Head of State: Reya Aleran an’Reliné
Founder: Reya Padan an’Valérë
Government: Monarchy (Autonomous Vassals)
Religion: Aman Ecclesia, Saint Cults (Saint Relen)
Description: The Rëline Empire was one of the most influential failures in all of history. Despite the glory of the Palatine Empire, the greatest influence in the field of culture is the Rëline Empire. The Laurëans practiced their laws and customs and the new Palatine Empire is modeled for the Rëline Empire. It is a warlike culture, famed for its warrior elite: The Paladins. Their method of battle, the warrior and shieldbearer, is endlessly applied.
Under the Laurë Reya, the ancient imperial clan has maintained their cultural values and remained stable in the borders. But the lower nobility fight petty wars that prevent them.
History: The Rëlines were never a nation until they invaded and conquered the Ancient Palatines. They came into the empire under one High King: Arhan. And Arhan had only one desire: To become the emperor of the Palatine. It was not a slow conquest, but rather a flash of brilliant warfare where the Rëlines dodged past the Palatine armies and ignored all targets but the Palatine itself, burning everything in their way. The city of Pallas screamed that night and the Maris Emperors found themselves helpless as the Rëlines took the Palatine. The Emperor, an aging man, was thrown down the steps of the Palatine. His Imperial Cloak was stripped from his corpse and put onto the shoulders of Morhén Rëline. The new emperor renamed himself to be Répalatine Arran Rëline, first of his name.
The Rëlines reformed the government, changing the office Emperor from an executive position to a monarchy. In addition, the Palatines (or Paladins in the new Rëline bastardization of the Palatine tongue) were no longer the regional administrators but the regional warlords. The old Paladin houses and the chosen Rëline Paladins became the military leaders of the new Palatine Empire. In the Rëline era, the empire grew to its largest size. The Empire ruled through hegemony, allowing any king to become a client of the Palatines. In exchange, these kings were given authority over a Rëline garrison. The Emperor would have authority over all kings.
The Rëline period is arguably the most successful era of the Palatine Empire. The Rëline nobles conquered lands in the west, where they remained, while the Paladins and the Emperor reigned in the east. The peace of the Rëline dynasty was spectacular. As a reward however, the Rëline Emperors were universally despised as usurpers. Constant revolutions whittled at Imperial power until the Old Paladin Houses rose up against the usurpers and over the course of a generation, they dislodged the Rëline Emperors from the Palatine. The Rëline Emperor Larocién refused to surrender his title however, and when the Palatines crowned a new emperor, he denied his legitimacy and fled across the river. He was the first of the emperors in exile in the new capital of Maren.
The Rëline Empire lasted for a few more centuries, ever losing power and momentum. The Paladins and Kings under the Rëline grew more important than the autocrat in charge. Furthermore, ambitious barbarian nobles (such as Alerán) carved out their own client nations. A day came, when the nobles of the realms gathered in the capital for one purpose: To humble the Emperor. The Emperor was ordered to surrender his title. In exchange, he would be allowed to remain king in his own land. The Emperor agreed and became to first Rëline king, thus freeing his subjects from obedience. The western lands beyond Rëline would become the mighty Laurëan Kingdom.
The conquest of the Rëline Kingdom and the fall of the seemingly invincible dynasty was an ironic repeat of what the Rëlines achieved against the Palatine: A single-minded attacked to the heart of the Kingdom. The Rëline King surrendered his title to the Saint-King Valén and the dynasty now lives in obscurity.
On the death of Emperor Valén, the kingdom was given to his third child, Padan. Padan had a hands off approach to his nation, preferring that his nobles be given much autonomy. His descendants remained kings and only few uprising have risen against them. Only a brief rule by the Laurë Reya Courë interrupted the stability of the clan.
That is not to say that the clan isn’t a martial clan. Indeed, they are known to be the most warlike of all the clans, allying themselves in almost every armed conflict with their vast and powerful army of lower nobility. While the Laurë have aristocrats leading feudal citizen armies and the Mallanë had their professional army, the Reliné had an army of warrior princes. And the current Reya is seeking to reform the ancient empire, with a greedy eye on the Palatinate.
Culture: The Rëline culture is nearly universal in its influence, as even the Palatines retained the title styling of the Rëline Emperors. The Laurëans preserve their laws and customs. The Rëline culture is a conservative culture that placed far more emphasis upon family and dynasties than election. Their culture is based around fortresses and the families that maintained those fortresses. They are a feudal caste, first and foremost. Minor wars between princes is common but these wars are rarely as bitter as in other nations.
The nobility, being highly martial, are famed for their system of organization, with the noble class having an entire secondary caste to serve the unique role required for their style of battle. Each warrior is paired with a shield-bearer, who has no weapon, save a massive shield. Their only purpose is to defend their master to their last breath. They defend their master’s sword-arm and protect them from arrows. These shield-bearers are often lovers with their charges. This relationship is encouraged because it increases loyalty and motivates the shield-bearer to defend their charge.
In between petty wars, the noble castes recline in luxurious fortresses in imitation of Palatine tastes. They wear ornate robes with surcoats and drink ale and wine, in ceremonies that reflect their heritage as both warlords and paladins.
The lower castes hardly notice wars, as the Reliné refuse to take up a levy. As a result, the lower castes are very productive and strong. Indeed, occupational castes have been known to own vast sections of land and dominate areas more that their petty princes ever could.
Religion in the lands of the Reliné is a strong force, with the Paladins of the Ecclesia being among the most important parts of the nobility. The Ecclesia owns many abbeys and lands in the Reliné lands. But it is a delicate balance that many a Reya and Ecclesian has found out. The old pagan ways are all but extinct in the clan, save for a few pockets in the woods. These woods are feared by all Reliné as being the breeding ground of witches. In addition, Saint Cults remain nearly impossible to root out of the local beliefs.
Sexuality is free and open in the Reliné lands. Homosexuality among the nobility is encouraged, as well as sexual activity with the lower classes. These connections create bonds that endure for hundreds of years.
Music and poetry are percussive and have a note of ancient war-drums. The music is very martial and loud. Dance and song are defined by “The Beat of the Emperors” and are known to be upbeat and fast.