The Vermilion Empire (Imperial Cathaic: 硃帝國, Romanised: Zhūdìguó), commonly called Tsutikuo and historically known as Cathai, is an executive constitutional monarchy located in western Escar. It is bordered by Shirakawa to the north, Jiquan to the northeast, Namgiang to the southeast, the Sea of Shang to the south and the Sea of Yamatai to the south west. Tsutikuo also shares a maritime border with Yamatai to the west and Yeongseon to the south. According to traditional Cathaian historiography, the Vermilion Empire is the fourth unified Cathaian empire to possess the Mandate of Heaven, following the ancient Yellow Empire, the Azure Empire and the White Empire. As the seat of Cathaian civilisation, Tsutikuo and its 101.7 million citizens are the inheritors of one of the oldest civilisations in Ordis.
"Ten Thousand Years To The Vermilion Empire"
Anthem of the Vermilion Empire
Location of Tsutikuo (green) within Escar (darker grey)
|Largest city||Nanmiao (南廟)|
|Official languages||Imperial Cathaic|
|Government||Parliamentary constitutional monarchy with technocratic and theocratic elements|
|-||Emperor||Taixing Emperor (泰興皇帝)|
|-||Chancellor||Ming Jisong (明繼嵩)|
|Legislature||Imperial Senate (參議院)|
|-||Yellow Empire (first unified Cathaian state)||c. 559 BCE|
|-||Vermilion Empire||28 January 1428 CE|
|-||2016 estimate||101.7 million|
|GDP (PPP)||2016 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2016 estimate|
|HDI (2016)|| 0.884
|Currency||Yuan (元) (KGL)|
|Time zone||WET (UTC-1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||VE Summer Time (UTC)|
|Drives on the||left|
Ecologically diverse, Tsutikuo is located mostly in a warm termperate biome. The Yu Ding Mountains (宇頂山, Yǔdǐngshān) occupy much of the east of the country, giving it a cooler climate with heavy snowfall from late autumn through to early spring. The country's northern border with Shirakawa bisects the Chahar plain, a large, flat region that is the historic homeland of the Chahar people who founded the White Empire after invading Cathai in the 13th century. The western and central parts of the country were historically heavily forested but are now dominated by human agricultural activities. The southern coast and the island of Longdao or Ruutao are the warmest part of the country and are popular holiday destinations for Tsutikuans and increasing numbers of foreigners as the country becomes somewhat less insular and more open to outsiders.
Cathaian civilisation has been hugely influential on the culture and society of its neighbours, and its influence may be seen in the widespread use of Cathaic characters throughout Escar as well as the prominence of Cathaian philosophies such as Confucianism. The legacy of Cathaian art, architecture and philosophy extends throughout modern Yeongseon, Shirakawa, Yamatai and Namgiang. Tsutikuo is also the largest Nestorian Christian state in Ordis; the Nestorian Imperial Church of Tsutikuo is the state religion. Confucian and Taoist philosophy have also been influential in shaping Tsutikuan society. The Vermilion Emperor is head of state and exercises broad powers under the country's unwritten constitution, which is based mainly around the Founding Laws of the Vermilion Empire, a document written by the founder of the ruling House of Shao, Shao Cunxu, the Tiankai Emperor (天凱皇帝). In addition to being the country's temporal leader the Emperor is recognised as the head of the Imperial Church and regarded as Son of Heaven and Vicegerent of Christ by the Church's faithful.
