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The Lord Ruler's perfect capital city, Luthadel, is doing the impossible: rebelling. Skaa half-breeds are being taught the power of Allomancy, something that the Lord Ruler's obligators said only existed in the nobility. The enslaved skaa, with their murderous benefactor, now fight back against a living god's oppression.

So, the Inquisition was formed. The nobles begin to fear assassination from all sides. The times of nobility Mistborn killing each other are over. The Steel Inquisitors look for aristocrat traitors and insurgent skaa, and the skaa try with all their strength to merely survive. The Lord Ruler's perfect Final Empire is slowly devolving into chaos.

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Guide to the Final Empire

2 replies to this topic

#1 Chaos

High House Noble

Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:13 AM

Final Empire header

The Lord Ruler's perfect nation is known as the Final Empire. A nine hundred years ago, the Lord Ruler climbed to the Well of Ascension to defeat a great evil known as the Deepness. As he descended, he proclaimed himself the Sliver of Infinity, a segment of God itself. Humanity was not so easy to accept this new god. It is said that the Lord Ruler created the Ashmounts and the mists from humanity?s disobedience. Now, ash falls from the sky regularly, and the high concentration of ash in the sky causes the sun to appear red, and makes lightning a regular appearance. All plants are brown, without flowers. As the sun sets, white mists come out over the whole land, though, bizarrely, they will never go inside a building.

The Lord Ruler eventually conquered the world, creating the Final Empire. He has lived forever, has defeated rebellions single-handedly, and has survived being burned alive, as well as being flayed. He is immortal. He is God.

With this latest rebellion, more than a few people disagree with that assessment.

Inhabitants of the Final Empire

Skaa - The working class of the Final Empire, said to be owned by the Lord Ruler, only rented out to nobility. Far outnumbering the nobles, the skaa are presumed to have inferior intelligence, and are in effect slaves, working in factories or plantations. A very select craftsman can make a better life for himself, but these are incredibly few.

Skaa have been beaten down for centuries, every rebellion failing quickly. They feel it is hopeless to resist the Lord Ruler. Intermixing with the nobility is strictly prohibited. If a nobleman sleeps with a skaa woman, the law requires she be killed. This is because the Ministry does not wish the power of Allomancy to fall into skaa hands. As such, skaa Allomancers are quite rare.

Nobility - The nobility are said to be descendants of the men who aided the Lord Ruler after his Ascension. Nobles are organized into houses, the ten highest of which are known as Great Houses. The noble houses often operate like businesses. The richest don?t have to work much, but a great majority of nobles have to do some form of work. It is said that the Lord Ruler never forgets the descendants of those aided him, so even the lowliest of nobility is favored over skaa.

The nobility copies the Lord Ruler in almost all ways, mimicking his fashion choice like wearing metal on the body. They hold massive Balls frequently, and is one of the main forms of entertainment for noble culture. Nobles have long had fertility problems, which is said to be because the Lord Ruler made them to not outbreed the skaa. Some nobility are violent towards skaa, some are more lenient, but in almost every case, the nobility are ambivalent to the skaa's plight.

Long ago, the Lord Ruler is said to have given the nobility the power of Allomancy. Noble houses keep Allomancers in reserve. Mistborn, the strongest Allomancers, act as assassins for the nobility. One countermeasure to an Allomantic attack force is to hire hazekillers, who are specifically trained to fight Allomancers. The power of Allomancy is heriditary, but simply because a parent is an Allomancer (or both, even), a child is not guaranteed to be an Allomancer as well. They are rare, and a child being an Allomancer is celebrated in that noble house.

Obligators - Members of the Lord Ruler's Steel Ministry--his government--are known as obligators. The Final Empire is a theocracy, but practically speaking, obligators act more as bureaucrats than priests. They do not preach the word of the Lord Ruler to the nobility, obedience among nobles is assumed (obligators, however, require more religious dedication). Obligators are found everywhere in society. They must witness all contracts between nobles. If a contract isn't witnessed, the exchange never happened, and this is one method the Ministry exerts its dominance over the nobility. Obligators have tattoos on their face marking them as members of the Ministry, and they must shave their heads. When obligators join the Ministry, they must renounce their house surname and serve only the Lord Ruler.

