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First Law Wiki

When it comes to getting murdered, the Old Empire presents a victim with quite the dazzling choice.

Brother Longfoot

The Old Empire is a region on the Western Continent of the Circle of the World. It was once the cradle of civilisation, the mightiest nation in the world. However, since the war between Juvens and Glustrod many centuries ago, it has fallen into chaos.

Origin and Height[]

In the Old Time, Juvens, the eldest son of Almighty Euz, found a people living beside the river Aos, and gave them laws, government, learning, science, and the power to defeat their enemies. He cultivated this new nation into the cradle of civilisation The Old Empire, with Aulcus as its great and beautiful capital. Through long years, Emperor followed Emperor, but always Juvens was there guiding and advising the Empire's fate, according to his grand design.

The Emperor Stolicus is remembered as a great military strategist and tactician. He is frequently quoted even now, in a similar way to Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Emperor Calica is remembered for urging caution in the Empire’s eastern expansion, but Juvens advocated boldness and carried the day. Emperor Scarpius is remembered for his exhortations on the dangers of decadence and the true meaning of citizenship.

Fall of the Old Empire[]

Glustrod, the youngest brother of Juvens, became bitter and jealous of his brothers gift and his achievements in The Old Empire. He studied forbidden sciences and heard the voices of Demons. The voices told Glustrod where to dig for The Seed and to gather an army of Devil-Bloods, people distantly descended from Demons. When Juvens was away, he made war on The Old Empire, and eventually conquered Aulcus.

When Juvens found out what Glustrod had done, his fury was terrible. With his brother Bedesh, he besieged Aulcus. In desperation, Glustrod tried to use The Seed to open the gates to The Other Side. But in his haste, he made some small mistake, and the great power was released without form or reason. Glustrod destroyed himself and Aulcus, the city left a wasteland, forever poisoned. With the death of Juvens some years later, The Old Empire fell into a chaos, from which it has never recovered.


The Old Empire has now suffered centuries of chaos, with many warlords and self-proclaimed Emperors, always making war on one another. It shows no sign of ending. There is no true government, other than local city leaders like the Imperial Legate Salamo Narba in Calcis.

Territory and Geography[]

The Old Empire occupies the central part of the Western Continent. The western border is a chain of high and perilous mountains called the Broken Mountains. Beyond the Broken Mountains is an unnamed region, where the Great Western Library is located; the home of the Magus Cawneil. To the east, the Old Empire extends to Starikland and the Circle Sea. The river Sokwaya forms the northern border with Far Country. The southern arc of the Broken Mountains forms the boundary between the Old Empire, and the Southern Continent and the Gurkish Empire, although the mountain passes are barely passable.

The region is split in two by the mighty river Aos, the largest rivers in the known world, which snakes from north to south. The river Aos is bridged in only three places; Aulcus, Aostum and Darmium. There are fords to the great river, but these are only rarely accessible.

The region contains vast and level plain, open grassland for many hundreds of miles. The land is storm-drenched wilderness and sparsely populated wasteland. Many towns now lie in ruins. The roads are trails of broken stones through sucking bogs.

Important cities are:

  • Calcis, an eastern city-port whose ancient grandeur has fallen into decay. One of the few stable cities under Imperial Legate Salamo Narba;
  • Aulcus, the former capital of the empire with a bridge over the river Aos, it now lies a shunned wasteland where nothing lives, except for Shanka;
  • Darmium, a large city still with a bridge over the river Aos, located to the south of Aulcus;
  • Aostum, still a large city which had bridge over the river Aos, that has recently been destroyed. It is south of Darmium;
  • Isparda, the southernmost city;
  • Anconus, the northernmost city;
  • Epedra, to the east.

Culture and Religion[]

The glory of the past is now long faded. The Old Empire is a desperate land where the cities are dwindling, and the great works of the past fall slowly into ruin. Even the crops often go unharvested due to the near constant internal wars. Travel is dangerous outside of directly controlled areas with countless wandering bandits and raiders. They are a pale-skinned people who seem to speak the Common Tongue.


In recent years, the self-proclaimed Emperor Sabarbus came to power. However, his short reign came to an end when he was murdered by poison. His sons Scario and Goltus squabbled over his legacy, and then made war on each other.

Goltus held the city of Darmium, but Scario took that city under siege with his father’s greatest general, Cabrian. No sooner had Cabrian finally taken the city, than he proclaimed himself Emperor. Scario, running from his brother’s vengeful armies, fled across the bridge at Aostum, and had his engineers bring it down behind him.

Scario, Goltus, and Cabrian are now three Emperors locked in a deadly struggle. Goltus’ claim as Emperor is supported by the Magus Zacharus.

Before They Are Hanged[]

Bayaz and his band of heroes travel across the Old Empire on their journey to the Edge of the World. They learn from Zacharus that Goltus has defeated his brother Scario. He’s now on his way to Darmium to crush Cabrian, and make himself undisputed Emperor.

Recent Events[]

In Red Country, it is revealed that Goltus ultimately prevailed in the civil wars with his brothers, and has been crowned His Radiance Emperor Goltus the First. The Imperials are a tentatively re-emerging power, rattling their swords on The Union's western border, and exhorting the populace of Starikland to continued disloyalty. Bayaz spends much of his time in the west, where Zacharus and Cawneil seems to be working together now.