The nation formally known as The Imperial Dominion of His Majesty, Emperor of the Sardians, Sovereign of the Wilted Rose and the East, and Protector of Eire is colloquially referred to by Nevohans as Sardia. Sardia was easily the most powerful state on the continent prior to the Eclipse. With a priority for conquest, assimilation, and conversion, the once petty kingdom expanded to control territory on both coasts of the continent.
Tradition holds that the Sardian Empire's namesake city and capital was founded in 160 PA, by one of the region's larger and more dominant tribes. As the years passed, the tribal government evolved into a more feudal one, and Sardia's unique location at the confluence of two of the continent's major rivers made it an important hub for trade and travel.
The city grew and prospered from over a hundred of years of relative peace and trade with its neighbors. Barring the occasional raid from various barbarian tribes, no serious conflict struck the region until the movement of Adelaide the Thorned.
Adelaide's religious movement gained immense popularity amongst the lower classes of the city and amongst the agrarian population in the rural areas under the city's control. The popularity of the new movement, known as Epinastry, revolutionized Sardian society. Despite pushback from most of the city's noblemen, Queen Catherine Celeim adopted the new faith and the along with it a new mantra: "All petals stain't with her blood, all the earth bless't with her bud."
By royal effort and with the support of the people, the city's wealth and influence was funneled into the spreading of the new faith. In the years that followed, the Church of the Thorned was founded in the city, and hundreds of religious missions oversaw the conversion of all of central Nevoh. The most prominent of these missions developed into the Sardian Empire's largest cities or its greatest fortresses. Those areas which did not convert saw an end to their mutually beneficial relationships with the continent's largest trade hub, as the monarchs forbade trade with heathens.
The intense pressure to convert by the Sardians also led to the birth of their biggest rival, the Plainsland Confederation, a loose alliance of independent cities throughout the East which eventually developed into a large sprawling Republic with a penchant for Federalism.
As the South and Central Eastern cities formed alliances amongst themselves to resist Sardian influence the Sardians turned much of their attention to the barbarians of the Northeast. There, the Epinastic faith didn't attract the same zeal and fervor that it had amongst the agrarian populace of its birth region, and several religious missions were ended forcefully by the area's tribes. One such massacre in the year 126 Th. led to the merging of Sardia's faith and military which eventually permeated all echelons of the nation's government: The Knights of the Wilted Rose.
By the year 240 Th., the Sardian Empire had established its first colonies on the continent's eastern shores, and by 300 Th., it had acquired suzerainty over the western ports of Eire and Starin. Sardia experienced several hundred years of dominance and prosperity in what historians call the Rose Age, and it wasn't until the unification of the Kingdom of Torin, and the rise of Ossentia in the south that the empire's power began to wane.
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