Based in the planet Lowënhaas on Wolf 359, the Lowënhaas Empire spreads its wings through most of the Home systems, including Sol itself.
The name "Lowënhaas" means "down and burrow/dig", and it was a miners' pet name to the planet in the colonial period. It was so popular that even becoming the capital of an empire was insufficient to change it to something more dignified.
Having been colonized since the early Terran golden age of space expansion, for centuries Lowënhaas was but a heavy mining and industrial complex until the twenty-one days civil war that left Terra a radioactive desert.
Lowënhaas converted its production to military ends, and in less than 20 years they managed to annex much of the Home systems, using their infrastructure and manpower to expand further. Eventually, it held not only a solid core ruled with iron fist(s), but many outlying systems owning to the nobles' private military adventures.
The empire is somewhat like the medieval Holy Roman Empire, a feudal monarchy with vast discretionary powers to the Emperor; due to these the court is ever-striving to both be in his good graces, and higher than one's rivals.
There are three types of nobility:
- Court nobility - honorary titles granted directly by the Emperor as a mark of special favour, supplementing other held landed titles (since they represent no income, but the recipient must pay a yearly contribution). Just in case, the court's newcomer should do well to treat anyone unknown as "Your Serene Highness", as those who do have the title pay by the ears for it and are both easy and dangerous to offend.
- Electors - land grants by the Emperor as Imperial Person himself (opposed to as his other royal titles of king of this, king of that). Electors are usually dukes and princes, and have a vote in the Imperial Diet
- Landed nobility - Anything below an Elector, from Knights landed by their liege lord, to elder sons' "training wheels" form their parents' estates, to land grants by the Electors, up to nobility landed by the Emperor in his local royalty role.
Society and culture Edit
The Empire is as diverse as the many inhabited systems that compose it; the only thing all have in common is the pervasive presence of Imperial Social Management agents, the Empire's secret police.
While there's no real serfdom in the Empire, judicial enslavement for debts is common and the nobles enjoy (but do not supersede) the same privileges as the Emperor in their own lands. While obedience and proper deference are expected from subjects, flagrant abuses are generally avoided as they can create popular resentment, which is ammunition for one's foes in the court's political infighting; extreme cases can even be brought to the Emperor himself.
While it came to own several more pleasant worlds, for political reasons the historical capital was never moved.