Jade Empire is stretching from the quiet, rich lands of the Golden Delta to the bustling coastal trade cities of the Prosperous East, the Jade Empire has been a beacon of light and culture for centuries. More than a dozen dynasties have ruled since it was founded under the leadership of Emperor Sagacious Tien and each has been more glorious than its predecessor. Not that the land is always peaceful, but the current Emperor, Emperor Sun Hai, has turned turmoil to harmony in the eyes of his people.
The Empire is divided into four massive provinces. The Golden Delta in the south, which include communities like Two Rivers, is mostly agricultural. To the North holds the Seat of Heaven, which holds the Imperial City. In the Prosperous East, there are port cities like Phoenix Gate. To the West lie the Hills of the Six Holy Scrolls. Presumably, this is where Dirge is located.
- Imperial Army- The traditional armed force of the Jade Empire, the Imperial Army has become increasingly sidelined by the former Order of the Lotus Monks. It is largely relegated to supporting the Assassins in the field and performing menial guard duties that the Assassins cannot be bothered with.
- Lotus Assassins- Not explicitly an army, but increasingly fielded as one under Emperor Sun Hai's rule, the Lotus Assassins are the personal spies, guards, and warriors of the Emperor, sworn to carry out his will without question. The Lotus Assassins are infamous for their ruthless efficiency and personal devotion to the Emperor.
The Rise of Sagacious Tien
The Jade Empire was forged out of warring countries by the iron will, philosophical teachings, and inestimable might of Sagacious Tien: the first Emperor. After titanic battles and tense negotiations, Sagacious Tien brought harmony to the chaotic world and created a single culture for his empire.
"Tho Fan", or The Old Tongue, was the native language of one of many kingdoms struggling for supremacy before the Empire was unified by Sagacious Tien. As the wars raged, constant shifts in territorial leadership spread the use of the Old Tongue. By the time Sagacious Tien formed the Empire, the Old Tongue was so widely spread that it became a second official language of the Jade Empire.
The Tree that Defies the Fire
From malevolent Demons to rebel dissidents, the Jade Empire has withstood many threats to its prosperity and prevailed. Yet of all the threats the young Jade Empire faced, the greatest was the barbarian warlord Zeng Sai. Titled "The Tree that Defies the Fire," Zeng Sai managed to organize the barbaric Horselords into an efficient and deadly machine of warfare, conquering much of the lands to the west and north of the Empire before coming to bear on the borders of the Jade Empire itself. Zeng Sai, whose savagery denied even the great Wall built to keep his people out, led his hungry, maddened people to attack the fledgling Empire in a rabid attempt to destroy all that would become the Empire's advanced and prosperous civilization.
So vicious and deadly was Zeng Sai's attack that it roused the insular Spirit Monks from their temple in the Land of Howling Spirits to come to the Empire's aid. Left unconquered by the devouring Horselord army, the monks of Dirge stood alongside the Empire and, in a great battle recounted by sages, playwrights, and scholars around the known world, laid waste to Zeng Sai and his ravenous army of wild bowmen. With the help of the monks from Dirge, the Empire finally burned down the Tree that Defies the Fire. What remains of the Horselords now reside in their arid lands north of the Seat of Heaven Province where currently they hold an uneasy truce with the Jade Empire.
The Last Spirit Monk
During the reign of Emperor Sun Hai, the Jade Empire suffered from the Long Drought. After being debilitated by years of scorching heat, little rainfall, and diminishing agriculture; Emperor Sun Hai decided to take matters into his own hands and save his Empire through supernatural means. Accompanied by his highly skilled brothers and the Imperial Army, Emperor Sun Hai assaulted the Temple of Dirge to capture the Water Dragon. Once the Temple of Dirge was destroyed and its protectors the Spirit Monks annihilated, Emperor Sun Hai cut open the body of the Water Dragon and its magical waters ended the Long Drought. But in the process, the dead of the land stopped proceeding to the completion of their cycle of life and death since the 'shepherd' of their spirits after death -- i.e., the Water Dragon -- was trapped through her defilement and was also having her powers drained by use of her heart. Since the Water Dragon's essence was too potent for any mortal, Sun Hai could only draw power from the Water Dragon's heart slowly although it took a great toll on his body.
