Enginseer-42Empire of Aen Brainstorm Write-up.
So, just to start off, the general vibe I'm trying to go for with this is a very old, hidebound nation. Where traditions older than anyone living really dominate the culture.

Secondly, I wanted to have it be very focused on magic, not as a science, but with a very mystical, superstitious outlook.


The Empire of Aen

Were you to look upon Aenish Maps of their empire, you would notice that their empire is a perfect circle, with no variation to account for the shapes of land or sea. Nor even to account for their neighbors contested claims to territory. Even to this day, Aenish Cartographers claim the town of Argo, and the surrounding country as part of Aen, despite losing control of the region to Barsburg nearly fifty years ago.

And upon this perfect circle, there are eight marks in each cardinal direction. Corresponding with the eight towers of the Magisterial path. Beginning In the north, with the Diamond Tower, and ending in the Northwest, with the Obsidian Tower. With each tower having three roads leading to and from.

One, leading to the center of Aen, that those who walk the towers paths might serve the people.

One, leading clockwise, following the flow of the paths, and so acting righteously.

One, leading counter clockwise, against the flow of life, and so acting unrighteously.

The maps are like this, because the people are like this. In everything they do, a message or meaning that has been pondered on for a thousand years or more. Going back to the foundations of the towers, those first bricks laid in the mists before recorded history.

Now one might wonder, how is it that such a hidebound and backwards culture could stand the test of time? Why noone has yet toppled these ancient traditions, either in revolution from within, or conquest from without. And the Answer to this is held within the towers themselves.
The towers are old, older even, than the Aen who have built their civilization around them. Some say they were an experiment by the Angels themselves, forgotten, 
Such tales are of course Blasphemy in Aen, where the towers are viewed as the gifts of the gods, and for good reason. It is the Towers themselves that are the secret to Aen's success. As the towers, when used in conjunction with the correct rituals allow for a rite the Aen refer to as inheritance.
When a Mage of one of the Paths of Aen dies, they are returned to the tower of their path to be interred. However, before burial can begin, the Aenish conduct a ritual whereby a portion of that mages power is imbued into a blood relative. Along with some memories, and a fraction of their personality.
In a singular succession, this process is jarring, however, in the case of some older family lines, those bearing the family magic are effectively condemned to death. Their personality entirely overwritten and subsumed by the collective personality formed by the the multitudes who came before, adding only slightly to the overall whole.
Thus it is, that often the most powerful mages are possessed of memories and personalities thousands of years in the making, even if they did not actually live that time. And that Aen possesses more Mages on average than most nations.
However, should the remains of the mage be lost, inheritance is impossible and the line ends, likewise, should the inheritor have magic of their own, this will make inheritance impossible.

The Eight Towers and the Cycle of Aen

The Cycle of Aen

The Aenish view the world as a series of cycles, and that in order to prosper a people must see to each spoke of the wheel in turn. All things drive the wheel forwards, and even calamity has it's purpose, in bringing forth those heroes who will drive Aen into the future. Each Tower represents one step upon the Cycle of Aen, and each towers walkers each have a role to play in Aenish society.

The Diamond Tower
The Pillar of Peace.

The first tower of the Cycle of Aen, the Diamond Tower is the home of the Magister of the Heavens. Those who walk this towers paths practice Holy magic, and are sworn to defend the people of Aen from the evils that walk the land.

Thus, to follow the flow of the cycle is to first walk each towers paths in turn, tearing out those shadows, that might take root before finally coming upon the Obsidian Tower. 

Though the mages of the Diamond Tower often lay siege to that dark edifice, slaying those within, it is never torn down. For to do so would break the cycle and so leave the Diamond Tower lesser, for lack of their opposition to test themselves against. 

For a Hero to Rise, there must be a Villain to face. But neither should the hero forget his duty to the nation, in search of his own glory.

The Emerald Tower
The Pillar of Sustenance.

The second tower of the Cycle of Aen, The Emerald Tower is home to the Magister of the Fields. The mages of the Emerald Path focus upon nature magic, and generally focus on ensuring the people of Aen are fed. The wilderness in Aen has long since been supplanted with the aid of these mages. With ancient forests replaced with overgrown orchards, the grasslands replaced with massive expanses of grain fields. Where the Mages of the Diamond Tower seek to impose peace, and combat chaos. The Emerald path seeks to impose plenty, and combat hunger in Aen. The most peaceful of the mages of Aen, The Emerald Path nonetheless has strict rules as to Hospitality, and will defend those in their care.
I think it'd be really cool to see like, surrounding Aen after all the warring and, them locking themselves in their home there's just a total anarchy-land, There'd be some sort of like, Whole-underbelly of occult worshipers and Aen outcasts, all living underneath giant ravines and a brutalized landscape from just, constant war and chaos outside of Aen, when things get desperate there would be just, these giant storms of man and creatures trying desperately to break in for any sort of like, clean water and food but because Aen sees the outside world as, entirely unpure only the most generous would throw scraps down at the chaos.
I see Aen as a Maritime Empire - a close union of colonies and large cities located by the shore ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalassocracy ). There were many mentions of Aen pirates, traders, geographers before. Aen is mostly neutral to Esshar and Barsburg, they do fine with their lands. Occasionally ships from Aen may go off route and get closer to Essharan shores.
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