Catagonia is a new empire, created several decades ago by the powerful arch-priest Solonus. Once, it was part of the Helian Empire. Solonus first started preaching radical new religious ideas in the eastern provinces of the empire. The ideas took hold and the new religion swept the eastern half of the empire and then reached into the old west within very short order. Even the emperor himself became a convert to the new religion and under Solonus’ influence moved the capital of Helia from the western shores of Halad’eth to the eastern provinces.
This did not sit well with the Helian aristocracy, or many of its subjects, so a new emperor was elected in the west and the empire was split asunder. A long civil war settled nothing before the orcs to the south took advantage of human weakness and invaded both empires. The civil war was ended but the relationship between the two is still strained, and becomes more so every day. Solonus has outlawed magic due to many wizards support of Helia in the civil war, and rounds up magic users in witch hunts carried out by his loyal Inquisition. The church monitors the population for any subversive heresy or blasphemy against the church and Solonus. Solonus has declared a crusade against the orcs, and other evil races, believing their “taint” should be purged from the world of Alumentare. A war has broken out on the southern Catagonian frontier with the orcs who themselves have declared a jihad against this new human threat.
The people of Catagonia were once sincere followers of Solonus and his religion, but as the High Priest has tightened his grip over his new empire many have become disillusioned. Unfortunately it is disillusionment they do not dare voice in public. Solonus has spies in every corner and the most fearful sound in all the empire is a rap on the front door in the dead of night… However for every fearful follower there is also a fanatic, willing to die for the greater glory of the church and the High Priest. Solonus is several hundred years old and even his most loyal subjects secretly wonder how he has lived so long. Solonus proclaims that he has ascended and is a representation of the gods’ wills on Alumentare. The Khemetians do not look fondly in their direction.
The Catagonian army is the only army in Halad’eth armed with firearms. Since the High Priest has outlawed arcane magic, a technological alternative to the fireball had to be found, and it was with the invention of the musket. Dwarves had used blackpowder for generations to create large explosions to aid in their tunneling of underground complexes. The Catagonians simply took this invention and added their own twist. Orc and Helian alike are alarmed about this development, and as the High Priest and his religion become more and more oppressive it looks increasingly likely that Helia may well form a pact with the orcs of the southern desert.
The Emperor of Catagonia has been a puppet of the High Priest until just recently. The new emperor wishes to establish his own dominance in Catagonia’s affairs and seek to undermine Solonus’ influence however he can. Many nobles are also beginning to see the threat that Solonus has become to their families and estates and have allied themselves to the emperor. A shadow war has developed between the emperor and his allies and Solonus and his church. Spying and even assassination of become the weapons of this very cold war, with the hearts and minds of the Catagonian people themselves as the ultimate prize.
: Much the same as Helians, the Catagonians run the full gamut with dark skin and dark hair being slightly more common.
: The Catagonian people can best be described as paranoid, suspicious and xenophobic. This was not always the case, but has tended to be the rule since the ascension of High Priest Solonus to the absolute authority in the Kingdom. Those who speak out against the church tend to disappear and not be seen again so protest is silent in the face of fanatic cultists who enforce the High Priests will and carry out his inquisitions and with hunts. The sight of an Inquisitor is oft enough to seal any diplomatic deal as well.
: Catagonia is comprised of the Eastern half of what was once a united Helia. The eastern provinces have been more recently settled so it is not as grand or as settled as Helia, but its cities and fortifications tend to be more modern. Catagonia’s broad southern plain arcs into the transition lands bordering the central desert inhabited by the orc kingdoms. Conflict on this border is common and the river Khar Phalen bristles with castles and fortifications on both banks.
: There is only one religion in Catagonia – the High Priests cult, and woe to any person who suggests otherwise. Worship of neutral and evil gods is prohibited and worship of many of the good gods is frowned upon. The high priest himself pays lip service to Jazirian, but in actually is more interested in his own power over any specific deity.