Fearing that Sun Hai's reign as a god-emperor would be chaotic and violent, Sun Hai's brother Sun Li conspired with their brother Sun Kin to assassinate Sun Hai. Despite Prince Sun Kin plunging his sword in Sun Hai's back, he did not die and with his godlike powers overpowered his treacherous brothers. Sun Li fled the battle while Sun Hai bounded Sun Kin's soul to Sun Li's armor; thus enslaving him as Death's Hand. While Sun Li murdered the newborn Last Spirit Monk's guardian and raised them as his own under the guise of a benevolent master, Sun Hai became a recluse and dissapeared from the public eye. In revenge for Sun Li's treachery, Sun Hai ordered the Lotus Assassins to murder Sun Li's wife and newborn daughter. While Sun Li's wife was executed, Sagacious Zu smuggled the daughter to safety and she was raised as Dawn Star.
Twenty years later, the Emperor sent his Lotus Assassins to attack the village of Two Rivers in order to apprehend his missing brother Sun Li, who has long evaded him and also his protege, the Last Spirit Monk. He had also sought to acquire the Dragon Amulet so that he can absorb large quantities of the Water Dragon's power more efficiently. Over the course of his reign, Emperor Sun Hai has gone mad with power and his reign increasingly tyrannical. Though fully aware, the Emperor has turned a blind eye to the consequences of imprisoning the Water Dragon. The Emperor planned to construct a vast army of Golems, created from the spirits of murdered slaves in order to solidify his rule. Emperor Sun Hai's health eventually failed him but with the Water Dragon's power sustaining him, he became a spirit himself. The Last Spirit Monk eventually confronted Sun Hai in his Imperial Palace and defeated him in single combat, toppling the tyrant once and for all.
After vanquishing Sun Hai, Sun Li revealed that the Last Spirit Monk was just a pawn in his scheme to usurp his older brother's throne and claim the Water Dragon's power. Exploiting a flaw Master Li instilled in his pupil's training, Sun Li murdered the Last Spirit Monk and began harnessing the Water Dragon's essence using the Spirit Monk's Dragon Amulet. The defeat of Sun Hai allowed the Water Dragon to reclaim enough of her power to contact the Last Spirit Monk in the underworld. The Water Dragon guided the Last Spirit Monk back to Dirge where they are restored back to life. As instructed, the Last Spirit Monk found the Water Dragon's body in the Imperial Palace and either destroyed it to free the Water Dragon's spirit for rebirth; or tainted it to suppress her power so that it could be conserved after the final battle. The dampening of the Water Dragon's power had left Sun Li vulnerable which allowed the Last Spirit Monk to defeat Sun Li in single combat.
The fate of the Jade Empire is decided by the choices of the Last Spirit Monk.
- If the Last Spirit Monk destroyed the Water Dragon's body and killed Sun Li, the Jade Empire is freed from tyranny and the natural order of death and rebirth is restored.
- If the Last Spirit Monk tainted the Water Dragon's body and killed Sun Li, the Last Spirit Monk becomes the new god-emperor of the Jade Empire.
- If the Last Spirit Monk is swayed by Sun Li's argument that his apotheosis is necessary to bring about an ordered, self-sufficient, and obedient empire not threatened by the unrest of mortals or the Celestial Bureaucracy, then the Spirit Monk lowers their defenses so that Sun Li can strike them down. Sun Li honors his pupil's sacrifice with a large gold statue in their image and also has future generations be taught about them as a form of propaganda. Sun Li becomes the god-emperor of a supposedly prosperous yet authoritarian Jade Empire.