- 1 Overview
- 2 Commissioning Historical Research
- 3 For the Benefit of the Empire
- 4 Dangers of Historical Research
- 5 The Department of Historical Research
- 6 Recent Historical Research
- 7 Further Reading
The department for historical research was established by Emperor James in an attempt to repair the damage done to Imperial scholarship by Emperor Nicovar. Fifty years passed between the devastation of the libraries and the establishment of a formal order dedicated to regaining what had been lost - five decades for the situation to deteriorate further. Staffed by dedicated civil servants, and taking direction from the Imperial Senate, the new department worked tirelessly to recover damaged documents, and reconstruct those that had been lost forever to the fires of the mad Throne.
The Empire has been in existence for nearly four hundred years, but human civilization stretches back much further than that. The relatively recent arrival of Dawn and the Highborn were proceeded by centuries of orc barbarian chaos. And before that the Bay of Catazar area was home to the sprawling kingdoms that were the ancestors of Navarr, Wintermark, Urizen and Varushka. Any given scholar today knows only a part of the epic history of humankind.
The best records the Empire kept were destroyed by Emperor Nicovar, and much of the early history of the Empire, and the history of the nations that preceded it, was lost. What documents and histories endure are kept in the personal histories and records of communities scattered across the Empire. The civil service works under the direction of the Senate, to recover knowledge that has been lost and to push back the boundaries of Imperial understanding of the past and the present. Finding specific information in the decentralised Imperial memory is a daunting task. Teams of people must spread out across the Empire to seek out lore buried in any of the countless personal libraries.
The civil service has the resources to research up to two subjects each season. Prior to the murderous events of 379YE, the civil service was able to perform more research each season; the loss of so many experienced researchers significantly curtailed their ability to perform scholastic study.
Since the death of Empress Britta, the Senate devolved much of the responsibility for guiding historical research, creating individual titles - the Minister of Historical Research. the Dredgemaster of Feverwater, and the Advisor on the Vallorn. The Dredgemaster had this power removed during the Winter Solstice 381YE.
Commissioning Historical Research
The power to direct the civil servants in the department of historical research lies with the Imperial Senate. Until recently, this power was employed by use of a senate motion. In recent years, senators have created three new Imperial titles, who may all commission a piece of historical research using a senate announcement. The Advisor on the Vallorn may only announce one historical research, but the Minister may in theory make any number of announcements. In practice, since only two pieces of historical research can be conducted each season, whichever two subjects are announced first will be undertaken.
Regardless of how the power is employed, the thrust of the research should be clear. It is possible to commission broad research into a significant topic such as "the history of the Brass Coast" or "Exemplars of Pride", giving the civil service a free reign as to how to proceed. It is more common, however, to select a tight focus such as "the life of Myfanwy" or "the Crown of Three Tears".
Each season, the researchers will provide a report summarising their findings in the previous three months. This often takes the form of a written document detailing what they have uncovered, sometimes presented by one of the civil servants responsible for collating the information. It may sometimes take the form of a discussion with an expert on the issue, or a lead that will secure specific information that requires direct action by an Imperial hero.
The report will often include suggestions for where to take the research next, if there are any avenues of research left that the researchers believe might be beneficial, explaining the problems with uncovering more information, or presenting an opportunity for some action that might help move the research forward. If the researchers do not believe that any further work on a subject will provide additional useful information then they will report that.
For the Benefit of the Empire
During the season following the presentation of a historical research report, the civil service will make the contents available to any scholar who asks as well as dispatching copies of the report to libraries, universities, and colleges across the Empire. This is done to help ensure that the information discovered can never be lost again, and to expand the collective knowledge of the Empire.
Dangers of Historical Research
Uncovering information about the past is not a safe occupation. At the very least the eternals known as the Whisper Gallery have demonstrated numerous times that they are prepared to take extreme steps to interfere with historical research, including murdering civil servants. The Imperial Conclave has placed them under enmity, but this does nothing to prevent their mortal associates causing trouble for the department of historical research. The Senate treasury pays a significant amount of money into a fund to protect civil servants associated with the department, but sometimes a project is too dangerous for them to explore directly. In this case, they may call on the citizen with the appropriate Imperial title to undertake dangerous actions, or request additional materials that they cannot acquire themselves.
