"The Empire, anywhere in the world you say it they will know what you mean. Since the beginning they have made it clear that they will one day rule over the entirety of Soi. Wherever they go, they leave unity in their wake, and woe to any that do not conform to their version of order and unity as the brick and mortar however is made of blood and bone. Make no mistake, whatever the Emperor might call himself, the true idols of the Tallet Empire are the twin gods Law and Order"
The Tallet Empire is a large, expansionist empire that spreads from the western temperate regions of Soi.
They are among the largest and most populous unified civilizations, mostly known throughout the world for their slow but sure conquest to unite the world under their rule.
There is no singular race of the Tallet empire as it stretches across the world to all absorbed areas. The capital province was established in antiquity incorporating the combined lands of the People of Silver.
They are known for creating large, colonial establishments across Soi. The most dangerous thing perhaps about the Empire is not their war machines, but their ability to draw smaller nations willingly to them, convinced that the Tallet are their best chance of keeping their cultural identity intact.
"The Tallet empire is a great, ravenous beast. With safe roads and an insatiable appetite for exotic goods, so long as I have my caravan, I glad to profit from its hunger." - Family Hearth caravan masterThe Tallet economy relies mainly on the acquisition of resources from conquered territories to fuel its constant expansion. When a territory is conquered, the Tallet take a monthly tribute of resources, and a yearly tribute of people. Oftentimes volunteers are enough to satisfy the human tribute; in other cases people may be conscripted by their laws to be trained and sent off to other areas of the world for conquest.
The Tallet are one of the largest consumers of manufactured goods on Soi, making them one of the largest unified markets. This makes them natural trade partners with the Family Hearth and Ashed City-States. Though they are often at odds with their trade partners, retaliation and conflicts are often settled with trade law or minor skirmishes as all-out war would hamper all nations involved.
"Since the dawn of time, the barbarian clans of this country fought each other for land, gods, and their ridiculous blood debt. There was war, poverty, and an immense lack of discipline and productivity. Under our rule they now live peacefully together and fight under one banner. That is our mission. That is our goal. Law and order for the world, even if we have to crush it under our boot first." -Tallet governor overlooking the gathered clan leaders atop his fortressTallet culture is one of utmost law and order. They integrate a multitude of cultures, religions, and customs into an enormous coalition of territories that form their empire. Each territory of the Tallet has its own identity, however they all share similar traits under Imperial law.
The Tallet people themselves are heavily taxed by the empire in order to maintain the immense expansion campaign which includes the building of roads, aqueducts, and other infrastructure for its colonies so that they may be more productive for the empire and give more in taxed goods.
- Imperial law dictates that people maintain a strict code of conduct in public.
- Public indecency, drunkenness, littering, or disturbance of the peace is often immediately responded to with public floggings.
- Failing to bathe properly will result in a fine
- Letting one's home fall into disrepair or failure to keep clean can be met with steep fines of coin.
- Falling into debt can result in immediate conscription to the legion.
- Laws are rigidly enforced; instances of corruption can lead to immediate execution or indentured servitude to the legion.
- Theft is punished by conscription/flogging/servitude.
- Murder is returned in kind.
- Most punishments take place in a public area.
The inner empire is populated mainly by the olive-skinned inhabitants. They live their entire lives in rigid and structured lives. Often their professions are chosen for them by their families or by a limited amount of options provided for them by the government issuing a decree of what jobs need to be done. They are a very polite, quiet society. They put heavy emphasis on family ties and often form large political power structures based on bloodlines and favors from friends.
Their architecture is scaled up to be massive and impressive to look at, emphasizing the power of organizations rather than individuals.
The outer empire or colonies make up the majority of the Tallet empire. They often provide the raw materials and bulk of legion forces, with mass conscripting being a common practice. While less strict about the upkeep of the Tallet Code, local governors have the power at any time to enforce it.
When the Tallet set their sights on a territory, they give the Imperial Contract.
- The territory must give any armed forces the Tallet requires at any time.
- The territory must give a monthly tax of any produced goods, dependent on amount.
- The territory must follow the Tallet Law regarding standards of behavior.
- The territory may keep their gods, but must accept the Faceless Emperor as their supreme ruler of them and their god.
Failure to accept the contract will result in open warfare until the Tallet have killed or suppressed all dissent.
Order of the Tower
The Order of the Tower is an investigative force that answers directly to the Faceless Emperor. Members of the Order identify themselves only by a small ivory badge, oftentimes carrying no other personal markings. These people move invisibly through society, entering all stratum from street sweepers and servants to raising into some of the highest military ranks and wealthiest families. The one task of the Order is to weed out conspiracy against the Emperor no matter the form it takes and eliminate it. Arrest by the Order of the Tower is typically a death sentence by slow torture as inquisitors in the Ivory Tower take great pains to make sure that any suspect is either assuredly innocent or spills every shred of information they know before the last drop of blood leaves their subject. The only way to be safe from the Order of the Tower is to always proclaim and laud the Emperor (but not too loudly so) even to your childhood friends and wife. After all, the Order is not above planting men or women into marriages to keep closer tabs on people of power or interest.