Inquisitors - Steel Inquisitors are strange, horrifying obligators, so named because of the steel spikes pounded through their eyes. An Inquisitor's primary goal is to hunt and kill skaa half-breeds. They appear to be skilled and powerful Mistborn. Little is publicly known about the Inquisitors. How do they survive with their spikes in their eyes? Are they immortal? In any case, Inquisitors are cunning, ruthless creatures, and are the most dangerous figures in the Final Empire, save the Lord Ruler himself.

Terrismen - The Terris people--the only pre-Ascension culture allowed to keep their name after the Lord Ruler stamped all peoples into one--have long been hated by the Ministry. Terrismen are castrated young, and are only allowed to breed through specific Ministry breeding programs. It is not uncommon for young Terris girls to be forced into producing children. Terrismen are raised young to be stewards for the nobility. Among all types of servants, Terrismen (and women) are the most prized. They usually serve high nobility, as they are quite expensive. Terris stewards often accompany young nobles at their first Balls.

The reason for the breeding programs is because of Feruchemy, a power which the Lord Ruler works hard to breed out of society. Modern Feruchemists, known as Keepers and led by an organization called the Synod, are immensely secretive because of this, as the Lord Ruler will eliminate them immediately. Keepers memorize information in their metalminds, awaiting the day when the Lord Ruler falls and the people will need to learn all the knowledge that had been destroyed by the Final Empire. But for all the information the Keepers have learned, they have never retrieved the information about the Terris culture.

Mistwraiths - These creatures, subject to much superstition from the skaa, are gelatinous scavengers. They have no skeleton of their own, and so mistwraiths subsume the bones and flesh of other animals for their own. This causes them to have rather hideous appearances, probably why the skaa fear them so much. However, they are not dangerous to humans, as they are merely scavengers, and they are not sentient creatures.

Kandra - This species is the most secretive in the Final Empire. Kandra are shapeshifters, like mistwraiths, except they are intelligent, sentient beings. Few know about kandra, perhaps because in the early days after the Ascension, humanity oppressed the kandra. Now, they operate on a system of contracts. The First Contract is between the Lord Ruler (who the kandra call the Father) and the kandra, and acts as the basis of kandra law. Among its tenets are the provisions that kandra are not allowed to injure or kill a human.

Kandra contracts are prized within the nobility. Expensive as they are--they must be paid in atium--they are the best spies, as they can consume the flesh of a dead person and act as that person. Before a kandra takes a form, it will interrogate the person, so that the kandra can best impersonate him or her. Though kandra can be killed with acid, they are immortal, and immune to most weaponry.

Inside the secretive kandra Homeland--which the kandra are forbidden to discuss with humans--is a complex society of its own. Kandra are divided into the Generation they were born, which correspond to the centuries of the Final Empire (ie, the Second Generation was born in the Second Century). The First Generation rules the kandra, but nowadays, they speak through the Seconds. Kandra take a century to grow and develop, and so certain Generations are tasked with raising the little kandra. A kandra has a distinct sense of being male or female. Also, every kandra has a specific Blessing: the Blessing of Potency, Awareness, Presence, and Stability. For more information, see Hemalurgy in the Three Metallic Arts topic.

Koloss - The koloss are huge, blue beastial abominations which comprise a large part of the Lord Ruler's army. The koloss are physically very large and very powerful. A full sized koloss can grow to be as tall as 12 feet, but at this point, their hearts cannot support their girth, so they die. A young koloss has as much skin as it will come to have in its later life. Because of this, the younger a koloss is, the fatter they look due to having too much baggy skin covering themselves. They are not intelligent beings, and it is said that a koloss has two emotional states: boredom and rage. A koloss army in a blood frenzy is a frightening proposition, where they destroy everything in their path. As such, koloss are hardly ever used to attack cities. How the Lord Ruler controls the koloss remains a mystery.

#2 Chaos

High House Noble

Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:13 AM

Places and Geography header

While the Final Empire is only a portion of the world, it may as well be the entire world. The Burnlands, a region of perpetual wasteland, surround most of the Final Empire. The Lord Ruler's power is the only thing skaa or nobility have ever known.