Citizens who hold one of the titles associated with historical research should be aware that they are potential targets not only for the Whisper Gallery but for other secretive organisations that have a vested interest in preventing discovery of historical information in general, or specific to whatever is being researched.
The Department of Historical Research
The department of historical research is ultimately overseen by the Imperial Archivist, Leontes the Scribe, who is a member of the Constitutional Court. He is said to be a notoriously curmudgeonly individual whose deep knowledge of the history of humanity has left him with a perpetually dismal view of it. The day to day running of the department defaults to the most senior scholars, each of which in turn directs the remaining handful of researchers, scribes, and investigators. As of the Autumn Equinox 381YE, there are two senior researchers in the department. Each is a veteran civil servant and respected scholar of Imperial history.
Rosalind Friedlin von Holberg
A graduate and former professor at the University of Holberg, Rosalind is also a veteran of the Druj occupation, and an expert in pre-Nicovar Imperial history. She has extensive contacts among - and some influence over - the various Imperial centres of learning. Rosalind encourages researchers to adopt a detached, academic style with their studies and prefers them to include plenty of references to existing Imperial scholarship.
Peter of Hintown
Something of a maverick, this adventurous Marcher scholar discovered both the Gildenheim runeforge and the mithril deposits that eventually lead to the creation of Pride of Ikka's Tears. In contrast to Rosalind, he has an extensive network of contacts and correspondents outside of established academia, preferring to associate with independent scholars. His main area of academic interest lies with pre-Imperial artifacts, and what little is known about the history of the orc barbarians - especially the Empire's battles with them.
There are a handful of other respected scholars associated with the department of historical research. They are often assigned specific roles by one of the two senior researchers. Current members of the faculty include:
- Octavia of Stream's Source spire, an Urizen who has written several well-researched treatises on the causes of significant events in Imperial history.
- Eilian Sweetwater, a respected Navarr expert on the Vallorn and the Chaos period Bay of Catazar, and a student of the renowned Cordelia of Winters Sorrow.
- Snowstorm Henk, a young Imperial Orc academic who has an extensive interest in lost Imperial artifacts, and recently undertook an exploration of the sinkhole dubbed "Lorenzo's Deep Pockets".
No Imperial Archives
While there is an Imperial Archivist, there are no Imperial Archives any more - no secret libraries maintained by the civil service. Instead, there are numerous small libraries, archives, records, and similar spread across the Empire. Navarr Stridings carry books and scrolls with them in their wagons. Every Wintermark hall keeps a tally of judgement stretching back generations. Every Dawnish house keeps records of its most glorious members. Each Highborn chapter records the deeds of its worthy scions, every Urizen spire maintains libraries both arcane and more mundane in nature. The Marchers have memories written and oral that stretch back to the times before there were any Marchers, while the Varushkan Wise Ones and Cabalists maintain written records and keep the rich tradition of stories and cautionary tales alive from generation to generation. The tribes of the Brass Coast maintain family archives the first scrolls of which were carried with the exiled Founders when they left Highguard. The League cities build white granite libraries dedicated to the history of the city-folk and jealously guard the personal histories of guilds and grudges and debts owed. While the Imperial Orcs are new to the Empire, their cultural drive to education and their reverence of the written word have already begun amassing records, books and scrolls.
Recent Historical Research
This table represents official requests to the department of historical research, whether from the Senate or from one of the titles empowered to commission research.
