Difference between revisions of "Tang Empire"
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Revision as of 15:10, 3 September 2015
The largest island in the Realm is home to the ratmen of the Tang Empire. It is clear that ratmen society was established there early in the First Age of Man, as written records tracing the lineage of the Tang emperors can be found dating from that time. Confined on a small island with limited natural resources, the Tang were quickly forced to learn how to build ships and sail. At first, these early sailors focused mostly on fishing which provided the staple of their diet. As their skills increased, the Tang ventured further into the sea in search of larger fish and whales. Eventually, the Tang made contact with the outside world, first encountering the elves in the present-day Wilderlands. Documents from the Elven Histories of the First Age tell of this meeting. By the end of the First Age, the sight of Tang sailing ships was common in most of the harbors of the Realm. This tradition has continued throughout the Second and Third Ages.
Little is actually known of the Tang homeland, as visitors are not welcome on the island. The Tang are ruled by a hereditary emperor, and there seems to be little discord about his rule. He is said to sit upon a ruby throne in a palace made of solid gold. There, he has a crystal ball which allows him to watch for the safety of all the Tang ships in all the oceans of the Realm. There are no known concentrations of ratmen other than on the island of Tang. In fact, while ratmen may visit for a few months or even a year at a port of call, they always return to Tang after a short while.
In the middle of the Third Age, Tang traders began a tradition of carrying one human merchant on all of their galleys. This master merchant is responsible for negotiating with the humans of the Realm. It is said that these merchants are allowed to disembark on the island, and some have been rumored to have met the Emperor. These rumors have never been verified.
The Tang remain politically neutral and seem just as comfortable dealing with pirates as kings. There are no significant exports from the Tang Empire, as the ratmen typically act as warehousemen and ferriers in most exchanges.