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Deheleshen: Empire of a Thousand Rivers
Sprawling across the East, Deheleshen is possibly the most populous of the Great Nations, if only by a small margin. Controlling almost three-quarters of Eastern Creation, Deheleshen is centered in the city of the same name, in the middle of the River Province. It stretches west to the Inner Sea, east to the Great Forests, and north to the lands of the Great Redwoods and south to the jungles of Rathess.
With a population of nearly 100 million, half in a small number of major cities and the rest spread across vast rural settlements, Deheleshen remains a strict military order, holding fast to the Shogunate's old plans. Controlled primarily by the Seventh Legion of Deheleshen itself, the area remains potentially the most powerful in the Third Age.
The society of Deheleshen is fiercely nationalistic and militaristic. Over 2% of the population is in their military, giving them a vast armed machine with millions of soldiers with which to make war against anyone that they feel the need. Basic military training is even more common, and close to 30% of the population has military training of at least a basic sort. The bulk of the military is drawn from the ranks of the poor, due to a general difficulty for the non-rural poor of getting jobs.
The poor are a vast portion of Deheleshen. About 10% of the population is unemployed at any given time, and the working poor make up the majority of the population. The middle classes are smaller, and the nobility are smaller still. Most of the poor work either in the army, or (much more often) as low-paid peasants working in the fields or supervising civilian factories and power reactors; others work in basic retail, selling products for long hours at low wages. The middle classes work in the buerocracy, or as automata repair, or in managerial positions in the retail environments.
Deheleshen's military is primarily-ground based, with a small river-based navy and a decently sized airforce. It is fairly bottom-heavy, with a large base of recruits that tapers upwards towards a small, noble group of officers. However, the military is merit-based, and the poor can rise through the ranks, earning noble titles with high ranks. Nobles are not guaranteed high ranks by birth, but do begin as the lowest-ranked officers, rather than having to begin as grunt infantry. The Legions of Deheleshen have swelled because of this, and there are ten official 'legions' in the empire, each twenty times the size of a legion from the past.
Deheleshen is a conservative and religious society. All citizens are expected to follow the Immaculate Order, respect the Dragon-Blooded (if not worship them), and heresies tend to be strongly cracked down on. Thaumaturgy is not illegal, but it is heavily regulated, and many branches of it are outlawed (specifically Summoning, Necromancy, and Astrology, all of which are considered heretical.). Punishments for crime tend to include severe physical punishment and long jail times, up to and including capital punishment. Slavery is outlawed, although temporary enforced servitude (of up to 5 years) applies for non-violent crimes with people who aren't expected to try and flee. These people are still protected from serious violence or murder, however. Homosexuality is not regulated either way, but people are expected to follow family rules regarding marriage, rather than choosing their own brides. Society is equalistic between men and women, and does not differentiate between the two. Knowledge is easily obtainable, but heavily censored, and travel is discouraged, if not illegal.
Heresies do not flourish in Deheleshen, but they exist in decent numbers, mainly due to their oppression, ironically. Most likely, close to 1% of the population holds to various forms of heretical beliefs, although most of those are fairly innocuous (minor prayers to local spirits, lack of belief in the Dragons, etc.) Only a tiny fraction of these 'heretics' are actual heretics, possibly one in ten thousand people or so. These heresies still remain very low-key, as being revealed is a death sentance.
Of the major nations, Deheleshen is the most straightforward for technology. They focus on the use of Essence-engines, and almost never use oil-based engines. Electricity and steam are not rare, but are uncommon, and artifacts are both common and useful. Deheleshen also has decently large First Age stockpiles, although almost all of their most powerful devices were used against Autochthon. Deheleshen has a well-stocked military force, the best in the world.
Deheleshen has very good relations with both Chiaroscuro and Pangu, both of whom continually court the nation for support in their bids to restore the Shogunate. If either of these two major nations were to gain enough power that Deheleshen considered this bid to be realistic and attainable, it would almost certainly join forces with them, and help to restore the Great Nation. In the mean time, trade is common, travel is relatively easy, and Deheleshen would be willing to support either in the case of a major war with most of the other nations, provided they did not think the war was started simply to get them onside.
Relations with the Western Alliance and the Balmori Republic are much more strained; Deheleshen distrusts both of these nations on principle, and tends to be cautious in its relations with them. In particular, Deheleshen participated in the war against the Balmori Republic fifty years earlier, if not heavily, and relations between the two nations remain suspicious. Deheleshen still allows trade and travel to these nations, but it is more heavily scrutinized.
New Estasia and Rathess are both a special case; Deheleshen has no relations with the former, and remains in an endless state of war with the latter. There is very little civilian trade between Deheleshen and New Estasia, and no official direct transit links, and absolutely none with Rathess; in fact, travel to Rathess for non-military purposes is considered to be treason by Deheleshen, punishable by imprisonment or even death.
Deleheshen strongly distrusts all the Deathlords, but still has small amounts of trade with both the Walker and the Mask. They have also had skirmishes with the Mask, and suspect that the two may in fact be allies. This is one of the primary reasons for their refusal to become even slightly reliant on oil.
Deheleshen dislikes most of the minor kingdoms, considering them to be traitorous at best, but doesn't usually take aggressive action against the few minor kingdoms in the East. This stance will change if they believe that it is time for a war of unification, but for now, attempting to govern numerous minor kingdoms is considered to be more trouble than it would be worth. Deheleshen has only annexed three nations since its creation, although many small kingdoms fear that it will continue to annex more over time.
Deheleshen is more severe than any nation save Pangu when it comes to the Anathema. If any Solars or Lunars are sighted within a city, the city is shut down and the Wyld Hunt is summoned. Sometimes, Anathema who are revealed still manage to lay low and escape the net, but usually, they are caught and killed. A few such battles have resulted in massive internal damage, reinforcing fear of the Anathema in the populace. Very few people support the Anathema, and those that do do so in utter secrecy (usually due to a heretical cult).