Who are you?
I am Arjenchashur, Magister of Dawn and Birds for the Ward of Plentiful Abundance.
Who are we?
We are free citizens of the Divine Light of the Ever-Expanding Rays of Splendour, that people more commonly call the Empire of Splendour. We are educated men of a fine Ashara blood-line.
What makes us great?
The Empire is the most civilised nation in the whole world. We are more advanced and more cultured than anyone else, for only in the Empire may any man strive to better himself through education, only in the Empire can even a simple peasant accuse his superiors under the law, and only the Empire receives the Divine Wisdom of the Celestial Emperor.
What is the difference between men and women?
Men are of the Sun and women of the Moon. Just as the sun's light is stronger than the moon's, so men are physically stronger than women. But both men and women may learn the classics, and both men and women may defend their nation. We do not bar anyone serving the Empire on the basis of their sex.
Where do we live?
We live in the fine farming town of Many Nightingales, the market centre for the Ward of Plentiful Abundance. It is a peaceful place, rich with orchards and rice paddies. The River of No Geese waters the land on its way to the Nine Spirits River in the east.
Our home is a fine manor, the official dwelling of the local Magister Administory. It has a red tiled roof atop wooden walls on brick and mortar foundations. There is but a single story and the undercroft, for a Magister may not show impertinence to the Celestial Emperor by reaching for the Heavens.
How do we live?
We live well, for the lot of a Magister Administrator is a good one. We dine well on local produce, for a Magister must show support for his ward. Rice and rice wine, cherries, duck and chicken, pork, fish, eggs, wheat and rye. All these are farmed in Many Nightingales and are all good quality. Other things we must import - tea from Ut'Bharma, peaches from Llaza, sun fruit from Dronistor.
Our clothing is cotton for every day use. As a Magister I must wear the heavy woollen robes - the roabha. Mine are red and yellow, embroidered with cranes, sparrow, doves and birds of all kinds, as befits my rank. When it is cold we may wear the pentesh, a quilted jacket made in the far mountains of Ut'Bharma from yak hide. When it rains we wear the lorazor, a wide brimmed hat made in the rainy country of Denra-Lyr.
What is my lot in life?
You will study the Classics, the writings of the ancient sages and the rules of governance so that when you are old enough you can sit the exams to enter the bureaucracy. You will start as a Clerk of the Fragrant Hills but if you work hard and are loyal to your superiors you may one day rise to be Magister of the Twelve Rivers, one of the great Law Lords for the whole Empire.
If you do not pass the exams it will be a life of farming for you and your children. Our family have been Magisters since my grandfather's grandfather. You will not fail.
Who rules us?
The Emperor, Received Wisdom, Bearer of the Undying Flame of Heaven and Subduer of Ignorance. He is able to speak with the Immortals on behalf of humanity, and he keeps the Empire prosperous by his wisdom. Just as the Celestial Emperor has others who carry out his will for him, so too the Bearer of the Undying Flame has the bureaucracy to carry out his will. This sacred order is set out according to divine will, and is an unbreakable hierarchy.
What makes a man great?
Obedience to his superiors is the most worthy thing a man may do. It is our place to keep the sacred order of things, not to change it. Some men believe that innovation and heroic deeds make them great, but they threaten the divine order and this only make them fools.
What is evil?
To act outside the law is evil. If a person wrongs you, you must take the matter to the Magister Judiciary. You must not seek revenge yourself. To defy the Emperor is evil, as his word is Divine Law. Some people say that there is a dark reflection of the world that should not be. The Celestial Emperor, Guide of Heaven, drove the denizens of this dark world away, but they still wait on the fringes of night and in deep dark holes for his vigilance to cease. As this will never happen, you need not worry about it.
How do we deal with others?
With honesty and politeness. If they are foreign to the Empire, we must remember that they are ignorant to the Divine Light of the Guide of Heaven, and we must help them to see it. Some people worship the Guide of Heaven by other names, or revere His servants as gods. We must help them, gently, to see the error of their ways.
If they are Imperial Citizens you must show deference if they are your superiors, and courtesy if they are you inferiors. Only with your peers may you behave in an informal fashion.
Who are our enemies?
There are misguided souls who fight against the just rule of the Empire in places like Llaza and Dronistor. They are ignorant to the benefits it can bring. They are our enemies although they are to be pitied, not hated. In time they will come to see the error of their ways and beg forgiveness. We will be ready to accept them.
Who are our gods?
Our gods are many and varied. Most important amongst them is the Celestial Emperor, Lord of the East Sun and Guide of Heaven. He rules a cabinet of Immortal Bureaucrats, and sometimes like in the mortal realm the person occupying the post changes. The Divine Minister of the Iridescent Pearl is important to the Empire as he governs the sea. Lady East brings prosperity to our plants and the Three Mountain Sisters guard us from outsiders. There are many servants to these Ministers too. Raincloud Fox brings the life-giving rain whereas the three brothers Thunder, Lightning and Flood bring the dangerous rains. Jade Gibbon supports the sky upon his shoulders. Glass Frog bears the sun through the underworld every nigh, in his throat. Everywhere you look, a spirit guards or guides the natural world according to the will of the Guide of Heaven.