The exonym Tsutikuo is an archaic Romanisation of the Cathaic word 硃帝國 (Zhūdìguó), literally meaning "Vermilion Empire." The latter is used as the formal name of the country for diplomatic purposes. Tsutikuo technically refers to the current state and ruling dynasty, rather than to the territory of the country. The Vermilion Empire is the fourth major empire to occupy its territory, following the Yellow Empire, the Azure Empire and the White Empire. The White Empire (1234-1428) is usually not included as a legitimate dynasty in Tsutikuan historiography because it was founded by the non-Cathaian Chahar people of the northern plains; this period in Cathaian history is conventionally referred to as the "Rule of the Barbarians" (夷統治, Yí tǒngzhì). The civilisation as a whole is commonly known outside Tsutikuo as Cathai, which originates from the name of the Kingdom of the Khitai (契丹王國, Qìdān Wángguó), a state that existed in the south of modern Tsutikuo during the 7th and 8th centuries and which also gave its name to the modern Tsutikuan province of Qidan. Tsutikuans refer to their country and civilisation as 華夏, Huá Xià, which derives from the terms Xià (夏)—which has the meaning of "grand" and signifies the ceremonial etiquette of Cathai, and Huá (華)— as it means "illustrious"—was used in reference to the elegant clothing worn in Cathai, which distinguished the Cathaian people from the neighbouring "barbarians." The main ethnic group in Tsutikuo refer to themselves variously as 華人 (Huá Rén), "the Hua people", or 黃人 (Huáng Rén), literally the "Yellow People," after the ancient Yellow Empire. The Tsutikuan government uses the term 硃帝國之人 (Zhūdìguó zhī rén), "Vermilion Empire people," to refer to all subjects of the Vermilion Emperor regardless of ethnicity.
What is now Tsutikuo was inhabited by Homo erectus more than 1 million years ago. Stone tools found in Tsutikuo have been magnetostratigraphically dated to 1.36 million years ago. The Homo erectus "Qianzhou man," the earliest human body fossil found in Tsutikuo, is believed to have lived in northern Tsutikuo between 680,000 and 780,000 years ago. Fossilised teeth of Homo sapiens dating to 125,000–80,000 BCE have been discovered in the caves of eastern Tsutikuo's Yu Ding mountain range, marking one of the earliest appearances of the extant human species in the Escari fossil record. Agriculture emerged independently in Tsutikuo as early as 8,000 BCE; evidence of cultivated rice dating from this time has been found from the Pearl River Valley (璸河流域, Bīn hé liúyù) in southern Tsutikuo. It has long been supposed by archaeologists that writing was acquired by ancient Cathaians from Akai; however, this view has been challenged by the discovery of pictographic cliff carvings dating to 6000–5000 BCE near Daiyuan, which have been presented as evidence that some form of writing existed in Tsutikuo prior to contact with Akai. Bronze age artefacts associated with the Lukou culture have been found in Tsutikuo's Luoxiang Province and dated to between 3,100 and 2,700 BCE, indicating that by this time Tsutikuo had already entered the bronze age.
Mythological period and Classical CathaiEdit
Traditional historiography regards the rulers of the Pearl Kingdom (璸國, Bīn Guó) as the earliest hereditary dynasty in Cathaian history, inheriting power from the last of the Nine Mythic Sovereigns (九神話皇, Jiǔ shénhuà huáng) who are considered to have ruled ancient Cathai from 2904 BCE to 2022 BCE according to Cathaian mythology. The existence of the Pearl Kingdom remains unconfirmed, although efforts have been made by Tsutikuan archaeologists to link them to the Ershu Culture that existed in western Tsutikuo between 1900 and 1530 BCE. The Kings of the Pearl Kingdom are said to have lost power in 1622 BCE following the battle of Ma, resulting from a rebellion against the Pearl Kingdom by their vassals the Dukes of Song. According to traditional accounts, the entire royal family of the Pearl Kingdom were subsequently massacred, only to be avenged in battle by a loyal retainer, Gaogao, who was once the cupbearer of the Pearl King. Gaogao became the new monarch, founding the Jade Kingdom (玉國, Yù Guó), which ruled from 1620 to 1058 BCE.
The Jade Kingdom is the first Cathaian state for which there is historical evidence. By this time, Cathai was in communication with Akai to the south-east, and by c.1140 BCE the Jade Kingdom had adopted Akai's writing system. Cathaian historians living in later periods were accustomed to the notion of one dynasty succeeding another, but the actual political situation in ancient Cathai is known to have been more complex; it has been suggested that the Pearl and Jade Kingdoms could possibly refer to political entities that existed concurrently. The Jade Kingdom is said to have ruled over most of western Cathai in this period, but modern historians have been hesitant to associate archaeological sites that are contemporaneous with the known dates for the Jade Kingdom with it, due to evidence of substantial cultural differences between sites. The Jade Kingdom may therefore have been one of several entities existing within what is now Tsutikuo at this time. Oracle bones associated with the major Jade Kingdom archaeological sites refer to the state as "Shang" (商); the same character appears in Akai records of the time referring to a country in western Escar.
