if someone wants to wikify this, I'd be much obliged!
The State of the Kurathene Region
The major powers in Kurathene today are the Fourth Imperium, the Crullathian Empire and the Pylatean League. The largest territories which retain their independence remain the Barony of Medec, the Kingdom of Cytheria and the Republic of Soreign, though the influence of these territories has waned in the presence of the great powers. The city of Kuras remains independent of any of the great powers, while twenty-six independent principalities and city-states remain unaligned throughout the region.
Fourth Kurathene Empire
The Fourth Kurathene Empire, consisting of the four provinces of Aridor, Bracentia, Caliaze, and Trenium represents the closest to a continuation of the Kurathene Empire of old. It represents a return to the ideals of Joral Kuras, albeit in a smaller and reduced form. Untested in its unity, the Fourth Empire is presently focused on consolidating its influence over its provinces and fostering a united sense of Kurathene identity. This has meant a focus upon building up the internal economies of newly acquired provinces and paying down many of the debts created by the last two wars.
This comes at a difficult time for the Fourth Imperium who must also deal with the reality that much of their navy has been worn out from overuse. The Parliamentary chambers echo with debates over the nature of the Empire’s commitments. Most members believe the Imperial Navy should be modernized, but the pace is up for debate, with many of the newer nobles from Aridor and Caliaze holding a marked preference for spending in their own territory.
As a consequence the Empire has been non-committal with its allies abroad. While it has maintained its commitment to trade, some of its aid and war commitments have been placed on hold. For example, despite agreeing to field an anti-slavery cruiser squadron with M’Chek, the Empire has refused to reinforce it since the outbreak of the war. It has also remained skittish in committing to selling war resources to other nations, preferring to use intermediaries through Andarr for fear of starting international incidents. Currently remains deeply skeptical of intervention in southern affairs, and has generally tried to do little beyond maintaining its trade presence.
Consolidating its influence under Emperor Revel II, the Crullathian Empire has become a proper state in its own right. With an influence stretching from the Medec Basin into the Hammerfist Rift, the Crullathian Empire is the largest of the Kurathene successor states. Migrants from Brekon and Dubunat round out the Empire, and combined with its territory it is capable of rivaling Brekon in size and population.
This size has its disadvantages. The most recent succession crisis while short of a civil war, had created cleavages between competing segments of the Crullathian population. It is difficult to know who holds the power within the greater Crullathian government, although the Emperor and his supporters make daily strides in reestablishing their primacy.
The military in particular is in a state of flux. Many of the veteran military leaders had sided with the defeated Prince Severin, and there has been a number of purges intended to bring more loyal members into positions of power. Internally the military struggles to regain the prominence it once had in Crullathian society, with the army and navy competing openly for the position of prominence.
The Crullathian Navy and the merchants who back it are attempting to take a position of prominence within world affairs, if not displacing the Imperial Navy than at least being mentioned in the same breath. With support from the wealthiest members of Crullathian society, the navy has been rebuilt with extensive numbers of ships and a large set of fortified island ports off the western coast, but remains poorly manned with low morale.
Yet ambitious members of Crullathian society hope to cement the Empire’s status as a growing power. The clergy have lobbied strongly for more influence in the Church of Valok, while the trading houses have aimed to penetrate the markets of Eastern Negaria, once avoided by most western nations. Indeed one of the next candidates for the Patriarch of Brekon is a Crullathian.
The Pylatean League is the outgrowth of the Treaty of Blackhammer, which originally formed the mutual defense alliance between the eastern principalities after the rise of Crullath in the mid-19th century. Gradually built from the framework of mutual-defense into a more cohesive identity, the Pylatean League is primarily known for the much greater Galdosian influence in its culture.
Formed with the Duchy of Pylatea as its central state, the League consists of a rough confederation of six other principalities and their bordering Galdosian settlements. Because of their access to high quality dwarven goods, the League boasts one of the best trained and best equipped armies in Kurathene, easily pound for pound the equivalent of any major force short of the Fourth Imperium or Crullathian Empire.
This relative security, combined with the need for a strong centralized leadership after the fall of Servator to Crullath has been a key component in the rise of Pylatean unity. While the individual dukes and princes still retain sovereign control of their territories, the League has begun to assert its primacy, including introducing new tariffs and lowering trade barriers between League members.
The traditional seat of the Patriarch of the Church of Valok and the theocratic state ruling over much of the Golden Scythe, Brekon is still a power to be reckoned with. It possesses a large standing naval force, and a powerful contingent of mercenaries at its disposal, but the complex politics of its ruling clergy have made it less capable of responding to the shifting centers of power. Many in Brekon still see Crullath as a client state, and often treat it as such, demanding tithes and gifts from visiting Crullathian nobility.
Factionalism divides much of the church as individual bishops wield more power independently of the Holy City. Most have acquired this power only recently, as the infirmary of the Patriarch, combined with uncertainty in certain types of doctrine have opened the door for more overt political maneuvering. Brekon currently remains divided between the hardline church supremacists and more secular leaders, who cannot agree on the best course forward. They remain aloof of Crullath’s machinations, but they are aware they may be facing a reversal of the traditional client/patron relationship.
With several strong regional leaders emerging, Dubunat is presently rather divided, despite the strength of its individual regions. These leaders have made a point of asserting as much autonomy from the Dread Crown as possible, though few have openly declared independence. This state of affairs has led to some in Brekon to contemplate a military intervention in Dubunat to retake some of the old orcish territories.
Dubunati princes and counts are eager to extend their influence abroad, for they feel the one with the largest trading partners will also be favored to win the crown next. As a result there are many seeking to establish trade relations with states traditionally out of Dubunat’s reach, and one prince in particular has his eye on the lucrative slave trade with Drotid.