The Twin Empires
Large and relatively organized remnants of the Old Empire, the Twin Empires each occupy a coastal area on opposite ends of the continent that their predecessor state spanned. They are little more than rump states but wield considerable power and are at least in theory still suzerains over much of their former territories. In reality, though, any attempt to assert Imperial sovereignty is well beyond their capabilities.

Eastern Empire
The great seaside cities of old still stand, joined together in a confederation known as the Eastern Empire and at least theoretically led by an elected Emperor. In practice, though, the eight-year Emperorship rotates between the mayors of the megalopolises that make up the lion’s share of the Empire. This Emperor may also be the Mayor of Five Cities, that one may also hold sway over The Tim, and so on. Some of the cities elect their mayors; others appoint them or have erected truly stunning edifices of graft and corruption that allows the office to be bought and paid for. In any case, the Emperor is largely a figurehead–none of the Mayors are willing to give up an iota of their power. The Emperor is supposed to reside in the central White City of sprawling Dece, but in practice will only spend the evening of their inauguration there.

The Eastern Empire’s greatest asset is its large and centralized urban population and access to heavily trafficked ports. But it lags behind in industry, education, and technology–having long ago ceded its primacy in those areas. It also has very little agricultural land, relying on food imports to sustain its population. These are paid for using the one well-oiled piece of Imperial governance: taxes.

Outland Empire
Nominally, the Outland Empire is part of the Eastern Empire, and its representatives are present at the Imperial inauguration every eight years. It is de facto independent, though, as a vast swath of independent interior lands seperates the coastal enclaves of Outland from those of the East. The Outland has at its heart a series of similarly coastal cities, but incorporates large stretches of relatively empty coast and hinterland as well. Its ruler, the Viceroy, is elected for an eight-year term that is offset by one year from that of the East. In theory the election is free and fair, but in practice the Outland is a single-party state, with a slate of candidates selected by the ruling Popularis Party always the only ballot choice.

The Outlands have their own character and own unique brand of inefficient corruption distinct from that of the East. The population is lower but the farmlands under its control make it more self-sufficient. In many areas, though, Imperial control is nominal, and the Empire’s borders are like a sieve. Few of its inhabitants pay taxes or are on the citizenship rolls, and its operating expenses come almost entirely from the cities, and senior Popularis Party officials who hope to be elected Emperor.

The Betweeners
A patchwork of hamlets, counties, principalities, and free cities makes up the chaotic Beral Lands and Ativia, each basically independent despite nominal fealty to the Eastern Empire and/or Outland Empire respectively. Even the largest cannot compete with the rump empires in terms of population, but freedom from Imperial bureaucracy and corruption does allow them to be much more nimble. They do share a few institutions in common, most notably the quadrennial Spartakiad Games.

Beral Lands
The Beral Lands are impossibly vast, spreading north along the coast above the Outland Empire, incorporating most of the vast and empty Confederate Shield, the Lakelands, and much of the hinterlands beyond the Eastern Empire’s control to its north. Many are confederated, at least in name, send representatives to an annual consultative parliament in Ranier, and elect a figurehead Prime Minister who resides in Lakeside. The Berallanders tend to be collectivist and value technology, education, and the pursuit of utopian ideals. This makes them a leader in cutting-edge science in an era that has grown stagnant and still relies on technologies that were introduced hundreds of years ago. Many major conglomerates like Edison Motors are headquartered in the Beral Lands, and it is home to some of the most well-respected colleges in the world like the University of the Rift.

At the same time, the Berallander states tend to be unethical in their pursuit of technology, with major employer GesteCo often cited as the worst offender. Individual freedoms tend to be highly curtailed, and surveillance is often omnipresent. A philosopher once dismissed the Beral Lands as “a quilt of nanny states and cannabis-worshipping communes” and this does have some truth to it. Of course, with so many different states, any such generalizations are not always accurate. Major states in the Beral Lands include the Free City of Harbin, the Republic of Slon, the Kingdom of Ziaana, and the Chancellorship of the Rift.

Unlike the Beral Lands, no single term exists for this area. Ativia is used the most often, but variations like Vativia, Vatlandia, or even the Vatlands are common. They occupy the center and south of the areas between the Empires, and like the Beral Lands are mainly small states. Unlike the Berallanders, there is not even a nominal confederacy among them aside from notional Imperial suzerainty. The individual states make alliances or declare war on their own. They tend to be ruggedly individualistic, preferring action to words and an unspoken moral code to codified laws.

This leads the Ativians to generally be more xenophobic and occasionally more violent than their neighbors, with many technologies (like genetic engineering) being frowned upon or outright banned. They are generally masters of lower-tech industry like steel mills, and are the undisputed masters of arms production in the Old Empire. The Westchester Repeating Arms Company, Steele Arms, and Ranger Defense Systems are all headquartered in Ativian areas, for instance. Major states in Ativia include the Principality of Raposa, the Confederation of Ladtcon, Imami City, New Attica, and the Fellowship of Teresed.

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