The Frafrejan Empire is one of the oldest civilizations in Alastari, with a history dating well back before the last Chaos Wars. (Although, truth to tell, in the years before the war Fratsfa was a mere outlying principality of the great Van Kingdom.) Tall, with fair hair, light skin and pale eyes, the Frafrejans are a very distinct physical type and very different from the shorter, darker peoples of the Delarquan Federation and even from other races in the Andorian League. They have a strong strain of High-Elven blood in their ancestry, and are extraordinarily proud of it. (They also have a strain of Shewish blood, which they are not nearly so quick to boast of.) At one time the Frafrejan Empire encompassed all of modern-day Andoria and much of the northern Free Cities, many of which had their origins in abandoned Van or Frafrejan colonies. However, even at the height of their empire, the Frafrejans have never been a numerous people. At one time or another during the past five hundred years, they gave aid, shelter and land to the ancestors of the Aruaki, Convincians, and Raltumans who staggered into their territory after the Chaos Wars.
The Frafrejans were for centuries the pinnacle of civilization in the north. Most of their children are educated in the arts of war and statesmanship; they have a complex legal code and what is probably the most just (if slow) court system in Alastari. They are superb strategists and tacticians and their army of heavily armored knights and well-drilled infantry is fearsome for its size--which, unfortunately, is not large. Frafrejans are a proud, haughty people: they feel that their entire history has been a noble saga of their tireless battle to protect Alastari and to aid the homeless and suffering. Fratsfan nobles follow a strict code of chivalry and honor. They often claim that the 'someone' in "Someone has to do it," is a Fratsfan. Of course, in return for the aid and shelter granted the assorted refugee kingdoms whom they welcomed into their lands, the Frafrejans considered it only right and natural to expect gratitude bordering on worship in return. The Raltumans and Convincians to this day send tithes of fish and grain to Fratsfa, and until fairly recently (a hundred years or so past) sent their young men and women to serve in the homes of Fratsfan nobles. In return, the Frafrejans sent builders, teachers, architects and artists to their subject peoples.
Approximately four hundred years ago the Frafrejan Empire got into a war with the Shewish Giants. Both sides were badly mauled; the Shewish civilization never recovered. It was also the beginning of a long slow decline for Frafreja. One by one, its subject lands were graciously granted independent status--proof of the selfless, heroic nature of Fratsfans in general. (In truth, there was simply not enough population left to rule so large an area.) The Shew War also was the cause of a decision that the Frafrejans, as well as the independent nations to the east, were to rue for generations. Lacking a navy of their own, the Frafrejan Emperor contracted with the nation of Serevada across the Storm Sea for ships and men to crew them. Unfortunately, the Sultan of Serevada saw in this arrangement an opportunity to rid himself of certain unwanted elements within his own empire. Thus the ships that came to Fratsfa's aid were crewed by criminals, dissidents, unruly younger sons, probationers, rapists, malcontents, political prisoners, wizards and natural philosophers who had speculated in areas unhealthy to the Satrap--in short, anyone the Serevadans wished to exile. So did the dreaded Serva Pirates come to Alastari.
After the war ended, the Frafrejans granted the Serva the old Shewish city of Assual, which the Serva renamed in their own Akhadic tongue Vyeel-af, or, as modern Alastarians say it, Willaf. From Willaf the Serva went on to other things...but that is another story.
Over the next several hundred years the Fratsfans lent troops to the Aruaki Clanhold in its two devastating wars with the Mordanti Confederation, and then spearheaded the defense of the Andorian lands from great Delarquan invasion, completing the decimation of the Frafrejan population. Today the population of pure-blooded Frafrejans numbers less than twenty thousand and only two of their cities have retained enough population to truly be called cities--Fratsfa and Zensu. The Empire is, in fact, one of the weakest members of the Andorian League, though the stamp its culture and philosophy has left on the other kingdoms gives it authority disproportionate to its size.
Although there is still an Emperor in Fratsfa (Allonji Fratijan Makiell of the House Kyiell) he no longer wields much power. Emperor Allonji is seldom seen by the populace and a number of rumors surround him: that he is feeble-minded, sterile, hunchbacked, etc. He has long been the last of an inbred line. He recently married Kitiara tyl Janolian, daughter of the Adantri Ambassador and cousin of the Emperor of Lirith Kai. Empress Kitiara is pregnant and there are hopes of an heir. Many of the Emperor's recent predecessors have been eccentric to say the least (his grandfather Makiell Ruthiven, for example, who decreed that no one was allowed to chew in public. The law was repealed by unanimous Parliamentary vote within a week, after a mass outcry by restaurant and tavern owners, not to mention confused citizenry.) The real governing is done by the Parliament, composed of all the nobles of the land.
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