The Yairac Empire

Description

"Twas large, possessing a height of that as a tall man, coated in skin of leathery blue; feathers of indigo and orange adorned its flesh, and grew along its arms and head in great amounts. Two strong arms it had, with wicked clawed hands, but I stared at its face. Its tongue was forked like that of a common snake, and its mouth was lined with teeth both sharp and blunt; but its eyes were not that of any base animal or reptile, but instead glimmered with the terrifying light of intelligence."
- Luis Conales, 'Tales of the New World'

When Catalinian explorers first came to the New World, they were undoubtedly shocked (and probably dismayed) at the fact that it was inhabited by living, sentient beings. Even in the early days of Catalinian exploration and settlement, it didn't take long for these pioneers to encounter one of the most preeminent examples of these native inhabitants: the Yairac people.

The Yairac are a reptilian, snakelike race; the most succinct description of them is 'Feathered serpents'. They are tall, ranging from about 5'5-6'0 on average, with the male being slightly smaller than the female. Their skin is tough and leathery, and can range in colour from stark blue to muted greens or bloody reds, and often bear markings. Their feathers tend to coat their upper bodies, usually around the arms and the head. Their heads are much like a snake's; low, streamlined, with forked tongues and narrow eyes. Some Yairac possess impressive 'hoods', similar to that of a King Cobra, giving them an intimidating and imposing appearance. They have two long arms, with five-fingered hands, and have no legs, instead having a long, highly muscular tail which they use to move.

A Yairac can be expected to live for roughly 70-80 years. They are sexually dimorphic, with the female of the species experiencing biennial fertility periods; during this time, parts of her body, including her neck and torso, will enflame, brighten or expand. A female Yairac is expected to lay roughly ten eggs per pregnancy, and rarely reproduces more than twice in her entire lifetime.

The Yairac Empire

"The Yairac serve the Empire. It is bigger than all of us. But the Empire is a tool also, to serve the Yairac as well. Any Yairac who does not fight for the Empire is a selfish coward; but should the Empire abandon any Yairac in need, then it has failed in its now-and-forever duty."
- Grand Hierophant Yai-Ixilys of Yairacel, explaining the Empire to Catalinian diplomats

The Yairac Empire, based around their homeland of Yairacel is the large and powerful nation within which most Yairac live and work. It is a strongly centralised, hierarchical state that emphasises loyalty to the Empire over anything else. Its population sits at around 40 million Yairac, and is the strongest power in its region. Most territories or countries that border the Empire are either allied or vassal states.

Organisation of the Empire

"You can see the Imperial Palace anywhere in Cetesalan, you know. Every Yairac can look up and see it looming. It is a glorious pyramid- a step pyramid, you know. Ten giant steps, looming into the sky. It's just like the Harmonious Hierarchy. It doesn't matter where you are in the Empire; you will always be able to feel the presence of the Hierarchy."
- Ik'Culkahetl, Chocolate Trader

The Empire- or as the Yairac call it, 'Cetesa-makil-qilia' (The Empire of the Ten States)- is based around a rigid organisational philosophy called the Universal Decimal Order. Everything in the Empire is, unless it absolutely cannot be helped, organised around the number ten.

The first and most obvious of these is the all-encompassing social class structure known as the Harmonious Hierarchy. The Harmonious Hierarchy is organised into ten social classes, or 'Tiers'. It is similar to a step pyramid, with the Tiers at the bottom being the largest; each Tier is progressively smaller until it reaches the top, which is the most select, exclusive and elite of all the orders. Every mature citizen in the Empire belongs to a Tier. The lowest Tier is the 'First Tier', with the highest, naturally, being 'Tenth Tier'.

Naturally, the higher a citizen is on the Hierarchy, the more seniority that citizen enjoys over other citizens, but also has more responsibilities. Thus, a 2nd Tier citizen would be able to organise and command a band of 1st Tiers, but at the tend of the day, the burden of responsibiliy falls more heavily upon the 2nd Tier.

The Hierarchy system represents influence and responsibility, not necessarily what job a person has. So, not all farmers are 1st Tier, nor are all government officials 10th Tier, either.
A typical example of how the Harmonious Hierarchy operates:

Farming
1st Tier: 'Farmer'. Manual labour farmer. Works the fields, sows the seeds, harvests the crops.
2nd Tier: 10 Farm-Lots (10)
3rd Tier: 10 Farm-Farm-Lots (100)
4th Tier: 10 Farm-Farm-Farm Lots (1000)
5th Tier: 10 Farm-Farm-Farm-Farm Lots (10000)
6th Tier: Major City
7th Tier: Sub-Prefecture
8th Tier: Prefecture
9th Tier: State
10th Tier: National

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