|Main Ethnic Groups:||Vildian (52%), Asher (39), Daevar (9%)|
|Flag:||White with a golden cross|
|Masculine Names:||Aaron, Allon, Carpus, Chenaniah, Damaris, Drusilla, Gemariah, Hezekiah, Ichabod, Jacob, Jeremiel, Lemuel, Nereus, Nimrod, Raphael, Samuel, Uriel|
|Feminine Names:||Abiah, Abilene, Adah, Eunice, Hephzibah, Huldah, Jael, Jedidah, Jemima, Julia, Leah, Martha, Moriah, Noa, Persis, Sapphira, Selah, Zibiah|
|Last Names:||Abijah, Bartholomew, Bartimeus, Youngest child, Cone, Daniels, Davids, Heber, Jones, Jorden, Judd, Levy, Mary, Miriam, Thomas, Zachariah|
The Dominion is the heart of The Church, the principality that has been the backbone of Alkavian faith for years. Although in theory The Holy Throne and The Dominion are different institutions (the first is used to describe the heart of The Church and the second describes the principality as a nation), people often speak of them as being equivalent, which is true in practice.
Although it consisted originally of the large island of Narses, over the centuries has slowly been expanding its borders to include Tarvos and a considerable part of the coastline of The Old Continent. Due to the distance between them, each of these territories is very different, both in weather and rough geography.
The Dominion is composed of a few independent cities of small size, all of them overshadowed by its monumental capital, the holy city of Albidion. Trade in the principality is low, and given to its precarious industrial level and their limited natural resources, its unable to feed its population by itself. However, it is still a major economic power thanks to the donations and tithes coming from almost every corner of Gaia.
The principality’s government is a theocracy, as The Archbishop also holds a title equivalent to a Prince and has absolute power in his lands. Instead of nobility, there are cardinals and priests who control the various regions of the nation. Its army, the Ecclesiastical Guard, is a merely representative force mainly devoted to ensuring order in the cities and supporting the Inquisition. Still, The Dominion can take advantage of thousands of devoted followers to defend The Holy Land, just as it has the absolute support of Argos, whom many consider the armed hand of The Church.
The current situation of The Empire and the religious schism has led to a sudden breach between The Dominion and Abel. Eljared’s appointment as Archbishop, who never got around to visiting the principality, caused a huge backlash among the cardinals. Refusing to recognize Adelina’s authority as mistress of The Church, the council has appointed a Supreme Archbishop named Magnus. The new lord of The Dominion has only been in power for a few months and nobody is quite sure what his policies will be, but so far, he seems to have quite a radical view on those who depart from The Church.
Culture and SocietyEdit
As might be expected, religion is the most important for the inhabitants of the principality. Although it would be improper to call them fanatics, it’s true that they are all ardent devotees. Practically the whole culture is based on Alkavian teachings and traditions, as The Church brings meaning to people’s lives. They usually visit the local parish daily, and form communities and groups depending on the congregation that they visit.
The social structure is divided in the three traditional estates and, although there is more nobility than in other principalities, this only has symbolic power; the real one resides solely in religious authorities. A quarter of the people is member of the The Church or has some link with it. Those who wish to become priests are entitled to free education and many parents send their children to monasteries to be educated.
Accustomed to receiving continuous visits from travelers who want to know the holy city (which include many other seminarians from other principalities who travel there to conduct their studies), the people of The Dominion are very friendly and sociable. They reach out to everyone in need and always welcome the homeless. However, people are completely intolerant of people declaring themselves atheists or behaving in a disrespectful manner toward faith or The Church. Blasphemy is a serious crime that can be punished with torture, forced labor or, in the most extreme cases, with a burning at the stake.
Regarding the SupernaturalEdit
There is possibly no other place in Gaia as intolerant to the supernatural as The Dominion. Devoted followers of Alkavian principles, any sign of unexplainable abilities, even on a miniscule scale, are automatically considered witchcraft and Satanism. The suspicion over these forces is so great among the people of the principality that misunderstandings and dumb coincidence can often be confused with supernatural powers.
The individuals who display such powers are not only treated with hatred and rejection, but people will also consider them monsters or demons. When this happens, anyone witnessing an inexplicable event will immediately report it to The Church, warning them of possible wizards or demons in the area. If it’s a large community, they may even try and subdue and imprison suspects until the pending authority arrives.
