Population: Approx. 16 million
Founded: AF 93
Government: Hereditary Monarchy
Emperor: Wei Li Akira
Local currency: Yun
Religious makeup: 72% Zu-Xi'an, 12% Universalist, 7% Ascensionist, 9% Other/None
After the Fall, many regions of Terranis fell into anarchy. Others turned into fledgling micro-nations that aggressively defended their immediate surroundings from those who turned to raiding and banditry to surviving. By the mid-1st century, northeastern Occidus was filled with a dozen of these micro-nations, who were as likely to work together against external threats as go to war with each other. Although it would be a misnomer to view it as any kind of capital, the city of Zhejing was used as a central meeting place for these nations, its highly defensible position proving useful for launching campaigns.
Into this situation entered Wei Han Lu, an ambitious general of the Lu nation. Although Lu was one of the smaller nations, it had avoided being conquered in large part due to General Wei's brilliant leadership. Wei's ambition was not limited to mere survival, however. He envisioned not a series of disparate nations, but a single unified empire. The resources of Lu would not be enough for this, however.
The first step of his plan was to forge an alliance with the Jin nation. Knowing this would provoke the rival Hu nation, he proceeded anyway, even though he lacked the approval of his sovereign. As he predicted, the Hu soon attacked and were promptly crushed in a battle of Wei's choosing. General Wei proceeded to seize a large swathe of Hu territory before he was recalled by his sovereign to face censure for engaging in actions without approval. In response, with the full backing of Lu's military, Wei struck down the king and seized control of the nation for himself.
Over the next several years, political maneuvering would see many of the other nations pitched into conflict with each other while Wei consolidated power until he was able to seize Zhejing for himself, declaring it the new capital of his country. By now, the dozen smaller nations had coalesced into only five. Although Wei had seen significant gains, many still considered him an usurper who had accomplished what he had through luck.
That changed after the battle of Shingdao Plains. The army of Wei did battle with the army of Wu Shen, and scored a devastating victory despite being outnumbered nearly two to one. This not only seemed to legitimatize Wei's rule, but marked the opening battle of the conflict that would come to be known as the War of Five Kingdoms.
Over the next 20 years, General Wei would grind down the other four kingdoms. Even the outbreak of the First Barbarian Wars did little to slow his advances. His brief alliance with the other two surviving nations at the time saw the invading hordes defeated, and the line of Vasilius finally ended once and for all.
Finally, in AF 93, the city of Nanjing fell to General Wei, ending all threats to his power. He promptly declared himself Emperor of the Wei Empire. By now, his ferocity in battle had earned him the appellate, “Lion of the North.” The armies of Wei have ever since been notorious for near-suicidal bravery.
The Empire of Wei did not encounter another major power until they met the kingdom of Saniel in the late 2nd century. Eager to prove themselves, the Empire almost immediately launched an attack against Saniel, but the distance involved in traveling to the front and Saniel's mastery of cavalry tactics quickly made it an unappealing conflict. The Empire entered the Bastion Wars with the same relish, fighting with full zeal even after other nations began to withdraw, and was the second-to-last power to sign the Treaty of Daeldren.
By the 5th century, the Empire had formalized relations with the nation of Nijin, located in the northwestern portion of Occidus. Between them lay vast tracts of wilderness, a land that proved ripe for monsters and resurgent raider clans. As the Second Barbarian Wars erupted across Terranis, both Wei and Nijin were assailed by vast armies. Though the two nations worked together to purge the land between them, the Wei were significantly more aggressive and pro-active at conquering the untamed lands, while the Nijin were more focused on keeping their borders secure and fighting defensively.
Enraged by what he saw as cowardice on the part of the Nijin, the current Emperor, Wei Chu, ordered a subsequent invasion of their former allies once the land between them had been purged of enemies. The move proved highly unpopular among the people of Wei. Although there was considerable distance between the countries, the extensive trade they had enjoyed had the side effect of causing the two cultures beginning to blend together, in no small part due to considerable emigrating between them. What the Emperor saw as cowardice, his people saw as disciplined pragmatism. The Nijin armies were significantly smaller than those of Wei, and it was their intractable defense that had drawn the bulk of the invading forces to them, leaving the attackers vulnerable to flanking attacks by the Wei.
This same discipline would continually confounding the invading Wei forces, as the Nijin's measured considerations of the battlefield allowed them to withstand the nigh-reckless ferocity of the Zhòngwén of Wei. After several years of protracted conflict that saw only middling gains, and with support among the people continuing to deteriorate, the Emperor was forced begin considering a cessation to the conflict.
