Tales speak of a nation so wealthy, so filled with wonders, it is the only known rival to Shining Gloriana itself. Across the Azure Sea lie the jungles, deserts, palaces and armies of Elam-Okarthel, the Empire of the Dragons.
This is not merely a poeticism—Elam worships and has direct access to powerful dragons, who share their wisdom and blood with the people. Many of the people of Elam are the Dragonborn, blessed children of the dragons who fight in their armies and study the mystical powers of sorcery.
Intrigue between members of the nine great houses make life in Elam dangerous and exciting. The prevalence of magic means that normal facts of life for the Elam are fantastic wonders elsewhere. Flying carpets, enchanted lanterns, spells of war and more can be found everywhere. Because the lands controlled by Elam are so vast, all sorts of goods, luxuries, and denizens call Elam home.
The magic and teachings of Elam are drastically different from those of the continent where Gloriana can be found. Sorcery is common and celebrated—magic is seen as evidence of a draconic birthright and, therefore, membership in the nobility. Warlock pacts are viewed with suspicion and wizardry is a bizarre, mysterious art. The Old Religion is unknown—instead, a variety of local gods and faiths have merged over the years. The Church of Our Triumphant Family has sent a few missionaries, with limited success. Instead, religion in Elam is a question of The Path of Righteousness, a way of living handed down by wise teachers (mortal and dragon alike) for proper conduct on the earth.
- House Megaeni is infamous for determination—their ancestral lands are areas no one else wants. Megaeni’s castle is located in the midst of a treacherous bog. They are the primary line of defense against enemies trying to cross the Black Swamps. Their lands do not produce many goods (fish, plants, peat), but Megaeni is critical to the realm because they are bankers. Megaeni minds are sharp and good at exchanging foreign currency; many of the realm’s banks are owned by Megaeni humans or dragonborn.
It is traditional for Megaeni to challenge would-be suitors of their children to duels. These tend to be non-lethal (accidents do happen, however) and are usually fought by a sibling or cousin of the betrothed.
House Megaeni’s crest is a Black Dragon.
- House Vutazon is sometimes looked down on for having interbred with desert natives—desert dwarves and the like. They keep this as a point of pride, however, claiming that they have the sun in their blood. While they are a royal house by virtue of their draconic bloodline, they also cemented their place in the Firewalker Wars. Members of this house are fiercely loyal (unlike the practical, self-interested Megaeni). They also exercise very tight control over their lands, taxing anything going on there and ever wary of other houses infringing on their sovereignty.
Displays of wealth amongst the Vutazon consist primarily of gems, particularly sapphires in the house colors (Blue and Yellow). The Vutazon are highly organized and have a strong military tradition: they keep the trade routes safe, and prosper through the ensuing trade. Despite their “Vutazon First” attitude, they cleave tightly to a sense of justice and duty. In times of war they are among the first to rally to the cause—provided they see it as legitimate. Crimes in Vutazon territory frequently result in worshipful apologies and generous tribute. Courtship amongst the Vutazon is highly elaborate, with ritualistic gifts and ceremonies. Most marriages most be approved by their Suzerain.
House Vutazon’s crest (and bloodline) is a Blue Dragon.
- House Canar fought alongside Vutazon in the Firewalker Wars, but there has never been good blood between them. Vutazon sees Canar as a bunch of usless, intellectual ivory-tower types, and Canar sees their neighbors as stiff and obsessed with their own sense of order. Canar cities are lovely and inspired.
Due to their aesthetic sensibilities, the Canar are traders, producers and purchasers of fine art. They have a great deal of money invested in textiles and grow Ironwood trees in their gardens. However, the most important resource to the Canar is information—they know people everywhere. While calling them “spies” would be rude, the Canar know things before anyone else does, and they use this to their advantage.
Because of all this, the Canar are fewer in number and weaker in military power than the Vutazon, but exert significant power through the Imperial Court, giving them political advantage over their rivals.
House Canar’s crest is a Brass Dragon
- House Danoks
Per tradition, Danoks was a great human navigator who arrived in Elam from across the sea. It is possible that Danoks was from Gloriana (or perhaps some even more distant land). His people take after him, exerting power over the oceans. Most of the Empire’s navy is drawn from Danoks. If Vutazon believes in Duty, Danoks believes in justice. Many of the most honorable warriors of Elam hail from Danoks as well. This zealous pursuit of righteousness puts them at odds with less pious and strict houses, but they get along with others that share their vision. The duties they perform for the Empire are invaluable.
While some houses squabble among themselves for position, Danoks treat their kin with warmth and loyalty. From the noble bloodline to the lowliest villagers and farmers, Danoks households consist of multiple generations living under one roof. The nobles work hard to keep their people militarily fit and every time the empire goes to war, Danoks answers the call.. They are also sensitive to the suffering of others, chastising their peers in Imperial Court for mistreatment of their subjects. Danoks natives are proud to serve their rulers and will boast of their fealty at any opportunity. They are not quick to forget deeds, for good or ill.