Being the birthplace of The Inquisition, the power and intervention of the organization in the principality is unrivaled, and its members can act anywhere within the borders almost immediately. After a warning, an inquisitor may appear wherever required within a period of four or five hours.
The History of The DominionEdit
The true history behind The Dominion began on the island of Narses at the same time in which The Messiah formally appeared to the world. Accompanied by Pietro Hawke, he toured every city spreading his word and changing the hearts of man. Thus, Narses would become the first unified nation under Alkavian dogma, and also the first to join The Kingdom of Heaven.
After his death, many traveled to the island to explore the birthplace of Abel, establishing The Holy Kingdom of Domine, which was considered the most holy place in Gaia. Consequently, The War of God was especially harsh there, as Rah put special emphasis on eradicating what it symbolized. At the end of the conflict, there was no one left alive on the entire island.
Circa year 235, while Aeolus was consolidating the Sacred Holy Empire, a group of priests moved to the desolate expanse of land to rebuild the holy city of Albidion. Soon, news spread of their work and thousands of people from all around the globe arrived to help them. Thus, what began as just a humble project would grow into a stunning city. Initially, The Emperor considered the island as part of the principality of Argos, but when Supreme Archbishop Jud asked for a formal headquarters for The Church, Narses seemed like the most suitable place to everyone. In the year 250, Jud was given reign over the region, and renamed it The Dominion (an abridged version of The Dominion of The Church) and, thanks to the financial support that Abel provided it and to the faithful who began to settle the island, it managed to become a principality in its own right.
Throughout its history, the Dominion has undergone two major expansions. The first took place in year 411, when the island of Tarvos joined its borders by Imperial dictation. The second occurred less than 50 years ago, at the time that the principality of Argos voluntarily ceded a large swath of the coastline to The Church.
At the moment, the principality’s power has increased thanks to the unconditional support granted by Argos and to the large number of followers who, discontent with the religious policy of Abel, have moved there. Now, as the head of The Church, its influence is felt anywhere in Gaia where Alkavian faith is the majority religion. Less than a month ago it began promoting war between Argos and Kushistan, taking advantage of the lack of control that the Empire has over military conflicts.
Relevant Geographical FeaturesEdit
Divided into three completely different places, each part of The Dominion has a very diverse geography and natural features. In many ways, it would almost be more appropriate to think of it as three separate principalities.
Narses Island: Narses Island is one of the largest in The Old Continent. In the past, its entire surface was completely devastated by the power of The Conclave, who annihilated any lifeform on it. Since then, despite the efforts of its people, the island has never completely recovered, so the crops are poor and unproductive. Most of the territory is a large wide-open semi-desert, with some rolling hills where vegetation is sparse and rocky elevations lie. The most common activity among different populations is shepherding.
Some of last specimens of the white lion of Gaia are in Narses, a much larger and intelligent race of lions, considered a sacred animal in memory of the first Emperor and his Lion Arturia.
The Black Desert: In all Narses, this desert area was the most devastated by Rah’s armies during the assaults of The War of God. According to the few old maps that still exist, most cartographers believe that a small mountain range rose here long ago, a theory that seems confirmed by the large amount of fragmented rocks scattered everywhere. Despite being a quite disturbing and dark region, the truth is that it’s very peaceful because of the lack of wildlife in it. The Church recommends its parishioners not to come, ensuring that it can be dangerous, although this statement is merely intended to hide its secret function. The Black Desert is an Inquisition training ground for its fledgling members, where they face supernatural creatures that are released so their agents can chase them down. Here is where the final test to turns apprentices into true Inquisitors takes place.
Tarvos Island: Far smaller than Narses in size, Tarvos is an island near the coastline of Argos. Unlike its “older sibling”, it’s full of wild vegetation and lush forests due to a mountainous wall located on the western coastline, as it blocks the strong sea winds. The residents of the island provide the necessary crops for The Dominion’s survival, so the entire world considers it essential to the principality.
Reitz Mountain Range (western part): This mountain range served as a natural border with the principality of Lucrecio in the past. Although the mountains are lower than usual, Reiz has some really tall peaks, so steep and difficult to climb that to date have not been conquered. Its fame has become such that many explorers and mountaineers have their minds set on climbing them. Naturally, no one knows what may be on top of these peaks.
