Long before the Verdant Empire attained its current extent, the heartland was ruled by a body known as the House of Gulls–reportedly because they never stopped squawking, though one frustrated member was also heard to complain that they “shit on everything.”

The Gulls were originally the petty kings and nobility of the patchwork of kingdoms and principalities that made up the heartland, but over time there were a variety of methods used to pick them including appointment, election, and the purchase of seats by the wealthy. Whatever the case, they nearly always represented the political and economic elites of their areas, and any law that was passed required their approval.

In public, the Verdant Emperor always deferred to the House of Gulls, but in practice they were often little more than a rubber-stamp debating society under strong emperors. Weak emperors tended to result in true power resting with the Gulls, though they were rarely able to form a coherent government on their own. During the Imperial Crisis, many of the most powerful Gulls rose to become emperors, almost always feuding with military-backed candidates.

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