Occupying the central region of the Phasian continent, the Kernlaendern region is actually composed of numerous smaller duchies, bishoprics, counties, Free Cities, and various other political divisions too numerous for any but professional politicians and courtiers to properly comprehend. These divisions are largely historic and hereditary, a remnant of the Pre-Imperial Kernlaender tribes who, though they shared commonalities in language and culture, were nevertheless constantly at war with one another until (and occasionally after) conquest by Ilium.
It is in these regions that can be found some of the Empire’s greatest warriors and most contentious detractors. From the beginning the Kernlaender tribes refused to bow as a whole to the invading forces of the First Emperor, and what could have been a sweeping victory in a more unified region dragged on for many months as the invading Imperial forces scored minor victory after minor victory against any self-styled chieftan with a few huscarls at his call. It was this disunity that also led to the Kernlaend’s easy defeat at the hands of the Emperor, as noted in his recounting of the numerous battles fought against tiny numbers of Kernlaender troops, “Even faced with a perfectly ordered brigade of ten thousand Imperial legionnaires, we witnessed dozens of times only handfuls of the hardy Kern-men charging heedlessly into our front line; time and again we repelled them. Such reckless bravery I had never witnessed; had they united a force commensurate with our own we may never have marched past the Merwede.”
Emperor Gaius earned the respect of the Kern-men through his military conquest of their region, and kept them loyal through extensive use of their military service in the Western Lumerian campaign. However, many of the chieftans and tribe-heads, though they came to serve as peers and dukes of the Imperial Senate, were never truly contented with being relegated to a secondary role, bereft of sovereignty and subject to foreign rule. Though the Kernlaender dukes and and the Emperors eventually reached an understanding, with successive Emperors tending to grant more rights and privileges to individual duchies and their leaders, the problem came to a head after the Golden Horde was finally repelled. Feeling betrayed by their rulers, an alliance of some two dozen duchies and