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"Our path is paved in bronze and blood. Nothing shall stand in our way." -Emperor Nejekus
The Cronestes Empire was a political entity that existed during the Thyron Bronze Age. It lasted from 2,500 to 2,100 BSE.
The Cronestes Empire, founded by an ambitious warlord named Nejekus, ruled over the lands surrounding the Pasteres River, and was the first entity on Bemuge to do so. Its capital was Cronestes, at the base of the Noteres Mountains.
Due to its size, the Cronestes Empire implemented the vassalage system that stronger city-states would impose upon weaker ones at an unprecedented scale. Conquered cities would have their former leader replaced by a regional governor, who would answer to central power nestled in Cronestes.
The emperor himself functioned both as a political and a military leader; in formal warfare, he would march into battle alongside his forces, clad in precious metals and brilliant jewels dug out from the Noteres Mountains. Upon death, he would be entombed in his wartime outfit in the palace crypt, joining his ancestors.
The palace itself also hosted the priesthood, which performed ceremonies to highlight the emperor's authority. In addition, the palace's scribes worked to record whatever information was needed onto tablets.
The Cronestes Empire followed a polytheistic faith that had already diffused throughout the South Arlus city-states; thus, despite slight variances in folklore between local peoples, it was easily recognized, giving the Empire divine legitimacy (the reason will be explained below).
In essence, the Cronestes belief system, similarly to many Thyron "heathen" faiths, glorified Thyrons' competitive, even violent mindset. Here, combat prowess, and the willingness to use it, were seen as the most (if not the only) important characteristics of an individual. This was because conflict among the scattered city-states pleased a pantheon of three gods:
- Eonare, god of the Eoteres Desert, which he created for Thyrons to battle upon.
- Nonare, god of the Noteres Mountains, which he created to provide Thyrons with ore to forge instruments of battle with.
- Pasnare, god of the Pasteres River, which he created to provide the water needed to grow food for warriors.
With this in mind, the gods would, logically, respect and support only the strongest of Thyrons. Therefore, Nejekus, who conquered and subjugated his rivals, was favored by the gods.
Rise of Nejekus
For millennia, Thyron civilization was limited to individual city-states. At the time, Cronestes was no different. At the base of the Noteres mountains, the surrounding villages (which Cronestes relied on for food) could not match the agricultural capabilities of its peers closer to the Pasteres River, so the Cronestes Empire was unremarkable.
This changed when the knowledge of bronze spread to the city. It did not take long for Nejekus to realize he was in the right place at the right time; Cronestes's proximity to the mountains would provide abundant copper and tin ore to forge into weapons of war.
With this, his formerly mundane army became a nightmare on the battlefield, conquering and subjugating city after city. To facilitate further conquest, Nejekus sought to commandeer the life-giving Pasteres River itself as a means of mobilizing his forces. Despite the resistance he met with the local Hanaron tribes, he eventually succeeded.
End of the Cronestes Empire
As the Cronestes Empire ran out of rivals to defeat, the imperial court's fiery passion for war was quenched by abundance and decadence. The scribes, once instrumental to complicated military operations, now simply recorded trade deals that immortalized the elites' thirst for luxury goods (not that Thyron historians are complaining).
The sun finally set on Nejekus's twelfth successor as the mysterious Bronze Age Descent finished off the empire in decline. Despite the uncertainty surrounding this turning point in Thyron history, the last cryptic texts of the Scribes lamented the Empire's failure to please the gods.
The formerly unified lands descended into chaos and conflict once more.