligible to hold peer seats in the Senate.
The peripheries are provinces that were incorporated into the Empire by treaty or national plebiscite at various times in the past. Each of these provinces has its own legislative, executive and judicial branches, with their own traditions and their own systems of common law. There are two basic types of provinces: crown provinces and viceroyalties.
Crown Provinces: These are provinces that became part of the Empire
by national plebiscite; at some point in the past, they were autonomous protectorates
of Metamor that voted to join the Empire and accept Majestrix Kyia as their
sovereign. The government in these provinces resembles that of the metropole,
with separate legislative, executive and judicial branches. The provincial legislature,
usually called the Assembly, consists of elected representatives of the nobility
(if any) and the common people, who vote on bills and send them to the provincial
governor for approval. Each province also has its own High Court that oversees
the lower courts and interprets provincial law; decisions of this court can
be appealed only to the Majestrix herself.. The governor, who is always one
of Kyia's Avatars, acts as the eyes, ears and voice
of the Majestrix in the province, reporting back to her on the needs and desires
of the people and the actions of the Assembly. The Assembly has control over
most aspects of the province's affairs, but the Majestrix and the governor deal
with matters of national defense, inter-province commerce and other issues that
affect more than one part of the Empire. The governor has veto power over any
bill passed by the Assembly, but any veto may be overridden by a two-thirds
Viceroyalties: These are te regions run by some of the former gods and daedra of the Pantheon, and as a result they are organized somewhat differently from the crown provinces. Since these viceroys were in power over their respective kingdoms before they became part of the Empire, they retain control over their territories and are given substantial leeway in how they run them. These "semi-autonomous protectorates" must still defer to Kyia in the areas of defense and interstate affairs, and she reserves the right to override the actions of the viceroys if they become too noxious, but for the most part she lets them handle things for themselves. Some of the viceroys rule in a very democratic fashion, with elected legislatures handling most of the business of government; others maintain a strict monarchical system, with elected officials serving only at the local level or as non-voting "advisors". Others have no elected officials at all. In all cases, though, it is to their benefit to govern justly -- none of them may prevent their citizens from moving to another part of the Empire, so an irresponsible viceroy may soon find himself without any subjects.
Metamor has had a succession of protectorates throughout history, regions in the world that are defended by the Empire but not considered part of its territory. These protectorates have most often been created because Metamor's assistance was requested when the local government collapsed due to economic or political deterioration, civil war, or external invasion. Most protectorates have gone on to become crown provinces by national plebiscite, but some have chosen to retain a greater level of autonomous rule. The lutin homeland of Inu Lutinaka is one of these: while bounded on all sides by the Empire, it is considered a sovereign nation, and Kyia respects their rights to govern their own affairs. Inu Lutinaka was created after the fall of Nasoj when the long-rumored Ghost Horde emerged from its underground dwellings, led by Murikeer's old pupil Keletikt. Negotiations were tense, but the Keepers didn't have the stomach for another war so soon after Nasoj, and a compromise was made that gave the lutins a homeland within the former territory of Nasoj's empire. In exchange, the lutins respected the borders of Metamor and ceased their raids on human-occupied territory.
The Rift is another area considered a Metamor protectorate, though it has no known sentient population.