It was then that the Shogun of the Nijin, Masune Setsuna, came to him with a solution. Masune saw the conflict as needless, and, much like Wei Han Lu who founded the Empire, envisioned a land unified under one banner. He knew that would never be accomplished through conquest, however, as the two nations, while distinct in their fighting styles, were evenly matched. Already he had seen how the peoples and cultures of their two nations had begun to blend together, and knew if they were united, no mortal force could hope to match them. Therefore, he proposed the two nations become one, with the Nijin joining the Empire.
The Emperor accepted, though he wondered aloud what would happen to Masune after this. Knowing that many in both nations would not accept the joining as long as he lived, once the arrangements were made, Masune committed ritual suicide following a public address to his people, entreating them to join hands with the Wei. Honored and humbled by Masune's sacrifice, the Emperor renamed the Empire as Weijin. The capital of each nation was also renamed, with Zhejing becoming Yanoshiko, and the former Nijin capital of Midoto becoming Gungzhou. From then on, they would be one country, but forever known as the “Twin-Souled Nation”.
This unified spirit proved indomitable during the Third Barbarian Wars, when the Weijin Empire not only readily purged its lands once more of the rising tide of monsters and barbarians, but lent significant aid to Saniel's defense. Even the might of Aranok the Ravager was unable to withstand the unrelenting assault of the Weijin forces.
A combination of viewing Saniel as weak after the Third Barbarian Wars and witnessing the devastation of the Helios Schism, a conflict which in which they played virtually no part, led to a growing isolationist attitude among the Empire in the 8th century. It was only a combination of shrewd Saernis diplomacy and fear of being outmatched by the other major powers unifying that led Weijin to join the Terranis Union at the end of the century. By the 10th century, the Empire had begun to build the Great Walls between it and Saniel, further increasing its isolation from the other nations. Although, a dispute over the location of the Walls between Saniel and Weijin ignited their participation in the Unity Wars, with Saniel claiming the Walls were being built well into their territory. The Walls were demolished in numerous places over the course of the Wars, but Weijin stubbornly rebuilt them whenever it would retake the territory. As both nations were also diverting resources to conquer other parts of Occidus, the fighting was more of a slow burn than a short but intense conflagration, and thus lasted significantly longer than the fighting on Orius. Saniel eventually ceded the territory lost to Weijin and acknowledged the position of the Walls as the new borders between them, ending the Wars for them.
In recent decades, civil unrest and rebellion has grown across the Empire. Whether perceiving the Emperor's position as weak and seeking to depose him, or other reasons, minor lords around the country have engaged in increasingly brazen acts of defiance, from refusing to pay taxes to outright rebellion. The Emperor has grown increasingly militant in putting down these acts, determined to keep the Empire unified by any means necessary. Relations with Saniel have also continued to decline in recent years, to the point where many expect outright war to begin again. Both nations have begun stationing additional troops along the border.
While the Weijin Empire has existed in its current unified state for centuries, the Zhòngwén and Nijin are still in many ways distinct peoples within it. Both languages are taught in schools and spoken by most citizens. There are still notable differences in diet, clothing, mannerisms, and military units. Likewise, there has been considerable blending of the two over the centuries. The primary religion of the Empire, Zu-Xi'an, is an amalgamation of the two original ones, and many citizens will bear names originating in both peoples (e.g. the current Emperor, Wei Li Akira).
Some elements common to both peoples include an appreciation of all forms of artistry, valuing one's word or honor, and adhering to the truth in all things. While deception and lying can still occur, when one's honor and reputation are among the most prized possessions one can have, it tends to be avoided. Many of Terranis' most celebrated works of art hail from the Empire, in no small part for how wildly different the styles are from those used by any other land.
Economically, the Empire is almost entirely self-sufficient in terms of agriculture and raw resources, but still trades with other nations for other goods, particularly Korneth for their pre-Fall items. It enjoys modest exports of weapons, foods, and arts, the unique twists it puts on each of those making them highly desired outside the Empire, while imports of such items from other lands occur regularly too.
The current Emperor is Wei Li Akira, the second son of the previous Emperor. While other hereditary dynasties on Terranis will automatically pass to the eldest son (or eldest child in Doramor's case), the Weijin Empire allows any legitimate son of the previous Emperor to stake a claim to the throne. Though this can lead to intense political competition and sometimes outright warfare, the prevailing belief is this ensures the strongest offspring leads the Empire. Given all the Empire has endured and survived, it seems to be a viable arrangement.
Emperor Li has found his reign plagued by both rebellious acts within his lands, and worsening relations without. His eldest daughter, Jun-Zhen, was married off to King Charles VII of Saniel at the young age of 24 , and rumors persist it was to avoid a scandal over him having impregnated her during a state visit. The Emperor has rarely had a positive statement to make about the neighboring country, and has stationed increasing amounts of troops along the border. Whether outright war will break out remains to be seen.