As the name suggest, a nation ruled by an emperor (currently his 'magnificence' Blutvess Argersar).
If 'Black Marches' by themselves occupy a moderately large part of the southern hemisphere of the world of Arkus then the Empire itself might be considered an equivalent as far as the north western parts is concerned.
The imperials, as they are commonly called around the world of Arkus, are mostly known for their great open-mindness when it comes to the use of (even dangerous) be it magical or mundane technologies and their unfailing belief in what their 'divine emperor' preaches or rather 'gently commands' to the point of being frequently accused of blind zealotry with little to no tolerance for the outsiders.
At the very 'top level' the country is a monarchy … but at the same time it is in fact composed of more than few semi-independent kingdoms/duchies/oligarchies and even few examples of a sort of parliamentary monarchies.
Still, the discrepancy between its parts does not impact the empire's growth in power and wealth the least because of one deciding binding factor - that being the faith shared by the majority of citizens, from the lowest peasant to the emperor himself.
The tenets of the 'holy way' could be summarized (more or less) in five points:
- The world itself (and by extent, the lands of the Ergothian Empire) used to be a chaotic, violently unstable place where what is of the 'corruption' dwelled and thrived. The taint was driven off by the divine-inspired ones who retook the lands, brought order and liberated the oppressed mortals from what is unholy.
- The 'ideal of Law' (the actual worshiped 'force') is not truly perceivable by any other mortal save for the chosen of the divine-blessed ones (the Emperor in other words), and as such it would be foolish to rely on the guidance of those outside of the imperial bloodline. The other beings who follow the tenets of what is lawful are not to be considered enemies but at best they are following an imperfect version of what is truly of the Law, but a reflection of its.
- The Emperor (and his dynasty of course) was blessed,anointed to rule over the empire by the divine. The Emperor's might, wisdom and sense of justice is the peak, epitome of what an Ergothian Citizen can aspire to. The divinely-inspired monarch's words are the law not to be disputed but to be fulfilled. In a way the Emperor is also a central figure of the 'holy way'.
- In order to 'redeem' the world of Arkus one must forge himself/herself into an armament to be guided by 'Emperor's Will'. Of course the extent of the 'reforging process' can wary between individuals greatly. For some it might simply mean learning one's trade and cultivating it for the others joining the priest caste, imperial army or whatnot. The zealots themselves are more often than not undergoing a more literal application of this 'procedure' acquiring the Forged Creature template in the process in order to preserve themselves in their prime for the empire's benefit.
- The lands not yet 'protected' by the Holy Emperor's will are to not to be considered safe by any standards, especially when it comes to one's faith for the maladies of what is considered 'pagan' are far more dire than any weapon known. The 'pagans' within the empire's lands are not trusted nor allowed to occupy any position of greater importance but at the same time also not openly persecuted.