The Jade Kingdom collapsed by 1000 BCE, according to traditional accounts as a consequence of a fratricidal war of succession triggered by the attempted usurpation of the throne by Prince Er Zhimin. The ultimate result was the fragmentation of the kingdom into a number of smaller states, ushering in the period referred to as the "Long Autumn" (長秋, Zhǎng qiū).
Unification of CathaiEdit
The Yellow Empire (黃帝國, Huángdìguó) existed from the unification of the Cathaian states by the First Emperor (黃始皇, Huángshǐhuáng) in 559 BC to its collapse in 332 AD.
The Hundred Kingdoms PeriodEdit
Following the fall of the Yellow Empire, Cathai splintered into many small, unstable states. During this period, Christianity spread rapidly through Cathai.
The Azure Empire (藍帝國, Lándìguó) existed from the reunification of Cathai in 580 AD until the invasion of the Chahar people from the northwestern plains led to the dynasty's fall in 1214 AD. During this time, its territorial extent fluctuated greatly, but at its height the Azure Empire was the largest contiguous land empire in Escari history. The Azure Empire established Christianity as the state religion, and developed many of the institutions now associated with Cathai, including its civil service examinations and great monasteries.
Chahar invasion and White EmpireEdit
Following the conquest of Cathai, the Chahars established their own imperial dynasty, adopting Cathaic customs and traditions and styling themselves as emperors of the "White Empire" (浩帝國, Hǎodìguó) from 1234 onwards. In 1428, the White Empire was overthrown by Shao Cunxu, who established a new dynasty and declared himself the first Emperor of the Vermilion Empire (Tsutikuo). This period is not generally considered to be a legitimate dynasty by traditional Tsutikuan historiography, and is conventionally referred to as the "Rule of the Barbarians" (夷統治, Yí tǒngzhì).
Following the defeat of the Chahars and their expulsion from central Cathai, the rebel leader Shao Cunxu established Tsutikuo, the Vermilion Empire, with his capital at Chijing. Chijing was located in the mountainous north-east, away from the traditional centre of Cathaian power in the south; Shao Cunxu chose to establish his capital here partly because he was himself a Shanren (山人) or mountainfolk person but also because of the ease of defending the location. Shao Cunxu adopted the era name of "Tiankai Emperor" (天凱皇帝, Tiānkǎi huángdì), meaning "Emperor of the Heavenly Victory." As well as a successful military leader, the Tiankai Emperor was an able politician and statesman; he suppressed corruption in the imperial government and reformed the civil service. He also established an advisory council of senior officials, military commanders and church leaders that formed the basis of the modern-day Imperial Senate. After the Tiankai Emperor's death, he was succeeded by his son, the Kaiping Emperor (開平). The Kaiping Emperor continued to tackle corruption in the government, and also oversaw economic reforms, including an enormous effort at currency reform to reverse the devaluation of Cathaic coinage that had occured under the Chahars and the later Azure Emperors. By the time of the Kaiping Emperor's death, Tsutikuo was the preeminent power in western Escar, and was able to impose tributary status on its neighbours. However, as Escar moved into the Modern Period, Cathaic influence over the other Escaric states would begin to decline.
Wars of Zhenwu (禎武戰爭)Edit
The head of state and fount of all legal authority is the Vermilion Emperor, who is regarded as the Son of Heaven and God's anointed ruler. The monarch rules until death or abdication, and is both the political and religious leader of the nation. Firstborn male-line descendants of the dynastic founder are taken from their parents at birth and raised as orphans in one of nine specially designated monasteries where they are kept ignorant of their heritage and taught humility and sympathy for the common people. When the monarch dies or abdicates, the Ascension Council, a body composed of senior ecclesiastic figures, senior imperial princes and high-ranking mandarins, selects the next emperor or empress from among those children, who only then discover the truth of their heritage before being invested in the Vermilion Throne and anointed as imperial sovereign. Women can ascend to the throne but are not permitted to pass their inheritance rights on to their own offspring, ensuring that the succession remains with the ruling House of Shao. The present monarch is the Taixing Emperor.
