Dominion of the Dead
The Empire of Awrgawn was cobbled together about 60 years ago out of five kingdoms: The kingdoms of Awrgawn, Ryhl, Norand, Urundal and Burgund. Gwyon the Great, the one surviving Syawar, had been the seneschal of King Alaric of Awrgawn and he created the Empire in his name, giving himself the title of Lord Protector. While the king of Burgund submitted voluntarily the other three kingdoms were taken by force, and Gwyon could only conquer them with the help of their petty nobles. These nobles emerged from the fighting with their feudal privileges intact, or even strengthened, and they’ve been a headache to the Lord Protectors in Carodd ever since.
The Lord Protectors are not completely dependent on the nobles, however. Not only do they control extensive royal lands, but they also collect duties from overseas trade (what little there is, anyway) and (more importantly) they collect tolls from pilgrims entering the holy places of Carodd. They use this revenue to finance two orders of knighthood: The Order of the Blue Crescent and the far more exclusive and prestigious Order of the Four Corners. The latter is reserved for those who have shown exceptional bravery and piety, and they have the reputation of being incorruptible.