The Final Empire is divided into ten provinces named Dominances. There are five Inner Dominances--the Central Dominance, Northern, Western, Southern, and Eastern--which are the behemoths in the world, and are the ancestral homes of every Great House. The Central Dominance lies in the center of the other four, and at its middle is Luthadel, the capital of the Empire. In the Outer Dominances--the Crescent, Remote, Terris, and Farmost Dominances, along with the Southern Islands--are home to no Great Houses. There, the Lord Ruler's influence is much less pronounced, but it's as omnipresent as ever.

Important Places, By Dominance

Central Dominance:
Luthadel - The capital of the Central Dominance, and the whole Final Empire. The Lord Ruler lives here in his palace called Kredik Shaw. It is most populous and densest city, and a massive wall circles the city (Luthadel is notable for being the only city in the Empire allowed to have a wall). All main Steel Ministry Canton Headquarters can be found here. The crowded city holds ten monolithic keeps. Any house which maintain a keep in Luthadel--and afford the Lord Ruler's expensive keep taxes--is considered to be a Great House. The number of such houses varies, but at the present year, there are ten Great Houses.

Fellise - A quiet city on the outskirts of Luthadel. The capital of the Final Empire is crowded, and many noble houses choose to maintain manors in the more spacious towns outside of Luthadel.

River Channerel - The most prominent river in the world, it flows from the east (marking the division between the Northern and Eastern Dominances) into the Central Dominance at Lake Luthadel. It makes its way through Luthadel itself, then moving through the Southern Dominance and finally into the Gray Sea. It is one of the primary transit lanes of the Final Empire.

Lakeside - As its name suggests, this city lies on the edge of Lake Luthadel. A resort town of sorts, many nobles in the Central Dominance come here to get away from the hectic politics of Luthadel and take a vacation. Perhaps ironically, House Raisaal, a mercenary house of hazekillers, is from here.

The Pits of Hathsin - A prison camp three days north of Luthadel. Being sent to the Pits is not more lenient than an instant execution from the Inquisitors. No one who enters the Pits is ever seen again. Unbeknownst to all except a very select few, the Pits are where the Lord Ruler's atium is mined, the only place in the world which produces the metal. House Venture currently operates the Pits of Hathsin.

Northern Dominance:
Urteau - The City of Canals, and the capital of the Northern Dominance. It's a massive trade hub, a few months travel from Luthadel. Its most fanciful feature are the numerous canals through the city, which makes them the easiest way to get through Urteau. House Venture and Deveaux are centered here.

Western Dominance:
Tremredare - The Hill City, and the capital of the Western Dominance. It's located in the foothills of the Western Mountains, spanning multiple large hills. As such, Tremredare is the largest city by area in the Final Empire, a spacious cultural haven. Each district of the city is on a different hill, each with its own markets and culture, corresponding to the twelve High Houses of the Dominance. The city center lies in a valley. With the city's refined, yet insular society, it should be no surprise this is House Elariel's home. Tremredare is adjacent to a major pass through the mountains, which lead to ports in the Farmost Dominance.

Fadrex City - Located about halfway between the Central Dominance and Tremredare, Fadrex is a trade city and canal hub. A large rock formation surrounds the city, which effectively acts as its wall. As such, it is an easily defensible place. House Fathvell is centered here.

Southern Dominance:
Lansing City - The capital of the Southern Dominance, located on where the River Channerel at last enters the sea. Its a massive harbor city, as well as an industrial power, producing weaponry, ships, and everything one can imagine. Fortunately, the industrial waste entering the Gray Sea is nothing compared with the ash dumping into it. To those wishing to go to the furthest reaches of the Final Empire, Lansing is the gateway to the Southern Islands and the Remote Dominance, and it is equally a gateway towards Luthadel. House Hasting and Casuana are centered here, as they are both large industrial houses. As the saying goes, "you'll get lanced at Lansing", and there are plenty of lances for everyone.

Port Tresteau - A city west of Lansing, also lying on the coast. The Southern Dominance's plantations produce well, and Port Tresteau acts as a canal hub and an exporter of food to everywhere along the sea, most commonly to the frigid ports in Farmost. House Lekal, the largest food producer in the Empire, is based here.

