Until relatively recent times, the peoples of the lands now known as Eh-Maheni were seperate and proud. Several countries, kingdoms and alliances lived, squabbled and bickered in the lands along the coast and further east. Then, approximately 460 years ago, an enormous fleet of ships arrived from across the Salt. An invasion fleet, comprising itself of men, elves, orcs-kin, dwarves and dragonkin, had come across the ocean. Calling themselves the Mahen, and serving an emperor called simply “the Dragon”, this army started systematically moving up the coast, conquering coastal cities and towns as they went.
Everywhere they landed, their tactics were the same:
-The city was surrounded, and a messenger was sent in with an ultimatum: “Surrender and become part of the Mahen Empire. Your citizens will be our citizens, your strengths will be our strengths, and the blessings of the Empire will be yours. All the peoples of the empire will be lifted up together.”
-Cities that immediately capitulated were immediately incorporated into the Empire, Their ruler was named Imperial Governor of the region, and their military forces conscripted into the growing army, which then moved onto the next location. Many members of the armed forces were given high ranks within the Mahen Army, and proved highly useful to the growing invasionary force.
-Cities that resisted, and were defeated, were forced to pay 20% of their treasury to the Mahen as reparations, and the defeated peoples were made citizens of the Mahen Empire, and their military forces were conscripted into the growing army.Many members were still given high ranks, even though their home city had originally resisted. An Imperial Governor was selected from the ruling class within the city, although this rank was never given to the current ruler if the city had resisted.
The Mahen Empire moved along the coast, city to city, showing mercy and magnanimity to those they sought to conquer. When the entire coast, from the southern mountains to impenetrable northern jungles were under the Mahen, they began moving east across the plains. All peoples were to be treated with respect and be given responsibilities according to their capabilities. The only exceptions occured when those who had already been admitted to the empire rebelled, or sought to have their soldiers defect or rebel against the empire. In that case reprisal was swift and horrible.
Over the course of a decade, the Mahen were forced to suppress almost 2 dozen rebellions and minor uprisings in the coastal towns. In each case, Mahen quickly suppressed the rebellions, investigated to find those responsible, and then crucified everyone involved. Every rebellious soldier, financier or collaborator was nailed up and displayed outside their home cities walls, often along with their immediate families (with the exception of children, who were then relocated to a new city, in order to reduce any stigma attached to them from their own peoples.
Within 20 years the Mahen had conquered the entire eastern seaboard, and a great section of the plains, hills and forests to the east, all the while pushing their pro-equality regime. Peoples were free to move between cities, and regional governors made opportunities available for people of all ethnicity to benefit from the Empire’s prosperity. The empire lived and flourished for over 300 years, before rumors began to travel from the west from across the sea, that there were issues in the heart of the Mahen Empire.
Now, a 150 years on, it isnt really clear what happened to the heart of the empire, half a world away. There are,however, several stories. Some say invaders had attacked the heart of the empire, some say a natural disaster struck and destroyed the capital outright. Multiple historians have speculated that there were issues with succession, that there were multiple candidates to the Dragonseat. This theory fits most closely with the outcomes experienced in Eh-Maheni, where several of the Imperial Governors amassed armies, built fleets and went west (either to fight in a civil war or provide relief to a besieged capital). Other Governors, presumably believing no repercussions would come from the heart of the empire, declared their provinces independant, or raised armies to invade their weaker neighbours.
Whatever the cause, the Mahen empire never recovered its strength enough to reach the east coast of the ocean again, and the cities and peoples of Eh-Maheni have been free to go their own way.