Caves of Sália: The fame of this complex labyrinth, which stretches for miles through the inside of the Reiz Mountain Range, comes from the myth that The Messiah wrote a piece of the Word of God on its walls. The caves are populated by the Order of Knowledge, a religious brotherhood that spent entire centuries just studying the true meaning of the words Abel left behind. The entrance to the inside is strictly prohibited to anyone unauthorized by the council of cardinals themselves because the knowledge hidden on those walls is considered one of the best-kept secrets of The Church. The truth is that The Messiah only discovered them inside the caves; they already existed several thousands of years ago. The Church and the Order of Knowledge are conscious of this fact and have spent centuries trying to conceal the truth hidden there. In fact, there’s not only a small group of elite soldiers protecting Sália, but three High Inquisitors are also assigned to the same mission.
Forest of The Cross: This forest is located inside The Dominion, near the Argos border. The place has a slightly tropical climate, although not so warm that winter and summer are indistinguishable. The Cross is full of small chapels and shrines, where many monks live apart from the world. There are also a few towns of varying size that are engaged in logging.
Less than two years ago, the Chapel of Sacred Liberation was secretly taken by Ophiel, one of the 12 Fallen Angels of Samael, who has used his powers to maintain the appearance that the sanctuary is still under priestly authority. He controls his agents in the principality from there, pulling the strings that allow him to carry out the objectives of the most radical sector of his organization.
Mountains of Elucidation: Located near the northwestern shore of Narses, the Mountains of Elucidation are a rocky mass of average height. Eroded by the wind from the west and weakened by the powers that were unleashed on them in the past, the area is unstable and dangerous because of its constant rockslides. Still, they are a famous place where The Messiah liked to go to pray when he was just a boy. It’s said that the most devoted believers have dreams and visions there relating to their destiny, so many priests are accustomed to visit them before finalizing their votes.
Places of InterestEdit
If there is anything characteristic of The Dominion, it’s the large number of churches and monasteries throughout the territory. The ecclesiastical principality has three large populations, most notably the monumental holy city of Albidion, its legendary capital. In the past there were remnants of other cultures and ethnicities, but The Inquisition has been busy these last few centuries exterminating them.
(Metropolis, Population 185,000+)
The city of Albidion is the heart of The Church, considered a holy land in Gaia. It was previously a large metropolis built on the small town of Netzah, the site of the first appearance of The Messiah. Destroyed during The War of God, a group of priests were responsible for its reconstruction, aided by thousands of travelers living in the area.
The present Albidion has been intentionally built in the shape of a cross, which divides the city into four major districts, joined in the center by The Sanctuary. Each of these, named Gabriel, Mikael, Uriel and Rafael representing the four archangels protecting the cardinal points, are full of temples, shops and buildings of the most diverse nature. On the streets, one can find both large and luxurious mansions, decorated with monumental angels, as humble homes with simple earthen roofs.
The Sanctuary is the original building that serves as the core The Church. It is separated from the rest of the city with huge walls and is composed of an intricate network of cathedrals connected by dozens of high passages. Its architecture is so convoluted and complex that everything seems part of a single building. Access to The Sanctuary is only granted to members of The Church or those who have special permission. Thousands of priests, monks and seminarians of noble families live inside, who have travelled there to complete their studies. The Church opens their doors twice a year to the devotees for The Ceremony of the Birth and Ascension of Abel, the most celebrated events for believers.
The most famous places in The Sanctuary are The Cathedral of Liturgy, the largest Alkavian building in Gaia, and The Basilica of the Servants of God, the Archbishop’s official residence and the place where The Conclave of Cardinals meet. The Monastery of Caedus is also here, the inquisitorial center where several hundred teenagers are trained up to the rank of Inquisitor. This hidden cloister is in turn separated from the rest of The Sanctuary by a second layer of walls, which prevent both entry and exit from the building. The best inquisitorial instructors and an impressive elite guard composed of all those trainees who have failed to become hunters of The Church to protect Caedus, making it one of the most inaccessible places in the world.
Although the metropolis seems to breathe peace and tranquility, the truth is that Albidion is full of hectic political plots and internal power struggles. Many senior members of The Church, among whom some of their own cardinals are included, face each other in intricate challenges to increase its authority and influences over the community.