Once enthroned, the Emperor usually lives a fairly secluded and ascetic life within the Inner Court of the Imperial Palace. His three major channels through which he interacts with the government of the Empire are the Imperial Chancellory, an Imperial Censorate consisting of senior officials who scrutinise all major organs of government and report directly to the Emperor, and the members of the imperial house. All male-line descendants, male or female, of the first Vermilion Emperor are princes or princesses of the blood by right of birth, but the superior title of Imperial Prince or Princess is awarded to those children raised in the imperial monasteries as potential monarchs who pass all of the necessary tests to assume the throne but are ultimately passed over in favour of another. These children are instead allowed to leave the monastery as fully-fledged scions of the Imperial House with authority superseding the ordinary organs of government, acting as senior advisors and agents of their sibling or cousin, the monarch. This system is designed to ensure that no one institution can seek to control the Throne by manipulating the information passed to the Emperor.
Beneath the Emperor is the nation's legislature, the Imperial Senate (硃帝國參議院, Zhūdìguó Cānyìyuàn). The Senate is composed of a mixture of hereditary seats, reserved for those holding senior aristocratic titles; ecclesiastic seats, reserved for senior clergymen and monastics; territorial seats, which compose the largest part of the Senate and consist of representatives elected to represent a certain territory; and imperial appointees, who generally include senior scholar-officials, experts in various fields and representatives of important interests such as workers' unions and large corporations. The Senate is responsible for proposing, drafting and voting on legislation which requires imperial approval to be passed into law. The Emperor has the right to refuse his consent to new legislation, effectively affording him veto powers. The head of government, the Imperial Chancellor (丞相, Chéngxiàng) is nominated by the Senate, and appointed by the Emperor. The Emperor has the right to dismiss the chancellor, dissolve the Senate and call elections at any time, but normally elections occur every six years.
The current Chancellor is Ming Jisong of the Ironhats Party (鐵帽黨, Tiěmàodǎng). The ruling coalition in the Imperial Senate is formed by the conservative, centralist Ironhats Party and the moderate reformists and socialists of the Bright Torch Party (亮炬黨, Liàngjùdǎng). As head of government, the chancellor has the right to nominate government ministers, who are conventionally non-elected technocrats appointed based on their technical expertise from amongst the Empire's scholar class, rather than elected members of the Senate; this reflects the Confucian traditions of the imperial government. Important ministries include the Ministry of Rites, responsible for overseeing ceremonies of the imperial court as well as the imperial examinations system; the Ministry of Defence, responsible for overseeing the imperial armed forces; the Ministry of Revenue, responsible for developing and executing the imperial government's public finance and economic policy; the Ministry of Justice, which oversees law enforcement and the court system; and the Ministry of the Imperial Succession, which monitors potential candidates for the imperial throne and informs the eventual decisions of the Ascension Council.
Judiciary and LawEdit
Tsutikuo operates a mixed or hybrid legal system. Two main bodies of law are recognised- imperial civil law arising from imperial edicts drafted by the Imperial Senate and formally enacted by the Emperor, and customary law, by-laws based in local tradition and custom or enacted by local governing bodies and magistrates. Additionally, precedents established by magistrates in prior legal cases may also be drawn upon in contemporary judgements, giving Tsutikuan law some characteristics of a common law system. Tsutikuo's judicial system operates along an inquisitorial model, rather than an adversarial one. The court, under the jurisdiction of local magistrates, plays an active role in seeking to determine the facts of each case. There is no "defence" and "prosecution" as exist in common law adversarial systems. The Vermilion Emperor is regarded as the fount of all justice; in practice, the supreme legal authority and court of last resort in Tsutikuo is the Senate, appeals to which are heard by the Senatorial Appellate Committee (參議院上訴委員會, Cānyìyuàn shàngsù wěiyuánhuì). The Appellate Committee is composed of senior scholar-bureaucrats with experience serving as legal magistrates and formal qualifications in law. Most legal cases in Tsutikuo are heard by District Magistrates' Courts, above which are Provincial Magistrates' Courts. The Imperial Church also operates a parallel system of religious courts dealing with matters of canon law, which also deals with family law. Civil matters involving members of holy orders, such as monks, nuns and priests, are customarily dealt with in church courts; only the state magistrates' courts may deal with criminal law violations, however.