Eastern Dominance:
Klessium - The City of Storms, and the capital of the Eastern Dominance, which is located at the west edge of the Black Lake. It is known for its fantastic architecture, where many buildings are constructed in the manner of keeps, even in more basic structures. It is also infamous for its treatment of skaa, and when even nobility halfway around the Empire speak derisively of it, one can imagine the true terror that happens here. Klessium holds the largest pre-Ascension ruins in the world, lying just below the surface. In effect, Klessium is really a gigantic mask: it puts on a gorgeous face above ground, but hiding beneath is a violent, near perpetual state of conflict. The High Houses maintain large presences in the Undercity--some even producing secondary keeps there. While there exist many skaa gangs, almost all of them are funded by the Klessian nobility to strike at the other High Houses. It is the nearest capital city to an Ashmount, and the high ash concentration leads to many lightning storms during the year. House Sureau hails from this harrowing place, as well as House Tekiel.

Terris Dominance:
Tathingdwen - The capital of the Terris Dominance. It is the last place to pick up supplies before setting out in the treacherous Terris Mountains. The Terris breeding programs are based here, and perhaps not coincidentally, the Synod as well, the leaders of the Keepers.

Farmost Dominace:
Belinsk - The capital of the Farmost Dominance, despite how close it is located to the Western and Terris Dominances. When one arrives in Belinsk, they know this is the final edge of civilization in the entire Final Empire. The furthest major city from the Ashmounts, Belinsk actually receives more snow than ashfalls, but there?s enough ash that most of the year, the city is caked in a gray blanket of snow and ash. Many Belinski keeps build enormous towers, not only to copy Kredik Shaw, but also to make the place feel more powerful than it is. Three years ago, a fire of unknown origin destroyed most of Belinsk. The city is still recovering.

Edited by Chaos, 09 October 2011 - 08:28 AM.

#3 Chaos

High House Noble

Posted 08 January 2011 - 02:14 AM

Societies in the Final Empire header

The Skaa Rebellion and the Underground

The skaa rebellion in Luthadel began in 917, one year ago, when presumably, skaa agents murdered Lord Lucius Casuana, the head of a newly ascended Great House. The fact that it was not immediately crushed is a subject of much consternation among the Steel Ministry, who eventually created the Inquisition to defeat the skaa. However, except for the Inquisition's even stricter rules towards the nobles and the skaa, the nobility do not take this rebellion seriously. They should, as its the longest lasting publicly known rebellion. There are a number of factors contributing to its survival:

Its Structure: the rebellion is an incredibly well-structured machine. It is divided up in many different units, known as cells. Members in a cell are only given information pertaining to their own cell, so if a cell is captured, its members can never give up information about another cell. If one cell goes, the overall rebellion remains in tact. Only one person knows the locations of every rebellion cell, and that's the puppetmaster of the entire rebellion, a man known by many names, but is most often called Ignas.

Its Leader: Ignas was the High Prelan of the Farmost Dominance three years ago, but when his father had revealed to him he was in fact half skaa, Ignas began to see the Ministry's teachings as a little hypocritical. His mental state slowly collapsed. He engineered a rebellion in Farmost (of course, the rest of the Empire does not know of this Farmost rebellion), and now has come to Luthadel. His knowledge of the Ministry strategies gives his rebellion an extreme advantage.

Its Goals: the rebellion focuses primarily on recruiting skaa Allomancers to its cause.

Other skaa agents in the underground include:

Informants - Valuable to both nobility and skaa, there are many informants to be found in Luthadel, if one knows where to look. They provide information on noble gossip, though its accuracy may be suspect. Living as an informant is dangerous work, and most are killed quickly.

Thieving Crews - Some bands of skaa form into thieving crews, stealing from the nobility. Some crews do it to feed themselves, but most do it because of a combination of their hatred of the nobility and the promises of the fortunes they'll receive. The Inquisition has hit thieving crews hard, and so in the present years, thievery is at an all-time low.

Unorganized Rebel Bands - Some skaa, seeing the relative success of rebels, attempt to rise up as well. But most of these skaa are not Allomancers or useful to the primary rebellion, so these men do not get recruited. And without the rebels' keen organization, these bands often meet a gruesome death, dealt from an Inquisitor's axe.