"The brave warriors stood their ground, waiting for their enemy to come. They banged their axes against their shields, howled in bloodlust. Their king gave a grand speech about freedom, honor, and their proud history. When the legion arrived over the hill, the defenders looked at the tide of flesh, wood and steel and felt the fear creep into their hearts. When the manglers tore into their ranks and their king was felled, they realized they had made a terrible mistake" -Exerpt from "Northern Conquest"The Tallet approach to war is to simplify the actions of their soldiers and bring as many people to the conflict as possible. They rely heavily on siege equipment or "war engines". Military conscripts are often pulled from conquered areas and sent out to other parts of the world. Conscripts make up a large portion of their army. The other portion is made up of volunteers from their older territories, the mainland, or hired mercenaries, though this is rare.
Infantry are primarily used to protect the war engines from sabotage while they do the bulk of the work. The farther removed a human being is from the actual act of killing, the happier a Tallet commander will be, as it gives the soldier less opportunity for mercy or mistakes, as any man can be used to turn a crank, but it takes hardened soldiers to consistently fight. The Tallet make great use of mounted and shoulder-fired ballista and crossbows. Their soldiers often use light armor, if any at all, and shields to form massed infantry blocks to support their war engines.
- The Tallet military is often stretched by their expansion and is in constant danger of Woag raiders and Goran incursions as they border the Goran land and have a large coastline.
- War engines, while very effective, are costly and most useful for intimidating less-advanced nations.
- Oftentimes war engines must be built on site by the army's engineers and builders.
The Faceless Fist of the Emperor
The elite heavy infantry of of the Tallet Empire, this force of 10,000 soldiers are drawn only from the capital province to ensure ultimate loyalty to the Faceless Emperor. Existing outside the normal military structure, the Faceless Fist answers only to the Emperor directly. Typically deployed in single or double battalions, these soldiers can provide a sorely-needed vanguard to armies deployed near the more-developed nations. Trained heavily and clad in heavy scale armors, with round shields bearing the personal insignia of the Emperor, these hard-to-kill warriors deviate from the standard phalanx warfare of the Tallet. Equipped universally with a heavy battleaxe backed with a large reinforced spike, these soldiers are equally effective against lightly armored enemies as heavily armored ones. As though this alone wasn't intimidating enough, each wears a heavy steal helm, the face plate a replica of the Emperor's silver mask. A number of rumors and myths surround this force outside the Tallet homeland, claims made that each member has drank of the blood of the Emperor are common, as are claims that they are some kind of super soldiers bred through the coupling of the Emperor with an industrial sized harem of women.
Due to their expansionist tendencies, and their willingness to commit an overwhelming force to any given small area long enough to absorb it, the Empire often finds themselves with large groups of native armed forces. Trained in ways of combat generally foreign to most commanders, these battalions are generally not considered trustworthy to leave in their homeland given their expertise and ties to the native peoples. The very first Legions to come out of a newly absorbed area are these pre-trained forces reordered for direction in a Tallet command structure. These forces are referred to as the Wild Legions of the Empire and bring a random element to the fields of battle of unreliable potency. Sometimes Wild Legions are just different enough to turn the tide of battle, or in the worst case scenario act as very effective human shields for the Tallet war machines.
The Dogs of War
A relatively low-tech but nonetheless clever development by the Tallet are the Empire's war dogs. While most armies keep dogs for assistance with sentry duty, the Tallet actually breed and train these animals en masse to attack on command. Armored with hardened leather vests, with spiked collars and armed with mouths full of teeth and locking jaws, these creatures can be truly terrifying released on the scale the Tallet utilize. The standard Tallet war dog stands low to the ground, with a wide, powerful chest, short coat, broad head, and large muzzle. Standard tactics include turning these animals loose on enemy archer formations (or lightly/unarmored forces in general) where their low profile and fast bursts of speed allow them to close too quickly for archers or other such units to respond. Trained to maim and kill, the dogs will keep relentlessly attacking, moving from one bloodied victim to the next until dealt with. The Tallet view the dogs as tools, much like arrows, accepting the high mortality rate of such attacks with little remorse and as a means of acquiring additional rations for their Legions.
The Tallet make use of their expansive woodlands to mass produce small galleys, powered by the troops they are built to transport. Not strictly bound to coastal waters only, these galleys are primary one-direction vessels meant to be dismantled and reconstructed into war machines and fortifications upon arrival.
"If your god was so strong, why would it have let us put you in your rightful place?" -Faceless priest to a conquered holy manThe Tallet worship the God Emperor, or Faceless Emperor, or Masked God. According to Tallet lore, the Masked God is the lawful ruler of the world attempting to bring the other unruly or obstinate gods to heel.
The acquisition of each new religion into the Tallet empire is relatively smooth as the Faceless Priests allow conquered locals to keep their gods so long as their religious rules do not conflict with Tallet Law and they accept that their god is merely an agent of what they had previously held to be a divine being.
"The world is a crude and unruly child. As with any unruly child, you may need to break it before it can be useful." -Tallet noble discussing the unclaimed)The Tallet, as an expansionist empire, are on poor terms with every unclaimed civilization that wishes to keep their autonomy. Some willingly accept Tallet rule as they bring protection and infrastructure such as roads, mills, wells and walls in exchange for resources. They are a direct enemy of the Goran in competition for land and people, as well as the Collective.
The Family Hearth trade with them as they are a force of order, though many of the master traders seek to undermine or sabotage their expansion to keep them contained. The Ashed often trade in raw materials but cities that do quickly become targets for trade wars.