The Belharan Empire

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Once the premiere world power, the Belharan Empire was a nation of humans and elves said to be blessed by the gods in ancient times. Its borders stretched from the furthest reaches of the southern heartlands to the frigid borders of the Frost Marches. Some time ago, the empire was caught up in the conflict now known as the Godswar, and it was torn apart by the chaos and destruction of the celestial war. The empire is a fading dream now, nothing but a collection of petty kingdoms still clinging to their tattered banners a thousand miles from the Marches. Their influence has not been felt this far north in a generation. Belhar itself still exists as a rump state in the continental heartlands, but its inhabitants crawl amongst the ruins of their former civilisation, its past glories lost to myth and legend.

Belhar's influence upon its previous vassal states, colonies and satrapies lingers in two forms: firstly, that of the Belharan electrum hawk, also known as the electrum coin (EC). This coinage was once the most used denomination of currency throughout the empire, and retains much of its usage throughout the world with much surviving coinage across many lands. It is a useful form of globally accepted currency amongst traders, who do not wish to pay fees for currency exchange and assaying; its value is determined not by any backing authority, but the inherent value of gold and silver within the coinage. Hence, its value can vary from place to place in accordance with the abundance of such metals and associated trade laws.

The second legacy of Belhar is the commonality of Belharan as a diplomatic and trade tongue across much of the empire's reaches, from the continental heartland to far-flung locales such as Jassira, the Frost Marches, and the Old Country. Many people who are expected to come into contact with foreigners generally make the effort to learn some functional Belharan; unless stated otherwise, all characters in the game are assumed to be speaking Belharan.