Noble Society

The nobility have the greatest measure of freedom in the Final Empire, despite eyes from the Ministry constantly watching them. Noblemen have a rich and complex society, which more than often turns bloody. Nobility organize themselves in "houses", which a single lord (and less often, a lady) leads. Ranks are given out on a heriditary basis, and family unity has always been important within the nobility. Some types of noble houses:

Great Houses - These are the most powerful of the houses. To be considered a Great Houses, a house must build and maintain a keep in Luthadel. Currently, there are ten Great Houses. In order of most wealth to least, they are: Venture, Elariel, Deveaux, Hasting, Sureau, Tekiel, Casuana, Lekal, Raisaal, and Fathvell. These houses dominate politics throughout the Final Empire. The most powerful have a corps of Allomancers, and every keep has their own guards to protect it. Life as a high noble is easy compared with the skaa, but the political game the high nobility play can often get violent. As such, most newly ascended Great Houses fail within their first decade.

Minor Houses - These houses are ones which are not Great Houses. There is a vast spread of houses like this, ranging from houses who are trying to ascend to be a Great House (at any given moment, there are about thirty or so houses attempting to ascend) to the lowest of lowly houses, which might operate a single shop.

Niche Houses - Throughout Luthadel and every main cultural center in the Final Empire, there are houses and businesses which cater to a specific need that the local nobility requires. These niche houses are important, but their focus is too specific to ever get enough wealth to become a Great House.

High Houses - Each Dominance has its own, smaller version of Imperial politics in it. The houses that are most prominent in a given Dominance are called High Houses--like Great Houses, but for a specific Dominance. The number of High Houses in a Dominance is much more variable than the fairly consistent amount which Luthadel has, but as Dominances like to copy Luthadel, the number of High Houses is still not much higher than ten.

Major Alliances in the Final Empire

The Sureau Coalition - House Sureau, Hasting, Tekiel, and Fathvell. House Sureau is the oldest Great House, having ascended 354 years ago, and while it has considerably less influence now, tradition does not die so easy. The Coalition is the largest network of noble houses in the Final Empire. When one combines all the resources of the Sureau Coalition (and its minor houses), they are incredibly powerful. One sees that Sureau is just as relevant to modern Imperial politics as ever, and still a force to be reckoned with.

The Triad Alliance - House Venture, Deveaux, and Casuana. This alliance is currently pending, but it is fairly clear that Venture and Deveaux wish to get over their past difficulties and ally themselves. Such a proposed alliance would dominate the Northern Dominance, where Venture and Deveaux are centered, and due to Deveaux and Casuana's close relationship, Casuana would be a part of this alliance (hence the name Triad Alliance, for three Great Houses). As Venture and Deveaux are ranked 1st and 3rd, respectively, the Triad could dominate Imperial politics for quite some time, if the alliance indeed goes through.

One of the main forms of entertainment for the nobility are the frequent balls that they hold. More than parties, these balls are political games, and often exist as shows of force. Gossip flows freely at balls. The Great House Balls, the most important of these, happen every five days, and occur in an agreed upon rotation.

The Ministry controls noble society through a number of ways, like requiring obligators to witness every contract between a nobles, but the primary way the Lord Ruler stays wealthy is through a metal called atium, the rarest of Allomantic metals. The Lord Ruler monopolizes the production of this metal, only selling small portions to the nobles at a time, keeping the rest of his atium in a much rumored atium cache. This process keeps the Lord Ruler and his Ministry funded, but it also causes the nobility to look at the atium market very closely. Truly, atium is the most valuable commodity in the Final Empire.

The Steel Ministry

The Lord Ruler rarely takes an active interest in Empire, preferring to spend his time in Kredik Shaw, his "box," as its known (hence the term "boxing" for the highest denomination coin, because it has an image of Kredik Shaw upon it). The enormous bureaucracy of the Steel Ministry and its lord prelan oversees the administration of the Final Empire. All contracts must be witnessed by an obligator for it to be legal. If an obligator doesn't witness a contract, it never truly happened.

The Ministry is divided into units called Cantons, which subtly try to gain dominance over one another. The person who heads a Canton is known as the high prelan. There are currently five Cantons, but certain administrative divisions have become independent from their original Canton, and these lesser agencies are called Undercantons. Different tattoos mark obligators in different Cantons, and if one knows the Ministry's tattoo scheme well, one can also see the rank of the obligator.