|Ghita's Veils||Spring 383YE||Siân Eternal||Completed|
|The Origin of Eater of Hope||Spring 383YE||Caleb of the Cenotaph||Completed|
|The Life of Drustan||Winter 382YE||Siân Eternal||Complete|
|Sungold Pass||Winter 382YE||Caleb of the Cenotaph||Complete|
|Abraxus Stones||Autumn 382YE||Siân Eternal||Complete|
|Maud Daughter of Esther||Autumn 382YE||Caleb of the Cenotaph||Pending|
|The life and eventual final fate of the Noble Terran General Bryony||Summer 382YE||Siân Eternal||Pending|
|Anomalous conjunctions with reference to Empress Britta's death||Spring 382YE||Ioseph of Phoenix Reach||Complete|
|The past life of Adelina Barossa||Spring 382YE||Ioseph of Phoenix Reach||TBC|
|Fire from the Heavens||Winter 381YE||Ioseph of Phoenix Reach||Published|
|The descendants of Terunael in Axos||Winter 381YE||Siân Eternal||Published|
|Exploration of Lorenzo's Deep Pockets (opportunity)||Winter 381YE||Tormund of Wintermark||Published|
|Myfanwy of Hercynia and her travels and relationships with the First Empress||Autumn 381YE||Eleri Bronwen's Rest||Published|
|Expedition to Terunael ruins in Axos||Autumn 381YE||Siân Eternal||Published|
|Aneira Dancewalker, thought to be General of the Quiet Step during the fall of Liathaven, and her brother Eurion Dancewalker who forged Aneira's Talon||Summer 381YE||Eleri Bronwen's Rest||Complete|
|Mage known as Star, compatriot to Navarr and Thorn||Summer 381YE||Siân Eternal||Complete|
|Rhonwen's Fall||Spring 381YE||Merel Eternal||Published|
|Apaayuqiu King, and the pre-Wintermark history in Sermersuaq area||Winter 380YE||Ioseph of Phoenix Reach||Published|
|Luca Ritter von Holberg, Cardinal of Courage around 125YE||Winter 380YE||Ioseph of Phoenix Reach||Complete|
|Founders of the Brass Coast||Autumn 380YE||Ioseph of Pheonix Reach||Superseded by recent discoveries about history and the lives of Erigo, Guerra, and Riqueza|
|The noble house of Mazzarin of Dawn||Summer 380YE||Dredgemaster of Feverwater||Complete|
|The Charter Stone of the Terunael city of Seren||Spring 380YE||Siân Eternal||No reference to "charter stones" could be found; some information about singing stones was uncovered as part of the research.|
|The Heart of Peytaht, its contents and the nature of the entities within it||Winter 379YE||Dredgemaster of Feverwater?||Published|
|Cadaver, a sovereign, of the Dark Hearts vale in Varushka||Winter 379YE||Neb||Complete1|
|The Gwerin Marfae, the marshfolk around at the time of Terunael||Autumn 379YE||Corey Brackensong||Published|
|Further research into the runeforge in Skarsind||Autumn 379YE||Palladius of Urizen||Published|
|More origins of the Vallorn||Summer 379YE||Advisor on the Vallorn||Published|
|Origins of the Vallorn||Spring 379YE||Advisor on the Vallorn||Published|
|The relationship between auras and the paragons/exemplars they are named for with particular reference to Isaella's Resolve||Spring 379YE||Yael of Felix's Watch||Published|
|The naval campaign of Emperor Barabbas||Winter 378YE||unknown||Published|
|Briar graves and land fertility in the Marches||Autumn 378YE||unknown||Complete2|
|Empress Varkula's burial rites (and their efficacy)||Autumn 378YE||unknown||Published|
|Artok Ice Golems||Autumn 378YE||unknown||Complete|
|The Incarnadine Satchel||Autumn 378YE||unknown||Published|
|The Mask of the Visionary||Summer 378YE||unknown||Complete|
|Mazen and the missing Golem||Summer 378YE||unknown||Complete|
|The Crown of Three Tears||Summer 378YE||Thane Aedred in Wintermark||Published|
|The Equine Rod||Summer 378YE||unknown||Complete1|
|The Imperial Favour of Empress Britta||Summer 378YE||Ioseph of Phoenix Reach||Published|
|The life of Megan Black Blood||Summer 378YE||Advisor on the Vallorn||Published|
|The Campaigns of Emperor Guntherm against the Jotun||Spring 378YE||unknown||Published|
|The Banner of the Gryphon's Pride||Spring 378YE||unknown||Published|
|The origins of the Volodny Bas Celik||Simargl of the Circle of Zulgan-Tash||Complete|
|Coven of the Burning Star||Ioseph of Phoenix Reach||Complete|
1: In these cases rather than a written document a meeting with an expert was arranged. As a consequence there are no published details. 2: In these cases the research was used to update existing information.