Marriage among the Danoks is taken seriously, deliberately and respectfully. Chivalry and manners are very important, but underneath that an overriding sense of family shines through. Killing a child is the worst crime one can commit against a Danoks.
The Danoks treasure pearls and golds—despite their family emphasis and sense of justice, they have an avaricious streak they try to hide. In war, they love outmaneuvering their foes more than simply overwhelming them.
The Danoks crest is a Bronze Dragon.
- House Bothotlo
Infamous for wit and cunning humor, Bothotlo has made enemies with their wry comments. Some find them hilarious, others simply offensive. There have been scandals between Canar and Bothotlo, as both houses harbor very intense and ambitious personalities. Most of Bothotlo’s power comes from social sources; they are omnipresent at court and stay in touch with everyone. Their reputation for indiscretion is both an asset and a liability. They do not marry traditionally unless they must for political gain.
It is rumored that these nonchalant and charming nobles are also keepers of the Emperor’s Holy Slayers—assassins who do the will of the Imperial Throne in silence. Whether this is true or not, Bothotlo does not give up lightly when they set their sights on a goal.
There is bad blood between Bothotlo and Edreon—in the wake of Edreon’s rebellion, the Emperor granted many of Edreon’s best and wealthiest lands to Bothotlo.
Bothotlo’s crest is a Copper dragon.
- House Taras has ruled the empire since it was founded. The Dragon’s Gift is very strong in this family—every few generations, one of the Resplendent Emperor’s children renews the bloodline through union with the guardian dragons. Taras was the name of the first half-dragon emperor, and his unshakeable resolve remains the core value of the house. The founding war started as a battle against evil, and in theory Taras refuses to compromise these original principles.
In practice, ruling an empire does not offer this sort of moral luxury. The House is no longer the paragon of virtue it once was, but maintaining appearances is very important to them, and they make a great show of piety and righteousness. Taras usually controls both the throne and the holy orders, making them a true force to be reckoned with.
Power surrounds Taras. They dress in flowing robes, reminiscent of a gold dragon’s wings. Their hair is gold, and in the ruling line, so are their eyes. They have a swift sense of justice, untempered by mercy. To cross a Taras is to risk death. While they consume information greedily they consider themselves above others. Some take it upon themselves to act as stewards, others as condescending superiors. Displays of wealth among the Taras are more about uniqueness than sheer expenditure.
The crest of House Taras is a Gold Dragon.
- House Hamure
Another strong player in court—when some are content to guard their own lands, Hamure is synonymous with ambition. House Hamure has married more than once into the Emperor’s family, though it has been many years since this last occurred. Hamure controls large swathes of territory and is quite powerful. When involved in difficult diplomacy, the Resplendent Emperor relies on Hamure emissaries to procure the best results.
The Hamure always know who’s on top, who’s stronger than who, how, and why. They take care to maintain an image of unshakable power at all times. Their lands are rich and their crest is a Green Dragon.
- House Edreon
No family produces more sorcerers than Edreon—or more powerful sources than Edreon. The dragon’s gift is stronger here than anywhere else, even House Taras. This, among other reasons, led to a failed rebellion. When Edreon attempted to usurp the throne, their failure ended with their exile from court and the division of their lands, the best of which were given to loyal House Bothotlo. Now they are left to focus on managing the wealth that remains, and they’ve done a good job of rebuilding it. Mining and industry are their chief sources of income.
Edreon is the name of the red dragon who aided Taras in the War of the Winds. Until the rebellion, Edreon was one of the most respected and powerful families. Rumor has it that they deliberately breed sorcerers with each other to produce the most powerful possible Gift. The apex of this program was the leader of the rebellion, and after his defeat, the elders of House Edreon have forbidden this practice.
- House Jonil
Taras’ queen, Jonil, was a wise philosopher and one of the chief sources of the Path of the Righteous. She also turned out to be a Silver Dragon, and has become an object of reverence in the empire and among all those who Walk the Path. Since the Crimson War, Jonil has only risen in prominence—some of Edreon’s best mines were gifted to this loyal house. Tranquility and Serenity are the highest virtues of Jonil. Many scholars, monks and philosophers rise from this house. They dwell in mountain fortresses that are nigh impenetrable.
Curiously, Jonil is one of the few houses that has maintained friendly ties with Edreon. The two should despise each other but Jonil has done nothing but express compassion and concern for their neighbors. It is widely assumed that the Jonil heir will be wed to an Edreon scion.
After the War of the Winds, Guluar broke with Taras and led his people far from Elam. He believed that settling the land and indulging in luxury would kill the souls of his people, and forbade them to become fat city dwellers. The tribes of Gulaur are fierce, tireless warriors, who value cunning and fortitude. They have spread across many lands, and their descendants dwell in Taranat and Emankorrak.