In Luthadel, all the high prelans frequently discuss issues in a meeting called the Conclave of Prelans. The other Dominances have similar Conclaves, complete with high prelans for the Dominance, which act as a sort of regional lord prelan.

The Cantons

Canton of Orthodoxy - The largest Canton, it is the Steel Ministry's main bureaucratic arm. Most of the obligators assisting noble Houses are from this Canton, and they witness the bulk of contracts. The high prelan of this Canton leads the entire Steel Ministry, and is known as the lord prelan. Lord Prelan Gethen Sureau, having served for fifteen years, perished about six months ago. The current lord prelan is Ashriel Deveaux.

Canton of Finance - This Canton is centered in Luthadel's Commercial District and deals with the Final Empire's economy. A Ministry contract is coveted throughout a nobility, as it shows a measure of strength of the noble house.

Canton of Resource - This Canton deals with the natural resources of the Final Empire. It commissions the construction of the massive canal networks and other land-based projects, such as mines.

Canton of Doctrine - Formerly an offshoot of the Canton of Orthodoxy, this Canton oversees knowledge and information in the Final Empire. Doctrine's libraries are the largest in the world, which the nobility can peruse a section of for a modest fine. Doctrine destroys apocryphal information, and has a large segment of obligators devoted to this cause. If a noble wishes to be certified in a complex discipline (like medicine), there are Canton of Doctrine exams he or she must pass first. The current high prelan of Doctrine is Janus Tekiel.

Canton of Inquisition - The smallest, yet most feared Canton. They are the main policing force in the Final Empire. Everyone--including other Inquisition obligators--feel terror at sight of the mysterious Steel Inquisitors, who specifically hunt half-breeds. No one is certain how many Inquisitors there are, but there are about three dozen in the Empire at any time (this information, of course, is known to almost no one). Many can be seen in Luthadel, especially with the development of this current rebellion. Due to the rarity of Steel Inquisitors, the Canton of Inquisition has many other obligators tending to its administration. Its High Prelan is sometimes referred to as the High Inquisitor. The current high prelan of Inquisition is Shokhan Venture.

The Undercantons

Undercanton of Intelligence - This Undercanton was formed to solve the inefficiency of intelligence within the Ministry. Each Canton had its own intelligence service, rarely talking with one another. To much outcries (especially from Inquisition), those intelligence divisions were folded into this independent Undercanton. The Undercanton of Intelligence monitors information flowing through spy networks, noble houses, and also within the Ministry itself.

Undercanton of Arbitration - Whereas the Canton of Inquisition deals with criminals, the Undercanton of Arbitration resolves civil disputes between the nobility, like contract disputes, contract breaking or, very rarely, divorces. Breaking contracts, deceiving the Ministry, or outright not having a decision witnessed by the Ministry are extreme offenses which lead to heavy fines, or sometimes death. Arbitration's judgments are final, unless of course the Lord Ruler decides to take an interest in a particular case, but that virtually never happens. Arbitration looks after the Ministry's best interests, not any noble. In a typical case, if a grievance is made, but the accuser has no evidence, this Undercanton is unlikely to care. Nobles can request the Ministry to investigate a particular issue, but unless it is important, this Undercanton is unlikely to act without significant payment.

Undercanton of Stability - This Undercanton manages policing forces separate from Inquisition, most notability the Luthadel Garrison. Stability also manage various koloss barracks. In the Burnlands, at the far edge of the Final Empire, this Undercanton leads military efforts against rebels.

Undercanton of Culture - To most of the Final Empire, this Undercanton is where one would go to hire Terris stewards--they are, after all, very cultured servants. But anyone who has been to the Terris Dominance knows that it is the Undercanton of Culture which runs the horrid Terris breeding programs, and overall subjugation of the Terris people. Culture's offices are predominantly in Tathingdwen; in fact, the High Prelan of Culture is always centered there, rather than Luthadel. The Undercanton's extreme power in Terris creates large rifts and conflicts with the other Cantons there. Often, the High Prelan of Terris is chosen from Culture, rather than Orthodoxy.

Edited by Chaos, 20 November 2011 - 02:58 AM.

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