Star Fortress Arcana
The Shihe, Empire of the Golden Eagle
In ancient times, the Shihe (Shee-hay) were a single, united people. However, a fearsome civil war broke out between the followers of the high Gods and the worshipers of the Fallen One, Arachne. Arachne’s followers, drow, lost the war and fled into the depths of space. To this day they lead fearsome raids for resources and slaves, and hold a particular enmity for Shihe.
The Shihe’s home territory is an eagle shaped constellation named Aquilla. Shihe dwell in graceful cities with close ties to the Feywild of the planets on which they dwell. Masters of the arcane magic, their cities are often entirely within the Feywild, or phase in and out depending on the cycles of the sun and moon(s). They value grace, beauty, and art in everything they do. Whether is spellcraft, martial arts, or fine arts, they seek perfection in all they do.
Shihe society is split into several social classes. Movement between classes is possible, but rare. At the highest level of society are the nobilis. These eladrin are the noble families, and exhibit powers and abilities far beyond their more mundane kin. They enjoy far longer life spans their their kin, vast intellects, and substantial arcane power. Beneath them are the patricians. These eladrin ocupy positions of wealth and power, as well as serving as military officers in the legions. The common citizens are known as the plebians. They form the vast bulk of shihe society, and are the soldiers, artisans, and merchants. At the lowest level of society are the servis. Typically they are non-eladrin who reside on eladrin worlds, and work “dirty jobs” as laborers, tanners, and sanitation workers. They are looked down upon by shihe, and though they are not slaves, they are treated with an uncaring and dismissive attitude. They also are not citizens, and so may not vote and enjoy fewer legal protections. Typical servis are goliaths or halfings who have resided on eladrin worlds since ancient times. Peregrinis are outsiders, and are viewed with suspicion. Peregrinis are typically forbidden from setting foot on eladrin worlds, though exceptions are sometimes made.
The shihe are ruled over by The Grand Senate, which in turn is led by Emperor Claudius. The Grand Senate is comprised exsclusively by the nobilis, who are divided into four “courts”- The Winter Court, The Autumn Court, the Spring Court, and the Summer Court. These factions constantly vie with one another for power, and their influence may rise and fall over time.
Interestingly, there is a distinct physiological difference between classes. All shihe are tall, graceful specimens with distinct pointed ears. Plebians typically have darker hair, ranging from nut brown to dark red and occasioanlly black, with hazel or green eyes and an olive complexion from working beneath the sun. The features of Patricians and Nobilis, however, are often influenced by their court of birth. Winter Court with black, purple, or blue hair and eyes; spring court with blonde hair and eyes of green or gold, summer court with green or blond hairs and eyes of green or gold, and Autumn Court with bright red or brown hair and eyes of purple or green. Nobilis show features siimlar to that of patricians, but have an unearthly aura the balies the vast arcane power at their command.
Outsiders have often wondered at the causes of this dimorphism, with the prevailing theory that the noble families heavy use of arcane magic has over generations altered them from the citizenry. This is reinforced by the way that plebians who are able to climb to the ranks of the nobility will with two generations have descendants who are indistinguishable from older families.
Shihe ships, as befitting their mastery over the arcane, are typically powered by engines of elemental air. Graceful and fast, they often employ a doubled or triple-hulled design refered to as bimarans or trimarans. The Shihe have a vast naval armada, larger than any other people and only rivaled by the Jade Shogunate of the dwarves. Their typical tactic is the “hammer and anvil” approach. They form a wall of man-o-wars (referred to as Anvils) that are loaded down with ballistae, and then use heavily armored frigates that are loaded down with eladrin marines (called Hammers) to push the enemy into the anvil. Trapped between the wall of fire presented by the Anvils and the highly-skilled eladrin marines of the Hammers, enemy fleets are crushed easly. Furthermore, lightly armored, high speed frigates known as “Darts” are used to chase down enemies who flee the trap. In order to form a nucleus for the fleet, dreadnaughts referred to as “Pillars” are used as by the fleet admiral, and often at the center of the Anvils during battle.
Notable Historic Figures
Kaius Sanguinus Rex- “The Blood King”- a fearsome warrior king that fought in the Dawn War, and was destroyed when he defied the Gods and tried to usurp their power for himself.
Aurelius Magnus Augustus XXV- the current Emperor.
Cordellia Scipia Gelida IV- Matriarch of the House of Winter
Heraculus Pugnax Conflagulo II- Patriarch of the House of Summer
Orestes Scipius Bustum X- Patriarch of the House of Autumn
Ceria Agatha Florida VI- Matriarch of the House of Spring