Tales From the Fallen Empire
Description: The inscrutable Zhou of the Jade Empire, once mystical advisors to the throne of Ithmyrr, sit quietly at the world’s edge, shrouded in mystery and enveloped by enigma. The Zhou not only share their heritage and ancestry with the Atevan First Men, but are one in the same. In their home realm of Ateva, political and social boundaries separate those who not born into the royal houses. The Zhou served as advisors, councilors, and court magicians to the noble Atevans.
After the Dragons transplanted the Atevan armies to Leviathan during the First Age, the people of Zhou were brought to fight alongside the First Men. When the Great War had finished and the Empire of Ithmyrr dominated almost all lands, the Zhou were forced back into their roles of servitude. It was during the rebellion of men against the Ithmyrran Empire that the Zhou chose self-exile and left to form their own nation.
Under the leadership of a royal scribe, Long Wei (later to become the first Jade Emperor) led the people of Zhou to the lands south of Ithmyrr. Here, he expected a battle to keep the freedom he had won, but the battle never came. The Ithmyrran Empire closed their trade routes, closed off relations with the world, and constructed walls to border themselves. It was then that Long Wei declared Zhou a nation and eventually an empire. The Zhou share the same physical traits as the First Men; they are taller than most humans, but unlike the Ithmyrrans they are thinner in build and narrower of frame. Their skin is fair compared to the ruddy to dark skin of the people of Ithmyrr and most have midnight black hair and light brown eyes.
Culture: Zheng Wei, the "Son of Heaven”, and current Emperor of Zhou, sits on the celestial throne overlooking his domain from high above in the city of Shénchéng. While their counterparts in Ithmyrr still struggle with Dragon worship, dark sorcery, and their own egos, the Zhou see this as lack of enlightenment.
The Zhou embrace the art of alchemy, science, and spiritualism above all else and feel they have achieved true harmony. Everyone outside the Zhou borders lives unenlightened and, to them, remain savages and barbarians. The Zhou are an innovative people who trade their goods throughout Leviathan. Everything from food, spices, textiles, to tools are finely crafted by Zhou artisans. Zhou philosophy is studied by many outside of its borders; those looking for enlightenment can follow the teachings of Zheng Wei, Xun Fu, and the father of Zhou philosophy, Yen Zi.
The Zhou have not been without problems or social issues. The Emperor keeps a tight rein on the social and economic prosperity of all his people. Those who would speak against the throne or try to incite social change are quietly arrested in the night and taken to Fengkuang Sanitarium. This place of healing and meditation has been rumored to be nothing more than an insane asylum and jail for political prisoners.
Religion: "All who are mandated to take the celestial throne are Sons of Heaven and therefore are living gods.” The first Jade Emperor Zheng Wei had decreed that the rulers of Zhou were descended from the bloodline of the god Huángtiān (a guardian spirit revered on Ateva by the Zhou). Worship of the Emperor and his family has been practiced by the people of Zhou since the beginning of the Second Age. While there is nothing in place to enforce the worship of the Jade Emperor, the people regularly bring small offerings (fruit, gems, and trinkets) to the temples or create small shrines in their homes. In the Current Age, most find the idea of religion to be an antiquated practice and pursue the arts for spiritual fulfillment.
Mind & Body are One: Human Zhou start with +1 AGI or INT, player’s choice.
Common Male Names: Bang-xao, Cheng-ho, Chun-mei, Danzu, Feng-yi, Guan-xiu, Hai-feng, Hong-quan, Hsui-chuan, Jhong-shun, Joong, Keng-chi, Kun, Ming-feng, Pao-tzu, Qianhua, Quan, Shan-tang, Shao-zu, Shi-xian, Tian-yun, Tien-kai, Tzu-jao, Wei-kang, Xiang-ling, Yang-cheng, Zhao-ying, Zongyuan
Common Female Names: An-mei, Chin-chiao, Chwun-yu, Feng-ying, Hai-xia, Hseuh, Jiang-kui, Jian-kui, Lao-shih, Lienying, Lin-wei, Mei-zhen, Nai-jian, Phan-hue, Shan-lee, Shouyun, Szu-zhan, Tsai-chin, Wei-yan, Xiao-xing
Cultural Traits: Enlightened, Sorcery, Science, Philosophy, Disciplined
Language: The Zhou speak in a variant of ancient Atevan called Zhōuwén.
Restricted Class: Barbarian, Sentinel