The Empire was originally a small southern country, although the exact location is unknown to those in the north – until recently, it was “unimportant southern politics” to everyone in the north. When The Empire took over The Kingdoms, however, it quickly came to importance to the northern mind. Since approximately 1319 (to the best knowledge of those up north), The Empire has been expanding. It is unknown to those in the north how far its southern front stretches, but it is massive, with the capital far to the south.
As best those in the north can figure, The Empire began in 1319, when it began a sudden period of expansion following a change of leadership. As it conquered most of The Kingdoms in 1921, it formally re-declared Tax Day on 1-1/Er, a holiday that did not exist since the time of the Muggle Conquest. They then attempted to conquer the gnome country of Floodland. At first they rapidly took land from the gnomes, and the gnomes fell back to the Savior River. Then, they began to hold the line along the Savior River, from Entrenched Lake to the Open Sea. Since then, the two countries have been fighting, with the massive numbers of empire troops being held back by the gnome’s excellent spellpainters.
Annexation of the Yellow Plains
Then, a few aluns ago, on 2-5/Cuth (Legal Day), The Empire declared the Yellow Plains to be an annexation of The Empire. This caused an uproar amongst the halfling tribes, some of whom accepted and some of whom fought The Empire’s annexation. Formally, the terms of the annexation were fairly light. They required that they allow human movement from The Empire onto the Yellow Plains, but few humans would move there on account of the goblins. They required that the halflings pay taxes, but due to the nature of the barter system that halflings use, halflings would receive lighter taxes than most citizens, as they are rarely making trades involving Empire coin (e.g. gp, etc.). It required that the halflings follow the laws of the Empire lawmakers in any Empire city, but the tribes’ villages were not considered cities (and were therefore not subject to the laws of the empire) and their tribes’ power outside of the cities would not be imposed upon. Most importantly for The Empire, the annexation required that the halflings allow Empire troops into their land as necessary, but these soldiers would be traveling through the lands, not occupying them. All in all, it was a fairly kind annexation plan given the relative power of the halflings and the Empire.
Most clans accepted or at least are still considering these terms. The Impes were the only ones to absolutely reject The Empire’s claims, with The Empire interpreting the silence of the Ventosi, the Aetheri and the Undae as quiet acquiescence. This led to The Empire getting into combat with the Impes; eventually, The Empire gave up on that conflict because they could not fight effectively on two fronts (the gnomes of Floodland and Mt Boom) and because they had half of their soldiers in Mt Boom lured into a lava trap, with few survivors. Their plan was to allow their soldiers to traverse around Entrenched Lake so that the gnomes would be fighting on a broader front, but unfortunately the Impes forbid that decision, forcing them to avoid [[Mt. Boom]] and (after a brief attempt at traveling around it, because raids by the Impes convinced them that this was a bad strategy) travel into the Boggy-Ogre Swamp.
They lost a sizable amount of their force fighting off ogres in the Boggy-Ogre Swamp. When the military emerged on the other side, the Tenebrae halflings invited them to create a settlement. The soldiers, weary from their travel and no longer a sizable fighting force, agreed, setting up a human city. They sent back a message to The Empire informing the head of the army of the impossiblity of the route and of the new settlement that the soldiers had created instead, known as Caligonox.
The head of The Empire’s army was furious that the soldiers had stopped moving and made a settlement without his approval, and so sent back a message forcibly removing the senior officer from his position (by decapitation). He recognized the value in having the settlement, however, and knew that his troops would not survive being sent back through the swamp, so he instead appointed his own officer, Octavian, to rule over the local lands. From the stories that have arisen since, it seems that Octavian is a harsh ruler of the tribes of the East Yellow Plains (the Tenebrae, the Humi and the Lustra) but few details have come from that region as to the exact nature of the rulership as of yet.