The Supreme Archbishop Magnus, discussed Lord of The Church, resides here, controlling the city through a network of personally selected followers.
(Town, Population 1,300+)
Despite its small size, The Faith is a majestic place. It was built with the sole purpose of being the main gateway to Narses Island and to impress all the travelers who would later head to Albidion. Consequently, all the buildings are luxurious and there are dozens of shops and hotels for wealthy visitors. The most striking initial feature is the entrance to the port itself, which is decorated with two enormous white marble statues over 250 feet high, representing the archangels Mikael and Gabriel. Since it is the preferred entrance to the island, The Faith is guarded by a garrison of Church Guards, always accompanied by at least two Inquisitors to ensure that there is no interference from wizards or demons.
(City, Population 6,000+)
The port of Tarvos, a large city named after the island on which it is located, was founded with the sole purpose of sending shipments of food and goods to Narses. The city is responsible for collecting the production from the scattered surrounding villages and later to take them to The Faith. Without Tarvos, Albidion would have serious problems surviving more than three or four months.
The people of Tarvos are very closely related, since they all descend from just thirteen families. Even being so numerous, most of them are familiar to each other and can identify foreigners at first sight. The port has enjoyed peace and prosperity during last the three centuries, and everyone expects this to go on for a long time.
The Shadow of the Fallen AngelsEdit
Samael leaders have used the decline of The Empire to launch a secret attack against The Church. After months of effort, they have managed to integrate several of their agents into high ecclesiastical positions, emphasizing the replacement of Cardinal Maurice de Almao by Ozz. His master plan consists of replacing The Supreme Archbishop with a puppet, with which to control both The Inquisition and Alkavian dogma.
Ophiel, one of the twelve Fallen Angels, has moved to the principality to facilitate the fruition of their plans, and will not stop before anything to obtain his goals. However, The Thirteenth Cardinal has his suspicions, and has started his own secret purge of possible infiltrators. Many of the priests who are dying have no connection to Samael’s objectives, but The Thirteenth Cardinal just considers them martyrs necessary to maintain the integrity of The Church.
(City, Population 46,000+)
Formerly considered one of largest ancient jewels of Argos, Santa Clara is now the second largest and most important city of The Dominion. Unlike the rest of the region, this part is surrounded by fertile land that sows good agriculture and active livestock. With modernized, shiny architecture, Santa Clara is a really beautiful place. It has many religious monuments, such as statues of angels or famous saints, and pleasant nature reserves with beautiful artificial ponds. The city takes its name from one of the most venerated saints of The Church, known not only for the gifts that he had but also for his self-sacrifice. Been born into high status, Clara gave up his life of luxury after hearing the call of God and performed some of the greatest miracles recognized by The Church. She died in this city when she was still very young, saving it from the flooding of The Carpia River, which would have razed it to the ground. Her remains rest beside those of other saints in The Cathedral of Martyrs, the most beautiful Alkavian sanctuary in Gaia.
Santa Clara also is admired for its Book House, a royal monastery known for being the largest manufacturer of documents of The Old Continent. Although since the advent of the printing press it’s lost much of its importance, its handwritten samples are still very popular, mainly because many of the manuscripts in their catalogs are nowhere else in Gaia.
The Celes BasilicaEdit
(Fortress, Population 5,000+)
Celes is a huge military fortress under the title of a basilica. Anyone who sees it, with its formidable walls and towers, wouldn’t hesitate to consider it a large military stronghold. It has been used to train the members of The Ecclesiastical Guard for years, as it is the home to The Knights Templar of The Sanctuary, one of the most illustrious military organizations in the direct service of The Church. Cardinal Yanichel, faithful follower of The Supreme Archbishop Magnus, governs the fortress.
(City, Population 27,000+)
Baldemar is a port city located on the coast of the continent that Argos also ceded to The Church. An ancient trade center, it grew to gigantic proportions during the last decade thanks to The Dominion vessels not being required to pay taxes or tariffs. Baldemar often serves as a bridge between the mainland and the islands of Tarvos and Narses, because dozens of ships depart daily in their direction.
The Port is the only city of the principality not under absolute control of The Church because one of the conditions of the deal was to maintain government from their Dukes.
Other Settlements: Ancona, Lazio, Arzano.